It is well known that there would be no hero without antiheroes. M. Night Shyamalan understood this well when he made his film "Unbreakable" in which a man with a serious bone disease turns into a mass murderer in order to provoke the emergence of a savior.
It's the same for Outlander in all seasons. Admittedly, the villains are not all equal, yet their presence always has the same raison d'être: to bring out the courage, righteousness and combativeness of the protagonists.
I propose a list, not exhaustive of the villains of our saga, and this, in order of appearance. I should point out that these descriptions take into account my opinion of these characters and that it is very likely that many readers have a different opinion.
- 1 - Jonathan Wolverton Randall, captain of the dragons, nicknamed Black Jack Randall.
It is difficult to understand the motivations of this psychotic torturer whom Claire meets just minutes after her passage through the stones. It would be so much easier to hate him by calling him a sadist - which he undoubtedly is - without looking any further!
Unable to love anyone but his brother Alexander whom he would like to be able to protect, BJR seems to follow only one path during his exchanges: power and cruelty. His deranged and tortuous mind cannot conceive of a relationship in which he is not the absolute master, either physically or psychologically. The more it attaches, the more it destroys.
The scene in which he tries to rape Jenny (S1E12 - Lallybroch) is quite indicative of his sickly state. If the victim screams in terror and struggles, he can dominate her, while if she laughs and ignores her fear, he loses his means and runs away.
Her relationship with Jamie is typical of her neurosis. Although it is difficult to imagine, he feels a kind of affection for the handsome Highlander. Let's say he loves it in his own way. And it is not just his body that he desires, but the complete submission of this man who resists him from the beginning.
Does he admire her? Would he like to be like her? Is he the mirror in which he has no choice but to observe his own darkness? Definitely a little bit of all that.
It is very likely that BJR is on the verge of madness and that he is aware of it. He feels like dead inside, unable to find the slightest source of rejoicing in this absurd world. Jamie, it's the flame that rekindles him, a reason to stand up and fight. Soon enough, however, he realizes that he cannot possess it, because he has given his heart and soul to a woman. Then it must be destroyed too, or even worse, infiltrate this unconditional passion that he himself will never know. Double pleasure during this unhealthy duel that he maintains with relish
For this time, and until his death on the moor of Culloden, BJR will have finally found opponents to his measure. In a way, Jamie's fatal sword blow is the closest thing to proof of love. Deliverance.
- 2 - Laoghaire McKenzie (pronounced Lieri)
The granddaughter of Mrs. Fitzgibbon, Laoghaire aimlessly haunts the walls of Leoch Castle. Raised by a brutal father and an overly busy grandmother, she seems literally left to her own devices. Isolated, devoid of the slightest prospect, how can she blame herself for falling under the spell of Jamie, the dashing Highlander who visits her uncles the year she turns 16? Especially since he returned years later to bear, in his place, the punishment ordered by the Laird himself. At that moment, she is certain, Jamie is made for her. Didn't he just tell her by surreptitiously kissing her between two doors?
She doesn't pay attention to Claire to begin with. She can't see the romance that is emerging, because she's inexperienced and Jamie isn't outspoken enough with her. Also, when Claire and Jamie return to the castle, married, but obviously in full disagreement, his heart of midinette can find only one explanation able to appease his pain: it is forced and forced that Jamie married a witch.
It is imperative to put in context the birth of Laoghaire's dislike for Claire. It is with a candid spirit and full of myths and legends that the girl tried to make sense of this enchanting future that eluded her. How to fight against a woman like Claire? If not by denouncing her as a witch so that she burns on the woodshed.
There is certainly a duality in Laoghaire. The one who naively adheres to the fables that have nourished her since childhood, and the one who comes up against the pangs of romantic jealousy for the very first time. Does she really love Jamie? Or is it just the fruit of the fantasy of her budding femininity? Difficult to decide.
When, years later, she sees Claire again at Lovat Castle, she seems genuinely distressed by her act of denunciation. She says she wants to redeem herself and seems to accept not being loved by Jamie. Again, it's hard to believe it entirely. What is certain is that she no longer has a dream. The man she is in love with will never be hers. She will remain a servant at the castle, alone and filled with bitterness.
Eventually, the vagaries of life will lead her to marry Jamie as Claire has been propelled into the future through the standing stones of Craigh Na Dunn. But it is clear that she does not know how to love Jamie. Is it too late? Did the past hurts associated with what she experienced during her two previous marriages poison their relationship?
Whatever the reasons, Laoghaire remains an embittered, angry, jealous and unstable woman and she has not been able to quell this resentment incompatible with an existence with Jamie.
Let's acknowledge that she was a good mother! That must speak in his favour.
So, in your opinion. Is Lahogaire a real villain? Or above all a victim?
- 3 - Geillis Duncan
Like all time travelers, Geillis has a particularly complex history. First of all, unlike Claire who crossed the stones by chance, Geillis planned and organized her journey.
From beginning to end, she adorned herself with many husbands whom she ended up murdering.
Whether it was her 20th century husband Greg Edgard whom she burned as a sacrifice during his visit to Craigh Na Dun, or the prosecutor Arthur Duncan whom she poisoned at a buffet at Castle Leoch after seizing his riches and the others I do not have time to describe in this post.
Meanwhile, Geillis relied on her lover, Dougal Mac Kenzie, to help finance the Jacobite revolt, using the child she was carrying to keep him under her thumb.
Despite this, it cannot be denied that she was a real friend to Claire from the moment she arrived in Leoch, which she proved at the witch trials. It was at this point that Geillis realized Claire's true nature and admitted that she was not a schemer, but a wayward traveler. That's why she agreed to sacrifice herself for her by taking on all the accusations of witchcraft.
Whatever our feelings towards her, we could only grieve at her fate. Also, what was our surprise when she crossed the Fraser road again 20 years later in Jamaica! She will explain to Claire that Dougal had made her escape before she ended up on the woodshed. As for his child, he was immediately entrusted to a distant cousin.
But Geillis is no less dangerous! She is the famous Bakra that everyone is talking about. Widow of Barnabas Abernathy, a wealthy plantation owner whom she killed shortly after their marriage, she is still obsessed with her desire for an independent Scotland and has set out to see a prophecy to place a Scottish king on the throne come true.
The prophecy as it is told in the books is so far from that presented in the series, that I will not venture a description. What remains, however, is the abduction, rape and murder of young virgin boys (supposed, in the books, to hold a stone necessary to fulfill the prediction) and the return to the future in order to murder Brianna, the only living descendant of the Lovat and child born 200 years after her conception.
While Claire and Jamie desperately search for a trace of young Ian kidnapped a few months earlier on the Scottish shores, we know that he is in the hands of the Bakra and that after raping him, she intends to sacrifice him in Abendawe cave for his return to the 20th century to kill Brianna.
It is very likely that Geillis has sunk into madness for a long time.
At this point, she can be considered the most terrible enemy of the Frasers since she has the drawing to murder two of their children! But what we also know and what Claire eventually understands is that history is already written. Indeed, Geillis is the white woman killed with a machete in a Jamaican cave, the same woman whose skeleton Claire studied alongside her friend, Jo Abernathy in the 20th century.
Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that Geillis is Roger MacKenzie's ancestor. This makes him a fundamental and unforgettable character.
- 4 - Clarence Marylebone, Duke of Sandringham
What can we say about this British aristocrat, except that he is as deceitful as he is manipulative. This man only rides for him, we apprehend him quite quickly. Puffed up with pride and self-satisfaction, he flipped his jacket as often as he defrocked the young boys in his service.
He deliberately maintains a stupid and feminine attitude to deceive his world.
As Jamie points out, "He's smarter than he looks and knows people think he's a fool because of his falsetto voice. He's using it all to his advantage."
He has no compassion for his goddaughter, Mary Hawkins, whom he tries to marry to the Vicomte de Marigny, a wealthy bourgeois widower, manipulating the fragile girl as if she were only a pawn. He did not hesitate to throw it to the men of the Count of Saint-Germain who needed a virgin to be enthroned as "disciples of evil". Raped by her valet, Albert Danton, Mary will no longer be Marigny's bride, which is the least of consolations.
Under his air of merry luron, he plots on all sides! Presumed Jacobite, he is Captain Randall's secret protector, covering up his atrocities in order to keep him in his post. It is difficult to know if he has real political convictions as his only priority cause seems to be his own survival and enrichment.
It is also indicative of his personality to see how much he rejoices in Claire's discomfort when, at the king's court, he introduces her to Alexander Randall. His satisfied look and his sly little smile when the latter reveals to him that his brother and indeed still alive freezes our blood. We understand at this moment that he will be a formidable opponent.
It is the same for Jamie to whom the Duke makes believe that he will send his request to the crown to denounce Randall's practices, which will clear him of the murder charges. He will not do anything of course and will entrust the precious mail to the captain of the dragons himself.
Finally, he will try to have Claire assassinated when the English soldiers bring him a certain Claire Beauchamp during the revolt. Fortunately, Jamie and Dougal, warned by Hugh Monroe, will come in time to save her and cut off the head of the damn liar.
- 5 - Robert-François Quesnay Rakoczy, Count of Saint-Germain
If there is a character with mysterious facets, it is this French count that we suspect in the course of reading to be a time traveler.
It is difficult to define whether his business activities are more important than his involvement in witchcraft, but it is obvious that he is scheming on all sides and is not used to being resisted.
Unfortunately for the Frasers, it would not be long before he openly declared himself their enemy when he deemed Claire responsible for the loss of the Patagonia, his ship infected with smallpox that the port authorities burned off Le Havre.
Deceitful, manipulative and dismissive, he is immediately unbearable.
At least he is not hypocritical!
Does he recognize in Claire another traveler capable of harming him? Difficult to define him, however, he has only one idea in mind, to take revenge on this white lady by trying to poison her during a day at the king's court. Claire owes her life only to Master Raymond who did not provide the right herbs to his client.
Through various political plots, the Earl again came into conflict with the Frasers when he agreed to finance the Jacobite rebellion. This same rebellion that Jamie and Claire try by all means to abort by cutting the strings of the princely purse.
Saint-Germain has the assurance that it is to the Fraser couple that he owes the ambush responsible for the theft of his entire cargo from Porto, but he is unable to prove it, which feeds his rage and desire to get rid of them.
Finally, it was Louis XV himself who settled the fate of the count.
Seeking to define who, Saint-Germain or Master Raymond, indulges in black magic, the King calls on Claire, the White Lady to enlighten her. Thus, without even wanting to, Claire poisons the count who is dying at her feet.
It should be noted that 34 years later, Percy Beauchamp, Lord John Grey's former lover, told him that Fergus was probably the son of his sister-in-law, Amélie Beauchamp and the Comte de Saint-Germain. Whether they are the same Beauchamps as those of Claire's family is another debate.
- 6 - Stephen Bonnet
Just like Captain Randall in his time, Stephen Bonnet, the villain of the New World appears in the first scenes of the season. But unlike BJR, he doesn't immediately reveal his dark face.
A prisoner destined for the gallows just like Gavin Hayes, the faithful friend, Bonnet does not seem very dangerous at first. He toasts to the health of the detainees with a resigned air.
However, taking advantage of a crowd movement, he escaped his conviction and hid in the Fraser wagon.
A keen observer, as we will discover later, he quickly realized that the Frasers were generous people and that he could use them to escape. Imposing himself with subtlety without ever revealing his true nature, he mingles with the troupe like a chameleon, going so far as to offer his help to dig the grave of their deceased friend.
Hidden under a canvas in order to escape the vigilance of British soldiers, Bonnet continues to enjoy incredible luck when the guard stings a few centimeters from his leg. While Claire heals his superficial wound, he confides his deep fears to her. Displaying an angelic face, it is impossible to detect in him the slightest bit of cruelty or manipulation. We feel Claire full of attention and leniency for this young man a little lost.
That is why the ensuing crime is intolerable. For as much as Randall never concealed his perverse drawings, Bonnet enters the life of the Frasers through the vilest of lies, appealing to their trust and generosity. At night, he and his henchmen murder the faithful Lesley and rob them of the precious stones necessary for their establishment in the colonies. He heard about these stones when he was hidden under the tarpaulin. This tarpaulin that protected him from British soldiers, at the risk and peril of Jamie and Claire.
No, definitely, this brigand has no honor.
From there, meeting after meeting, we witness the violent and irascible character of this lawless pirate. Whether with his henchmen, his collaborators, the passengers of his merchant ships, women of all conditions, Bonnet is nothing but formidable vulgarity. We tremble with rage when he rapes Brianna! We are terrified when he tosses a coin flip on Roger's life. Nothing seems essential to this barbarian except the money he raises.
It doesn't matter what his own flaws or dreams plague him. It's so easy to hate it now!
Does Bree's visit to Wilmington jail reveal even an ounce of humanity in him? Is he really in love with this woman who, he is sure, is carrying his son? His alliance with the cunning Gerald Forbes in order to inherit Jocasta Cameron leaves little room for doubt. The unborn baby will not awaken in him the paternal instinct, but will allow him to increase his wealth.
Of course, he's trying to redeem himself from Brianna. Play the card of the one who the cruel past has marked forever. The one who would like to rise from his condition and places the hope of a brighter future in the coming of a child. The one who loves and would like to be loved. But these are only words, for he who loves does not kidnap, rape, hit, and sell the cherished woman under the pretext that she refuses him.
Finally caught and convicted, Bonnet will live what he describes as his worst nightmare: death by drowning.
We watch this pitiful character who has done so much damage around him, becoming a little boy again without any power, not even that of screaming for help.
We will never know if it is out of compassion that Brianna shoots him in the head, or to have absolute certainty that he can never harm his child.
- 7 - Lionel Brown
For the first time since Claire and Jamie's arrival in the New World, we are entering another facet of colonization and realizing that not all sharecroppers have had the chance to benefit from the protection and largesse of the Frasers.
Inhabitants of a miserable village, the Brown family seems to live in isolation. When Roger and his men invite each other to enlist militiamen, they are immediately greeted by whistling bullets overhead. Their crime? Shelter Isaiah Morton, whom they accuse of dishonoring and fattening Alicia, the daughter of Lionel Brown.
That the latter proclaims loud and clear to love the boy does not change the case.
It is Lionel that we meet first. Vindictive and narrow-minded, he sets the tone for what relationships with his family can be. Stiff face, pursed lips, evil eye, there is nothing friendly about him. Moreover, when Jamie and Claire arrive in their turn, Lionel redoubles his rudeness and casts a look full of disdain at this woman who, in addition to being beautiful, joyful and intelligent, has the audacity to resist him.
Although they favored the formation of a private army, the Brown brothers could not refuse Jamie's call to join the colonial militia.
Within the troupe, the Browns do not leave their scowl, especially since the young Morton is also in the game.
During the battle, Morton was hit by a bullet in the back. We know that it is Lionel the culprit, he barely hides it. Full of fiel, he breaks Claire's precious syringe before leaving the infirmary, untouchable.
Alas, during a visit to Fraser's Ridge, Lionel realizes that Claire is the author of the posts that circulate everywhere about contraception. Outraged that women can be suggested to keep their husbands out of bed in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, he blames Claire for the excesses that will lead the males to their demise.
We grasp from her gaze that she has become his sworn enemy.
As we feared, Lionel, accompanied by a few men in his pay, organizes the kidnapping of Claire. Without the presence of his brother to restrain him, he lets all his violence and resentment express itself. He is not used to leading, it is visible, and we perceive his visceral fear when she stands up to him, like a cornered animal that has no other solution than to go into battle.
Then, like a soldier that nothing can stop anymore, he rapes Claire and encourages his henchmen to do the same.
The sole survivor of Claire's torturers, Lionel lies wounded and chained in the Ridge infirmary. He has lost none of his disdain and still believes himself under the all-powerful protection of his clan. He has such contempt for women that he cannot imagine for a moment that they hold any power over his life.
He knows, he always knew that he was superior to these females and feels no remorse for what he did to them. This is what Marsali understands, who defies hell by injecting him with hemlock.
I note that in my eyes, Lionel is the only one of all the antagonists on my list, who has no excuse. It is nothing but brutality, arrogance, violence and stupidity. I can't find anything that could redeem an ounce of its darkness.
- 8 - Malva Christie
It is particularly painful for me to write about Malva Christie and yet I am happy to be able to do so, because she is, it seems to me, the perfect example of a person who has become an executioner to no longer be a victim. Far be it from me to excuse his actions and lies, but no one can deny the complexity of his temperament and the harshness of his existence.
Like Laoghaire, she is just a woman in a patriarchal group that doesn't care about her future, but on top of that, she evolves at the heart of a dramatic family legacy. Probably daughter of an adulterous wife whom she saw being executed as a witch on the woodshed. As a result, she grew up somehow between a strict and disillusioned father and a loving and jealous brother, all bathed in permanent religious rigor.
When she arrives at the Ridge, Malva discovers, perhaps for the first time in her life, what a balanced and loving family is. Jamie, generous father and patriarch, Claire, considerate mother and liberated from her feminine condition, and all the children around, who benefit from the constant attention of this wonderful couple. Brief... everything she has never known.
She could, Malva, have found her place little by little without trying to plot or do harm. But it's far too late for her. Her soul is already too blackened by the harshness of her life and the image she has of herself, incompatible with the love she would be entitled to hope for. So it plays a role. As she plays with her father and brother, she plays with Ian, Jamie and Claire, the shy and serious girl. The innocent.
I don't know about others, but from the beginning Malva worried me, as if it was inconceivable that such a light emanates from a person who has lived all his life in the shadows. However, she fools everyone. Who could believe that behind this candid look hides such great perfidy? Especially since she seems really eager to learn about the profession of healer. That's good! Claire was just wondering who to pass the baton to. This is how she interferes with the Ridge in order to spy on each other.
Little by little, we are revealed the ambiguity of the character. She seems to resist chastely to Ian, yet she threatens Roger who has caught her frolicking on the floor of the church. She seems to be nothing but submission to her father, yet she smiles when he whips her for disobedience. She seems to have befriended the Ridge girls and yet is discovered near the corpse of the sin-eater.
And then she shows herself as she is. Liar, plotter, envious. She throws a bombshell into this family who welcomed her with open arms. She accuses Jamie of being her lover and the father of the child she is carrying. Straight in the eyes, without fear or regret, without us even understanding the reason, she breaks this beautiful balance that seemed to make her dream. Didn't she smile when Claire slapped her?
There is nothing fragile in her anymore, as if her skin has molted, revealing the monster underneath.
It is no longer the one that is broken, despised, manipulated, whipped and punished. No, she is a master of the game, perhaps as her mother was before being convicted. It is only revenge and it does not matter if it destroys innocent people. Maybe she only wants Jamie's legacy. Perhaps she imagines that he will leave Claire to live with her. Anyway, she has gone too far now.
As the poison she has injected intrudes into every nook and cranny of the big house, fate catches up with her.
No, she will not be the one to govern. It will not be the one that shakes religious and patriarchal power. No, she will not be freer than her mother was. No, she will not give birth.
Until her death, Malva manages to harm Claire and Jamie.
Isn't this his ultimate power?
At the height of her psychosis, she attempts to murder Claire and her father.
Taking advantage of the epidemic of dysentery that rages in the region to hide its misdeeds, she infects them both with bacteria. This is what the hours spent learning biology will have been used for! Like a predator, she watches over Claire and revels in her feverish delusions, going so far as to minauded Jamie as she is so sure of her plan