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.

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.

Personal HistoryEdit

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 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 pound stirling on his head for murder.

Jamie as depicted by Hoang Nguyen for The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

By the time he had escaped, though, he had word that his father had died of an apoplexy, apparently caused by his distress after Jamie's second flogging, when it looked as though Jamie had died. 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 was shot and dislocated his shoulder. Soon after, Murtagh brought an Englishwoman named Claire Beauchamp to Dougal, having rescued her from the English captain.

Outlander SeriesEdit

Lord John SeriesEdit

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.


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.

Physical AppearanceEdit

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.[4] 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.



  • 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".[5][6]
  • 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).[7]
  • 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").[8][9] 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".[10][11]
  • 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.[12] Another suggestion is that the Frasers were a tribe in Roman Gaul, whose badge was a strawberry plant.[13]


  • Jamie has taken on many aliases and nicknames throughout the series, including:
    • Jamie MacTavish, when he returns to Scotland from France in 1743;
    • Red Jamie, during the Rising of 1745;
    • Mac Dubh, while a prisoner at Ardsmuir (years later, Jamie's fellow former prisoners still address him so);
    • Alex MacKenzie, while paroled as a groom at Helwater;
    • Alexander Malcolm, as a printer in Edinburgh;
    • Jamie Roy, as a smuggler in Edinburgh;
    • Captain Alessandro, when he temporarily joins the Spanish garrison on Hispaniola;
    • Etienne Marcel de Provac Alexandre, disguised as an immigrant from Martinique at the governor's reception in Jamaica;
    • Bear-Killer, the name by which various tribes of Native Americans know Jamie.
  • In childhood, Jamie's brother called him Sawney, a nickname for Alexander.
  • Jamie is a polyglot. He speaks Gaelic, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian,[14] Latin, Greek,[15] Hebrew,[16] Tuscaroran, and a little Chinese.[17]
  • Jamie is allergic to hyacinth.
  • The story of the "Dunbonnet" that Brianna finds in Voyager is actually true. There was a man named James Fraser, 9th of Foyers, who lived in hiding for seven years, often in a cave, to avoid capture by the British after the Battle of Culloden. The locals referred to him as "Bonaid Odhair" (Dun-colored bonnet) to keep his whereabouts secret.[18][19]
  • SPOILER: The ghost that Frank sees in Outlander is Jamie, and Diana has revealed that ghost-Jamie is about 25 years old.[20]
  • Diana Gabaldon was inspired to create the Outlander series after watching an episode of Doctor Who on PBS. The episode was part of the serial titled "The War Games" from 1969.[21] Fascinated by the character of Jamie McCrimmon,[22] a young Scotsman from the 18th century clad in a kilt, Gabaldon decided on the setting for her story and the character of Jamie Fraser.
  • The character of Jamie McCrimmon on Doctor Who was played by English actor Frazer Hines. Despite reports to the contrary,[23] Jamie Fraser's surname was not inspired by Hines' first name. Gabaldon has stated that she did not catch the name of the actor when she initially saw the rerun of Doctor Who.[24] The similarity of names is a coincidence.
  • After Jamie is abused by Randall at Wentworth the scent of lavender triggers terrible memories and nightmares.[25]
  • Jamie appeals to St. Agnes when Claire is torturing him sexually.[26] St. Agnes is the patron saint of chastity and virgins, so she was possibly called on often by Jamie prior to his marriage.
  • One of the stained-glass windows in the upstairs hallway of Jared Fraser's townhouse shows the scene of the Judgement of Paris. This is the window that Jamie smashes after conceding to Claire's demand that he not kill Jack Randall for a year until Frank's ancestor can be conceived.[27]

TV SeriesEdit

Main article: Outlander (TV series)

Scottish actor Sam Heughan portrays Jamie Fraser in the STARZ Outlander television series.




  1. Age as of the end of Written in My Own Heart's Blood.
  2. The Outlandish Companion, Vol. II
  3. A younger brother that died either at birth or shortly after. Name mentioned in Chapter 21 of An Echo in the Bone. Full name given in Written in My Own Heart's Blood.
  4. It seems to switch to his right in Voyager, though this may be an error.
  5. Behind the Name: James – Accessed 19 April 2015.
  6. Behind the Name: Jacob – Accessed 19 April 2015.
  7. Behind the Name: Alexander – Accessed 19 April 2015.
  8. Behind the Name: Malcolm – Accessed 19 April 2015.
  9. Celtic Male Names of Scotland – Malcolm. Accessed 19 April 2015.
  10. Behind the Name: Coinneach – Accessed 19 April 2015.
  11. – MacKenzie. Accessed 19 April 2015.
  12. House of Names: Fraser – accessed 19 May 2015
  13. Way, George and Squire, Romily. Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). Published in 1994. Pages 142 - 143.
  14. Outlander, Chapter 40
  15. Drums of Autumn, Chapter 25
  16. Virgins
  17. Voyager
  18. Diana Gabaldon – Official Website – Character FAQ
  19. – accessed 30 March 2015
  20. Outlander Podcast Episode 49: An interview with Diana Gabaldon – Diana talks about the Outlander ghost at 47:30
  21. The War Games on Tardis Data Core
  22. Jamie McCrimmon on Tardis Data Core
  23. Doctor Who actor who inspired Jamie Fraser to star in Outlander? August 18, 2014 on Blastr.
  24. The "Dr. Who" Connection May 11, 2010 on
  25. Outlander, chapter 38
  26. Outlander, chapter 16
  27. Dragonfly in Amber, chapter 21

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