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Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki
For other uses, see James (disambiguation)

"James Norrington. What has the world done to you?"
"Nothing I didn't deserve.
Elizabeth Swann and James Norrington[src]

James Norrington was an officer of the British Royal Navy and the East India Trading Company. Bewigged and resplendent in his uniforms, Norrington owed his allegiance to His Majesty the King of England. During his time as a British naval officer, James Norrington lost Elizabeth Swann to Will Turner and got one-upped time and again by Captain Jack Sparrow. Norrington took pride in his service to others before himself, showing a strong dedication to the law, until the occasions of pursuing the right course that demanded acts of piracy.

Over the years, Norrington would achieve many ranks in his career, serving as a loyal British naval officer, while at the same time becoming the scourge of piracy in the eastern Caribbean. Norrington was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy serving aboard the HMS Dauntless, which carried Governor Weatherby Swann and his daughter Elizabeth in the crossing from England. Loyal service to both King George I and George II of Great Britain had brought James Norrington respect and status. As captain of HMS Interceptor, Norrington had chased and captured some of the Caribbean's most fearsome pirates. Through Norrington's efforts, Port Royal became a civilized British settlement. Because of those efforts, Norrington was eventually promoted from Captain to Commodore of the Fleet. To mark his promotion, Norrington was given a new sword by Governor Swann.

Commodore Norrington's promotion was an advance that brought him some satisfaction, but he still lacked the one thing that could bring him happiness—taking Elizabeth Swann as his wife. Norrington shortly afterwards met the infamous pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, who he was able to capture for a dawn appointment with the gallows. After the attack on Port Royal, Norrington and his crew led a search party for Elizabeth Swann, who was kidnapped by the cursed crew of the Black Pearl. His search was delayed after Jack Sparrow commandeered the Interceptor, with the help of the blacksmith apprentice Will Turner. By the end of the search, Norrington's men rescued Elizabeth and Jack from Black Sam's Spit, as well as battled against the cursed pirates aboard the HMS Dauntless off Isla de Muerta. At Fort Charles, after Norrington foiled an ill-conceived escape attempt in which Will Turner helped Jack Sparrow escape hanging, Elizabeth stood by Will in protecting Jack. Norrington knew his rival in love has beaten him and accepted defeat nobly, and gave Jack a day's head start.

After Jack Sparrow escaped from Port Royal, recapturing him became a mission that took over Commodore Norrington. He chased the pirate all over the world, until he made a fatal mistake off of Tripoli; he pursued Jack by sailing the Dauntless through a hurricane. The pursuit caused Norrington to lose his ship, his crew, and his position within the Royal Navy. James Norrington resigned his commission from the Navy and became a penniless drunk in Tortuga. Ironically, a disgraced Norrington would later join Sparrow's crew aboard the Black Pearl and participate in the search for the fabled Dead Man's Chest. After a tireless fight with Will, Jack, and the crew of the Flying Dutchman, Norrington stole the heart of Davy Jones, along with Letters of Marque intended for Jack Sparrow, brought them back to Port Royal and relinquished Jones's heart to Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company. In exchange, James Norrington was reinstated in the Royal Navy, a respectable officer once more. Norrington was also promoted to the rank of admiral, now in service of the Company, whereby he instilled military discipline aboard the Flying Dutchman on behalf of Beckett during the war against the Brethren Court.

Despite having got what he wanted, Norrington came to regret his previous actions upon learning of Beckett's hand in Governor Swann's death, which he learned from Elizabeth after capturing the Empress. He also knew there was no way to absolve himself of his mistakes, even though he had only been trying to be a good soldier. In the end, Norrington had to make a choice and choose a side. Norrington gave up everything, including his life, to help Elizabeth and her crew escape from the Flying Dutchman.


Early life[]

"You need to be brave, son. There are men out there who are savages, and they want to destroy your entire way of life. They are uncivilized, heathen, thieving, filthy pirates, and when I have gone to a final rest, it is you who will carry on the banner of civility and order, and help the Crown and our allies in the East India Trading Company eradicate their slime from the Seven Seas."
Lawrence Norrington to James Norrington[src]

James Norrington was a son of Admiral Lawrence Norrington of the British Royal Navy and an unnamed woman. When he was about five or six years old, he followed his father on a mission to capture Captain Edward Teague, a Pirate Lord and Keeper of the Code. In the midst of a chaotic battle occurring when Teague's crew came to free Teague and his son Jack Sparrow from Lawrence Norrington's ship, James was knocked into the sea and rescued by Teague. Lawrence was humiliated that his son was rescued by a pirate, yelling across the ship that he would have preferred to see his son die drowning instead of being rescued by a pirate. This events marked the young James' life.[9]

Life in the Navy[]

"I intend to see to it that any man who sails under a pirate flag or wears a pirate brand gets what he deserves: A short drop and sudden stop."
―James Norrington to Elizabeth Swann[src]
Lieutenant Norrington

Lieutenant Norrington

Over the years, eventually serving as an officer of the British Royal Navy, James Norrington was a kind and noble man, though he often appeared to be stoic and slightly snobbish. To his friends and colleagues, however, he showed great respect and grace, especially to Governor Weatherby Swann and his daughter Elizabeth Swann, with whom he had fallen in love. He was completely devoted to the Royal Navy, and would often forsake his own personal needs for the greater good. He harbored an intense dislike of pirates and their kind, and saw himself as something of a purveyor of justice to pirates in the Caribbean.[1]

Norrington served in the Royal Navy as a lieutenant, and was stationed aboard HMS Dauntless as it made the crossing from England, carrying Governor Swann and Elizabeth to Port Royal. Upon sighting a wrecked merchant vessel in the water, Lieutenant Norrington ordered his men to search the wreckage. He was so preoccupied with this that he did not notice a ghostly ship with black sails, the Black Pearl, slipping away from the scene.[1]

The Kidnapping of Elizabeth Swann[]

Commodore Norrington[]

"I, uh, apologize if I seem forward, but I must speak my mind. This promotion throws into sharp relief that which I have not yet achieved. A marriage to a fine woman. You have become a fine woman, Elizabeth."
―James Norrington to Elizabeth Swann[src]
Norrington sword

Commodore Norrington ordering Jack Sparrow to his feet.

Over the years, Norrington used the Interceptor to chase and capture the Caribbean's most fearsome pirates.[6] By eight years after the crossing from England, Norrington had become captain, was awarded with a medal of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath and, due to his loyal service, was set to achieve the rank of commodore.[6] To mark his promotion, Norrington is given a new sword by Governor Swann. Norrington's promotion ceremony was held at Fort Charles in Port Royal, drawing a large crowd. Among those gathered was Elizabeth Swann, whom Norrington had first met on the crossing from England, and had developed a friendship with over the past eight years. However, Norrington was also in love with Elizabeth, and, since he believed a wife was the only thing missing in his life, wished for her hand in marriage.[1]

The newly-promoted Commodore attempted to propose to Elizabeth atop the fortress, following the ceremony. However, Elizabeth, apparently overcome by the proposal—though actually having fainted due to the constricting corset she had been forced into—toppled over the side of the fortress and into the sea far below. Shocked, Norrington gathered his men and raced down to the harbor, where he found Elizabeth in the arms of a man in the distinctive garb of a pirate. Elizabeth's rescuer turned out to be Captain Jack Sparrow, whom Norrington took into custody, set for hanging despite his recent good deed. However, Sparrow managed to briefly escape Norrington's clutches until he was subdued in a blacksmith's shop in the town.[1]

Norrington, Weatherby

Norrington and Governor Swann before the attack on Port Royal.

Commodore Norrington had Sparrow imprisoned, but it was not the end of his troubles with pirates. That night, Port Royal was attacked by the Black Pearl, and though Norrington's men fought valiantly, the town was overwhelmed, and Elizabeth was captured. The next day, Norrington and his men attempted to formulate a plan to locate the Pearl, but were unsuccessful. The situation escalated further when Will Turner freed Jack Sparrow from the dungeons and helped him commandeer the HMS Interceptor to track down the Black Pearl. Norrington was forced to watch the pirates sail away with the ship, grudgingly admitting Jack's unexpected competency.[1]

Pirate chase[]

"Think about it: The Black Pearl. The last real pirate threat in the Caribbean, mate. How can you pass that up?"
"By remembering that I serve others, Mr. Sparrow, not only myself.
Jack Sparrow and James Norrington[src]
Norrington smile 2

Norrington and Elizabeth Swann aboard HMS Dauntless.

Norrington was not about to give in, however. He had the Dauntless—whose rudder chain had been disabled by Sparrow during his escape—repaired, and set sail, now with three objectives; to reclaim the Interceptor, to capture Jack Sparrow and to rescue Elizabeth Swann. Although the Interceptor was ultimately destroyed by Captain Hector Barbossa's crew of aboard the Black Pearl, Norrington was able to achieve two of his goals when his men sighted a distress signal on a desert island. It transpired that both Elizabeth and Jack had been marooned on the island by Barbossa, while the Black Pearl set out for Isla de Muerta with Will Turner.[1]

Despite Elizabeth's protests, Norrington refused to launch a rescue of Will, since it had not been his intention to follow the Pearl at all, other than if in doing so it would have ensured Elizabeth's safety. However, Elizabeth asked that Norrington change his mind for her, as a wedding gift. Norrington was stunned and delighted that Elizabeth had accepted his proposal, and agreed to her plea, eventually forcing Jack Sparrow to assist them in locating Isla de Muerta.[1]

Battle on the Dauntless[]

"The ship is ours, gentlemen."
―James Norrington[src]
Norrington Victory

Commodore Norrington's victory against the cursed pirates.

Upon arrival at Isla de Muerta, however, Norrington was less than happy about the situation, as his men would be put at a disadvantage if they attempted an assault on the pirates' cave. Worse still, Jack Sparrow appeared to be controlling proceedings, laying out a plan in which he would go in himself and persuade Barbossa to send out his men, while Norrington waited aboard the Dauntless to blast the pirates with their cannons. However, the Commodore actually had no intention of following Sparrow's directives, not trusting the word of a pirate. Instead, he rowed out with the marines to the mouth of the cave, leaving Lieutenant Gillette in command of the Dauntless along with a small detachment of troops. Because of this, Norrington remained unaware that the pirates, now cursed skeletons under the moonlight, were actually infiltrating the flagship and killing his crew. It was only when one of his crewmen managed to ring the ship's bell that Norrington realized what had happened and immediately ordered this men to row back to the Dauntless.[1]

However, by this time, the cursed pirates had taken control of the Dauntless's cannons and began to fire the guns upon the marines making their way back to the ship. Once they arrived, Norrington led his men as they engaged the pirates in battle. Norrington himself drew his ceremonial sword and dueled Koehler in single combat, proving to be a match for the immortal pirate. As Will Turner managed to reverse the curse from within the island, thus making the pirates mortal and human once more, Norrington killed the now-mortal Koehler with one stab from his sword. Norrington's men looked at the reactions of Koehler and the other pirates as they realized the curse had been lifted and surrendered to the British Navy. As Norrington pointed his sword at Twigg, the commodore proclaimed that the Dauntless was theirs once more, and cries of jubilation rang out on its decks as the surviving pirates surrendered.[1]

Return to Port Royal[]

"This is a beautiful sword. I would expect the man who made it to show the same care and devotion in every aspect of his life."
―James Norrington to William Turner[src]
Norrington smile

James Norrington at Fort Charles.

The Commodore ordered a return to Port Royal, where the pirates would be imprisoned. Jack Sparrow was likewise captured, and sentenced for execution. Norrington himself presided over the execution ceremony at Fort Charles, and was ready to order his marines into position when Will Turner attempted his rescue of Sparrow. However, Elizabeth pretended to faint during the chaos, drawing Norrington's attention and allowing Sparrow to escape from the gallows.[1]

The Commodore finally caught up with Sparrow and Turner out on the battlements, where he was shocked by Elizabeth's decision to stand with Will, in protection of Jack against Norrington. James asked Elizabeth if this was truly her heart's desire, which she affirmed. Norrington accepted this with surprisingly good grace, though was at a loss as to what course of action to take when Sparrow escaped into the open waters. But the commodore was not entirely without a heart. Drawing his sword, Norrington approached Will and gave his compliments on his beautiful sword, expecting him to show the same care and devotion in every aspect of his life. Norrington wished Elizabeth and Will good luck, and even decided to postpone pursuit of Jack for at least another day. With that, Commodore Norrington left the scene, his stunned men following on.[1]

Hunting Jack Sparrow[]

"Commodore Norrington! You're out of uniform!"
"And you're out of luck, Jack Sparrow. I swore I'd bring you to justice for your pirate ways, and this time you can't count on a woman to step in and save your hide!
Jack Sparrow and James Norrington[src]

However, it turned out Norrington didn't have to search for Sparrow because Sparrow himself "invaded" Port Royal alone. He was quickly captured and thrown into the dungeon. When he confronted Sparrow, Norrington commented that Jack really was the worst pirate that he ever heard of. However, Jack quickly escaped, with the secret help of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, taking one of the cursed pirates, Scurvy Joe, with him.[10]

Once again forced to pursue Sparrow, Norrington and his men sailed for Tortuga, where they expected to find him. However, since Tortuga was officially a French colony, Norrington and his men couldn't enter the port as members of the British Navy. After disguising themselves in civilian clothes, they found Sparrow and cornered him in one alley. However, Anamaria interrupted them, and Sparrow managed to run away. They chased him, but they were stopped by a man wearing the hat and cloak of the Governor of Tortuga. The "governor" threatened to arrest Norrington and his men as spies, but the real governor suddenly appeared, and it turned out that the imposter is actually Jack Sparrow in disguise. Using the governor's coach, Jack escaped once again, and the real governor also threatened to arrest Norrington and his men.[11]

Regaining his life[]

Life as a pirate[]

James Norrington BluRay 2

The former commodore James Norrington in Tortuga.

"And what's your story?"
"My story...it's exactly the same as your story, just one chapter behind. I chased a man across the Seven Seas. The pursuit cost me my crew, my commission, and my life."
"No, not anymore, weren't you listening?! I nearly had you all, off Tripoli. I would have, if not for the hurricane."
"Lord. You didn't try to sail through it?
Joshamee Gibbs and James Norrington[src]

While pursuing Jack Sparrow, Norrington's ship, the Dauntless, was destroyed by a hurricane off Tripoli. Disgraced and embarrassed, Norrington resigned his post and disappeared. This proved to be fortunate however as no one knew where he was when Lord Cutler Beckett had appeared with a warrant for his arrest for him allowing Jack to escape.[2]

James Norrington BluRay

Norrington on board the Black Pearl.

During this time, James Norrington became a broken man, he started drinking heavily, and was found still wearing his Commodore uniform, albeit now rags, in Tortuga, in a bar where he applied for a position on the Black Pearl, to become a pirate himself. He became largely concerned with regaining his honor in any way possible, however, and about getting revenge on the people that he believed ruined his life.[2]

During his time on the Pearl, Norrington did not believe Jack was telling the truth about the Chest of Davy Jones, until he actually saw the Chest and heard the heart beating within it. He seemed to have found out or guessed how Will Turner ended up on the Flying Dutchman, and also noticed the growing relationship between Jack and Elizabeth.[2]

Duel on Isla Cruces[]

Isla Cruces duel 11

Will Turner, James Norrington and Jack Sparrow caught in a duel.

"Lord Beckett desires the contents of that chest. I deliver it, I get my life back."
"Ah. The dark side of ambition."
"Oh, I prefer to see it as the promise of redemption.
―James Norrington and Jack Sparrow[src]

When the Black Pearl arrived at Isla Cruces, Norrington was one of the crew chosen to accompany Jack Sparrow to shore, being named “the helper” by Jack, possibly just out of spite and a desire to mock him. After a series of events including Will Turner's reappearance, Norrington became embroiled in a complicated three way sword fight with Jack Sparrow and the aforementioned Will Turner. This was further complicated by the arrival of the Flying Dutchman. Norrington proved to be more than a match for Jack who he disarmed. After Jack was removed from the fight he engaged in a lengthy dual with Will on top of a rolling waterwheel, this lasted sometime until Jack caught up and entered the waterwheel after which the fight for the key resumed with all three parties fighting inside the wheel for the key. However Jack managed to take the key and climb out of the wheel. After the waterwheel finally stopped rolling, Norrington was able to take advantage of the chaos and found the letters of marque inside jacks coat while he was fending off a member of Jones’ crew, he was also able to find where Jack had hidden Davy Jones' heart and rejoined the fight against Davy Jones’ crew. After the group was convened Norrington escaped with the empty chest, feigning a diversion so that the crew of the Black Pearl could escape. When Davy Jones' crew caught up to him, he quickly tossed them the empty chest and fled the scene.[2]

Choosing a Side[]

Admiral Norrington[]

"So, whoever possesses the heart of Davy Jones...commands Davy Jones."
"And with that - the
Flying Dutchman."
"You have changed the course of history, Mister Norrington.
Lord Cutler Beckett and James Norrington[src]
Norrington Worlds End 2

Admiral James Norrington.

After being found adrift at sea, Norrington presented the heart of Davy Jones, along with the Letters of Marque to Lord Cutler Beckett.[2] He regained his "life" and place in the Royal Navy through his newfound service to Beckett, a decision he would later come to regret. Though he merely hoped to win the commission as a privateer, Norrington was reinstated to the Royal Navy[12] and Beckett gave him the rank of admiral for the East India Company's fleet. Now under the employ of the East India Trading Company, Norrington was given back his sword from his days as commodore. And with it, he helped command Beckett's Armada during the War Against Piracy.[8]

After Lord Beckett had become frustrated with Davy Jones for killing all his prey and leaving no survivors for interrogation, he placed Admiral Norrington in command of the Flying Dutchman in order to ensure that Jones did as commanded. He also decided to have Jones' heart placed onboard the Flying Dutchman to further ensure Jones's compliance. Norrington's marines kept a constant vigil over the heart with swivel guns, to use in case the crew attempted to take the chest.[8]

Attack on the Empress[]

"Thank God you're alive. Your father will be overjoyed to know you're safe."
"My father's dead."
"No, that can't be; he returned to England."
"Did Lord Beckett tell you that?
―James Norrington and Elizabeth Swann on Governor Swann's fate.[src]

Admiral James Norrington aboard the Empress.

After the Empress attacked the HMS Endeavour and fled, Beckett ordered the Flying Dutchman to pursue. Norrington led the boarding party, and was reunited with Elizabeth onboard. Just then he was happy to see Elizabeth alive, as was Elizabeth, until she recalled that Norrington was now allied with her adversaries. She angrily accused him of choosing the side that murdered her father. Norrington was shocked to hear of this, and was also shocked that Elizabeth had become a pirate captain.[8]

Norrington then ordered the prisoners put into the brig and offered Elizabeth his quarters, but Elizabeth declined, choosing instead to be with her crew, and as far from Norrington as possible. Norrington pleaded with Elizabeth to understand that he did not know what atrocities Lord Beckett had ordered to be carried out, but Elizabeth would hear none of it. Norrington was otherwise stunned, as Lord Beckett—the very man who had given him his life back—had lied to him and was part of the death of a friend whom he had known since he was only a lieutenant in the British Royal Navy.[8]


"Our destinies have been entwined Elizabeth, but never joined."
―James Norrington to Elizabeth Swann[src]
James and Elizabeth

James and Elizabeth share their first and last kiss.

While Elizabeth and her crew were in the brig aboard the Flying Dutchman, James Norrington released them, stating that he's chosen their side, allowing them to make their escape. Upon reaching the rope connecting the Empress to the Dutchman, James and Elizabeth help the crew of the Empress escape the Dutchman. However, Elizabeth was still angry with Norrington. James insisted that he had no part in her father's death, stating that he lamented his other misdeeds. Finally seeing the truth, Elizabeth requested that he go with her. But before he could answer, Bootstrap Bill Turner appeared from the top deck and went on his way down.[8]

Norrington pulled out his sword and told Elizabeth to go and reluctantly said that he would follow her, Elizabeth knew that he was lying. He told Elizabeth that even though their paths have crossed, they wouldn't truly be together. After James kissed Elizabeth, Norrington was caught by Bootstrap Bill Turner, who alerted Davy Jones and his crew of a prisoner escape.

Norrington Dead

Admiral James Norrington lying dead.

Seeing that Elizabeth was going towards him, James fired his pistol at the restraints connecting the two ships. Elizabeth managed to escape, but Norrington was fatally wounded by Turner.[8] Despite her initial resentment at Norrington for giving Beckett command of Davy Jones, Elizabeth was devestated and heartbroken at seeing her friend getting killed.

Upon arriving at the scene, Davy Jones asked James Norrington if he feared death. With his last breath, Norrington speared Jones with his sword before dying. Jones took that action as a "no". Taking out Norrington's sword, Jones admired the blade and kept it for himself.[8] It is unknown what happened with Norrington's body or where Norrington ended up after death.

"Belay that!"
―James Norrington last words, to Bootstrap Bill Turner[src]

Personality and traits[]


James Norrington

"Commodore Norrington is bound by the law. As are we all."
Weatherby Swann to Elizabeth Swann[src]

James Norrington was a loyal officer in service to the British Empire. He enjoyed power but he never abused it like Cutler Beckett, taking pride in his service to others before himself. Loyal service to His Majesty King George II of England had brought James Norrington respect and status. When he captained the HMS Interceptor, Norrington had chased and captured some of the Caribbean's most fearsome pirates.[6] Norrington was devoted in equal measure to eradicating piracy and to the lovely Elizabeth Swann, daughter of Governor Weatherby Swann. He was dedicated to the laws against piracy and attempted to have all pirates executed, so much as to show off the bodies of the executed pirates near the docks, hoping that this grisly spectacle will encourage passing sailors to obey the law.[13][14] To maintain an air of authority, an officer in the English Navy could not afford to show any emotion in front of his crew; Norrington himself had spent so many years masking his feelings that even in his personal affairs he is distant, including his feelings for Elizabeth Swann.[6]

As a newly minted commodore, Norrington exercised restraint in his proposal to Elizabeth Swann, who greatly underestimated his love for her. Regardless, the two had once been betrothed, though Elizabeth had never wanted to marry. Later, when Elizabeth stood by the blacksmith apprentice Will Turner in protecting Jack Sparrow, a pirate captured twice by his men, Norrington knew that he could never win Elizabeth's heart. Accepting defeat nobly, he parted with the civil warning to Will, "This is a beautiful sword, I would expect the man who made it to show the same care and devotion in every aspect of his life", making it clear he expected Will to treat Elizabeth with the utmost respect. It also showed that, despite the sword widely having been believed to be crafted by his master John Brown, Norrington at least deduced the truth and acknowledged it and Will's talent.[6] Despite all they've been through, James Norrington's love for Elizabeth had never wavered, despite her rather unfortunate inclination toward the pirate life.

After Jack escaped from his hanging at Port Royal, recapturing him became a mission that took over Commodore Norrington. He chased the pirate all over the world, until he made the fatal mistake of sailing through a hurricane. He was dismissed from the Navy for his foolishness and became a penniless drunk.[6] The former commodore became bitter and hated Jack Sparrow for ruining his life. Though Norrington agreed to join Jack's crew, he later attempted to kill him in a three way duel with Sparrow and Will Turner over the key to the Chest of Davy Jones. After Sparrow pointed out that Turner had been partially responsible for his disgrace, Norrington forgot about Sparrow and turned on Turner instead.

Unbeknownst to everyone, James Norrington was able to slip in, steal Davy Jones's heart, then brought it back to Port Royal and relinquished it to Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company. Having handed the heart to Beckett, Norrington was immediately reinstated in the Royal Navy and was a respectable officer once more. He was also given a promotion as Admiral of the East India Trading Company Armada. However, despite having regained his place in the Navy, James Norrington came to regret his decision to join Lord Beckett upon learning of Governor Swann's death from Elizabeth. He knew there was no way to absolve himself of his mistakes, even though he had only been trying to be a good soldier. Eventually James gave up everything, including his life, to help Elizabeth escape from the Flying Dutchman. Just before dying, James Norrington stabbed Davy Jones through the shoulder with his sword to show Jones that he wasn't afraid of death.

Equipment and skills[]

As a notable officer of the British Navy, Norrington was always dressed in a splendid uniform. His Navy uniform consisted of white breeches, white stockings, black shoes with buckles, a white linen shirt, sleeveless waistcoat, white cravat, black tricorne trimmed with gold, as well as a blue woolen broadcloth coat. He also had another tricorne, this one trimmed with feathers, which he wore only on ceremonial occasions. He also wore a medal of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, which signified his many achievements during his service to the Crown.

James Norrington wielded a sword that was crafted by Will Turner for his promotion ceremony. Though he lost this sword after his disgrace and resignation as Commodore he later regained it when he became Admiral. James was a skilled swordsman able to simultaneously fend off Jack Sparrow and Will Turner during their three way duel over the key to the Dead Man's Chest.

James also used a flintlock pistol and was an excellent marksman, able to shoot through the rope that Elizabeth Swann used to escape the Flying Dutchman even though it was dark.

During his service in the Navy and the East India Company, Norrington wore a white wig as a sign of his status and power. When he resigned his commission, Norrington wore the tatters of his old commodore uniform, including the tattered remains of the wig while on Tortuga. After boarding the Black Pearl, Norrington apparently dispensed of the wig in his new life as a pirate as it was not seen again following his preparing to board the Black Pearl. Instead, Norrington wore his regular brown hair in a small ponytail while serving on the Black Pearl and bringing the heart of Davy Jones to Lord Cutler Beckett.

Behind the scenes[]

  • James Norrington first appeared in the 2003 junior novelization for the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,[15] where he was portrayed by Jack Davenport.[16] Davenport reprised the role as the fully-named James Norrington in Dead Man's Chest and At World's End.[2][8]
  • Although unnamed in The Curse of the Black Pearl junior novelization and film,[15][16] Norrington's first name "James" was first revealed in the deleted scene "Accepting the Proposal" from the film's DVD release.[17] James would be further made official in material relating to the sequels, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End.[2][8]
  • The character was created in 2000 by Walt Disney Studios executives Brigham Taylor, Michael Haines, and Josh Harmon. Originally named Defoe, he was the Captain of the Guard in Port Royal. After the Governor's daugher, Elizabeth, was kidnapped by the notorious pirate Blackheart, and held for an exorbitant ransom, the Governor dispatched Defoe with the payment, but the captain was secretly in league with Blackheart and planned to exploit the situation and unseat the Governor. In the end he was defeated by a prison guard named Will, and Jack, a former member of Blackheart's crew. Stuart Beattie later redesigned the character as Norrington, a power hungry Royal Navy officer who wanted to marry the Governor's daugher to gain power. When she rejected him, he made an alliance with Captain Wraith, an infamous pirate who wanted to take control of the Caribbean.[18]
  • In Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio's early screenplay draft of The Curse of the Black Pearl, Norrington was named "Captain Norrington" implying he served as captain aboard the HMS Dauntless in the crossing of England, rather than lieutenant. This is odd, considering Norrington still had the line "Rouse the Captain, immediately."
  • During Norrington's promotion ceremony at the start of The Curse of the Black Pearl, Norrington can be seen wearing the neck badge of a Companion of the Order of the Bath. This, however, is an error, as the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films are set during the reign of King George II of Great Britain, as seen in On Stranger Tides), and the Order of the Bath did not receive three classes until 1815; before that it only had the class of Knight Companion, whose badge was suspended from a sash.
  • On the DVD commentary of The Curse of the Black Pearl, the scriptwriters revealed that Norrington was highly skilled with a sword, and was the equal of Hector Barbossa, with only Will Turner surpassing him in ability. They also revealed that Norrington was originally written as an evil character intended to join forces with Barbossa after being rejected by Elizabeth,[19] but the idea was later used for Dead Man's Chest, where he betrays Elizabeth Swann, Will Turner, and Jack Sparrow, and sides with Cutler Beckett, though later regretting it.
  • While not making an appearance, Norrington's name is mentioned in Kingdom Hearts II in the Pirates of the Caribbean world. The cannons located at Port Royal bear the message, "To be used in case of pirate attack – Commodore Norrington".
  • In an interview, producer Jerry Bruckheimer stated that Norrington was originally slated to only appear in The Curse of the Black Pearl, but due to the positive audience reaction towards the character, and his respect for Davenport, he made him a prominent character in the sequels Dead Man's Chest and At World's End. Davenport's casting was partly because of his late father Nigel Davenport who was a major character in the 1960s pirate film A High Wind in Jamaica, which both Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski enjoyed.[20]
"I really have a problem with the terms hero and villain. The only true evil in the world is willful ignorance—the refusal to accept facts."
"I would say that a character who's good is one who would make a moral choice once they know all the facts versus a character who would knowingly make an immoral choice. By that criteria, I think Norrington is a good guy.
Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio[src]
  • Writer Terry Rossio considers Norrington to be a "good guy" on the basis that "a character who's good is one who would make a moral choice once they know all the facts versus a character who would knowingly make an immoral choice".[21]
  • Norrington has appeared in several deleted scenes from Dead Man's Chest and At World's End. In Dead Man's Chest, Norrington appeared in "Manual Labor", where he works aboard the Black Pearl, "Salvation" where Elizabeth Swann explains the story of Isla Cruces, and "The Map is Finished", which shows that after Norrington gave Beckett the Letters of Marque and the heart of Davy Jones, Beckett gave him his sword back and promoted him to the rank of Admiral. At least one cut scene in At World's End with Norrington appeared to have been filmed, named "Swann Song", where Norrington dissuaded Governor Swann from stabbing the Davy Jones' heart, even after a confusion on Jones' claim that Elizabeth was dead. These scenes weren't included on the DVD release of Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, but would later be released in several movie collections, which included many more deleted scenes, released as early as 2010 and 2011.
  • Norrington had a somewhat larger role in earlier drafts of the At World's End script. This included a sort of friendship with Davy Jones, due to their mutual dislike of working for Beckett; which might explain why Jones offered a place in his crew before Norrington died.
  • In Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio's original screenplay for At World's End, James Norrington served under the rank of Captain. Norrington also experiences some mutual respect for Davy Jones, both of whom see themselves as becoming obsolete in the New World, as well as discovering the body of Governor Swann, after being shown the way by Wyvern.[22] In the Calypso's Fury production draft,[23] the final cut of the film and its junior novelization features Admiral James Norrington.[7][8]
  • Many fans were disappointed with how Norrington's story finished in At World's End, and so they wrote to Disney in several ways or another expressing concern.[24][25] However, because of the releases of the fourth film, On Stranger Tides, it's likely that Norrington will stay dead. Despite this, reports of a fifth film involving a deceased Navy officer sparked rumors of Norrington's return (given the fact that he died at sea).[26] The film, entitled Dead Men Tell No Tales, was released in 2017, but neither the character or Davenport himself returned. Terry Rossio's original script for Dead Men Tell No Tales featured Norrington appearing in one of Jack Sparrow's hallucinations, seen aboard a longboat beckoning to Jack, who was spying his boat.[27] The concept artwork of Norrington as a ghost was made by the artist Didier Konings.[28]
  • In 2006, to coincide with the release of Dead Man's Chest, Mega Bloks released a set named Water Wheel Duel, which included figures of Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and James Norrington. As an interest fact, Norrington is depicted without beard and seems to be an old man. Whether this is a false labeling or not is unknown. Likewise, it's also unknown for which reason Norrington is included in the Flying Dutchman set, as it appears to take place during the battle of Calypso's maelstrom, and Norrington is already deceased by that time.
  • Since the release of Dead Man's Chest in 2006, several forms of merchandise have been made with Norrington such as several figures, one with his old worn Commodore uniform and the other being with his Admiral Uniform for the release of At World's End in 2007. [29][30][31]
  • The music that plays during Norrington's death in At World's End is the last three minutes of I See Dead People in Boats.
  • In the At World's End video game, Norrington's demise happens at the deck of the Flying Dutchman instead than at the ship's stern balcony. His death also differs from the film, as none of the other Dutchman's crewmembers nor Davy Jones are present at the scene, and Bootstrap Bill Turner just stabs him with a knife and he collapses there. Furthermore, Norrington's sword is never taken by Jones.
  • In the non-canonical LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game, instead of being mortally wounded by Bootstrap Turner, he is separated from his legs by Bootstrap and after he hits Davy Jones with a fish, Jones decapitates him and puts his head on the fish. Subsequently, the fish is thrown to the sea and swims away. Both the fish and Norrington's head appear to be alive and not dead. In addition, Norrington's Commodore and his Admiral uniform are exactly the same.
  • In synopsis of The Guardians of Windward Cove, the first issue of Joe Books Ltd's Pirates of the Caribbean comic book series, Norrington was mentioned as being an Admiral, which is a mistake, as Norrington was a Commodore by that time and was later promoted to Admiral by Cutler Beckett following his success to retrieve the heart of Davy Jones.


The Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki has a collection of images and media related to James Norrington.
The Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki has a collection of quotes related to James Norrington.


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  3. According to Jack Sparrow: Sins of the Father James Norrington is ten years younger than Jack Sparrow. The timeline established in On Stranger Tides (which takes place in 1750) and Dead Men Tell No Tales (which takes place in 1751) sets Jack Sparrow's birth around the year 1690 which sets Norrington's birth around 1700. However, the exact year still has to be officially confirmed by The Walt Disney Company.
  4. James "Jim" Carson's calendar of Henry Turner's waiting for Will Turner's return from Dead Men Tell No Tales shows that Will Turner's first visit to his family after ten years of captaining the Flying Dutchman, which is shown in the after credits scene of At World's End, occurred in August 1739, which means the Battle of Calypso's maelstrom occurred in August 1729 which sets Norrington's death after the Attack on the Empress during the same year.
  5. Jack Sparrow: Sins of the Father, p. 100
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, pp. 24-25: "Norrington"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (junior novelization), p. 3
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
  9. 9.0 9.1 Jack Sparrow: Sins of the Father
  10. The Capture of Jack Sparrow!
  11. In Jack We Trust!
  12. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (junior novelization), p. 6
  13. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, pp. 26-27 "Pirates Beware!"
  14. "Norrington is basically the scourge of piracy in the eastern Caribbean. I suppose I bring light where there is dark and air freshener to where pirates have recently vacated." - Jack Davenport, An Epic At Sea: The Making of Pirates
  15. 15.0 15.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003 junior novelization)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named TCotBP
  17. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Deleted Scene: "Accepting the Proposal"
  18. Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies, pp. 114-115
  19. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl DVD commentary
  20. Bring Me That Horizon: The Making of Pirates of the Caribbean
  21. Interview: Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio on 'At World's End' - Box Office Mojo
  22. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio, original draft
  23. Wordplayer.com: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
  24. James Norrington Death Support Group
  25. Bring Back James Norrington
  26. Possible Plot Details Revealed for Delayed PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 5 at Collider
  27. Pirates of the Caribbean DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES Screenplay by Terry Rossio
  28. Dead Men Tell No Tales James Norrington concept art
  29. [1]
  30. [2]
  31. [3]
vdeCrew of the HMS Dauntless
Captain: Unknown captain
HMS Dauntless
Lieutenant James NorringtonJoshamee Gibbs

Captain: Commodore James Norrington
HMS Dauntless
Lieutenant GilletteTheodore GrovesMullroyMurtoggSteersmanSailorSentry


Motley Crew

Captain: Jack Sparrow
HMS Interceptor
AnamariaCottonCotton's ParrotCrimpDuncanJoshamee GibbsKursar
LadbrocMartyMatelotMoisesQuartettoTearlachWill Turner

Captain: Joshamee Gibbs
HMS Interceptor/Black Pearl
AnamariaCottonCotton's ParrotCrimpDuncanKursarLadbroc
MartyMatelotMoisesQuartettoElizabeth SwannTearlachWill Turner

Captain: Jack Sparrow
Black Pearl
AnamariaCottonCotton's ParrotCrimpDuncanJoshamee GibbsLadbroc

Captain: Jack Sparrow
Black Pearl
CottonCotton's ParrotCrimpDuncanJoshamee GibbsHo-KwanJack the MonkeyLeechLejonMartyMatelotMoises

Captain: Jack Sparrow
Black Pearl
CottonCotton's ParrotJoshamee GibbsJack the MonkeyLejonMartyPintelRagettiWilliam Turner Jr.

Captain: Jack Sparrow
Black Pearl
CottonCotton's ParrotCrippled manJames NorringtonJoshamee GibbsIrish manJack the MonkeyLejonMartyPintelRagettiElizabeth SwannSkinny manSweepyVery old manWilliam Turner Jr.

Captain: Hector Barbossa
Hai Peng
CottonCotton's ParrotTia DalmaJoshamee GibbsTai HuangJack the Monkey
MartyPintelRagettiElizabeth SwannWill Turner

Captains: Jack Sparrow / Hector Barbossa
Black Pearl
CottonCotton's ParrotTia DalmaJoshamee GibbsTai HuangJack the Monkey
MartyPintelRagettiElizabeth SwannWill Turner

Captain: Hector Barbossa
Black Pearl
CottonCotton's ParrotJack the MonkeyMartyMullroyMurtoggPintelRagetti

Captain: Jack Sparrow
Dying Gull
BollardCrembleJoshamee GibbsMartyPikeScrum

Captain: Joshamee Gibbs
Dying Gull

Captain: Jack Sparrow
Dying Gull
BollardCrembleJoshamee GibbsMartyPikeScrumCarina SmythHenry Turner

Captains: Jack Sparrow / Hector Barbossa
Black Pearl
BollardCrembleJoshamee GibbsJack the MonkeyMartyMullroyMurtoggPikeScrumCarina SmythHenry Turner

Captain: Jack Sparrow
Black Pearl
BollardCrembleJoshamee GibbsJack the MonkeyMartyMullroyMurtoggPikeScrum
vdeCrew of the Flying Dutchman
Captain: Davy Jones
Flying Dutchman
HadrasHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManrayMoreyOgilveyOld Haddy
PalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinTwo Head

Captain: Davy Jones
Flying Dutchman
HadrasHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManrayMoreyOgilveyOld Haddy
PalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinBootstrap Bill TurnerTwo Head

Captain: Davy Jones
Flying Dutchman
HadrasHelmsmanHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManrayMoreyOgilveyOld Haddy
PalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinSailorBootstrap Bill TurnerWill Turner
Two HeadUrchinWheelbackWyvern

Captain: Davy Jones (controlled by Lord Cutler Beckett)
Flying Dutchman
Admiral James NorringtonAnglerBroondjongenClankerCrashFauntleroyFinneganGreenbeardHadrasHelmsmanHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManray
Ian MercerMoreyMullroyMurtoggOgilveyOld HaddyPalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinSailorBootstrap Bill TurnerTwo HeadUrchinWheelbackWyvern

Captain: Will Turner
Flying Dutchman
AnglerBroondjongenClankerCrashFauntleroyFinneganGreenbeardHadrasHelmsmanHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManrayMoreyOgilveyOld HaddyPalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinSailorBootstrap Bill TurnerTwo HeadUrchinWheelbackWyvern