Murtagh lives! Now that the Outlander STARZ show has deviated from Voyager, the big question is what’s next for Murtagh?
At the end of Outlander Season 2, I started preparing for something that I at once dreaded, but also hoped to celebrate and revel in. It was something that I had feared putting into words, but yet something I was looking forward to pouring my heart and soul into for a character and a man that I had grown to love deeply. I was preparing to write an obituary for Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser as I had expected we would see the last of him at the Jacobites’ final stand on Culloden Moor. I am not alone in this devotion to the character of Murtagh or the sorrow that we all thought would come once Season 3 began and we witnessed the fate that Voyager readers knew awaited him. There were many in the Outlander fandom who had flooded social media with requests of the writers and producers of the television show to provide a stay of execution for this beloved and stabilizing force in a saga that found too many of our cherished characters killed off – some in violent and heartbreaking ways.
But, what of Murtagh? Could he be saved? Should he be saved? We got the answer to the first question in Episode 3.03, “All Debts Paid,” but it is worth exploring the second question, and perhaps speculating a bit on how and when we might see this character emerge once again. Outlander’s producers #LetMurtaghLive. Now what?
Stepping back, in July of this year, Outlander Cast supported a lovely group of ladies who attended the San Diego Comic Con. I worked as the Street Squad’s “virtual assistant” behind the scenes and was in constant contact with them throughout most of the Comic Con. Once it was revealed Episode 3.01 would be shown during the Outlander panel, the ladies went digitally dark per
threats instructions from security present at the event. The whole time the ladies were in “black-out” during the airing of the episode, I was formatting in my head the first question I would ask them once communication was re-established. The question I landed on—because it was most important to me—was “Did you see Murtagh die at Culloden?” I remember distinctly the answer I received from one of our Street Squad members. It was a definitive one word—“no.”
At the time, I found this interesting but wasn’t yet ready to admit to myself that Ron Moore and company really did let Murtagh live. How could they? So much of the story would be altered. Jamie’s 20 years are spent essentially alone, mourning the loss of Claire and his child; he was an outlaw, a prisoner, with no free will and scant confidantes with whom to share his sorrow. It is an integral part of Jamie’s development as a character and would shape who he would be once Claire finally returned to his life. Having his godfather, his protector, around would change all that. At least this is what I told myself after listening to other fans and even series author Diana Gabaldon expound on the subject of Murtagh’s ultimate fate in the books and why that should not change.
But, upon first watch of Episode 3.03, when I heard that voice in the shadows of Ardsmuir prison and then saw the all too recognizable beard, eyes and, of course, expressive eye brows, my heart literally leapt. It was true, then. My mind immediately jumped back to October 2015 when I wrote one of my earliest blog posts for the Outlander Cast about the character in Season 2 that I had grown to love and the actor I greatly admired for his portrayal that went far beyond the source material—in a good way.
The actor who plays Murtagh, Duncan Lacroix, is a relatively low-key man. Not nearly as loquacious on social media as some of his co-stars, nor quite as ubiquitous at the fan conventions. Prior to his role on Outlander, Duncan had worked fairly steadily as a stage actor and in a handful of movie/television roles—”steadily” being a relevant term for most actors. As I mentioned in my post, he was quite the opposite physically from Book Murtagh who was described as short, slightly built and rat-faced. Duncan is over six feet tall, wide shouldered and somewhat physically imposing. He is a handsome man—with or without the beard, and in no way rat-faced!
I was honored to meet Duncan Lacroix at a fan event in New York City this past summer, and I have to hand it to him. First of all—he was mobbed by the very enthusiastic crowd that night who were desperate to show him all_the _love for his wonderful depiction of Jamie’s godfather and ever present guardian. He handled the somewhat aggressive showering of attention with grace. Second, he was extremely generous with his time with each and every fan there. And, he had stories—lots and lots of stories. In particular, he shared how he came to understand the character of Murtagh and what he drew from his own life especially with regard his heartfelt portrayal of Murtagh losing his long, lost love, Ellen MacKenzie, Jamie’s mother. It was touching and genuine and we were all spellbound as he told his own story of love lost.
I fell in love with Murtagh/Duncan a bit more that night. And, indeed, my Outlander fan journey completed itself a bit more after meeting Duncan that evening. He was delightful and all I kept thinking was how much we would miss him not just for Murtagh but for the kind, slightly quirky man that he is in real life. Looking back, I have to say that he was a master at keeping a secret despite the whisky that was flowing that night and that we ALL had quite a lot of! Bravo, Duncan, for keeping your wits in check and secrets kept despite multiple drams!
But, now we know—Murtagh is alive. And, while not as vital a man as he was at Leoch, in Paris or at Culloden, he was well enough to make the journey to the colonies after several hard years at Ardsmuir prison and…and…AND??? It is no surprise that speculation abounds on the Interwebs about Murtagh’s journey to come. There are fans who are overjoyed and fans who are disappointed. But, let me say, I think it’s universal among Outlander fans that Duncan Lacroix is adored and ALL are happy he will continue to be employed to a certain extent by the Outlander production. In fact, I think there are few things that Outlander fans agree on more than this except perhaps the delight felt by the occasional views of Sam Heughan’s arse on screen. But, I digress…
So, yes, we are all happy that #DuncanKeepsWorking, but fan reaction has been mixed as to what to do with Murtagh going forward in the story. We know that he was separated from Jamie and headed in the general direction of the American colonies, because that is what the show told us and true to history, where many Scottish Highlanders ended up after the colossal defeat of the 1745 Rising. We also know from the show that Jamie has not seen him again prior to Claire coming back through the stones—or the puddle—as the case may be. As for Diana Gabaldon, she has been extremely politic about the change.
And, shortly after Episode 3.03 aired, Diana said this—
“Did I think keeping Murtagh alive was a good idea, in terms of how it might affect the story? I had no idea, because I didn’t know how or when they meant to stick him back into the story—but when I got the 303 script and saw how he was used, I thought that was OK.”— Diana Gabaldon, Facebook 9/27/17
I appreciate Diana’s honesty and candor and take from this that she accepts the decision to keep Murtagh and while harboring some doubts, is fully on board with the fact that the show is the show and the book is the book. It’s what she has said repeatedly to fans lamenting the smallest of changes in the show. And, I have to say, I agree with this approach and wrote about it some time ago for Outlander Cast in a post titled, “Embrace Change.” This was during yet another period when fan ire had increased exponentially about some minutiae in the Season 2 production.
However, going forward in the story, Murtagh can go a couple of different ways.
CAUTION — *SPOILERS AHEAD* — Read at your Own Risk — Don’t Read if You Don’t Want to be Spoiled — CAUTION
Upon their arrival in the colonies (or shortly thereafter), Jamie and Claire could learn that, indeed, Murtagh arrived safely but then contracted a disease and promptly died. There would need to be some onscreen time for Jamie to grieve and perhaps there will be a flashback or two —as usually major characters don’t typically die off-screen. I am pretty sure the Outlander production and the fandom has too much respect for Murtagh/Duncan for that to happen. This scenario would be an anti-climatic end to the Godfather, but an end nonetheless and the story would continue unencumbered.
Murtagh could replace a character that enters Jamie and Claire’s life post reunion and/or after their arrival in the colonies. There has already been a lot of speculation online as to whether Murtagh could, in fact, morph into the Duncan Innes character that we first meet at Ardsmuir and then further on in the book series where we spend quite a lot of time with him in the colonies. I won’t go into a lot of detail here about this supposition except to say that if this came to pass, it could be very interesting to see a certain marriage with a certain Aunt of Jamie’s given Murtagh’s professed love for Jamie’s mother. It would give new meaning to the term “all in the family.”
Scenario #3 (aka Let Murtagh be Murtagh)
In case you are wondering, #3 is my preferred route for Murtagh in the future. Here is why.
I go back to my post about Murtagh and how Duncan Lacroix took this relatively obscure book character to new heights in the television production of Outlander. Murtagh stood on his own in Seasons 1 and 2 and did it magnificently. There was scarce source material to base the character on, but Duncan made it uniquely his and uniquely Murtagh’s. A character grew in importance in the story and for all the right reasons. The story of Murtagh was completely character driven. It soared on the foundation of a long cemented and long cherished relationship between a young man—Jamie—and his kin and fierce protector, mentor, Godfather and confidante—Murtagh. The Jamie-Murtagh relationship and the story that was built around that is what endeared so many show watchers to the character of Murtagh. Claire even got in on the act as we saw many tender moments develop along the way between these two, as well. And, for book readers, we learned much more about the deep seeded loyalty and love between these two men as it was fleshed out vividly in the television show. Hashtags such as #AlwaysBringAMurtagh sprung up all around the Internet as we saw scene after scene of Murtagh’s tender regard for his godson and the lengths he took to guard the pledge made to Jamie’s mother to always protect her son.
So, why not just let Murtagh be Murtagh as we move forward in the story? He doesn’t need to be substituted for another character. He doesn’t actually have to play a large role in terms of scenes or lines. Because, as we all know, his lines were short and infrequent in most of Seasons 1 and 2. But, what Murtagh did say and, more importantly, what he did, impacted viewers at a deep level. This is just called talent, ladies and gentlemen, and Duncan Lacroix is to be applauded. I see no reason to fix what isn’t broken.
At the end of the day, for those that worry that any on-screen relationship between Murtagh and Jamie in Season 3 will take away from Jamie developing relationships with other important characters, I say—don’t worry. By the time Murtagh gets to the colonies he will be well into his 60s and at that time in history, life expectancy was not much beyond that. Murtagh would have suffered the hardship of a long voyage and life as a prisoner for many years. As Murtagh’s life winds down, maybe what we will see is a role-reversal of sorts. Perhaps, Jamie will care for an infirmed and, perhaps terminal, Murtagh as once he was cared for and protected by the elder man. And, wouldn’t that just be the ending we would all like to see for this wonderful character and all that he has represented in this story?
I am glad I did not have to write “Dearly, beloved, we gather together to celebrate the life of Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser” as I once thought I would. Instead, I will save that for another day as we look forward to seeing Murtagh be Murtagh in the way he has always been in this story. Not a scene-stealer, not hogging lines or screen time, but as the quiet, solid screen presence we have come to know and admire. And, hopefully, we will be privileged to see him meet his end with dignity and with the one person by his side that he truly loved and lived for throughout his life—Jamie. Murtagh can and should stand on his own going forward. No creativity needed, really, as far as the script or the plot. Let Murtagh finish his run with Outlander as the man we have always known him to be. It is what we expect of his character and what we truly love about him.
Are you on board with the television production keeping Murtagh alive? If not, why not? Which of the above scenarios, if any, would you like to see play out and why?
Once again, Anne, you provide an even-handed and lucid discussion of all the critical points, especially challenging when emotions run high as they do for this beloved character. Bravo!
Looks like you two were truly enjoying yourselves at that meet-up. Beautiful photo!
Joanne — thanks for reading and commenting!!! Your thoughts are appreciated. And, yes, had a great time at that Outlander event when I met Duncan. It was a really special night in many, many ways and he was just lovely! As always, appreciate you taking time to stop by and read the blog.
If Diana’s ok with it, so am I.
Sharon Kelly-Sammon — I love that Diana is so involved with so much of the production. Not always the case with “consultants” for TV shows. But, yes, reading what she has said about the Murtagh change, it’s clear she is OK with how it’s going down. So, that makes me feel better, as well. Of, course, I love that he’s back and would like it whether Diana did or not. Just saying!
I agree. I am happy they decided to keep Murtagh alive as I am a BIG fan. So if herself is ok with it,so am I.
Have to say I have thought of the Duncan scenario and would be onboard for it, mainly because in some ways they are similar. I would also be onboard for the 3rd scenario. I would be disappointed to find out they didn’t let him die a hero’s death only to kill him offscreen so no to #1. Just so happy he survived. I can forgive a lot of changes in the series from the books because of that change.
crimson151 — Amen!!!! Seriously, any scenario is good if we get to see any glimpses of Murtagh/Duncan post Culloden. But, I am with you — I definitely think an off-screen death will not happen so that leaves us with #2 or #3. I guess we shall see, but can’t WAIT to see him again. Thanks for reading and commenting. Much appreciated!
I have read the books in real time, as they came out. And now, at long last, the story is being told on screen, and brought to life through exceptional casting, often great writing, and Ohhhh the acting! Such wonderful acting, with the likes of Duncan LaCroix, bringing such life to an aforementioned smaller role that he unwittingly brought that role to the forefront. And into the hearts of millions. Listen, any time such lengthy tomes like the Outlander series of books are translated to any screen, there will be inevitable changes; it’s unrealistic, and ridiculous to think all will be pleased with said changes. So can’t we just get past that, and revel in all future things Murtagh, whatever they might be?! I can only believe he will continue to be well written. My thoughts are that J & C will catch up to him when they reach the Colonies at the end of Season 3, and he will be more prevalent in Season 4. Maybe hanging out with Jocasta? So kids, in light of the world we live in, let’s just maybe enjoy this delectable OUTLANDER ride as long as it is offered up to us, and now I’m off to listen to the astounding soundtracks to Seasons 1 & 2! Bear, you are The Man!
Kimber — totally onboard with everything you say. The books are the books and the show is the show. I actually think they enhance one another quite well. I enjoy each on their own merits but Murtagh sticking around was a change I could definitely get on board with. It will be so much fun to see where the production has him land. Thanks for reading and commenting. Your thoughtful comments are very much appreciated!
Totally agree with all your thoughts. Very eloquently put.
Verity Coleman — thank you. I am obsessed with Murtagh/Duncan so LOVE writing about the character and the man. SO excited to see him in Season 4. Appreciate you reading and commenting!
Anne, great analysis. I’d hoped for #2, but your #3 really makes sense. Thank you.
And, could you give a brief synopsis of Duncan’s list love story (for those of us not there)? Thanks!
Karen — thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, Duncan’s story. Apparently, he met a woman when he was in acting school. They hit it off and he fell in love. But, then they went their separate ways and he never saw her again. But, he always felt like it had been a missed opportunity and she might have been “the one.” As you an imagine, we were all AGHAST when he was telling us this story. And, the way he told it — so sweet. He was born to play Murtagh! Duncan is the MOST lovely man. Again, thanks for your comments. Hope you come back to see us again at the blog for more original content like this and Outlander news!
I do like your third scenario, but I have a feeling that it will be an adaptation of #2. I saw no mention of Duncan Innes at Ardsmuir. That could just mean he was there and I missed it (not an infrequent occurrence for me lately). If that’s not the case, I can see him slipping into that character’s slot with relevant ease, and his initial attraction to a certain someone would make perfect sense given his background. Knowing some of the changes the writers have already made, I would think they would have no problem modifying the role’s arc. Come what may, I’m just thrilled we’ll be seeing more of Duncan LaCroix!
Julie G. — #2 seems to be the popular choice amongst fans. It makes some sense and no, we did not see anyone at Ardsmuir named “Duncan Innes” (Gavin Hayes was there, though). There are a lot of unsavory things about Duncan Innes’ role, however, that I would find it hard to see Murtagh abide. But, it doesn’t have to be an exact replication of the story. Clearly, lots of changes made — keeping Murtagh being the major one. I have faith the Outlander writers and producers will do a good job with it, whatever it turns out to be. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Your thoughts are much appreciated!
I very much enjoyed this, Anne. I always thought # 2 would be the way they’d go, since I also noticed Duncan Innes was never mentioned in the Ardsmuir scenes. Scenario #3 would be okay by me, however. I think the producers generally respected Diana’s reasoning for not keeping Murtagh alive. Jamie needed to be on his own for years for his character to develop in the ways it must during the 20 years he was apart from Claire However, Murtagh wasn’t with Jamie for very long, and his presence during the three years or so Jamie was at Ardsmuir allowed the writers to condense the story in a way they really had to during that section of the book. I’d have loved to have seen their reunion, of course, but the reveal itself was a thrill. In essence, Jamie had those couple of years with someone he knew and trusted, but from the way it was written, he became the caretaker for Murtagh rather than vice versa. This is one change I was very happy about.
Janet Ewaskiewicz — Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I think the way Murtagh’s
“reveal” was handled managed to respect Diana’s concerns while still saving the character. I love this about Outlander’s production crew. Despite the criticism they so often get, they really do try very hard to respect the source material and be as true as possible to Diana’s story. But, in this case, they also listened to the fans and for that I am so grateful. Again, thanks for reading and commenting. Our readers mean a great deal to us at the Outlander Cast Blog. Please come back and see us again soon!
Keep Murtagh alive. Number 3 is good but do not have him die too soon. He would fit in great at Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie could run into him hunting? Keep him for a little while.
Melissa Isfeld — Yes. I am with you. I would like to see Murtagh/Duncan around for a bunch of Season 4 and (hopefully) a Season 5. I think it is probably wishful thinking, thought. Murtagh will be an old man. But, we can wish and hope. Thanks for reading and commenting. Your thoughts are appreciated!
I am on board fully with option 2. Truth be told i found Duncan Innes character in book a bit boring secondary character. Thinking of Murtagh taking on that role for show seems more exciting to me, though would never have worked in book. I love that we get so many different takes on things between books and show! Just fuels me reading and watching over and over. An excuse for my obsession lol
Carey Lamb — well, I gave up having an excuse for my Outlander obsession a LONG time ago. I just embrace it proudly now and people who don’t understand can…well…kiss my arse! But, yes, Scenario #2 seems probable, even likely. I think it could work even with Murtagh not being an *exact* replica of the Duncan Innes character. They can work magic in the Writers’ Room, so I have faith. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. And, no excuses needed — your obsession is accepted here — warmly!
I am totally on board with bringing Murtagh back in the colonies. No matter how they decide to do it, his character deserves a better ending. Change in the series, from the book, is perfectly acceptable in my opinion….it makes it more exciting to watch and not know everything that is going to happen….
Colleen Campbell — VERY good point. For book readers, changes keep it exciting and give us an opportunity to wonder — along with the show watchers — what will happen next. It’s why I never really doubt Ron Moore. He is a seasoned show runner and he knows how to produce a television show. In this case, something that appeals to long-time book readers AND to those who have never heard of Outlander. It’s why he is one of the best in the business! Thanks for reading and commenting. Greatly appreciated!
I think replacing Duncan Innes with Murtagh would work just fine, actually, but the writers for this show have done such an outstanding job so far that I wouldn’t presume to tell them what to do.
Andrea Vagelatos — totally agree! The writers have nailed most everything up to this point and I expect the same will be true for how they treat Murtagh’s story going forward. Thanks for reading and commenting. Love our READERS!!!
Salty ol’ Murtagh continuing in the story is a real bonus! Because he knows about Claire’s time travel, he will in aware of some of the puzzling things in J & C’s past… shortcuts in exposition? I’m happy for Duncan, the actor, too. He has made a memorable character from scant material I’m excited for him and for his future in the Outlander landscape! Thanks for a great article, Anne.
Joy Patrick — YES!!!! I am VERY happy for Duncan also — almost as happy as I am to see Murtagh back. Thanks for reading and commenting and for your nice compliment. Much appreciated!
While I enjoyed Duncan’s performance and do love Murtagh for his role in Jamie’s life, I am not sold on his surviving Culloden. With all the BMCing about ANY change to The Books, a hashtag campaign swaying the production crew to keep a critical character alive who is as important in death as in life annoys me greatly. Herself being okay with it is bolstered by her having more knowledge and context than do we. And the mere suggestion Murtagh replace Duncan Innes is heresy to me.
On the whole, I love The Series as I love The Books, and seldom voice any discontent (as I really haven’t much discontent). This monumental departure is one [enormous] instance of discontent for me…
cherokeeI020 — Thank you so much for reading and commenting. And, do appreciate your thoughtful reflection on Murtagh’s fate. I guess we can agree to a=disagree on this but definitely understand the source= of your discontent. We can all watch to see how it plays out, I guess, and whether it’s as big a story changer or not. Please come back and see us again at the Blog, though. We love to hear hearing ALL opinions!
I agree with Carey Lamb and cherokeeI020. He became a much more interesting character (to me) on screen than he was in the book – and don’t get me wrong – I LOVE the books. Personally, I think he might be an interesting addition to Fraser’s Ridge. It seems as though there’s always plenty to do up there, plenty of trouble to get into, challenges to overcome, problems to solve, and there could be a storyline for him there. Who knows – he could even end up with a wife of his own. Even though he was in love with Ellen, he did spend time with a maid in Paris; it’s not like he has to live the rest of his life as a monk. I’m also glad that he knows about Claire’s time travel. It’s a bond the three of them share, and the writer’s could do something with that. It’ll be fun if the writer’s actually have a storyline in mind for him rather than to just let him get killed or get sick and die.
jan lockwood — You make many very good points and love your scenarios!!! Yes, I think showing up at the Ridge as maybe another character in all the escapades would be great. And, yes — I do hope he sticks around for just a bit. Just hope Jamie is with him when he meets his end. Thank you for reading and commenting!!!
I had hoped that they would find a way to keep Murtagh alive. His such an integral character in Jamie’s life and he should have had someone that he trusts with him at least for a while. I favor #2 I would like him to have someone in his life that was his own.
Nanci — Good points all. #2 wouldn’t be bad. And, maybe gives Murtagh more *life* in the series. But, yes — SO HAPPY he is alive. Can’t wait to see him once again! Thank you for reading and commenting!
Yeah! I love this character
Melinda — I know, RIGHT????? he is the BEST!!!!! Can’t wait to see him again. Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting!
In the second book after Jamie frees moutagh from a sac when Mary gets raped, Murtagh tells Jamie why he is so protective of Jamie. He promised the love of his life, when Jaimie was just a weee lil Bairn , that he would always have Jamie’s back . And darling yer nut the only one in Murtagh’s corner . I was sooooo happy to see Murtagh alive … miss my Roupie and Willie though
Barb Walker — I share your delight in the saving of Murtagh, but yes — do miss Angus, Rupert, darling Willie and even Dougal!!!! It’s what is so great about these stories, books and TV show. Amazing characters that come into our life. I appreciate them even if it is for a short time. But, yes — having Murtagh stick around for a bit longer is a gift. Totally agree with you! Thanks for reading and commenting!!!
I was updating have to say I like the River Run Scenario but have a few of my own:
Ship boarded by pirates and off he goes, eventually meeting Bonnet, rescuing Bree….
Serves and escapes indentured term, becomes Mountain man and fun with Indians and a certain other character
Indentured River Run scenario makes a lot of sense and all the intrigue there.
MacKenzie clan Nova Scotia eventually meets up if we get seasons 6,7 etc
So many possibilities just glad we have them! Thanks for article.
Janet Canning — WOW!!!! These are great scenarios. I think I might like “Pirate Murtagh!” That could be fun. You have definitely thought about this and I think any one of these could work. It will be fun for book readers and non-book readers alike to see where Murtagh’s story line goes eventually. Thank you so much for sharing these and for reading the blog post. LOVE when out readers contribute and weigh-in!
Has to be #3 Murtagh does not belong in a place like River Run… Remember how he hated the fancy outfit in Paris. He’s a mountain man like Jamie & belongs on Fraser’s Ridge with Claire and Jamie in their new life. Important for him to meet Brianna, the Ellen look alike & perhaps a sunset marriage. That’s my vision.
Linda Bouley — yes, rough and tumble Murtagh will always be my vision as well. And, good point about him not liking his fancy “rigging” in Paris. Mountain Man is probably more like it. Just hope he will be well enough to stick around for a bit on the Ridge. Thanks so much for weighing in with these additional thoughts. Love when our readers are thinking along with us and are willing to share. Come back and see us again at the Blog again soon for more original content like this and Outlander news!
I think Murtagh should return. I like scenario 3 the best. It’s now Jamie’s turn to take care of Murtagh.
Diane Allen — seeing Jamie and Murtagh together again (and hopefully Claire, too) will be wonderful and it would be nice if Jamie could be with him when he passes on — whenever the writers decide to make that happen. Hoping!!! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Murtagh can only add to the storylines. The fact that he is the only other person that knows the Truth about Claire gives both Jamie and Claire someone to talk to, confide in if there is any problems in their situation or relationship. It is usually better to have action and one on one conversation to move the storyline than extra voice over, even though Outlander has done a great job with that technique. This is a win win situation to keep all the great qualities of Duncan’s portrayal of Murtagh and keep all of us eager to see when Murtagh emerges again. His embellished character on the series has never hurt the main storyline and it can only add even more richness.
Aleta Pahl — I am with you!!!!! Murtagh/Duncan has added a tremendous amount of richness to the story to date and I don’t see that changing. Let Murtagh be Murtagh and I think we will all rejoice!!!! Love what you had to say. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!!!
I definately want to see him again, don’t really care about the circumstances but love the character
Lesley — I am kind of there with you!!!! Whenever, wherever, I will have a HUGE grin on my face when I see those bushy eyebrows again! Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Much appreciated.
Thank You Anne for all the musing post,how will they keep Murtagh alive in the future episodes?,I really didn’t think it was a good idea ,being a book purist,but certainly loved his character on TV,and the brilliant Duncan L,portraying him,seeing him in Ardsmuir was really well done,it gave You the feeling he is off to America as a person indenture,hoping of course he’ll meet up with Jamie there,thinking he might be as Innes was in the books?Who knows?Just looking forward seeing it all.??
Suzanne Pogany — Well, glad to hear you have come around on the change — maybe just a little. Murtagh/Duncan has created a spectacular character that both book readers and show watchers loved and so yes, will be interesting to see how it all plays out. So grateful for your comments and for being a faithful reader of Outlander Cast Blog!
Or if Murtagh discovers one of the time portals and can himself travel, that would be a great twist.
Janet Canning –Now, that would be something, wouldn’t it? Murtagh a traveler! Who, knows — Janet — anything is possible, right?
Myself, I was glad to see Murtaugh survived the horrors of Culloden Fields and was sent to the colonies. Atleast he’s alive. I really liked his character in the show even though it strayed from the books. (and I love the books). So if he doesn’t return to the show I’m ok with that because he survived. But if he returns and ends up on Fraser’s Ridge that’s ok too.
Ella Wood — YES, YES to all of this!!! Can’t wait to see where he will show up next!!! Thank you for reading and commenting!!!!
#3 Love Murtagh’s character and his protectiveness of Sam ……..and Claire and his down to earth sense of maturity. Would like to see him again and as you said – have dignity to his closure.
Mari — yes all the love to Murtagh and his loyalty and deep sense of obligation to assure that Jamie is safe (and Claire, too). I hope we get to see him meet his end with Jamie and in a manner befitting how he lived his life. Thanks for reading and commenting. Very much appreciated.
Or #4 Murtagh takes the place of Gavin Hayes (since Hayes in Scotland as one of Jamie’s smugglers where he’s not suppose to be) and it’s his hanging we see at the beginning of ep 401.
However I think because Duncan Innes played such a large part in the stories, and we haven’t seen him, that Murtagh will be used to fill in that story line.
Broughps — Interesting, except we have already seen Gavin Hayes both at Ardsmuir and at the Print Shop. So, I think it shall not be his place that Murtagh will take. But, I do think that Duncan Innes is a strong possibility. Time will tell but it will be exciting for book readers and show watchers alike to see how it all goes down! Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing your theory!
I think Murtagh should find his way to Fraser Ridge in spring just as thing are beginning to green up on the ridge. Perhaps he’s ill with pneumonia and Claire will fight a brilliant battle to help him recover. Murtagh sees the renewal of spring Thinking he’s on the mend they leave him to sleep in his room alone, Jamie hears Murtagh calling out for him in the night and goes to him. Jamie finds Murtagh burning with fever again and Murtagh asks that Jamie stays with him till morning. Jamie falls asleep at Murtagh’s bedside and wakes to find Murtagh’s hand resting on his shoulder and that Murtagh had passed away sometime in the night….
Debra Strader — wow…amazing fan fiction account of Murtagh’s potential end. You have really thought about this! I like it. It’s most important to me that when Murtagh passes on that he and Jamie are together again. It’s the way it should be. Thank so much for sharing your great story. Love it!!!!
I’d love to see Murtagh,ALIVE,in America,and Jamie “finds” him,I don’t care where,on a street,living at Aunt Jocasta’s (that would be fabulous!) as long as the writers get him & Jamie back together,and they can continue the rest of their journey together,with Murtagh by his side,and even if he’s in his 60’s,he’s survived Culloden,ardsmuir,maybe he escaped “indenture” and he can live well into his 70’s,or 80’s! I want him to be in a few more seasons,and then we can say goodbye to our beloved Murtagh,by way of a “natural,peaceful death! I can live with that!I LOVE??? MURTAGH!
Honey Jackson –Yes…I am totally on board with being sure that Murtagh dies a noble death…but first, would love to see him stick a round for just a bit!!!!! Thanks for weighing in. Really appreciate!
I would be overjoyed by a return of Murtagh, and think I agree that Scenario 3 would work quite well. I think he could easily turn up at Jocasta’s home, and it all worked in from there. Wouldn’t be improbable for him to get a trace to his family and directed to Jocasta. Think even Claire would be delighted by this. Loving this idea of a return of such an strong character, keeping in mind he would have been sent to America along with most of the prisoners with the exclusion of Jamie who Lord John made other arrangements for. He would by now have long been a free man.
Janice Cook –so many ways this could go. But, the important thing is he is BACK and we get to see his loveable, gruffy face again! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for reading. Appreciate it greatly!
I am thrilled Murtagh is still alive. I think there are several ways Murtagh’s survival can be handled. Would love to see his interaction with Brianna and Roger and with Jamie and Claire as they get older. And, if Diana does not have a problem with it, neither should anyone else.
Melissa Harrelson –YES! It will be so fun to anticipate which way this will all go. So many possibilities, but importantly, he is BACK! Thanks for reading and commenting!
If Mutagh marries Jocasta, he’s a slaveowner.
Connie — yes, this would be one unsavory aspect if Murtagh took on the Duncan Innes role. But, anything is possible in TV and so they may re-do this part. We shall see! Thanks for reading and commenting!
I would love to see Murtagh again. Love the way his character was written and played by Ducan Lacroix. I have only read the first book so far and would love yo see him again. I did get excited to see he was alive but in prison eith Jamie.
I like scenario #3.
Jenny — BEST change from the book, FOR SURE! Thanks for reading and commenting!
LOVE that Murtagh survived and think #3 best and he can hopefully live a joyous life in his later years w/Jamie & Claire & their family/clan on Fraser’s Ridge. Sure Claire can help him w/any medical issues too! He’s such a great character and needs to live on w/Jamie – everyone NEEDS a Murtagh!!!
Marge R — yes, everyone does need a Murtagh and it would be my wish that Murtagh live on for just a few more years in the company of Jamie and Claire and his clan — such as it will be in the colonies. Can’t wait to see him again!!! Thanks for reading and commenting. Very much appreciated!
Wonderful piece Anne – I would love to see scenario #3 played out but could see #2 happening too! I’ve thought of scenario #1 myself and truly hope it won’t be that. I was a book reader first and agree you could never do the adaptation without making changes. I have my books, love the show and the changes make for excellent discussion with a coworker as we try to surmise “what will happen next”!!
Regina Needdham — thank you so much!!!! Yes, #2 or #3 would be acceptable. Don’t think I would be too happy with #1, but we shall see. The writers have not failed me yet. I do think, as you say, that this book change keeps both book readers and non-book readers on their toes waiting to see where and how Murtagh will show up next. Brilliant. Thanks for reading and commenting. Love when readers share!
I may not be remembering correctly, but I seem to recall reading once that with regard to any of her characters, if Diana Gabaldon regretted killing off any of her characters, it was Murtaugh and she kind of wished that she hadn’t killed him off. So I was not at all surprised to see him as a survivor at Ardsmuir. I guessed that Murtaugh would replace the Duncan Innes character, but that’s kind of an obvious way to keep him, and unlike the man he is. Although, having loved elder sister Ellen, it wouldn’t be so weird that he might fall for younger sister Jocasta. So I’m excited to find out how the writers will reintroduce Murtaugh.
Lori Mellon — yes, I recall Diana having said this, as well. She got her wish — despite maybe some of her misgivings. The story could really go many different ways. I only name a few but there is boundless creativity in the Outlander Writers’ Room, so I expect they will come up with something juicy for us. Looking forward to seeing how it plays out. Thank you for reading and commenting. Really appreciate!
Let me have Door #3 — let Murtagh BE Murtagh.
And it’s “deep seated” NOT “deep seeded.”
Lori Coulson — yes — #LetMurtaghbeMurtagh 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.
As much as I love Murtagh and very much liked that we got to see Murtagh at Ardsmuir, I hope they don’t change too much to keep Murtagh in the story. Murtagh would be in his 60’s by the time we get to Frazer’s Ridge so maybe switching Duncan Innes with Murtagh would work.
EbonyRapror — Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes — the Duncan Innes switch-out could potentially work — but likely many other possibilities as well. Anticipation!
I so enjoyed this blog! I’m with you. Let Murtagh be Murtagh! I love this character and Duncan Lacroix is an amazing talent!! Looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
Donna Vincent — Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed the read. I am backing my #3 scenario — if only wishing it to be so. We shall see how the brilliant writers at Outlander play this out but it is exciting waiting for it. Please come back to the blog again soon for more original content like this and Outlander news. We love our readers and love when you comment!!!!
The writers’ decision to keep Murtagh was brilliant in many ways. As others have pointed out already, Murtagh’s knowledge of Claire’s time travel can shorten exposition and move the story along without the (sometimes overused) voice over. Personally I think it was a brilliant move in the writer’s room for several other reasons. First, show watchers have already mourned many beloved characters from season 1 i.e. Duncan, Angus and Rupert. There were fewer new characters for the show audience to get attached to in season 2, but even those are gone such as Louise, Mary, Alex and the evil Duke. In season 3 we meet Young Ian and reconnect with a handsome, grown up Fergus (my favourite) who is played by a new actor. Fortunately fans have approved of these new characters but the writers were clever to save Murtagh in case the introduction of new characters didn’t resonate with fans. Finally, I am delighted that Murtagh may be a recurring character who simply loves and accepts Claire for who she is. So many others distrust the White which and her bond with Jenny has been strained. Murtagh can be an ongoing connection to the extended fsmily that Claire has always yearned to have. We will get some of that in future letters from Lallybroch but having a physical presence from the past will make for much better storytelling. #MurtaghLives and I trust the writers to use him in myriad ways to keep the audience engaged in this epic saga.
Karen S. — very interesting theory that Murtagh might have been left around as an “insurance policy” in case the audience didn’t connect with some of the newer characters. Huh. Something to ponder. But, yes — however it happened, glad he is still amongst the living — for now. And, yes, I too, trust the writers to put him to the best use on the Ridge and beyond. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Much appreciated!
That was a beautiful piece and I’m also glad that you didn’t have to write the obituary! However I don’t agree. I loved Murtagh, always with Jamie and very sweetly with Claire the end of Season 1. And who didn’t love him laying the Duke’s head at Claire and Mary’s feet? I am going to try to approach this without thought to the books since he is a different character on TV. In Season 2, he already seemed to occupy space in Jamie and Claire’s lives that they had once occupied together. Yes, Jamie has PTSD, but even when they seem on solid ground again, during the second half of the season, Claire has more scenes with Murtagh than with Jamie. I don’t want Claire and Jamie to live in a bubble, but if this is supposed to – at some point – turn into a long lasting passionate marriage and partnership, they are going to have to bond. That bond continues to be tossed into the air by circumstance. Sometimes several times per episode lately. My feeling was that the destination reached in Voyager was Jamie and Claire’s life together. Insane as it might be, they would arrive bonded and begin a new life together. With Murtagh, it would be like taking your godfather on your honeymoon. Finally, we know they are heading for someplace called Fraser’s Ridge. Murtagh might “serve” Jamie, but he is also his elder, I want to be sure we know which Fraser the Ridge is named after – and how strong the bonds are that enable Jamie (HEADING INTO BOOK TERRITORY) to populate the Ridge and be its charismaticly unequivocal leader. Unless the show isn’t going to define Jamie that way. In which case, anything could be an interesting story.
Bella — I definitely understand your concerns. I trust that with Murtagh’s advancing age and likely lingering illness — there is no chance he could somehow be seen as a more dominant force than Jamie on the Ridge. But, we will just have to see how it plays out. I love that relationship — especially as it developed in the TV series. So, I am very happy he is still around and trust the writers to know what to do with him so as not to distract from the story. I also like that this is a story line that will keep book readers and show watchers alike guessing! Thanks for reading and commenting. Greatly appreciated!
From the photo Starz released of Murtagh with Jocasta, I have a feeling they will replace Duncan w/Murtagh. Duncan hasn’t been in anything so far in season 3, so I do expect Murtagh will take his place. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
Felice — WHAT photo of Murtagh with Jocasta? Huh? How did I miss that?
OMG WHAT PHOTO!!??
I feel conflicted about this one. I was one of those, “please let Murtagh perish saving Jamie’s life!” people, as I believe Murtagh himself would have wanted a hero’s death, as opposed to dying old, sick and a burden to those he loved.
I also hate the idea of Murtagh taking over Duncan Innes’ role as Jocasta’s husband, unless the writers plan to drastically change her personality, and therefore, her story. How could Murtagh be happy living miles and miles away from his godson and his family? I never saw Innes as particularly happy or fulfilled. I want much more than that for our beloved Murtagh.
So I’m not sure where that leaves the poor guy. I hope that the writers can come up with something worthy of this amazing character.
Chris Valley — you make some very good points. I am not all that sold on him potentially taking over the D. Innes role and marrying Aunt J. But, as we have seen with how Mr. Willoughby was portrayed, sometimes characters can be rehabilitated slightly and/or small changes made that make them a little less edgy than in the books. Some won’t like this, but it could be done. I do feel that the writers will honor the character. I mean 00 why would they have kept him around if they did not? I think even Ron Moore has said that they really loved how Duncan developed the Murtagh character and wanted to keep him because of his popularity with the fans. So, I do think Duncan/Murtagh will get an honorable story-line and hopefully, death, as well. But, I am not ready for him to die just yet! Thanks for reading and commenting! Much appreciated!
I really would like to see Murtagh alive until meeting Bree. Wouldn’t be amazing If Murtagh could save Bree when she arrives in the 18th century American Colonies?
Carla — you know — I would LOVE for Murtagh to meet Bree. The way he spoke to Jamie about Claire and Jamie’s “wee bairn” at Ardsmuir was so sweet. I hope this happens. Thanks for reading and commenting!
I love Murtagh and I would like to see him take his last breath with Jamie is by his side. Let his last scenes represent the man he was.
Lynette — I couldn’t agree more with you on this one. Hope this will be true. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Yes that would be a awesome meeting since he told Jamie in the prison that he wondered what happened to her.
Lynette — yes…it would appear that Murtagh never forgot Claire. They had a bond. Would be fab if he could meet Claire and Jamie’s daughter. UNCLE MURTAGH!!!!! Thanks for your thoughts.
So glad Murtagh lives! Perhaps he goes to work for Lord John Grey…who knows Murtagh is Jamie’s kinsman and would want to look out for him. And Murtagh could help watch over Willie. I’ll be happy with whatever the writers decide! Thank you for all you do and Happy New Year to all!
Bonita McClough — I had not thought about whether Murtagh and LJG could meet, but you are right, it is possible. Now, wouldn’t that be interesting!!!! Happy New Year to you, too, and thanks for weighing in. Much appreciated.
I am happy with the show being different from the books. If I need to I can re-read them. Which I plan to do until season 4 comes on. I am a huge fan of Murtagh, he’s my age and as much as I love Jamie, I love men who are a little rough around the edges but tender hearted. Murtagh is both and his looks are just the icing on the cake! I look forward to whatever Ron does with him in the coming seasons (hopefully many more). The books are the books and they are the single best stories I have ever read in all my 60 yrs. the show is the show and it too is the best I’ve seen in 60yrs. Thanks Diana and Ron for giving me a story that never gets old! Thanks to all who bring the story to life!
Mary Callahan Kisamore — I am SO with you. I love the books for the books and the show for the show and try not to mix the two too much. But, definitely on board with the Murtagh change, no matter how it plays out on the show. And, yes — I am afraid that Diana has ruined it for all of us in terms of reading anything else. Nothing is as good or engaging as the Outlander novels. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Love hearing from our readers!
I say let Murtagh become a part of Fraser’s ridge, let them happen upon him when they arrive. He does not need to be a different character, he is amazing as Murtagh. I have read all the books and have absolutely no problem with changes being made to the story for the show especially if it means keeping Murtagh as Murtagh (I cannot picture him as Duncan). I want to see the happy reunion and I can see Murtagh being on Fraser’s Ridge with Jamie, Claire and the other characters to be introduced. I think it will make many fans very happy, I know as least one will be…me !
Beverly — I see you subscribe to my #LetMurtaghBeMurtagh theory! Couldn’t agree more. I really don’t think they have to sub him in for another character. Just let him be himself and the magic will happen. Seeing them ALL back together again will be so wonderful and I personally, CANNOT WAIT!!! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Much appreciated and love hearing from you about our mutual love for Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser!
Let Murtagh be Murtagh Jamies auntie is the wrong kind of womam for him he needs a loyal one one that will cherish him
Tami K Schafer — I, too, have a hard time picturing him with Aunt J. It doesn’t seem like a match. But, however and whenever he appears, I will be happy to see Duncan in this role again. Thank you for reading and commenting!!!!
As I am reading the entire series for the third time I enjoy when the show deviates a bit. It’s a surprise…as I know the story so well it keeps me on my toes.
Debbie MacEwen — yes, definitely. It’s the balance that the Show Runner and Outlander’s producers/writers need to strike. Since the books have been around for over 20 years, how do you continue to keep the production interesting to both book readers and show watchers ? I think a good balance has been struck. Murtagh in the book was not nearly as interesting as he is in the show. And, he has become a beloved show character. It made sense for the production to keep him around and I am SO GLAD they did. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Really appreciate your thoughts.
I like either the idea his of morphing into the Duncan Innes character, or an expansion of Murtagh, as himself, 20 plus years later. Marriage to Jocasta seems an elegant solution.
I would love to see Suzette show up on the Ridge with Murtagh’s grown child.
Vicki — Oh, MY! Wouldn’t that be scandalous!!!! Ha, ha! Thanks for chiming in with this provocative thought about Murtagh’s fate. Hope we see him early on in Season 4!
Could they be father and son? love Murtagh, please be nice to him. Love the character, Jamie and Murtagh need to see each other again, find there way back to each other.
Cynthia — Yes — seriously CANNOT wait for Jamie and Murtagh to be together again. I hope it is early on in Season 4. We can hope. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Would I like to see Murtagh die an old, sickly, feeble man being cared for by Jamie? Uhm… NO! I’d much rather see him finally go out in a blaze of glory, fight by the side of his side of his beloved Godson for a cause he believed in.