‘Outlander’: Book Fans Think Marsali Will Replace Malva This Season

Outlander season 5 is in full swing, and fans are riveted by every moment of Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) new life in colonial America. But for those who’ve read the Outlander books, the show seems to be leaving out a major character in the Fraser’s lives. Some are beginning to think that Marsali (Lauren Lysle) is replacing Malva Christie in the TV version of the story.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for the Outlander book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes]

Lauren Lyle
Lauren Lyle – Outlander | Starz

How closely does ‘Outlander’ follow the books?

The Starz show is based on author Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series. And while it closely follows the book’s storyline and characters, the show does change things up once in a while. Season 5 is set up to follow Gabaldon’s fifth book, A Fiery Cross

But in an interview with Collider, Sam Heughan revealed that fans will also follow A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and feature elements not found in the novels. “So, we stick to the books, of course, but we’re using parts of Book 6, as well,” said Heughan. “There’s also different storylines in there, that are not in the books, so there will be some surprises, as well, for the book fans.”

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Who is Malva in ‘Outlander’?

Malva Christie is a character Gabaldon introduces in her fifth book, A Fiery Cross. She comes to live in Fraser’s Ridge with her father, Tom and her brother, Allan. 

In A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Malva joins Claire in the clinic. She is a great student and eventually becomes Claire’s apprentice. She helps Claire with her first operation in Fraser’s Ridge and learns how to use ether as anesthesia for their patients. 

Claire treats Malva like a daughter and begins to teach her everything she can about healing. But soon Claire is ridden with a mysterious illness and becomes bedridden. In the meantime, Malva declares she is pregnant and claims that Jamie is the father.

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Later in the book, Malva is found dead in a lettuce patch with her throat cut. It is revealed that Malva had used the knowledge Claire gave her so she could infect Claire. She had been impregnated by her brother, Allan, and was trying to kill Claire so she could marry Jamie and cover up the incest. 

When Claire finds the body, she tries to save the baby, but it is too weak to survive and dies. She is charged with Malva’s murder, but then Malva’s father Tom takes the blame. Later, Allan confesses to Claire that he killed his sister.

Fans think Marasali is taking Malva’s place this season

So far, on season 5 of Outlander, it looks like Marsali is taking Malva’s spot as Claire’s apprentice. She’s been learning all about surgery and penicillin, and she’s even helping Claire with her patients. Marsali is also pregnant, just like Malva, and is beginning to share a daughter-like bond with Claire. 

Some fans think the show made a good call by omitting Malva entirely. “Malva’s story line in the books makes sense, but it is a big side story/character part of the books, so it might make sense to omit it for the series,” one fan wrote on Reddit. 

Other’s are worried that Marsali will betray Claire on the show like Malva did in the book. “I keep worrying that they’re going to make Marsali the new Malva and that whole awful situation. Please no- I really love their relationship,” wrote a Redditor.

But some fans think that Marsali will stay true to her character and that the show will omit the betrayal-murder scenario altogether. One fan thinks that Claire’s notes being published could become the reason she’s arrested.
Fergus would not have taken paper from Claire’s surgery, especially a piece with her writing on it,” wrote the Reddit fan. “But…With no Malva to kill, Claire will have to be arrested for something. To soon to think this is where we are headed?”

Marsali may be replacing Malva as Claire’s assistant this season. But hopefully, she won’t offer the same betrayal or suffer the same tragic fate.