In the March 29 episode of Outlander, Jamie (Sam Heughan) is finally forced to go into the battle he’s been avoiding. But before the fight, he invokes a prayer to his late uncle and war chieftain. Jamie utters the words in Gaelic, but many are wondering exactly what he said in his emotional prayer to Dougal.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Outlander, season 5, episode 7.]
Why did Jamie pray to Dougal on ‘Outlander’?
In the “Ballad of Roger Mac,” Jamie finds himself stuck in between two sides of a battle he never wanted to fight. On one hand, he made a deal to stay loyal to Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) in exchange for Fraser’s Ridge and the safety of his family and friends who live there.
But on the other hand, he knows Murtagh (Duncan LaCroix) is leading the Regulators, and he doesn’t want to fight his own godfather. Plus, Jamie has already fought the British crown for freedom back in Scotland, and he knows why fighting for freedom is so important.
So before the battle, Jamie heads to the river, cuts open his hand, and says a prayer. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) comes upon him and assumes he’s praying to God. But Jamie tells her he is actually calling on his uncle, Dougal MacKenzie (played by Graham McTavish in season 1).
This confuses Claire because she knows Jamie killed Dougal, and that he wasn’t really a good man. Jamie explains that he’s made peace with his uncle, and in this time of battle, he needs the guidance of his old war chief. It makes sense because Dougal was the one who trained Jamie to be the strong fighter and warrior he is today.
What did Jamie say?
When Jamie is emotional, he tends to speak in Gaelic. And that’s exactly what he did with his prayer to Dougal. On Twitter, Outlander’s Gaelic language consultant, Àdhamh Ó Broin, posted a translation of Jamie’s call.
“Oh brother of my mother,” Ó Broin translated the prayer in his tweet. “You gave me battle knowledge, but how do I offer battle to my own godfather? Won’t you tell me?”
This translation shows that Jamie was asking Dougal for the strength to face Murtagh on the battlefield. He tried his best to keep Murtagh safe from the Red Coats, but being forced into battle against him must have been one of the hardest things he’s ever done.
Another reason Dougal may have been mentioned on this episode of ‘Outlander’
Jamie hasn’t mentioned Dougal for quite a while. And it makes sense that he invokes his uncle’s name right before battle. But there might be another reason Dougal was mentioned.
In the same episode, Dougal’s illegitimate son, Buck MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) is introduced to the series. He is played by the same actor that portrayed Dougal, and it looks like the character is channeling his father’s mean streak.
It will be interesting to see if Jamie and Buck ever meet, and whether or not they recognize their familial relationship. For Jamie, seeing another incarnation of Dougal right after praying to him would be wild.
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