Yes, you read that right. Oh, I am not about to suggest that she is a paragon of all the virtues—or, indeed, any. But I have always felt mighty sorry for the poor wee lass, and now even more so, since she (like Tara Thornton, Lori Grimes and Sansa Stark before her) is about to be hated by whole new multitudes, courtesy of the forthcoming Outlander TV adaptation.
For those who have read Diana Gabaldon’s epic historical time travel romance series, Laoghaire is often ranked second only to the ruthless, power-hungry sociopath that is Black Jack Randall in general and abiding villainy. But I beg leave to offer a dissenting view. A view that takes into account her tender years, the times in which she lived, her father’s brutality, her station in life and, above all, the bitter pangs of love unrequited.
First, a little background. When Laoghaire MacKenzie is but sixteen years of age, she is accused by her father of “loose behaviour; consorting improperly wi’ young men against his orders.” As a result of this (unproven, but who cares, even if it was?) charge, she—a member of Clan MacKenzie, and therefore under the stringent command of a Laird who has not the slightest problem with the public beating of women—is sentenced to be whipped at the hand of the clan’s massive, terrifying enforcer, right in front of everyone.