The Pirate Contest has concluded!

Hello Readers!

Thanks for joining in on the contest! 

As usual, I learned a lot from all of you, about people, places and stories I didn’t know–which is always part of the fun for me! I’ll be reading (or watching) all your recommendations!

We have (privately) notified the winners of each week’s contest, chosen by random dartboard, who will receive a book. The darts are random and do not reflect which character or place got the most of your votes! But it’s also fun to know which characters are favorites.

“An Attack on a Galleon”
Howard Pyle (1905)

Here are some of the fascinating results of your overall responses, week by week:

Anne Bonny

1. Your favorite Female Pirate: 

Anne Bonny, Grace O’Malley, Ching Shih, Yasmeen (fictional, The Iron Seas books), Mary Read. Anne Bonny and Ching Shih got the most votes from you. 

I did not know (until you told me) that the Chinese Ching Shih, was one of the most powerful pirates–male or female–in all of history, running rings around all the British, Portuguese, and Chinese fleets with her 1500 ships and crew of 80,000! Anne Bonny also appears as a historically convincing ongoing character in the TV miniseries Black Sails.


2. Your favorite Male Pirate: 

Henry Morgan, Long John Silver, Jack Sparrow, Cervantes de Leon, One Eyed Willy… 

Yikes! Except for Henry Morgan, your choices were all Fictional Characters! That’s okay–BUT… Whatever happened to all the real pirates: Barbarossa, Captain Kidd, ‘Black Bart’ Roberts, Charles Vane, Jack Rackham, Blackbeard…in the Golden Age of Piracy? (Quite by serendipity, the dart did hit a Henry Morgan contributor.) 

Barbary Coast

3. Your favorite Part of the World where Pirates Roamed:
(This was really interesting! Great answers with all kinds of fun stuff emerging…) 

Gulf of Mexico, Malta, Louisiana, Florida, Ancient Lycia (Turkey), Indian Ocean, Venice, Caribbean, including specifically Columbia, Bahamas, Venezuela. Caribbean got the most votes, of course, as it’s highlighted so much recently.

But my personal favorite, the Barbary Coast of North Africa, where The Eight is set: piracy was still so rife in the Mediterranean by then, that Thomas Jefferson had to send our fleets to “The Shores of Tripoli.” 

Bebe Daniels

4. Your Favorite Actress in a Pirate Movie: 

Maureen O’Hara (Against All Flags), Claire Bloom (The Buccaneer), Geena Davis (Cutthroat Island), Olivia de Havilland (Captain Blood), Robin Wright (The Princess Bride), Greta Garbo (Queen Christina). Geena got the most of your votes. 

I’ve never seen any of the first three, so I’ll watch them all! Aside: Maureen O’Hara was famous for her pirate movies, (The Black Swan, Sinbad the Sailor, The Spanish Main, Flamingo Inn, etc)–even playing a pirate herself, sometimes. 

Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara

5. Your Favorite Actor in Pirate Movies: 

Burt Lancaster (The Crimson Pirate), Charlton Heston (Treasure Island), Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean), Gene Kelly (The Pirate), Errol Flynn (Captain Blood) Sean Astin (The Goonies). Johnny Depp got the most votes from you.

Errol Flynn also did The Sea Hawk; Tyrone Power did The Black Swan.

Robert Newton as Long John Silver

6. Your Favorite Pirate Villain character: 

Davy Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean), Long John Silver (Treasure Island, played by Wallace Beery, Robert Newton, Charlton Heston, etc), Smee (Peter Pan), Captain Levasseur (Captain Blood, played by Basil Rathbone.) Long John Silver got the most votes from you.

In the miniseries Black Sails, we find out how (the fictional) Long John Silver got his peg leg! And how (the real pirates) Charles Vane and Edward Teach aka Blackbeard got their reputations!

Treasure Island

7. Your Favorite Pirate Story or Book: 

Grace O’Malley (there are several books on Grace, fiction, nonfiction, and children’s–please recommend some!), The Princess Bride (William Goldman writing as ‘S. Morgenstern’), Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson), Riptide (Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.) It’s a toss-up between Treasure Island and Princess Bride!

While I love the books Treasure Island and Princess Bride — and I am now reading Riptide by the wonderful Preston & Child, which is great — I’d like to recommend Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood, The Black Swan, and The Sea Hawk (this last not related to the Errol Flynn movie, it was only done as a silent film.)

The Sea Hawk

8. Your Favorite Pirate Movie/Dramatic Work:

The Crimson Pirate, Nate & Hayes (aka Savage Islands’), The Goonies, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Back Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean II, Pirates of the Caribbean (the series), Treasure Island (1950). Pirates of the Caribbean got the most votes!

Treasure Island has been made into more than 50 films, including silent films, animated, Japanese, and children’s films. (JM Barrie actually refers to it in his Peter Pan books!) Actors playing Long John Silver include Jack Palance, Wallace Beery, Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Tim Curry, and Robert Newton who turned piracy into a big screen favorite in the 1950s.