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I am truly impressed and charmed with the development of the character Murtagh in the Series. In the books Murtagh always seemed a little indistinct to me — a sort of placeholder character who could be called into service as Jamie’s sidekick when needed, but otherwise isn’t well developed.
Ron & Co. have made Murtagh in the Series more distinct and, I think, very interesting.
Series Murtagh is a guide character from epic literature. Most epic heros have a friend/guide/teacher who helps shepherd him on his journey. Murtagh has Jamie’s interests firmly in mind, and he’s going to see that Jamie remains safe as far as he can.
Then Claire appears. Remember, Murtagh is the one who found Claire and introduces her into the Highlanders’ world. Right from the beginning he is protective of her, assuring Dougal she’s not a “hoor”. And throughout the series we see him looking out for her, guiding her, helping her. Sometimes he’s just keeping his eye on her. Sometimes his help is very subtle. In The Rent, after Angus pulls the knife on Claire, Murtagh makes a joke to the men around the fire to help diffuse the tension.
Several times we see Murtagh filling Claire in on what’s what and how she’s stepping out of line. He’s the one who explains the oath-taking ceremony to her, who warns her to back off pushing Jamie towards Laoghaire, who fills her in on Jamie’s backstory when he disappears so the watch won’t catch him in Rent.
I never quite understood why DG kept the fact that Murtagh is Jamie’s godfather from the reader so long. And I don’t know whether that’s going to become an issue in the Series. But I read once that often a godfather would give his young godson a plaid brooch. I loved the “Sweetest Smile” scene in The Wedding. It speaks so clearly, in a single moment and in a very few words about Murtagh’s love for Jamie, and his ever-present support.
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