Elizabeth Swann: From Governor’s Daughter to Awesome Pirate Captain

During a recent marathon of Pirates of the Caribbean movies, we paid close attention to one particular character: Elizabeth. While some characters in Pirates of the Caribbean never change, (*cough Jack Sparrow cough*) Elizabeth Swann goes through quite the transformation in the course of three films. While she may begin her story as just the governor’s daughter, Elizabeth rises to every bizarre occasion thrown at her to become an awesome pirate captain. Because we love these movies and Elizabeth so much, let’s take a look back at her journey:


When we first meet Elizabeth, she has formed what everyone around her thinks is an unhealthy interest in piracy.

Young Elizabeth Swann

She says meeting a pirate would be quite exciting. We think so too, which is why we’re watching these movies about pirates.


Lucky for her, a brush with piracy isn’t far away when she helps save a young Will Turner from a sinking ship.

Young Elizabeth Swann Will Turner

She steals what she believes to be his pirate medallion to keep him safe (note: this is an extremely important plot point).


A few years later, Elizabeth is now a lady of status who has to wear awful corsets.

11 Things You Didn't Know About Pirates of the Caribbean The Curse of the Black Pearl - Keira #1

Seriously, corsets are the worst.


Anyways, Elizabeth’s life is about to get really piratey (not an adjective, but go with it) when she has a brush with Captain Jack Sparrow and accidentally calls The Black Pearl to Port Royal.

Elizabeth Swann Curse of the Black Pearl Pirates
Poor thing nearly died wearing a corset and now she’s being kidnapped by pirates? This is not Elizabeth’s day. It is however, the beginning of a grand pirate adventure.


Even though she’s being held captive by some pretty scary zombie pirates, Elizabeth holds her own.

Elizabeth Swann Barbossa

She takes no sass from the crew or Captain Barbossa, even when they’re cutting her hand open. Ouch.


After Will rescues her and brings her to the Interceptor, Elizabeth begins to prove that she’s a worthy leader.

Elizabeth Swann Curse of the Black Pearl

They aren’t able to outrun The Black Pearl, but Elizabeth’s creative thinking helps the ship.


And when Elizabeth gets marooned with the less-than-helpful Captain Jack Sparrow, she illustrates her award-winning* cleverness.

Elizabeth Swann Jack Sparrow Island

Stranded? Not for long with that fire. *We’re giving her an award right now.


All in all, at the end of Curse of the Black Pearl, Elizabeth has just begun her transformation to pirate life.

Elizabeth Swann Will Turner Jack Sparrow

We’ve got two more movies to go before this heroine’s journey is complete.


When we see Elizabeth again in Dead Man’s Chest, her wedding has been ruined by Lord Beckett. Her fiance, Will Turner, is off who knows where, and she’s just been sprung from prison by her dad.

Elizabeth Swann Lord Beckett

What does she do? Of course, she goes and tells Lord Beckett who’s boss and gets the Letters of Marque that will free her and Will. You go girl.


Then, she stows away on a ship, poses as a cabin boy, and makes her way to Tortuga.

Keira Knightley, Johnny Depp, Mackenzie Crook

It’s there she meets back up with Jack and the gang (that’s almost a catchy boy band name) and they’re off to Isla Cruces to find Will and the Dead Man’s Chest.


It’s there that Elizabeth discovers how pointless men can be.

Elizabeth Swann

Her quote pretty much sums it up: “This is barbaric! This is no way for grown men to settle – oh, fine! Let’s just pull out our swords and start banging away at each other, that will solve everything!”


Elizabeth also isn’t afraid to make the tough decisions.

Keira Knightley

She knows the Kraken is after Jack, and fools him to make sure that the crew can get away. Jack calls her a pirate, which Elizabeth might have taken offense to before, but we like the fact that she’s owning it now.


Alright, moving on to At World’s End. By now, you’ve noticed that Elizabeth is completely capable of dealing with crazy pirates and has left behind her proper ways.

Elizabeth Weapons

No more stuffy dresses this girl. She means business.


After the crew gets back from rescuing Jack at World’s End, Elizabeth agrees to go with Sao Feng aboard the Empress in order to let The Black Pearl escape from Lord Beckett’s clutches.

Elizabeth Swann Sao Feng

Although, Sao thinks she’s Calypso which is a tiny, little, hiccup in this plan.


When Lord Beckett’s ship attacks the Empress though, Sao is mortally wounded and gives Elizabeth his piece of eight.


Now, she’s officially a pirate captain. Captain Elizabeth has a nice ring to it.


And if being a captain wasn’t enough, Elizabeth is voted the Pirate King (Queen?) at the Brethren Court.

Pictured:  (L-R) Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Depp, Mackenzie Crook

She decides it’s time to go to war with Lord Beckett and end the battle against piracy once and for all.


While the crew of The Black Pearl thinks it’s impossible to take down Lord Beckett’s armada, Elizabeth shows that she’s worthy of the Pirate King title by giving a stirring inspirational speech.


Hoist the colors! We’re ready to fight! (Paraphrase.)


With that, Elizabeth cements her place in history as an awesome pirate captain.


She battled the bad guys, dealt the deals, and proved that a great leader can come from anywhere.


What’s your favorite part of Elizabeth’s storyline in Pirates of the Caribbean? Tell us in the comments!


Posted 4 years Ago
Next Article
Subscribe to
Follow us on