A tribute to Ian the Elder

* * * SPOILER WARNING! * * *

If you haven't read all of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books, you will find Major Spoilers below! Read at your own risk.









Today is the anniversary of Ian Murray's death in AN ECHO IN THE BONE, which took place on March 10, 1778. Here are a few of my favorite quotes by and about Jamie's beloved best friend. Hope you enjoy them!

1) Ian and Claire's first meeting:
"Frasers dinna listen to anything when they’ve their danders up. When they’ve shouted themselves out, sometimes ye can make them see reason, but not ’til then."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 26, "The Laird's Return". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) Jenny, telling Claire about Ian and Jamie:
"I remember, when they were young, auld John told Ian it was his job to stand to Jamie’s right, for he must guard his chief’s weaker side in a fight. And he did--they took it verra seriously, the two of them. And I suppose auld John was right, at that,” she added, snipping off the excess thread. “After a time, nobody would fight them, not even the MacNab lads. Jamie and Ian were both fair-sized, and bonny fighters, and when they stood shoulder to shoulder, there was no one could take the pair o’ them down, even if they were outnumbered.”

She laughed suddenly, and smoothed back a lock of hair behind her ear.

“Watch them sometime, when they’re walking the fields together. I dinna suppose they even realize they do it still, but they do. Jamie always moves to the left, so Ian can take up his place on the right, guardin’ the weak side.” 

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon,  chapter 33, "Thy Brother's Keeper". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) Jamie, describing Ian to Claire:
"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.

"Ian...he's the part of me that belongs here, that never left," he said, struggling to explain.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon,  chapter 33, "Thy Brother's Keeper". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) This is one of my favorite Ian-and-Jamie scenes:
"Have ye really got to do it, Ian?” Jamie made one last effort, turning to appeal to his brother-in-law.

“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.”

“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.)
5) Diana Gabaldon has said that she knew for many years that Ian would die of consumption. If you've read AN ECHO IN THE BONE, it's impossible to read this next quote without seeing it as foreshadowing:
"Da told me about one time he was arrested, when they took him to Edinburgh, and kept him in the Tolbooth. He was in a cell wi’ three other men, and one of them a fellow with the consumption, who coughed something dreadful, keeping the rest awake all night and all day. Then one night the coughing stopped, and they kent he was dead."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 2, "In Which We Meet a Ghost". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) What a sweet, poignant moment between eight-year-old Jamie and his best friend Ian, age nine:
"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.

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.)
7) This is my favorite quote about Ian in the entire series. Perfect, just perfect!
“Where d’ye think he is now?” Jenny said suddenly. “Ian, I mean.”

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.)

8) And finally, here's a quote from Diana Gabaldon's novella, "Virgins", the story of Jamie and Ian as young mercenaries in France, before Jamie met Claire.
"Well, if ye’re goin' to Hell, I might as well go, too. God knows, ye’ll never manage alone."

(From "Virgins" by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright© 2013 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Some of you may recall that this line was used in OUTLANDER Episode 113, "The Watch".

RIP, Ian Murray!  We miss you!


Elise Skidmore said...

On your right, man.

Brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen other than Claire , the Older Ian is the closest person to him and what a wonderful relationship they have had from boyhood to manhood, in a sense they are brothers, not of birth but by blood, it's the reason why Jamie is so attached to Young Ian it's from the relationship he has with Ian the elder, hope to see more on Ian during Season 2 this Spring, please post more soon, Love your Blog& Website. Sincerely Yours . Mary Tormey.

Susanlynn♥ said...

Thanks, Karen. Ian is such a solid, quiet, loving character, and Jamie and Jenny were lucky to have had him in their lives. Jamie has endured so many losses, his parents, his brother, and then his best friend . I loved the way Jamie explains to Jenny where Ian will always be. Love is stronger than death, and I am sure that both Jamie and Jenny will always feel Ian's presence nearby.

inge oppenheimer said...

hello,karen! reading these tidbits about ian reminded me again that i'm not nuts for reading diana's books over and over again. it's not just a matter of reading words but of living with her characters. thanks for these choices.

Anonymous said...

Happy to find this space!
Ian Murray died last night and I am grieving his loss for Jaime and Jenny. The last words Ian spoke were meant for Jaime. "On your right, man." Ian will be guarding Jaime's weaker side for all time. Don't we all wish for a relationship like that?

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