Billy Bones

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Name: Billy Bones
Occupation: Pirate,
Fandom: Black Sails Treasure Island
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Billy Bones is a fictional character in Robert Louis Stevenson's book Treasure Island. Billy Bones is also a main character in Starz's TV series Black Sails, which is a prequel to the original novel.


Treasure Island

I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow—a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. -Treasure Island

Treasure Island provides an interesting source of tension and intrigue around the character of Billy Bones within Black Sails, because viewers who were familiar with the novel knew the character was fated to become a scarred, alcoholic wreck who lived in terror of John Silver. Billy Bones in the book was the man entrusted by Captain Flint with the map to the treasure -- another curiosity, given the two characters' animosity within Black Sails.

Black Sails injects Billy's prequel storyarc with both tragedy and irony, as it was Billy who created the idea of the fearsome Long John Silver who gives out Black Spots in warning to traitors and enemies -- the very same man and Black Spot he lives in mortal terror of in Treasure Island.

Black Sails

Formerly William Manderly, Billy Bones was born in London. His parents were Levellers. Billy was press ganged into service in the Royal Navy at a very young age. When his ship was captured by Captain Flint, he took the opportunity to join the pirate crew.

Many of Captain Flint's actions, put Billy Bones in a position where he must choose between his Captain's orders and what he believes to be right. He does not trust his Captain, and in season 1, he investigates rumors about Mrs. Barlow and Maria Aleyne.

It is Billy who creates the myth of Long John Silver in his efforts to subvert British rule on New Providence Island. His creation elevates John Silver to a position equal to Captain Flint and puts the two men in direct conflict.

In season 4, Billy betrays the pirates and helps the British navy and Billy is forced to take up arms against his former shipmates.


Many fans, noticing Billy's lack of interest in a "fuck tent" in season 1 and comprehensive lack of interest (or seeming understanding) in any and all sexual relationships throughout the show's run, headcanon Billy as Ace.

It is also common for fans to infer he was interested in men. Some early fics featured a fear of period typical homophobia and closeted gay characters. Pairings include:

The most common het pairing is Abigail Ashe/Billy Bones. On her journey aboard the Walrus, Abigail asked Captain Flint about Billy, commenting that he doesn't look like a pirate. These two characters never spoke to one another but that only encouraged determined shippers. Also eagle eyed viewers wondered how Billy was aware of the contents of Abigail's diary in the season 2 finale, when they had never interacted on screen.




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