*Spoilers – If you don’t want to know what happens, stop here!*
Played by Bill Paterson
Ned is a lawyer from Edinburgh who acts as a legal advisor to Clan MacKenzie and collects the MacKenzie’s rent from the villiagers – keeps up with the records and receipts. He is the only one Dougal trusts with the money. Ned knows the law, inside and out, and apparently hanging around with the MacKenzies, he also loves an adventure.
He befriends Claire while they are on the road collecting the rent and realize they both have a love of poetry – John Donne.
Present in Absence by John Donne
Absence, hear thou my protestation
Against thy strength,
Distance, and length;
Do what thou canst for alteration:
For hearts of truest mettle
Absence doth join (still), and Time doth settle.
Who loves a mistress of such quality,
His mind hath found
Beyond time, place, and all mortality.
To hearts that cannot vary
Absence is present, Time doth tarry.
My senses want their outward motion
Which now within
Reason doth win,
Redoubled by her secret notion:
Like rich men that take pleasure
In hiding more than handling treasure.
By absence this good means I gain,
That I can catch her,
Where none can watch her,
In some close corner of my brain:
There I embrace and kiss her;
And so enjoy her and none miss her.
She helps him with his asthma.
He stands by while Claire learns how to use a knife.
He secures the marriage certificate and explains to Jamie how the marriage will be legally binding.
Secures a wedding dress for Claire.
Even secures a date for the wedding.
Back at Castle Leoch, Laird Colum scolds Dougal, Jamie and him for raising money for the Jacobite cause. Time will tell if he gets back in the Laird’s good graces.
When the Duke of Sandringham visits the castle, he explains to Jamie and Murtagh that getting the Duke to take a Certificate of Complaint against Black Jack Randall might clear Jamie’s name.
His legal acumen really comes into play when he shows up at the witch trial to represent Geillis and Claire, more so the latter.
Make way. Make way, please.
I demand to be let into the proceedings.
Your Honors, as we’re all aware, the Witchcraft Act of 1563 was repealed by the House of Lords in 1735. I, therefore, submit that this entire trial is illegal.
* * *
Well then, I see we have dispensed of British law, which pleases me greatly. But, huh, I am certain you would not wish to dispense of our proud Scottish legal tradition – we are still in Scotland?
* * *
Well, here in Scotland, the accused witch is entitled to a defense lawyer at trial – a benefit sadly not offered to those in merry ole England.
I, therefore, would like to offer my services in support of the accused.
We were delighted to see how quick on his feet he was and how he poked holes in all the witnesses testimonies.
You have my deepest sympathy on the loss of your child.
May I ask, if you were there, why didn’t you stop this woman from interferring with the work of the fairies?
* * *
So, isn’t it true then that your fear and silence allowed her to contaminate the bairn, so that when the fairies came, they could not complete the switch? At least you can take comfort knowing it’s the changeling child that died and that your own child is healthy living forever with the fairies.
* * *
Perhaps we should thank this woman instead of condemning her.
Clearly, she is a jealous young lass with a broken heart.
However, after Father Bain’s testimony, the climate of the trial changed and as Ned said, there is no coming back from it.
We save one of you.
Neither one of us is a witch. ~ Claire
It doesn’t matter what you are. It’s what people think you are.
And people thought you (Geillis) were a witch long before this Englsih lass came into our midst. And, let’s be frank, you’ve practice your murky trade for years. The only thing that stood between you and a pile of kindling was your husband and he’s dead.
I’ve tried Mrs. Duncan, but you are beyond saving.
His only advice for Claire at this point was . . . .
You claim Geillis Duncan bewitched you and renounce her.
Claire refused to turn against Geillis, the court found them guilty and condemned them to death.
Ned resorted to the only thing he could think of – and, we loved it!
He channeled his inner Spartacus . . . kill them all! Who knew he had it in him.
So, where did we leave Ned at the end of Season 1?
Well, we last saw him at the trial; there was a big commotion with men tussling away his gun. It will be interesting to see if we find out what happened to him, or if he shows up in Season 2.
We really grew to like and appreciate him. And, we were glad he was there to bide a little more time until Jamie could get there!
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