Why wouldn't Murtagh have to say the oath at The Gathering in Outlander?

During Outlander Season 1, The Gathering takes place at Castle Leoch. Murtagh gets to watch from the balcony, but why is that possible? Shouldn't he have to say the oath too?
Outlander Season 2 -- Courtesy of STARZ
Outlander Season 2 -- Courtesy of STARZ /

When Murtagh was at The Gathering in Outlander Season 1, he was allowed to watch from the balcony. He didn’t need to say an oath, and some fans want to understand why.

There are a lot of details that the show doesn’t have a liberty to explain. It means some inference (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it helps people do their own research) and some understanding of the time period and the way the clans worked.

Murtagh doesn’t have to swear an oath of loyalty to Colum MacKenzie during The Gathering at Castle Leoch. This is all linked to the fact that he’s not actually a MacKenzie.

Murtagh is a Fraser in Outlander

Murtagh isn’t with Dougal and his men because he is part of Clan MacKenzie. He is there for Jamie. As we get to know Murtagh and Jamie more, we learn that Murtagh is Jamie’s godfather, and he has sworn an oath to Ellen to protect her son from harm.

He couldn’t always be by Jamie’s side, but he is there as much as possible. That includes when Jamie is with Dougal and his men when Claire first comes through the stones. Murtagh remains with Jamie, likely knowing that Dougal has already tried to kill Jamie.

As a guest of Colum’s he doesn’t have to swear the oath. After all, he’s not part of that clan. If he was going to swear an oath, it would be to the laird of the Fraser clan. Similarly, Claire doesn’t say the oath as she isn’t part of the clan. She’s just a guest at the Castle. There are a few others who get the same luxury at The Gathering to just watch it all happen.

Isn’t Murtagh related to Mrs. Fitz?

As you’ll know, one of Murtagh’s names is Fitzgibbons. This is the same as Mrs. Fitz, who runs the kitchen at Castle Leoch. Since the two are related, wouldn’t it mean that Murtagh should swear loyalty to Clan MacKenzie?

No, because Mrs. Fitz married into the MacKenzie clan. She has become part of that clan but Murtagh didn’t, despite the two being related. Murtagh remains a Fraser. That’s why his name order is Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser.

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Outlander is available to stream on Starz.