Is Black Jack Randall the perfect villain ?

Outlander toursEvery once in a while, a villain comes along on a television series that is so abhorrently yet enthralling to watch, that you can’t help but be intrigued by him (or her). In the case of Outlander, the main antagonist of the first two seasons was Jonathan Wolverton “Black Jack” Randall. Outlander news from Private tours Edinburgh

The moment we met him, we knew we were going to despise him and passionately so. He certainly left us with a bad impression when he tried to attack Claire immediately after she fell through the stones at Craigh Na Dun. His repugnant personality only served to make us hate him more with each appearance after that and yet…we couldn’t look away.

Outlander tours – visit Black Jack Randall’s HQ Fort William and Wentworth prison on our Outlander tours

Every time he was on-screen, being the menacing man we knew him to be, his cold eyes and menacing smirk immediately would send chills down our spines. The truth of the matter is, there will likely never be a better antagonist to the Frasers and their timeless love story. And while Black Jack Randall is no more after the Battle of Culloden, there is still plenty to learn about him. Or for fellow super fans, to refresh our memories about the sinister Redcoat soldier.

For all of you Outlander fans, read on to see the 24 Crazy Things Only Super Fans Knew About Black Jack Randall.

24 TOBIAS MENZIES HAD NO PROBLEM PLAYING A CHARACTER LIKE BLACK JACK

The actor who bravely portrayed both Frank Randall and Black Jack Randall was Tobias Menzies, who gave a riveting performance as both Claire’s historian husband and the Redcoat soldier who inflicts misery on both Claire and Jamie.

When producers wanted to check that he was okay with play a despicable character like Black Jack, he laughed and said he had absolutely no problem with it.

Evidently, this is because British actors like Menzies enjoy being challenged with material and characters like BJR.

23 THE “BLACK” IN HIS NICKNAME REPRESENTS HIS SOUL

Believe it or not, but Black Jack Randall didn’t get his infamous nickname from a card game. According to Jamie Fraser, the “black” in his moniker actually represents the color of his soul.

This makes perfect sense being that Randall is the epitome of evil incarnate. He literally enjoys other people’s struggle, whether it be emotional or physical. It is what truly makes him happy in life, especially if he is the one inflicting the pain.

Never has a character so perfectly emulated what it means to be a corrupt individual with a black soul.

22 THE SHOW BROUGHT BLACK JACK BACK IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN IN THE BOOKS

When we first see Black Jack Randall on Outlander again after we assumed he had perished in the stampede at Wentworth, it is at the Versailles court in France. Of course, Claire had already learned that he had survived from his brother, Alex.

But in the books, this all happens in a much different way. While at another person’s home, Claire is running down a hall and runs directly into Black Jack. They grab onto each other to maintain their balance and Claire is immediately in shock upon seeing his face. She wonders if it is his brother, who he looks remarkably like, but realizes it is, in fact, him once she looks into his cold eyes.

In the book, too, Claire did not know that he had survived the stampede.

21 HE ISN’T BASED ON A REAL PERSON

There are plenty of characters in the Outlander series that are actually based on real-life people from history. Such as Geillis Duncan, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and other Jacobite lords. Mother Hildegarde and Lord Lovat are other notable mentions of real people from history that were featured in this tale.

But one character that definitely was not based on a real person was Jonathan Wolverton Randall a.k.a. Black Jack.

We suppose that is a good thing because he would have been one twisted man if he had actually existed back then.

20 RANDALL IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ATTACKER

During the first two seasons of the Starz series, many fans assumed his orientation based off he seems to want to physically harm men more often than women.

This is actually not the case. Author of the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon, actually clarified that he is “an equal opportunity” attacker.

If it seems like he goes for men over women, that is just because he has easier access to them at the prison. So whether he is brutally hurting Jamie for his pleasure, he’s perfectly happy to do the same with Claire, it seems that the gender of the individual he is hurting really has no bearing on his own preferences.

19 HE WAS A MINOR KNIGHT WITHIN ENGLAND

During the Jacobite Rebellion in the 18th-century, Jonathan Wolverton Randall, a.k.a. Black Jack, was a Captain Of His Majesty’s Eighth Dragoons. He was also considered a minor knight which is a prestigious title. 

Because of his rank and title, he was trusted with quashing the rebellion by the Scots and ended up, as we know, playing a pivotal role in that. It certainly helped him, too, that The Duke of Sandringham financially supported him quite a bit throughout this time period.

18 BLACK JACK ALWAYS KEEPS HIS WORD

This trait of his is one of the more shocking because it is a stark contrast with the evil villain we have known since he first came across Claire in the Highlands at the start of Outlander. He has rarely shown signs of being an honorable man, regardless of being in the British army.

But it seems that once he gives someone his word, he sticks to it. A prime example is when he had Jamie at Wentworth and Claire showed up trying to save him. He told Jamie to give himself to him and he would let Claire go unharmed. Jamie agreed, but BJR easily could have harmed her anyway, just because he wanted to.

Instead, he actually let her go, before going back to inflict pain on Jamie.

17 HE SETS OFF MOST OF THE EVENTS THAT OCCUR BETWEEN JAMIE AND CLAIRE EARLY ON

When looking back at everything that happened from the start of the Outlander novels and series, it was Black Jack’s actions that set most of these things into motion.

With Jamie leaving because of the price on his head that Black Jack created, to Jamie meeting Claire after BJR attacked her, to the two getting married to save Claire from Black Jack’s nefarious plans for her, and so many other events that happened after that.

So if it weren’t for him, in some weird way, we never would have had the epic love story that centered around Jamie and Claire.

16 HE ONLY SHOWED HIS HUMANITY WHEN HIS BROTHER PERISHED

The only emotions we’re used to seeing from Black Jack is hate, glee from harming someone, or fury. There is not a range of other emotions we see from him because he is just a terrible person.

But there was one instance where we caught a glimpse of his humanity. This was when his younger brother, Alex, was almost at his grave.

Once his brother actually passed, you could see the despair on his face, even if he still seemed to be struggling with showing this emotion. It was so out of character for the man we had come to know but showed that even he has “normal” emotions when he loses someone he truly cared about.

15 HE DISGUISED HIS SUSSEX ORIGINS BY GETTING A PROPER EDUCATION

Black Jack Randall at the Palace of Versailles ( Drummond Castle ) Outlander tours – visit Black Jack Randall’s HQ Fort William and Wentworth prison on our Outlander tours

Sussex during the 18th-century was not considered a place where the citizens were properly educated and noble. Because of this, Jonathan Randall’s parents ensured that he would receive a proper education that would effectively disguise his origins.

Though it was not always a secret that he was originally from Sussex, he still did everything he could to hide that fact and come across as a proper Englishman with higher education. It seemed that despite his evil ways, he still wanted to play the part of English gentleman.

14 HE ATTACKS CLAIRE’S GREATEST WEAKNESSES

With Black Jack as the main antagonist in the first two Outlander novels and seasons of the show, it makes sense that he would constantly be going up against our main protagonist, Claire Fraser.

This creates a compelling struggle between the two and a more intriguing and dramatic storyline.

When he first sees Claire, his reaction is to assault her after recognizing her confidence and self-reliance. This is to cause doubt and insecurities to arise in her and ultimately take the control she has away from her. He continues this when he interrogates her in a later episode, making her feel at ease once he apologizes for his actions. But just as she thinks she is getting through to him and bringing him to the “light” with her wits, he turns everything around on her again. It’s really like watching the battle between good and evil unfold before your eyes.

13 HE BURNED FERGUS WITH HIS RING

In Dragonfly In Amber, the second book in the Outlander series, Black Jack does something unbelievably wrong, even for him. While in France, he decides instead of picking a worker, he would pick Fergus, the pickpocket who Jamie took under his wing.

Aside from being rough with the young boy, he actually burned him with his ring.

This is what caused Jamie to take notice, and immediately challenged him to a duel upon discovering what Randall had done. It was a traumatic and damaging event for Fergus, both physically and mentally.

12 IN THE BOOKS, HE LOOKED ALMOST IDENTICAL TO HIS BROTHER, ALEX

Anyone who has seen the television adaptation of the Outlander books knows that not only are Alex and Jonathan Randall night and day from each other in the personality department, but they also look damn near nothing alike.

However, in the books, they look so much alike that it’s almost hard to tell them apart. If it weren’t for Jonathan’s coldness in his eyes that are clear as day, it may even be impossible.

Of course, they had to change this part of the story for the television series, but it would have been interesting to see unfold on screen.

11 BLACK JACK LEADS BY INSTILLING FEAR

Most leaders in any capacity want to earn the respect of those who work under them in honorable ways. They don’t normally go about getting respect by instilling fear in anyone who gets on their bad side.

But that is exactly what Black Jack Randall does with all of his soldiers in His Majesty’s Eighth Dragoons. The fear that these Redcoats feel because of BJR is palpable in any scene featuring their Captain.

It’s not very shocking since we know the type of person he is, but it is definitely not the proper way to earn your troops’ respect.

10 HE MARRIED HIS BROTHER’S FIANCÉ

Jonathan Randall’s younger brother, Alex, was a good man. He cared deeply for his love, Mary Hawkins. But unfortunately, he was also very sick for a long time, which eventually led to his demise.

Before he met his end, though, he had wanted his brother, Black Jack himself, to marry his fiancé. He knew that she was pregnant and he didn’t want her to have the child on her own. Plus, the child would have then become a problem in this time period just because he had no father.

It took convincing from Claire, who had her own motives for the union, but Randall did end up marrying Mary just before his brother passed.

RANDALL HAS A CHILD THAT IS ACTUALLY HIS BROTHER’S

Mary Hawkins and Alex Randall were expecting a child before Alex met his untimely demise. This meant that BJR had to step up to the plate and not only marry Mary Hawkins, but he had agreed to raise the child.

This child would eventually extend the Randall lineage that would lead directly to Frank Randall, who was Claire’s first husband.

Though Black Jack had agreed to take care of the child and marry his brother’s love, he actually didn’t live long enough to make good on his word…

HE KNEW THE DAY HE WOULD GO

Just before Randall began his brutal attack on Jamie at Wentworth Prison, he let Claire go and escorted her out of the prison. Claire was angry and upset over what she knew was about to occur in that prison cell, so she decided to do the only thing she could: hurt BJR with knowledge.

Before she goes, she tells him she is a witch and that she knows the exact date of his end. She then whispers it in his ear before he pushes her into a mass grave that leads to the exit of the prison.

He never forgot this date, either. But he still fought in the Battle of Culloden, knowing he would not make it out alive.

BLACK JACK IS THE POLAR OPPOSITE OF FRANK

Say what you will about Frank Randall, but he was a great man, especially in comparison to his ancestor, Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall.

In every way, shape, and form, Frank was the exact opposite of Black Jack. While BJR was a ruthless man, Frank was a loving, empathetic, good-natured human being.

While Claire knew there was a clear difference from the first man she ever loved and the man who hurt people for fun, it makes sense that she was so wary of being around Frank once she returned to her own time. He did look alarmingly like his ancestor, after all.

THE DUKE OF SANDRINGHAM USED BJR’S PSYCHE TO CONTROL HIM

It’s no secret that The Duke of Sandringham could be just as despicable as Black Jack when he really wanted to. Which was often, apparently.

He used Black Jack as the pawn in most of his schemes, and they had some sort of sick and twisted partnership that created a lot of problems for Jamie and Claire throughout the first two seasons and books.

The Duke actually used BJR’s messed up psyche – that he was fully aware of – to get what he wanted. He knew Randall had a thing for inflicting wickedness on people, especially if his victim was Jamie, so he used that to his advantage time and time again.

BJR TRADED INFORMATION ON HIS TROOPS MOVEMENTS FOR CLAIRE’S HELP

When Black Jack’s brother, Alex, had his health declining at an alarming rate, Randall had to turn to the one person who could have easily said no to their pleas for help.

Luckily, Claire wanted to help Alex because she knew that he was not anything like his brother. Even so, she ended up getting something out of it when Alex encouraged his brother to exchange information about his troops in the upcoming battle against the Scots and their planned movements.

Against his better judgment, he does trade this information to Claire for helping his brother in his time of need.

HE ALWAYS FORCES CLAIRE TO MAKE INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT DECISIONS

Black Jack is always one step ahead of our heroine, Claire. It is because of him that many things change her life, sometimes for the better, but a lot of times for the worse. He is the reason that she ends up staying in 18th-century Scotland and marrying Jamie Fraser, which for her, at the time, was frightening.

But even after she acclimates to her new life, he still is testing and pushing her. Because of these instances, Claire must always make high stakes decisions that will change everything.

HE’S COMPETITIVE OVER JAMIE

Jamie at the Palace of Versailles ( Drummond Castle in Scotland )

After first met Jamie, he became obsessed with the Scotsman.

Because of this, once Claire entered the picture and married Jamie, he felt compelled to compete with her for Jamie. But not in the normal love triangle way we have seen several times in other shows and films.

No, he uses Claire to lure Jamie out and then proceeds to taunt the two of them and make threats. It’s a disturbing sight when he does this.

HE’S COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH JAMIE

This all began when Black Jack Randall flogged Jamie more than once and looked at his mutilated back as a work of art that he created. Even referring to it as his masterpiece. This is the first glimpse into the darkness that Black Jack has inside his soul.

After this event occurs, he becomes obsessed with Jamie Fraser. He originally offered Jamie freedom with no more flogging if he gave himself to Randall. But Jamie refused. That is what spurred Black Jack into his obsession with having Jamie all to himself. It was haunting to watch it all unfold.

BLACK JACK RANDALL IS THE PERFECT ANTAGONIST

Though BJR did not survive the Battle of Culloden, he was still the best antagonist Outlander has ever seen. For the first two seasons, we witnessed his brutality and lack of empathy being poured out into every act he performed.

As disturbing as it all was, we also couldn’t look away. And even when he wasn’t actively inflicting pain on someone, he played manipulative mind games that still greatly affected the person’s psyche. He challenged our protagonists in ways we could have never imagined, and in the end, it brought them closer together. 

He was the definition of evil and we couldn’t imagine a greater villain in the Outlander universe because Black Jack Randall was the absolute perfect antagonist.

Outlander tours – visit Black Jack Randall’s HQ Fort William and Wentworth prison on our Outlander tours

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Lallybroch tour – Outlander film locations

The Outlander TV series continues to be a smash hit in the UK and America .  Three Scottish castles in particular feature prominently in the story lines – Midhope Castle ( Lallybroch ) , Linlithgow Palace  (Wentworth Prison ) and Blackness Castle ( Fort William army headquarters ) .

Book your tour for 2019  on 07305-294773 or contact us online . Lallybroch t-shirts and gifts are on sale now .

1  Midhope Castle – Lallybroch
Lallybroch is the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser , filmed at Midhope Castle .

midhope castle, Outlander tours
Scenes were shot at Midhope Castle near the Hopetoun Estate near South Queensferry.
Midhope was built in the 15th Century and was built by John Martyne, laird of Medhope. It was rebuilt in the mid 1600s and remains much the same today.
Visitors are asked to admire Midhope from a distance as the interior remains largely derelict.

Midhope Castle is the external location for fictional Lallybroch, the family home of character Jamie Fraser , and it is located on the Hopetoun Estate .  Midhope Castle dates back to the 15th Century and although the exterior is relatively intact the castle is derelict inside. Midhope Castle tours can be booked on

Toll free number 1-866-233-2644

on  or online .

Lallybroch t-shirts and gifts

Linlithgow Palace – Wentworth Prison

Linlithgow Palace photos , 44 printThis royal pleasure palace and birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots became the backdrop for some of the most harrowing scenes of the show.
Depicted as Wentworth Prison, the prison corridors and entrance were used in episode 15 of the first series when Jamie Fraser was brutally incarcerated by his adversary, Black Jack Randall.
Built in the 1400s and 1500s, the now-ruined palace is set among the spectacular surrounds of Linlithgow Loch and Peel.

Outlander Castle tours can be booked on

Toll free number 1-866-233-2644

on  or online .

3  Blackness Castle – Fort William army headquarters

outlander , blackness castleOne of Scotland’s most impressive strongholds, Blackness Castle near Linlithgow was used as the Fort William headquarters of Black Jack Randall.
The 15th-century ex-artillery fortress overlooks the Firth of Forth and is known as “the ship that never sailed” due to its unusual shape.
It was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland’s most powerful families, the Crichtons.

blackness castle 6334,Outlander tour of 5 Scottish castles

Castle tours can be booked on

Toll free number 1-866-233-2644

on  or online .

Outlander tour of three Scottish castles

–  up to 4 passengers £150
Entrance tickets, food and refreshments are not included . Explorer passes are available from Historic Environment Scotland for  Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace .

View more pictures of Lallybroch in our Outlander pictures gallery

Lallybroch t-shirts and gifts are on sale now .

Outlander t-shirts blackness castle tshirt Outlander gifts Edinburgh Castle t-shirts edinburgh castle tshirts

Outlander tours  – Outlander photo gifts

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Outlander tour – six film locations

Our private group tours take up to four people to six Outlander film locations – Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison) ,
Castle Leoch (Doune Castle) , Blackness Castle (Fort William) ,
Midhope (Lalllybroch) , Callendar House and
Culross ( Cranesmuir )

Tours start at 10 am .  We also offer bespoke private tours with the option of choosing your own itinerary .

Tours start from locations in Edinburgh or Glasgow .

Normal pickup point is Edinburgh/ Glasgow city centre , your hotel or the airport .

Itinerary

On this tour we visit various locations used for filming the hit series Outlander. Based on the best selling novels by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander is filmed in a number of locations in castles and towns in central Scotland.

doune castle outlander

Doune Castle was built in 1400 for the first Duke of Albany and provides the setting for Castle Leoch in Outlander. It was also the set for Winterfell in Game of Thrones and Monty Python’s Holy Grail. The Great Hall is 20 metres by 8 metres , and 12 metres high to its timber roof, again a 19th-century replacement.The hall has no fireplace, and was presumably heated by a central fire, and ventilated by means of a louvre like the one in the modern roof. No details of the original roof construction are known, however, and the restoration is conjectural.Large windows light the hall, and stairs lead down to the three cellars on ground level.

Blackness Castle goes back to 1440 . The castle provides the setting for Fort William, as the original fort no longer exists.

The castle is long and narrow because of the shape of the rock on which it is situated and it is sometimes called ‘ the ship that never sailed ‘ . It guards the bay at Blackness and is only a few miles from Linlithgow Palace . The first castle was built in the middle of the 15th century by Sir George Crichton , Earl of Caithness , a member of one of the most powerful families in Scotland .

Linlithgow Palace photos , 44 print

This royal pleasure palace and birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots became the backdrop for some of the most harrowing scenes of the TV show Outlander .

Depicted as Wentworth Prison, the prison corridors and entrance were used in episode 15 of the first series when Jamie Fraser was brutally incarcerated by his adversary, Black Jack Randall.

Built in the 1400s and 1500s, the now-ruined palace is set among the spectacular surrounds of Linlithgow Loch and Peel.

Midhope Castle – Outlander’s Lallybroch

midhope castle 34
Midhope Castle

Located on the Hopetoun Estate is Midhope Castle which is the external location for fictional Lallybroch, the family home of character Jamie Fraser. Midhope Castle dates back to the 15th Century and although the exterior is relatively intact the castle is derelict inside and not open to the public ..

 

Culross

Culross, in Fife is the location for Cranesmuir. Geillis Duncan’s house is in Culross and the picturesque town square where Geillis is sentenced to burn for being a witch. Jamie and Claire rescue the thief, Tammas, in Cranesmuir when his ear is pinned to the post.

 

Tour prices

private tour to six Outlander film locations

  • tour for 2 people   £250
  • tour for 3 people   £280
  • tour for 4 people   £310

Exclusions –
lunch

entrance tickets

refreshments

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Outlander tour of five Scottish castles including Lallybroch

The Outlander TV series continues to be a huge hit in the UK and America .  Five Scottish castles in particular feature heavily in the story lines – Midhope Castle ( Lallybroch ) , Doune Castle ( Castle Leoch ) , Linlithgow Palace  (Wentworth Prison ) , Aberdour Castle ( Sainte Anne de Beaupré’s monastery ) and Blackness Castle ( Fort William army headquarters ) .

1  Midhope Castle – Lallybroch
Get a glimpse of the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser at Midhope Castle .
Scenes were shot at Midhope Castle on the fringes of the Hopetoun Estate near South Queensferry.
Midhope was built in the 15th Century and was built by John Martyne, laird of Medhope. It was rebuilt in the mid 1600s and remains much the same today.
Visitors are asked to admire Midhope from a distance as the interior remains largely derelict.

Midhope Castle is the external location for fictional Lallybroch, the family home of character Jamie Fraser , and it is located on the Hopetoun Estate .  Midhope Castle dates back to the 15th Century and although the exterior is relatively intact the castle is derelict inside. Midhope Castle tours can be booked on

Toll free number 1-866-233-2644  or online .

2
Doune Castle – Castle Leoch

doune castle , outlanderOriginally dating to the 13th Century, Doune Castle near Stirling plays Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan.
It also features in the 20th century episode when Claire and Frank Randall visit the castle on a day trip.
Once a Royal residence, Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany in the late 14th Century.
Doune has appeared several times on screen and was widely used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It also represented the castle Winterfell in Game of Thrones.

doune castle, outlander tours

3  Linlithgow Palace – Wentworth Prison

Linlithgow Palace photos , 44 printThis royal palace and birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots became the backdrop for some of the most harrowing scenes of the show.
Depicted as Wentworth Prison, the prison corridors and entrance were used in episode 15 of the first series when Jamie Fraser was brutally incarcerated by his adversary, Black Jack Randall.
Built in the 1400s and 1500s, the now-ruined palace is set among the spectacular surrounds of Linlithgow Loch and Peel.

4 Aberdour Castle – Sainte Anne de Beaupré’s monastery

aberdour castle tours
Aberdour castle tours

The Kingdom of Fife posed as the north of France in Season One when Aberdour – possibly Scotland’s oldest standing castle, was depicted as The Abbey of Ste. Anne de Beaupré.
The fictional Benedictine monastery is where Jamie Fraser was taken to recover from his ordeal at Wentworth Prison.  Happily, one of his six uncles was an abbot there.
The Old Kitchen and Long Gallery at Aberdour, in the village of Easter Aberdour, feature in the show.
The original hall house of Aberdour was built around 1200 by Alan de Mortimer with the castle largely the creation of the Douglas Earls of Morton, who held Aberdour from the 14th century.

5
Blackness Castle – Fort William army headquarters

outlander , blackness castleOne of Scotland’s most impressive strongholds, Blackness Castle near Linlithgow was used as the Fort William headquarters of Black Jack Randall.
The 15th-century ex-artillery fortress overlooks the Firth of Forth and is known as “the ship that never sailed” due to its unusual shape.
It was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland’s most powerful families, the Crichtons.

Outlander tour of five Scottish castles

  • up to four  passengers £250
  • private castles tour
  • Outlander tours

Entrance tickets, food and refreshments are not included . One day passes are available from Historic Environment Scotland for Doune ,  Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace .

Outlander tours  – Outlander photo gifts

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