Black Flag plays into our familiar, romanticized idea of pirates, in which Kenway serves as a paragon of roguish masculinity tied down neither to nation nor family. We attribute such archetypal figures with romantic ideals of freedom, youth, and adventure. When we think of pirates, we often think of alluring, wisecracking men from the Dread Pirate Roberts to Captain Jack Sparrow, but pirates are of course seedy, opportunistic criminals. Black Flag portrays Kenway as rugged and sometimes brusque, but also as a winsome, principled outlaw. With his scraggly beard and tousled locks of blond hair, Kenway resembles the easygoing, wiry surfers I see cruising around Southern California, saltwater drying on their skin. He looks like a stand-in for Chris Hemsworth in Thor. He could be an illustration for a romance novel. And yet, Edward Kenway is not a man, but a boy. He is a boy playing pirate, escaping his responsibilities as husband and father as he lives a fantasy across the ocean while his partner Caroline must live the reality of financial hardship and his abandonment.
Read the full column at Haywire Magazine.