Outlander: Does Jamie Die in the Books?

Jamie's brush with death in Outlander Season 5 proves just how fragile life can be. Does this main character survive in the books?

Jamie in Outlander Season 5
Photo: Starz

This Outlander article contains spoilers through Season 5, Episode 9 and through the eighth novel Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

In this week’s Outlander episode, Jamie—and all who love him—have quite the scare when he is bitten by a poisonous snake while out on a hunt. He is brought back to Fraser’s Ridge and, luckily, Claire is able to whip up some penicillin to save him, but it’s touch and go for awhile there, leading everyone (including us viewers) to reflect on the mortality of this man who has survived wars, but is merely mortal and living in pre-Revolutionary North Carolina where a broken needle can mean the difference between life or death.

Some viewers of adaptations go to great lengths to preserve the spoiler-free viewing experience. Others, need to know what will happen… While there is no guarantee that the Outlander TV show will continue to follow the books until its end, the series has been pretty faithful so far and there’s no reason to suspect it would change up that M.O. five seasons in. Here’s what we know about Jamie’s fate, and his chances for TV survival, past Season 5.

Good news, Jamie fans. As you may have suspected, Jamie is still alive and kicking in the Outlander book series, which currently has eight installments and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. The most recent book, 2014’s Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, is already into the events of the Revolutionary War, and revolves around the British evacuation of Philadelphia and the Battle of Monmouth, which took place in 1778.

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While Jamie may be alive for the events of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Claire doesn’t actually know that. At the end of the previous novel, the ship that has Jamie returning from Scotland is lost at sea and Jamie is presumed dead. When Claire is arrested for being a spy (classic Claire!), Lord John Grey insists on marrying her to keep her and the rest of the family safe. In Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Claire and Jamie are reunited.

The next book in the series is titled Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone, which I personally think is the best title yet. While author Diana Gabaldon has yet to give a release date or an official synopsis for the book (though we do have these excerpts), I am hoping the “I” in question is not Jamie and the “gone” in question is not “death.” But we’ll keep you updated on any changes in the odds of Jamie’s survival.

While Jamie may not have succumbed to any snake bites or rogue bayonets in the Outlander book series yet, he’s not exactly a spring chicken, either. By the end of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Jamie is 58. That being said, while life expectancy in America at this time was only 38 for a white male, most people who made it to 60, would make it to 75. And Jamie has Claire—who, based on what we saw in this last episode—has powers of healing that border on the supernatural, at least when it comes to soulmate Jamie.

“To be honest, I think there’s still stuff to be revealed,” Sam Heughan (Jamie) told Glamour about the potential repercussions of Jamie’s brush with death. “I sort of secretly know what it is, but [it’ll be] revealed by Diana [Gabaldon, the series creator] with these next few books and the next few seasons. For the time being, Jamie has chosen to remain here on this planet with Claire and they need each other.”

Anyway, Jamie is a fictional character. He’s going to live forever. As long as he avoids snakes.