Steward of the Fort
|Relationships||Jack Rackham (Ex-Crewmen/Friend)|
Anne Bonny (Ex-Crewmen/Friend)
Eleanor Guthrie (Ex-Lover; deceased)
Blackbeard (Mentor; deceased)
James Flint (Enemy/Ally/Friend)
Woodes Rogers (Enemy)
Last: XXVII. (Alive)
Last: XXVIII. (corpse)
|Portrayed by||Zach McGowan|
|Gallery||Charles Vane Gallery|
- "Are you as surprised as I am that I'm the only one here behaving myself?"
- ―Charles Vane to Eleanor Guthrie[src]
Charles Vane was Captain of the pirate ship Ranger. Possibly the next great pirate captain on New Providence Island, he was known for his vicious temper as well as his tremendous financial success. After losing his ship and most of his crew, he killed Albinus and became the new leader of his crew. Eventually, he returned to Nassau and took control of Captain Hornigold's fort. He allowed Eleanor Guthrie to take Abigail Ashe to Captain Flint but later followed Flint to Charles Town so he could steal Flint's ship. Once Flint was captured by the authorities, Vane decided to save him.
Originally, Vane and Flint were enemies during the Season 1 and 2 but became friends at the end of the Season 2 until his death at the end of Season 3.
In his youth, Vane was an indentured child labourer, held captive by Albinus. At some point, most likely as a young boy, he escaped from captivity.
At some time in his adult life, Vane became a pirate and the protégé of the notorious Edward Teach, joining a growing pirate community on New Providence Island. It was there where he met Jack Rackham and his lover, Anne Bonny, who joined his crew, the former becoming his quartermaster. Vane became the lover of the black-marketeer Eleanor Guthrie, and she convinced him to switch sides and to join with her. Teach was forced to leave Nassau. Sometime between his becoming of a pirate and early 1715, Vane obtained the Ranger, which he made his flagship.
Vane first appeared in the series during the confrontation between Singleton and Mosiah. When Mosiah announced his intention to support Captain Flint over Singleton, Vane had Mosiah killed. Though outwardly appearing to support Singleton for Captain of the Walrus, his true motive was much different. Vane hoped that when Singleton was elected Captain and subsequently failed at it, that the capable crew of the Walrus would defect and join Vane's own ever growing pirate crew.
When Eleanor discovered that Vane had a part in Mosiah's death, she confronted him and punched him in the face. Vane responded by punching her in the face. He followed her into her room and Eleanor explained that he had frustrated her plans by backing Singleton over Flint. When Eleanor threatened to no longer sell any booty Vane brought back to Nassau, he retorted that such a decision could only be made by her father, and that her father would always prioritize profit above her. Before he left, Vane told Eleanor that he had loved her once and to never strike him again in public or else he might forget that love and do something far worse to her.
When Rackham approached Vane about the possibility of buying the supposed schedule of the Urca de Lima, Vane was initially skeptical, but allowed Rackham to take 5,000 pesos of the crew's money to buy the schedule. When Vane and Rackham met with Max to discuss the transfer, Vane assaulted her, thinking that she was trying to cheat them out of their money with a worthless document.
Max told Vane that the offer was legitimate, and that he could purchase the schedule from her client later that night at the Wrecks. When Vane turned up to purchase the schedule, he became enraged and killed Silver's proxy, spooking Silver. When Silver was spotted by members of the Walrus's crew, he ran away, forcing Vane and Rackham to give chase. During the chase, Rackham fell from some rocks into the ocean and lost the 5,000 pesos. Flint's crew would eventually find Silver before Vane could.
Though unsuccessful in getting the schedule, Vane and his crew were invited to act as consort to the Walrus in the expedition to take down the treasure ship. Vane agreed and for once actually behaved himself, impressing his former lover Eleanor. However, Vane was harbouring a secret from Eleanor. He had captured Max and was allowing her to be abused and raped by members of his crew. Vane eventually told Rackham to clean her up, and sneak her off the island after dark, but his attempt failed when they were stopped by several of the Ranger's crew. He didn't try to save her twice, even thought he could have. After Vane and Eleanor sleep together, screams alert Eleanor to investigate and discover Max's captivity and constant rape; as a result, she places an embargo on Vane and any associates from ever again operating a pirate crew in Nassau, forcing most of his existing crew to join Flint.
The loss of his ship and crew devastated Vane, who fell into an opium and drink-induced fog, where he was constantly getting in fights with people. He has visions of Eleanor trying to push him to face his fears, and thus appears their apparent embodiment, a very large man, which later suffices to be Albinus, his former slave master. Whilst in his drug-induced trance, the same man intermittently appears; Vane follows the spectre through the streets of Nassau, but it would keep disappearing as Vane grew close. Eventually, Vane found himself in a narrow alley where he was confronted by Noonan and his men. Noonan owned the local brothel and was angry that Vane had taken away his most prized whore, Max. Noonan ordered that Vane be shot, but the pistol misfired. Vane, apparently sobered by by the shock, seized upon the opportunity to fight against his attackers and killed Noonan. With Noonan dead, Vane and Rackham took control of the brothel.
Unexpectedly, Vane took a skiff one night and sailed to an unknown location. While he was gone, Captain Hornigold more or less forced Eleanor to rescind her ban on Vane. However, he would soon be left without much of a crew when Eleanor and Bonny conspired to kill Hamund, who had been abusing and raping Max without Vane or anyone else protesting against it. In the act of killing Hamund, they also killed seven other members of Vane's crew that had remained loyal to him because they didn't stop him from raping Max, which made them far worse than Hamund himself.
Vane went to see Albinus, a former pirate now lumberer. Albinus used to own Vane as a child labourer. Vane negotiated with Albinus to get some men for a new crew to help him take Nassau. He offered to give Albinus four shares for the men that he would get in return. However, while Vane was giving a speech to his new men, he told them that Ablinus was weak and that if they joined him they would become strong and feared as they once were.
However, Vane was overheard by Albinus and attacked. Albinus beat him nearly to death and had him stripped and thrown into a shallow grave. However, Vane was still alive and hearing Eleanor's voice inside his head giving him encouragement; he climbed out of the grave. He approached Albinus from behind and stabbed him through the back with a wooden stake, killing him.
With a whole slew of men at his disposal, Vane returned to Nassau and quickly took over Hornigold's fortress that overlooks Nassau. With control of the fortress, Vane essentially controlled Nassau. When confronted by Eleanor, Charles demanded Hornigold’s spot on the consortium and a share of the profits that her new Consortium would collect. When Eleanor tells him that his actions will not be accepted, Vane tells her that if they should decide to attempt an attack, he'll start sinking ships in the harbour. Without any options, she agreed and Vane became a partner in the Consortium.
Vane takes a pretty apathetic approach to being a partner in the Consortium. When he does attend the meetings, he disparages the other partners as weak.
When Ned Low openly defies Eleanor, she implores Vane to assist her and tells him that there is a very valuable cargo on Low's ship, despite being unaware of what it actually is. Vane asks Max to find out what Low's crew is holding that is so special, and she asks in exchange for him to forgive Rackham and Bonny so that they may sail again. When she gleans the information about Abigail Ashe, Vane meets with Rackham and Bonny in the brothel, and states his intentions to repair their reputations. Vane then shakes Rackham's hand and gives him a hug that all can see.
Vane goes to Low’s ship, with a ruse to offer him a partnership. Once in his cabin, the two begin to fight, whilst above decks Vane's crew is silently killing Low's crew. Vane comes out on top of the fight and beheads Low. He then places Low's head upon a stake with a sign that reads "I angered Charles Vane". After seeing Low's head, Eleanor goes to the fort to sleep with Vane. When they are finished, Vane takes Eleanor to where he is holding Abigail Ashe, who will surely pull in a handsome reward.
Flint returns to Nassau in the Spanish Man O' War to find the new situation, and immediately starts planning to remove Vane from his fortress. Diplomacy is not really either man’s forté; Flint demands he leave the fortress or else, Vane refuses. As a result, Flint’s resolves to open fire on the fortress.
Soon, Vane decides settles on his usual solution to any problem, in this case, to kill Flint. He tracks Flint to Eleanor's tavern, and the two men trade blows with each other, until they are interrupted by Eleanor Guthrie who fires a shot from a musket in their direction. She demands the two men negotiate a solution. Flint tells Vane that he will stand his men down from attacking the fortress in exchange for Abigail Ashe, but Vane demands the Spanish Man O’ War in exchange. Flint refuses. Vane leaves the meeting, but afterwards Eleanor assures Flint that the situation will be resolved and Vane will agree to the terms.
Eleanor goes to the fortress and tries to convince Vane to give up the girl, but he is not interested. She decided so to betray him. She sleeps with Vane, and then takes the keys. She goes to the cell where Abigail is kept and the two flee through the tunnels beneath the fortress. As she is locking the final gate, Vane appears. He tells Eleanor that he killed Low's crew for her. He tells Eleanor if she takes Abigail, his men will turn on him and kill him. Finally, he tells her if she walks away with the girl, she will surely hear from him again. Despite Vane's pleas, and after some hesitation, Eleanor locks the gate and walks away with Abigail.
Vane kills Eleanor’s father Richard Guthrie, leaving his crucified corpse in the fortress, with a note explaining that Mr. Guthrie was trying to return Nassau to English rule, and therefore deserved a traitor’s death. Vane and his crew then abandon the fortress, and track the Spanish Man O’ War to Charles Town.
Vane and his crew sneak onto the Man O’ War, while Flint is negotiating Abigail Ashe's exchange in Charles Town. Many of Flint's crew are killed, and the rest captured. Vane states that he has come to collect the Man O’ War to which he was rightly entitled in exchange for Abigail.
Thanks to an attempt on behalf of Silver to sabotage the ship, Vane is still in the harbour when the Charles Town authorities approach to tell them that Flint has been arrested, and that the ship must leave or be sunk. To everyone’s surprise, Vane proposes that they rescue Flint, because if one of the most feared pirate captains in Nassau is hanged then nobody will ever fear the pirates of Nassau again. Many of Vane’s crew express reservations, but Vane take his most loyal men to Charles Town, leaving the rest to guard the ship with his right-hand-man, Jenks.
In Charles Town, Vane allows himself to be captured. He is taken to Flint's trial, where he states that he wants to present a witness in support of Flint. He brings with him Abigail's diary that she wrote during her trip to Charles Town wherein she expressed admiration for Flint and the other pirates.
Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the town, Vane's men climb up the walls of the city and take out the gun crews who are standing guard. They turn the cannons and open fire on the town. During the chaos that ensues, Flint and Vane flee. They fight their way to the jetty and begin to escape on a rowing boat. As Charles Town authorities prepare to fire on them, the Man O' War opens fire.
Flint and Vane make it back to the Man O’ War, where Flint’s crew have managed to turn on Jenks and his men. Flint orders that all of Vane's men be released and that they all fire indiscriminately at Charles Town.
In the months since the end of Season Two, the Urca gold has been split up between Captains Rackham, Flint, Vane, and their crews. Vane is tasked with hunting what he thinks is a Dutch merchantman. As he approaches, the Dutch captain begins to throw his actual cargo overboard; slaves. Vane puts out small boats for the slaves, but continues his pursuit, eventually capturing the merchantman and killing the captain. Returning to Nassau, Vane confronts Rackham, who reluctantly admits that he intentionally sent him after a slave-ship, so the slaves could be used to rebuild the fort.
Vane insists on working alongside the slaves. While resting in his tent, Vane is surprised by Edward Teach. Teach forgives him for betraying him for Eleanor all those years ago. Teach and Vane sit down with Rackham discuss their plans to defend Nassau from the approaching English fleet. Teach is less than impressed at Rackham's status as a partner, remembering Rackham as a scrawny crew member. Teach sees it as a sign that Nassau has become weak. However, Teach eventually offers to step in and coordinate the pirate fleet, provided that Vane become his protégé again.
The pirates fight to save Nassau proves short-lived. Governor Rogers offers all the pirates, except Vane, pardons; most accept. Rackham, Vane, Bonny and their crew are stuck in the fort with men gathering outside with a view to collecting the bounty on Vane. Rackham is forced to acknowledge that the defence of Nassau is over and comes up with a new plan: to destroy a portion of the fort so Vane can escape. Vane tries to fight his way to the docks, but is eventually outnumbered in an alleyway. Thankfully, Blackbeard appears, and the two combine to fight their way to Blackbeard’s ship. Vane learns that Eleanor is on Rogers’s ship, which the reason for the price on his head. 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 Blackbeard to sail away.
Later, Vane and Blackbeard capture a Spanish ship, and find Spanish intelligence notes that mention Vane, Nassau, and a spy within Rogers’s entourage. Flint eventually track them to Ocracoke Island, wanting 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 decided his loyalty. Vane fights off Teach to the point that Teach lays down his sword and orders them both off his island.
Vane convinces Flint to go after the cache of gems that Rackham and Bonny have secured, and use it to coax Rogers into a trap. In Nassau, he learns that Rackham has been arrested. Vane persuades Bonny to give up the cache, so that they can ambush the convoy taking Jack and the cache to the Spanish. They learn the convoy route through the prostitute Idelle, and swiftly attack it on horseback. After killing all of Rogers’s soldiers in the convoy, Vane shoots the wheel of the carriage sending it careening off the road. Rackham is injured quite badly, but alive. He urges Flint to take the caches and go ahead, while he frees Rackham from his chains. Rackham and Bonny flee as they spot more of the Governor’s men approaching. A fight ensues between Vane and Rogers, but Vane is eventually outnumbered and arrested.
In his cell in Nassau, Eleanor comes to speaks with Vane. She accuses Vane of taking her father away from her, just as they were reconciling their differences. Vane immediately calls her out on her fantasy, reminding her that her father ultimately betrayed her, and accusing her of siding with any man who would satisfy her ambitions. Inflamed, Eleanor bloodies her knuckles on Vane. Meanwhile, Billy Bones 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 could give them enough time to mount a rescue. However, Eleanor catches wind of this and fast tracks Vane’s trial and conviction overnight.
While gallows are quickly erected, Pastor Lambrick administers the last meal to Vane, though Vane refuses to ask for God's forgiveness. Vane is shuttled to the town square of Nassau where he will be executed. Bones and those loyal to him join 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 is the spark needed to get the people to rise up against England. He is then hanged, the crowd is solemn, and Vane's speech seems to have had its intended effect. While he is choking, Jacob Garrett, Russell and Davis go to hold his body down in order to quicken his death.
Vane is a fearless, violent, and passionate man with a vicious temper. He is a skilled and cunning fighter, with sword, fists or pistol; one of the best in the series. He’s also one of the best pirate captains in Nassau, rivalled only by Flint. He uses fear to lead others, and is fearless himself; he risked his own life to save Rackham, and in the end ordered Billy not to try and save him as he knew Billy would be killed. His career is so notorious that other captains sheepishly back down as soon as his name is mentioned.
While Vane tends to think with his fists first, he is highly intelligent, cunning, observant, and understands the ways of power better than most. He was one of the few people who saw why Ned Low was dangerous to Nassau and why Flint had to be saved. However, he has many flaws since he is selfish and sometimes his ego overpowers his logic. It is important to mention that 'morals' can sometimes be an unknown word to him since he allowed his whole crew keep as a sex slave Max, giving them the green light to rape her just because she owed them money.
Regarding the relationship of Vane and Eleanor, the creators of the show, Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine explain it: "Vane and Eleanor, they are genuinely in love with each other. They know they don’t want the same things, yet there’s this emotional connexion that makes it impossible for them to get way from each other." It is a relationship which mixes love and hate, passion and anger. It does, alas, end badly.
Vane was raised a slave, and still bears Albinus's distinctive brand on his chest. He now despises slavers, and this fuels his desire for freedom for himself and on a grander scale for Nassau. He lives his life by his own set of rules that he refuses to break. He remains defiant to the end, using his final words to urge the crowd to seek freedom from English rule.
- Charles Vane was a historical pirate who terrorized the seas during the Golden Age of Piracy aboard his ship the Ranger.
- Charles Vane is left-handed, but he wears his sword on his left side like a right-handed person would.
- The unique brand on his chest is the brand that Albinus gave to all of his child labourers.
- Historically, Vane was not captured and hanged by the British until 1721, nearly five years after the show takes place.
- Zach McGowan who portrayed Charles Vane has stated in an interview with Inverse that he wanted Charles to not apologize or beg when he died. He also said that he kept the sword that is now hanging above his fireplace at home. Read the interview here
- It is unclear whether or not Vane is literate. In the Fathoms Deep podcast, Zach McGowan said he assumed Vane is not.
- " But make no mistake about it, whatever future this place has left, I'm it."
- ―Vane to Eleanor Guthrie[src]
- "These men who brought me here today do not fear me. They brought me here today because they fear you... because they know my voice - the voice that refuses to be enslaved - once lived in you, and may yet still. They brought you here today to show you death and use if to frighten you into ignoring that voice. But know this. We are many. They are few. To fear death is a choice... and they can't hang us all... Get on with it, motherfucker!"
- ―Vane's last words.
- " You don't know me, but you once did, when I was the lowest among you. Now I return, and I offer you a chance to be free of this place. I'm Charles Vane and you were a strong crew once, proper pirates, feared as you should have been, before he dragged you away from the sea, before he convinced you to live here like animals because it suits his weaknesses. There is a place not far from here where strong men live lives of pleasure, not labor. A place where you could be feared and respected once again. Follow me and I will show you what life is."
- ― Vane to his new crew.[src]
- "You spend enough time on an island, you forget there's a whole world out there."
- ―Charles Vane to Eleanor[src]
- "When I take something from a man – his ship, his money, his life – I don’t hide behind a clerk. I don’t hide behind the law. I don’t hide behind anything."
- ―Vane to Eleanor, XIV