To kick off a series that I plan to do to highlight some of the ancillary characters on Outlander while on mid-season hiatus, let us start at the beginning with everyone’s favorite loveable grumpy muppet, and list the reasons we love Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser.
1. Any hair that sprouts from any visible place on the man is luxuriantly perfect.
The eyebrows. The beard. The lashes. Murtagh is the shaggy fantasy of every little girl who ever ran a plastic brush through her Barbie’s pony, dreamily imagining the day she would braid her husband’s beard. Was that just me? No matter. It is still the craggy promontory on which the crankiest, dourest expressions break into daydreams of petting his face and crooning him into a twinkle from under those spectacular brows.
2. He makes all the background stuff sound casual.
More so than just about any other character, Murtagh clarifies events that help provide information about the story and move the plot along without bogging us down with long monologues, and he’s frequently an agent of change. He brought Claire to the Mackenzies, provided the back story for Jamie’s troubles at the Gathering, and established that he has intel on all sorts of background characters, from Ellen Mackenzie Fraser (Jamie’s mom) to Dougal that we can look forward to hearing about in the second half of Season 1.
3. He is physically incapable of pandering to your bullsh*t.
Murtagh may be a lot of things, but one of the things he is NOT is here to waste time on your paltry feelings. From calling Dougal out on his rapey/not rapey tendencies to knocking Claire unconscious in episode 1 to brutally not bothering to correct or reassure Claire when her discovery of Jamie put him in danger, Murtagh knows you may need to be coddled at times, but he’ll be damned if he’s the one doing it.
4. He will, however, lay down his life and put up his sword for those he loves.
Murtagh fights hard, frowns hard, and he loves even harder. He has a soft spot for Jamie’s mother Ellen, and he is Jamie’s sole Fraser kinsman among the Mackenzies, covering his back and giving him advice in situations both important and insignificant. He is on the lookout for threats and puts himself in their way rather than expose Jamie, like when he got his kilt for the wedding. From the second Claire marries Jamie, he sees how good she would be for him, and extends this courtesy to her. For a tough old bird, he can can surprisingly tender.
5. He’s the uncontested Laird of the Ship, Captain of the S.S. Frasers.
You might love Claire and Jamie as a couple, but no one ships them harder than Murtagh. The unadulterated glee on his face any time these two show love is an education. Our squeeing is but an echo of his loving, encouraging baritone. Lead on, O Captain. Your crew follows.
Keep sailin’, you glorious bastage. Murtagh Fraser, we speak your name.
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