Study Guide

Outlander Loyalty

By Diana Gabaldon


"Ye need not be scairt of me," he said softly. "Nor anyone here, so long as I'm with ye." (4.115)

Jamie gives Claire his loyalty almost as soon as he meets her. He has good reason to since he trusted her with his life early on, and she fixed him, cleaning his wounds and setting his dislocated shoulder. If he can trust her with his life, he wants to give her the same security.

For a young man on the run, with unknown enemies, Jamie had been remarkably confiding to a stranger. (7.115)

Jamie trusts Claire with his body (not in that way… at least not at this point) so it's only natural that he goes from that to trusting her with his past. Wounds are both physical and mental, and he also relies on Claire to care for the mental ones.

"Colum Mackenzie, I come to you as kinsman and as ally. I give ye no vow, for my oath is pledged to the name that I bear. […] I give ye my obedience, as kinsman and as laird, and I hold myself bound by your word, so long as my feet rest on the lands of clan Mackenzie." (10.88)

Jamie has to carefully choose his words at the oath-taking due to clan politics. If he pledges an oath to Mackenzie, he becomes one of the clan… which means he might become laird someday. Jamie doesn't want that responsibility, so he manages to earn Colum's trust, but not pledge an oath. Jamie would make a good politician.

"Do you mean to be laird, if Colum dies?" […] "No. Even if I felt myself entitled to it—which I don't—it would split the clan, Dougal's men against those that might follow me." (16.45)

Jamie would be a good leader because he has his clansmen's best interests at heart. He's not the type of person to make a grab at power at the expense of others. He is loyal to his people.

Met one month, married one day. Bound by vows and by blood. And by friendship as well. When the time came to leave, I hoped that I would not hurt [Jamie] too badly. (16.96)

Married one day, and Claire already feels loyal to Jamie. She doesn't want to hurt his feelings, even though she's only known him a month… and even though she came from the future. Why does she trust him so much?

"Your interests are always foremost in my mind, Uncle," [Jamie] said, and I thought that in spite of the teasing tone, there was a sharp undercurrent of truth to this, one that Colum perceived as well as I. (24.436)

There are different levels of family loyalty. Jamie might be loyal to his uncle most of the time, but only until the interests of his more immediate family conflict with the interests of Colum.

"Do you know when I was born?" I asked, looking up. […] "On the twentieth of October, in the Year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and eighteen." (25.339)

This is a big step for Claire and Jamie's marriage. She's trusting him with her biggest secret—that she's a time traveler—and his believing her shows how much he trusts her. Would you believe your significant other if they told you the same thing?

"You don't mind my seeing your back?" (8.95)

First, Claire has great grammar. Second, we see Jamie continuing to trust Claire with his most private places. He doesn't even let other men see his back, because it's a reminder of all the torture he has endured. He's willing to let her see it, though, because maybe she can heal the emotional damage the torture caused.

"I swear by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the holy iron that I hold, to give ye my fealty and pledge ye my loyalty to the name of the clan Mackenzie." (10.78)

The clans take loyalty seriously. There's a whole ceremony, including a swearing to Mr. JC himself and a pledge to be killed should that trust be breached. This is like cross my heart and hope to die taken to the extreme.