Elaine Marley-Threepwood
Elaine Marley
Elaine Marley in Tales of Monkey Island.
Game series Monkey Island
First game The Secret of Monkey Island
Created by Ron Gilbert
Voiced by Alexandra Boyd
Charity James (EMI)

Elaine Marley-Threepwood is one of the primary characters in the Monkey Island series of adventure games developed by LucasArts. She is the granddaughter of Captain Marley who searched for the legendary treasure of Big Whoop. Elaine is also the governor of the Tri-Island Area. Her name is nearly a reference to Bob Marley. Much of the series' music is reggae-flavored, another of several homages to the Caribbean area in general.

Her voice is provided by Alexandra Boyd in The Curse of Monkey Island, The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition and Tales of Monkey Island,[1] and Charity James in Escape from Monkey Island.

Development and production[]

Alexandra Boyd explains that she got the part of Marley, because Boyd "had worked for Darrah O’Farrel, the original director, before and he brought me in to read for Elaine. I figured I got the part because I have red hair like her!!...She is very well written and it’s fun doing all that shouting at LeChuck and Guybrush!! Exhausting but fun!!"[2]



Elaine has attracted many suitors during her tenure as governess. One of these suitors was the fearsome pirate captain LeChuck, a vicious, arrogant, foul-smelling man with an evil heart. The "short version" of the Elaine-LeChuck history, as related by a pirate in The Secret of Monkey Island, says that Elaine told him to "drop dead", so he did. The longer version states that in an effort to impress her, LeChuck sought to discover the secret of Monkey Island; near the island, a typhoon sank his ship, destroying his crew, save for his first mate Largo LaGrande. In both versions, however, death does not stop LeChuck from attempting to win Elaine's hand in marriage – by force if necessary.

The Secret of Monkey Island[]

Main article: The Secret of Monkey Island

The series' protagonist, a hapless teenaged pirate wannabe named Guybrush Threepwood, first meets Elaine Marley while attempting to rob her. In an attempt to prove himself a pirate, Guybrush is striving to complete three trials. One of these trials is to steal The Idol o' Many Hands, a statue displayed in the governor's mansion. Mêlée Island Sheriff Fester Shinetop attempts to arrest Guybrush for the theft, but Elaine intervenes and dismisses the sheriff. During a short conversation, Elaine tells Guybrush that she has heard about him and was immediately intrigued by his name. She says that he doesn't look like a pirate, however; his face is much too "sweet". Awestruck by her beauty, Guybrush is unable to say anything intelligible during this "conversation".

Elaine reappears soon after Guybrush narrowly escapes death at Sheriff Shinetop's hands again. She confesses to being deeply attracted to Guybrush, and they bestow a bizarre series of terms of endearment on each other ("Plunder bunny!"). They can't be seen together in public, though; she has told many pirates that she promised her father she'd never fall in love with a pirate. Elaine promises that as soon as Guybrush finishes his three trials, she will be waiting for him in her mansion.

This scene does not happen if Guybrush does this trial last. Naturally, she is kidnapped by LeChuck and his ghostly crew as soon as Guybrush completes the trials. The well-intentioned Threepwood attempts to rescue her, seemingly interrupting the wedding ceremony just in time. In actuality, he ruins Elaine's plan to spray LeChuck with an antighost potion, although she does consider the rescue attempt "sweet".

Guybrush manages to defeat LeChuck on his own, and the game closes with the happy couple snuggling and watching the "fireworks" as the evil pirate's ghost form explodes.

The Secret of Monkey Island featured close-up portraits of several characters' faces while engaging in conversation with Threepwood. The portrait of Elaine is rumored to have been based on Avril Harrison, an artist at LucasFilm Games (the previous name of LucasArts). Interestingly enough, Elaine was not referred to by her given name "Elaine" in the original script until the scene at the church in which Guybrush arrives to break up the wedding between Marley and LeChuck; her original script name was simply "Governor Marley." However, one of the dialogue options given to the player to shout to stop the wedding was "ELAINE!" a sly reference to a similar scene in The Graduate. Ron Gilbert enjoyed the subtle gag enough to make "Elaine" the character's actual name.[3]

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge[]

Main article: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge

Although Elaine's role is much smaller in the second game, the majority of the story is related to her by Guybrush. As the game opens, Guybrush is dangling from a rope in a huge pit. Elaine appears and offers to help, but only if he can explain how he got there. Approximately 90% of the game is actually Guybrush relating to Elaine what has supposedly already happened. The narrative can only be "interrupted" at one point if the player's actions cause Guybrush to die. Elaine, patiently listening to the story, smoothly points out that Guybrush couldn't have died if he's still talking to her, and the player is given another chance to escape the deadly situation.

In the "flashback", Elaine is furious at Guybrush for mercifully vague reasons. She has relocated to her mansion on Booty Island, where she owns a lazy, dim-witted dog she calls Guybrush. When the human Guybrush appears, she initially presumes that he has come to apologize to her; in fact, he's looking for a portion of a treasure map belonging to her grandfather, Captain Marley. This infuriates her further, and she refuses to speak to him afterwards.

When Guybrush finally brings Elaine up to the current moment, his rope breaks and he falls into the pit. Elaine has only one brief appearance afterwards; during the ending credits, she wonders aloud, with little apparent concern, if Guybrush has fallen under an evil spell.

In the Phatt Island library in LeChuck's Revenge one can find several romance novels with stereotypical titles by 'Melanie Leary', an anagram of Elaine Marley, indicating that the governor may be writing under a pseudonym after her and Guybrush's breakup. Interestingly enough there is another "romance" in the library under her own name, detailing her disappointing relationship with Guybrush.

The Curse of Monkey Island[]

Monkey Island - Elaine Marley

Elaine Marley in The Curse of Monkey Island. Template:Deletable image-caption

Main article: The Curse of Monkey Island

By the beginning of the next game, Elaine seems to have largely reconciled with her would-be suitor. After he saves her life, Guybrush proposes to Elaine, accidentally using a cursed diamond ring he found in LeChuck's ship. Upon discovering that the ring is cursed, Elaine tries to punch him out of anger, but is turned into solid gold mid-swing, remaining in this position for most of the game. When he finally manages to undo the curse, she automatically punches him, but does forgive him since he brought everything to normal and marries him in the end.

In C.M.I., Elaine and Guybrush interact almost exclusively during non-interactive cutscenes rather than in normal gameplay. This is the game in which her active role is smallest; however, she does appear as a statue in many scenes.

Ron Gilbert has commented that the relationship between Guybrush and Elaine, as written in The Secret of Monkey Island and LeChuck's Revenge, would not have resulted in marriage since Elaine views Guybrush as more "little brother" than marriage partner.[4] Gilbert was not involved in the production of either The Curse of Monkey Island or Escape from Monkey Island.

Escape from Monkey Island[]

Main article: Escape from Monkey Island

In Escape from Monkey Island, Elaine and Guybrush return to Mêlée Island from their lengthy honeymoon to find that she has been declared legally dead. A technicality forces her to run for election once again against an insidious new opponent: Charles L. Charles, who is LeChuck in disguise. Guybrush is left to single-handedly find the components of The Ultimate Insult to defeat LeChuck while Elaine campaigns just in case Guybrush can't unmask him in time. When her long-lost grandfather, Horatio Torquemada Marley, resurfaces, Elaine asks him to take over the position of governor so she and Guybrush can undo the damage Ozzie Mandrill has done to the Caribbean.

Guybrush is rather annoyed when people refer to him and Elaine as Mr. and Mrs. Marley, rather than Threepwood.

Tales of Monkey Island[]

Main article: Tales of Monkey Island

Elaine makes her fifth appearance in the series of games created by Telltale Games in 2009. Alongside Guybrush, she fights the evil pirate LeChuck in the beginning of the story, which leads Guybrush to accidentally release a voodoo pox upon the Tri-Island Area and returns LeChuck to human form. After this, she befriends the reformed LeChuck and helps him return his captured monkeys to their home, much to the dismay of Guybrush. Her voicing is done once again by Alexandra Boyd,[5] with a slight British-Jamaican accent.


Escape from Monkey Island was infamous among fans for introducing contradictions into the established Monkey Island storyline. While the most apparent is the identity of Herman Toothrot, Elaine's age at the time of the games is also thrown into doubt. In Escape from Monkey Island, she mentions that her grandfather Horatio disappeared twenty years earlier, and that she was already governor of Mêlée Island by then (and being pursued romantically by LeChuck). However, Guybrush is only 18 years old according to the first game, suggesting that there is a substantial age difference between them. This is widely presumed to be an oversight, since Elaine appears to be roughly the same age as Guybrush. There is little to support the idea that Captain Marley disappeared twenty years beforehand except the dialogue in Escape from Monkey Island.

In addition, Elaine's accent in the third game was distinctly English; however, in the fourth game, it suddenly changed to American. In Tales of Monkey Island it is English again.


GameSpot ranks her among The Ten Best Female Characters, with the rationale that in "The Secret of Monkey Island, Elaine Marley was not only the governor of Melee Island but also the impetus for the whole series. Both would-be pirate protagonist Guybrush Threepwood and ghost-pirate villain LeChuck loved Elaine, and they both wanted to marry her. But LeChuck was a bit more desperate to do so, and so he kidnapped Elaine and took her to Monkey Island. What's great about Elaine is that she serves the typical role of damsel in distress but in many cases is much better at getting herself out of trouble than the so-called hero who comes to save her."[6]

Macworld describes the character as "beautiful and plucky".[7]


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