Characters / Black Sails

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Crew of The Walrus

    Flint 

Captain Flint

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/flint_1059.jpg
Played By: Toby Stephens

"I'm not just gonna make you rich. I'm not just gonna make you strong. I'm gonna make you the princes of the New World!"

Captain James Flint real name James McGraw is the Captain of the pirate ship Walrus, and known throughout the West Indies as being the most feared of all the Golden Age pirates. His charisma masks a deep, simmering rage, and a propensity towards breathtaking violence. In order to hold off the British and Spanish forces he’ll make himself ruler of Nassau through any means necessary.

  • Ambiguously Gay: Identified as gay by Word Of God.
  • Anti-Villain: Flint's tragic past, noble goals, and general civility paint him as one of these.
  • Arch-Enemy: As far as he's concerned, the whole of England. Charles Vane in S. 1 and 2.
  • Badass: You don't become captain without being a legendary badass. Proven when he kills Singleton in one-on-one combat, beating him to death.
  • Batman Gambit: In episode "X." he advises Dufresne to avoid the shipping lanes on their way back to Nassau, as he knows the crew will want to take any prize they come across despite their depleted numbers and fatigue from a long ordeal at sea. Dufresne, distrustful of Flint, does the exact opposite. Flint was counting on this, and that Dufresne's inexperience would result in failure, giving Flint the opportunity to retake command. It works.
  • Beard of Evil: In line with him being a Villain Protagonist.
  • Bi the Way: While still a Naval officer in London, he lived in a polyamorous relationship with Thomas and Miranda Hamilton.
  • The Captain
  • Combat Pragmatist: When it comes to fighting with swords, he's not above cheating. Of course, pirates aren't exactly known for rules.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: kicked out of the Navy, exiled from England, and lost the two people he loved most.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After Miranda's death.
  • Face Death with Dignity: What he was doing while on trial and awaiting execution. Then Vane comes in, cue Back-to-Back Badasses.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: during his days in the Royal Navy. Part of what attracted him to Thomas and Miranda Hamilton.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He can go from being rather polite to pulling a gun on you within two seconds.
  • Foregone Conclusion: He was a Posthumous Character in Treasure Island.
  • The Plan: He plans on raiding a Spanish treasure galleon carrying five million dollars worth of gold in order to finance the militarization of Nassau; he admits that he doesn't think that he can make it capable of withstanding an out and out war with either the Spanish or the British, but he hopes to make it strong enough to force a truce; instead of being wiped off the map as pirates, they may live as a relatively autonomous colony with a sympathetic governor.
  • Revenge: As Miranda points out, one of Flint's main reasons for his actions is getting revenge for what happened to Thomas Hamilton.
    • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Amps it up to this after finding out what happened to Thomas was the result of betrayal by their friend Peter Ashe, and Miranda's murder due to her reaction to the revelation. Once Flint escapes custody, he orders a full bombardment of Charlestown from his warship, leaving the city a burning, smoking ruin in his wake.
  • Sanity Slippage: Grows steadily for unstable as the season passes. He gets over it by season 2. Then goes right back in season 3.
  • The Storyteller: His ability to weave words around his crew is what Mr. Scott says was the reason he gained power so quickly in Nassau.
  • Tranquil Fury: He doesn't say a word or move a muscle, but when the people of Charlestown start throwing fruit and vegetables at Miranda's corpse, it is clear Flint is utterly enraged.
  • Villain Protagonist: Being a pirate and all.
    • Visionary Villain: He has a grand design of organizing the pirates into a stable force capable of opposing the British and the Spanish.
  • Undying Loyalty: to Thomas and Miranda Hamilton.
  • The Unfettered: Nothing will stand in the way of The Plan. Not Billy, not Gates.
  • Wicked Cultured: Part of what distances him from his crew is his classical education.

    John Silver 

John Silver

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/silver_john_6552.jpg
Played By: Luke Arnold

"If your interests and mine were adverse to each other, there was a good chance I'd cross you to save myself... at the moment, I don't believe our interests are adverse to each other."

A lowly sailor turned pirate recruit, John Silver is a born opportunist. He insinuates himself into the crew of Captain Flint while secretly possessing the “schedule” Flint so dearly wants. A staunch individualist, Silver resents authority of any kind, a quality that brings him into direct conflict with Flint, even as events conspire to make them reluctant partners in the quest to take the Treasure Fleet.

  • An Arm and a Leg: His left leg has to be amputated after it is brutalized by Vane's quartermaster with a sledgehammer for several minutes.
  • Becoming the Mask: He's able to secure his place in the crew by conning them into thinking he has their best interests at heart. The fact that they believe he has their best interest at heart, how much faith they place in him because of it, and the lengths they're willing to go to for him because of it has an effect on him, to the point that by the second season finale, he truly does have their best interest at heart.
  • Dirty Coward: Stood by and watched Max being strangled by Vane despite having a weapon, and later in the same episode when Vane murders the old vagrant Silver was using for the handoff, he simply sends another vagrant to close the deal.
    • It must be said he was fully prepared to defend Max but she sent him hand-signals while getting strangled by Vane which made him back away.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: After losing his leg, he insists on wearing a peg leg despite his stump failing to heal properly, refuses aid from other crew members and keeps knocking himself out trying to remain useful.
    Silver: All this shit we've been through the last few months, do you wanna know what the most terrifying part of it's been? "We'll take care of you."
  • Future Badass: Not only will he become of the badass of Treasure Island fame, he will become the only pirate that Captain Flint fears.
  • Guile Hero: Oh so very much, although he's not quite as smart as he thinks he is (or rather, everyone else is just as smart or smarter than he is)
  • Handicapped Badass: After the season 2 finale, he is this.
  • Heel-Face Turn: While his morality has always been complicated, over the second half of season 2 he gradually comes to care about the crew more than just himself.
  • Lovable Coward: He's a good deal of fun, even if he does abandon his post and keep his head down at the first sign of the odds stacking against him.
  • Lovable Rogue: Silver gleefully declares himself an opportunist.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: John Silver (later to be known as "Long" John Silver), who is a self described opportunist and will latch onto any chance to advance his position or at least keep himself from getting killed. When told that in a few months his usefulness will be gone and he will probably be killed he merely sees this as a time to make friends with his captors. Most of the other major characters have some sort of plan or goal they are working toward but Silver simply jumps at any opportunity that presents itself and goes where it takes him.
  • The So-Called Coward: Ultimately becomes this; when Vane's quartermaster demands that he name ten Walrus men that he can convince to crew jump so they can sail away, abandoning Flint, Vane, and the other men ashore, he refuses, having come to realize that the men look to him because they feel he has their interest at heart. He endures several minutes of brutal torture that ultimately costs him his leg, and still refuses to give in.

    Billy Bones 

Billy Bones

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bones_billy_2435.jpg
Played By: Tom Hopper

Boatswain of the pirate ship Walrus, Billy Bones is key to smooth operations on the ship, and is widely assumed to be the next quartermaster should anything happen to Gates. Billy’s belief in the righteousness of the pirate cause will be continually tested as he’s drawn deeper and deeper into Flint’s plans for the future.

  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Is on the receiving end at the beginning of season 2, courtesy of Captain Hume utilizing a technique learned from the Spanish, in which he's left exposed to the elements in a leather vest which is periodically soaked with water, causing it to constrict over a span of six days. Supposedly, on the seventh day, the vest will tighten to the point that it shatters the ribcage, puncturing internal organs.
    Hume: And on the seventh day, you'll rest. Who knew? They have a sense of humour."
  • Gentle Giant: Towers over pretty much everyone else, and is pretty much the nicest guy on Flint's crew.
  • Never Found the Body: Apparently goes overboard in VI., with the strong implication that Flint pushed him, which is all but admitted to the next episode. Of course, given that he appears in Treasure Island...
  • Nice Guy: one of the nicest in the entire show.
  • Not Quite Dead: revealed in season 2 to have survived his fall in to the sea (see above), having been picked up by the Scarborough and imprisoned by Captain Hume.
  • Only Sane Man: Along with Gates and the rest of the crew, he thinks the Captain's plan is utterly insane and wants to get back to just raiding ships.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: He was Press-Ganged at a young age and forced into three years of indentured servitude, until the crew of the Walrus liberated him. When given the opportunity to face the man who'd pressed him, he killed that man where he stood. After that, Billy felt he could never return home as his father would not accept a murderer as a son.

    Gates 

Gates

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gates_8787.jpg
Played By: Mark Ryan

"There are no legacies in this life, are there? No monuments, no history, just the water. It pays us and then it claims us, shallows us whole."

Gates is the Walrus’s Quartermaster, elected representative of the crew’s interests, and a check on the power of the ship’s captain. Gates is by far the most senior member of the crew; he is loyal to Captain Flint to a fault and is very much aware he’s playing a younger man’s game.

  • Bald of Awesome: Extremely bald, and rather awesome.
  • Death by Pragmatism: Is killed by Flint for attempting to abandon him when a Spanish warship shows up, which was not part of the plan.
  • Forensic Accounting: When tasked with finding Silver and the missing logbook page, he spends most of the day following the appraiser. He knows that anyone who tries to sell such a valuable item on New Providence will request payment in easily transportable jewels and will call in the appraiser to make sure the jewels are real. By following the man who is going to handle the money, Gates can figure out who is involved in the transaction and where it is taking place.
  • Honest Advisor: To Captain Flint. He tells him in no uncertain terms what the crew thinks of him and how tenuous his grip on leadership is, frequently calling him out for his actions.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Again, to Flint. He pretty much handles most of the more practical day-to-day business while Flint plots and dreams.
  • Killed Off for Real
  • Like a Son to Me: Says this word for word of Billy, which pushes him to defy Flint when the latter pushed Billy overboard to silence him.
  • One Last Job: He views the treasure galleon as a chance at a final big score that will let him quit piracy on his own terms.
    Gates: You can't thieve forever.
  • Only Sane Man: He'd likely make a better captain than Flint. He's practical, fair-minded and aware of the crew's needs.
  • Tattooed Crook: He sports an impressive collection of tattoos, likely acquired over a lifetime of piracy.
  • Villain Protagonist: At the end of the day, he's still a pirate.

    Dufresne 

Dufresne

Played By: Jannes Eiselen (Season 1), Roland Reed (Season 2)

The ship's accountant for the Walrus. His job is to add the prices of stolen goods and to make an account of the payments to be doled out to the crew.

  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He comes across as a bookish Non-Action Guy, who's understandably apprehensive about going into combat. After being drafted into the boarding party in the fifth episode, he ends up ripping a man's throat out with his teeth.
    • Becomes even more pronounced in the season one finale when of all the pirates, its Dufresne who leads the crew's revolt against Flint and he even shoots Flint when Flint tried to ignore him.
  • The Smart Guy: He's the ship's accountant, and has more of an education than the other pirates.
  • Heroic BSOD: Has a minor one when the crew fails under his command in taking a British merchant sailor as a prize.
  • Important Haircut: After his first combat and promotion to Quartermaster, the crew has him shorn and tattooed as an "initiation."
  • Man Bites Man: Pulls this the first time he goes into combat, killing his first opponent by ripping his throat out.

    Randall 

Randall

Played By: Lawrence Joffe

A pirate and member of Captain Flint's crew. Despite losing his sanity during a fight, he has not lost the loyalty from the crew.

  • Life-or-Limb Decision: His left leg is trapped beneath the Walrus' keel during a careening accident and there's no time to dig him out. Silver quickly throws Flint a cleaver.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Silver plays with the possibility that Randall's half-wit persona is entirely an act. If it's true, he's not revealing anything.

    Joshua 

Joshua

Played By: Richard Lukunku

A pirate who serves on the Walrus under Captain Flint.

    Dr. Howell 

Dr. Howell

Played By: Alistair Anthony Moulton Black

A pirate and doctor on the Walrus. His job mostly involves him working on the injured crew after they take another ship.

  • Bring My Brown Pants: Warns Silver that patients often loose their bowels during amputations.
  • Combat Medic: On the Walrus.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: When Randall accuses Silver of thievery, Howell is in favour of killing Randall rather than missing out on his share of the five million dollar prize they stand to acquire with Silver's knowledge of the Urca's schedule.

    Singleton 

Singleton

Played By: Anthony Bishop

A crew member for the Walrus, and the assumed next in line under Captain Flint. Singleton is fairly open about his dislike for the captain, and its known that he is attempting to bring the majority of the crew to his side so he can replace Flint.

  • Badass: Singleton rips through groups of men like nothing, slicing throats and snapping necks.
  • Bald of Evil
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Violent, angry and one of the best fighters on the crew. When he fights Flint for the captaincy, he favors a screaming hack-and-slash style in contrast for Flint's more graceful, educated style.
  • Due to the Dead: Averted. After his death, the crew celebrate their incoming wealth and piss on his corpse.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: His face is covered in jagged scars, which suit his rather unpleasant personality.
  • The Starscream: He plots to overthrow Flint and become captain.
  • Starter Villain: Set up to be the rival to Flint who will oppose him at every turn, then Flint kills him at the end of the first episode.

Crew of The Ranger

    Charles Vane 

Captain Charles Vane

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vane_charles_4091.jpg
Played By: Zach McGowan

"But make no mistake about it: whatever future this place has left, I'm it."

Charles Vane is Captain of the pirate ship Ranger. Possibly the next great pirate captain on New Providence Island, he is known for his vicious temper as well as his tremendous financial success.

  • Big Bad: Shaping up to be the first in the show. Reinforced when he decapitates Ned Lowe.
    • As of the season 2 finale, defied. He and Flint are still opposed to one another, but ally against a common foe.
  • Cigar Chomper: Usually seen with a cigar between his teeth.
  • The Dreaded: Demonstrated when another captain sheepishly backs down from a confrontation as soon as Vane reveals his name.
  • Freudian Excuse: Vane was raised a slave, and this fuels his desire to never be bound to servitude again, either personally, or on a grander scale of submitting to England.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Kills a man in episode seven while wearing nothing but sand.
  • Genius Bruiser: Make no mistake, Vane may be an impulsive brute now and then but he is extremely intelligent, cunning, observational and understands the ways of power better than most. He was one of the few people who saw how vulnerable Eleanor's position was, why Ned Lowe was dangerous to Nassau and why Flint had to be saved.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Bears a distinctive brand on his chest which marks him as a former slave labourer in Albinus' lumber camp.
  • Guttural Growler: Has a very low, scratchy voice.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Vane is frequently on the verge of attacking everyone.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Charles Vane was a real person, and he was just as violent and psychotic.
  • Hot-Blooded: Vane is rather temperamental and tends not to think before acting.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Rackham.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Spends much of his screentime stripped to the waist.
  • Would Hit a Girl: When Eleanor strikes him, he doesn't hesitate to punch her right back.

    Jack Rackham 

Jack Rackham

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rackham_7113.jpg
Played By: Toby Schmitz

"When I came here, I had nothing but my name and my wits. A man in a place like this, surviving on those two things alone, he suffers indignities, slights, ridicule... But I overcame it. I used the wits to build the name."

Rackham is the Quartermaster on the pirate ship Ranger, is the brains behind Captain Charles Vane's brawn, and in some ways even more dangerous than him.

  • Agent Peacock: His foppish appearance and effete mannerisms tend to lead others to underestimate him or dismiss him entirely as a buffoon. He has, however proved time and again that he is very good at what he does.
  • Camp Straight: He's rather effeminate at times, but straight.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He's not above throwing booze in a man's face as an opening move to a fight, or going for his pistol when he's outmatched in hand-to-hand.
    • On another level, throwing the booze had a different purpose; the red wine staining the man's shirt and skin made it difficult to tell just how much he was bleeding from the first(and only) cut Jack inflicted, so by the time he realized that Jack had cut an artery, it was too late - Jack knew he'd only have to withstand the man for a few seconds after that first slice.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rackham tends to have the better lines.
  • The Dragon: For Vane.
    • Dragon-in-Chief: He's an able manipulator and is very good at 'helping' Vane make decisions.
    • Dragon Ascendant: Becomes a captain of his own ship in season 2.
  • Historical-Domain Character: He's better known as 'Calico Jack' Rackham.
  • Honest Advisor: He isn't afraid of Vane or telling him the truth of their situation. This has led to some tension.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: To Vane.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: A talker and negotiator, while his lover Anne Bonny tends more toward solving problems with violence.
  • Outlaw Couple: With Anne Bonny.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: He has an impressive vocabulary which he takes every opportunity to flaunt.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Being the smart one, he often finds himself in this situation.
    Idelle: Just how fucking stupid are your men?
    Jack: It's hard to say.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Vane.
  • Too Clever by Half: He's very proud of his wits, and very quick to point out that they are his greatest asset.

    Anne Bonny 

Anne Bonney

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bonney_anne_3790.jpg
Played By: Clara Paget

"When someone gives you a life, it ain't truly your own. You owe some part of it back."

Beautiful but cold-blooded, Bonny is Rackham's lover, and Vane's deadliest henchman. Her youthful looks mask a borderline psychopathic personality.

Providence Island

    Eleanor Guthrie 

Eleanor Guthrie

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/guthrie_eleanor_2896.jpg
Played By: Hannah New

"Nassau is my father's house. It is my birthright, and I am obligated to see it set right."

Eleanor Guthrie is the beautiful and determined daughter of Richard Guthrie, the wealthiest black marketer in the Bahamas and the chief fence/supplier for the many pirate crews of New Providence Island. Left by her father to oversee all his dealings with the pirates in Nassau, she owns and operates the tavern on Nassau’s main street. In contrast to her snooty, self-interested father, Eleanor dreams of building something lasting by making Nassau self-sufficient. She wields considerable influence, leading her to form a pact with Captain Flint that will either bring her dream of complete independence to fruition, or doom it entirely.

  • Badass: She routinely deals with incredibly dangerous pirates without batting an eye and is fully capable of intimidating the likes of Charles Vane.
  • Bi the Way: Is in a relationship with Max, and had a previous relationship with Charles Vane.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Constantly seems to end up betraying one of her allies.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Being a walking Cluster F-Bomb.
  • The Lad-ette: Not to the same degree as Anne Bonney, but she's perfectly capable of meeting very uncouth men on their level and swears like a...pirate.
  • Self Made Woman: While most people think she simply inherited her father's empire, she claims that it was her and her mother that actually made the empire.
    • In any case, after her father's empire crumbles, she quickly rebuilds her own in episode 6.

    Max 

Max

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maxbs_8751.jpg
Played By: Jessica Parker Kennedy

Max is a seductive, cunning, and cool-headed prostitute in the brothel on Nassau. In Eleanor Guthrie, she’s found a kindred spirit, a lover, maybe even a savior, but when her aspirations and Eleanor’s begin to conflict, their relationship, and Max’s well-being, take a dark turn for the worse…

  • Ambiguously Brown: She's multiracial, and has a strange accent somewhere between French and Jamaican.
  • Bi the Way/Lipstick Lesbian: In love with Eleanor and ends up bedding Anne quite frequently. Yes she's had relations with men but being a prostitute it may have been no more than business especially since she was being kept as a sex slave in the brothel.
  • Born Into Slavery: Her mother was a slave belonging to a wealthy landowner. Her father was the landowner.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In case her cleavagey outfits and tendency to get nude didn't tip you off.
  • Rape as Drama: She's kidnapped by Vane and 'punished' by locking her in a room and having the entire crew rape her. This later happens again on the beach.
    • Happens AGAIN the very next episode.
  • Sex Slave: Like other prostitutes in her establishment, she was a slave forced to work in the brothel. When Vane takes her prisoner, he keeps her as a sex slave for his crew.

    Mr Scott 

Mr Scott

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mr_scott_8421.jpg
Played By: Hakeem Kae-Kazim

Eleanor Guthrie’s right-hand. Formerly Richard Guthrie’s house slave, his loyalties will be put to the test as Eleanor allies herself more closely with Captain Flint.

  • Honest Advisor: To Eleanor, whom he warns about making bad investments.
  • Number Two: He begins the series as Eleanor's right hand man. Eventually, after serving on Ben Hornigold's crew, he is promoted to Flint's quartermaster during their joint venture to retake Nassau's fort from Charles Vane. He stays on even after Flint and Hornigold's alliance is dissolved, only to be voted out in favour of John Silver.
  • Only Sane Man: All Scott wants to do is keep the business stable, make some money and minimize risk.

    Richard Guthrie 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/richardguthrie_5864.png

Richard Guthrie

Played By: Sean Michael

A smuggler and the richest black marketer in the Bahamas. Because of this, he has become a powerful and dangerous man.

  • Cruel to Be Kind: His reasoning for conspiring against Eleanor with Captain Bryson and Mister Scott is that Eleanor is going to get herself killed if he allows her to continue on her current course.
  • Killed Off for Real: Charles Vane has him crucified at the end of "XVI." in order to send a message to Eleanor.
  • The Unfavourite: He seems to occupy this spot among his siblings.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Has a huge chip on his shoulder about his father and brothers considering him a failure.

    Miranda Barlow/Hamilton 

Miranda Barlow/Hamilton

Played By: Louise Barnes

A mysterious woman connected with Flint. It is hinted at that she is the motivation for his hidden agendas.

    Thomas Hamilton 

Thomas Hamilton

Played By: Rupert Penry-Jones

The son of Lord Alfred Hamilton. Ordered to find a solution for the pirates of Nassau before the series began.

     Ned Low 
Played by: Tadhig Murphy

    Teach 
Played by: Ray Stevenson

"Strife is good. Strife makes a man strong. For if a man is capable of confronting death daily, functioning in the face of it, there's no telling what else that man can do, and a man whose limits cannot be known... is a very hard man to defeat in battle."

The infamous pirate captain Edward "Blackbeard" Teach.

  • Captain Colorbeard: The Trope Codifier
  • Badass Beard: Obviously.
  • The Dreaded: His piratical career has progressed to the point that the mere mention of his name strikes terror in honest men and pirates alike.
  • Genius Bruiser: He is one, being both an extremely dangerous fighter and an excellent tactician, but militarily and otherwise. Also, he appears to only respect other genius bruisers, like Vane and Flint. He has no respect for Jack, despite his obvious wit and cunning, because he doesn't have the strength to back it up.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Edward Teach was probably history's most infamous pirate.
  • Like a Son to Me: He feels this way towards Vane, bearing him no ill will for his betrayal. He even claims that the only reason he walked away instead of fighting the coalition against him - which he seems confident he could have defeated - was because he didn't want to kill Charles.
  • Social Darwinist: As the quote suggests, he finds himself disgusted by the prosperity that the Urca gold and Flint's terror campaign have brought to Nassau, with crews that have only taken prizes by surrender without being tested and hardened in battle, and captains unfit to lead going un-deposed because their crews are comfortable.
  • The Worf Effect: Retroactively put into place; Eleanor reveals that she earned the respect of the pirates of Nassau by forcing out Teach, specifically because he was the strongest of them, the one they all feared. Zig-Zagged in that he claims that despite Eleanor, Hornigold, and Vane conspiring against him, he chose to leave rather than kill his protege.