|“||You're right; they're not all brave. Most of them—of us—we're just... there, and we do our best. Most of the time.||”|
— Frank, A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows
Frank Randall is an English-born historian in the 20th century. He is married to Claire Beauchamp Randall, and has one adoptive daughter, Brianna Randall. He traces his lineage back to Jonathan Randall, an English officer involved with the Jacobite Rising in 1745, and Mary Hawkins.
Frank first met Claire when he came to consult her uncle, Quentin Beauchamp, an archaeologist and historian, about a point of French philosophy as it related to Egyptian religious practice. After a period of time, they were married, and spent a brief two-day honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, followed by a year together before the outbreak of World War II.
Claire and Frank were separated for most of the war. Frank trained as an officer, and Claire as a nurse, and both served their country in their respective roles for the duration. They were able to correspond through letters, though once Frank was recruited by MI6, his letters grew more infrequent. Once the war was over, Claire and Frank reunited in 1945 (1946 in Cross Stitch) and decided to have a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands to reestablish their marriage. They stayed in a town called Inverness in the north of Scotland, which was situated near an ancient stone circle.
Events of the NovelsEdit
While in Inverness, Frank visits a Mr. Bainbridge, a solicitor with an interest in local history, and the Rev. Dr. Reginald Wakefield, a vicar who also has an interest in history. Frank is particularly interested in records concerning his ancestor Jonathan Randall, who was a captain of dragoons in the 18th century.
Returning from his meeting with Mr. Bainbridge, Frank is rather startled to see a man dressed in Highland garb, complete with kilt, sporran, plaid, and a running stag brooch, looking up at Claire's window. Recounting this encounter to Claire, Frank realizes what seemed odd about the man – the strong wind did not disturb his clothing at all – and so Frank says that he believes he saw a ghost.
Claire ventures out with Mr. Crook, who shares with her knowledge about local plants and their uses, and shows her the circle of standing stones on a hill called Craigh na Dun. She later tells Frank about it, and he jumps at the chance to see the local "witches" perform their customary rites for Beltane. They arrive early enough to watch the local women chant and dance for the ritual, and Frank wants to examine the ground for other traces of fire, but is unable to when a dancer returns to the circle and lingers. Later that day, Claire is trying to figure out the species of a flower she had seen at the circle, and Frank suggests she go back to find it the next day, and while she's there to check for signs of scorched ground, in the interest of satisfying his curiosity about the witches' ritual.
After Claire leaves their bed and breakfast to return to the standing stones, she does not return. Unbeknownst to Frank at the time, Claire had fallen through the cleft in the main stone and been transported back in time to 1743, smack into his ancestor, Black Jack Randall.
It is revealed through a series of flashbacks that Claire and Frank's relationship was deeply troubled. On the last night of Frank's life, they argue heatedly about Frank's announcement that he is moving to England without Claire, and intends to take Brianna with him. Frank goes so far as to accuse Claire of having an affair with her friend from medical school, Joe Abernathy, a black man, and expresses concern about Brianna spending time with Joe's son, Lenny, and "those people" in general. Claire retorts by saying she is aware that Frank has had extramarital relationships with at least six women over the past twenty years, and she suggests he is leaving her for one of them, revealing that more than one of them came and asked her to leave Frank.
Claire wonders aloud why Frank never asked for a divorce, and surmises it was because of Brianna. They exchange words about the past twenty years, and the matter of Brianna's father. When Claire admits she would never have forgotten about Jamie Fraser, even without Brianna as a constant reminder, Frank storms out and leaves in his car. Early the next morning, while Claire is at the hospital checking on a patient, an ambulance brings Frank's body in. His car had slid on the ice and crashed, and he had died instantly.
Roger Wakefield MacKenzie finds a letter Frank sent to the Reverend Wakefield, and memorizes it so that he can relay its contents to Claire, Brianna, and Jamie Fraser. The letter reveals Frank's side of the story during his marriage to Claire and why he did the things he did. Frank, in the letter, asked the Reverend for absolution for his sins and said that he was sorry for how he had treated Claire. He had been diagnosed with an incurable heart condition and wanted forgiveness before he died.
The letter also reveals that he had found historical records of a James Fraser who had married a Claire Beauchamp, and realized that Claire's story of time travel through the stones appeared to be true. It was in this way that he discovered that Jamie had survived the Battle of Culloden. Not wanting to lose her, and afraid of what she would do if she heard that Jamie lived, he chose not to tell her about it. He ordered a gravestone to be built in the kirkyard of St. Kilda with Jamie's name on it, thinking that Brianna would see it if she ever came there and possibly ask Claire about it. This was as far as he was willing to go; he felt that Bree deserved and had the right to learn about her true heritage.
During WWII, Captain Frank Randall of MI6 sends Lieutenant Jeremiah Walter MacKenzie on a reconnaissance mission in Eastern Europe. In 1743, Frank visits Jeremiah's widow Marjorie MacKenzie to deliver the MID oakleaf cluster medal that has been awarded posthumously to Jerry. Marjorie reacts very badly to this visit, gets very emotional and blames Frank for Jerry's death.
On October 31, 1980, Brianna finds the finished letter from Frank inside an old desk in the laird's study at Lallybroch. In the letter, Frank encloses a copy of a genealogical chart, which draws the line of descent from Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat ("The Old Fox"), down to Brianna herself. He warns Brianna of the danger she is in from whoever made the chart, or whoever might believe in the Brahan Prophecy, which foretold that the last of Lovat's line would become ruler of Scotland. He also tells her not to confide in anyone from "the Service," who would be very interested indeed if they ever discovered her time-traveling abilities. He suggests that if any of these parties discovered who or what she is, then her best avenue of escape may be to go through the stones to the past, to Jamie Fraser.
Generally a warm and gentle man, Frank can become somewhat aloof when focused on his work. Although he is quite good at being a historian and professor, he admits that it isn't quite the same "calling" as Claire's medical vocation. In later years, he tends toward secrecy and reticence in his relationship with Claire, though he doesn't shy away from arguing with her.
Frank is described as a handsome, dark-haired man, with wide hazel eyes in an aristocratic face, and a lithe, slender build. Claire remembers his hands as elegant, long-fingered and narrow, smooth and hairless as a girl's.
Frank first met Claire Beauchamp when he came to consult her uncle, Dr. Quentin Beauchamp. After a period of time, they were married, and spent a brief two-day honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, followed by a year together before the outbreak of World War II.
They were separated for most of the war. Once the war was over, Claire and Frank reunited in 1945 (1946 in Cross Stitch) and decided to have a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands to reestablish their marriage. They stayed in a town called Inverness in the north of Scotland, which was situated near an ancient stone circle. During their holiday, Claire mysteriously disappeared.
When Claire returned again suddenly in 1948, their marriage had been irrevocably altered – by Claire's absence on Frank's end, and by Claire's falling in love with another man on hers. Not only did she insist that she had married and fallen in love with the man whose child she carried, she told a fantastical story about doing so in the eighteenth century after traveling back in time. Frank did not believe Claire's story, and instead assumed that she was just unstable, using her fantasy to cope with whatever trauma she had been through.
However, Frank refused to leave Claire or her child, believing it dishonorable to abandon Claire in her condition. In choosing to stay together, though, he asked that Claire never tell Brianna the truth of her paternity while he was alive. Their relationship over twenty years remained rocky, and Claire suspected that Frank maintained several mistresses throughout the marriage. After an intense argument – set off by Frank's announcement that he intended to move to England indefinitely, and proposed to take Brianna with him – Frank stormed out and drove away in the middle of the night. While Claire was at the hospital checking on a patient, she received word that Frank had been in a fatal car accident.
Although he could not bring himself to tell her while he was alive – for both her sake as well as his own – Frank knew that Jamie Fraser had not died at Culloden, and in lieu of any direct disclosure, he asked the Reverend Wakefield to place a fake headstone with Fraser's full name in the kirkyard at St. Kilda, near his ancestor Jonathan Randall's grave, where Claire and Brianna might one day find it.
Before Brianna was born, she was simply part of an obligation that Frank felt towards Claire, whatever his personal feelings toward her were at the time. However, suspecting that he himself was sterile, Claire's child presented perhaps his only chance to be a father. Frank became smitten with Brianna from the first moment he held her; despite the failings of his marriage, Frank was devoted to Brianna.
Having investigated Claire's story and, incredibly, found some truth to it in the historical record, Frank made subtle efforts to prepare Brianna for the eventuality that she would need to travel to the past. He taught her to shoot and hunt, as well as ride a horse. Years after his death, Brianna discovered a letter from Frank addressed to her, describing his investigation and warning her about people who may become too interested in someone like her – a time traveler.
- Franklin comes from an English surname which was derived from Middle English frankelin "freeman".
- Wolverton is an English habitational name from any of various places named Wolverton, as for example the one in Buckinghamshire, or from Woolverton in Somerset or Wolferton in Norfolk, all of which are named from the Old English personal name Wulfhere + -ing- denoting association + tun ‘farmstead’, ‘settlement’.
- Randall derives from the given name Randel, which is a medieval diminutive form of names (e.g. Randolf) beginning with the Germanic element rand meaning "rim (of a shield)".
- Frank's exact age is not given in the series, though it is indicated that Frank was about 10 years older than Claire.
- When Claire and Frank first move to Boston, Frank drives a large Buick.
- Main article: Outlander (TV series)