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SPOILER WARNING
This page contains MAJOR SPOILERS about Malva Christie from the Outlander book series, which may not yet have aired in the TV series. Read at your own peril!
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Malva Christie was the daughter of Thomas Christie and sister of Allan Christie.

Personal History

Malva's mother, Mona Christie, gave birth to her while Mona's husband, Tom, was in prison after the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Mona was living with Tom's brother, Edgar, and his wife Darla. Given the timeline, it was obvious she could not be Tom's biological daughter, but as Mona and Tom were still married, he was putatively, and legally, her father. Tom and Edgar also shared a family resemblance, so any physical traits that Malva inherited from Edgar could be attributed to Tom.

After Mona murdered Edgar, she was sentenced to hang, leaving Allan and Malva in the care of their aunt. In 1757, when Ardsmuir ceased its function as a prison, Tom was transported to the colonies as an indentured servant. Once there, Tom's indenture was bought by a wealthy plantation owner in South Carolina named Mr. Everett, who recognized Tom as a man of learning, and had Tom act as schoolmaster to his children. Mr. Everett also arranged for Allan and Malva to be sent from Edinburgh to the colonies to join him. Tom married again, but his second wife, as well as Mr. Everett, died during a yellow fever epidemic. Following their deaths, the family of three moved to North Carolina in search of Jamie Fraser, whose standing offer to help former Ardsmuir men settle in the backcountry was well-known.

Events of the Novels

The Fiery Cross

Malva Christie comes to Fraser's Ridge with her father Tom and brother Allan. Roger arranges their settlement on the Ridge while Jamie recovers from his illness.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

Malva displays a natural curiosity about Claire's work as a healer, and becomes an apprentice of sorts. She is an adept student, proving her worth as an assistant when Claire begins to use ether for anesthesia. Their first operation saves the life of young Aidan McCallum by removing his ruptured appendix.[1] In addition to teaching her about healing, Claire takes on an almost surrogate mother role to Malva. On one occasion, Claire offers advice about sex, suggesting that women do it for pleasure, which runs contrary to Malva's understanding that sex is either a necessary chore that wives must endure, or as service in exchange for money.[2] Meanwhile, finger bones are discovered at the favorite fishing hole on the Ridge, which, according to Mrs. Bug, was meant as a sort of love spell.[3]

An epidemic of dysentery spreads across the Ridge and Malva assists with preparing medicine for the sick.[4] Claire and Tom Christie appear to fall victim to it as well, and it nearly kills them both. However, Claire feels that something is distinctly odd about their affliction, as their symptoms presented differently than those affecting the others. While teetering on the edge between life and death, Claire has an out-of-body experience where she observes Malva comforting Jamie, and it triggers something in Claire to choose to stay. Soon after, Claire escapes her sick bed in order to examine Tom and discover more clues about their illness.

Later, Tom discovers that Malva is pregnant, and in a dramatic revelation, Malva names Jamie as the father. Upon hearing this claim, Claire smacks Malva across the room and runs from the house.[5] Ian Murray confesses that the child may be either his or Bobby Higgins'.[6] A few days later, Claire finds Malva's body in the lettuce patch with her throat slit and one of the bee hives knocked over in the garden. Claire attempts to save the unborn child's life by removing it from her womb, but the baby dies almost immediately.[7]

While Malva's murderer still remains unidentified, Richard Brown rides with his Committee of Safety onto the Ridge with the intention of having Claire tried and executed for the murder. However, Brown is thwarted by Tom Christie, who insists on coming along to ensure Claire's safety en route to the trial in New Bern.[8]

Tom later confesses to Malva's murder, although he did not do it; he tells Claire privately that he knew the girl was like her mother, a witch and a siren, luring men. He also tells her he found the remainder of Ephraim's bones in Malva's work basket, beating her for the truth. She confessed that when the love charm failed she became desperate. On a chance occasion, searching for plants, she had gone to help the sin-eater with illness and was present when the man died. Inspired by her training about germs, she collected blood and mucus from the dead sin-eater, let the mixture grow in a bottle placed in her dress, and contrived a way to get it into both his and Claire's food. She hoped that their deaths would be viewed as casualties of the existing epidemic, and with Claire out of the way, she could manipulate Jamie into providing shelter and money for her child. Tom believed that even though she had gotten away with the attempted murder, that there would be more attempts whereby she would eventually kill someone. Because of this and his love for Claire, he takes Claire's place as Malva's murderer.[9]

Later, after Claire has returned to the Ridge, she is confessor to Allan Christie, who explains that he was the one that fathered Malva's child, and then murdered her. He admits that Malva wished to come clean to Claire about the deception. Although Claire tries to convince Allan not to kill himself, to just leave and never come back, Young Ian takes the decision out of either of their hands by shooting Allan in the back with an arrow, killing him.[10]

Personality

Malva is a strong-willed young woman. She is quite intrigued by the art of healing and is enthusiastic about learning as much as she can from from Claire.

Physical Appearance

Described as a tallish girl, with soft black curls and almond-shaped light gray eyes, an oval-shaped face, and pale complexion.[11]

Relationships

Allan Christie was her half-brother/cousin. It is unclear when it started, but Allan repeatedly raped her and fathered her child. To avoid them both getting into trouble with their father Thomas Christie, Allan told her to place blame on Jamie Fraser, figuring that Jamie would have to pay to take care of her and the baby. However, when Malva wanted to confess the truth to Claire Fraser, Allan killed her.

Thomas Christie was her putative father/biological uncle. Despite knowing for certain she was not his daughter Tom still cared for her. When she started showing some of the signs that he considered 'witch-like' that he'd seen in her mother Tom worried she'd be just like her. To try and keep control over her wickedness he kept her close and was not against using physical forms of discipline. He hadn't wanted her to apprentice with Claire Fraser. And justifiably so as she'd taken what she'd learned about germs and tried to kill him and kill Claire. He hadn't believed her story that Jamie Fraser fathered her child. After her murder to prevent Claire from taking the blame he confessed to the murder, though he didn't do it either.

Claire Fraser became something of a mother figure to Malva. Malva became Claire's assistant, eager to learn all that Claire was willing to teach. There was the "forbidden" factor that her father Thomas Christie did not want her to assist Claire that made her even more willing to help Claire. Despite considering Claire as a respected mentor and something of a mother figure, at Allan's direction she accused Jamie of being the father of her child. Prior to making the accusation she used the knowledge of germs that Claire had taught her to poison her father and Claire in hopes of getting them out of the way for her and Allan's plan. After Allan killed her Claire was the one to discover her. And in spite of all she'd done to hurt the Frasers Claire tried to at the least save Malva's unborn baby. The baby did not survive. As a result many on the Ridge and the area accused Claire of murdering her and the baby, resulting in Claire's arrest by Richard Brown.

Malva had developed an attraction for Bobby Higgins during his visits to Fraser's Ridge. This attraction grew into an intimate relationship. It's unclear if the physical relationship was strictly based on Malva's attachment to him or that she'd realized she was pregnant and needed to sleep with various men in an attempt to have someone that wasn't Allan to blame. Bobby, via Lord John Grey, had wanted to speak with Thomas Christie in regards to marriage, but the subject was never brought to Tom as Jamie was very certain the answer would be no. When word got out that Malva was with child, supposedly by Jamie, a fight broke out between Bobby and Ian, both of whom knew the other had slept with Malva. In the end, nothing came of this relationship before she was killed by her brother Allan Christie.

Malva developed a sexual relationship with Ian Murray during the time frame that she was trying to find someone to place blame upon for her pregnancy. Ian knew that he was not the only man she was sleeping with, after he showed late for one of their meetings he found her having sex with Bobby Higgins instead. When word got out that Malva was with child, supposedly by Jamie, a fight broke out between Bobby and Ian. Ian confessed to Claire that he'd been intimate with Malva during the span that she would have gotten pregnant. He offered to marry her if the child was his, given his ex wife Wakyo'teyehsnonhsa had difficulties with pregnancies, and if it would get people to stop saying the horrid things about Jamie. Claire advised that now it wouldn't change anything and when asked why he hadn't thought of that before the act he admitted after a few times he'd considered it be decided against as he felt Malva was not a woman he'd feel safe falling asleep next to.

Jamie Fraser for the most part had rather limited contact with Malva after her family moved to Fraser's Ridge. While Claire was ill Malva did make attempts to offer 'comfort' to Jamie but it was refused. At Allan's prodding Malva made the dramatic claim in front of her father and Claire that Jamie was the father of her baby. She even went so far as to claim the affair started while Claire was ill and carried on beyond that. This accusation damaged Jamie's reputation with the people on the ridge, thought his family stood by him certain it was all a lie.

Name

  • Malva is a Latin word which refers to the mallow plant.[12]
  • Malva as a given name is possibly related to Malvina, a name popularized by James Macpherson and which derives from the Gaelic Mala-mhìn, which means 'smooth brow'.[13]
  • Christie derives from the personal names Christian (from Greek χριω (chrio) "to anoint")[14] or Christopher (from the Late Greek name Χριστοφορος (Christophoros) meaning "bearing Christ").[15]

Trivia

TV Series

Actress Jessica Reynolds portrays Malva Christie in Season Six of the Outlander television adaptation.

Appearances

Season Six

Gallery

References

  1. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 50.
  2. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 46.
  3. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 49.
  4. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 62.
  5. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 80.
  6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 82.
  7. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 84.
  8. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 87.
  9. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 97.
  10. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 122.
  11. A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 94.
  12. malva on Wiktionary – accessed 26 June 2014
  13. Malvina on Wikipedia – accessed 10 April 2022
  14. Christos on Behind the Name – accessed 26 June 2014
  15. Christopher on Behind the Name – accessed 26 June 2014
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