Our Flag Means Dragon Con

The Alternate and Historical Fiction track held a fan discussion for the popular HBO Max show Our Flag Means Death on Friday at 4PM in the Sheraton Macon room. The popularity of the show meant that the small room was packed, and they had to turn many people away at the door. Members had been lining up for the panel for well over an hour. There were many Stede Bonnets, Blackbeards, and Luciuses waiting around, but there was also a Mary Bonnet, an Evelyn Higgins, and one or two Roaches, just from what I could see while waiting in line.

Moderator Tori An was joined by panelists North, Captain Blacklung, Russell Thorne, and John Rice. Thorne and Blacklung are also historians who have studied pirate history as well as being fans of the show. While An walked the panelists through their questions, they also displayed memes on the screen, which sometimes led to laughter in the middle of a panelist’s response, which all of them took in their very piratey stride.

Both Thorne and Blacklung addressed the queer pirate in the room. They have both seen commentary that a show that features gay pirates isn’t historically accurate. When asked how gay pirates actually were, Thorne replied, “Very.” He went on to say, “However gay you think pirates were, they were gayer.”

Blacklung also talked about how same-sex pirate marriage, or matelotage, was common. Partners would sometimes break up a set of earrings so each partner would have one. It was also common for pirates to wear gold earrings to pay for their burials. Life as a pirate was brutal and short, they explained, and it was much harder to steal treasure if you were wearing it. Also, pirates had one of the first institutionalized systems of death benefits. If you were in a matelotage, then your partner would receive your benefits when you died.

The panelists also talked about what they want for the upcoming season of the show, which is filming soon in New Zealand. There was a range of ideas, but my favorite was that Lucius Spriggs (who is NOT DEAD) would return as captain of his own ship with a vengeance against Blackbeard for trying to murder him. That idea got a lot of support from the people in the room as well. All the panelists noted that there is a lot more pressure on the show for the second season, both because its success, and the feral nature of the fans was unexpected and that they have to live up to the intersectional queer show full of polite menace they created with the first season.

No matter what, though, it was a pirate’s life for everyone in the room. Bring on the pain, David Jenkins! Our hearts are ready. We think.

Author of the article

Max sees to the needs of her kitty overlords; polices the grammar on all kinds of published material including signage, menus, and food packaging; and cuddles with her wife while watching her favorite shows (Our Flag Means Death, Killjoys, Sense8, and Doctor Who among them). She continues to be far too excited to be working for the Daily Dragon.