Friday, February 5, 2016

What Game is Eleanor Guthrie Playing on “Black Sails”?

Eleanor Guthrie, played by Hannah New, has always been one of my favorite characters on Black Sails. Last season, she sided with Flint, hoping his voyage to return the kidnapped daughter of Charleston’s governor would pave the way for Nassau’s legitimacy.

She also betrayed a few people along the way, including her ex-lover, Charles Vane, and Captain Hornigold. By the end of Season 2, her dreams were shattered. Flint not only failed to ally himself with Charleston’s governor, he ended up killing the man. Meanwhile, Hornigold betrayed Eleanor to the British, who sent her home to face trial. Things were looking pretty grim for the pretty boss of Nassau.

Then along comes Woodes Rogers, the historically famous privateer and future governor of the Bahamas. Rogers has Eleanor on his ship heading to Nassau, but he’s a finger snap away from sending her straight back to England.

For her part, Eleanor has tried to convince Rogers that he’ll need her at Nassau, for no one knows the island and its pirates like she does. She also revealed how she came to control Nassau years ago by pitting Hornigold and Vane against Blackbeard and exiling him from the island. She accomplished this by seducing Vane (though I believe she fell in love with him back then) and winning over Hornigold by giving him Nassau’s precious fort. Of course, Hornigold is now allied with Rogers, and Blackbeard is back in Nassau with his former protégée, Vane.

Eleanor is a strategic thinker, so I suspect she has a plan. Maybe it’s to honestly work with Rogers to rid Nassau of its pirates. Or maybe she’s just setting him up, only to betray him once she’s back home and has access to her old allies, Max and Jack Rackham. And then there’s Charles Vane. She’s betrayed him twice, but will she fall right back into his arms if she views him as the key to Nassau’s survival? More importantly, would Vane even take her back? And how is Blackbeard going to feel about her return?

If I were a gambling man, I’d bet that Eleanor plans to betray Rogers when they get to Nassau. The writers may have even foreshadowed this through Hornigold’s warning to Rogers that Eleanor can’t be trusted. And it would not even surprise me if Rogers falls victim to Eleanor’s charms, just like Vane did years ago. But only time will tell, and that’s yet another reason why Season 3 of Black Sails promises to be so fun.

But these are just my thoughts. What game do you think Eleanor is playing on Black Sails?

* Images courtesy of Starz


Bill said...

As you note, Rogers and a number of other characters are historical figures. Do you think the script writers feel any compulsion to conform to history? I note that Rogers was the first royal governor of Nassau.

Joseph Finley said...

I suspect they'll conform loosely to history. They've done that so far with most of the historical characters (like Ned Lowe). But only time will tell.

Bill said...

They certainly have less leeway than "Vikings" for example. "Game of Thrones" seems to be deviating from the "history books."

Joseph Finley said...

True about Vikings. They have butchered history, but it's still wildly entertaining. I suppose the closer you get to our modern times, the more detailed the historical record becomes, and the less leeway one has if the goal is to be historically "accurate." That's one of the luxuries about writing stories set in the tenth century . . .

Bill said...

I noticed a detail in Episode 3 that seems false. The governor's cabin on the RN ship where Rogers and Guthrie speak is decrepit looking, much like the cabin of the pirates' ships. From everything I've read about the RN during the age of sail, such a thing was never tolerated.