>What was that?

>I figure most people here who haven’t actually watched any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies at least know who Jack Sparrow is. So… did the people who made the movies intend to include the Trickster archetype?

My money’s on “no”. Possibly even, “Hell, no”. Very few creative types think about the archetypes before or during the process: they just write it, then realize what they’ve done when they re-read. Sometimes not even then – when we’re up to our necks in story, we often can’t pull far enough back to realize what else we’ve tapped into.

In the Pirates movies, the writers and cast collectively tapped into a whole lot of mythic archetypes. You have the not-always-friendly wise older man who is also something of a father-figure (Barbossa) – and that’s a relationship with more than a few echoes with Loki/Odin or Loki/Thor, especially in the third movie. There’s the “crone” who is also a powerful sorceress (thingy/Calypso), the good man who turned to evil when his love was – he thought – spurned (Davy Jones), and of course, the Young Lovers (Elizabeth and Will, both of them so painfully earnest it’s a good thing they have Jack Sparrow around to make fun of them).

Not a bad lineup for a series of films that never tried to be anything more than a whole lot of fun.

So, for your Thanksgiving fun today, let’s have some “name the movie, character and archetype”.

p.s Bonus points to the first person to name the movie quoted in the title!


  1. >Nathaniel,Given that I've never seen Firefly, I guess I'm going to have to go with that. I was actually quoting The Princess Bride – which is another fun romp full of archetypes and piss-taking, as well as having two of the best sword fight scenes ever filmed.

  2. >Rowena,And I'm an anti-movie nerd. I literally can't remember the last time I went to see a movie. The relatively few that I like, I tend to remember.

  3. >"Team" adventures, such as the A-Team, The Avengers, The Mod Squad seem to split their people up into Archetypical roles. Strong Man, Ladies Man, Geek. Smart girl, drop-dead sexy woman, sophisticated lady…I really need to get back to reading, can't believe I'm pulling examples from old TV series . . .

  4. >Matapam,They do, don't they – and you can see it in the Harry Potter books, too. Smart girl (or geek girl), comic relief, hero.

  5. >Do you thunk Calypso's archetype would be The Fates?I was thinking Bladerunner and either Pinoccio or Frankenstien or the golem. It has the scientist whose creation turns on him which prior to science was probably the local medicine man who calls a demon to sting for him to control.

  6. >How interesting. I'd never thught of Dr. Frankenstein as a modern tec shaman/wizard. But you're right. Losing control of the power you created is a very old motif.I've wondered if Elves and Space Aliens had similar sourses deep in our minds. Kidnapping, odd time effects and so forth.

  7. >Bredan,That's certainly one of them. And yes, Blade Runner, Pinocchio, Frankenstein… All of them pull from the ancient notion of creation gaining independent life/existence and becoming more powerful than the creator – which is part of the golem mythos, as I recall.

  8. >Matapam,Elves and space aliens probably do have similar origins: the others who are mysterious, unknowable, and want us or our children for nefarious purposes of their own.

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