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A series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Claire Beauchamp Randall is taken back in time from 1946 to 1743, where she marries and begins a passionate love affair with Jamie Fraser, a Scottish Highlander. They face many dangers and political intrigues as they attempt to prevent the tragic battle of Culloden from happening. And that's more or less just the first two books. The later books span more than twenty years, expanding the focus of the novels beyond just the main couple to their families, their close friends, and the historical situation in general. Depending on who you ask, they're romance novels of the upper 10% under Sturgeon's Law or Historical Fiction -- or a bit of both. Absolutely nothing to do with that film. Also not to be confused with Johji Manabe's manga series from the 80's (and the subsequent anime adaptation) titled 'Outlanders'.

The books in order:

  • Outlander (published as Cross Stitch in the UK)
  • Dragonfly in Amber
  • Voyager
  • Drums of Autumn
  • The Fiery Cross
  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes
  • An Echo in the Bone

The main series has a spinoff of sorts, the Lord John series, focusing on the life of a secondary character featured in the latter four books, Officer and a Gentleman (and Straight Gay) Lord John Grey. Recently, there have been mentions that a film of the books has been optioned.


Tropes Used:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: In their twenty years apart, neither Jamie nor Claire is exactly celibate. But their hearts never truly stray (Aww.)
  • The American Revolution: The later books begin to overlap with this time period. The Battle of Saratoga and the occupation of Philidelphia are covered in some detail.
  • Awesome McCoolname: James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser.
  • Babies Ever After: Later books have elements of this, paired with Badass Family.
  • Badass Preacher: Roger.
  • The Baroness: Geilis Duncan (or Mrs. Abernathy, or whatever she's calling herself in this decade) has some traits of this trope: fervent militarism, strange sexual habits.
  • Beta Couple: Bree and Roger. Marsali and Fergus. Everyone and everyone else. There's a lot of marrying.
  • Bishonen: Lord John. Mention is made on how pretty and petite he is (being blonde and around five foot six).
  • Black Widow: Geilis Duncan.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Randall in Wentworth Prison, Jamie's shattered hand. Claire is somewhat upset, in later books, with Jamie's manipulative interrogation of a sixteen-year-old John Grey; she's inclined to take pity on John due to his age and innocence, despite him having made a credible attempt to kill her husband. Jamie, however, does not see this as anything but fair play during wartime.
  • Covers Always Lie: Overlapping with Contemptible Cover in some printings.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The body in the beginning of Voyager, among others.
  • Cliff Hanger: Too many to count. The most egregious ones are at the end of An Echo in the Bone: Jem is kidnapped, Roger on his way back in time to get him, William just found out he's Jamie's bastard and is off to do something rash, Jamie has kidnapped Lord John and John just confessed he slept with Claire
  • Cultured Warrior: Lord John
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Period attitudes are captured quite fairly. Even the time travellers aren't magically enlightened.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Jack Randall is an equal opportunity rapist and sadist.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: Mostly averted. Gabaldon did. And then some. However, only after the first couple of books did she acquire the help of a Gaelic speaker, so there were some early problems in that area, as noted by her in The Outlandish Companion.

    Some of her French sentences have some problems as well, eg. "Reste d'retour! Oui, le tout!" in A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 56, which doesn't mean "Stay back, all of you!" as Gabaldon mentions (and simply doesn't make sense at all, in French).
  • Did Not Do the Research: In the second book Dragonfly in Amber, Claire has an instance of Sex Ed fail. When Mary, after being raped, asks Claire if she might have a baby because of it, Claire tells her she won't, because the rapist didn't ejaculate. Claire goes on to think that if the male doesn't ejaculate, the chances of a woman getting pregnant would be like a freak accident. Especially crazy considering that Claire is supposed to be a doctor. Any doctor worth their weight should probably know that, yes, a woman can get pregnant if she has unprotected sex with a man. Even if the man doesn't ejaculate.

    But in book four, Claire tells Brianna there's a word for people who rely on coitus interruptus as a method of birth control: "parents". Either the author or the character must have learned this fact in the intervening years between books two and four.
  • Distress Ball: Claire's attempt to escape to Craigh na Dun and the 20th century, Brianna's ill-advised visit to Stephen Bonnet's boat.
  • Domestic Abuse: Jamie beats Claire in a memorable scene in the first book. Their different values concerning this issue cause several subsequent arguments. Since Claire's a doctor, cases of severe Domestic Abuse occasionally come to her attention elsewhere, and she usually does her best to stop it, with Jamie's backing. (An in-universe example of Values Dissonance occurs with this - when Claire speaks of beating one's wife, as it's used in her time, Jamie sees nothing unusual with it, but the thought of a man using his fists on his wife is disturbing and alien to him.)
  • Doorstopper: Don't drop any of the hardcover copies on your foot. Especially not A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
  • Downer Ending: Dragonfly in Amber, as well as A Breath of Snow And Ashes, do not have especially happy endings.
  • Eye Scream: A Breath of Snow and Ashes has someone getting a needle jabbed in their eye to remove pressure from built-up fluid. Fun times. Also, in Voyager, Claire ... assists a young man with a parasite that keeps moving back and forth between his eyes.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: Uh, Jamie. And Lord John. And Fergus.
  • Everyone Is Related: Even across centuries.
  • Fingore: Jamie's hand post-Randall.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water
  • Future Slang: (Played with, in that the one doing the swearing is Claire, a 20th century woman. She manages to baffle those around her with her anachronistic, and so confusing, use of "fucking", "sadist" and in what becomes a plot point at least once, "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!")
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Do they ever.
    • And sometimes, they have less-than-good sex, though Jamie does usually feel bad about it.
  • Happily Married: Jamie and Claire seem to be settling down into this, despite a lot of conflict going on around them.
  • Hollywood Voodoo
  • Hook Hand: Fergus.
  • Hot Dad: Lord John. Jamie, of course.
  • Identical Grandson: Roger's eyes and Geilis Duncan, his great-great-great-great grandmother. Also, hello, Frank Randall and ... all of the ancestral Randalls, it would seem. Jack Randall's physical resemblance to her spouse makes Claire very disturbed at multiple points.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Jo and Kezzie with Lizzie, Phaedre with Duncan, and Jamie himself with Lord John.
  • I Owe You My Life: Slight (and serious) example of this between Lord John and Jamie.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Brianna and Roger, for a while. Jamie and Claire kind of redefine the trope too. Two centuries is quite a long distance indeed.
  • Magical Native American: An ol woman who acts as a not-quite mentor to Claire
  • The Medic: Claire, World War II nurse who became an MD in the 1950s and took penicillin back to 1765 with her.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Gabaldon mentions several times on her podcast that this is the case - she used to be able to pitch the book to absolutely anyone she encountered at promotional appearances. It's a romance novel. No, it's a straight-up historical. No, it's Time Travel, and therefore Science Fiction! No, the subtle supernatural elements make it Magical Realism! It's military history! (It apparently has some following among people actually in the military - in no small part due to the fact that the books are very, very long and very, very detailed, which can be convenient for those deployed and bored.)
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Claire sometimes does this, especially with Gaelic curses, although she more frequently reports curses (and says them herself) without any filter.
  • Nature Adores a Virgin:
    • Jamie was a virgin on his wedding night. Claire wasn't. Not that either of them really seemed to mind.
    • Subverted in Voyager when Jamie beds a young girl, under coercion. She resists and cries out in pain, and Jamie wonders aloud why anyone would ever want to sleep with a virgin.
  • Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: The entire cast is getting quite old, so Lord John may still avert this. Of course, there's the Duke of Sandringham, but his age is unstated.
  • Not Quite Dead: Jamie after Culloden. Randall, after the first book. Geillie, after her supposed burning. This happens so often, it's best to assume nobody is dead until Claire has examined the corpse.
  • Ontological Inertia: The reason Claire and Jamie can neither prevent the Battle of Culloden from happening, nor help the Scots to win. Fear of this not being true is part of why Claire attempts to keep Jamie from killing Randall outright - he's an ancestor of her husband from her own century, and she fears all kind of disturbing time paradoxes.
  • Overprotective Dad: Jamie beats up Roger and sends him to be Indians' slave because he thinks he raped Brianna. (He's mistaken, but his reaction is sort of justified because Brianna had really been raped.) Lord John as well, in some regards in Echo In The Bone.
  • Polyamory: Lizzie and both Beardsley twins.
  • Portal to the Past: The rocks at Craigh na Dun, and implicitly at least one similar place in America.
  • Rape as Drama: There's quite a lot of rape, mostly threatened for female characters but executed fairly even-handedly among the genders. Jamie, Fergus, an attempt on Jenny, Brianna, Claire herself, and in backstory, Lord John, come to mind.
  • Redheaded Hero: Jamie.
  • Redheaded Stepchild: Literally. Redhead Brianna, raised lovingly by Frank, who was 200 years too late to the party to be her biological father, (not to mention infertile). Also Brianna's son Jemmy, whose paternity was questionable due to her rape by Stephen Bonnet, although Roger raises him as his own.
  • Saintly Church: They pop up, here and there, at a contrast with some of the truly rabid and unkind believers Claire encounters.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: This one happens at least twice, allowing Jamie and Claire each to make the Sadistic Choice. When Jamie is held captive in Wentworth Prison by Jack Randall, Claire tries to rescue him and is caught by Randall. Jamie offers to let Randall torture him in whatever way he wants - including rape/coerced sex--for Claire's freedom. Later in the story, when Jamie is in a French prison for dueling (with Randall of course) Claire makes a bargain with the king, exchanging sex for her husband's release. (A third, variant version occurs with Bree and Stephen Bonnet -- for the sake of a plot-important wedding ring.)
  • Scars Are Forever: Notably, Jamie's whipping, but injuries and their repercussions are played out in glorious full.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: This drives the plots of several of the books.
  • Shout-Out: Jamie is named after Jamie McCrimmon, who was played by Frazer Hines.
  • Shown Their Work: It's a very well-researched series, and it shows. There are several details that seem to have been added simply because Gabaldon discovered them and thought they were cool.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Mostly in the parts of the novels set in rural America.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Claire leaves Jamie at the end of Dragonfly In Amber, and goes back to the 20th century pregnant with Brianna. Of course, once she figures out he's still alive, she comes back.
  • Spy Speak: Or rather, time traveller speak. Whistling the tune to Yellow Submarine, at one point, and the name "Ringo Starr" at another.
  • Stock Ness Monster: The plesiosaur version, encountered by Claire.
  • Street Urchin: Young Fergus.
  • That Old Time Prescription: Claire Beauchamp demonstrates even more knowledge when she comments that willow bark tea can make bleeding take longer to stop while discussing the healing properties of herbs with the keeper of Castle Leoch's herb garden.
  • Triang Relations: Jamie, Claire, and Laoghaire form a type 4 triangle, with Laoghaire as Alice and Jamie as Bob. Later, Lord John takes up the mantle as a much less bitchy Alice.
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: The 18th century isn't treated as a more innocent time, but there are a few young and exceptionally sheltered female characters.
  • Warrior Poet: Jamie shows a tendency towards this.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: Setting of Voyager.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: The Frasers seem to have particularly strong genes.
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