If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know about Outlander, the Starz adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s beloved book series about a WWII nurse, Claire, who travels back in time to 1743 Scotland and falls in love with a Scottish Highlander, Jamie. Outlander is currently in its third season, based off the third book in the series, Voyager, where a LOT of action happens.
The briefest of recaps: End of season 2, Jamie sends Claire back to the 20th century so she doesn’t, you know, die of starvation/childbirth post the failed Jacobite uprising and because he’s probably going to die *sobs uncontrollably for days*. Lots of stuff happens, but 20 year later Claire find out Jamie in fact survived and at the end of last week’s episode, traveled back in time to reunite with her beloved after a TWENTY YEAR SEPARATION. So much drama.
We have one more week until one of the most anticipated episodes of Outlander, and to celebrate and prepare, your resident experts on all things Sassenach, Maria and Beka, have taken upon themselves a grave challenge – to rank the characters from this time traveling TV show.
For the sake of brevity, we’ve kept it to characters we have seen on the show up to the most recent episode (3×05: Freedom and Whisky [link to recap]) and to ones that are major players (pour one out for Father Bain, y’all).
The following ranking will be *MAJOR* spoilers for the TV show Outlander. There will be NO reference to book stuff, to both avoid further spoilers and because Beka is trying to convince Maria to read them.
How did we rank? By the now traditional Nerd League style: good looks, moral soundness, spunk, ability to wield a sword.
28 – Black Jack Randall
B: There is literally no worse character than this dude. I think of him and I feel gross.
MG: I think he’s tried to rape/kill/torture/arrest nearly everyone else on this list, with various degrees of success. That says it all.
27 – Bonnie Prince Charlie
B: This man is an idiot who cost our favorite couple 20 years of happiness. “Mark me” wanting to punch you in the face, BPC.
MG: Goddammit, can we make him shut up??? 50% of what he says is really dumb. The other 50% is “Mark me”.
26 – The Duke of Sandringham
B: Such a wily character, did such terrible things to SO MANY PEOPLE. Simon Callow could not have had more fun playing him though.
MG: This guy nearly charmed his way out of being evil. Emphasis on the nearly.
25 – Geneva Dunsany
B: This character is waaaayyyy more sympathetic on screen than in the books, but say it with me now, everyone: COERCION DOES NOT EQUAL CONSENT.
MG: At the end of the days she’s a brat and a rapist and I have very little sympathies for her. *drops her in the mud*
24 – Comte Saint Germain
B: Like I know he didn’t actually set up those men to rape Mary and Claire in Paris, but he did poison Claire while she was pregnant…not cool, dude.
MG: I always thought that his hatred for Claire was super uncalled for. Like I get it, she lost you some money, but relax. He did teach me a lot of very important French curse words, so I sort of appreciate that.
23 – Laoghaire Mackenzie
B: Maria had to convince me to move Laoghaire up because I have too much book knowledge. She’s still terrible, though. Who condemns a woman to a witch trial because of a crush?
MG: I think Murtagh said it best: Laoghaire will be a lass until she’s fifty. Also, she’s extra af. (Yes, Murtagh said that).
22 – Frank Randall
B: I know he has his fans, but I’m not one of them. Claire’s first husband deserves some sympathy, but he’s also the worst for not let Claire be Claire.
MG: There’s a point where I can be sympathetic towards Frank.Yeah, having your wife go missing for 3 years is pretty awful, as is spending 20 years with a person in love with someone else. But Frank also dug his own grave a lot of the times, and made sure to dig Claire’s at the same time. That’s when my sympathies end. Also, he’s a shit historian.
B: His lack of methodological work is almost as bad as his treatment of his wife.
21 – Dougal Mackenzie
B: Oh, Dougal. So in love with the Jacobite cause. So wanting to get into Claire’s bed. Neither of those things worked out well for you.
MG: I really liked it when he was like “I don’t hold with rape”. Also when he arranged Claire and Jamie to get married. Everything else he does ranges from embarrassing to infuriating.
20 – Colum Mackenzie
B: You just have to feel bad for Colum, and we just had to put them together in this line up. They’re a powerful, terrible team.
MG: I’ll have to admit I cried a little bit when he died. He’s just one of those characters that you sort of don’t like , but you also can’t hate because there’s something about him that’s intrinsically good.
19- Willie Mackenzie
B: Willie endeared himself to me in the Wedding episode when he got into the Bible quoting match with the priest, what a weird, lovely man.
MG: Also, he was the first of the Mackenzie guys that was willing to rescue Jamie. And just an overall cutie pie, to the point where I wonder how they picked him to accompany Dougal.
18 – Master Raymond
B: The second of Claire’s friends to be accused of witchcraft, but the only one to give her a piece of jewelry to sniff out poison.
MG: To be honest though, we all deserve a friend who can give us a piece of jewelry to sniff out poison. And who kills people who try to poison you. And who gets rid of your infected placenta (?).
17 – Mary Hawkins Randall
B: Oh, Mary. So young, so naïve. So intrinsic to the plot of the second season. Why did you fall in love with the worst character on this list’s brother, girl?
MG: Mary taught us all a very important lesson: You might be shy and naive, but you can still murder your rapist and run away with the boy you’re in love with. Granted, she did marry a psychopath, but at least it was only for a day or two.
16 – Louise Rohan
B: Louise is a lot, but she also was the actual greatest friend in “Faith” and I think of it and weep so NO ONE LOOK AT ME.
MG: I was weary of her because of her affair with Bonnie Prince Charlie. But then “Faith” happened.
15 – Ned Gowan
B: Perhaps the greatest lawyer ever seen on television. He’s the genesis of the idea for Claire and Jamie to marry, he tries to save Claire from the witchcraft trial nonsense, and has the time of his life getting a wedding dress for Claire *cue Dirty Dancing*.
MG: He’s the lawyer Claire pretty much always needs, and actually totally deserves. Sometimes I like to imagine Claire and Jamie stayed in Leoch and that they forced Ned to babysit just for the hell of it.
14 – Angus
B: Angus, BFF of Rupert, number one dirty joke teller in my heart. HIs death very much drove home the futility of the Jacobite cause.
MG: I think out of all the Mackenzie men he was the one least likely to get on Claire and the audience’s good side. He’s overall pretty gross (in the literal and figurative sense. But even Angus, “fornicator of women and shagger of wee besties” according to Rupert, was able to sneak into our hearts (and Claire’s).
13 – Geillis Duncan
B: Geillis! The first of Claire’s friends to be accused of witchcraft, and the first hint that other people can go through the stones Claire went through. Also the speaker of the iconic line: “Looks like I’m going to a f**king barbecue.”
MG: She’s also the first real friend Claire makes besides Jamie. She should probably improve her taste in men (in both her personal and political life)
12 – Mrs. Fitz/Mrs. Graham
B: We put these two together because they serve a very similar purpose: making us all feel warm and cozy in new environment where we don’t want to be.
MG: I will always be sad that these two ladies didn’t get more screen time. One is a reverend’s housekeeper/witch and the other is the original Claire and Jamie shipper.
11 – Rupert Mackenzie
B: Rupert is that side character that sneaks up on you and hits you with the feels. From procuring the wedding ring for Jamie to give to Claire to losing his best friend right in front of him, Rupert earned his high ranking.
MG: I know we’re meant to be a bit weary of Rupert at first (he is , after all, Dougal’s soldier) but he’s so charming that it’s sort of impossible to not love him.
10 – Mother Hildegarde
B: Mother Hildegarde is a BAMF who is friends with Bach and not to be trifled with. Also she has a dog companion so clearly is better than you.
MG: She’s a French Doctor nun that runs a charity hospital in pre-revolutionary France. ‘Nuf said.
9 – Joe Abernathy
B: One of the few good things in Claire’s life post Culloden, Joe is the med school BFF everyone needs.
MG: Agreed. It’s so nice to see that Claire had someone that was looking out for her happiness and well-being.I mean, we all saw the evil eye he gave Frank.
8 – Roger Mackenzie Wakefield
B: Roger gets many, many points for being the one who tracks Jamie down. He also wears dope turtlenecks and is obsessed with daytime TV, so is very relatable.
MG: Roger is everything I want to be in 20 years: a historian working at an elite university that watches too much TV and wears too many sweaters.
7 – Brianna Randall-Fraser
B: Claire’s reason for existence post leaving Jamie, her daughter with him. It took a while for Brianna to grow on me, but by the end of 3×05 when she convinced her mother to find her lost love I was all in on Bree.
MG: I’ve always been on Team Bree, and I only wish we had the time to see her perspective of things. I mean, finding out the man who raised you (and who you’re still mourning) is not your father , and mixing that in with a complicated relationship with your mother, can be really tricky. And, unlike her “daddy” (cringes) Bree has not used this situation to hold it against Claire.
6-Jenny Fraser Murray
B: Jenny is a character not to be messed with, and for good reason. If your brother put you through as many shenanigans as Jamie has her, you’d be fed up with their nonsense too.
MG: I’m sure someone coined the term no-nonsense with Janet Fraser in mind. She can be a lot sometimes, but ultimately she’s driven by a deep love of everyone in her family.
5- Ian Murray
B: Ian is the actual sweetest. Jamie’s best friend, Jenny’s husband, immediately is cool with Claire, and understands why Jamie is a mess without her. What a champ.
MG: With Jamie and Jenny around, someone had to be the super chill, level-headed person.
4 – Lord John Grey
B: Bless Lord John Grey. First interacts with Jamie and Claire in his teens, runs into Jamie again while governor of Ardsmuir after inadvertently saving Jamie’s life, gains some feels for the ginger Scotsman, and ends up making sure Jamie’s illegitimate child is well cared for. A precious cinnamon roll.
MG: Lord John Grey’s introduction is hands down one of the funniest moments in Season 2. And while he’s not as naive in Season 3, he’s still as much of an honorable cutie pie. Also JUST LOOK AT HIS FACE.
3 – Fergus Fraser
B: What can I say? He’s their SON guys. As a book reader and viewer, I could not be happier with how Fergus has been adapted.
MG: It’s nice that Claire and Jamie were able to raise a kid together for a short amount of time. The fact that he’s a French pickpocket that was raised in a brothel, only makes it better.
2 – Murtagh Fraser
B: Is he the true MVP of the Outlander series? Quite possibly. The dude is so loved that in the books he dies but survives in the show! What a protective, sassy Scotsman.
MG: At the beginning of season 1 Murtagh seems to be this random character that’s just there in the background. But as the show went on we started to see him as the loyal, stubborn, and ultimately loving man that he is. IMO some of the best moments on the show feature Murtagh. With this man as a godfather (as grumpy as he might be) it’s so easy to see how Jamie Fraser turned out to be the man he is.
1 – Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser and Jamie Fraser
B: Was there any other choice? Claire’s our leading lady, ranking the highest in our very scientific list and Jamie’s her match in every way. They are THE power couple of this show. And yes, I know we could have split them up, but they are always going to be better together than when they are split apart FIGHT ME.
MG: YOU WANTED US TO PICK??? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
If there is one thing that is true of Outlander, is that if you don’t love these two, then you can’t enjoy this show. This show about them, their happiness, their pain, and their love. I think it’s impossible not to be equally invested in them. And they’re both so precious and strong , and they’ve both gone through soo much….can’t our babies just be happy.
B: We shall see soon enough, my friend.