The subject of why Jamie did not tell Claire that he was married, technically at least, to Laoghaire is one which will no doubt be raised when Outlander Season 3 returns.

The simple answer I see is that he feared Claire would leave him. I believe he wanted to tell her, but wanted to do so in the right setting at the right time. The right setting being Lallybroch, a location distant from Craigh na Dun. Somewhere Jamie felt comfortable and he knew Claire would also feel comfortable, Lallybroch being as close to a real home as Claire had ever known (until Boston). I’m not sure what the right time would have been, since we never got the opportunity to hear it from Jamie, and his plans were totally disrupted by Jenny’s interference.

Yes, they were there at least five oblique references which, upon re-reading, make it very clear that something was being hidden from Claire. Though whether she was alert enough to realise there were hints seems unlikely given the dramatic chain of circumstances with which greeted upon her return. There were so many things to take in, and her senses were already overwhelmed following her journey back through the stones and with being physically close to Jamie. They both showed their deep emotional love and sexual attraction was not lessened by time and separation. As a result, all else seemed diminished and unimportant to Jamie, even the inconvenience of a “second wife”.

Here are the clues I have found, but certainly not on my first reading! After reading a second time I saw some of them, but I really needed to study the early part of Voyager in an effort to find them all. Even now there may be something I’ve missed! Please let me know if you’ve discovered more! All excerpts are from Voyager, by Diana Gabaldon.

Voyager, Chapter 25
“You won’t lose me,” I said. “Not ever again.” I smiled, smoothing back the thick ruff of ruddy hair behind his ear. “Not even if I find out you’ve been committing bigamy and public drunkenness.”
He jerked sharply at that, and I dropped my hand, startled.
“What is it?”
“Well—” he said, and stopped. He pursed his lips and glanced at me quickly. “It’s just—”
“Just what? Is there something else you haven’t told me?”

That was an open invitation to tell Claire, but Jamie just couldn’t do it!

Voyager, Chapter 26
“Yes, apology,” he insisted. “Tsei-mi saying wife. Lady being most honorable First Wife, not stinking whore.”
“Thanks a lot,” I said. “Tsei-mi? You mean Jamie? Jamie Fraser?”
The little man nodded, to the obvious detriment of his head. He clutched it with both hands and closed his eyes, which promptly disappeared into the creases of his cheeks.
“Tsei-mi,” he affirmed, eyes still closed. “Tsei-mi saying apology to most honored First Wife. Yi Tien Cho most humble servant.” He bowed deeply, still holding onto his head. “Yi Tien Cho,” he added, opening his eyes and tapping his chest to indicate that that was his name; in case I should be confusing him with any other humble servants in the vicinity.
“That’s quite all right,” I said. “Er, pleased to meet you.”
Evidently heartened by this, he slid bonelessly onto his face, prostrating himself before me.
“Yi Tien Cho lady’s servant,” he said. “First Wife please to walk on humble servant, if like.”
“Ha,” I said coldly. “I’ve heard about you. Walk on you, eh? Not bloody likely!”

This is pretty clear… so many references to “first wife”. Implies a second wife doesn’t it?

“Fergus!” I said. “Fergus, is that really you? Get up, for God’s sake—let me see you!”
He rose to his feet, but didn’t pause to let me inspect him. He gathered me into a rib-cracking hug, and I clutched him in return, pounding his back in the excitement of seeing him again. He had been ten or so when I last saw him, just before Culloden. Now he was a man, and the stubble of his beard rasped against my cheek.
“I thought I was seeing a ghost!” he exclaimed. “It is really you, then?”
“Yes, it’s me,” I assured him.
“You have seen milord?” he asked excitedly. “He knows you are here?”
“Oh!” He blinked and stepped back half a pace, as something occurred to him. “But—but what about—” He paused, clearly confused.
“What about what?”

Fergus almost had a chance to say something but Jamie stops him.

Voyager, Chapter 27
“It was lonely without you,” I whispered. “So lonely.”
“And me,” he said. He looked down, long lashes hiding his eyes, and hesitated for a moment.
“I willna say that I have lived a monk,” he said quietly. “When I had to—when I felt that I must or go mad—”
I laid my fingers against his lips, to stop him.
“Neither did I,” I said. “Frank—”
His own hand pressed gently against my mouth. Both dumb, we looked at each other, and I could feel the smile growing behind my hand, and my own under his, to match it. I took my hand away.
“It doesna signify,” he said. He took his hand off my mouth.
“No,” I said. “It doesn’t matter.” I traced the line of his lips with my finger.”

A confession of sorts… but very general.

Voyager, Chapter 29
“Aye, ye will,” he said. “You’ll come wi’ me to Arbroath, but you and your auntie will stay at the inn on the road above the abbey until we’ve finished. I’ve got to take the laddie home to Lallybroch, Claire,” he explained, turning to me. “And mend things as best I can with his parents.” The elder Ian had left Halliday’s that morning before Jamie and Young Ian arrived, leaving no message, but presumably bound for home. “Ye willna mind the journey? I wouldna ask it, and you just over your travel from Inverness”—his eyes met mine with a small, conspiratorial smile—“but I must take him back as soon as may be.”
“I don’t mind at all,” I assured him. “It will be good to see Jenny and the rest of your family again.”
“But Uncle—” Young Ian blurted. “What about—”
“Be still!” Jamie snapped. “That will be all from you, laddie. Not another word, aye?”
Young Ian looked wounded, but took another oatcake and inserted it into his mouth in a marked manner, signifying his intention to remain completely silent.”

Young Ian almost said something, but was quickly shut down by Jamie.

Voyager, Chapter 30
“Ian, you’re to take charge of your auntie, now. The two of ye get back of the gorse bushes there. Keep well away from the wagon. If anything should happen—”
The beginnings of Young Ian’s protest were cut off, apparently by a tightening of Jamie’s hand, for the boy jerked back with a small grunt, rubbing his shoulder.
“If anything should happen,” Jamie continued, with emphasis, “you’re to take your auntie and go straight home to Lallybroch. Dinna linger.”
“But—” I said.
“Uncle!” Young Ian said.
“Do it,” said Jamie, in tones of steel, and turned aside, the discussion concluded.
Young Ian was grim on the trip up the cliff trail, but did as he was told, dutifully escorting me some distance past the gorse bushes and finding a small promontory where we might see out some way over the water.”

It’s only an exclamation of the word “Uncle!”, but I think the underlying reference is there, particularly when you take Jamie’s “tones of steel” into account.

There are other references to Jamie having sex with unspecified other women, for example…
“I didna think I should ever laugh again in a woman’s bed, Sassenach,” he said. “Or even come to a woman, save as a brute, blind with need.” A note of bitterness came into his voice.” But this is not my topic today…

Did Jamie do the right thing? It’s apparent he feared losing Claire again, and as he could not face that so soon after her return he put off telling her until they were at Lallybroch. Unfortunately matters spiralled so spectacularly out of his control that he lost the opportunity to explain his side of the story to Claire. Perhaps he didn’t immediately do the right thing, but I can understand his reticence. Despite Claire’s exclamation that she would stay with him “You won’t lose me,” I said. “Not ever again.” I smiled, smoothing back the thick ruff of ruddy hair behind his ear. “Not even if I find out you’ve been committing bigamy and public drunkenness.” I imagine finding out Laoghaire was his wife and thinking he had two children with her was a tipping point, especially since we know (but book Jamie didn’t) of Laoghaire’s direct involvement with having Claire arrested as a witch.

Outlander 2014

Of course we now have to address the point of how TV Jamie could marry the person instrumental in having Claire put in peril at the witch trial. TV Jamie knows about Laoghaire’s involvement. We can’t get away from that fact. This has been the subject of many discussions! How could Jamie betray Claire, even though she has returned to the future? Jamie is an honourable man, our King of Men, and he would not knowingly betray Claire so the producers, having caused the problem in Outlander Season 1, need to create a Very Good Reason for Jamie to marry Laoghaire. The best I can come up with is that he married Laoghaire to protect her children, an honourable reason…

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22 thoughts on “Why Didn’t Jamie Tell Claire The Truth? So many clues…

  1. He had to follow his life! But he should tell the truth when Claire returned…

    Well, like you said Judi, He’s always been an honorable man! He may have sacrificed himself for that children, but it was also a way for him not to feel so alone

  2. Interesting…very interesting. Not sure yet what I THINK, but it does make me think

  3. Yes, there were moments when Jamie should have told her, could have told her, but didn’t. When reading the print shop reunion, Jamie is happy about Claire’s appearance…but until she touches him, he thinks she isn’t physically real (ghost, vision, delusion, e. all of the above). From the moment Claire returns, they are dealing with one problem or emergency after another…they really never have time to sit down and discuss anything, and Jamie wants to do it right…he just doesn’t get the opportunity. As for how they can deal with the difference between book version where Jamie never knew about Laoghaire’s involvement in the witch trial…to the TV series, where he did. Here’s my thought: Jamie never expected to see Claire ever again, wasn’t sure if she even survived the trip back through the stones…let alone that she would ever be willing or able to return. So with this expectation, even if he “knows” of Laoghaire’s treachery..he has now been without the love of his life, his soulmate for at least 17 years, he is heartbroken, lonely, and willing to give just about anything a try to feel connected to life and family again. After all, family is the driving force of Jamie’s entire life. So either way, we can forgive him I think…but Claire’s reaction is based on her knowledge of past events, having traveled through the stones 3 times now with each passage more harrowing than the last, and Jamie’s words foremost in her mind @ accepting the man he is now in memory of the man he was then.

  4. Having seen the first two series, I then bought the whole series of books and novellas. I nearly stopped reading the books when I read a spoiler on the internet that Jamie had married Laoghaire, but I persevered with gritted teeth. I can’t blame Jenny, if Jamie didn’t know about Laoghaire’s involvement in the witch trial, how was Jenny supposed to know?

  5. Bigamy?……not in his century with Claire gone forever into hers…She might as well have been dead since no longer existent or even born yet. And seeing as she really did with Frank while not separated….as Jamie and Laoghaire were…..why the big deal? As written he was separated for some time……She could have have been hurt to find out he had married her arch nemesis but then to know they were separated for a year means that party was over…….. Only thing left was to find Ned and get the final papers…….or however they did it in those days.

  6. I agree with most of the comments,and they’re all acceptable,it’s true,once Claire was back with Jamie,one incident after another prevented him from having the “right moment” to tell her.But that’s DG’s story to weave it into twists,diabolical turns,and torturing us fans,as we keep turning the pages to find out how this major travesty gets resolved,and it does,but we all must suffer the angst Jamie’s feeling,and also Claire questioning did she do the right thing going back to him,when she asks him a couple of times,”are you sorry I came back”?”Do you want me to go”?Don’t quote me,but she did ask those questions,at the print shop reunion. But,with these two predestined fated to be together LOVERS,LOVE WILL CONQUER ALL!❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

  7. I think it’s just amazing story telling
    But seriously I was happy for it because it reunites a small group of key people that were at the witch trial and hadnt seen since. It was a neat way of re-hashing the past , and getting revenge on laoghaire ! And the reunion was amazing! but Jamie and Claire needed to overcome some sort of trail to get know one another again.
    The deal with Jamie not telling Claire was because he knows her , he knows that she’s scared and not very confident in her decision to come back, hoping a he is still that important to him. He’s trying to guard her feelings and gets stuck in his own web. Men aren’t always on point with what To do in tricky situations like the one he’s found himself in. Claire in my opinion over reacted when she ran away lol

  8. I believe the Series will somehow tie in the scene where Claire asks Jamie to speak to Loaghire and to thank her, even though he doesn’t know why. This took place at Jamie’s Grandsire’s place (Simon). Loaghire / Leery wasn’t at the Grandsire’s place in the book.

  9. I am going to take another look at the thank you Jamie gives Laoghaire when they are leaving his grandfathers. I do not recall Claire telling Jamie about her being the reason for the witch trial. He gives you that impression that he has no clue why he is to thank her. I might be wrong but I am going to watch that episode again.

  10. Well I checked out the episode the foxes lair. And sure enough Jamie’s response to Claire asking him to thank Laoghaire is. Why for not trying to have you arrested in the last few days. So my reason is not sound.

  11. The above presents good research and analysis. With 20/2O hind site, I think Jamie might have taken advantage of the long trip home to Lallybroch to broach the subject so what they might find there.

  12. I have read this part of the book only the once when reading the first 5 books and I was under the impression that only for Jenny pushing him, he would not have married Laoghaire. I thought Laoghaire had the children before she married Jamie and he being the good guy he is, after they broke up and he left her he still supported her and the children as best he could manage?

    1. Yes, the children were not Jamie’s… He did continue to support Laoghaire and her children.

      1. Thank you. I was beginning to doubt my memory of the children but thought they were not Jamie’s. In fact, I don’t think they had much of a sexual life together as LegHair couldn’t get into his head. Claire was always between them.

  13. Don’t forget how insistat Jenny was. She didn’t know about the past betrayal of Claire. She just saw her brother suffering and alone and desperately wanted him to have companionship. In the book she pretty much forced that marriage.

  14. I think TV Jamie will be presented with a situation where something really bad will happen to Laoghaire’s children and the only way to protect them is for her to be married. Here is a man whose first child died, he’s never seen his second child – doesn’t even know if he’s the father of a boy or girl, and he can’t claim his third child, Willie. He’s lonely and the opportunity to be a father would have been very tempting.

  15. After so many years of being alone and thinking he was a single man, Jamie was entitle to remarry. My question being was Clair and Jamie still married after 20 years being apart. Did they not have some sort of statute of limitation in those years, presuming Clair was dead. Now that she has returned, are she and Jamie still married.

  16. Not surprised that after so long that a man like Jamie would want to at some point try to make the best of things. After all, he thought Claire was dead; and it took a long time before he could even try to move forward. My issue is not so much that after that many years he married, but to whom. I’m sure there were other women he could have married.

  17. Here’s a thought-
    In the show, Claire forgives Leghair…mostly because she needs to use her to convince Simon of…( something, I forget what). And she all but talks Jamie into forgiving her ( though he pretty much refuses). So perhaps J figures, since Claire had forgiven her…

  18. This is still a situation I am not happy about in the series. He knew of Laoghaire’s involvement in Claire’s arrest, and the Jamie in the series would never, imho, marry her. I wish they would not have made that change. No way they adapt that will fix it for me. I love the series, but not that.

  19. The Jamie I know from the series would never have married her, knowing she took part in Claire’s arrest. Love the series, but that change I did not like, and I am curious how they will make me believe it.

  20. I also wonder how they are going to convince us why he married Laoghaire. I also wanted to know how long was he married to her and then when he left her? Has anyone figured that out yet?

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