Diana Gabaldon's latest story, "Virgins", about Jamie and Ian as very young mercenaries in France, before Jamie met Claire, will be published in the DANGEROUS WOMEN anthology on Tuesday, December 3. While we wait for "Virgins", I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite quotes from the OUTLANDER books about Jamie and Ian's relationship.
1) Reminiscing about childhood punishments:
"[Brian] gave us each a broom, a brush, and a bucket, and pointed us in the direction of the broch,” said Jamie, taking up the story. “Said I’d convinced him of my point, so he’d decided on a more ‘constructive’ form of punishment.”2) Jamie and Ian, age eight or so, the day after Jamie's mother died in childbirth:
Ian’s eyes rolled slowly up, as though following the rough stones of the broch upward.
“That tower rises sixty feet from the ground,” he told me, “and it’s thirty feet in diameter, wi’ three floors.” He heaved a sigh. “We swept it from the top to the bottom,” he said, “and scrubbed it from the bottom to the top. It took five days, and I can taste rotted oat-straw when I cough, even now.”
“And you tried to kill me on the third day,” said Jamie, “for getting us into that.” He touched his head gingerly. “I had a wicked gash over my ear, where ye hit me wi’ the broom.”
“Oh, weel,” Ian said comfortably, “that was when ye broke my nose the second time, so we were even.”
“Trust a Murray to keep score,” Jamie said, shaking his head.
(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "More Honesty". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
"I thought I’d have a new brother,” he’d said suddenly. “But I don’t. It’s just Jenny and me, still.” In the years since, he’d succeeded in forgetting that small pain, the loss of his hoped-for brother, the boy who might have given him back a little of his love for his older brother, Willie, dead of the smallpox. He’d cherished that pain for a little, a flimsy shield against the enormity of knowing his mother gone forever.3) Ian was the only person other than Claire who knew what Jack Randall had done to Jamie at Wentworth.
Ian had sat thinking for a bit, then reached into his sporran and got out the wee knife his father had given him on his last birthday.
“I’ll be your brother,” he’d said, matter-of-fact, and cut across his thumb, hissing a little through his teeth.
He’d handed the knife to Jamie, who’d cut himself, surprised that it hurt so much, and then they’d pressed their thumbs together and sworn to be brothers always. And had been.
(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 81, "Purgatory II". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
"He’s only a year older than me. When I was growing, he was always there. Until I was fourteen, there wasna a day went by when I didna see Ian. And even later, after I’d gone to foster wi’ Dougal, and to Leoch, and then later still to Paris, to university--when I’d come back, I’d walk round a corner and there he would be, and it would be like I’d never left. He’d just smile when he saw me, like he always did, and then we’d be walkin’ away together, side by side, ower the fields and the streams, talkin’ of everything.” He sighed deeply, and rubbed a hand through his hair.4) This scene provides a brief glimpse into what Jamie and Ian must have been like as boys:
“Ian…he’s the part of me that belongs here, that never left,” he said, struggling to explain. “I thought…I must tell him; I didna want to feel…apart. From Ian. From here."
(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 33, "Thy Brother's Keeper". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
"What makes ye think ye can order me about?”5) This scene in VOYAGER always makes me laugh:
Jamie eyed his brother-in-law’s tense back for a moment, scowling. Suddenly, a muscle at the corner of his mouth twitched.
“Because I’m bigger than you are,” he said belligerently, still scowling.
Ian rounded on him, incredulity stamped on his face. Indecision played in his eyes for less than a second. His shoulders squared up and his chin lifted.
"I’m older than you,” he answered, with an identical scowl.
“No, you’re not!”
“Aye, I am!”
“No, I am!”
A vein of dead seriousness underlay the laughter in their voices; while this little confrontation might be passed off as all in fun, they were as intent on each other as they had ever been in youth or childhood, and the echoes of challenge rang in Jamie’s voice as he ripped loose his cuff and jerked back the sleeve of his shirt.
“Prove it,” he said.
(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 35, "Moonlight". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
"Well,” said Ian slowly, “as I’ve told the lad he’s going to be thrashed, and he kens verra well he’s earned it, I canna just go back on my word. But as for me doing it--no, I dinna think I will.” A faint gleam of humor showed in the soft brown eyes. He reached into a drawer of the sideboard, drew out a thick leather strap, and thrust it into Jamie’s hand. “You do it.”6) And finally, here's one of my favorite scenes in ECHO. Jamie and Jenny, shortly after Ian's death:
“Me?” Jamie was horror-struck. He made a futile attempt to shove the strap back into Ian’s hand, but his brother-in-law ignored it. “I canna thrash the lad!"
“Oh, I think ye can,” Ian said calmly, folding his arms. “Ye’ve said often enough ye care for him as though he were your son.” He tilted his head to one side, and while his expression stayed mild, the brown eyes were implacable. “Well, I’ll tell ye, Jamie--it’s no that easy to be his Da; best ye go and find that out now, aye?"
(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 32, "The Prodigal's Return". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
"Where d’ye think he is now?” Jenny said suddenly. “Ian, I mean.”For more information about "Virgins", see my FAQ page here.
He glanced at the house, then at the new grave waiting, but of course that wasn’t Ian anymore. He was panicked for a moment, his earlier emptiness returning--but then it came to him, and, without surprise, he knew what it was Ian had said to him.
“On your right, man.” On his right. Guarding his weak side.
“He’s just here,” he said to Jenny, nodding to the spot between them. “Where he belongs."
(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 84, "The Right of It". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)