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Woodes Rogers
Woodesrodgers 648x1080
Vital statistics
Title Governor (formerly)
Gender Male
Status Alive
Ships Lion
Eurydice
Relationships Eleanor Guthrie (Wife; deceased)
Sarah Rogers (Ex-Wife)
James Flint (Enemy)
John Silver (Enemy)
Jack Rackham (Enemy)
Anne Bonny (Enemy)
Madi (Enemy)
Charles Vane (Enemy; deceased)
Edward Teach (Enemy; deceased)
Appearances First: XIX.
Last: XXXVIII.
Portrayed by Luke Roberts
Gallery Woodes Rogers/Gallery
"I am reasonable in seeking peace, but If you insist on making me your villain, I will play the part."
―Woodes Rogers to James Flint

Woodes Rogers is the newly appointed Royal Governor of the Bahamas. He heads to Nassau with the intend to take control of the colony from the pirates. In order to better understand Nassau, he takes Eleanor Guthrie to advise him; over time, their relationship grows closer.

He is the main antagonist in Season 3 and 4. He loses his title of Governor and is finally defeated by Jack Rackham, James Flint and Long John Silver. But Rackham doesn't kill him, wanting instead to humiliate him to avenge Charles Vane and Edward Teach, who died because of him.

BiographyEdit

Background Edit

Rogers comes from a wealthy English family, has inherited his father’s shipping business, and married very well. However, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), he led an expedition to the Caribbean as a privateer. Off the coast of Mexico, while attacking a Spanish galleon, one of her stern chasers fired a shot that hit Rogers’s helm. When the smoke cleared, his brother was dead and Woodes was badly wounded. He still has a jagged scar down the left side of his face.

In retaliation for brother's death, Rogers personally butchered the crew of the galleon. He started with the captain and worked his way down the ranks, only one was spared to tell the tale.

After returning to England, Rogers seems to have been disgraced. However, he wrote a book of his maritime experiences which became very successful, returning him to prominence as something of a celebrity.

Season Three Edit

Black-sails-season-3-luke-roberts-hannah-new

Rogers is appointed the new Governor of New Providence Island. Following on from the work done by Thomas Hamilton and James McGraw, he is able to grant pardons to all the pirates in Nassau. He manages to raise enough finances for a large Navy expedition, by promising to subdue Nassau within two months. He also vows to find and return the remains of the Urca gold to the Spanish.

Rogers visits Eleanor Guthrie in her dank gaol cell, and offers her a full pardon in return for her assistance in restoring order to Nassau. He asks her for a list of men who can be swayed and those who cannot. She tells him that in order to civilize Nassau, only one man need concern him, Charles Vane.

On the journey to Nassau, Rogers and Guthrie grow close, often discussing his goals to pacify Nassau, and her history with the pirates. As they approach Nassau, they learn from pirate-hunter Captain Hornigold that the Walrus was lost in a storm, its crew presumed dead.

However, when they arrive in Nassau, they find a resolute defence flying the flag of Blackbeard. Guthrie convinces Rogers to send Hornigold into Nassau, to make a pardon address. Much to the pirates chagrin, most of the men begin to lay down their arms. That night, with English fleet blockading the harbour, Teach and Vane send a fire-ship straight at their line. Rogers’s fleet break their formation allowing them to sail away.

Governor Rogers has removed all resistance from the port, and recovered most of the Spanish gold. He quickly starts to form a governing council, composed of leading merchants from Nassau and the Governor’s men, although on Eleanor’s advice, Max is not selected. However, Max has made herself a power in her world the hard way, and enticed Rogers with her share of the Spanish gold in return for a place on the governing council.

Later that night, Eleanor and Rogers are celebrating their newfound wealth with a quick snog, when they are interrupted by Eleanor’s handmaiden, Mrs. Hudson. She admits to being a Spanish spy, that the Spanish know much of the gold was traded for pearls, and the Governor must return ALL of the Urca gold, including Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny’s share, who have fled.

When Rackham returns to Nassau seeking a pardon, he is immediately taken into custody. Eleanor persuades Max to help convince Bonny to give up the cache of pearls in return for Rackham. However, on learning that the Governor has Rackham in custody, the Spanish demand that both the stolen gold and the man who stole it are handed over. Meanwhile, Eleanor takes steps to secure her own position by seducing Rogers, even though he is distracted by the disease spreading through the English soldiers.

Episode 307 WR

Meanwhile, Flint is revealed to alive, and sends John Silver to Nassau to recruit new men, by warning the pardoned pirates to rejoin Flint or face his wrath. To prevent Flint picking up the new recruits, Rogers himself waits for him on the beach. Flint goes ashore and the two men feel each other out. Woodes tried to appeal to Flint's past, saying he is finishing what Thomas Hamilton started. However, Flint argues that he went to Charles Town to make peace with England, and Miranda Barlow was killed for it, so is now determined to ensure the separation of Nassau from England. In the end, Rogers decides to stop the offer of pardons, from now on the pirates will be hunted and hanged.

Episode 308 WR

Bonny eventually returns the cache, and Rogers prepares to deliver Rackham and the cache to the Spanish, departing Nassau in a convoy accompanied by a contingent of soldiers. However, Flint and Vane learn the convoy route through the prostitute, Idelle, and attacks it on horseback. After killing all of the soldiers, Vane shoots the wheel of the carriage sending it careening off the road. Rogers is quite badly battered, but alive. Flint takes the cache and goes on ahead, while Vane frees Rackham from his chains. Rackham and Bonny flee as they spot more of the soldiers approaching. A fight ensues between Vane and Rogers, but Vane is eventually outnumbered and arrested.

Afterwards, Rogers is confined to bed with a fever. Rogers’s last coherent order is to put Eleanor in charge until he recovers. He is still delirious when Eleanor fast-tracks the trial, conviction, and hanging of Charles Vane. However, when he finally recovers, he agrees with her decision.

Season Four Edit

XXX-rogers

It is revealed that Woodes Rodgers has now married Eleanor, after divorcing his previous wife. Meanwhile, Eleanor is trying to reinvent herself as his genteel and docile wife, often seen sitting silently with her needlepoint.

After his redcoats were defeated on the Maroon Island, Rodgers prepares his defences, knowing the pirates will set their sights on retaking Nassau. He continues to demonstrate that he’s Flint’s intellectual equal; before the approach, he intentionally sinks ships as a hidden blockade to the harbour. Most of Flint’s fleet run aground within range of Nassau’s cannons, and bloody carnage ensues. The only ship not caught is Blackbeard’s, which makes a tactical retreat to draw his fleet away from the survivors.

In the aftermath, some 121 pirates are captured. Rogers bluntly informs Max that her tavern will be commandeered to host all the trials. When Eleanor later dresses him down for turning on Max, Rogers reveals that cause of his anxiety; his spiteful ex-wife has pushed his creditors to foreclose on his massive debts. They come up with a plan for Eleanor to reach out to her family in Philadelphia to clear his debts. However, with Blackbeard having returned to blockade the port of Nassau, Rogers must head for Port Royal to lead him away.

XXXI-teach-rogers

At sea, Blackbeard chases him down. After raking Rogers’ ship with cannon fire, Blackbeard and Bonny lead the boarding party. Once aboard, something doesn’t feel right and with good reason. Rogers springs his trap and a bloody battle ensues. In the end, the unthinkable happens; Blackbeard is captured. Afterwards, Rogers has Blackbeard callously keelhauled three times, dragging him under the ship covered with razor sharp barnacles. However, Blackbeard remains defiant to the end, refusing to die. With his grand moment ruined, Rogers petulantly shoots him in the head at point blank.

When Rogers learns that Nassau has fallen to Long John Silver, he orders his lieutenant to deliver the pirates to Port Royal to hang, while he returns to Nassau. However, when he approaches, Mrs. Hudson rows out to his ship and tells him that Eleanor has agreed to surrender the fort without a fight, in exchange for Urca gold. Mrs. Hudson does her damnedest to convince him Eleanor is doing this out of devotion to him, but he refuses to listen and continues his approach. However, Eleanor makes her point by firing warning shots from Fort Nassau.

XXXIII 2

Roger leaves… but not to Port Royal! He makes the audacious decision to sails to Spanish Havana, despite the current state of war between England and Spain. Met by Spanish soldiers at the dock, Rogers dumps the head of Blackbeard at the lieutenant’s feet, and asks for a meeting with the Governor Raja. He will do anything to accomplish the destruction of the pirate problem; a problem that threatens Cuban interests also, and is funded with stolen Spanish gold. Rogers makes a deal with the governor that’s surely an act of treason, inviting the Spanish navy to sack the English territory of Nassau.

XXXV-6

The Spanish invasion is devastating. The fleet of twelve ships unleash hell fire upon the town, killing everything in its path. Rogers joins the forces on shore, but with the Spaniards ravaging the town, he quickly realizes that he is not in control of the situation. Nowhere is safe, except the fort, which is where he hopes his wife is. His hope however turned to fear as the redcoats emerge from the fort without Eleanor. In the aftermath, Rogers finds his wife’s dead body; Eleanor died all in the name of his need for pride-fuelled retribution on the pirates. Afterward, the coroner delivers more devastating news; Eleanor was with child. For the rest of the series, Rogers seems to be at war with himself, haunted by his guilt over Eleanor’s death, which reinforces his cruel nature.

Later, Rogers is informed that someone has turned himself in to the redcoats; Billy Bones. 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. Rogers agrees a deal with Silver to exchange her for the cache of Urca gold. Billy’s plan is for them to lead Flint to an uncharted island known as Skeleton Island, and make the exchange there.

XXXVII-4

However, during the exchange Flint absconds into the forest with the chest. Rogers finally comes face to face with John Silver, who reassures him that he’ll retrieve the cache and kill Flint. 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 begin picking them off like fish in a barrel. Things look bad for the pirates until there’s a signal from the Eurydice… Jack Rackham has arrived.  

XXXVIII-15

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. During the boarding, Rackham spots Rogers through the chaos, and the pair face-off. Rogers seems to be getting the upper hand, when Flint joins the fight. Finally outmatched, Rogers is defeated and the pirates overtake the ship. With Rogers at his mercy, Jack informs him that he will not be keelhauled; instead there’s a far more humiliating end in mind.

In the end, Marion Guthrie buys Rogers’ debts and forces a default, with all of his failures becoming a matter of public record.

Personality Edit

Rogers is a former member of the Royal Navy, thus technically on the side of law and order. He's fiercely determined, a skilled naval strategist, and a cunning fighter not afraid to get his knuckles bloody; he survives having his carriage overturned, and still gets up to club Vane half to death. In many ways he and Flint are much the same. However, while Flint was disgraced in England, Rogers recovered from his own disgrace after his book made him something of a celebrity. He's also astute enough to recognize that Eleanor’s knowledge of Nassau and the pirates makes her a valuable adviser.

During his campaign to return legitimacy to Nassau, the line between hero and villain becomes increasingly blurred with Rogers struggling with temptations to give in to dark instincts. He starts out not a bad fellow; offering a blanket pardon for any pirate that gives up the life, and trying to govern Nassau with diplomacy and local support. Yet he clearly has a dark side, as revealed by the tale of butchering the crew responsible for his brother's death.

The prospect of returning to England in financial ruin and public disgrace yet again, seems to be a turning point for Rogers. He becomes increasingly authoritarian in Nassau, to the point that the governing council begin to lose faith in his ability to ever bring order to the island. Nothing will stand in the way of his destruction the pirate threat; not even Eleanor. He's capable of breathtaking violence, like the keelhauling of Edward Teach in front of his crew. In his refusal to be defeated, he even persuades the Spanish to burn Nassau to the ground to regain control over it. After Eleanor's death, Rogers seems to be at war with himself, haunted by his guilt over her death, which reinforces his cruel nature. However, when he thinks of his Eleanor, it’s an idealised version of a genteel and docile wife, idealised by the society that he clings to.

Memorable quotes Edit

"If there is ever a time that I want to rebel against the king. It is when dealing with the insurance companies"
―Woodes Rogers to Eleanor Guthrie
"Let us be very clear about something. I am reasonable in seeking peace, but If you insist on making me your villain, I will play the part. So let us assume that as off this moment, the unqualified pardon is no more. From this moment on, any man participating in the act of high seas piracy, will be presumed to be one of your men. An enemy of the state, I will catch him, I will hunt him and I will hang him. And while I am aware of your feelings on the subject, I am no backwater magistrate cowering in fear of you. You know where to find me."
―Woodes Rogers to Captain Flint, XXV.
"We're all villains in Nassau. Don't think because you're new you're any different."
―Rackham tells Rogers a few home truths, XXV.
"Civilization has a number of faces. To think them all powerless to alter Nassau’s future is a terrible mistake."
―Woodes Rogers, XXIII.
"Because if you don't, I will see to it that every man, woman, and child in that camp is put back into chains. I will see each of them sold far and wide, cast out into the world alone. And then I will burn everything that remains to the ground. From here, your outcomes are bad or worse. That's what defeat looks like."
―Woodes Rogers to Madi, XXXV.

TriviaEdit

  • Woodes Rogers was a real-life privateer and pirate-hunter during the Golden Age of Piracy. He is best known for succesfully bringing the Bahamas back under British rule.

External LinksEdit

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