I have recently had a sit up with POTC trilogy and it striked me that the characters as they really are have been distorted in my memory due to fangirl "interpretation" in sappy YouTube vids, siggies, essays and posts that basically turn badass men like Jack, Will and Norringotn into love sick puppies.
Guys, that`s really terrible. There are some serious myths that need to be busted pronto. Such as The Myth That Will Is a Boring Pansy and The Myth that Norrington Is Mr Nice Guy Who Needs a Hug.
I`d like to start Mythbuster threads with an in-depth analysis of the interesting and complex characters who suffered the most from fangirl simplification but only if you are interested in discussion. So let me know. No hard feelings if there`s zero interest for this. I get that I`m late to the party with OST coming out which doesn`t have main heroes of the Mythbuster.
I`d discuss Will and Norrington in separate Mythbuster threads because there`s a lot to say on each so lumping them in one thread would be too much. I also feel that they suffered the most from fangirl simplification.
We can definitely do debates or whatever you like. But first, I need to know if there`s a text limit per post so that I know whether to break the essays down to several entries group around one subject or something.
I feel that making separate threads would be redundant and would clutter of the forum. I'm sure it all can be discussed in this thread alone. The more that people contribute, the easier this process will be, however.
In the world of extraordinary characters, an ordinary young man is a trully extraordinary thing. In POTC universe, this is Will Turner, a character often dismissed as boring and flat. Nothing further from the truth.
That thereís some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And itís worth fighting for.
When we first meet William, he is the sole survior of the vicious pirate attack. His only possession aside his clothes is a golden medalion of obviously pirate origin. Skull and all that. Even a young jetsetter Elisabeth Swann figures out that much. But William doesn`t. Not because he is stupid for he is not. He simply believes in good in people. He believes his father, who sent him the medalion, is a good man. Good man means respectable man. Pirate means a villain. As the only son, William takes care of his mother for he is the man of the house. Father is far away. William creates a role model of his father`s character to give him strength to pull off a man`s job though he is only a boy. When mother dies, William decides to come to Caribbean to find his father, a bold choice for such a young man.
Now penniless after the pirate attack, William is given to the local blacksmith as an apprentice. However, when you see him next, 10 years after his intro, you wouldn`t know it. He is an extremly handsome young man of impecable Queen`s speech and manners. He may not be used to Ming vases and other kitschy decorations in posh homes but his handle of the sword would put many nobleman to shame. His clothes are modest but clean and all in all he could pass as a nobleman himself.
This shows us something very important. William is working on improving himself. He may be a blacksmith but he is adopting the ways of respectable society - speech, manners, cleanliness, swordsmanship, literacy, soberness, chastity - and he has become the top of his profession while retaining modesty (he does not reveal to Swann that he actually made the exquisite sword for Norrington). In short, William is shaping himself to be the respectable citizen and the man worthy of two things most dear to him - his father`s legacy and his love for the society beauty Elisabeth Swann.
All this shows that William character, often accused of being passive, to whom things happen instead of his making things happen, is actually making big things happen. Sailing off to Caribbean all alone is big. Self-teaching in respectable society ways is even bigger in the long run. William Turner is, simply put, an active achiever.
You have noticed that 4 paragraphs into the mythbusting I barely touched upon Willabeth. That`s because one of biggest myths about Will is that he is defined only by his love for Elisabeth. I hope that by now you see that he is a strong character in his own right and would have been without Elisabeth. His primary motivation is good. To be a good man, belief in good in people, be it Jack or his father or people in general. He believes there`s good in the world worth fighting for and Elisabeth is just one of those goods. This is also where he defers from Norrington`s character which will be more discussed in Mythbusting Norrington. Where William is "there is good worth fighting for" man, Norrington is "there`s evil worth fighting against" man. Two sides of the same coin but one is productive while other one is distructive.
Which brings me to William`s profession. As a blacksmith, he`s a creator, builder. He creates and builds things. He isn`t in the business of destruction (military, pirates). As a person, he builds relationships that haven`t been possible before by bringing attention to Jack`s goodness and what injustice his execution would`ve been. He brings the low and high class together in support. He also achieves acceptance as a future husband of the high-born woman. It`s just a great positive character altogether.
Next time, on MythBusting Will Turner - Part 2 - Is Will Turner 18th century`s Jessica Simpson SPOILER IN SILVER
a virgin who saves himself for the wedding night SPOILER ENDS? And isn`t that just so adorable? Stay tuned as The Mythbuster turns up the heat!
Last edited by Sparrabella on Feb 5th, 2011 at 11:31 PM
The Myth - Norrington is a nice guy who needs a hug
Don`t judge the book by the cover or an 18th century marine by his wig and brocade. This man would`ve been in Nam in the 60s, in Iraq now, on Pandora in 2154. He`d lead the team of Inglorius Bastards during the WW2. You`d most likely know him as a Navy Seal or by the name of John Rambo, Sgt William James, Jake Sully and Aldo Raine. Do I make myself clear?
...warrior of the Jarhead Clan...
James Norrington, a character that unexplicably launched thousands of sappy YouTube vids that would make him reach for long nines and Michael Bay them into oblivion, is a the saga`s only true warrior. This is the man who not only dedicated his life to war and fighting but he loves it. I`m sure that there are many sappy fanfics in which dear Jamie was forced into Navy by his strict father but everything that Norrington ever said or did in the movies points to one thing - he chose it because he loves it and most likely would run away from home to join the military if he folks tried to make him an accountant for EITC. Or maybe he did.
Take his famous quote when we meet him for th first time:I intend to see that any man who sails under a pirate flag or wears a pirate brand gets what he deserves: a short drop and a sudden stop. "I intend" This is an active form. This man is not just talking the talk, he is walking the walk and proudly so. He is already a Lt. a rank that he most likely earned in fighting the bloody French because that`s how you earned your rank back in 18th century Navy. Undoubtly proficient in dealing with the enemy in swift and effficient manner, he is now doing a rotation in the Caribbean against worse menace than the French - pirates. No man who doesn`t have a proven ruthless streak would be trusted with such a task and Norrington is ruthless as he is fearless.
Allow me to cross-reference this part with Will`s first meeting with Jack. Will says: I practice 3 hours a day so when I meet a pirate I can kill it. Notice "when" here. This is a passive form. William is not actively pursuing a chance to kill a pirate. He practices just in case he has another run in but he isn`t hunting them down. He isn`t on a revenge spree. He didn`t even join military to have an opportunity to do it legally. In short, violence isn`t his thing. It is necessary evil but not something he actively pursuing or is attracted to or made a living/career of.
I` m a man of simple tastes- I like dynamite and gunpowder.
James Norrington is a man of violence. That doesn`t make him a bad man but rather explains who he is and where he is coming from. As I said before, while Will is a "there`s a good worth fighting for" man, Norrington is "there`s an evil worth fighting against" man. Norrington`s way is destructive. He may be there to protect but his personal emphasize is on destroy (kill, hang, hunt down, punish). He has a history of violence, he enjoys it, and he is comfortable in violent situations rather than those that require cordial interaction. I hope the fans do understand I am not blasting off their favorite. I find him fascinating precisely because he is a force of destruction albeit for good intentions.
Another myth that I want to bust here is The Myth of a Perfect Navy Officer. Look the way of Lt. Groves dear fans, cause the Dirty Harry of the Navy ain`t one.
Norrington is the bad boy of the Navy. The Dirty Harry. We learn that when he barked the order to blow up HMS Interceptor because I'd rather see her at the bottom of the ocean than in the hands of a pirate. Again, "I". Not because according to paragraph __ of the Navy Act __ when the HMS falls in the pirate hands it must be destroyed. No. This is Norrington making his own rules. My way or the highway. Even if it is against Navy policy and obviously is judging by Lt Groves`s reaction. He simply doesn`t care.
Now, the commandeering of the Interceptor is an incredible scene which tells us a lot about Jack, Will and Norrington. This is a huge character moment for Norrington so its analysis will close the part 1 of Mythbusting Norrington. Jack and Will commandeer Dauntless without physically or mentally hurting anyone. They actually give the Navy boys some hearty laughs. Their deception works, they switch the ships, again, all clean, no harm, off they go. What does Norrington do? Orders torpedoing of the commandeered ship. So where is the reciprocity here? Commandeering took no causalties, not even close. The ship is in fact taken not for pirating but for the rescue mission. Torpedoes are simply way too extreme measure which Groves acknowledges. Norrington, however, doesn`t care. His goal is to prevent them from sailing so if that requires to blow up the ship and its non-violent crew, so be it.
The guy is simply trigger happy. He shoots first and asks questions later or maybe he doesn`t even bother with that part. Which is why he is so successful in extreminating pirates - he thinks and acts like one. No Star Fleet code of ethical hostility here. Norrington is a rogue. Luckily for Jack and Will, Jack knew who he was dealing with and disabled long nines which led to another big character moment for Norrington - he gives credit where credit is due. Norringotn has created an extremly black and white POV that simplifies his job, where pirate is deserving of death no matter what his crime really is - impersonating a cleric of the Church of England or raping, murdering and raping again 15 years old virgins - doesn`t matter, same thing, brand and flag condamn you. He doesn`t meditate over reciprocity between crime and punishment and as we`ve just seen, he knows no reciprocity. But he respects a worthy opponent and when he puts his mind to it and takes interest, he is a good judge of character.
Next time on Mythbusting Norrington - Part 2, we bust the myths of sexual shyness and social climbing. Oh, my! Mythbuster turns up the heat, stay tuned!
P.S. Please start disccusions on William and James. No need to wait for Parts 2, may take days before they are up.
Last edited by Sparrabella on Feb 6th, 2011 at 01:12 AM
Gender: Female Location: When in Doubt, Go to the Library.
YES!! THANK YOU Sparrabella!
I know some history about this time period, but I was wrong on a few points. I always thought that being sent to the Carribean after dealing with the French [this would be Napolean trying to invade England? Like, the time of the Scarlet Pimpernel?] was a cushy move because, as you say, there was no longer a need to watch your back for a French blade. So I've been thinking, "much ado about nothing," especially when Beckett comes, and holds his mass execution.
I guess I just have to remember that Jack is a "good" pirate. It's really silly, actually, because every other pirate I've grown up with... Captain Hook from Peter Pan and [more graphically] from "Hook," Bluebeard [of wife-killing and stuffing fame.] Long John Silver who buried his crew where he buried his treasure, Captain Blackbeard...
all of these pirates go from a tiny jump of fright to paralytic horror.
That's a big thing about these movies, of course, Jack Sparrow, to me, is on ranks with Peter Sellers' "Inspector Clouseau" when it comes to originality and sheer silliness.
But, AHEM. Back to Norry. Another thing to consider is his promotion. I believe that the crossing sequence is 8 to 10 years before the mass of the movie, and 8 to 10 years is a very short amount of time to go from Captain to Commander. [Right? Blah, I hate forgetting the little details.] Otherwise simpler known to me as "brown wig" to "white wig." Princes wear white wigs in fairy tales. The Governor Swan wore a white wig on the crossing and as Governor. It also makes me think that Norrington has come a long way in the backstory, because, if I'm correct, it's wearing your real hair until you can afford to buy a wig of colored hair, until you are of a station to wear a white wig, which is a social standing mostly left to either close royalty or men of a certain age.
I can see why he hates Will because to him because of their "I fight for the everpresent good" and "I fight against the everpresent evil." This way of judging how you should act shows Norrington acting all the time, and Will acting only when he has need to. For example, a pirate showing up in your shop. We all should know by the feel of Norrington that innocent men have probably hanged for piracy and that torture is not a problem for him, although not at high levels.
Can people like Norrington change? Only when what they want is held against them. That's what makes Norrington tick. He wants to have a just town so people will admire him. Therefore, he is always fighting people in some way or another. It is only, in fact, through Elizabeth's request, [which is her manipulation] that he goes back for Will at all. [And then snaps it out on Jack with his "... all possible meanings of 'silent as the grave.'"
I shall write of Will later.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.
Trust that your history is much better than mine but in general, the English were always fighting the French for whatever reason so that Norrington was in some type of war before coming to the Caribbean is a given. Maybe the bloody Spanish. Or bloody Germans. Or bloody Americans. Doesn`t matter. They needed people who can stop the piracy and you don`t send a rookie with no combat experience to do the job or someone who is squirmish around carnage or who meditates over possible innocent lives taken,etc. Take the first scenes, for example. A seasoned Navy wolf like Mr Gibbs is terrified of pirates because there`s supersition attached to them. They come out of the fog like apparitions, songs can summon them, blah, blah. Norrington doesn`t give a crap. He isn`t affraid of them and he`ll see to it they are affraid of him. Which he does. That`s a badass character right there. He knows his stuff and intends to take it to the whole new level. You don`t have that kind of confidence without some serious credit to back it up. And lets not forget that he used unorthodox methods of fighting them so that can easily go back to the time from before the crossing.
He went from Lt. to Commodore in the span of 8-10 years. When we see him next, it is his promotion to Commodore. he was the Captain until then, and we don`t know when that promotion happened. if it`s too quick, that`s due to his efficiency in fighting piracy mixed with the short life expectancy of the resident Navy officers. Sometimes it takes dying and retirement to open the ranks for promotion. I guess it`s easy in the Caribbean and that many were passing on an opportunity to serve there.
I don`t think he hates Will at all. He is rather annoyed by him for obvious reason (coughLizziecough) but lets not forget that Norrington paused and warrned Will to STFU to speak, when Will started talking about joining Jack at the gallows. He wasn`t "Oh, good. Lets hang them together so I get rid of romantic competition." Quite the contrary, he was worried that Will`s talking was self-condamnation. Of course, later in DMC, during the threeway swordfight, he kicked Will around a lot like a punching bag and fought dirty (sand in the face, tripping over, pushing, etc) but that`s how he fights. He isn`t a fair fighter. That sequence was really good because it showed off character fighting styles. Will is a fair fighter, Jack is a dirty trickster of course but Norrington is both brutal and a dirty trickster. That he doomed them all when he took the heart is far less personal hate for those people and much more his own, how can I put it, homme fatale-ness? He is like Elisabeth but on an epic level in that he brings destruction to everyone around him. But while Elisabeth, also known as the Kiss of Death, dooms few man, most notably Jack, Norrington dooms hundreds (Dauntless crew that perrished in the hurricane) and thousands (those who perrished in Beckett`s purge). But that`s a subject for another Mythbuster to go in depth.
Oh, no, please no! He`s awesome just as he is. He`s a total badass. Why change? People shouldn`t change but be accepted for who they are.
I`m so busting this outrageous myth in the next installment.
Gender: Female Location: When in Doubt, Go to the Library.
oooooh.... I can't wait!!
[and thank you for responding for my meagre post. I think that it was worse in france, But in France one had to have a sense of not only preservation of self, but preservation of others. I think Norrington would have "bended rules" just as we have seen him do in France, except there, stepping outside your little zone drew attention, and covert operations were exposed.
I just have to get it into my head how "bad" Norrington is. In this world of movies with ruthless vampires, serial killers, and hitmen, it's so hard to appreciate the subtlety with which Norrington acts. I think people tend to miss that more if they don't know about the social mores in this time period, which were very strict and very numerous.
I mean, Norrington thinks he's being a rude brute when he asks Elizabeth to talk with him - so much so that he doesn't realize when she falls over the barricade. It's a sort of comic moment, but putting it into history you can see that it's more black humor.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.
They are going together in the same thread. I posted Part 1 for both Will and Norrington. I took Red`s advice to keep it all in this one thread cause several would be too much. So, please, go ahead with discussion and I`ll post Part 2 for Will and Norrington some day later.
I can`t bust the Barbossa myth because AWE already turned him into Crazy Irishman Stephen to Elisabeth`s William FREEEEEDOM Wallace. So he is offically good now, stamped and sealed.
As for Jones, I`d rather work on the plot hole mess that is Will the Captain of the Flying Dutchman which would include my take on Jones. But only if people are interested cause judging by barely any discussion, everyhting has been done to death and run into the ground. I`m just late to the party.