In Defense of Brianna Randall Fraser
With the exception of Laoghaire, Brianna Randall Fraser may be the female character Outlander fans most love to hate. Here’s why Bree deserves another chance.
I have a confession.
Right now…at this point in time…Bree is my favorite character.
I know I know — she’s not Claire or Jamie! But having just finished reading Drums of Autumn and with Outlander Season 4 on the horizon, I am all aboard the Bree train — even it means a lonely ride.
Besides Frank, Bree appears to be one of the most “unliked” characters by both TV and book readers. “She’s immature…she doesn’t deserve Roger…the actress isn’t good…she doesn’t look enough like Claire and Jamie...” I’ve heard and read nothing but skepticism and dislike since Sophie Skeleton’s face appeared on the screen.
Now everyone is entitled to their opinion and there are certainly parts of Outlander I don’t care for. (I think Willie looks nothing like Jamie…) But I want to vouch for this character and explain why, as a 23-year-old woman, Bree is not only the one I relate to the most, but also my current favorite character in the series.
She reminds me a lot of myself.
While I love Jamie and Claire, it’s hard for me to connect to them sometimes. I’ve never been married, never had children, haven’t found the love of my life, never traveled to Scotland (in 1743 or current day). As a younger viewer, it’s nice to have a character like Bree with whom I connect so much more. I can remember yelling and giving attitude to my mom when I was angry or becoming smitten over a cute guy. I even related to her struggle with changing her major in college! Bree’s healed relationship with Claire after the reveal of her true father also reminds me a lot of the relationship with my mom, and how much closer we’ve gotten in the recent years. Yes, Bree is stubborn, feisty, and a bit implosive — but so am I, and so are many girls my age.
She’s a great way to gain younger fans.
With Outlander’s main fan base being 35-plus, I sometimes feel like an outsider (or Sassenach!) as a younger fan. The historical fiction and romance of Jamie and Claire are what lured me, but having characters like Bree are what keep me a fan for life. As we enter this new season, things settle down for our main characters; the journey Bree goes through though is what keeps things exciting. Not to give too much away, but she experiences some events a lot of people in my generation are currently dealing with. It’s a great way to show them that Outlander isn’t all about bagpipes and kilts — it also deals with some serious stuff. Trying to impress a boy with a lobster roll and Boston cream pie? Pretty nerve wracking!
I adore her relationship with Roger.
Jamie may be the king of men, and Sam Heughan for all we know could be the next James Bond, but how can you NOT love Richard Rankin?! I first got to experience him at Comic Con 2017 when he participated in the Brave New Warriors panel. I sat through it while I was waiting for the Outlander panel later that day, but it ended up being one of the most hilarious hours of my life! He’s so silly but charming, and something about those eyes…and his jawline…and that accent…let’s just say he’s definitely my type! Along with Bree, he will be going on quite the journey this season, both with her and alone. I connect much more with their relationship and am giddy to see it develop.
Bree is the reason why Claire went back through the stones.
Remember, even after Roger found the evidence that Jamie was still alive 20 years after Claire left, it wasn’t enough for her to pack her bags and head back into the stones. It isn’t until Bree “sets her free” that Claire is able to commit to the journey. She may be stubborn, but one thing Bree is not is selfish — and because of that, we see our two beloved characters come back together.
She’s a combination of the two best parts of Outlander.
When you think about it, given the level of love we have for Jamie and Claire, it’s surprising the amount of distaste for Bree. She is their daughter! Their only offspring! If she didn’t exist, the legacy of their love would not continue. Now true, she is also the reason why Claire had to leave for 20 years. But had Claire stayed, we have no idea what would have happened. Would she, let alone Bree, have survived Culloden? Probably not.
When watching Bree, you definitely see traits from both her parents. Jamie’s hotheadedness shines when she fights with Claire, and her flirtation with Roger reminds me of some moves her mother once made in Season 1. It’s a perfect mix.
As for Sophie…
As a book reader I sometimes can’t believe how spot-on the casting has been for every character of the show. I reread certain passages or rewatch certain episodes, and think “Gosh, I could not imagine anyone else playing this part.” And when I think that, I think of Sophie as well.
Bree isn’t a character that’s going to be around for a season or two. She’s here for the long haul, and unlike many of the characters we’ve been introduced to, she’s still fairly young and has a lot of growing up to do. Think of Laoghaire, for example, the only other character close in age to Bree. Part of why we dislike her so much is how immature and naive she is as a young woman. That fuels her to make reckless decisions like cast Claire off as a witch to go after a man clearly not into her. We hate Laoghaire! And that wouldn’t have been possible if Nell Hudson hadn’t done an outstanding job.
I hear a lot of fans say that Sophie is annoying. But Bree is supposed to be kind of annoying; she’s young and naive as well! Unlike Laoghaire, we get to experience her growth, a growth that wouldn’t occur if Bree didn’t have a place from which to grow. I think that when the team cast Sophie they were looking into the future and what kind of character Bree will become; and having read Drums of Autumn, I think this season will really showcase why Sophie was the perfect choice to play Bree.
So did I convince you to love Bree? Do you see her in a different light? Or is there still something about her that leaves you flat?