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William Manderly
Billybones 648x1080
Vital statistics
Alias Billy Bones
Title Boatswain (formerly)
Quartermaster (formerly)
First Mate (formerly)
Gender Male
Status Alive
Ships Walrus
Spanish Man O' War
Relationships James Flint (Captain/Enemy)
Hal Gates (Friend & Quartermaster, deceased)
John Silver (Quartermaster/Friend/Enemy)
Abigail Ashe (Interest Romantic)
Jacob Garrett (Friend, deceased)
Appearances First: I.
Last: XXXVIII.
Portrayed by Tom Hopper
Gallery Billy Bones Gallery
"You're a highly regarded member of this crew. And I can assure you the captain regards your input more than you know."
Gates to Bones[src]

William Manderly, better known as Billy Bones, was the Boatswain of the pirate ship Walrus. After Gates became the captain of the Ranger he was promoted to Quartermaster. He is key to smooth operations on the ship, and was widely assumed to be the next quartermaster should anything happen to Gates. Bones’s belief in the righteousness of the pirate cause will be continually tested as he is drawn deeper and deeper into Captain Flint’s plans for the future. He later became First Mate, when John Silver became the new quartermaster.

In Season 4, he betrays the Pirates and joins Rogers.

At the end of the series, he is finally defeated by Flint and banished on Skull Island for having sided with Woodes Rogers.

Biography

Background

Billy was born in Kensington, London. His parents were anti-impressment activists, "Levellers", and printed pamphlets to protest. They made sure Bones was "lettered" so as to understand and carry on the protest.

One day, whilst was handing out pamphlets, he was forcefully conscripted into the Royal Navy, by a "press gang".

He spent the next three years in bonded labour in the Navy, until his ship was captured by pirates led by James Flint. Bones took the opportunity to kill his captor, and chose to become a pirate, because he felt he could not go home and face his family as a murderer.

Season One

Bones was tasked with showing John Silver how things worked on the Walrus after the latter joined the crew. He showed Silver the kitchen, and explained to him that no man, including the captain, was to be given special treatment when it came to rationing, as all men were equal on the ship.

He was later sent by Gates with Captain Flint when Flint went to see Richard Guthrie. Gates explained that somebody needed to make sure the captain didn't get out of hand when Richard inevitably told Flint no, and that he trusted Billy would handle it. Things did, in fact, get out of hand when Flint physically assaulted Guthrie. During this encounter, Bones pulled his pistol on Flint, but before he could do anything, they were interrupted by Captain Hume and his men.

Flint covered in blood S1E1

Flint handing the "stolen" page to Bones.

Bones and Flint worked together to defeat Hume and his men. Sensing that Bones' loyalty to him wasn't absolute, Flint explained to Bones that there was a war coming against all of civilization and that only he, Captain Flint, could lead the crew in the fight. Bones had his loyalty tested severely when, following Flint's successful duel against Singleton, Flint handed Bones a blank piece of paper that he had "pulled" from Singleton's body. Bones could either expose Flint to the crew as a liar by showing them the blank paper or he could pretend that it was the missing schedule. Bones chose loyalty to Flint and told the crew that the paper was indeed the missing schedule of the Urca de Lima.

After the crew's focus changed, Billy confided in Gates about the page being a fake. Flint called them both into a meeting, and explained that while Singleton might not have been a thief, somebody on board was. As they were trying to figure out whom, Billy remembered that they never checked Silver, and that he was the only person who could have stolen it. When Silver caught on that he was a suspect and escaped the ship, Bones joined Gates and Flint when they headed to shore to find him.

They found him, and were able to chase him to the Wrecks, but lost him during the panic. By the time they found him, he had memorized the page and destroyed it to assure his survival. While Bones was unwilling to trust Silver, he went along with the plan to let him live for the sake of finding the treasure.

To attempt to befriend the crew, Silver informed Billy of the remaining remnants of the failed mutiny, the only one of actual threat being Morley. When Bones talked to Morley, Morley explained that Bones and the rest of the crew were left in the dark of the true plans of Flint, all of which involved Miranda Barlow.
Bonesmorley

Bones and Morley talk.

After talking with Morley, Bones began to question his loyalty to Flint, and began to question it further after Morley was killed during the careening of the ship. He told Gates that he was afraid to stand up to Flint, and he felt this was a weakness on his part.

After the "Walrus" was prepared, they began their chase of the Andromache, whose cannon they were told would be given to the Walrus. While looking for it, Flint went to Bones to talk, seeing his distrust growing. Bones asked him who Barlow was, and Flint told him that the truth was not as fun as the rumors that were known across the island. He told Bones that he shared his life with a woman who shared his love of books, but they were interrupted before he could ease Bones' fears further.

As they prepared, Bones was forced to inform Dufresne, the ship's accountant, that he would have to join the crew when they boarded the Andromache. Dufresne was scared, as he had never even fired a gun before, let alone fought or killed anyone. As they neared closer to the boarding, Bones constantly attempted to calm Dufresne, who kept trying to show why he shouldn't join the fight. Moments before the boarding began; Bones told Dufresne that in the entire history of the Walrus, no man had ever died on his first boarding, giving enough courage to Dufresne to fight. After the battle, Bones found Dufresne covered in the blood of another man, but alive. Dufresne later told Bones that when he thought back on it, men had indeed died their first time, but thanked Bones for lying to him. Before he left Dufresne in Dyfed's quarters, he found and took a letter addressed from Barlow, and took the note to read later.
Billy reading Barlow note S1E6

After finding out that the Andromache had a bunker, making it impossible to take the cannon, Bones talked with Logan, who feared that the Captain wouldn't leave the ship before daylight. When Bones was unable to lie and assure Logan that they would leave, he walked away and went to read the letter. To his dismay, Barlow's letter claimed that Flint was looking to leave the pirate life, and was willing to trade his crew for his freedom. After a failed attempt by Lars to get a bomb into the bunker protecting the cannon and the Andromache's remaining crew, Bones took Gates aside and told him what he found. Gates told him that even if it's true now it was not the best time to worry about it. They were interrupted by Flint, who asked what they were talking about. Gates told him that Bones had come up with a new plan. Bones was able to think up something; he told the crew that they will send four men by net to the side of the ship near the bunker to tear a hole in the side while the rest of the crew used the distraction to get close to the bunker. Before they could put the plan into action, a lookout spotted a white piece of cloth on the side of the ship, reveling that there were slaves underneath the bunker, with at least eight of them being fighting men. The new plan was to help the slaves escape by giving them a tool to break the chains, while the pirates made noise to cover them. The plan worked, and with the help of the slaves they took the hold.

Bonesflintwalrus

Flint and Bones struggle to free the Walrus.

When an improvised explosive device left by Bryson was detonated, a massive explosion occurred. This explosion was seen by the crew of the approaching Scarborough. As the Walrus attempted to escape, the crew realized that they were being slowed by a felled mast from the Andromache that had become entangled with some of the rigging of the Walrus. Flint and Bones went onto the side of the ship to try and cut the felled mast free. While they were attempting this, Flint revealed that he knew Bones had read the letter and asked him the content of it. Before Bones could give the full details to Flint, Bones apparently fell overboard. Because the Walrus could not turn around without risking the ship, the crew of the Walrus could not attempt to rescue Bones. The crew of the Walrus assumed that he must have died and "buried" him at sea by throwing his cutlass overboard into the sea.

The crew took the loss of Billy hard, but Gates took it harder than the others, blaming both himself and Flint for the death of somebody he almost saw as a son.

Season Two

Billybeach

It is revealed that Billy survived his fall overboard from the Walrus, and was pulled out of the water by Captain Hume and the crew of the Scarborough. He is taken to a large British camp on Harbour Island not 40 miles from Nassau. He is initially tortured using a technique Hume learned from the Spanish, wherein the victim is placed in a leather vest and exposed to the elements. Within six days the leather constricts to the point where it shatters the ribs which in turn puncture the internal organs. Eventually, Hume offered Billy a deal; he and nine other men can have a full pardons if they would capture Flint and bring him to Hume at Harbour Island.

Later, an unconscious Billy washes up on shore in Nassau. With the attack on Vane and the fortress in progress, Silver immediately realises that Billy could make a bad situation much worse. He chains up Billy in a hut, and tries to convince him that Flint is doing the right thing. Silver eventually gives him the key and releases Bones.

Ep14-8

The crew are elated to see Bones alive, and Dufresne gives him a hug. Some of the crew take Billy aside, and ask him how he fell in the water. Dufresne tells him that they all believe that Bones was pushed into the water by Flint to silence his opposition to Flint. However, Billy tells the crew that he fell into the water and that Flint had actually tried to save him.

Later, Dufresne and Billy are watching one of Silver’s speeches. They discuss the deal that Bones was offered: capturing Flint and giving him to the Navy in exchange for pardons for them and eight other men. Bones then tells him to go find eight men who would be willing to betray Flint and to meet up in an hour. Later, when Dufresne has gathered the men together, he meets up with Bones. However, Bones is not alone. He arrives with the rest of the crew who have all remained loyal to Flint. Bones tells Dufresne that there will be no more dissent and no more interference with Flint's plans and demands that Dufresne and the others leave.

Finally, Flint and Billy get a chance to confront each other. Flint asks Bones why he is supporting his captaincy, with Hornigold trying to depose him. Billy tells him that when he fell into the sea, he remembers grabbing Flint's hand, but then it slipped away. He doesn't know whether Flint intentionally dropped him or not, but states that he doesn't really care. He has seen the size of the British camp and believes that Flint is the best hope for Nassau.

During the trip to Charles Town in the Spanish Man O’ War to return Abigail Ashe to her father the governor, Abigail shows an interest in the attractive, seemingly well-educated Billy, and Flint tells her the story of how he became part of the pirate crew.

With Flint in Charles Town for the exchange of Abigail, Vane and his crew attack the Man O’ War. During the attack, many of Flint’s crew members are killed. Vane and Bones square off in a prolonged sword fight, which results in Bones being captured along with the remainder of the crew.

Ep18-18

When things in Charles Town go badly, and Flint is arrested, Vane and most loyal half his crew decide to rescue him. As time passes, the remainder of the crew lead by Jenks elect to take the prize back to Nassau and leave Vane behind in Charles Town. However, with too few men, they have little chance of a successful escape. They take Silver, and try to convince him to influence several men on Flint's crew to join them. While they are away, Billy and the rest of Flint's crew escape their chains, and take over the ship again, and rescue Silver.

In the end, Flint and Vane return to the ship. A truce is made between the two crews, and together they open fire on Charles Town, before sailing back to Nassau.

Season Three

Billy Silver

In the months since the end of Season 2, Flint, Billy and the Walrus crew have continued their reign of terror, raiding towns along the Carolina coast and killing magistrates. Silver as Quartermaster is struggling to control Flint’s increasing recklessness.

On the journey back to Nassau, they spot pirate Captain Hallendale’s ship drifting, and investigate. Onboard, they find it completely empty, save for the corpse of Hallendale. They realise too late it is a trap, when they are approached by Captain Hornigold, former pirate turned pirate-hunter. He offers the pirates all pardons, but Flint convinces the crew to reject the pardons, and escape into a terrible storm. Afterwards, Billy and Silver consider whether they should have accepted the pardon.

The Walrus survives the storm, but is then becalmed for weeks. Flint becomes increasingly tyrannical, dividing the crew into critical men who will be fed, the others not. Billy tries to encourage Silver to stand up to Flint. During a trip to investigate a dead whale, Silver uses his smarts, and reveals how he deceived Flint and stole the Urca gold. He finally wins Flint’s respect, and his audacity is rewarded with the return of the wind.

The wind drives the Walrus to an uncharted island. However, they are far from safe. They are captured by a large force of well-armed ex-slaves. The whole crew is taken at gun point, through a trap infested forest, to a large settlement and imprisoned. Billy, Silver and Flint all deal with the direness of their plight in their own way. For Billy, he wants to escape through the trap laden forest. For Silver, he’ll talk his way out of it. And Flint, he doesn’t know if he has any more fights left in him.

All seems lost until the wounded “away” Maroons King, Mr. Scott, arrives from Nassau. Mr. Scott supports a partnership between the pirates and the ex-slaves. Flint is called before the Maroons Queen to discuss a proposed partnership. Flint may be killed if he fails, which Billy considers wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible outcome. However, with Silver’s help, Flint polishes up his sliver tongue, and speaks honestly. The Maroons Queen agrees to the partnership.

Flint, Billy and the crew go to seek new allies, especially Charles Vane. They track Blackbeard and Vane to Ocracoke Island. Flint wants Vane to rejoin him in retaking Nassau, and bring the fleet with him. Teach refuses to step aside lightly. To decide the matter, Flint and Teach choose to duel. Teach wins the duel, but before he deals Flint a deathblow, Vane steps in, having finally made his decision regarding his loyalty. Vane fights off Teach to the point that Teach lays down his sword and orders them both off his island.

XXVI 3

Vane convinces Flint to go after the cache of pearls that Rackham and Bonny have secured, and use it to coax Governor Rogers into a trap. In Nassau, they learn that Rackham and the cache are to be handed over to the Spanish. They discover the convoy route through the prostitute Idelle, and swiftly attack it on horseback. After killing all of Rogers’ soldiers in the convoy, Vane shoots the wheel of the carriage sending it careening off the road. Jack is banged up pretty badly, but alive. Vane urges Flint and Billy to take the pearls and run ahead, while he frees Rackham from his chains. However, more of the Governor’s men approach, and Vane is eventually outnumbered and arrested.

XXVII 3

Rackham and Bonny catch up with Flint on the beach, and tell him of Vane’s capture. Billy insists that Flint must stay with the ship, while he returns to Nassau to stir resentment towards Rogers. Billy rouses hatred for Eleanor as a tyrant, and the demand for Vane to tried fairly in Nassau, rather than be shipped off to England. This should give them enough time to mount a rescue. However, Eleanor catches wind of the rabble rousers and fast tracks Vane’s trial and conviction overnight.

Vane is shuttled to the town square of Nassau where he will be executed. Billy and those loyal to him take up places in the crowd intent on a desperate rescue attempt. However, Vane makes eye contact with Billy and gives him a silent order to stand down. Vane delivers a calm, heart-wrenching speech designed to stir up a rebellion, knowing that his death, in this moment, is the spark that was needed to truly get the people to rise up against England. In a final act of defiance, Billy’s men step forward to pull Vane down to hastened his end. An act of mercy and a reminder to everyone, of the brotherhood Nassau’s pirates once shared.

Billy continues to stoke the pirate rebellion with the killing of Captain Throckmorton, supposedly by a new spectre for the governing powers to fear. Promises of future retribution are made by Long John Silver.

Season Four

After their victory on the Maroon Island, Silver and Flint set their sights on retaking Nassau. Billy tries to warn them of Rogers’ hidden blockade of sunken ships, but his message gets intercepted by Max, and the pirate invasion ends in disaster. Billy finds Flint, Madi and the other survivors, and leads them into the interior where his pirate rebels hold out. However, with Silver missing, things between Billy and Flint quickly turns tense; he does not trust Flint and won’t allow him to dominate the pirate alliance.

Eps402-3

They do agree to launch a raid on the Underhill plantation to liberate its slaves and bolster their manpower. Nonetheless, there’s a snag; to protect their assets, the loved-ones of the slaves have been spread among all seven plantations on the island. Flint orders a tactical retreat, but Billy’s lingering resentment blinds him to fact that it's the right choice. Before we know it, the raiding party is split in half, and taking swords and pistols to each other. In the end, Billy and his remaining men retreat anyway as the local militia arrive.

In the aftermath, Billy is ostracised for breaking the alliance with the slaves, even as Silver is discovered alive.  Meanwhile, Captain Berringer lays on the hanging of the captured pirates in Nassau with full public spectacle, and Silver rides into town to raise a revolt. However, Berringer’s men are ready for them, and an intense and bloody skirmish ensues. It looks like the redcoats have the pirates down, when Billy and his men show up in the nick of time.

EpsXXXIII-3

In the chaos that follows the pirate takeover of Nassau, Billy catches Max trying to flee to the fort. He goes to meet Silver, who’s none too pleased with him. Billy pleads with him to remember a time when neither of them bought into Flint’s crusade; Flint will trample anyone who's in his way, including Madi. Silver is more than a little affected by Billy’s words.

XXXIII 4

With Eleanor still holding the fort and the Governor’s ship returning, the pirates under Billy are prepared to hold the beach. They’re ready for anything. Anything but Silver telling them that the fight is off. Flint has made the deal; Nassau in exchange for the Urca gold. Billy boldly offers to kill Eleanor and Flint during the exchange. Silver seems to agree, and later outside the tunnel, with his men hidden in the bushes, Billy thinks he is waiting to ambush the pair. However, Jacob Garrett comes up and tells him that this isn’t so; Jacob has been charged with killing him. Nonetheless, Jacob refuses, telling the men that their oaths were made to Billy, when Long John Silver was just a fiction. Silver sends in Israel Hands who kills Jacob, and beats Billy to within an inch of his life.

XXXIV-8

Afterwards, Silver orders Billy delivered to the plantation slaves to repair the alliance, on the condition that he survives their retribution. Once the slaves have had their pound of flesh, Silver visits him. Despite everything, he still considers Billy a friend, but the vendetta against Flint needs to be over. However, Billy is defiant, ending to conversation by telling him to live with the choice he’s made. During the firefight between the pirates and Spanish soldiers, Ben Gunn sneaks into the barn and frees Billy to give him a fighting chance.

In the aftermath, Billy turns himself in to the redcoats. Billy’s angry and wants to make a deal with Rogers. He wants the pirates to pay for betraying him and reveals that Rogers has the means to do it in his cells; Madi. Billy’s plan is for them to lead Flint to an uncharted island known as Skeleton Island, and make the exchange there. However, during the exchange Flint absconds into the forest with the chest. Silver reassures Rogers that he’ll retrieve the cache and kill Flint.

XXXVII-4

Later, Rogers asks Billy which one will prevail, and Billy admits that it will probably be Flint and he should make his move now. Under the cover of the island’s thick fog, Rogers has his redcoats swim out and set the Walrus on fire. As the pirates abandon ship, longboats filled with redcoats led by Billy begin picking them off like fish in a barrel. When he locks eye with Ben Gunn, in a brief moment of humanity he lets him go. Things look bad for the pirates until there’s a signal from the Eurydice… Jack Rackham has arrived.

Rogers heads out to sea, while Rackham picks up the survivors. However, as the Lion leaves the inlet Rogers is waiting for them, and Flint orders them to ram him. While climbing the rigging to turn the Eurydice’s broadside to them, Flint clashes with Billy high in the crow’s-nest and among the sails. The fight is brutal and ends with Billy falling once again into the sea. Billy is later revealed to be marooned on Skeleton Island.

Personality

Billy Bones is a well-respected member of Captain Flint’s crew; so well respected that Vane tried to steal him from Flint’s crew. He is fearless in a fight, and widely assumed to be destined to be quartermaster. Billy is better educated than most pirates, and a smart and charismatic leader. He's famed for his honesty and loyalty to his pirate brethren. Hal Gates had a very close relationship with him whom he considers to be "like a son". Gates and the crew took Billy’s presumed death very hard.

Despite Billy’s courage, he is afraid of Flint and does not trust him. However, he comes to believe that Flint is a necessary evil in order to save Nassau, provided that Silver can hold his excesses in check. When Billy proposes a king for Nassau, he chooses Long John Silver rather than Flint, believing that Silver would be able to hold the pirates together.

Things start to go wrong for Billy, when Silver goes missing after the failed pirate invasion of Nassau. His hatred of Flint blinds him to listening to him even when he's right. It's only when Silver betrays him, that he realises just how united Silver and Flint have become. Billy's determination to separate the pair ironically drives him to become just like Flint; possessed of rage so deep that he failed to see straight and willing to forsake everything he believes in.

Trivia

  • Billy Bones is a fictional character created by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • During the "burial" at sea, it is revealed that his full name is William Manderly.
  • In XXVIII., Billy uses the myth of the Black Spot to terrify Nassau. Ironically, in Treasure Island, he receives a Black Spot himself, and suffers a stroke.

Appearances

Memorable Quotes

"I lied to my own crew. To protect the captain."
―Billy Bones[src]
"The lying we could forgive, Singleton we could forgive, we could forgive all of it...but not Billy. That requires an answer."
―Dufresne after Billy's assumed death, VII.
"Now, you want to follow him into what? A massive slave revolt? A war against the British Empire? How is this not just the next storm in a very long line of them?"
―Billy to Silver, XXXII.
"You chose. Live with it."
―Billy to Silver, XXXIV.

References

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