Happy Birthday, Jamie Fraser!

Jamie in Episode 602

Wishing a very happy birthday to our favorite red-heided Scot, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, who turns 301 years old today, believe it or not! He was born on May 1, 1721. (And yes, his birthday is the day after Sam Heughan's, which is either an amazing coincidence, or karma, depending on how you look at it. <g>)

If you're on Twitter, please join OUTLANDER fans worldwide in celebrating Jamie's birthday with the hashtag #HappyBdayJAMMF. We've done this every year since 2010, and it's always a lot of fun.

In honor of Jamie's birthday, here's a selection of some of my favorite quotes by and about him from the OUTLANDER books. I tried to pick quotes that illustrate as many different aspects of Jamie's personality as possible. I hope you enjoy them!


If you haven't read all of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books, up to and including GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, you will find SPOILERS below! Read at your own risk.


This is the point where, on my first reading of OUTLANDER, I fell in love with Jamie Fraser.
A Highlander in full regalia is an impressive sight--any Highlander, no matter how old, ill-favored, or crabbed in appearance. A tall, straight-bodied, and by no means ill-favored young Highlander at close range is breath-taking.

The thick red-gold hair had been brushed to a smooth gleam that swept the collar of a fine lawn shirt with tucked front, belled sleeves, and lace-trimmed wrist frills that matched the cascade of the starched jabot at the throat, decorated with a ruby stickpin.

His tartan was a brilliant crimson and black that blazed among the more sedate MacKenzies in their green and white. The flaming wool, fastened by a circular silver brooch, fell from his right shoulder in a graceful drape, caught by a silver-studded sword belt before continuing its sweep past neat calves clothed in woolen hose and stopping just short of the silver-buckled black leather boots. Sword, dirk, and badger-skin sporran completed the ensemble.

Well over six feet tall, broad in proportion, and striking of feature, he was a far cry from the grubby horse-handler I was accustomed to--and he knew it. Making a leg in courtly fashion, he swept me a bow of impeccable grace, murmuring “Your servant, Ma’am,” eyes glinting with mischief.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 14, "A Marriage Takes Place". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


This one is just heartbreaking. But the idea of a love that outlasts even death itself is one of the most powerful themes of the entire series.
"I will find you,” he whispered in my ear. “I promise. If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory, two hundred years without you—then that is my punishment, which I have earned for my crimes. For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is the one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest.”

His voice dropped, nearly to a whisper, and his arms tightened around me.

“Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46, "Timor Mortis Conturbat Me". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


Jamie is a born leader, as we saw during his years in Ardsmuir Prison.
He had come from the bosom of family and tenants, from a strength that had sustained him for seven years, to find a lack of hope and a loneliness that would kill a man faster than the damp and the filth and the quaking ague of the prison.

And so, quite simply, he had taken the ragtag and remnants, the castoff survivors of the field of Culloden, and made them his own, that they and he might survive the stones of Ardsmuir as well. Reasoning, charming, and cajoling where he could, fighting where he must, he had forced them to band together, to face their captors as one, to put aside ancient clan rivalries and allegiances, and take him as their chieftain.

“They were mine,” he said softly. “And the having of them kept me alive."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 33, "Buried Treasure". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


Other people may see Jamie as a hero, or "King of Men", but Jamie himself would disagree. He's all too aware of his own faults.
“Do ye really think me a good man?” he said at last. There was a queer note in his voice, that I couldn’t quite decipher.

“Yes,” I said, with no hesitation. Then added, half jokingly, “Don’t you?”

After a long pause, he said, quite seriously, “No, I shouldna think so.”

I looked at him, speechless, no doubt with my mouth hanging open.

“I am a violent man, and I ken it well,” he said quietly. He spread his hands out on his knees; big hands, which could wield sword and dagger with ease, or choke the life from a man. “So do you--or ye should."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 13, "An Examination of Conscience". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


I love the fact that Jamie has a sentimental side, and the "poison ivy bouquet" always makes me laugh.
"Welcome home,” he said, and held out the small bouquet of leaves and twigs.

“Oh,” she said. She looked at the bits of leaf and stick again, and then at him, and the corners of her mouth trembled, as though she might laugh or cry, but wasn’t sure which. She reached then, and took the plants from him, her fingers small and cold as they brushed his hand.

“Oh, Jamie--they’re wonderful.” She came up on her toes and kissed him, warm and salty, and he wanted more, but she was hurrying away into the house, the silly wee things clasped to her breast as though they were gold.

He felt pleasantly foolish, and foolishly pleased with himself. The taste of her was still on his mouth.

Sorcha,” he whispered, and realized that he had called her so a moment before. Now, that was odd; no wonder she had been surprised. It was her name in the Gaelic, but he never called her by it. He liked the strangeness of her, the Englishness. She was his Claire, his Sassenach.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 18, "No Place Like Home". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


We tend to think of the abduction/rape mostly in terms of what happened to Claire, but Jamie was very deeply shaken by what happened, too. I love the way he pushes his own feelings aside in the face of Claire's need, waiting until she is asleep before he will let himself cry.
He held her, both arms wrapped around her as though to save her from drowning, but felt her sink away all the same. He wished to call out to her not to go, not to leave him alone. She vanished into the depths of sleep, and he yearned after her, wishing her healed, fearing her flight, and bent his head, burying his face in her hair and her scent.


Then he cried, soundless, muscles strained to aching that he might not shake with it, that she might not wake to know it. He wept to emptiness and ragged breath, the pillow wet beneath his face. Then lay exhausted beyond the thought of tiredness, too far from sleep even to recall what it was like. His only comfort was the small, so fragile weight that lay warm upon his heart, breathing.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


Jamie has just offered young William his hat, in exchange for the one he shot off the young man's head by accident in the wheat field. It's the first time he has spoken to his son in many years.
"Are you all right? What on earth is the matter?" I sat beside him and put a hand on his back, beginning to be worried.

"I dinna ken whether to laugh or to weep, Sassenach," he said. He took his hand away from his face, and I saw that, in fact, he appeared to be doing both. His lashes were wet, but the corners of his mouth were twitching.

"I've lost a kinsman and found one, all in the same moment--and a moment later realize that for the second time in his life, I've come within an inch of shooting my son." He looked at me and shook his head, quite helpless between laughter and dismay.

"I shouldna have done it, I ken that. It's only--I thought all at once, What if I dinna miss, a third time? And--and I thought I must just ... speak to him. As a man. In case it should be the only time, aye?"

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 66, "Deathbed". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


Jamie's relationship with Lord John Grey is complex and multilayered. I hope some day they can resume their friendship.
"When Geneva died and it was my fault, it was a knife in my heart--and then William ..." His mouth softened. "The bairn cut me wide open, Sassenach. He spilled my guts out into my hands."

I put my hand on his, and he turned it, his fingers curling over mine.

"And that bloody English sodomite bandaged me," he said, so low I could scarcely hear him above the sound of the river. "With his friendship."

He drew breath again and let it out explosively. "No, I didna kill him. I dinna ken if I'm glad of it or not--but I didn't."

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "Welcome Coolness in the Heat, Comfort in the Midst of Woe". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


I love this quote, on multiple levels. The echo of the Prologue to BEES is unmistakable. The thought of what lies ahead, the prospect that Jamie might actually die this time, for real, is terrifying. But my favorite part is that last line. Just wonderful!

"Aye," he said, after studying my face for a moment. "Like war." He nodded toward the distant mountains, though his eyes didn't leave mine. "Ye never ken for sure what will happen--maybe nothing, maybe not for a long time, maybe not here, not now--" His fingers tightened on mine. "But ye ken it's there, all the time. Ye try to push it away, not think of it until there's need--but it doesna ever go away."

I nodded unable to speak. It lived with both of us; with everyone, these days.

The wind had dropped, but so high up, there was still a cold breeze, breathing through my clothes. The warmth of the wine had faded from my blood, and Jamie's hand was as chilled as mine--but his eyes were warm and we held on.

"Dinna be afraid, Sassenach," he said at last. "There's still the two of us."

(From GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 65, "Green Grow the Rushes, O!". Copyright© 2021 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

I love the twist Diana put on that last line! The first time he said it was on their wedding night. The second time, the day of their reunion. And here's the third time, altered just slightly. Jamie and Claire are still the same people, older now, a bit battered round the edges, but the core of their personalities, and the depth of their love for one another, will never change, no matter what happens. I find that immensely reassuring, even though I've always known that about them.

Happy Birthday, Jamie! MANY thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an amazing character, and to Sam Heughan for bringing him to life on TV!

And finally, please note, it's Beltane today, which means the portals are open. Be careful if you go near any standing stones, and be sure to carry a wee gemstone with you, just in case!

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