|This article is about the sea goddess Calypso. You may be looking for the soundtrack cue "Calypso".|
Brown (in Tia Dalma's form)
Black (in Tia Dalma's form)
|Also known as|
|Ship(s) captained or crewed|
|Behind the scenes|
Naomie Harris (in Tia Dalma's form)
Calypso was a sea goddess and daughter of Atlas. In the days of myth and legend, the beautiful Calypso ruled the seas, and all sailors both loved and feared her, even though she too had mortal blood. As a heathen goddess, Calypso was able to take many forms, but since the crab was attributed as her symbol, she chose the form of a crab.
According to one particular legend, Calypso fell in love with a young sailor named Davy Jones. And she rewarded that love by giving Davy Jones the Flying Dutchman as well as the sacred task of collecting all the poor souls who died at sea, and ferrying them to the worlds beyond. Because of that love, Davy Jones agreed to set foot on land once every ten years, where Jones would be free to come ashore to be with Calypso. But when Davy Jones came ashore after his ten year duty, Calypso was nowhere to be found, for the seas are fickle and unpredictable, as was the powerful goddess who ruled that domain. So Davy Jones plotted with the First Brethren Court, unbeknownst to Calypso, where they would tear the rule of the seas away from the sea goddess and imprison her into the body of a mortal woman.
Over the years, the imprisoned Calypso assumed the alias of a voodoo mystic named Tia Dalma. It wasn't until around the War Against Piracy that she gained an opportunity for freedom. Tia Dalma/Calypso needed all the Pirate Lords in order to assemble the Brethren, so they could release her from her human bonds. She resurrected Hector Barbossa and tricked him to retrieve Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones' Locker and summon a fourth meeting of the Brethren. But those Pirate Lords grew fearful, for when they convened, they only argued and fought among themselves, afraid of Calypso's anger at their treachery. While the Brethren convened, Jones reunited with Calypso, who intended to be free and punish the Brethren, until Barbossa's crewman Ragetti undid the spell that bound her to mortal flesh where she realized Jones' betrayal.
Now free, Calypso's wrath became horrible to behold as the enraged goddess gathered the waters of the ocean around herself in a massive maelstrom, where a battle raged at the center of it. And it was in that very battle that Davy Jones' heart was pierced and he died. With his death, Davy Jones was welcomed back into the dark embrace of the sea; for Calypso in her own way still loved him.
- "In the days of myth and legend, the beautiful Calypso, daughter of Atlas, ruled the wine-dark seas, and all sailors everywhere both loved and feared her."
In ancient mythology and lore, Calypso was described as a heathen goddess, though it was also said she had mortal blood. Daughter of Atlas, she was described as a woman as changing, harsh, and untamable as the sea. As a heathen goddess, Calypso was able to take many forms. But since the crab was attributed as her symbol, most notably by pirates, she chose that form. Of Calypso's beauty and power, all sailors were in awe. Her womanliness was unsurpassed in grace and bearing. She was as changeable and whimsical as the sea itself, and exemplified the deepest charity and brilliance of woman's mercurial nature. Calypso's powers were only eclipsed by the great god of the sea Poseidon himself, and only Zeus, chief amongst all gods, could command her.
As with all beings of great might, she was both a nurturer and a destroyer. Calypso had dominion over all the seas, and all sailors everywhere both loved and feared her. Nevertheless, she was the protector of all sailors. It was she who sent forth the Flying Dutchman to rescue souls lost at sea. Calypso also designed a special metal chamber in which the mermaids locked the magical gems of Poseidon, thus making themselves immune to the power of the Trident of Poseidon.
Love and loss
- "A woman. He fell in love."
"No, no, no, I heard it was the sea he fell in love with."
"Same story, different versions. And all are true. See, it was a woman as changing and harsh and untamable as the sea. Him never stopped loving her. But the pain it caused was too much to live with, but not enough to cause him to die."
- ―Tia Dalma and Joshamee Gibbs
Despite being harsh and untameable as the wine-dark seas, Calypso fell in love with a young sailor named Davy Jones. And she rewarded that love by giving Davy Jones the Flying Dutchman, charging him with the sacred task of collecting all the poor souls who died at sea and ferrying them to the worlds beyond. Because of that love, Davy Jones agreed to set foot on dry land once every ten years to be with Calypso. True to his word, Jones spent the next ten years faithfully carrying out the duty. But whenever Davy Jones came ashore, Calypso was nowhere to be found, for the seas are fickle and unpredictable, as was the powerful goddess who ruled that domain.
Unbeknownst to Calypso, Davy Jones plotted with the First Brethren Court to tear the rule of the seas away from Calypso. Jones showed them how to bind her to human form. With his help, the Pirate King and the Brethren tricked the sea goddess, and bound her in her bones. Calypso was imprisoned into the body of a mortal guise: Tia Dalma. Only with all Nine Pieces of Eight could Calypso be free. With Calypso's fiery and unpredictable nature bound, the Brethren Court deemed the seas safe to travel as they so pleased. Soon Davy Jones' grief and guilt at what he had done became so great, he carved his own heart and locked it away in the Dead Man's Chest. Abandoning his duty, Jones gradually transformed into an amalgamation of human and tentacled sea creature to reflect the monster inside, and any who joined his crew suffered similar disfigurements. Calypso reflected on this and later said that the man had become a monster.
The wrath of Calypso
Life as Tia Dalma
- "I do not renege on a bargain once struck. But we agreed on ends only. The means are mine to decide."
"Caution, Barbossa. Do not forget it was by my power you return from the dead. Or what it mean if you fail me."
"Don't you forget why you had to bring me back. Why I could not leave Jack to his well-deserved fate. It took nine Pirate Lords to bind you, Calypso. And it'll take no less than nine to set you free."
- ―Hector Barbossa and Calypso
Over the years, the imprisoned Calypso assumed the alias of a voodoo mystic named Tia Dalma. She began living out of a shack on the Pantano River. She kept with her a locket that matched one carried by Davy Jones, and would play a mournful tune that hinted at their lost love. Dalma befriended Jack Sparrow during his early life; the man who would go on to become the Pirate Lord of the Caribbean Sea, and thus integral to Calypso's desire to escape her human form.
With the death of Hector Barbossa, the Pirate Lord of the Caspian Sea, came a prime opportunity. Tia Dalma/Calypso needed all the Pirate Lords in order to assemble the Brethren Court, so they could release her from her human bonds. And so, through undetermined circumstances, she resurrected Barbossa from the dead and tricked him to summon a meeting of the Brethren and retrieve Jack Sparrow, who was taken to Davy Jones' Locker by the Kraken. Barbossa set off on a mission to free him, and therefore ensured that Jack's Piece of Eight was not lost.
On the quest for freeing Jack Sparrow from the Locker, the crew led by Barbossa captained the Hai Peng into World's End. They landed in the Locker, where Jack Sparrow noticed that the Pearl was being dragged across the sand by crabs. The ship reached the crew with the help of the crabs that were actually under the control of Calypso. After escaping the Locker, the Black Pearl went on its way to meet with the Brethren Court.
By the time the Black Pearl reached the coast of Shipwreck Island, Barbossa stood on the ship's forecastle, conversing with Tia Dalma, regarding their bargain. The mystic accused him on intending to betray her and therefore reminded him on that he was brought back from the dead by her power, and also, demonstrating her abilities by briefly decomposing Barbossa's right hand, cautioning him of his fate should he fail to keep his end of the bargain. Barbossa in turn reminded her that she, secretly the goddess Calypso, was the one who needed him; she resurrected Barbossa so he could help retrieve Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones' Locker and summon a meeting of the Brethren Court, since only the nine Pirate Lords had the power to free Calypso. To avoid the risk of the goddess reaching an accord with someone else, Barbossa ordered Pintel and Ragetti to lock Tia Dalma in the brig. Barbossa remained on deck, glancing at his right hand while contemplating his debt.
By this time, the machinations of Lord Cutler Beckett had forced the Brethren Court to convene for the fourth time in its existence, and it was here that Barbossa brought up the notion of releasing Calypso. During the meeting, Ragetti absconded with all but two of the Pirate Lords' Pieces of Eight—the eighth was collected by Barbossa himself from Elizabeth Swann and the ninth from Jack Sparrow. All nine were gathered aboard the Black Pearl, where Tia Dalma had been bound. Ragetti completed the incantation that would release Calypso, and the pieces of eight set alight. Moments before she was released, Calypso finally learned who had called upon the Brethren Court to capture her all those years ago: Will Turner informed her of Davy Jones' betrayal.
- "I will be free, and when I am I would give you my heart. And, we would be together, always. If only you had a heart to give."
- ―Calypso to Davy Jones
Enraged, Calypso, still in Dalma's form, grew massive in size, dwarfing the crew of the Pearl. After being freed from her human bonds, Calypso yelled in her native tongue, seemingly as insults to the pirates but in reality it was an incantation, before exploding outwards in a shower of crabs. Calypso's spirit, now free at last, disappeared into the air, though her influence on events was not ended. As the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman prepared for a showdown, Calypso used all of the power of the seas to unleash a terrible storm, which created a maelstrom between the two fleets. And the wind from the storm evened the balance for the Pearl and caused Davy Jones to let out a cry of anguish as he realized what the storm signified.
The battle that followed sealed Davy Jones' fate, as Jack Sparrow helped Will Turner stab Jones' disembodied heart. With his last breath, Jones whispered Calypso's name, and toppled into the maelstrom, which soon abated when the Flying Dutchman itself followed its former captain. Whether Calypso and her love were reunited after Jones' death remained unknown.
- "Calypso...I come before you as but a servant, humble and contrite. I have fulfilled me vow, and now ask your favor. Spare meself, me ship, me crew and unleash your fury upon those who dare pretend themselves your masters...or mine."
"...Malfaiteur en Tombeau, Crochir l'Esplanade, Dans l'Fond d'l'eau!"
- ―Hector Barbossa and Calypso
Personality and traits
Of Calypso's beauty and power, all sailors were in awe. Her womanliness was unsurpassed in grace and bearing. She was as changeable and whimsical as the sea itself, and exemplified the deepest charity and brilliance of woman's mercurial nature. Her powers were only matched by the great god of the sea Poseidon himself, and only Zeus, chief amongst all gods, could command her. As with all beings of great might, she was both a nurturer and destroyer, having dominion over the seas, calming troubled waters but also stirring up adversities that vexed all men, reminding them that her inexplicable behavior was a manifestation of the wild ways, that which kept them separate from the domesticated society of men on land. She was the protector of all sailors, and it was she who sent forth the Dutchman to rescue souls lost at sea. This was the most noble of her mandates, as even the most scurillous of sea dogs could be granted the opportunity to seek and find forgiveness for their crimes, allowing them to find safe harbor in Fiddler's Green. At the First Meeting of the Brethren Court, the Pirate Lords bound Calypso in human form, sealing her fate with the Nine Pieces of Eight so that the rule of the sea would belong to men. But in doing so, the now-calmed waters became traversable to all seafarers, and the East India Trading Company was able to gradually assert dominion over the world's waterways, exterminating all pirates who stood in their path. In order to fight against this, the Pirate Lord Hector Barbossa suggested that the goddess be unbound.
Calypso was a seductive temptress who won the heart of Davy Jones although Jones believed that she only pretended to love him in return since she did not remain faithful to him after his ten years of service to her. However, Calypso's later interactions with Jones imply that she still loved him and was saddened by what her lover had become. Years after Calypso's imprisonment, Barbossa was one of the few who knew that none other than the mystic Tia Dalma, who lived on the Pantano River, was the human incarnation of the goddess. Barbossa persuaded Tia Dalma to join on the voyage to World's End, although it was not until later that his agenda was revealed. After the Pirate Lords agreed to go to war against the EITC, Barbossa was able to enact his scheme and release Calypso—fulfilling the deal that he made with her after she brought him back from the Realm of the Dead.
As a heathen goddess, Calypso was able to take many forms. But since the crab was attributed as her symbol, most notably by pirates, she chose that form. When Tia Dalma was transformed back into Calypso, she grew to ten times her normal size and crashed to the deck of the Black Pearl as thousands of little crabs.
Calypso possessed a fiery and unpredictable nature reflecting the fact that she was a goddess of the wild and untameable sea. She was also vengeful and, being a very powerful goddess, she was extremely dangerous when angered, summoning a devastating storm after discovering that Davy Jones had told the Brethren Court how to trap her in the form of a human.
Behind the scenes
- Calypso was portrayed by Naomie Harris, who also portrayed Tia Dalma, in At World's End.
- In real-world Greek mythology, Calypso is a nymph rather than a sea goddess. She was also never bound to a human form, and her symbol was a dolphin rather than a crab.
- In At World's End, Davy Jones referred to Calypso as a "heathen god". This was made to tie the film series' escapes from death to the same source, or as a callback to Hector Barbossa describing the effects of the Aztec curse by the heathen gods mentioned in the first film.
- It is unknown why Calypso ended up a Voodoo priestess in the middle of the Caribbean when she was forced into human form. It is possible that she took up Voodoo to compensate for her powerless mortal state, or possibly to see if she could find a way to transform herself back.
- Prior to dissolving into a swarm of crabs, Calypso shouts an incantation which in the script reads: "Malfaiteur en Tombeau, Crochir l'Esplanade, Dans l'Fond d'l'eau!". This roughly means "Across all the waters, find the path to he who wrongfully entombed me" in French, evidently referring to Davy Jones. A leaflet inside the At World's End DVD says that Calypso was yelling insults at the pirates in her native tongue.
- The spirit of Calypso appears in the video game Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned. But, since that game was cancelled, it is unknown if Calypso's appearance in the game is canon or not.
- See also: Tia Dalma#Appearances
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned
- Jack Sparrow: Dance of the Hours (Mentioned only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Indirect mention only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (video game) (First appearance)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War (Mentioned only)
- A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
- Disney Infinity (Mentioned only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean PocketModel game
- Sea of Thieves: A Pirate's Life
Notes and references
- "Story of Davy Jones and Calypso" feature from the At World's End video game
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- "Pirates Secrets Revealed" leaflet - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End DVD
- The Pirates' Guidelines, p.100
- Jack Sparrow: Bold New Horizons, p135.
- The Pirates' Guidelines, p. 101
- Box Office Mojo: Interview: Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio on 'At World's End'
- Keep to the Code: Calypso's Incantation