Rolfe, also known as the Pirate Lord, is a notorious pirate who rules Skull's Bay and most of the Dead Islands. He is well known for his tattooed hands, inked with a map that magically changes to show treasures, enemies and ships.


Rolfe grew up in Skull's Bay, living with his beloved mother and sister. Working on ships to support his family, he was constantly beaten for his Mycenian heritage. When he was sixteen, he was working aboard the Thresher when the ship was caught in a storm and was subsequently destroyed, most of the crew drowning. He washed up on an distant island of the archipelago to find a man looking down on him, the Sea God. When asked what his greatest desire was, Rolfe responded that he wanted to become the Pirate Lord of Skull's Bay. The Sea God granted his wish, the price being what Rolfe valued most in the world; he awoke with the moving tattoo inked across his hands. Upon returning to Skull's Bay using his new map to guide him, Rolfe discovered that the price of his map had been the lives of his mother and sister, who had used their little money to rent a skiff in order to search for him and had never returned.[1]

With his magical, god-given map, Rolfe was able to destroy enemy pirates, plunder hidden treasure, and claim the title of Pirate Lord of Skull's Bay.

The Assassin's Blade

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

Following the deaths of three assassins from Rifthold by pirates, Rolfe meets with Celaena Sardothien and Sam Cortland who are acting on behalf of the King of Assassins, Arobynn Hamel. While initially seeking retribution for the deaths of their comrades, the two assassins unknowingly broker a slave trade agreement with Rolfe. Disgusted with the immorality of slaving, the assassins scheme to free all of the slaves of Skull's Bay, destroying most of the town and Rolfe's ships in the process. Rolfe is forced to sign contractual letters: the first to Arobynn Hamel states that he condemns Arobynn's slave trade agreement and should Arobynn continue to trade slaves, Rolfe will use his armada to punish him; the second letter is kept by Celaena, stating that Rolfe will never sell another slave; if any of his pirates are found doing so, he is to execute them; and that Skull's Bay will be a safe haven for any escaped slaves. [2] Enraged, Rolfe threatens to kill Celaena should she return to his territory.

Heir of Fire

Rolfe does not make an appearance, but is mentioned by Chaol Westfall and Aedion Ashryver when they learn that General Narrok and a force from Morath have taken over Skull's Bay. This occupation is short-lived, as Rolfe drives them out not long afterwards.

Empire of Storms

Aelin pays a visit to Rolfe in Skull's Bay where she blackmails him into joining her cause by revealing his Mycenian heritage and bringing a Valg force down on the Bay. Rolfe reluctantly agrees to fight for Terrasen in exchange for Aelin saving the Bay and granting him the titles Lord of Ilium and King of the Archipelago. As part of the deal Aelin tells Rolfe that for ever Morath ship they sack, they can keep whatever gold and treasure is aboard it but the weapons and ammunition go to the front. She also gives him the Mycenian city of Ilium. She and her companions kill the Valg and Rolfe sets off on a journey to find the Mycenians.

Kingdom of Ash

Rolfe keeps the court updated on his search with vague letters; he has had no luck after three months. Aedion holds out hope that he will arrive in time to assist the northern armies, who have been driven back by Morath's forces.

Meanwhile, Rolfe manages to find the Mycenians and sails to Terrasen's aid. His fleet is intercepted by Ravi and Sol of Suria, who direct him to the northern border of Terrasen. He arrives just in time to save Aedion's forces from the Valg and allow them to retreat. Afterwards, Rolfe meets with the Lords of Terrasen, who give him thanks, although they are galled at the knowledge that Aelin is the reason he came.

Rolfe's Mycenians follow the army along the Florine River, exhausting their resources as they travel to Orynth. At the Battle of Orynth the Mycenians hold out until their fire-lances are gone; things look bleak until reinforcements arrive and Aelin's court succeed in killing both Erawan and Maeve.

With the war over, Rolfe remains behind in Terrasen for the winter, now Lord of Ilium.


Rolfe was shown to be pragmatic, doing whatever it takes to survive and defeat his enemies. Because of that, he is willing to do many questionable things such as starting a slave trade or even allegedly making a deal with the devil. However, he is smart enough to know that his position as the greatest pirate could always be challenged and is glancing over his shoulder. He is known to hold a grudge against those who wronged him, though he is also willing to cooperate with them if the situation demands it.

He is not entirely heartless as shown when he does whatever he can to ensure that children he sells as slaves remain with their families.

Physical Description

In his late twenties, Rolfe is lean, tall, and has broad shoulders. His heavily tanned skin offsets his bright, sea-green eyes and shoulder-length dark hair. Both of his hands are heavily tattooed from wrist to fingertip with a magical map that rumor has it he sold his soul to get. He often wears gloves to hide his hands from prying eyes and is well dressed. He carries a sword with a sea dragon pommel.



  • His handwriting is nearly illegible.
  • He enjoys brandy.
  • He once received a purple, perfumed love letter from a woman named Jacqueline.[3]
  • To identify his pirates, he tattoos their wrists with the image of a multicolored hand.[4]
  • His tattoos show the locations of enemies, storms, and treasure.


  1. Empire of Storms; Chapter 38
  2. The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 73
  3. The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 11
  4. The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 15
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