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Edward James Kenway
- Voiced By: Matt Ryan
"For years I've been rushing around, taking whatever I fancied, not giving a tinker's curse for those I hurt. Yet here I am... with riches and reputation, feeling no wiser than when I left home. And when I turn around, and look at the course I've run... there's not a man or woman that I love left standing beside me."The father of Haytham Kenway and grandfather of Connor, Edward was born to simple parents, and always struggled against his lower-class heritage, especially when he married Caroline, who was a member of high society. He decided to go privateering in order to gain money for the family and prove to himself that he was worthy of her. In the course of his travels he met Blackbeard, Benjamin Hornigold and Charles Vane, and started the Pirate Republic of Nassau with them.Things really started for Edward, however, when his ship is attacked by another helmed by an Assassin. Both sink, and he eventually chases and kills the Assassin. He dons his robes and sets out for Havana to claim his reward, starting a chain of events that'll affect everyone in the Caribbean Isles...
- Animal Motifs: The Jackdaw, aka the crow. Aside from being the name of Edward's Cool Ship, it also takes from the The fable of the crow, in that he pretended to be an eagle, aka Edward pretending to be an Assassin. The other part of the story, the crow dying because he thought he was more powerful than he really was, becomes PAINFULLY true in the later parts of the game. The fable is even discussed during his Mushroom Samba.
- The Ace: Successful as a pirate and privateer, Kenway proves this trait by achieving the same skills and techniques as the Assassins without any training whatsoever.
- Adaptational Badass: While he's already a badass in the game, he only starts out as a crew member at the beginning of the game. In the manga, not only does he start out as a captain, he starts out as a Hot-Blooded Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann-esque captain, standing on the bow with his arms crossed and then immediately taking out almost all of the opposing ship's crew on his own.
- Adventure Archaeologist: Rogue reveals that a lot of his Assassin Career involved using his post-Pirate life as a businessman as a front to travel across the world and discover First Civilization Temples and Sites. He was quite successful and prolific, discovering new temples in Italy and even travelled to Alamut in Persia. He wrote a Great Big Book of Everything about First Civilization sites including accurately locating the whereabouts of the Grand Temple. Reginald Birch indeed has him killed for this book, and later sends Haytham to America to uncover it, only for him to realize that he doesn't have enough to open the Temple yet.
- Affably Morally Ambiguous: Even at his most ruthless and villainous, Edward's quite a jovial guy. His first reaction after washing ashore with an Assassin who tried to kill him earlier? Laughing and trying to defuse a fight between them.
- The Alcoholic: While described as a major drinker, he can only drink about five bottles worth before waking up in a bale of hay/pile of palm fronds. Also slips into a bad Drowning My Sorrows rut that extends even into his Animus loading sequence.
- Ambition Is Evil: Played with, Edward's yearning to provide him and his wife a better life and not being able to advance on account of his talents because of his class makes him very sympathetic. However the selfishness and lack of attention to the consequences his actions have on his friends pushes him on the brink of Villain Protagonist.
- On top of that, his archive entry points out that, in spite of his good intentions, he kept falling into the same trap of whiling away his time drinking and cavorting rather than working to provide for his family and, ultimately, his wife. He gets hung up on Get Rich Quick Schemes, choosing dangerous professions like privateering, in spite of the immense risk to life and limb, over what might be considered honest labor, even though Caroline makes it clear that she would be satisfied with the latter, even if the material rewards are not as grand. This translates over to his work as a pirate, as Edward prioritizes finding the Observatory above all else, even though others, like Benjamin Hornigold, point out that he'd be better off just plundering a few ships, something his crew would prefer, which is what leads to Edward getting deposed as captain. Twice.
- Anti-Hero: He may ultimately be a good guy, but he's also still a pirate with all that entails.
- Nominal Hero: Prior to his eventual recruitment into the Assassins, he's Only in It for the Money. Also the first Assassin who's a criminal, whereas Altaïr, Ezio, or Connor, despite committing crimes as Assassins, start out either as citizens or medieval equivalents of political revolutionaries.
- Unscrupulous Hero: After his Character Development and "true" recruitment into the Assassins.
- The Atoner: Following his Heroic B.S.O.D., he joins the Assassins officially to atone for his past actions. More specifically, at the end of the game, Edward is visibly upset for leaving his wife, not knowing she was pregnant and being away from her when she died. At the end, he insists on settling his daughter and spending time with her before continuing his duties as an Assassin.
- Aura Vision: Edward possesses a variant of Eagle Vision that allows him to tag targets even when it's not active. Interestingly, unlike the previous protagonists, this wasn't a trait he inherited as a descendant of human/Those Who Came Before couplings; instead, James Kidd simply notes that Edward may have simply honed his senses finely enough to achieve his level of perspicacity.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: As The Captain of the Jackdaw, Edward leads from the front, he leads the Boarding Party, cuts off flags from the masts of ships, murders fort commanders and key officers and clears out plantations. He also dives down a diving bell. Say what you will, nobody can fault him for taking most of the hits and beatings for his crew and ship.
- Badass Beard: A bit of a scruffy one, but badass nonetheless.
- Badass Family: The son of a sheep farmer, Edward Kenway becomes the founder of one. Himself a dangerous and daring pirate, his son Haytham, who he initially trained as an Assassin, becomes a dangerous Templar Grand Master, while his grandson Connor/Ratohnhaké:ton becomes an Assassin and a major player in The American Revolution. As per Forsaken, his own daughter Jenny, who he refused to train as an Assassin, ends up avenging her father's death by killing Reginald Birch, who orchestrated it.
- Badass Longcoat: In addition to his normal Assassin robes, Edward has several outfits that add a Badass Longcoat on top of them.
- Berserk Button: A more Hot-Blooded Assassin than his predecessors, Edward is very irritable and takes little crap from anyone (a trait that Haytham and Connor also picked up). Nonetheless there are a few things which enrages him. One is treachery, yelling furiously at Benjamin Hornigold for casting his lot with the Templars. The other is the when Governor Torres reveals to him, that he knows who he is and where he comes from as well as his wife's name. Edward angrily yells at Torres to stay away from his wife.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: What the Kenways end up becoming. His daughter Jenny, a prized beauty, resents him for favoring Haytham as the heir of his Assassin heritage and becomes a spinster after having spent the entirety of her youth being a sex slave, having been sold to Turkish Slavers by Birch after her father's murder.. His own beloved son Haytham ends up becoming a dangerous Templar Grand Master, a pawn to the man who killed his father (and stayed so even after discovering the truth) and a scourge to the cause which Edward ended up adopting. Edward's grandson Connor eventually becomes an Assassin but has been raised in a culture far away from Edward's and ends up killing his own father, Edward's son Haytham. A far cry from the cohesive and loving Auditores of the previous era in the series.
- The Casanova: The game's promotions and trailer featured Edward as one, though it's less prominent in the game proper. He's decidedly less so compared to Ezio. He is estranged from his wife whom he still loved and remains mostly faithful to her, barring the occasional One Night Standnote and drunken debauchery note which he doesn't take seriously. He also has Ship Tease with Anne and Mary. Darby McDevitt noted this was more due to his estrangement from his wife, who had left him, and loneliness at the Caribbean rather than Your Cheating Heart.
- When he discusses his marriage to James Kidd/Mary Read, the latter tells him not to discuss it with his crew, as a married man — much less one who actually intends to be faithful — doesn't fit the Pirate image needed to be a captain.
- At one point in the modern section, when discussing their upcoming product, the Abstergo Entertainment CEO lampshades the promotion of the game, noting that they need to make Edward a "ladies man", a James Bond type.
- Combat Pragmatist: Is probably the Assassin most prone to fighting dirty, including punching his opponent in the groin and stabbing them as they recoil in pain. After all, he is a pirate.
- Cutscene Incompetence: Happens quite a few times over the course the actual game. But, the biggest case of this is his death, featured in Forsaken, the novelization of Assassin's Creed 3. This man who spent most of his adult life assassinating and massacring soldiers, major politicians, and famous pirates by the DOZENS... was ultimately over powered and stabbed to death by two random, nameless men who broke into his home.
- Deadpan Snarker: While generally amicable to his friends, he does snark from time to time.
- The Determinator: Edward is interesting because he shows the ambiguous side of single-minded obsessive pursuit against every impossible odd that life throws in your way. His pursuit of his "elusive fortune" comes at the price of his marriage and the alienation of his friends and his few allies. That said, the fact that he survives shipwrecks, treacherous seas, psychotic pirates, and the odd Humanoid Abomination, in addition to mutiny and time spent in prison in search of what he wants, is nothing short of heroic.
- Edward dutifully sends a letter every year to his wife, never losing hope of reuniting with her and rebuilding their marriage.
- Disappeared Dad: To Jenny, unknowingly. As per ''Forsaken" he ends up becoming this to Haytham after his death, when the latter was ten years old. The lack of a father figure in his teenage years led to Haytham latching on to Reginald Birch, his father's property manager, who he later learns orchestrated both his father's demise and his indoctrination to the Templar Order.
- Distressed Dude: How he met Caroline.
- Doomed by Canon: Next to everything about Edward's post-Assassin life including how and when he dies was revealed in Assassin's Creed Forsaken, the novelization of III.
- The Dreaded: Even the likes of Blackbeard and Calico Jack are afraid of him.
- Drowning My Sorrows: After Mary Read dies, all the guilt of his past actions catches up to him and he drinks himself to Mushroom Samba levels, even stumbling around and being passed out in the Animus loading sequence.
- Dual Wielding: Like son and grandson, like father. Edward wields two swords.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: He has two Hidden Blades, though Julien du Casse, a Templar, implies that it's actually become customary for the Assassins by the events of the game.
- Guns Akimbo: Much like Connor, though Edward can carry up to four pistols, thereby letting him deliver four shots at once before reloading.
- Sword and Gun: As seen on the game's cover art.
- Walking Armory: Much like all other assassins, with four pistols, two swords, a blowpipe, two Hidden Blades, rope darts and smoke bombs.
- Downer Ending: The events of Assassin's Creed: Forsaken, the tie-in novel by Oliver Bowden, subsequently shows this to be what it actually is, as Edward dies and loses his family. Even his son, Haytham, grows to hate him, considering him a man without shame or principles. Then there's how that same son goes on to spend his life wiping out everything Edward worked to build....
- Easily Forgiven: Subverted. At the start of the game, Edward usurps the life and identity of a treacherous former Assassin named Duncan Walpole. By completing Walpole's assignment he compromises the Brotherhood, violating a major tenet of the Creed. Then he kills several Assassins in his brief time among the Templars. These actions are Forgiven, but Not Forgotten by the Caribbean Brotherhood, who only spare Edward's life because Mary Read vouches for him and for his skill in battle, his possession of the Eagle Sense and his nature as a Wild Card, equally damaging to Templars as he is to their cause. It is only years later and much Trauma Conga Line before Edward becomes Older and Wiser and finds his place among the Brotherhood.
- On the other hand, Edward himself bears no grudges to Adéwalé, when he up and runs off with the ship, abandoning him with Black Bart and his crew, even telling him that he's glad to see him, even if he should be angry.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: In Black Flag this is the case. Edward braves the wonders and terrors of the Caribbean, losing nearly all his few gains, only for his wife to die of sickness back at home. However, he finds a new purpose in his daughter Jenny and subsequently marries again and gains his "elusive fortune", becoming a "man of quality" and a loving father to his son and raising his daughter Jenny to be a renowned society beauty.
- Even Wild Card Anti-Heroes Have Standards: Edward is firmly opposed to slavery and is upset when Adéwalé assumes that they will be dealing in human cargo when he tells them they will chase down a slave ship. Even before his Character Development, he's visibly shaken whenever somebody shows how his actions brutally affect others."Jaysus, Adé, you know me better than that."
- Expy: Edward's background is similar to the real-life pirate Edward Low, who he actually meets and fights against in the third issue of Assassin's Creed: Reflections. Notably his threat to Torres to cut off his lips and feed it to him, is an action which Edward Low actually performed on one of his captives. Also, Edward Low suffered a failed marriage to a long-suffering wife who left behind a daughter that Low doted on. The real Low disappeared from history books in 1724 around the same time which Kenway returns to England with his daughter Jenny. One major difference is that Edward Low was The Sociopath who specialized as a Torture Technician and was renowned for being among the more cruel pirates of the era, which Kenway, thankfully is not.
- He also bears some resemblance to the historical pirate Black Sam Bellamy. Like Edward, Sam was involved with a lady above his station (one Mary Hallett)note , spent time hunting for the remains of the 1715 treasure fleet, and was acquainted with Hornigold, Blackbeard, and possibly Vane and others from the Nassau Republic. Supplemental material confirms that Black Sam exists in universe, however.
- He's also an Expy for Long Dead Badass Domenico Auditore and Giovanni Auditore in Assassin's Creed II. Like Domenico, he was a poor sailor who got wound up in the Assassin-Templar conflict and ended up going from Rags to Riches and establishing the family fortune and its Assassin lineage. He's also a doting father to Haytham, much like Giovanni was to Ezio.
- Eyepatch of Power: Included with the unlockable "Edward the Legend" outfit, which he canonically wore at the height of his career as a pirate.
- A Father to His Men: Edward has been described as having a very close relationship with his crew, as evidenced by them cheering whenever he comes aboard. It helps that he recruited a good amount of them by rescuing them from the seas or from guards, and the initial crew of the Jackdaw were the latter.
- Inverted in the actual game however. Adéwalé frequently warns Edward that his selfish and mysterious actions are making the crew angry and upset. The biggest red flag that something's going wrong happens following the Principe sequences, where Edward takes the helm and no-one cheers. He ends up being mutinied against twice, first by Jack Rackham and then by Bartholomew Roberts, who hijack his crew and ship while he's away. However, both times, the crew comes back and returns him to the helm, preferring a competent and sane captain over Rackham and Roberts.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Edward's selfishness leads him to acquire this reputation throughout the game. He drives everyone away, including his wife, his first mate Adéwalé, James Kidd, his own crew, the Templars and the Assassins, as well as fellow pirates Charles Vane and Benjamin Hornigold. The latter even warns him that the course he's walking will leave him alone. It is only when he realizes how much his actions have hurt other people and how much he depends on them that he starts to change."I'm not an easy man to call a friend, am I?"
- Freudian Excuse: His major character flaw of being obsessed with becoming "a man of quality" and his main motivation of Only in It for the Money is caused by growing up poor and being married to the daughter of a wealthy family. His focus on improvement of station over improvement of self brings life long ruin and suffering to those around him, especially those he is doing it for (his family). It does not really stop after he realizes it, and even his death is defined by it and the consequences his children faced.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: A rare semi-heroic example. Born poor, Edward Kenway starts as a simple sailor and privateer and is merely a member of a crew of the ship in the first sequence. Initially dismissed as a mere thug and mercenary by the Templars and the Assassins, he and his ship become the most dangerous force in the Caribbean, lasting longer than the famous real-life pirates and defeating Bartholomew Roberts. By the end of the game, Edward is the only pirate left; though once he meets his daughter, he no longer regards himself as one.
- Generation Xerox:
- Subverted retroactively. Haytham fights very similarly to his father Edward, the ancestor in this game. However, they ended up taking opposite sides.
- Played straight with Connor, however, as he fights (and sails) much like his grandfather but did join the Assassins.
- Good Parents:
- Resolves to become this to Jenny when he meets her and is shown as a loving father to little Haytham at the end of the game. Assassin's Creed: Forsaken reveals that Haytham loved his father and regarded his childhood as the happiest time of his life, noting that Edward had taught him to think for himself and that, despite the secrets he kept from him, never lied to his son.]]
- It's zizagged however, in that Jenny grew to resent her father due to him raising her like a woman of the time and wanting to marry her off to a rich colleague (even though he clearly means well). Not to mention the lack of training left her unable to defend herself when the time came and she was sold to Turkish Slavers by her father's killer, ending up a concubine for the entirety of her youth until being discarded once she grew too old.]] However despite that her main motivation in killing Birch is to avenge her beloved father's murder]].
- Great White Hunter: Considering Edward upgrades his gear through hunting marine animals such as sharks and whales, it's no surprise.
- Guile Hero: Ranging from Dead Person Impersonation to his skills as The Ace, he's a pretty clever guy. A surprisingly large amount of the optional objectives (which by their nature are supposed to reflect the canonical sequence of events) involve not getting spotted by enemies or not starting fights even when doing so would be fairly easy and efficient, or otherwise the logical option. It seems Edward prefers sneaking around to getting in fights.
- Hair Colors: He represents the first fair-haired, light-skinned lead character, which is in contrast to all previous assassins, who have darker, Mediterranean looks (presumably patterned after Desmond).
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After Mary Read dies, he mentally breaks down and drowns his sorrows until Adéwalé finds him in Kingston and returns the Jackdaw to him.
- The Hedonist: Presented as this in the game's promotions and his default attitude in the game. On hearing the Creed, "Nothing is True and Everything is Permitted" he immediately thinks its license to do whatever he wants, much to James Kidd/Mary Read's displeasure. That is until his Character Development.
- Heel Realization: The game is a slow, drawn out realization of this for Edward."For years I've been rushing around, taking whatever I fancied, not giving a tinker's curse for those I hurt. Yet here I am... with riches and reputation, feeling no wiser than when I left home. Yet when I turn around, and look at the course I've run... here's not a man or woman that I love left standing beside me."
- Horrible Judge of Character: His closest friends amongst the pirates are Blackbeard, James Kidd, and... Charles Vane. Edward greatly regrets his friendship with Vane when both of them are stuck on an island and Charles undergoes Sanity Slippage and decides to start Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, Kenway himself.
- He also has absolute trust in Reginald Birch above all people in Assassin's Creed: Forsaken. He approves Birch's engagement to Edward's daughter Jennifer, over the latter's considerable objections, only for it, to well... read that book.
- Within the game, his partnership to Bartholomew Roberts reeks of this. This is a man who in Edward's own phrase has a "peculiar aversion to kindness", whom Adéwalé immediately senses is very bad news. Edward not only helps him become The Captain and gather his own crew, he even participates in a heist of a Portuguese Man O'War which becomes his flagship note . To the surprise of no one, Roberts knocks Edward off the side of a cliff after they approach the Observatory, mocks him for thinking that they were actually equals and then decides to send the bruised and battered Edward to prison for the bounty.
- Hypocrite: Somewhat retroactive, but Forsaken paints him as one. After retiring, he becomes a stereotypical nobleman, who doesn't give the same training and attention to Jenny as he does to Haytham. He seeks to marry his daughter to a suitor and admirer she doesn't want, even though in his life as a pirate he had fought with the likes of Mary Read and Anne Bonny. Towards the end of the book, Jenny notes that for all his talk of freedom, he proved to be a chauvinist in his treatment of his daughter. This may stem more from his trauma over the death of Mary Read (whom he continued to respect as an equal, even after learning her true gender), who ended up dying in his arms as he was trying to rescue her from imprisonment and execution, than it does outright chauvinism. A good example of this is the epilogue scene where Edward good-naturedly acknowledges and accepts the fact that Jenny uses her mother's surname, rather than his own, which definitely would not be the behavior of an out-and-out chauvinist.
- In the Blood: Edward doesn't actually become affiliated with the Assassins until late in the game, and never really receives formal training from them, at least until relatively late in his life. All his skills are largely self-taught (including his Eagle Sense, as James Kidd hints). Similar to his son, Haytham (who, as revealed in Forsaken, never actually received formal Assassin training, either). However, Edward did intend Haytham to become an Assassin and was training him how to use a sword in the years before his death.
- Similarly, it seems that Connor picked up his grandfather's talent as a naval captain. He lampshades the same in the The Tyranny of King Washington DLC for Assassin's Creed III where he tells Robert Faulkner that he seems to have inherited his love for the sea from his grandfather who he affectionately noted, "sailed for himself" rather than the Royal Navy.
- In the Hood: Like all Assassins. Though in his case he got the costume from Duncan Walpole, whom he killed and tried to disguise himself as.
- Subverted in that, of all the playable assassins so far, Edward spends the most time with his hood down. The Templar armor netted by completing the Templar key side missions and the armor earned by finding all the Mayan keystones don't even have hoods.
- Indy Ploy: A lot of Edward's gambits features him making it as he goes along. This in fact is how he becomes an Assassin, learning their techniques from Rogers and du Casse's instructions and figuring it out. This is actually a problem later on, since this works well in some cases but not so in others and Edward's successes gives him false confidence when confronted with his Always Someone Better, Bartholomew Roberts.
- It's All About Me: While he is kind at heart, a major theme of the game is Edward's inner turmoil between his inner selfishness and the selflessness demanded of Assassins.
"If I had known earlier... I don't know. I might have come home. I hope that I would have."
- Edward's obsession with becoming a "man of quality" despite his wife loving him for who he is, ultimately leads him to the Caribbean to search riches which he initially justifies as providing a better life for his wife and any children they would have as he tells Jenny. In the Mushroom Samba sequence, he realizes that he wanted this for himself more than Caroline. At the end, he admits to his daughter Jenny that he had abandoned his wife for selfish reasons and he's uncertain if the fact that she was pregnant would have made him stay.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As befitting a pirate, he's a lot more mercenary than previous protagonists, and one of the most ruthless and somewhat amoral ones as well. Still, at his heart he's a "good man" (as noted by Anne Bonny and more sarcastically, Bartholomew Roberts) whose conscience prevents him from crossing certain lines.
- Edward is opposed to slavery, which one of his targets noted is both legal and more profitable than piracy itself, and there are certain lines he won't cross to get what James Kidd sarcastically calls "your elusive fortune". Likewise he promotes Adéwalé as his quartermaster and acknowledges how his own fair skin gives him an advantage over a sailor every bit as good and slightly more experienced than himnote , showing rare sensitivity and honesty for a white person of that time, and being humble enough to admit that he's but only a "tyro Captain" in comparison. It's this honesty that earns him Adéwalé's loyalty.
- Edward is also a good friend; for example, rather than hijack and shank Stede Bonnet too under the guise of the now-late Duncan Walpole, Edward instead sails with him, a genial honest sailor bullied by the navy in good faith, even going so far as to drop the act and tells Stede his real name out of camaraderie, despite having no reason to. He also cares greatly for James Kidd and Blackbeard regarding them as True Companions.
- Karma Houdini: Although an anti-hero with a good heart. Edward Kenway makes a living on piracy and plunder and not only goes unpunished by the Assassinsnote , he ends up becoming a nobleman with a vast mansion and estates in England. While Assassins are deliberate outlaws, Edward is the first protagonist to profit from his actions. Inverted in the end, where Edward's life ultimately is a Downer Ending. See "Shaggy Dog" Story below.
- Lovable Rogue: Though Edward IS a pirate, his fun-loving persona and his standards make him harder to dislike. He even mischievously steals wallets right under people's noses! Later in the game though, his friends fail to see the lovable part.
- Kick the Dog: Edward Kenway occasionally reaches Grand Theft Auto levels of general meanness:
- He kills surrendering enemy fort commanders even when they have their hands in the airnote
- Though you can simply knock them out, meaning he could have done that too. You're unlikely to do this without a pacifist run.
- The number of sailors he's killed by the end of the game both in personal combat and in naval combat will easily number in the hundreds. Though that's Protagonist-Centered Morality, since Altaïr, Ezio, and Connor also murder soldiers and sailors on official government service.
- After chasing the attackers out of Tulum, he continues dismissing the Creed and defends his Only in It for the Money mentality to James Kidd while the Assassins are gathering the bodies of and mourning the lives of their comrades who died as a consequence of his actions, cementing his callous indifference and the Assassins' incredible self-control to not murder that selfish jerk then and therenote . Later on, Kidd is flat out ashamed of Edward and his pretension to wear an Assassin's robesnote .
- While he's usually a competent captain, he's fully willing to endanger the crew in crazy schemes... something that Adéwalé takes into account later on.
- Lower-Class Lout: A mix of this and Working-Class Hero. He used to be one until he met Caroline and relapsed into his behaviour in a year and even as a pirate, he's still this, though he aspires to be more.
- Meaningful Name: "Edward" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon name "Eadweard" which means "guardian of wealth and fortune". Extremely fitting for a character whose goal is to earn enough to become a man of worth.
- The Millstone: He becomes this over the course of the story to his very few friends. James Kidd warns Adéwalé that Edward is reckless and obsessive and will eventually get him and his crew killed, and that Adéwalé can do better than hang around with such a Jerk Ass. Adéwalé agrees eventually and he and the Crew vote Edward out and pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! when Edward partners with the Obviously Evil Bartholomew Roberts, saving their lives from his Ax-Crazy crew. Something that Edward, post-Heel Realization, admits was the right call.
- My Girl Back Home: Edward's wife Caroline Scott who he writes letters to at least annually. He hopes to make a fortune and rebuild their strained marriage. This leads to a Bittersweet Ending since his wife dies of illness but she leaves behind a daughter Jennifer, and the chance to atone by being a good father to her.
- Multi-Melee Master: In addition to his Dual Wielding.
- New Child Left Behind: He unknowingly fathered his daughter Jenny before sailing for the Caribbean in 1713, not discovering this until the end of the game. Consequently, she doesn't identify as a Kenway, but by her mother's surname.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: How he feels towards the Assassin's cause initially. When collaborating with Anto, the Maroon Assassin, he admits to being indifferent towards the slave rebellion while personally against slavery. He is merely after his own interests. This changes of course.
- Older and Wiser: Eventually becomes this in the course of the game and the tie-in novel Forsaken.
- One-Man Army: Like all AC protagonists, Edward can clear a large amount of enemies by himself in no time.
- Blackbeard claims to have seen him clear the deck of a Spanish galleon "like it weren't nothing." It is entirely possible for a player to do this in-game. It's tricky due to how fast the ships are moving, but you can forego naval combat and instead have Edward board a Man o' War by himself and slaughter the entire crew singlehandedly. When you return to the Jackdaw, the ship will surrender after a single volley, and you automatically capture it without having to complete the usual objectives.
- His combat style appears to be specifically tailored towards fighting multiple opponents at once.
- Only in It for the Money: For the grand majority of the game, practically flaunting it whenever he gets a What the Hell, Hero?. The Assassins and even the Templar Julien du Casse call him out because of this; for example, when Anto asks him to name his price for supporting Anto's efforts, he explains that since Kenway's a man without principle, coin will have to do.
- Neutral No Longer: The game deals with Edward finding this moment. It takes him until the very end of the game to get there. The death of Mary Read, the woman he had the greatest esteem for after his wife is the main turning point.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Spends almost the entire game doing this. It's not until the last act that he realizes what his choices have cost both him and the world, and resolves to right all his wrongs.
- Specifically, the Assassins point out that, by usurping the Asshole Victim traitor Duncan Walpole and completing his assignment by giving the Templars the intelligence he gathered, he jeopardized the lives of the entire Order and brought Templar mercenaries to their bases, the damage caused by this continuing for several years, with all the lives lost being a direct consequence of Edward's admittedly unintentional action.
- Edward abandoning his wife and not giving her a specific return address leaves her incapable of telling him that he has a daughter and that her health was weak. As such he is unable to be there to take care of his wife when she succumbs to her fatal illness and raise his daughter during her childhood.
- Pirate: Started out as a privateer, but turned to piracy and sticks with it through the story's campaign.
- Ninja Zombie Pirate Robot: A Pirate Assassin, therefore.
- Not So Different: As a pirate, Edward never misses an opportunity to point out the hypocrisy of his pursuers. A trigger-happy Naval Commander considers pirates to be parasites preying on honest people. Edward notes that the English King and other Royals do the same.
- Edward is disturbed however when Laurens Prins, a slaver, justifies his own career in human trafficking as being Only in It for the Money — the same justification Edward gives to people who criticize him.
- Pet the Dog: Edward Kenway's rescue of drowning sailors and A Father to His Men qualities. This includes buying a brothel for his men at considerable personal expense.
- Edward's treatment of his daughter at the end, also helps redeem him in many players' eyes.
- Polymath: A weird example. Edward Kenway displays the skills of a ship's lookout, navigator, helmsman, and later (of course) Captaincy. All of these were highly specialized skills and, together, are what allow Edward to mimic the skills of an Assassin.
- Pride: A major thing that drives Edward is a great belief in his own abilities and qualities which is not entirely false or wrong but it does lead him to overreach and step beyond his limits, leaving it open for him to fall flat on his face.
- Privateer: Edward started out as a privateer for England, but quickly turned pirate when peace broke out.
- Rags to Riches : Edward's ultimate goal in life is to rise from his roots as a shepherd's son in Wales to become a "man of quality". He succeeds in the end, becoming an English nobleman with a wealthy wife and children raised in the life of aristocratic privilege. The Edward in the scene after the credits speaks with poise and dignity as compared to the one we see throughout the game. Though he still uses words like "posh gig" to his son, retaining a hint of his former self.
- Retired Outlaw: What he aspires to be, earn a big enough score for him and his wife and quit the pirate's life. He does eventually.
- Shadow Archetype:
- Several of the characters in the game serve as parallels or counterparts to Edward. Edward starts out as a sailor turned privateer turned pirate (Benjamin Hornigold), becomes a pirate with his own ship by chance and coincidence (Bartholomew Roberts) and spurns honest living and conformity in search of the big score (Charles Vane), but ultimately hopes to retire (Blackbeard).
- Edward also has much in common with Woodes Rogers, who also suffers a failed marriage because of his work.
- The story of Edward's redemption, his slow understanding of the purpose of the Brotherhood and the true meaning of its Creed also parallel the transition of Altaïr from Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy to The Hero in the first game.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story:
- Edward's quest in the Caribbean turns out to be this. His search for the Observatory does not give him the fortune he sought. His wife, whom he hoped to reunite with, dies of illness. However he does make money in his maritime career and returns home with a new-found purpose and sense of hope as well as a daughter.
- The events of Assassin's Creed: Forsaken shows Edward's entire life as a Shoot the Shaggy Dog since a little over ten years after his retirement, he's betrayed by an employee who's revealed to be a Templar, and dies in a home invasion. Edward's hopes for his son Haytham are twisted and he becomes a Templar while his daughter becomes a Sex Slave, and his second wife dies alone of an illness just like Caroline.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: He doesn't cuss up a storm or anything, but he does have a regular Precision J-Strike in the form of "Jaysus." He also uses the F-word far more frequently than any other hero; though the game itself has the most uses than any other title. (It should be pointed out, however, that Ezio was just as swear-happy only most of it was in Italian and so less noticeable.) He's definitely a major contrast to his son and grandson.
- Society Is to Blame: Edward believes that society is so unfair that someone of his considerable talents will never be given real opportunities on account of his class. In the Navy, lower-class sailors will get thin wages and no meritorious advancement, and at home, working at a farm for low pay is near robbery in his eyes, with barely enough to sustain their poor home.
- The Southpaw: His primary sword arm appears to be his left.
- Spanner in the Works: Edward serves as this to the Assassin-Templar Conflict in the Caribbean — for both sides. James Kidd notes that the Assassins (for once, as normally in the games they were on the backfoot whenever the main character enters the conflict) had the upper hand until he compromised the Brotherhood by unwittingly passing intelligence on their bases to Governor Torres, while the Templars expected more information from the defector that Edward was impersonating and are disappointed with a mere pirate who'd decided to hijack their plot for his own interests because he'd felt that he wasn't paid enough. Whatever plans and ideas both factions had in place gets upset because of Edward's unexpected entry into their conflict.
- Stay in the Kitchen: According to Forsaken, despite fighting alongside women during his time as a pirate, Edward chose to raise his daughter Jenny like a proper lady and wanted to marry her off to a wealthy suitor while raising Haytham as his successor. This treatment caused Jenny to resent him.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Edward and his son and grandson differ in race and hair color, but share a distinct facial resemblance.
- Tattooed Crook: Picked up a number of tattoos sometime between leaving Bristol and the start of the game.
- Theme Naming: Not Edward Kenway so much but the name of his ship Jackdaw continues the bird theme of the series. In the drunken Mushroom Samba sequence, Roberts retells Aesop's fable of The Eagle and the Jackdaw, which serves as an allegory of Edward's overreaching struggle to rise to something better, a Jackdaw "who'd have you believe he's an Eagle." Which fits his distant, not direct connection to the Assassins. Furthermore, Edward's son who he hoped to raise as an Assassin is called Haytham, Arabic for "young eagle".
- Too Dumb to Live: Edward in Assassin's Creed: Forsaken: Edward is determined to marry his daughter to a Templar. One who eventually has her sold into slavery and kills him. Plays into Horrible Judge of Character.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Until his Character Development, Edward is this to his family and friends. As the game and the tie-in novel explain, he has loving parents, a devoted wife who is a good woman and he still preferred to sail as a Privateer, even after coming to the West Indies, he spurns the Templars money since its below his pay and he mocks the Assassins despite their exceptional mercy and understanding for his difficult personality, and then takes the friendship of Adéwalé for granted by refusing to listen to his very good advice.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He screws over the Assassins pretty hard, but it's not like he knew that's what he was doing at the time.
- Villain Protagonist: Edward is the closest the series comes to this until the introduction of Shay Cormac: His main desire is to better his lot by compiling a sizable fortune, and he's prepared to abandon his wife and endanger his friends and his crew in pursuit of his obsession. Even after joining the Assassins, he admits that he has a long way to go before he can truly feel committed to the ideals of the Creed, despite his newfound convictions. Heck, other than Haytham Kenway this game is the first time where you're playing someone who in prior games would have himself been a target of the Assassins. Heck, he knowingly and willfully joined the Templars and only got kicked out when they realized that he wasn't Duncan Walpole, and he tried to swindle them by kidnapping the Sage for his own interests!
- What the Hell, Hero?: Seems to get this a lot from various people, ranging from the Templars for their usual reasons, to James Kidd and the Assassins for his Only in It for the Money mentality, and even low-key ones from Adéwalé when Edward puts his ambitions before his crew. In particular, after Kenway participates in the defense of the Tulum hideout, James Kidd subsequently leads him to the central courtyard... where Assassin corpses (whether fallen defenders, slain hostages, or both) are piled atop a carved-out Assassin insignia and the survivors are mourning. When Kenway then proceeds to be amused at the Assassins' continued displeasure at him and even throws the second half of the Assassin's Creed — "everything is permitted" — in their faces, he's told in no uncertain terms that he's not an Assassin, he's not welcome with the Assassins, and he deserves scorn.
- Wild Card: For much of the game, Edward is unaligned with both the Templars and the Assassins, interested in the Observatory solely for his own benefit. Unwittingly, he becomes embroiled in their conflict and seeks to use both factions for his own ends until Mary Read and all his friends start dying around him.
- Working-Class Hero: Writer Darby McDevitt pointed out that Edward is technically the first recognizably working-class Assassin in the franchise. This extends to his manner of speech as well as his own identity as a poor farmer's son who wishes to find a standing true to his ambitions.
- Would Hit a Girl: Assassinates both Lucia Marquez and Jing Lang.
- Wrestler in All of Us: One of the gameplay videos shows Edward giving a DDT to a pirate.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Mary Read believes that Edward Kenway is a better person than he appears to be and this belief goes far in convincing the Assassins to spare his life for the harm he caused the Order. It would be many years however and her death before Edward is convinced to live up to her faith in him.
- Younger Than They Look: The game and novel cover Edward's life from 22 to 30, but he looks like he could be in his mid to late 30s for the entirety. This is justified in that as a son of a sheep farmer and poor sailor not to mention as a regular alcoholic, Edward would show signs of aging faster than usual.
- Your Cheating Heart: He greatly loves his wife but his estrangement from her and years spent in the Caribbean did lead to the occasional One Night Stand with tavern wenches, "dancers" and the like. Though this wasn't a regular thing with him and as James Kidd notes he has to keep up the image to be regarded as a captain by his crew.
- Given the number of attractive women in his house at all times, any fidelity may be an Informed Attribute.
- Voiced By: Tristan D. LallaAlso appears in: Assassin's Creed: Rogue
"When I became an Assassin, I swore to leave piracy behind, but the old methods have served the Creed more than once."The Quartermaster of the Jackdaw and Edward's right-hand man. He learned of the Assassin Order through his work with Edward, and eventually left a life of piracy behind to join the Assassins. He is the main character in the single player DLC, Freedom Cry.
- Angry Black Man: While he looks like one, Adé is for the most part very calm, composed and controlled. It takes something exceptional to push his Berserk Button.
- Aura Vision: Possesses the same Eagle Vision that Edward displayed.
- Badass Baritone: Bastienne lampshades it when he is asked to sing passcode.
- Badass Beard: By the time of Rogue he's grown one in combination with a Badass Mustache.
- Badass Family: Ends up creating one much like Edward through his son Babtunde and grandson Eseosa.
- Badass Grandpa: Is still active as an Assassin by the time of Rogue, by which time he's in his 60s.
- Bald Black Leader Guy: When Edward is away, he keeps the Jackdaw in line. Even when Edward presumes to claim and name their ship the Jackdaw, Adéwalé calls it "the sort of Rub I have learned to endure sailing among Faces of such... Fairness." Edward agrees that their crew is too prejudiced to accept Adéwalé as Captainnote , so they agree that Adéwalé will at least be Quartermaster formally but The Consigliere in practice due to Edward's admitted inexperience.
- Adéwalé is still hurt of being passed over as captain even years later, as he notes to Augustin in Freedom Cry.
- Bald of Awesome: Has not a hair on his noggin and is totally badass.
- Berserk Button: Understandably and justifiably, slavery is a major one for him and he doesn't like Edward hanging out with Roberts, who worked for a slaver like Laurens Prins and then served aboard the crew of one. Moreover, he also warns Edward not to fire at slave ships, worried about the lives below deck and is appalled at how reckless Charles Vane is, who fires blindly at the same.
- He gets really scary and terrifying in Freedom Cry when he confronts Gouverneur de Fayet and submits him to a painful death when the latter orders his navy to fire and sink a slave ship, from which Adéwalé barely survived and which led to the deaths of several captives.
- In Rogue, he is furious at Haytham for tarnishing Edward's memory, especially when he speaks poorly of his father.
- BFG: Carries a blunderbuss with him into combat.
- The Big Guy: In Edward's pirate crew.
- Born into Slavery: "I was born in Trinidad, a slave from my first breath."
- The trauma of his upbringing is explored in Freedom Cry where he notes that for him piracy meant a life of freedom and an escape from that, and its only years later when he arrives in Port-au-Prince that he's able to confront it and in the course of the game, become an active Maroon revolutionary.
- Bus Crash: Gets murdered under unknown circumstances sometime before 1776. In Rogue, it's revealed that he was killed by the Templar Shay Patrick Cormac.
- The Captain: In the DLC, Freedom Cry becomes one of the brig, Experto Crede.
- Catch-Phrase: "Have you heard the news?" He works it into a number of different orders.
- Cunning Linguist: Is capable of speaking at least English, Spanish, and French.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Even as an adult, Adéwalé has still not recovered from his childhood as a slave and in Freedom Cry, his experience of going undercover as a plantation slave is something he does under protest.
- Defiant to the End: Upon getting assassinated by Shay, he tells him that "Hell welcomes traitors like you." and calls him a monster.
- Drop the Hammer: Has one in some Freedom Cry concept art.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Before he and Edward introduce and share names, they break out of their holds in the brig of a Spanish treasure fleet, clear out that ship, free other captive sailors across multiple ships, then hijack a brigantine and sail it away from a deadly hurricane that destroys the Spanish Fleet. Wooden Ships and Iron Men indeed.
- For Great Justice: His motivation for joining the Assassins, deciding that fighting for justice and freedom with them is a better calling than being a pirate. Also his initial reason for being a pirate; he enjoys the fact that out in the open sea, race matters little over mere ability to survive Everything Trying to Kill You."With this skin and this voice, where can I go in the world and feel at ease? This country here is my best chance. This country called Jackdaw, where I know the names of all citizens, and they know mine, and we work together. Not always out of love, but to keep our country afloat."
- In Freedom Cry, he transitions to Maroon revolutionary.
- Genius Bruiser: He's very intelligent and speaks English, Spanish and French, with Bastienne in Freedom Cry noting that he speaks like a scholar. His database entry notes that when he and Edward ended up in the same ship, his captors had intended him to serve as an interpreter on account of his command of language.
- Hero of Another Story: He stars in a DLC campaign called "Freedom's Cry", taking place fifteen years after ACIV's story endsnote .
- In the Hood: Gains one in the DLC.
- It's Personal:
- Adéwalé is quite giddy when you decide to attack British ships. The database and Word of God note that British slavers sold his parents in Trinidad and took him away from his family.
- In Rogue, he holds a special loathing for Haytham for tarnishing Edward's name and openly disrespecting his old friend.
- The Lancer: Serves as the Quartermaster on the ship until he leaves to join the Assassins... although as Edward admits, Adéwalé only wasn't Captain because their initial crew wouldn't accept himnote .
- Last Stand: Makes one in Rogue upon getting cornered in a lake by the Morrigan.
- Legendary in the Sequel: By the time Assassin's Creed: Rogue comes around, he's already a legendary Assassin.
- Lightning Bruiser: He's big, he's strong, and can move just as fast as Edward in combat.
- Only One Name: If he does have a surname, he never mentions it.
- Only Sane Man: He offers very good advice to Edward about keeping his cool and bringing in the Assassins who have a clear idea of what "the Sage" means, but Edward refuses to listen and the latter is somehow still surprised when Adéwalé finally decides that he doesn't want to be taken for granted anymore by a self-destructive asshole who nearly got his entire crew killed.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Serves as this as the Voice of the Crew on the Jackdaw, trying (and failing) to rein in Edward's obsessions when it clashes with the crew's health and interests.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Edward's red.
- Scary Black Man: To his enemies, at least.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Edward and Black Bart go to the Observatory, Adéwalé stays on the Jackdaw with the crew, clearly worried that Obviously Evil Black Bart is up to no good. Sensing danger, Adéwalé and the crew abandon Edward on the island when Black Bart and his crew make their betrayal clear, an action that probably saved the lives of the rest of the crew. Edward understands and accepts this, for which Ade returns him to the helm the next time they meet.
- Sergeant Rock: What Adéwalé's de facto role is amongst the Jackdaw crew.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: His Assassin outfit in Freedom Cry lacks sleeves, though in Rogue it's subverted since in the North Atlantic it would be rather nonsensical not to wear sleeves.
- Sword and Gun: Wields both a machete and a blunderbuss in Freedom's Cry.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The reason why Adéwalé resigns as First Mate from the Jackdaw; he finally can no longer tolerate Edward's selfishness and putting his own wants above everyone else's needs, and he joins the Assassins to forge his own path:
- Worth It: Despite that, he explains to Augustin Dieufort in Freedom Cry that the experience of freedom in his life of piracy meant a great deal to him and he wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Though he doesn't want to go back either.
- Voiced By: ???
- Ambition Is Evil: His database entry makes it pretty clear his primary motivation is advancing his status in life — interestingly, Not So Different from Edward at the time.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: He's born in a very wealthy family, with his Cousin being England's first Prime Minister, and he still retains this bearing among the multicultural, multi-franchised Assassins to the point that Edward calls him a "posh git".
- Asshole Victim: The Assassins admit that Edward killing the treacherous Walpole is no loss at all and is something they can easily forgive... as opposed to Edward's however unwittingly passing on Walpole's information to the Templars, thereby completing Walpole's betrayal for him. This is taken even further in the novelization of the game by Oliver Bowden where Sir Robert Walpole, Duncan's cousin, admits to Edward that Duncan was a real Jerkass and Ungrateful Bastard and that he holds no grudges to Edward for killing his own cousin.
- Beard of Evil
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Used to assassinate the captain of Edward's ship, but badly damaged in the subsequent explosion thereof, and abandoned by Edward because he didn't know what they were until reaching Havana where he was issued new ones.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Ends up being impersonated by Edward after his death. Helping matters was the fact that he kept a letter detailing the payout he was going to get in Havana.
- Deceptive Disciple: He asked to study under Ah Tabai in order to learn all his secrets and betray him.
- Face–Heel Turn: Betrayed the Assassins to join the Templars, intending to give them First Civilization artifacts, and apparently had the murder of Ah Tabai, the local Mayan Assassin Mentor, on his agenda.
- False Friend: To Ah Tabai, who Duncan came to in early 1715 and asked for personal training as a means of getting close to him and learning all about the West Indies Assassins in order to have a lot of information to turn over to the Templars.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: His database entry mentions his bad temper and impulsiveness several times.
- In the Hood: Given that Edward's uniform was looted from him, it's a given.
- Jerkass: Even ignoring his Face–Heel Turn details, he shoots at Edward even though Edward was legitimately trying to diffuse hostilities.
- Plot-Triggering Death: The game would have no plot at all if he never crossed paths with Edward.
- Professional Killer: A highly skilled one by all accounts: he is mentioned in Ah Tabai's database entry to be of a level of skill that few other Assassins ever reached, which says something about Edward being capable of besting him even while weakened.
- Shadow Archetype: Driven by personal ambition, betraying the Assassins solely for money... the initial confusion some had about the name Edward/Duncan is actually pretty telling.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: His death kicks off the story, and while a few details are garnered from his encounter, the Templars, and database entries, little is learned about him beyond some backstory and possible reasons for his Face–Heel Turn. The novelization for Assassin's Creed (2016) adds that his day job was working for the East India Company, but his cover was blown and his Mentor tried to send him to the New World (and Ah Tabai), partly so he wouldn't be killed. Instead, he was recruited for the Templars by one of the directors of the company.
- Worf Had the Flu: According to the Animus, Duncan is suppose to be one of the strongest assassins, but he gets unceremoniously hunted and killed by Edward in the game's opening mission. Though Duncan was injured in the shipwreck and Edward used that to his advantage.
- Voiced By: Olivia Morgan
"We're Assassins and we follow a Creed, aye. But it does not command us to act or submit... only to be wise."A teenage boy, supposedly the bastard child of notorious pirate William Kidd, and one of the founders of the Nassau pirate republic, along with Kenway, Thatch, and Hornigold. He's also a close friend of Edward's and a member of the Assassins.
- Action Girl: Albeit only overt about it after being forced to reveal herself to Rackham.
- Pregnant Badass: Was pregnant while trying to fend off the British that captured Rackham's crew. According to Anne Bonny, the father was a young man who was among the few sober enough to help fight, though he died during the battle.
- Always with You: Her Famous Last Words:"I'll be with you, Kenway. I will."
- Badasses Wear Bandanas: Wears a bandana throughout the game, and takes it off when revealing she is a woman.
- Battle Couple: She and an unknown pirate fought with Anne Bonny in a heroic final stand. That soldier was her lover and father of her child and he died in battle.
- Bifauxnen: She proves to be Mary Read, not James Kidd.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Perceptive players will notice that James is wearing a hidden blade before The Reveal that he is an Assassin.
- The Conscience: Serves as this for Edward, always trying to get him to do the right thing and be more focused on helping others than helping himself. For much of the game Edward doesn't listen, meaning that the Assassins never let him join them. Her death hits him the hardest by far and serves as the catalyst for Edward joining the Assassins and turning his life around in a way that would make her proud.
- Death By Child Birth: Dies due to sickness brought about after giving birth to her child in a prison. It's unknown what happened to her baby.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Edward cradles her in a Pietà Plagiarism as she passes away on account of post-pregnancy internal bleeding. Edward never fully recovers from this.
- Foreshadowing: There's a number of things that provide clues to the spoilered tropes: voice veers a bit too feminine at times, rather distinctive hips, crossing arms a lot (especially when close to other people), and on the mission just before the reveal, shoving Edward away after being tackled (the tackle animation placing hands very near the torso) and exclaiming "Keep your natty hands off me!"
- Also, Kidd's database entry notes that unlike Hornigold, Thatch and Kenway, he wasn't part of the Nassau Flying Gang but proved to be highly intelligent and resourceful in setting up the Nassau republic. Which foregrounds the fact that he's an Assassin since that's the kind of Patronage that is second nature for them.
- There's quite a few subtle hints in his body language about his sentiments well in advance of the reveal, such as his silent and contemplative reaction to a sketch of the Observatory instead of "Blackbeard" Thatch and Hornigold's mocking dismissals — Edward notices this, and later calls out Kidd on knowing more than he'd let on about the Observatory — and the multiple disapproving looks he gives Edward at times when he indulges his seedier tendencies or when Edward inadvertently revealed that he'd given away the locations of Assassin hideouts to the Templars.
- During some of the early game cutscenes a hidden blade can clearly be seen on the inside of his arm as well.
- The Man Behind the Man: The game strongly implies that later in his career when he was serving under Jack Rackham, Kidd was using Rackham as a puppet captain, given that Rackham himself couldn't captain his way out of a wet paper bag.
- Anne Bonny remarks to Edward that Mary did the actual captaining of the ship while Jack did most of the drinking. Given what we see in the game, there's no reason to think otherwise.
- The Mentor: Serves as this to Edward, introducing him to the Assassins, and later to Anne Bonny, making the latter into a true badass Pirate Girl despite starting out as a Ms. Fanservice waitress.
- Morality Chain: Acts as this to Edward at times, subtly encouraging his better nature. From one of Edward's discussions with Adéwale:Edward: He has a way of picking at my conscience that gives me pause.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Edward, eventually. She makes it clear when she reveals her true gender that very few people know it.Mary: Mary Read to me mum. *meaningful look* And me friends. *holds a knife to Edward's groin* Not a word of it to anyone, or I'll unman you as well. *wink*
- Professional Killer: Between being both an Assassin and a pirate.
- The Reveal: Is actually the famous female pirate, Mary Read, pulling a Sweet Polly Oliver.
- Ship Tease: There is considerable tension between Mary and Edward and several playful moments between them. Notably, the Mushroom Samba sequence interchanges her with Edward's wife Caroline, signaling the level of importance she held for Edward in his life. Her death had a bigger impact on changing his life than his wife leaving him.
- Stuffed in the Fridge: A highly qualified example in that, as Mary Read, she's a historical figure who did live and die in the same circumstances more or less. However her death is used to make her a Morality Chain for Edward's Character Development. And also that while there is Ship Tease between them, there's never any real romantic relationship aside from strong mutual respect and friendship.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Spends most of the game masquerading as a teenage boy.
- Tragic Hero: She spent all her life longing for freedom and respect in a patriarchal male-dominated society and be accepted as an equal. She has to resort to a rank incompetent like Calico Jack as a cover for her to be The Captain in all but name. Her child is taken from her and she dies painfully because the prison guards think she's a lowlife trash who deserves to die when she was the most heroic and decent person of the group, which moves Edward, an admitted Jerk Ass, greatly.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Was forced to reveal her gender when Rackham threatened to kill her. Inverted when she reveals her identity to Edward, when he sees her remove a bandanna and lets her hair down, he's amazed that she's Beautiful All Along and is very feminine.James Kidd: *removes bandana offscreen* Ready?
Edward Kenway: ... Your name's not James, is it?
Mary Read: *chuckles* Not most Days. Come on.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Dies from complications from childbirth while in British custody towards the end of the game, while Anne Bonny lives on for several more decades. Of course this is Truth in Television, the real Mary Read did die in childbirth while Anne Bonny disappeared from the records.
- Walking Spoiler: See all the white-outs here? Take a hint.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Kidd is utterly dedicated to the Assassin Order, which makes him frequently chew out Edward for valuing money over principles and for wearing Assassin robes:James Kidd on Edward Kenway: Prancing about like one of us, bringing Shame to our Cause.
- Eventually he flat-out tells Adéwalé not to let himself be pulled into the drink by Edward the "drowning rat."
- Wholesome Crossdresser: A striking variation. She's very good looking as James Kidd, to the point of attracting Anne Bonny, and is quite pretty as Mary Read.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: James Kidd is perhaps the same age as Edward or slightly younger, but displays a maturity and acceptance of life that is worlds away from Edward's immature lusting after the "easy life"."No one honest has an easy life, Edward. And it's aching for one that causes the most pain."
- Working-Class Hero: An even more impressive version than Edward, since as a woman she had to break the glass ceiling or take that into account to be where she is.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Nurtures this hope for Edward, a key reason why Ah Tabai and the other Assassins spare his life and give him a second chance. This ultimately has an effect on Edward and he resolves to fulfill her faith in him after she dies and officially joins the Assassins.
- Voiced By: Milton Lopes
"From within and without come enemies and allies alike. Nothing in life is guaranteed, except surprise..."A Mayan and the current Mentor of the Assassins in the West Indies.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: As expected of the Assassins.
- Badass Grandpa: Is in his 50s during the game, and still very skilled.
- Big Good: Is regarded as an exceptional Mentor by all his students, provided the Assassins a long sphere of influence in the New World and scattered seeds for the careers of Edward Kenway, Adewale and Achilles. Once he dies, things start to go south for the Assassins until Connor, Aveline and Eseosa arrive on the scene. He's also a kind man as noted by James Kidd and as Edward Kenway learns from experience.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Wields two hidden blades.
- Blade on a Stick: Concept art has him wielding a spear.
- Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: While he does forgive Edward's transgressions against the Assassinsnote , he nonetheless expresses that Edward is not welcome among the Brotherhood. At least, before Edward got his act together post-Heroic B.S.O.D..
- In the Hood: In traditional Assassin fashion.
- Life Will Kill You: According to Rogue, he died of old age sometime in 1745.
- Meaningful Name: His name means "The Hunter" in the Mayan language, and also refers to the Mayan god of the hunt.
- The Mentor:
- For James Kidd, Adéwalé, and the West Indies Assassins as a whole. He also serves as this for Edward when the latter realizes the consequences of his actions, noting that he has changed and offers him support and guidance when the latter most needs it.
- He was also the mentor of Achilles Davenport, who became mentor to the North American Colonial Assassins in turn.
- Outliving One's Offspring: According to his database entry, his only recorded child died before the age of ten.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: With some support from James Kidd, he forgives Edward for his transgressions against the Assassins due to his help, while most Assassins from past gamesnote would have likely killed him. The database also mentions that he opened up his branch of the Assassin Order to all men and women, whatever their race or social status.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Does one about three-fourths of the way through the game, to free Edward, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read from the Kingston prison. Sadly, Mary doesn't make it due to her failing health from childbirth and poor conditions in the prison.
- Tribal Facepaint: He has black and white facepaint running under his eyes and across his nose, as well as on his chin.
- Voiced By: Kwasi Songui
"All affairs of freedom are Assassin affairs."A Maroon Master Assassin who runs the Assassin Bureau in Kingston.
- An Axe to Grind: Concept art has him wielding a hatchet.
- Badass Baritone: He has one of the deepest voices in the entire franchise and is no slouch in combat.
- Badass Beard
- Blade Below the Shoulder: He has two hidden blades, as befits his rank of Master Assassin.
- Cool Old Guy: Despite being very serious, he has real charm and finds Edward's obsession with money and indifference to slave rebellions amusing. He gently chides and chips away at his conscience.
- Fire-Forged Friends: He and Edward will never be bosom buddies but they do get along better towards the end when Edward finds his Neutral No Longer moment and tells him he'll take down Kenneth Abrahams and not just because he wants the Templar Key.
- In the Hood: Wears a hood like most Assassins.
- Made a Slave: He was born into the Ashanti tribe in the Akon region of West Africa before being kidnapped and sold into slavery at a young age. He was freed by a famed warrior named Cudjoe and fled to Kingston, where he led a Maroon community and joined the Assassins in 1698.
- The Mentor: He tries to serve as this to Edward, trying to provoke his conscience beyond his Only in It for the Money or rather the Templar Key Fetch Quest which chains Anto's mission, making him alive to the plight of the Maroons suffering. Edward does seem to be affected a bit when Anto says that freedom is core to the Assassin cause and ultimately does come around to him, genuinely upset at the brutal squads sent to attack Anto's people down.
- Only One Name: Has no known surname.
- Slave Liberation: His primary goal, even above advancing the Assassin's interests. Luckily for him, the two often go hand-in-hand. Many of the slaves he frees even go on to join the Assassin Order.
- Worthy Opponent: Is considered such by Kenneth Abraham, and Anto reciprocates it, saying (before you sneak into Abraham's hideout), that he's "as cunning as a Maroon."
- Voiced By: Lynsey-Anne Moffat
"Ah... Captain Kenway. I'm assuming this is the friendliest face you've seen since dropping anchor?"A Scottish Master Assassin who runs the Assassins Bureau in Havana. She knew Edward from before he discovered she was an Assassin.
- Action Girl: Besides being an Assassin, it's implied by Edward that she was a Sweet Polly Oliver pirate at one point.
- Badasses Wear Bandanas: A red one tied to encircle her head as opposed to covering it.
- Brave Scot: She has a noticeable Scottish accent.
- Cool Old Lady: The War Letters in Rogue show that she became this. She is quite teasing to Achilles who remembers her as "Auntie Rhona" during the years he apprenticed with Ah Tabai at Tulum.
- Deadpan Snarker: Particularly in her first mission, where she cheerfully snarks about her situation as Casual Danger Dialog.Edward: I've come to warn you: your life's in danger.
Rhona: (as bullets hit nearby) Aren't you the crafty one? Whatever gave it away?
Edward: Possibly, I had a hand in selling a "sensitive document" to one of those Templar chaps you're so fond of.
Rhona: Congratulations. Your mission was a success.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: She gloats rather shamelessly about how desirable she is in her old age to Achilles in the War Letters at Rogue, and even guiltily admitting that she got seduced by a handsome Templar gentleman (Rafael Joaquín de Ferrer) again.
- Foe Romance Subtext: With Hilary Flint, the Templar hunting her. In-game dialogue and the database indicate that they had some kind of a relationship, but both were too dedicated to their respective Orders to betray them for each other.Rhona: Oh, he won’t be hard to find, the cheeky bastard, strutting about like the cock of the walk.
Edward: Admit it, you like the walk of that cock.
- Guns Akimbo: Her concept art has her dual wielding pistols.
- Noodle Incident: It's not explicitly stated how she and Edward know each other, but it's implied that she was once a Sweet Polly Oliver pirate, given a faint skull tattoo just above her breasts and Edward claiming that "I know you are no Stranger to a Man's Boots."
- Parental Abandonment: Had a absent father and an uncaring alcoholic mother.
- Professional Killer: As a member of the Assassins.
- Tattooed Crook: She may have had a pirate past, judging from a faint skull tattoo located just above her breasts.
- Tomboy: Wears her hair short and happens to act like One of the Boys.
- Violent Glaswegian: A Scottish Assassin who for bonus points is actually from Glasgow.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: She and Edward develop this during their partnership. Rhona is the only Assassin who doesn't look down at Edward for being a Jerk Ass and takes him for what he his and Edward even calls her "Mum" and "Mopsie". She even hugs him before he sets out to hunt down Torres.
- Voiced By: Bruce Dinsmore
"Vance. He said he would kill me. I thought it was bluster. He is my brother. Despite what you told me, I thought it meant something."A Master Assassin who runs the Assassins Bureau in Nassau alongside his brother.
- Cain and Abel: The Abel to his brother's Cain. Even though his brother broke the Creed and tried to kill him, Upton still can't bring himself to kill Vance and asks Edward to do it. Becomes the Cain when he orders Edward to kill his brother.
- Deadpan Snarker: Before he falls apart, he gets a couple good barbs in at his brother.Vance: Upton, come, you know better than to give in to gossip. Nassau is too small. Local tongues turn everything to sentimental comedy.
Upton: It's domestic tragedy I'm trying to avoid.
- Drowning My Sorrows: He does not take the revelation that his brother is trying to kill him very well.Upton: I cannot go on anymore! My brother: a traitor! That woman... Templar. I have no family! No wife of my own! What is the point of living, hm? Let them kill me.
- In the Hood: A big hint that he wasn't a Templar like Vance said.
- The Load: Of the Templar Hunt Mission Chain, he is far and away the most ineffectual and incompetent Assassin, to the point that you can't deny that Jing Ling has a point when she calls him and his brother a pair of fools. The moment when he gets drunk and Edward has to protect him is an Escort Mission with Ascended Fridge Horror.
- Mistaken for Racist: There's a lot of implications that he's unhappy his brother is marrying a Chinese woman. He's actually upset that she's a Templar after their treasure map. It's possible, of course, he's upset about that too.
- What the Hell, Hero?: His first conversation with Edward says that he murdered a bunch of workers. Even if you haven't killed anyone that mission.
- Voiced By: Marcel Jeannin
"I'll tell you this: I will marry her. I will kill you if I must, I will have your half of the map. And then the world will see which brother has more honour."A Master Assassin who runs the Assassins Bureau in Nassau alongside his brother. He has fallen in love with a Templar Chinese pirate and sets Edward on his brother.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to his brother's Abel. Lampshaded by Jing Ling, who criticizes Vance for hiring people to kill Upton instead of doing it himself like Cain.
- Love Makes You Evil: Mixed with a healthy case of Death by Materialism.
- The Oathbreaker: He breaks the Assassin's Creed by plotting to murder his brother and aide a Templar, the penalty for which is death.
- Too Dumb to Live: Jing Ling can barely restrain her contempt of him. Neither can his brother. Given he's fallen for a Templar who treats him just as bad as his twin, you have to wonder if he enjoys it.
- It doesn't help Jing intends to murder him after they're done with his brother. You can't blame her, though.
- Turncoat: He betrays the Assassin Order out of love for Jing Ling and greed over the hidden treasure he and his brother's map leads to.
- The Unfavorite: Hinted at to be part of his motivation to kill his brother.Vance: You're jealous.
Upton: Jealous? No-
Upton: I only worry for your safety, brother.
Vance: You always had to be the favored child, the golden boy. You can't stand it that she would give her heart to me, when she can't even give you a second glance! So you hate her!
- Voiced By: ???
"There are those who say the Taíno are already extinct. But we will never be extinguished. Our fight continues."A Taino Master Assassin who leads the Assassins in the Cayman Islands. She enlists Edward's aide in hunting down the Templar Lucia Márquez.
- Action Girl: What with being a female member of the Assassins. She is the only Master Assassin in the game besides Ah Tabai himself who can actually keep up with Edward in hunting and Le Parkour.
- Arch-Enemy: Of Lucia, who is trying to kill Opía and the remaining Taino.
- Badass Creed: In addition to following the Assassin's Creed, she has her own personal one: "aji aya bom", meaning "better dead than a slave". Though this is an Informed Ability it seems, we don't hear it in the game, being only mentioned in her database entry.
- Badass Native: She is half-Taíno, one of the indigenous groups of the Caribbean.
- Bare Your Midriff: Her uniform is customized into a much more tribal design, complete with exposed midriff.
- Body-Count Competition: Challenges Edward to a hunting competition, and is impressed when he kills a white jaguar.
- Cain and Abel: There is a pretty good chance that she and Lucia are half-siblings, though neither woman seems aware of it.
- Disappeared Dad: She never met her father.
- Does Not Like Shoes: She has some wrappings around her ankles, but the soles of her feet are exposed to the ground.
- In the Hood: While her attire differs significantly from most Assassin uniforms, she still maintains a white hood.
- Meaningful Name: According to her database profile, her name is an amalgam for the Taino words meaning "eternity" and "ghost".
- Mixed Ancestry: She was raised by her Taino mother, while her father was a unknown Spaniard.
- Ms. Fanservice: Who knew Assassins could look so sexy? She and the other female Assassins in Tulum are among the most scantily-clad possibly throughout the entire Brotherhood's history.
- Professional Killer: As one would expect from a member of the Assassins.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Her identity as a Taino means a great deal to her.
- Sole Survivor: She was the only member of her village that escaped being killed or enslaved when it was raided by the Spanish.
- Tribal Facepaint: Has white paint over her upper face and a small streak on her chin.
- Verbal Tic: She always refers to herself as "we".