What Outlander's Jamie Gives Claire: Roots and Wings

Written by: Karen K. Rutledge



Depending on the moment, our Outlander hero Jamie Fraser has been called many things — outlaw by those on both sides of the Jacobite cause, laird by the tenants he so lovingly serves, and, by Claire, the love of my life. Here in the 21st Century, many of us — including the writers of the Outlander TV show — simply call him King of Men.

But what is it, exactly, that makes him so special? Why do both readers and TV-show fans (me!) adore Jamie with such ardor and passion?

Maybe it's the way he easily transitions between his worlds, from a courtly gentleman dressed in his jacket and breeches, to a manly man rocking that kilt while galloping across the countryside trying to save Scotland and all he holds dear.

Could it be because he's a whisperer of fish, fowl, horse and lass, paying attention to every little thing about Claire, making him possibly the first feminist of Scotland? Is it because he claims Claire as his love of a lifetime? 

Frankly, it's all those things that make fans call Jamie sexy, gorgeous and perfect, and make him THE love women secretly long for (well, some not so secretly). Yet, there's still more — he gives Claire everything she needs.

Quick question — are you with me?

When Diana Gabaldon sends our 20th Century Outlander heroine Claire traveling through time, she lands in an enormous and dangerously murky 18th century Scottish pond. She’s lost and confused, thinking maybe she stumbled on a movie set. We feel bad for her and Frank, the husband she left behind, don’t we?

Then, through the magic that is Diana’s brilliance, Claire receives her very own larger-than-life hero in the form of James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, aka Jamie, aka JAMMF. When their eyes meet for the first time near the end of season 1, episode 1, poof! I don't know about you, but I forgot all about Frank. 

There by the fire in the cottage, as Claire relocates Jamie’s shoulder using her skills gained as a nurse in the British Army, an unspoken trust between them is evident. Their bond begins to form with little more than a few words and nods.

As Jamie and a small group of Highlanders bring Claire on the road with them to Inverness, Jamie begins revealing his character as he somewhat unexpectedly (but, oh, so satisfactorily) is attentive and considerate to Claire. Riding together he shares his kilt for warmth, hinting that there’s much more to him than his brooding good lucks and physical strength. 



Riding along, Claire tries to figure out what in the world is going on and how to get back to Frank. When she makes the predictable escape attempt at the first opportunity, we’re glad it’s Jamie who finds her because we get the sense that any of the other Highlanders, save Murtagh, would choose a different course than Jamie when she resists recapture.  

Instead of killing her, we see his exceptional, yet practical, Jamie Logic for the first time as he seeks to persuade her to rejoin the group. "Now, if you won’t walk, I shall pick you up and throw you over my shoulder. Do you want me to do that?" [She doesn’t.] "Well then, I suppose that means you’re coming with me.” [She goes.]

Their journey continues with Jamie remaining caring and solicitous, advising her to drink the ever-present whisky to stave off hunger. Claire remains in combat mode, using her nursing skills to bandage and tend his wounds as she had with countless other soldiers. Jamie’s gratitude is palpable, truly, and he says that enchanting word for the first time, "Sassenach."

In episode 2, Jamie shares bits of his story with Claire in what is my first favorite scene — that sizzling one by the Castle Leoch fire where Frank comes up in conversation (oh yes, there's that husband issue). Claire gives in to her despair, allowing Jamie to comfort her, and their mutual infatuation leaps off the screen (I’ve since learned that's referred to as eye sex.) Their tenuous bond takes a solid turn with Jamie’s “You need not be scairt of me” declaration, offering up safety for Claire and countless possibilities for them (and us!). 



As time passes, Jamie comes to understand and appreciate Claire’s gifts and strengths. He also observes Claire's potential weakness in 18th century Scotland — her forthright manner — and understands it could spell trouble for her. She gets into some scrapes as she tries to fit in to the largely foreign Highlander culture and gain their trust, all the while plotting her escape. Her bond with Jamie grows stronger and his mission, which he clearly chooses to accept, becomes one of service to Claire. He serves as guide and protector while allowing her to make her own choices.

That leads us to the Gathering and what became my new favorite scene. (Because that's a thing, isn't it? New favorite scenes each episode.) When Jamie sees that Claire has consumed considerable Rhenish, his Jamie Logic makes another appearance. In order to safely escort her back to her room, Jamie convinces Claire that he needs her help with his bandage. Once there, he fesses up, of course, and tries to make a graceful exit. But, no, Claire decides it’s a good idea to check her work. Up close and personal, their fledgling relationship takes another step forward (more eye sex!). 


HOLY.EFFIN.MOLY!!



As Claire is held at Castle Leoch against her will, and later as she is forced to accompany the Highlanders on their rent collection expedition, the Highlanders remain wary of her, still convinced there is more to her story than she's telling. Jamie's trust in Claire, however, compels him to put her safety above his own and he steps in as mediator, never telling Claire what to do but employing his Jamie Logic to help her find her way. 

When Claire finds herself at the hands of the dastardly infamous British officer who would do her considerable harm, though, it’s Uncle Dougal’s turn to take on the protector role. He rescues her and arranges the marriage of Jamie and Claire to keep her safe, or so he wants us to think.

What is certain is that Jamie understands the importance of a wedding and vows. He takes extra special care with the ceremony preparations and, when it ends, we are past ready for what happens next. We are entranced (yes, more eye sex) as their platonic bond transforms into something so much more.

I know y'all have your own special vision of "the wedding night" so I will not intrude. I think it's fair to say, however, that it is an extraordinary evening and we simply adore how they come to love each other, right?

As her husband, Jamie moves effortlessly into the role of Claire’s Rock of Gibraltar. When he storms in and saves her from a fiery death, she finally tells him the truth — the whole truth and nothing but the truth — and, just when we think we can't love him more, we do, because he believes her unbelievable story. We unknowingly observe his Jamie Logic at work, as he makes Claire and us think they’re on a journey to Lallybroch.

Later it becomes clear that what Jamie’s really doing is making memories for himself before selflessly taking Claire back to the stones, to return her to Frank (oh yes, there's that husband). We are solidly on Team Jamie and and ecstatic when Claire chooses to stay with him (sorrynotsorry, Frank).

Despite his many wonderful traits, it’s obvious Jamie isn’t totally perfect and we cringe as his Jamie Logic sometimes fails him. When the dastardly infamous British officer comes back into the picture, Jamie must rescue Claire... again. Afterwards, he reveals the depth of his feelings for Claire as his anger, rooted in his love, activates his 18th century sense of justice, opening a divide between them wider than the Grand Canyon.

Yes, Jamie struggles with being a good husband, with struggle being the key word, following the norms of the time. We never lose faith in him, though, because he trusts Claire, he believes in her. Eventually he realizes that the old ways may not be the path forward. They make up, compromise as all good partners do, and reach a new understanding, taking a fork in the road from the old ways to the new, guided by Claire’s own sense of justice. Their love transforms into a deeply rooted oak tree, holding them together through the storms of tragic and traumatic events that unfold.



Jamie has his own horrific encounter with the dastardly infamous British officer, taking costly personal steps for his limitless love of Claire. He survives when most wouldn't, but his Jamie Logic seems to vanish as he struggles to recover physically and mentally. Now it's Claire's turn to serve as protector and guide.

In season 2, they move to France where Jamie pours himself into running a business and trying to change the course of history. Without Jamie as her constant companion, Claire turns to medicine and to fashion. Her confidence grows and, when Jamie lands himself in prison, she learns how to sail her own 18th century ship. She takes her own costly personal steps, for her limitless love of Jamie, and to absolve what she sees as her own sins, including the loss of their first child, Faith.

Ironically, their enormous sacrifices lead them back to each other and they choose to bear the consequences together. The bond they feared they had lost was mended and restored, and they return home, to Scotland.

Claire hones her medical skills, literally practicing medicine on countless patients, gaining experience as a dentist, midwife, general practitioner and surgeon, becoming a beaton ball of healing. Jamie navigates the Clan system in order to rally and train troops as they strive to change the course of history.

When their quest fails and Jamie's preordained death appears imminent, we see his Jamie Logic at work again as he convinces Claire they must part, seemingly forever. Jamie reveals that he knows their second bairn is on the way and insists she leave the life they've built together in order to save herself and their child.

Claire resists, despite her earlier promise that she would if it became necessary. Jamie helps her understand that going back through the stones is the only choice. Like a migrating bird, she must return to the life she had first accidentally, and then intentionally, chose to leave behind.



When Claire lands on the other side, back in the 20th century, it is in yet another deep and murky pond, one that is both familiar and alien. After much soul-searching, she decides she must change course in mid-flight and find a way to leave the past behind, build a life for herself and Jamie’s child, and to again be a wife to Frank. Burying her cherished Jamie deep in her heart, she takes flight in yet another different direction, this time with Frank, across the ocean to Boston.

The love between Jamie and Claire is once again transformed, into Claire’s devotion to her work and to raising Bree, Jamie’s daughter. We learn that it enables her to keep calm and carry on without Jamie through the life that will be revealed in season 3.

When Claire travels back to Scotland for the first time in 20 years, it gives her the strength to help Bree understand the truth of why her mother always seemed to live in another time. And, when Claire learns that Jamie did in fact live on, it compels her to choose him once again, to make the decision to take flight back through the stones.

Why? Because Jamie gives Claire what she needs most, what no man ever has — not her father, not her Uncle Lamb, not even Frank. It was no vase.

It is what all humans desire — Jamie gives Claire roots and wings.



Jamie — our lass whisperer, our King of Men‚ embodies all the people I've had the privilege to meet throughout my life who gave me roots and wings, who inspired me to be more, to strive to be thoughtful, honest, loving and kind. Like Jamie, I am grateful... truly.


Where are your roots? 
Is there someone to whom you are grateful, who has inspired you to be and do more?



29 comments

  1. Love it, great thoughts and so relevant to your big life changes! I'm excited to see where season 3 goes!

    Not QUITE the same as Jamie/Claire, but...this makes me think about the fact that I have a phenomenal mother, who gave me roots that provide constant comfort, love and support, as well as the wings to go off into the world with confidence and enthusiasm. I'm a lucky girl to have a brave Mom, putting herself out there and writing such an insightful and fun blog <3

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    1. Thanks to my phenomenal, confident, enthusiastic and brave daughter!

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  2. Karen, I adore your coinage of "Jamie Logic"! It encapsulated him so perfectly. Wonderful piece.

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    1. Thanks, Teddie! I also liked the phrase "Jamie Sense" but felt it was a blatant ripoff from Spider Man. :)

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  3. Jamie is a man of honour,we all would trust&respect him bc of his behaviour,but his unconditional love&passion for his wife& his family and always wanting to do the right thing makes you want have him in your life as well!

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  4. Oh and thank YOU so much for this post Karen!Jamie&Claire are very lucky to have each other.♥

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    1. Thank you, zsuzsip! Shall we start a campaign to find a way to bottle Jamie's essence? :)

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    1. Thanks, Blogger. Everyone needs a precise-fitting and high-quality customized teeth protector.

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  6. I've been slogging through Droughtlander and I though I'd see if the premier date for Season 3 has been announced yet ... it hasn't as far as I can tell. So while I had Outlander on my brain I thought I'd check in on my favorite Outlander blog and I'm glad I did. I read this and although the drought isn't over, my Outlander juices are flowing again.

    Thank you.

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  7. Thank you, EbonyRaptor! Glad you love the blog and that I could help. :)

    I've seen tons of speculation about S3 air date but no official announcement. Some think it will air before they finish filming in South Africa. Others think it will be held until filming is fairly if not totally complete. I've also seen indications that they'll be off to South Africa for filming from as soon as any day now to as late as May. There are some trustworthy clues from reputable sources if you're willing to scan multiple Twitter accounts. For example, Mr. Heughan gave us a solid lead in this Feb 1 tweet: "So sorry not able to attend #Jibland this year! Was so excited to see you all. Afraid shooting in SA those dates. Was desperate to attend!😘" Impatiently waiting...

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  8. Yes, my own Jamie, my lovely husband! I'm so grateful I have him in my life. He gives me roots and wings litterally, he is the love of my life. I've read all the Outlander books and watched the series and I've learned to appreciate my husband and my family more than I did before. Thank you Diana Gabaldon ❤

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    1. So happy to hear your story, Unknown. Thank you for sharing! All hail Diana Gabaldon!!

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  9. Amen!!!! The both give the most to each other by letting them be the best that they can be. They don't line out what that is, and may not agree with it (the horrible fight in Paris when Claire wanted to work as a nurse at the hospital, Claire not exactly pleased that Jamie has to traipse around all night at salons of mistresses), but they both realize that the other would die a little if they each can't do and be what they are...not that Jamie is meant to be traipsing around "ho" houses!!!!!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Claire. It's such a real relationship that Diana Gabaldon has created. I think that's why it has such a wide and diverse fandom.

      BTW, my maiden name is Kennedy with ties to the Western coast of Scotland. Wonder if there's a connection. :)

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  10. Wow, spot on! Roots and wings, so true and such imagery.
    When I got hooked on the series (I believe it started as soon as eye sex began) my husband asked why I liked the show. I blurted out uncharacteristically, "He's the perfect man!" I was ashamed, I basically told him he wasn't. However! Since then he has given JAMMF some stiff competition!

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    1. Thanks, Connie! What is about eye sex, huh? I still haven't figured it out. As you say, sometimes a dash of fantasy can be very fruitful. xx :)

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  11. How wonderful the blog was. My 2 "give me roots and wings" are my mom and daughter. Oh! And also my birds who are keeping me in the air ����!!

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    1. Love it, mizzmo22! Maybe someday I can hear more about all those birds keeping you aloft. xx :)

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  12. This is a wonderful analysis of Jamie and Claire's relationship. So insightful and spot on! I truly enjoyed reading this Karen. Thanks for taking the time to write it!

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    1. Thanks, Karen. I can't remember ever being transported by characters and a story as I have with this one. Writing, set, costumes, music, directing and acting - all simply superb - not to mention the stunning Scotland landscape. Can't wait for S3!

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  13. I love reading your blog! Like Ms. Gabaldon you understand what "gets" women. Jamie, gets women! I love watching Sam, as Jamie, going through the process of understanding a point. You too, have that quality of writing with clarity, showing you get it. Every time I watch the video I have a new favorite scene. It seems to always consist of eye sex. Sam is so 👍 at extolling this quality. No wonder women love Jamie/Sam!

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  14. Thanks, Roansmom! It's such an exquisite feeling when you realize someone "gets" you, isn't it!?! But that person has to have the right intent, like Jamie, and in some respects, Frank. I think Dougal understood Claire very well but his was an unworthy intent. The actors do such a fabulous job of bringing Diana Gabaldon's characters to life. I can't imagine any others in those roles.

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  15. Dang..Loved this blog..PERFECT, ON SPOT. Like you were reading my mind. I relate Jamie so much with my husband of 28 years. He is my "rock", we have been through so much in our years together, but have stood together. Maybe that is why Jamie & Claire have hit my soul so very much. Why I LOVE them so much. Love the term "sex eyes"..it is for sure there, and have never seen it done so well as Sam does it in Outlander. He is a natural "sex magnet" for sure. And a nice guy it seems..which makes him even more appealing to all of us. And Claire is such a strong woman, but also has been given so much heartache. Just love them both. Again thank you for telling the story in such a great way.

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  16. Diana, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. There's so much to love in this story!

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  18. I think you've hit a lot of what makes Jamie so appealing. I'd add to your excellent thoughts that he wants to take care of Claire without smothering her, isn't too perfect, isn't emasculated-he still makes "guy-like" decisions, and says beautiful, sexy things to her. His constancy is so reassuring in a world where constancy is SO unusual (both back in the 1700s and now). Thank you for these great thoughts.

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    1. And let me add that Sam is so perfect as Jamie and Caitronia as Claire. And Graham as Dougal is amazing-gets his point across with just the raising of his eyebrows. Casting is just perfect. Love the history, the scenery, all of it. But mostly, I love watching Sam bring Jamie to life. ❤️

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  19. Yes, yes and yes, Megan! I love everything about Outlander and can't imagine other actors in these parts. It's Jamie and all those attributes you mentioned that first drew me in, though. King of Men, indeed!

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