History is a key element in Starz's time-traveling TV show, Outlander. Through her series of books, author Diana Gabaldon plays with historical accuracy at times, using real life people and events to help unfold the plot of her main characters, Jamie and Claire Fraser. In last season's finale, Claire traveled back through the stones in Craigh na Dun, leaving her beloved Jamie behind to fight a doomed battle for the Jacobite army. By some miracle of fate Jamie survived, but neither Claire nor the viewers know exactly how he managed to stay alive in one of the most violent battles in Scottish history.
If you've done your homework and are all caught up with Jamie and Claire's adventures in the first two seasons, stick around to find out some more about what lies ahead for Jamie when #OutlanderSeason3 premieres next year. But first, let's take a page out of Diana Gabaldon's book and set history straight on the Jacobite Rising of 1745, and the events that led to Culloden.
MILD SPOILER ALERT: In case you haven't read Voyager yet, this article contains minor spoilers about Jamie's fate.
The Jacobite Rising of 1745 - "the Forty-Five", as they were later dubbed - was the second attempt of the House of Stuart to retake the British throne from the House of Hanover. The uprising was led by Charles Edward Stuart, the "Bonnie Prince Charlie", who had never set foot in Scotland in his life, but thoroughly believed in his "divine right to rule". Prince Charles was also acutely inexperienced in the art of war but, through the word of his father, gained French support for the Jacobite cause and began to plan his takeover Scotland.
Last season in Outlander, we saw the Prince trying to gather some support from his French contacts, while trying to stay under the British radar. Jamie and Claire set sail to France in order to try and stop the rebellion from happening, with Jamie befriending the Prince and failing to thwart the Jacobite plans.
Even without the promised French gold and support, the Prince opted for going forward with his plans to dethrone the Hanovers, and in 1745 set foot in Scotland for the first time. Most of Prince Charles's support on Scottish soil came from the Highland clans, and they formed the bulk of the Jacobite army that marched on Edinburgh and took over the city. Later that year, Prince Charles won another important victory at Prestonpans, near Edinburgh, which emboldened him to unsuccessfully march south and take London.
In the series, Edinburgh was replaced with Inverness, but the Jacobite road to the throne remained pretty much the same. Because of his close relationship with the Prince, Jamie was a high officer in the Army, and ended up training his own regiment with Dougal's assistance.
The Battle of Culloden Moor
The Jacobite army then marched back up north and faced the strength of the British army in the Battle of Culloden. Led by the Duke of Cumberland, King George II's son, the government army decisively defeated the tired and disorganized Jacobite army. Prince Charles Stuart led the attack from behind the lines, causing him to make the mistake of leaving his army fully exposed to the Redcoats's mortars and musket fire.
The Jacobite army suffered heavy casualties, partly because of their lack of training and equipment, and partly due to Prince Charles's terrible call to fight the heavily armed and trained government forces on flat and marshy ground. The open moorland rendered the famous Highland charge impractical, with the Jacobites running on boggy ground directly in the British line of fire. This crushing defeat - with Jacobite casualties estimated in the 2000, while government forces lost only 50 men - brought about a definitive end to the Stuart cause and the Jacobite Rising.
Last season's finale of Outlander showed us some glimpses of Culloden, but the battle remained the background whilst Jamie and Claire's separation took center stage. Jamie was intent on going into battle, if only to save as many men as he could, thus explaining why Claire so firmly believed he died in the field.
James Fraser And The Survivors Of Culloden
Luckily for all of us Outlander fans, the fierce "Red" Jamie didn't perish in that rainy morning of April 16th 1746. After sending Claire off to the safety of 1948 and Frank Randall, Jamie went back to the Moor and fought alongside his fellow Highlanders. When the third novel - Voyager - picks up, Jamie is laying on the battlefield with Black Jack Randall dead next to him. Jamie is taken to a nearby farmhouse, along with other Jacobite survivors, but he ends up as the sole survivor because of a debt of honor - owned to him by Lord John Grey.
The aftermath of Culloden was devastating for the survivors and for anyone who crossed Cumberland's path. The Duke went on to hunt down and show no mercy to any Jacobite supporter, searching as far as the Highlands for any traitor. Considering Jamie's home of Lallybroch was in the Highlands, that put him - and the rest of his family - in severe danger. In the months - and even years - following Culloden, any family found to be harboring a Jacobite would lose their lands and face high treason charges - which was punishable by death.
How Much Will We See Of Culloden In Season 3?
According to producer and showrunner Ronald D. Moore, Season 3 will give us the bloody battle promised in the second season. So much was teased about Culloden and the impending doom the Jacobites faced, that Outlander "should give the audience some sense of what happened on that moor." That is a completely different beginning to the story as it plays out in Voyager, where Jamie wakes up after the battle having almost no memory of how it played out. In an interview with Harper's Bazar, Sam Heughan - who plays Jamie Fraser - said that not only will the viewers see some Culloden battle scenes, but that it also looks "spectacular".
With the two first episodes of Season 3 already wrapped, and still many months until the premiere, it's going to be really hard keeping the anticipation under control. Voyager is a long and emotionally wrenching ride, and Outlander Season 3 will offer much more than Culloden when it debuts next year.
What are you most excited to see in Outlander Season 3? Let me know in the comments!