James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser is a Scottish soldier and landowner. He is well educated and has a knack for learning languages. Raised to be the future Laird of Lallybroch, he is a natural leader, from the homestead to the battlefield. He first meets Claire on his return home to Scotland from France.
- 1 Personal History
- 2 Outlander series
- 3 Lord John Series
- 4 Personality
- 5 Physical Appearance
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Name
- 8 Trivia
- 9 TV Series
- 10 References
Jamie was born to Ellen and Brian Fraser in the Scottish Highlands, at their family home of Lallybroch. He was very close to his older brother, William, and was devastated when his brother died of smallpox when Jamie was only six or so. From then on, he was raised to be the future laird of Broch Tuarach, the more official name of the estate. The family suffered another blow when Ellen died in childbed, along with the baby, when Jamie was about eight years old. His older sister, Jenny, then aged ten, took on the running of the household after their mother's death, and their father Brian raised them both to adulthood.
Around age fourteen, Jamie went to foster with his maternal uncle, Dougal MacKenzie, at Beannachd, his uncle's home. Dougal, left-handed like Jamie, taught him to wield a sword with both hands. Jamie had been previously taught some left-handed swordsmanship by the factor at Lallybroch, John Murray, his best friend Ian's father. At sixteen, Jamie lived for a year at Castle Leoch, seat of the Clan MacKenzie. At eighteen, Jamie went to Paris to study at the Université and lived with his father's cousin, Jared Fraser.
After Jamie had returned home to Lallybroch, in October of 1740 he was arrested by the English for obstruction – that is, for defending his family and property when the English set upon his home – and then taken to Fort William for imprisonment. He escaped, but the English pursued him and brought him back to the fort, where he was flogged with one hundred lashes for escaping. While still recovering, Captain Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall ordered that he be given another hundred lashes for theft. After his second flogging, friends came to help Jamie escape a second time, and in the process one of the guards was killed; thence Jamie had a price of ten pounds Sterling on his head for murder.
Jamie then fled to France to join his best friend, Ian Murray, as a mercenary in the French army, where he stayed for two years. Returning once more to Scotland in 1742, Jamie traveled the countryside with a gang of broken men – men without clans – for six months, raiding cattle and the like from the borderlands, when one day someone hit Jamie in the back of the head with an axe, and his uncle Dougal had him sent to recover (or die) from his injury at the Abbey of Ste. Anne de Beaupré in France, where Jamie's uncle Alexander Fraser was abbot.
In the spring of 1743, Jamie returned to Scotland with his godfather Murtagh, and once in the Highlands they were found by Dougal and his men, who were absconding with lifted cattle. Captain Randall and his dragoons pursued the Scots and engaged them in a confrontation, during which Jamie dislocated his shoulder. Soon after, Murtagh brought an Englishwoman named Claire Beauchamp to Dougal, having rescued her from being raped by Captain Randall.
In 1740, Jamie Fraser and Ian Murray become young mercenaries in France. These events take place after Captain Jack Randall arrested Jamie and Brian Fraser died, and before Jamie returned to Scotland and met Claire.
After returning to Scotland as a fugitive, Jamie meets Claire, an Englishwoman who is markedly peculiar, even for a sassenach. While residing at Castle Leoch and trying to avoid conflict with his uncles' machinations, he befriends Claire and, in order to save her from being arrested by Captain Randall, marries her. Jamie also takes steps to remove the price on his head, but is unsuccessful.
After narrowly rescuing Claire from being burned as a witch, Jamie takes Claire to Lallybroch, his childhood home and farm. They are unable to stay long, as Jamie is soon captured by the Watch and taken to Wentworth Prison, where he once again falls prey to Captain Randall's sadistic attentions. Claire rescues Jamie, but not before he has suffered rape and torture by Randall. They, along with Murtagh, escape to France, where Jamie eventually starts to heal.
Dragonfly in Amber
Jamie travels with Claire to Paris, where he oversees his uncle Jared Fraser's wine business while the latter is abroad. They entertain the Paris elite at Jared's house in Rue Tremoulins, and Jamie visits the palace at Versailles at the behest of the king himself. Jamie also undertakes to befriend the exiled Prince Charles, all while stealing His Highness' mail with the help of a pickpocketing Parisian orphan.
While their goal is clear – to do everything in their power to prevent Charles Stuart from raising support for the Jacobite cause – navigating the political and social tides of the city proves daunting, and at times dangerous. Jamie encounters old acquaintances and old enemies, and faces new threats, all while he struggles to continue his recovery from the ordeal at Wentworth Prison.
Things come to a head when Jamie chooses to enter a duel against Jack Randall, and the fallout of this event proves devastating to both Jamie and Claire. As they begin to heal, they leave France to return to Scotland, and they live at Lallybroch for a year before Charles Stuart pulls Jamie back into the Jacobite rebellion, which has begun in earnest in Scotland by summer of 1745.
After a brief, somewhat amusing encounter with a young Englishman, Jamie fights in the Battle of Prestonpans, and earns a reputation as a fierce warrior by the name of Red Jamie. He and Claire struggle with what they know to be imminent – disaster in April 1746, and destruction thereafter throughout the Highlands – and ponder what influence they could possibly have on such a doomed outcome, even as they throw themselves into supporting the cause.
After a few victories, the losses escalate on both sides, and Jamie's final encounter with his uncle Dougal forces him to see Claire safe back through the stones, back to her own time, so that she and the child she carries may survive. For himself, Jamie does not intend to survive the impending battle.
Drums of Autumn
The Fiery Cross
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
An Echo in the Bone
Written in My Own Heart's Blood
While Jamie is often in Lord John's thoughts all through the Lord John series, he only appears in person in two of the novels.
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|“||I am a chief. God has made me what I am. He has given me the duty—and I must do it, whatever the cost.||”|
In general, Jamie is charming and amiable, with a highly developed sense of humor and knack for inventive swearing. However, the Frasers are known for their stubbornness, and Jamie exemplifies the trait powerfully. He is also completely devoted to his family, especially his wife Claire, and will eliminate any threat to his loved ones, no matter the cost to himself. He has a strongly developed social intelligence, and a profound sense of a man's honor and duty. He won't turn away from any fight or responsibility that he perceives to be his.
Jamie is described as very tall at six feet, four inches, with thick, wavy red hair and slanted, cat-like blue eyes. While his height and broad shoulders cut a large figure, Jamie is built like a swimmer or basketball player; muscled and strong, but not excessively so – no extra flesh on his large frame. His hair is not the gingery sort of red, but rather a multitude of individual colors mixed together: auburn, amber, roan, cinnabar, rufous, copper, cinnamon, red and gold are all used to describe the strands of its unique hue, and it is often compared to a red deer's pelt. His eyes are described as dark blue, fringed with long lashes that are nearly black at the tips, but transition to auburn then pale blond at the roots. He gets his height and hair color from his mother's MacKenzie blood, as well as the high cheekbones and long, straight nose, but the slanted eyes, strong jaw and wide mouth are traits from his father, Brian Fraser.
Over the years, Jamie's body has acquired many scars from various injuries. The most shocking of these, usually hidden by his shirt, is his heavily scarred back, from lashings inflicted by Jack Randall and, years later, as a punishment at Ardsmuir Prison. He also has a triangular scar on his collar bone, as well as a long scar on the fourth finger of his right hand, both of these also inflicted by Jack Randall. In Wentworth Prison, Randall also branded him, though Jamie later cuts the stigmatized flesh out of his chest, leaving a puckered scar.
Before Claire goes back through the stones shortly before the Battle of Culloden, she carves the letter "C" into the base of his left thumb. A broken nose just before the battle leaves Jamie's knife-edged nose slightly thickened at the base of the ridge where the fracture healed. During the battle, a bayonet ran clean through his thigh to the bone; he only escapes death from infection by his sister's stubborn refusal to let him die, and survives with a thick, welted scar up the length of his thigh.
Over the years since his torture at the hands of Jack Randall at Wentworth Prison, Jamie's right hand has suffered additional trauma repeatedly, owing to the stiff fourth finger that sticks out and is prone to re-breaking. In An Echo in the Bone, the damage to the fourth finger during the Battle of Saratoga is such that Claire finally must remove it completely to salvage the rest of the hand.
Jenny is Jamie's older sister. She is the second child of Brian and Ellen, but their older brother William died when Jenny was about eight years old. After their mother died, Jenny took on the role of mistress of Lallybroch. She has a deep affection for Jamie and is very protective of him.
With Jamie's best interest at heart, Jenny sometimes takes a hand in his affairs. After he returned from his parole at Helwater, she was determined about setting him up with one of the widowed women of the district, and ultimately persuaded him to marry Laoghaire MacKenzie.
Annalise de Marillac
He described himself as lovesick in the truest sense of the word, saying he "went about in a daze, tripping over my feet. Waited in the street, in hopes of seeing her come out of her house to the carriage."
After noticing Annalise was paying particular attention to Charles Gauloise, Jamie challenged the other man to a duel. Though Jamie technically won the duel, Annalise married Charles a month later.
Jamie returned to Scotland despondent, and briefly contemplated becoming a monk. He was still somewhat in love with Annalise a year later, when he returned to France to fight as a mercenary soldier. However, their paths did not cross.
He and Annalise saw each other again three years later at Louis's court. Though Annalise lightly flirted with him and called him "my little savage," Jamie was only interested in Claire.
Lord John Grey
Jamie met Geneva Dunsany after Lord John Grey arranged his parole in September 1756. Jamie came to Helwater, an estate owned by Lord William Dunsany—Geneva's father and Grey's friend—to continue his sentence as Dunsany's groom. Seventeen-year-old Geneva became infatuated with Jamie.
In May 1757, when Lord Dunsany arranged a marriage between Geneva and Earl of Ellesmere who was fifty years her senior, Geneva came to Jamie and demanded that he take her virginity before her wedding. After he refused, she blackmailed him and he eventually acquiesced.
As a result of their encounter, Geneva became pregnant and gave birth to William Ransom, Jamie's son, in January 1758. She died the same day due to severe hemorrhaging. Jamie felt responsible for her death and prayed by her coffin in the night preceding her funeral.
Upon his return to Leoch in 1743, Jamie takes a beating on her behalf, trying to save her from humiliation, which she mistakenly interprets as a sign of reciprocated love. Jamie then goes with his uncle Dougal to collect rents, and returns married to Claire Fraser, which outrages Laoghaire. She puts an ill-wish under Jamie and Claire's bed, and tries to get Claire killed, of which Jamie is ignorant for many years.
In late 1764, after Jamie returns to Lallybroch from prison and indentured servitude, his sister Jenny Murray arranges a marriage between him and Laoghaire. However, the marriage is a failure, and within a year Jamie leaves Laoghaire and moves to Edinburgh.
Jamie later recalls that he seemed to always say the wrong thing, and that Laoghaire seemed to fear him when he tried to be close to her. Years later, Laoghaire admits that she knew Jamie did not need her, wouldn't truly look at her, and that lack made her turn away from him.
Upon Claire's return in November 1766, Laoghaire is furious and shoots Jamie in the arm. After the dust settles, Ned Gowan settles matters between Laoghaire and Jamie, drawing up a contract stating that Jamie would continue to support Laoghaire and her daughters until Laoghaire should remarry, as well as provide a dowry for each of the girls. Their marriage is declared invalid and Jamie leaves Scotland with Claire a short time later.
Jamie and Claire return to Lallybroch in January 1778. While there, Jamie pays Laoghaire a visit and apologizes for marrying her when he was incapable of loving her. They start arguing and Laoghaire attacks him. Jamie ends up beating her servant Joey, who is also Laoghaire's lover.
In March 1778, Claire and Laoghaire make a deal—Claire will go to Philadelphia to perform a surgery on Laoghaire's grandson, and Laoghaire will marry Joey, thus giving up Jamie's alimony.
- James is the English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus which was derived from Ιακωβος (Iakobos), the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew name Ya'aqov (Jacob). Thus, the names James and Jacob derive from the same source. Possible meanings of the name Jacob include "holder of the heel", "supplanter", or "may God protect".
- Alexander is the Latinized form of the Greek name Αλεξανδρος (Alexandros), which meant "defending men" from Greek αλεξω (alexo) "to defend, help" and ανηρ (aner) "man" (genitive ανδρος).
- Malcolm is from the Old Irish Máel Coluim, meaning "disciple of Saint Columba (from mael "devotee" and coluim "of Saint Columba", from the Latin columba meaning "dove"). Related to the name Colum.
- MacKenzie is the anglicized form of MacCoinnich, a Gaelic patronymic name meaning "son of Coinneach". The personal name Coinneach means "handsome" or "comely".
- Fraser may be derived from Fredarius, Fresel or Freseau. The earliest recorded versions of the name, from the 12th century, are de Fresel, de Friselle and de Freseliere, which appear to be Norman. Another suggestion is that the Frasers were a tribe in Roman Gaul, whose badge was a strawberry plant.