The Murtagh Mystery

Among the many secrets of the world- Stonehenge, the lost city of Atlantis, Justin Bieber’s tattoos– foremost for me is WHERE IS MURTAGH? Seriously, where is this beautiful man?

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I make no secret of loving one Murtagh FitzGibbons Fraser. He’s a bit surly but also a bit of a softy. He has an awesome beard. He loves Jamie and respects Claire. He has a thing for French maids. He’s the best third wheel ever.

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But Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, where is he? Since Murtagh died in the novels at Culloden it’s really anyone’s guess what the writers plan to do with him. So allow me, if you will, to divulge my top five theories:

(Spoiler alert- there are some references to the novels at the end of this article but I will warn you first)

1. He is living as a free man somewhere in the American Colonies

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Having finished his indentured servitude, Murtagh is perhaps working a respectable trade and has set up a reasonable life for himself somewhere in the American Colonies. This could set up a storyline where Jamie and Claire run into him by happenstance (let’s go into this blacksmith…OMG IT’S MURTAGH!) or they could seek him out intentionally having learned of his freedom. I would gladly watch a whole “let’s go find Murtagh” episode. Just saying.

2. He is still indentured or imprisoned

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My least favorite theory. But if Murtagh tried to run away or broke the law at any time during his servitude he could very well still be indentured or imprisoned. Would this set up a plot for Jamie to potentially rescue him? Hmmm…hard to say. It would be a major deviation from the novels to add in so many new storylines, but anything is possible in the writer’s room. And I would watch it.

3. He is elsewhere within the British Empire.

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We know the prisoners of Ardsmuir were supposed to be sent to the American Colonies but that certainly isn’t a guarantee that Murtagh is there. Considering the enormous reach of English colonization in the eighteenth century, Murtagh could be in the West Indies, Australia, Africa, or India. Admittedly, this is probably less likely considering the majority of our story next season will be in North America and production constraints likely wouldn’t allow for too many extra locales. But can we petition now for a “Murtagh in Australia” spin-off?

Edited: someone has pointed out that Murtagh in Australia is pretty unlikely considering English colonization didn’t begin until the late 1780s. My apologies! I’m still holding out hope for that spin-off, though

4. He is back in Scotland

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The American colonies of the 1700s- rife with mosquitoes, malaria, and humidity- might not be a place Murtagh wants to hang around. His servitude complete, he hightails it back to Scotland and we find him grumpily and happily at home amid the heather. Again, I find this a bit less likely considering the whole purpose of keeping him alive is (presumably) to have him reunited with Jamie and Claire. We need to get this band back together, ASAP. Which brings me to my final theory…

***SPOILER ALERT FOR THIS LAST BIT. SCROLL DOWN IF YOU NEED TO***

5. He has become another character.

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Or, rather, another character has become Murtagh. My personal speculation is that the writers will eliminate the character of Duncan Innes and have Murtagh fulfill that role instead. Having both of them, in my mind, would be superfluous as they serve similar character functions. Plus, a Murtagh-Jacosta match would fit somewhat neatly into his history— Murtagh did love Ellen MacKenzie Fraser and the novels allude to how much Jacosta and Ellen physically resemble each other. If my suspicions hold true I think we might see Murtagh as early as Episode 401, with him present at the hanging and his past provided to us through some narrative exposition.

Okay, spoiler bit over. So what does everyone think? To what theory or theories are you subscribing? Do you think Jamie already knows where he is? Where do you think Murtagh will fit into Season 4? Wherever you are, Murtagh, the story will only be improved upon your return. Hurry back, you gorgeous, grumpy man.

Until then,

Slàinte

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20 thoughts on “The Murtagh Mystery”

  1. I think your Number 5 (the spoiler) is likely. One reason–the character you named should have been with Jamie in Ardsmuir and on the Artemis. He was nowhere to be found at either place, at least, not by name.

    I loved your other speculations too, by the way. I’ve had trouble posting my replies. Keep it up! Help us through Droughtlander!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that if Murtagh were alive and living as a free man he would have contacted Lallybroch in order to find out what happened to Jamie, even if he had to use coded language in order to protect him. I would also hate to have him take over the Duncan Innes role. It would be unthinkable to make Murtagh, a former indentured servant, go on to become, as Jocasta’s husband, essentially a slave owner. No. Jamie’s mentor, protector and godfather deserves much more than that.

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  3. I personally hope he replaces Arch Bug as the Caretaker on the Ridge. That keeps him as Jamie’s right hand man and in the picture. It will complicate certain storylines but we all know the story is streamlined for TV.

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  4. Your spoiler sounds the most feasible, (he could have lost that arm he was having problems in Ardsmuir) but I don’t know how Claire and Jamie wouldn’t know since Jocasta and Jenny write to each other. It will be interesting to see how they fit Murtaugh in without completely massacring the storyline.

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  5. I assumed he would replace Duncan. I don’t know if he has all his limbs, but it is the logical choice. Arch Bug isn’t the nicest man, I want Billy Conally somewhere in the show. arch is a very interesting character.

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  6. I think he will replace John Quincy Myers … the helpful person Jamie and Claire rely on for getting set up on the Ridge. Some have said he would be too old for this part / fill in but I disagree.

    Even if he’s old and broken down – that just makes him Murtagh. And besides, if he’s too old to be Myers I think he’s an unlikely bridge groom.

    The way I read Myers, I can see that role as a nice fit for Murtagh.

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  7. I don’t think the Duncan/Murtagh line would work considering what happens to Duncan & Jocasta later in the books. It is just not Murtagh’s style. Besides if Jocasta is Jamie’s Aunt then she would also be some sort of cousin to Murtagh or possibly his Aunt.

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  8. I think he will take over Duncan’s role. I believe he will have served his indenture and, once it was done, he would seek out Jocasta. He would know where to find her and it might even be she learns of his indenture and pays it off. He and Jocasta know each other well and would be close in age, so a marriage between them would be reasonable. While he wouldn’t like being a slaveowner, he is an intelligent man and would understand that slavery was a way of life and there was little or nothing he could do about it. I don’t believe he would have tried to contact Jenny or Big Ian thinking it might cause problems for them if he did or that they had probably lost Lallybroch. As for contacting Jamie, I doubt he had any idea where he was. Something to remember, while there were exceptions, being indentured was not the same as being enslaved. Indentured servants could pay off their indenture and be released from it before they had served the full term of their contract. Slaves couldn’t. Also, indentured servants were usually treated much, much better than slaves.

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  9. I agree that they will pull a Game of Thrones and make him another character, but i thought it would be the man who was hanged … After reading the comments i like John Quincy better.

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  10. I’m for him replacing John Quincy Myers and having a bigger role than that minor character did. I saw that someone else wrote that he could replace Arch Bug but he’s too big of a character and we need his storyline.

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  11. *SPOILER ALERT*
    I find your theory about him having returned to Scotland intriguing. In the production stills I have seen of Season 4, it is clear that Brianna will arrive in Scotland, having traveled through the Craig na Dun stones. I know this because production stills have shown her with her Aunt Jenny and Uncle Ian. It’s quite clear from the research (in show) done by Claire, Roger and Bri, that Lallybrook was maintained by the Murray family for generations, which leads me to believe that both Ian and Jenny won’t make the venture to the Colonies to escort her, this could perhaps be where the reunion of the trio happens. (I’ve yet to make it through Voyager, so don’t quite know how Drums of Autumn opens.) Also, how splendidly wonderful it would be if Murtagh gets to meet Bri before Jamie.

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  12. I believe he shows up as an older Murtagh who follows Jamie and Claire to Fraser’s Ridge. Diana has been quoted as saying he won’t take over Duncan Innis’ role and not take part in the ultimate marriage to Jocasta. We will see eventually in the fall. Kudos to the producers for keeping this secret under wraps so far!

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  13. I’m hoping he will take on Duncan’s role, but, could you ever imagine Murtagh letting the gold be stolen from under his nose????

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  14. For once I disagree with your one of your comments, specifically Murtagh taking over Duncan’s role. No! Never would he marry Jocasta; she is not Ellen! She is a very different person to Ellen in temperament and, I think, personality, never mind devious. I don’t think she would appeal to Murtagh especially when the question of the gold comes into play. I don’t have any specific suggestion regarding what part he will play in season 4, maybe Quincey Jones is feasible. Making him Arch Bug would change the stroyline too much and Murtagh wouldn’t have been obsessed about Charles’ gold as Jocasta, Arch and Murdina were. I hope he and the others will eventually meet up again; he would want to live on the mountain like Jamie and the other Scots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are not alone in disagreeing with me! It will be interesting to see how much of Jacosta they keep similar to the book and where they will for everyone in. A lot of people argue to let Murtagh just be Murtagh— and I think that’s also a very valid argument and prediction for next season.

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