Jamie’s godfather and best friend are Murtagh Fraser.
Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser went to Castle Leoch’s Gathering in 1715 to court Ellen MacKenzie. During the tynchal, he killed a wounded boar with a dagger and received the tusks from Colum MacKenzie, which were virtually perfect double circles. Even though Ellen had chosen to marry Brian Fraser, he had them fashioned into a set of bracelets and handed them to her.
Murtagh fell at Ellen’s feet when Jamie was a week old, swearing to her that he would always follow Jamie, do his bidding, and guard his back when he grew up and needed service.
Murtagh joined Dougal MacKenzie’s party as a way to keep Jamie safe when Jamie returned to Scotland right before the events of Outlander. He is almost constantly by Jamie’s side and, on the battlefield of Culloden, he accompanies his captain to his death.
Series of Outlander
Claire first encounters Murtagh as Captain Jonathan Randall is assaulting her. Randall is overtaken by Murtagh, who whisks her away. Claire bites him and he knocks her out while the Redcoats are nearing. Murtagh rides her to a stone hut where Dougal MacKenzie and his men, together with a wounded Jamie Fraser, are waiting for darkness to fall so they can flee. He tells Dougal where he discovered her and expresses his view that Claire is not the whore Randall claims she is.
To keep an eye on Jamie, Murtagh joins Dougal on his rent collection. Murtagh picks up bets and gives Jamie his share of the money after Jamie gets into a brawl with several pub patrons who are there to donate to the Stuart cause. Later, despite her overindulgence in alcohol the night before, he makes sure Claire has nice clothing to wear for her wedding and that she looks acceptable. He is a witness at the wedding alongside Dougal. Claire later learns that Murtagh, along with Rupert and Ned Gowan, provided Jamie with wedding night advice, some of which was incorrect.
Jamie assigns Murtagh to Claire’s safety during the battle with the Grants. During the fight, Murtagh shoots a man, and the tide turns. He and Jamie are on the lookout for the raiders. Later, while teaching Claire how to fight with a dirk, Rupert cites Murtagh’s slim back as an example of where the knife should be placed for the best results.
Murtagh joins Jamie on his mission to save Claire from the Cranesmuir people, but his horse can’t keep up with Jamie’s. After retrieving their stuff, including Claire’s medicines from Castle Leoch, he catches up with Claire and Jamie at Lallybroch. Mrs. Fitz had packed them away, he tells Claire. When Claire teases him about his relationship with Mrs. Fitz, he reveals that her husband was his uncle and that she was devastated by Claire’s incarceration and allegation of witchcraft. Mrs. Fitz, he claimed, was the one who initially recognized Claire was missing and made Colum’s life difficult by refusing to help Claire.
Murtagh arrives at Claire and Jenny’s encampment after Ian informs him that Jamie has been apprehended by the Watch. Jenny hands Claire over to him so she may tend to her nursing infant. Murtagh informs Jenny of her new kitchen maid, the Widow McNab before she departs. Claire discovers that the abusive Ronald MacNab betrayed Jamie to the Watch and was now dead in retaliation.
Murtagh proposes that they go openly in their search for Jamie so that Jamie, who has eluded the Watch, can find them. While Claire’s reputation as a healer and fortune teller grows, they go from bar to tavern, and despite their personality differences, Claire admits that they get along swimmingly. He leaves word with gypsies who fit Jamie’s description, and a few days later one arrives to pick up Claire, requesting that Murtagh remain behind. Instead of taking Claire to Jamie, the gypsy takes her to Dougal, who tries to seduce her, but Murtagh arrives just in time.
Murtagh informs Dougal that they require funds and soldiers in order to rescue Jamie, who has been taken prisoner by the English and sentenced to death. Despite Dougal’s assumption that Jamie is doomed, he offers them money and permits Murtagh to approach his men for volunteers. He persuades five men to accompany him, including Rupert.
Claire inquires in the prison about what will happen if they are unable to save Jamie, and Murtagh informs her that Dougal will bury them both on either side of Jamie. Claire is escorted inside the prison by Murtagh, who is dressed as Claire’s groom, to meet with Sir Fletcher Gordon, the prison’s civilian governor. She poses as a family acquaintance who has been asked to pay him a visit.
Claire appears after Murtagh has been admitted, seeking to see the governor in order to give him a gift. She arrives just in time to see Murtagh pulling an unconscious soldier, and she uses the brandy she brought to divert her escort. He tells her that the guard has a set of keys in the governor’s office. When his attempt to flee fails, he encounters Claire at Sir Marcus MacRannoch’s home, Eldridge Manor, where he took her after rescuing her from wolves in Eldridge Wood.
He remembers MacRannoch from the Gathering thirty years before, when they were each trying to woo Ellen MacKenzie in Leoch. Claire’s pearls match those given to Ellen by MacRannoch. He accepts their offer of assistance. Murtagh guides the men in diverting attention away from Jamie’s escape by using stolen cattle as a distraction.
If the English show up at Eldridge Hall, Jamie orders Murtagh to kill Jamie and get Claire away. Claire gets a dagger from him. Murtagh declines Sir Marcus’ offer of an escort the next morning but accepts the horses and provisions. Claire is forced to execute a young soldier when Murtagh tries to swindle an English patrol.
Claire learns that Jamie suffers from acute seasickness after Murtagh organizes their passage on a ship going for France. Jamie is forced to take laudanum by Murtagh in order to make it through the journey alive.
Jamie orders Murtagh to return Claire to Scotland and the stones at Craigh na Dun from the abbey, where he is set to die. Murtagh is thrilled to hear Jamie swearing behind closed doors after a fight with Claire after Jamie’s fever has broken. Murtagh notifies Claire a day or two later that Jamie has “gone out,” with an unknown destination and outfit, after declaring his dissatisfaction with being cooped up for so long.
Amber with Dragonfly
Claire and Jamie are accompanied by Murtagh to Le Havre, where they meet Jamie’s uncle, Jared Fraser, and then to Jared’s mansion in Paris.
Rather than staying in Jared Fraser’s lavish mansion, Murtagh decides to find his own lodgings in Paris. He follows Jamie around every day while he attends to Jared’s business and makes cross-channel journeys to bring back big supplies of Scotch whisky, which they use to entertain the French nobles.
Jamie orders Murtagh to accompany Claire to L’Hôpital des Anges as an escort because the hospital is in a nasty part of town. Jamie later instructs Murtagh to keep a watch on Comte St. Germain.
Claire sends Fergus to inform him that she will be late, and he returns with Murtagh to escort her and Mary Hawkins home the next day after an accident sends several casualties to the hospital.
Murtagh later delivers Jamie his dirk and requests that as his chief, Jamie takes his own life because he failed to protect Claire, their unborn child, and Mary Hawkins. Jamie informs him that it was betrayal and that falling during a fight is not something to be ashamed of. He also claims he isn’t Murtagh’s chief because his godfather hasn’t sworn him in.
Murtagh claims he did it when Jamie was a week old, claiming he knelt at Ellen’s feet and swore he would always follow Jamie, do his bidding, and guard his back when he grew up and required it. He tells Jamie that he considers him a son and that his breach of service has made him feel ashamed. Jamie assigns Murtagh the task of tracking down the perpetrators and, once discovered, exacting vengeance for his wife’s honor and Mary’s innocence. Murtagh swears that he will avenge his Laird.
Later, Jamie devises a scheme to damage the cargo of the Comte St. Germain by having Murtagh board and then claim to be sick with smallpox. Claire hands him medicine along with instructions on how to use it. When Jamie challenges Jonathan Randall to a fight, he’s away, and he’s not present to assist Claire in securing his release from the Bastille.
She manages to rescue him just in time for him to accompany Murtagh on the journey, despite Jamie acting ill due to his seasickness. Jamie is protected by Murtagh from the seamen who want to toss him overboard. Jamie then dispatches him to Paris to pay off his debts.
Murtagh joins Jamie and Claire back to Lallybroch after they reunite, and then to the revolt when Prince Charles signs Jamie’s name to a declaration of war. Murtagh sets up a private tent for Jamie and Claire while they are on the campaign. When Jamie catches Lord John Grey, who believes Claire is being held captive by the Scots, Murtagh cautions him that once Claire is released, he should arm himself with a dirk. Jamie begs Murtagh to whip him as a punishment for his recklessness in starting an unshielded fire after whipping the guardsmen who let Lord John into their camp.
Murtagh frequently joins Claire on her tours in Edinburgh while she is in the company of Prince Charles. Later, he travels to Beaufort with Jamie and Claire to see Jamie’s grandfather, Lord Lovat (“the Old Fox”), in order to enlist his assistance in the revolt. Jamie has never met his paternal grandfather, he confesses to Claire. While Jamie and Claire return to Lallybroch, Jamie sends Murtagh to return to Edinburgh with Lord Lovat’s men-at-arms. When Murtagh discovers that Jamie’s men have been detained as deserters, he rushes to see Jamie.
Claire returns to Edinburgh and offers Fergus money to purchase blankets for the Tolbooth inmates. Jamie secures a pardon for his men while in Stirling Castle with Prince Charles, and Murtagh joins Claire as their leader.
Claire is escorted to the Duke of Sandringham’s home after a skirmish at Falkirk, where she is reunited with the Duke’s goddaughter, Mary Hawkins. Mary’s marriage is being planned by the Duke. There, Claire discovers that the Duke’s valet, Albert Danton, attacked them in Paris and raped Mary Hawkins while on the Duke’s instructions to assassinate Claire.
Murtagh shoots and beheads the Duke and takes it with him, while Jamie returns Hugh Munro’s body to his widow during Jamie’s rescue of Claire and Mary. Murtagh insists on Mary accompanying them into the cottage, where he shows Claire and Mary the head as proof of the revenge he pledged to exact.
Jamie requests Murtagh to sign the Deed of Sasine granting Lallybroch to his nephew James Murray shortly after killing Dougal MacKenzie immediately before the Battle of Culloden. He tells Murtagh to round up the soldiers from Lallybroch and wait for him while he checks on Claire.
When Jamie regains consciousness on the Culloden battlefield, he realizes that Murtagh must be dead without knowing how or why.
Jamie tells Claire about how he discovered Murtagh near death, however, the man still had the courage to remark to Jamie, ” “A bhalaich need not fear. To death isn’t too painful.”
Snow and Ashes in a Breath
Jamie senses Murtagh’s presence near him at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge.
Murtagh is one of those men who is startled that women have their own voices and say very little. He believes that the only weapon acceptable for a lady is poison. He is a trustworthy individual who is completely devoted to his godson Jamie. He works in the background to assist Jamie in his efforts to clear his identity. When it comes to Jamie’s safety, Claire trusts Murtagh the most. He is highly protective of those he loves, and if they are hurt, he will avenge them.
Murtagh is a rat-faced, small man with long simian limbs, a low brow, and a thin jaw that Claire associates with the Picts. Murtagh has a lovely, clear tenor voice despite his lack of speaking ability. Murtagh always appears to have rescued his clothes from a landfill, regardless of how new or ancient they are.
Jamie Fraser, the son of Murtagh’s second cousin Brian Fraser, is his godson. His aunt by marriage is Glenna FitzGibbons.