Tom Christie is certainly one of those characters in Outlander who leaves us with mixed feelings. We want to hate him, but by the end of his storyline, it’s hard to not feel a little bit of sympathy.
Tom is a proud man. He is proud in his faith, and he believes himself to be a leader of men. So, when Jamie comes along and commands the loyalty of men without seemingly doing too much, he gets jealous. And despite his pride, he also knows that sometimes he has to turn to others for aid, and that leads to him turning to Jamie, who offers a place for everyone at Ardsmuir at Fraser’s Ridge.
It’s when Tom gets to Fraser’s Ridge that we see him interact with Claire. At first, he looks down on her, but by the end, he tells Claire that he loves her. Does he, though? Do his actions match his words?
Tom loved Claire in his own way in Outlander
I do think that Tom Christie loved Claire in his own way. He just struggled to show that. It also didn’t help that he could see Claire and Jamie were happy together, and his faith and pride would not have allowed him to become the other man in a relationship if Claire did (for some strange reason) decide she wanted to be with him.
Tom also fought against his feelings, especially at first. Claire reminded him of his wife in many ways. Claire was a woman not of this time, and it’s clear that he could sense that. She would read books that he didn’t approve of, and she didn’t wear a hat as married women of the time would. Claire was bold and secure in who she was, and that’s something that made Tom feel in a mixed way toward her.
In the end, he did show his love for Claire. He knew Claire hadn’t killed Malva. I think even without knowing the full truth, he would have known that Claire didn’t have a hand in Malva’s death. He couldn’t see an innocent woman executed for murder. So, he showed his love in one final act of sacrifice. He “turned himself in,” even though he knew it would mean he would likely be hanged for murder. He decided that he had done enough bad in the world to warrant death, while Claire kept doing good and had more good to do.
So, yes, I do think Tom loved Claire. He couldn’t completely show it—the time period, his pride, and his mixed feelings considering his wife made it difficult. That didn’t stop him from paying what he thought would be the ultimate sacrifice to save her, showing his love.