Outlander: Explaining how Geillis’s time traveling

Outlander -- Courtesy of STARZ -- Acquired via STARZ Media Center
Outlander -- Courtesy of STARZ -- Acquired via STARZ Media Center /

Geillis only ever traveled once on Outlander so how was she in multiple times?

Geillis Duncan is an intriguing and manipulative character. All she wants is freedom for Scotland, so it’s not surprising that she time travels to the 18th century. However, many Outlander fans have become confused by how Geillis can be in two timelines. Does she travel more than once?

Certainly not! Geillis only ever travels through the stones once. In 1968, she heads to the past. So, how does Claire cross paths with her so much?

Shows involving time travel can end up making your head hurt. It’s always worth not going down the time travel rabbit hole, but that can be hard to avoid. Let’s break down Geillis’s timeline.

Birth to time travel

Geillis is born Gillian in the 20th century. It’s not clear when she’s born, but it has to be around the same time or a little earlier than Brianna and Roger. She’s in her 20s or maybe early 30s in 1968.

This is when Brianna, Claire, and Roger see her. Bree sees her first at the rally. Claire then realizes that this is when Geillis traveled from. There was always that hint at the witch trials. Geillis’s comment about 1968 was the year that Geillis traveled.

Geillis went through the stones at this point. Her aim was to get there around 1743, giving her time to help ensure the Jacobite cause wouldn’t be lost. She went a little earlier than planned, which is how she was in the past before Claire time traveled. So, Geillis was there in 1743 when Claire arrived for the first time.

Outlander — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ Media Center /

Understanding Geillis on Outlander Season 3

Try not to look at Claire’s linear timeline as Geillis’s linear timeline. When Claire goes back through the stones in 1746 (and reaches 1948), Geillis remains in the past. She doesn’t come back through the stones at all.

This allows Claire to live 20 years in the 20th century and find the younger, pre-traveled Geillis in 1968. Meanwhile, Geillis Duncan is in the 18th century trying to survive. Dougal had helped to save her from death at the stake and she made her way to the West Indies. There, she became a slave and plantation owner.

We catch up with her 20 years later when Claire heads back through the stones and ends up in Jamaica while searching for Young Ian.

This is when Geillis learns that there is a way to travel again. She also finds out about Brianna. While younger Geillis had met Brianna, she would have had no idea who Brianna was. And after more than 20 years spent in the past, do you really think Geillis would have even remembered Bree’s face? This was just some American girl in Scotland. There was no need for Geillis to remember her at this time.

Claire killed Geillis to protect Brianna. The bones remained in the cave until they were found and sent to Joe Abernathy in 1968, which is when Claire (still in the 20th century at this point) comes across the bones and feels a connection to them.

Phew! Did you get all that? I know time travel can be hard to work your head around. What’s linear for one character isn’t linear for another. You need to look at different characters on their own to understand their own time travel.

Geillis’s death in the past doesn’t affect her birth

By the way, something that happens in the past isn’t necessarily going to prevent a birth. Geillis would need to do something that prevents her parents from being together to prevent her own birth. Just because she’s died in the past doesn’t mean her birth in the future is going to be affected.

Her timeline is linear. Geillis is born around the 1940s and time travels to the past where she dies. That’s it. Time itself will just continue as it was going to.

Next. 25 best Claire and Jamie moments on Outlander so far. dark

Which bits of time travel do you struggle to get your head around? What do you get confused about when it comes to Geillis? Share in the comments below.

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