frame this scene and put it on my fucking wall!!
i’ve now watched the last two eps of Black Sails s2 twice, and am Overcome. i have like 500 thoughts on the politics, characterization and plot, but right now i just wanna talk about this scene because it fuckin killed me. (p.s. sorry if this has already been covered by previous fans, but i haven’t seen s3-4 so i’m avoiding the Black Sails tags to make sure i don’t get spoiled!)
s2 is where i started obsessing about the show’s love of narrative and storytelling. Flint & Silver both gain power because they tell persuasive stories. Vane uses Abigail’s diary as a distraction tactic in the finale. the Urca Gold is NEVER just introduced as “a fuckload of gold,” it’s accompanied by the story of the gold. it might as well be imaginary, along with each specific future the main players want to create with that gold.
“civilization” is the story Lord Ashe and the British tell themselves every day, and it’s even more fictional than Eleanor and Flint’s goals for Nassau. their utopian future hasn’t happened yet, but Ashe lives inside “civilization” every day, and it’s a fucking hellscape of slavery, capitalism, and brutal laws.
in ep 2x9, we explicitly see how Flint built his persona as a pirate. it’s one of the many things Black Sails has in common with the Lymond Chronicles IMO, partly due to Flint and Miranda’s love of books. they’re the only recreational readers among people who either didn’t have access to education, or have no interest in literature. it’s similar to how Lymond (a mercenary with an educated aristocratic background) was respected but socially isolated from his men, partly by class and partly due to differing goals and interests. in Flint’s case, i recall that scene when Dufresne the accountant became captain of Flint’s crew, and Flint was weirdly disappointed that Dufresne didn’t read the books in the captain’s cabin.
books are almost like a secret language between him and Miranda, like when he visited her house in the night and left La Galatea on the windowsill. (incidentally? PLEASE THROW ME IN THE GARBAGE, I HAVE 2 MANY EMOTIONS HERE.)
Black Sails makes it clear that intimidation and ~brand recognition~ are a vital part of piracy. if people are already scared of you when you board their ship, then it’s easier to steal their treasure without bloodshed. so, we get scenes like Jack Rackham agonizing over the graphic design options for his new flag.
it’s also clear that Flint is unusually good at branding himself as a pirate captain. he’s a brilliant strategist, but there are other captains (ie Ned Low, or even Vane) who better fit the image of Most Dangerous Pirate. still, Flint is the one people talk about (and the one Governor Ashe wants to arrest) because he knows how to spin a story. that includes his name, which he borrowed from an anecdote that had ~literary significance~ to his self-image as the protagonist of his own narrative. (something else he shares with Lymond, i think.)
Miranda Hamilton is the only possible audience for that story, not just because she knew him as James McGraw, but because she’s the only one who shares his love of literature. she’d fully understand his mindset when choosing Flint as his new name. and, of course, that scene cements the tragedy of the finale, because Flint has finally acknowledged that he hates the image he constructed around himself… before diving straight back into that persona, with seemingly no hope of return.