Black Sails

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Name: Black Sails
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: Jonathan E. Steinberg, Robert Levine
Date(s): January 25, 2014 – April 2, 2017
Medium: TV series
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: at IMDb
at Wikipedia
Official Website at Starz
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Black Sails is a TV show that ran on Starz for four seasons between 2014 and 2017. The series is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel Treasure Island. It features both characters from Treasure Island and fictionalized versions of real life historical pirates. It is set in 1715, about twenty years before the events of Treasure Island, and is centered around New Providence Island.

Canon

On New Providence Island, Captain Flint aligns himself with Eleanor Guthrie to seize the greatest prize, a Spanish treasure galleon. He is frustrated by John Silver, a new member of his crew who holds the vital piece of information he needs to achieve his goal.

Seasons 1 and 2 are mainly preoccupied with getting the Spanish gold, eventually revealing Captain Flint's plan to use the wealth to establish Nassau. The third and fourth seasons focus on the characters efforts to protect Nassau from British naval attack and colonial rule.

Main Characters

Actor/Actress Character Seasons
Toby Stephens Captain Flint/ James Flint Seasons 1 - 4
Luke Arnold John Silver/Long John Silver Seasons 1 - 4
Louise Barnes Miranda Barlow/Miranda Hamilton Seasons 1 - 2
Hannah New Eleanor Guthrie Seasons 1 - 4
Tom Hopper Billy Bones Seasons 1 - 4
Jessica Parker Kennedy Max Seasons 1 - 4
Toby Schmitz Captain Jack Rackham/"Calico" Jack Seasons 1 - 4
Clara Paget Anne Bonny Seasons 1 - 4
Zach McGowan Captain Charles Vane Seasons 1 - 3
Zethu Dlomo Madi Scott Seasons 3 - 4
Hakeem Kae-Kazim Mr. Scott Seasons 1 - 3
Ray Stevenson Edward Teach/Blackbeard Seasons 3 - 4
Rupert Penry-Jones Thomas Hamilton Referenced in Seasons 2 - 4. Guest character, appears in flashbacks.

LGBT Characters in Black Sails

While the character's sexualities and gender performance in Black Sails are never directly stated, several characters are shown to be queer through their relationships. Most notably Captain Flint whose backstory was revealed in season two, much to the dismay of many in the largely straight, male audience. His past (and the wreckage of his polyamorous relationship with Thomas and Miranda Hamilton) is a major driving force to his actions in the series. [1] However, it should be noted that the reveal made the show more popular with queer audiences and resulted in growth for the fandom.

Before this, one of the other main characters, Eleanor Guthrie is shown to have an established relationship with one of the girls at the whorehouse, Max. Notably she has an agreement with the owner of the establishment that she pays for exclusivity. Eleanor's other partners during the show are men, Charles Vane and Woodes Rogers, but Max is consistent in her attraction to women when she pursues Anne Bonny.

Anne Bonny herself is in a relationship with Jack Rackham, and both of them exhibit gender non-conforming presentation. Anne wears pants and a long jacket and signature hat to blend in with the pirates, but seems uncomfortable in women's clothing. Meanwhile Jack is somewhat of a dandy, preferring brighter and brighter colors as the series progresses and his pocketbook allows.

Anne's arc in the show is ultimately one of self-discovery, finding her own identity outside of what is expected of her due to her station and relationship to Jack. She has a sexual awakening with Max, who gives her what she didn't know she needed. There is tension between Max and Jack over which of them Anne will ultimately choose to stay with, but Anne later decides that she doesn't want to choose between them, and alters the terms of their partnership to include both Jack and Max, and cementing that she will not play the role of "wife" to Jack, but they would "be partners till they put us in the ground."

The decision to begin a relationship with a person of the same sex is not viewed either positively or negatively in Nassau, possibly because of the setting for this show; a pirate community living outside 'civilised' colonial rule. The only heckling shown is to Billy Bones via Logan, who ribs him about never having any sexual partners or visiting Noonan's.

In the flashbacks in London, there even seemed to be a small amount of leniency for sexual deviance for the wealthy and powerful; Flint's 'affair' with Thomas and Miranda was used against them for political motive when Thomas' pardon plans were gaining traction in Parliament.

Black Sails is attributed with one of the first instances of straightbaiting and UNbury your gays.

Fandom

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Pairing

  • Captain Flint/John Silver is a semi-canonical pairing, featured in subtext and very artful parallels but not actually realized during the run of the show.
  • Captain Flint/Thomas Hamilton is a canonical pairing
  • Eleanor Guthrie/Charles Vane is a canonical pairing
  • Billy Bones/Captain Flint is a non canon pairing
  • Eleanor Guthrie/Max is a canonical pairing
  • Madi Scott/John Silver is a canonical pairing of Long John Silver and Madi Scott also referred to as Silvermadi
  • Anne Bonny/Jack Rackham is a canonical pairing of two historical characters, who were partners in real life.
  • Miranda Barlow/Captain Flint is a canonical pairing
  • Anne Bonny/Max is a canonical pairing
  • John Silver/Muldoon is a non canon pairing, often referred to as silvermoon
  • Captain Flint/Hal Gates
  • Charles Vane/Billy Bones
  • Billy Bones/Benn Gunn
  • Joshua/Joji
  • Madi/Eme
  • Miranda Barlow/Captain Flint/Thomas Hamilton is a canonical threesome pairing, also referred to as Flinthamiltons
  • Jack Rackham/Anne Bonny/Max is a canonical polyam ship, in a v formation, where Max and Jack are not romantically involved with each other but both have a partnership with Anne.
  • Captain Flint/John Silver/Madi Scott is a popular ship, sometimes in a v formation with Flint and Madi being metamours, though sometimes they are seen as romantic. Aka Silverflintmadi
  • Captain Flint/John Silver/Thomas Hamilton is most often seen in post-canon fics, usually with a triangle formation, with Thomas and Silver in a relationship in addition to their relationship with Flint. aka silverflintham
  • Charles Vane/Jack Rackham/Anne Bonny is often shipped in a v formation, where Anne and Charles are not romantically involved with each other but both have a partnership with Jack.
  • Billy Bones/Jacob Garrett/Ben Gunn

Common Headcanons

  • Ace Billy Bones
  • 'John Silver' is not Silver's true name.
  • John Silver has left several previous lives behind in pursuit of survival.
  • The narrative is itself a character, and everyone was doomed from the start.
  • Billy Bones adopted by Hal Gates.
  • One or both of Anne Bonny/Jack Rackham are GNC.

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