Outlander – Books vs TV show: Murtagh ‘s fate!


As most Outlander fans know (or should know) the Outlander TV series and its books are not exactly the same. In this brand new section, we will be comparing some elements between the STARZ historical-fantasty drama, Outlander, and Diana Gabaldon’s book series on which it’s based: let’s take a closer look at the case of Murtagh ‘s fate!

OUTLANDER books vs tv show wedding ring

Murtagh, Jamie’s Godfather, ‘s fate

As many will know, and as many do not, Murtagh ‘s fate is an element of important divergence between the Outlander television series and books. In fact, unlike Diana Gabaldon’s book series, where Jamie’s Godfather meets death on the battlefield at Culloden Moor, precisely in the third book of the saga Voyager, the TV series decided to keep Murtagh alive at the behest of the fans, who loved him so much.

Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser: The Outlander Character We Needed

Book version

So he had started back across the moor, to join the Highland dead.

“He was sitting against a tussock near the middle of the field—Murtagh. He’d been struck a dozen times at least, and there was a dreadful wound in his head—I knew he was dead.”

He hadn’t been, though; when Jamie had fallen to his knees beside his godfather and taken the small body in his arms, Murtagh’s eyes had opened. “He saw me. And he smiled.” And then the older man’s hand had touched his cheek briefly. “Dinna be afraid, a bhalaich,” Murtagh had said, using the endearment for a small, beloved boy. “It doesna hurt a bit to die.”

I stood quietly for a long time, holding Jamie’s hand. Then he sighed, and his other hand closed very, very gently about my wounded arm.

Voyager, Chapter 54
Outlander - La serie di Diana Gabaldon: Outlander: Diana Gabaldon sulla  morte di Murtagh

TV version

As we mentioned before, in the TV show, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (Duncan Lacroix) survives the battle of Culloden, staying at Jamie’s side even during the extremely hard period of imprisonment at Ardsmuir. From there they split up with the transfer of the prisoners to the colonies and Jamie’s release thanks to Lord John. The two will suddenly reunite, almost by chance, in America, in Wilmington where Murtagh works as a blacksmith… and as the leader of a group of rebels against the British government, the so-called Regulators.

They will even come to challenge the British on the battlefield, putting Jamie in serious trouble, indebted to the Governor of North Carolina who had granted him a large portion of land to settle.On that battlefield, and absurdly to save his godson, Murtagh finds death in Jamie’s arms, saying the same words that Gabaldon used in the novel. However this added storyline allowed all of us viewers to see a new look at Murtagh, and give more space to the character’s development.

What do you think of this small but important difference between the Outlander series and books? Let us know your opinion in the comments!

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  1. I like the departure. Season 6 should have had Murtagh in the prison . It’s not too late to have another flashback.

  2. The change by the show in keeping Murtagh alive totally ruined Diana’s need for Jamie to have lost everything at Culloden, his godfather in death, Claire in returning to her own time, and whilst Melton enabled Jamie to return badly injured to Lallybroch, he had to live in the cave, until he gave himself up and was imprisoned at Ardsmuir. Here, although he had “his men” around him, he was so alone, so in need of Claire, and desolate in that need. His men kept him going. Having Murtagh there, Jamie wasn’t alone, he had familiarity and although the show tore them apart, for Murtagh to go to the Colonies and Jamie to Helwater, he hadn’t had that utter loneliness that Diana intended him to do. Keeping Murtagh alive in the Colonies and having the affair with Jocasta just spoiled the whole season for me. The only reason Jamie had the Redcoat on, was for Murtagh to hesitate and to be shot dead. I am glad Murtagh’s finally dead, but he should have been so from Culloden onwards imo


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