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Fictional Pirates

Fictional pirates have captured the imagination of readers and film goers, for generations. Something about each of these seafaring villains is unique and stirs the curiosity to know more. Some are horrid blood-thirsty characters to be hated, while others turn out to be reluctant bad-guy heroes who capture our hearts whether we want them to or not.

Fictional Pirates

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow is a well-known fictional pirate found in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. This character breaks many pirate stereotypes for he would rather negotiate than fight. He's more of a con man who manipulates people, than a killer who plunders for his own financial gain. However his sense of right and wrong does tend to shift with his circumstances.

Though Jack Sparrow doesn't really speak pirate talk, he is a pirate to the core. He loves his rum and as a Captain, he is very proud of his ship, the Black Pearl. As a fictional character, items that a pirate owns or holds dear are also part of who they are and makes them interesting. For Captain Jack Sparrow, some of the things that make him stand out include:

  • A ring: The story behind this ring is that it is actually one of Johnny Depp's rings. The actor who plays Jack Sparrow wore it to the set and it was adopted as part of the pirate's official costume.
  • Compass: Rather than pointing north like a regular compass, this one shows the location of what the user wants most in the world.
  • Silver-plated flintlock pistol
  • Short cutlass: The shorter length made this the preferred weapon for fighting in close-quarters on sailing ships.

Long John Silver

While Long John Silver is probably the most remembered fictional pirate in Stevenson's Treasure Island, the book is full of pirates. The young Jim Hawkins first meets a pirate by the name of Billy Bones. Ponytailed Bones dresses in ragged clothing and bears a cut on his cheek. The contrast of this unsavory character foreshadows the fact that Hawkins life is about to change. Other pirates in this book include:

  • Captain Flint
  • Black Dog
  • Pew (blinded in the same accident that took Long John Silver's leg)
  • Israel Hands
  • Long John Silver

Long John Silver is known for the parrot on his shoulder, and for walking with a crutch because he is missing a leg (the limb was victim to a cannon fire accident). Readers get a glimpse of a good heart within this ruthless pirate when he saves the young Hawkins. Silver is a strong character and the only thing he fears is hanging.

Captain Blood

Captain Blood is a different type of pirate story. Dr. Peter Blood is wrongly accused and convicted of treason and sold into slavery in the West Indies. When the city is attacked by a Spanish ship, he and his friends break free, take over the ship and flee. Within a short time the escapades of the crew make them men without a country because they attack all ships.

Captain Hook

The evil Captain Hook earned his name because he wears a hook where his right hand should be. His hand was cut off by Peter Pan and fed to a crocodile. This is the basis for the ongoing rivalry between Pan and Hook, and also explains Hook's underlying fear of the crocodile who wants to get another taste.

Female Fictional Pirates

In real life, there were few female pirates and this ratio carries over into the fictional realm as well. Probably one of the most well-known fictional female pirates is Morgan Adams. Introduced in the film Cutthroat Island, she's an example of a good character treated unfairly. She goes to sea to escape her uncle and the Royal Navy. Her fighting skills with a gun or sword are equal to any man, and she smart enough to see through the schemes of men who try to con her.

While female pirates may be fewer, they are not new. In Robert E. Howard's 1934 Queen of the Black Coast pirate fans were introduced to a fearless white female pirate with jet black hair by the name of BĂȘlit. Her ship was the Tigress, and her black crew was made up of approximately 100 tribesmen. She hungered to gain wealth and thrived on the power she wielded. Other things that made her stand out include:

  • She was Conan's first lover
  • Dressed in only a silken girdle
  • Carried a jeweled dagger
  • Once she made up her mind, it couldn't be changed.

Fiction That Uses Real Pirates

Along with these fictional pirates, there are works such as The Only Life That Mattered by James L. Nelson. His swashbuckling novel is based on the life of real-life eighteenth century pirates like Anne Bonny and Calico Jack Rackham. While the characters are based on real people and even uses their names, the story is fictional in nature. Other fictional pirates like One-Eyed Willie introduced in the 1980s movie The Goonies, or classic literary pirates like Long John Silver are imaginary creations that have laid the groundwork to inspire new characters in the pirate realm.