I debated over to do this as a post or pin it to it’s own page? Obviously the page option won! The reason I’m doing it this way is that I feel Lallybroch along with Fraser’s Ridge are such an important pieces of Outlander that they well deserves it’s own separate pages. So, when I get to Fraser’s Ridge, I will pin that as it’s own page as well.
For those who still refuse to pick up the books and start reading, this is your warning that this page will contain a great number of spoilers and an ongoing discussion of the books as well as the show!
While we wait out the six months until the show’s return, those of us who have read the books at least have the comfort of our memories to dwell on whilst we wait with Jamie in the window watching Jack attack Claire.
If that was not painful or brutal enough to have burned on our brains for six months, then we must endure the image of Jack’s so excited look at the sight of “his” boy, Jamie?
Even worse for many of us is the knowledge of what will come after this! It does not get any better for some time, it only gets worse what with accusations of witchery for Claire, a “burning at the stake” for Gellie Duncan and a mad rush of escape from that same plight for Claire. It’s no wonder that by that time, Jamie is willing to confront his guilt for what he thinks happened to sister Jenny, and head home to the safety of Lallybroch!
So, while we wait for Spring, let us all seek out that comfort of happy memories and Lallybroch. For those just watching the show, and okay with spoilers… well of course you’re okay with spoilers- otherwise you would not have read this far, would you? Anyway, you might need some additional insights and information on just how important and intregal Lallybroch truly is to the ongoing story. Lallybroch is of course, Jamie Fraser’s childhood home, his inheritance, his birthright. It is that one place that he holds so dearly in his heart and tries so hard in the future to protect even if he can not stay there or go back to it.
Just a note here… Diana Gabaldon does such an excellent job of description and details down to even the smallest things, I really think it’s difficult to capture all of it and all of those underlying currents and such on film. The representation of Lallybroch is one instance where I am just not sure about the location/setting they have chosen to represent my beloved Lallybroch? I’ll get to that later, first of all let’s look at where Lallybroch would be located in relation to the description given by Diana. According to the descriptions, Lallybroch is located at a spot on the edge of Fraser lands bordering the MacKenzie ones. It is an important piece of land to both Frasers and MacKenzies.
Scottish Clan map with possible Lallybroch location starred
As I mentioned, Lallybroch is Jamie’s family home. He was born there, grew up there, always expected and hoped to someday return there to be it’s leader, the Laird of Lallybroch. One of his biggest regrets and guilts in those younger years was that he had failed his family- his Father and his sister Jenny. His Father died while he was on the run with a price on his head, and he assumes that his sister Jenny was raped by Jack, and bore a child to him… this of course is due to some fancy fabrication by Dougal MacKenzie in effort to keep control of Jamie. My personal ongoing confusion with that story is why he chose to do that? It never really made sense to me. I would have thought that Dougal would have wanted Jamie there at lallybroch from the beginning. The only way the MacKenzie could assure themselves of Lallybroch was if Jamie produced an heir to it… if Jamie died without an heir to Lallybroch, it would go back to the Frasers. My personal thought on all of it is that Dougal and the MacKenzies would have been far better off if they had put more effort into keeping young Jamie happy and alive at Lallybroch from the very beginning! But, as it was, Dougal did realize the importance eventually when he insisted on the marriage of Jamie to Claire.
For most of his life, Jamie would carry the guilt and the thought that he was the cause of his Father’s death. Brian Fraser witnessed the initial whipping of Jamie and collapsed there of what we assume was some sort of stroke?
Jamie’s Father, Brian Fraser
James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, was born at twilight on the first of May, in the year of our Lord 1721, at the estate of Broch Tuarach, also called Lallybroch, near the small village of Broch Mordha in the Highlands of Scotland, the son of Brian Fraser and Ellen MacGibbon MacKenzie.
The eldest child of Jacob and Anne MacKenzie, Ellen grew up in the Scottish Highlands at Castle Leoch. She was a favorite of her father’s, who wouldn’t force her into a marriage she herself wouldn’t accept, and so she remained unmarried well past the time when a young woman in her position might ordinarily have been settled with a husband. After her father’s death, however, her brothers Colum and Dougal intended to arrange their sister’s marriage to Malcolm Grant in order to ease relations with Clan Grant, but Ellen defied them rather dramatically by saying something to Malcolm Grant that so offended him, he left Leoch without a word to his hosts, and Ellen ran away and eloped with Brian Fraser.
Brian and Ellen Fraser were happy and content on their small estate of Lallybroch, wanting only to left alone and in peace to raise their family. Jamie’s memories of Lallybroch were those of a happy childhood even though his Mother had died at a young age giving birth to a younger brother. For Jamie, Lallybroch and his family was that place in his mind and his heart that could soothe him even in the worst of his pains. He had that sense, that feeling of family to fall back on all of his life. Claire never had that, being raised by her Uncle Lam, traveling around the globe and never having that peace or comfort to go to in her mind before being with Jamie. I think she craved that, and it was probably one reason she married Frank, thinking he could give her that. She did find it at Lallybroch though, and later on she found it at Fraser’s Ridge.
So, Lallybroch became that place to call home to Claire as well, though I think she later came to think of Fraser’s Ridge more in that context than Lallybroch? She knew how deep Jamie’s feelings for Lallybroch went though and how much of his heart was there, would always be there.
The quote from Voyager summed up Jamie’s feelings of family and of Lallybroch. The original quote is from Robert Frost: Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
Some other important quotes and references to Lallybroch in the various books:
Seven years in a life, part 4. “It was only as the lights of Lallybroch manor came into view that he felt at last the
mantle of humanity fall upon him, and mind and body joined as one again as he prepared himself to greet his family,” –
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon.
Homer’s Odyssey – when Jamie and Claire first arrive at Lallybroch, Jamie is greeted rapturously by the Lallybroch dogs
and Claire compares this to Odysseus returning from the Trojan War and being recognised by his faithful hound. Jamie
extends the metaphor by comparing himself to Odysseus returning home disguised as a beggar and having to deal with
Penelope and her suitors (Outlander, chapter 26)
From THE SCOTTISH PRISONER Copyright 2011 Diana Gabaldon: It was cold in the loft, and his sleep-mazed mind groped among
the icy drafts after the words still ringing in his mind. “Bonnie lad.” Wind struck the barn and went booming round the
roof. A strong chilly draft with a scent of snow stirred the somnolence, and two or three of the horses shifted below,
grunting and whickering. Helwater. The knowledge of the place settled on him, and the fragments of Scotland and Lallybroch
cracked and flaked away, fragile as a skin of dried mud. Helwater. Straw rustling under him, the ends poking through the
rough ticking, prickling through his shirt. Dark air, alive around him. Bonnie lad… They’d brought down the Yule log to
the house that afternoon, all the household taking part, the women bundled to the eyebrows, the men ruddy, flushed with
the labor, staggering, singing, dragging the monstrous log with ropes, its rough skin packed with snow, a great furrow
left where it passed, the snow plowed
Excerpt 1 – An Echo in the Bone
Lallybroch Inverness-shire, Scotland “We are alive,” Brianna MacKenzie repeated, her voice tremulous. She looked up at
Roger, the paper pressed to her chest with both hands. Her face streamed with tears, but a glorious light glowed in her
blue eyes. “Alive!” “Let me see.” His heart was hammering so hard in his chest that he could barely hear his own words.
He reached out a hand, and reluctantly, she surrendered the paper to him, coming at once to press herself against him,
clinging to his arm as he read, unable to take her eyes off the bit of ancient paper. It was pleasantly rough under his
fingers, hand-made paper with the ghosts of leaves and flowers pressed into its fibers. Yellowed with age, but still
tough and surprisingly flexible. Bree had made it herself–two hundred years before. Roger became aware that his hands
were trembling, the paper shaking so that the sprawling, difficult hand was hard to read, faded as the ink was. December
31, 1776 My darling daughter, As […]
An Echo in the Bone
The seventh–but NOT the last!–novel in the OUTLANDER series, An Echo In The Bone, has four main storylines: Jamie and
Claire Fraser, are now in the midst of the American Revolution; Their daughter Brianna, her husband Roger MacKenzie, and
their two children, settled at Lallybroch in the 1970′s (finding their feet after their return from the past—but are
unaware that that past is just about to leap out at them again); Lord John Grey and his step-son William (Jamie’s
unacknowledged illegitimate son), are embroiled in the Revolution on the British side with William in the army and Lord
John on the clandestine side of intelligence; and Jamie’s nephew Young Ian: his troubled love-life is about to take
another sharp left turn. The US cover design for this book shows a caltrop (and not, as one wit suggested to me, a Celtic
chicken-foot)—an ancient military weapon, designed to stop oncoming cavalry (and still in equally effective use by the
modern Highway Patrol, for stopping cars). A caltrop resembles a child’s jack, […]
Now it should be very clear how important Lallybroch was and is to so many family members and generations through out the books! For me, it was a sad moment when I read of Bree and Roger’s finding Lallybroch worn, weary and empty of life. I was so happy when they decided to raise their family there, breathe life back into it… and, I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed when at the end of the most recent episode, My Own Heart’s Blood, they chose to leave it and head back to the past and Fraser’s Ridge. I understood why they made that decision, I’m just not really happy with it! I want them, or someone else who feels the same feelings for Lallybroch to be there, to reclaim it and to live there happily ever after… if that’s at all possible given Diana’s way of story telling! An added thought to that concern… it not like I only have wait six months to find out either. it’s more like a few years at least! So, be happy with a six month wait for the show to return Jamie and Claire to you!
My last thoughts on Lallybroch for now… The difference between what the show provides as representation and what is so set in my mind in relation to Lallybroch! I do trust the show creators to pull this off and set another vision of Lallybroch into our hearts but I don’t think it will ever replace that vision in my mind and my heart of what Lallybroch is? As I have mentioned before, Diana Gabaldon’s amazing ability to paint us a picture with words sets such a detailed vision of what a place is in each person’s mind that it’s extremely difficult to completely erase or replace that vision in filming. When I saw the previews for Lallybroch, it is not anything close to that image in my mind? When I envision Lallybroch, I do not see any type of Castle, fortress, or really even a fancier manor house type? I see a country working farm estate, white washed as described in the book so well… a place with barns, and fields and sheep, hills and a tower back behind!
This image taken from a distance does come a bit closer but still, not really what I see when I close my eyes and think of Lallybroch!
This is far closer to what I see!
And, when I imagine Roger and Bree seeing it, I can see this sort of image of a worn and empty home in need of love!
There is one other very important detail that needs to be included on the property… besides Jenny’s beloved sheep of course? There needs to be a North facing tower at the rear of the land! During the 1700s it was still standing up well, and Jamie had childhood memories of having to clean that entire tower as one of his punishments! He and Ian recalled that event and Ian made much of the fact that had Jamie kept his mouth shut, they could have just escaped with a whipping rather than the days it took to clean the tower! It was also still standing and somewhat useable during Roger and Bree’s time there as I believe that was where Buck was hiding out at? So, while this image of the North Facing Tower is more rundown than what I would imagine, still there does need to be a North Facing Tower!
I do hope this has answered any questions you might have as to why Lallybroch is so important, and why it is holds such a special place in my heart as well!
Now… on to the rest of my project, building my own little piece of Lallybroch! After much self debate, I decided to combine the show’s version with the version stuck in my head. Here is the very basic start to it:
Please keep in mind that houses were not as large back then as we often assume them to have been? Ohhhh and after placing the house, I’ve now realized that I need to move my tower to the other side so it’s in the rear of the house! I’ve also come to the conclusion that I need to move it to a bigger lot!