Outlander may be ending after Starz confirmed season eight would be the last outing. However, the Diana Gabaldon franchise continues with prequel series Blood of My Blood which focuses on the love story between Jamie Fraser’s (played by Sam Heughan) parents. Blood of My Blood is likely to feature Jamie’s grandfather Simon Fraser (Clive Russell), who was also known by his dubious nickname the ‘Old Fox’.
Was Jamie Fraser’s grandfather Simon Fraser real?
While some of the characters in Outlander are fictional, such as Jamie and his wife Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe), others are real-life historical figures.
Among them, is Simon Fraser (Clive Russell) who was the 11th Lord Lovat, who was a Jacobite but also known for changing his allegiances.
Speaking about the real-life figure, Professor Pittock said: “It’s very interesting that Diana Gabaldon chose a Fraser as her hero because of course, among those leaders of the great Scottish families, Simon Fraser of Lovat was regarded as by far the most – the Old Fox – the most double-faced and untrustworthy.
“So in that sense, it’s easy to choose a Fraser as your hero because his natural leader is seen as an untrustworthy figure even at the time.
“[Instead of] if she were to choose somebody who comes from a what you might call a principled Jacobite clan family or background.”
He went on to say: “I don’t know whether the Frasers were dodgy per se. But the chief of the name Lord Lovat, Simon Fraser, was regarded as a very untrustworthy political operator in the 18th century.
“He was on both sides of the tracks at different times. Ultimately, he was probably a Jacobite and a Scottish patriot but he was very, very untrustworthy and regarded as such by his contemporaries.”
The academic added: “So, in that sense, the fact that Jamie is a Fraser means it’s perhaps easier to present a negative picture of the Jacobite cause than it might have been if Jamie was a Cameron.”
In the events of Outlander, Simon had his grandson beaten after Jamie and Claire arrived at Castle Beaufort to try and gain his support for the Jacobite cause.
Throughout the interaction, Simon refused to give a commitment to the political campaign.
In the end, Simon sent his son in his place to join Clan Fraser and aid Charles Stuart (Andrew Gower) to win the crown.
The underhand Simon also used 30 men from Lallybroch in his own regiment without Jamie’s knowledge in the hopes he could claim the estate as his own if the Jacobites were successful.
Just like in Outlander, Simon was beheaded at Tower Hill in 1747 after the Battle of Culloden when he was convicted of treason against the Crown.
Professor Pittock went on to address the narrative of the Jacobite cause and the Battle of Culloden in Outlander.
He said: “The idea of Gallic Scotland as doomed to fight and lose and to be romantic in doing that, that’s very old.
“It touches a lot of heartstrings and memories but I guess it’s a core part of Scotland’s appeal.
“But quite a few people in Scotland can get quite tired of it because it’s like whatever you’re doing you’re bound to be beaten. And history is not like that and indeed the history of Scotland.”
With Blood of My Blood in the works, the show is highly likely to see the formation of Simon and how he became so duplicitous in his dealings.
Moreover, the show will be shining a spotlight on Clan Fraser as a whole including Jamie’s father Brian Fraser (Andrew Whipp).
Again, there could be tension between Brian and Simon with further differences between the pair being explored.
Outlander season 7 will air later this year and seasons 1 to 6 are streaming.