Outlander: What happened to William Fraser? Tragic backstory of Jamie’s brother
Season five of Outlander is still a way off and won’t be premiering until February 2020. Some fans have been revisiting previous seasons in a bid to survive the Droughtlander. One character who hasn’t appeared in the Starz show or Diana Gabaldon’s novels is William Fraser. Although he is absent, the spectre of the character is ever-present – but what happened to him?
What happened to William Fraser in Outlander?
William Fraser – or William Simon Murtagh MacKenzie Fraser – was the eldest son of Ellen MacKenzie and Brian Fraser.
Not long after getting married in secret, the couple fell pregnant which meant Ellen’s family had no choice but to accept the union.
Brian and Ellen went on to have daughter Jenny Murray (Laura Donnelley) and Jamie (Sam Heughan).
The couple lived happily enough at the family estate of Lallybroch but tragedy was to strike them after William died at the age 11 from smallpox.
The family was left devastated by the child’s death with Jamie just six at the time of his sibling’s passing.
The Fraser children were close and Jamie even showed Claire (Caitriona Balfe) a wooden rattlesnake William had made for him.
William had carved “Sawny” into the snake, his nickname for Jamie which he’d kept as one of the mementoes of his elder brother.
After William died, Jamie was the eldest male heir and raised to become Laird Broch Tuarach – lord of the estate.
However, events in Outlander saw fate conspire against him with the Highlander forced to turn over his lands and estate to his sister Jenny and her husband Ian Murray (Steven Cree).
Along with the death of his brother William, his mother Ellen died two years later during childbirth, perishing along with her infant.
Jenny and Jamie were brought up by their father Brian as they tried to make the best of their lives despite family tragedy.
Although William never really features, there’s a sense the Fraser children were close and Jamie took his death the hardest.
Jamie was never supposed to inherit Lallybroch and perhaps there’s a relief in him he will never be laird of the estate.
However, the house remains within the Fraser family with Jenny and Ian and their children thriving there.
Whether William is referenced again in either the TV series or the novels remains to be seen but it gives context to Jamie and the burden of responsibility he carries.
William’s death also suggests Jamie and Jenny had to grow up quickly at a young age and keenly understood death as children after losing a brother.
Outlander season 5 will air on Amazon Prime on February 16, 2020
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