The Campbells Play a Huge (and Scary) Role in the the Outlander Books – POPSUGAR
With Claire firmly back in Jamie’s arms on Outlander, the next order of business is Claire returning to her 18th-century role as a healer (one so “powerful” that people there sometimes think she’s a witch). This time, Claire comes armed with her 20th-century medical school training, which she promptly puts to use attempting to save the life of the man who attacks her and providing a diagnosis for a woman named Margaret Campbell.
Margaret is the sister of Reverend Archibald Campbell, whom Claire meets in an apothecary shop. She helps him with his sister, prescribing a few things other than simply using laudanum (the 18th-century version of morphine) to keep Margaret calm.
But the Campbells are going to play a much bigger role in Claire’s life than this episode would have you believe. Read on to find out what significance they have to the story (and some changes the show appears to have made from the book), but be warned of spoilers.
In the book Voyager, Margaret’s backstory is that she was raped by a band of Redcoats after the Battle of Culloden and left for dead in a ditch. This trauma left her in a state of alternating between catatonia and screaming fits. The show changes that up a little, making Margaret “soft in the head since she was a bairn,” according to her brother. He also says she’s a “seer,” which is certainly what 18th-century people would have called her if she seemed like she was having visions. Claire tells the reverend no more laudanum and instead prescribes making teas from various herbs, which will help keep Margaret on a more even keel and help her sleep.
The reverend may not take Claire’s advice, since he’s using his sister’s “fits” to run a grift, i.e., “interpret” her visions for people for “a modest fee.”
In addition to changing Margaret’s backstory from the book, the show has also changed the reverend’s. In the books, he’s the Edinburgh “fiend,” a kind of Jack the Ripper-esque serial killer. But since no mention has been made of that on the show, we suspect the writers decided to omit that storyline altogether.
But Margaret and the reverend are going to come back into Claire’s life in Jamaica when Geillis Duncan returns. The former frenemy of Claire consults the reverend about a Scottish prophecy made regarding the Fraser of Lovat family tree (Jamie’s line through is father). This is probably still going to happen on the show, because it plays a big part in the novels.
Meanwhile, while Claire is confronting the reverend and Geillis, Margaret is left to her own devices on Geillis’s plantation, where she is used as a voodoo conduit by some of the slaves. That event might be changed a bit, because it does play into some serious stereotypes about African slaves and voodoo, but based on Margaret’s “vision” for Claire in this latest episode, it’s going to come into play at least somewhat.
Margaret says to Claire, “Do you hear ’em? Do you hear the tree toads’ lullaby? And the moon! The moon be chalky with blood. Better be careful, Abandawe will devour ye! Abandawe! Abandawe!”
In Voyager, “Abandawe” is a stone circle and an ancient cave near Geillis’s plantation. Geillis plans to use young Ian as a sacrifice to travel through time via those stones, and it is there that Claire kills Geillis for threatening her family (including Brianna, as the last of the Frasers of Lovat’s line).
It’s all a little confusing, but suffice to say that Geillis has been meddling with time in an attempt to free Scotland from British rule. It remains to be seen how much the show is going to dig into this book plot, but they’re laying the groundwork for at least some of it.