What About Murtagh?

Written by: Anne Hawkinson



Murtagh is always there. Dependable, stable, loyal. You never have to wonder, you never have to doubt. He doesn’t push to the front or seek the limelight, like Dougal has on more than one occasion. And his reward is that he gets passed over, or passed by. “Prestonpans” proved it once again. My heart goes out to him - as I reach for another tissue, I shout at the TV, “What about Murtagh?"

He’s helped train the troops for the upcoming battle, teaching them what Jamie taught him. He barks orders, kicks people in the ass, and gets in their faces. He knows what Jamie needs out of these men, and he delivered.


Now, on the eve of battle, Murtagh sharpens his dirk and quietly shares his unsettled feelings with Jamie. He talks about clan raids, where everyone has a part to play, where the raid’s success or failure is dependent upon one’s actions. If you die, your death would have meaning and your memory would live on within the clan. With such a large army, Murtagh feels that his, or even Jamie’s death, would have little or no meaning unless 500 or even 1000 men were to die. Jamie can offer little solace other than a pat on the shoulder and telling him he feels much the same.


Finally, “It’s time,” Murtagh tells Jamie, meaning it’s time to leave for the battle. Angus gets a kiss from Claire and Rupert promises her he’ll be back to share a stiff celebratory dram. Murtagh deserves a word of encouragement, a hug, or even a squeeze from Claire. Something. Anything! Instead, she asks him to watch over Jamie, which I understand, but a moment of affection and gratitude for Murtagh alone would perhaps have given us a wink and another sweet smile. And we can only wonder how much it would have meant to Murtagh. Murtagh’s answer to Claire? “Always.” Loyal, unselfish Murtagh. The tears are in freefall as I reach for another tissue. He gently squeezes Claire’s hand and walks away. He gives affection when he should be on the receiving end. Off he goes to battle, with no one to champion for him.


The victorious men return! Angus and Rupert are already at the hospital being cared for when Jamie and Murtagh come in, and Jamie announces that they have won the day! Claire rushes into his arms and they share a passionate, victory kiss. As it should be. But there is Murtagh, bloodied and battle-weary, and not a kind word or bit of affection comes his way. Claire looks to ensure Jamie is unhurt, but she doesn’t ask after Murtagh’s welfare. Claire asks about Fergus and then rushes right past Murtagh without so much as a ‘hello’ or ‘glad you’re back’. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and point her at Murtagh. “Tell him you’re grateful he’s back, safe and sound! Give him a hug of gratitude! At the very least, thank him for looking after Jamie!” Why do those so deserving so often go without?


Okay, so if it isn’t obvious by now who my favorite Highlander is, now you know! And I’m not finished singing his praises! Tragically, Angus has died of internal bleeding from a cannon blast. Rupert regains consciousness with a roar and struggles to get up from his cot. Who is standing there, cautioning him, looking after his safety? Murtagh! He gently touches, him urging him to lie back down, but when Rupert refuses, he steps back quietly and mourns from a distance. Rupert returns, cradling Angus’s sword, and Murtagh watches over him.


This guy just keeps on giving, and asks little, if anything, in return. He’s stoic, quietly strong, and gently tender under that scowling countenance. He’s got your back, he’s loyal to a fault, and honest, even if it hurts. If you’re lucky enough, he’ll give you a wink and a smile. That would warm me to the bone.



Do you share Anne's Murtagh crush?  Do you think he's overlooked by Jamie or Claire in particular?  What are your favorite #MurtaghMoments

9 comments

  1. Murtagh is the best!! I really liked when Claire and him got closer when they were searching for Jamie the conversation in the cave by the beach..

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  2. Yes, I agree whole heartedly! He has become such a cherished character this season that the writers needed to give him more depth. A life! He did have that moment back in, I can't even write the place, where he got some action. But, he definitely is overlooked. It hit me when she asked him to look after Jamie as well. We know he will. It would have been much more meaningful had she said to both of them standing together, "Look after each other." Jamie was ready for that.

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  3. So wonderfully written A.H.,yes Murtagh is a rare GEM,love most of his sayings,but in Paris J,C&M having a discussion about Bonnie Prince,he just says why don't we just kill him & save us all the trouble,it was so Murtagh the action man,but I love him loving Jamie so loyally!

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  4. I also agree wholeheartedly. Just from a sense of justice, I don't like how much Murtagh is overlooked. I might not be as big a fan as some of you, but still! The worst oversight, and some of this must be the fault of the writers or of the hastiness we have seen in several episodes, but the worst was in the hospital when Jaime and Murtagh return safely from Prestopans and Claire greets only Jaime, and then rushes off with Furgus. Her senging him off without kind words, also not good, but close as they had grown during the Search, and during their time in Paris, this was inexcusable not to express any joy at his return!

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    1. Hi I claim the above re Prestopans, I don't mean to be totally anonymous. Jude

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  5. Murtagh seems aware of his own worth. I fell for him in the Wedding flashbacks. He let Dougal know he and Jamie wouldn't stand for rape and turned his back and stood guard when the argument spilled out into the stableyard and the war chieftain and his nephew insisted on sharing their secret business with the whole world. Murtagh was there when Jamie need reassurance over this impromptu wedding and he made Hoot sound like exactly the right word to use. He may not know why the widow wants him to come right back the next day but we do.

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  6. I wholeheartedly agree with all the points you made, that Murtagh seems overlooked, even taken for granted, for me to watch this, it breaks my heart. I have come to love Murtagh's character as much as Jamie! As much as he hated Paris, at least Suzette gave him some pleasure & much deserved happiness. His life of sacrifice deserves acknowledgment,especially by Claire! He's done much for her as well as Jamie,Fergus & Rupert. I can't imagine Outlander without him, & I know I'll die a little inside, dissolve in tears, when he meets his doom.

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  7. When Murtagh bowed to Furgus as he left to take the deed to Lalybrough, I lost it. Tears just flowed. Murtagh is the hero to the whole family of Jamie, blood or not. If Jamie loves them, then so does he. He is the meaning of devotion and friend. I can't imagine Claire and Jamie without him.

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  8. I agree with lots of what you wrote. I'm in love with Murtagh! I liked him a lot in the books but love him in the show! I sort of disagree with you on one point. I think Murtagh is a servant hearted person. He doesn't need or want special attention. He loves to just do his duty without much notice. I believe he knows Claire cares for him but they don't have an affectionate relationship. Murtagh doesn't one. I think they are both comfortable with their relationship. They both love Jamie and that's good enough for them. I think it's good enough for us (the viewers) to be in love with him. Claire doesn't have to be.

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