Outlander fans fume at Claire and Geillis timeline ‘error’ as time-travel rules under fire



The epic saga began back in 1991 when Claire Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe) stepped back in time through the stones of Craigh Na Dun in Scotland in Diana Gabaldon’s first Outlander novel. Now settled in North Carolina in the 18th Century with her husband Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), the hit TV adaptation from Starz has left viewers rather baffled regarding another mysterious time-traveller.

Fans are still wondering how Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek) was able to travel back further than 200 years to change the course of Scottish history.

Claire first meets Geillis in the first season and eventually discovers she also travelled through Craigh Na Dun from the 20th Century.

She became obsessed with the Jacobite rebellion, and killed her husband at the stones, believing she needed a human sacrifice to travel through time.

However, one observant viewer was stumped when they realised Geillis started her journey two decades after Claire but had apparently been living in the past for some years by the time they met.

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Redditor u/suprisinglyunhappy- asked: “How can Geillis have travelled later than Claire but arrived earlier than her?”

Several aspects of Gabaldon’s historical fantasy have left fans scratching their heads over the years, as it’s still unclear how exactly time travel functions in the Outlander universe.

Three seasons after Geillis’ final appearance in the series, and it still hasn’t been explained how her husband’s sacrifice meant she was able to travel further than 200 years into the past.

“I’m confused about the timeline and the linear nature of the time travel,” the post continued.

“If Claire first went through in 1945 and arrived in 1743, and three years went and she arrived back in 1948… how can Geillis have travelled back in 1968 and have already been in the past in 1743?!”

The same fan went on to point out Claire’s daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and her husband Roger (Richard Rankin) were tied to the same restrictions when they followed her to the 18th Century.

“When other people like Roger and Briana go back, they’re on the same linear timeline as Claire?” they said. “But Geillis went back 20+ years further than Claire?”

Some viewers are clearly frustrated with the series’ ambiguous rules regarding who can travel in time and how far they can go.

To make matters more complicated, the series begins with the ghostly figure of Claire’s husband Jamie watching her in the 1940s, despite the fact he doesn’t share her ability to travel through time.

Offering some explanation, u/SomeMidnight411 replied: “Yeah the time travel thing the characters sorta figure out along the way.

“We don’t exactly know how it works but there are theories. Like steering, that if you think of a certain person or event you can get there.

“One of the books does say you need a human sacrifice to go back farther than 200 years. Since Geillis does have the sacrifice she is able to go back farther.”

For those who are desperate for more answers, Gabaldon’s novels apparently go into slightly more detail about the fundamentals of time travel.

The author even states Geillis was right about her husband’s sacrifice on some level, as it seemed to grant her more control over where she arrived in the past.

Still, there are many more mysteries about Craigh Na Dun and Claire’s fellow time-travellers which will hopefully be resolved in Outlander’s final two seasons, as well as Gabaldon’s tenth and final book.

Outlander season 7 premieres summer 2023 on Starz in the USA and Lionsgate+ via Prime Video.

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