‘Outlander’: Why Did Jamie Name His Son William?

Outlander Season 7 will feature the return of a character that fans haven’t seen since season 4 — William Ransom. The young Earl of Ellesmere has been raised by Lord John Grey (David Berry) and doesn’t know he’s the biological son of Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). Will he ever find out the truth?

Outlander star Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) and Clark Butler (young Willie) in season 3
Sam Heughan (James Fraser) and Clark Butler (young William) | STARZ

Jamie’s son was born in ‘Outlander’ Season 3

When Claire (Caitriona Balfe) traveled back through the stones at the end of season 2 for the safety of her and her unborn child, that decision resulted in her and Jamie being apart for 20 years. After the Battle of Culloden, Jamie was sent to Ardsmuir prison where he befriended the governor, Lord John Grey.

Lord John later paroled Jamie to work at an English estate for the Dunsany family. But when daughter Geneva Dunsany found out his true identity was “Red Jamie,” she blackmailed him into sleeping with her before she married the Earl of Ellesmere. 

That one night stand resulted in Geneva getting pregnant with Jamie’s child, who she named William. After the death of both of his parents, William was raised by Lord John. In order to keep his title and his inheritance, William was kept in the dark about the identity of his biological father.

Why did Jamie Fraser name his son William?

Jamie’s son was named after his older brother William, who died when Jamie was just six years old. He’s only been referenced a couple of times in the Outlander story. Most notably, Jamie carved a toy snake out of wood to honor his brother’s memory. Similar to the one his brother had made for him as a child that had his nickname “Sawny.”

William Simon Murtagh MacKenzie Fraser was the oldest son of Ellen MacKenzie and Brian Fraser. They had married in secret, and got pregnant not long after. Which meant that Ellen’s family had to accept their union. They went on to welcome daughter Jenny (Laura Donnelley) and youngest son Jamie.

The Frasers lived at the family estate known as Lallybroch, but tragedy struck when William was just 11 years old. He died from smallpox, and left a six-year-old Jamie devastated. Two years later, Jamie’s mom Ellen died during childbirth along with her baby.

When William died, Jamie became the eldest male heir in the Fraser Clan. And he was raised to become Laird Broch Tuarach, the lord of the estate. However, the events of Outlander forced Jamie to give the land to his sister and her husband, Ian Murray (Steven Cree).

William Ransom returns to ‘Outlander’ in season 7

It was revealed in May 2022 that William Ransom would be back for Outlander Season 7. But this time, he will be an adult. Charles Vandervaart, 21, has been cast to play the adult version of Jamie’s secret son.

According to executive producer Maril Davis, finding someone “with the talent and physicality to play Jamie’s son was a daunting task.” However, she says that Vandervaart’s charisma was evident during the audition process. And, they are “excited to see what he will bring to William’s multi-layered journey.”

Will William find out the truth about his real father when he returns in the upcoming season? Fans will have to wait and see.

Outlander Season 7 will premiere on Starz in late 2022 or early 2023. 

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