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Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki
Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki
This article is about the sea creature known as the "Kraken". You may be looking for the musical theme, "The Kraken".

"Well, if you believe such things, there's a beast does the bidding of Davy Jones. A fearsome creature with giant tentacles that'll suction your face clean off, and drag an entire ship down to the crushing darkness. The Kraken. They say the stench of its breath is...(shudders) Imagine, the last thing you know on God's green earth is the roar of the Kraken and the reeking odor of a thousand rotting corpses. If you believe such things."
Joshamee Gibbs to Will Turner[src]

The Kraken was a legendary sea monster, known as Davy Jones' obedient leviathan sent to prey on unwary ships and mariners. A fearsome creature with tentacles, closely resembling a giant squid, the Kraken was said to be the length of 10 ships. This terrible beast would be a subject of many legends and lore that circulated for centuries on the Seven Seas.

Few had seen the Kraken and lived to tell the tale. The word "Kraken" was first heard in seagoing lore and mythology, referring to a creature whose many arms or tentacles could reach to the top of a ship's mainmast and could without any great effort capsize a fully-rigged vessel. The huge suckers on the Kraken's tentacles were strong enough to pull the flesh clean away from a sailor's face. Under Davy Jones' command, the Kraken brought Jones ever more souls to join his crew aboard the Flying Dutchman, dying sailors forever impressed into servitude on his cursed ship.

After becoming a marked man with the Black Spot ensuring that the Kraken would come, Captain Jack Sparrow attempted to find the Dead Man's Chest, which contained the heart of Davy Jones. Jack planned to use the heart to make Jones call off the Kraken. However, Jack's plan ultimately failed as he ended up facing the merciless Kraken as it dragged both Jack and the Black Pearl to the depths of the ocean. Afterwards, to the dismay of Davy Jones, who then served under the East India Trading Company, the Kraken would face death as Lord Cutler Beckett's forces was bearing down on the seas.



"I don't think it's Krack-en, anyways. Always heard it said Kray-ken."
"What? With a long A? Na-na-na-na, Krock-en's how it's pronounced in the original Scandinavian, and Krack-en's closer to that."
"Well we ain't original Scandinavians, are we? Kray-ken."
"It's a mythological creature, I can calls it what I wants!
Pintel and Ragetti[src]
Kraken attacks 13

The Kraken underneath its brutal attack.

Legends of the Kraken go back many years of seagoing mythology. The word "Kraken" was first heard in 12th-century Norwegian legends, referring to a creature the size of an island, and usually depicted as a giant squid. In these legends, the Kraken normally lived at great depths, but have been sighted at the surface and have reportedly attacked ships. The Kraken's many tentacles could reach to the top of a ship's mainmast and could without any great effort capsize a fully-rigged vessel.

In Norse mythology, the Kraken was a creature from the sea so large that on the surface it was mistaken for a chain of islands. Seamen were often lost when they camped on what they thought was an island, only to be drowned when the creature swam back to the bottom of the sea. It had large tentacles and suckers with which it could seize large ships and drag them down. The Norse believed the Kraken would rise to the surface at the end of the world.

Davy Jones' pet[]

Kraken attacks 2

The Kraken attacks.

Most stories told during the Age of Piracy say that the Kraken was Davy Jones' obedient leviathan, sent to do his bidding and prey on unwary ships and mariners.[4] The Kraken was commanded to prey upon ships, which ultimately condemned many souls aboard Jones' cursed vessel, the Flying Dutchman, dead sailors forever impressed into servitude.[6] The terrible beast could be summoned from aboard the Flying Dutchman, with the use of a giant capstan hammer that sent a shock wave through the ocean that served as a call to the creature. Jones would at times recite a chant while his crew summoned the beast.[5]

The Kraken was unleashed upon those who had been marked with a Black Spot, and could only be called off if the mark were removed, which only Jones himself could do. A person given the Black Spot would be ruthlessly tracked down by the Kraken, and even items of clothing or personal belongings left by the target would attract the creature on its hunt.[5] Davy Jones was further able to order the Kraken to attack specific ships he wanted attacked.[7] If one possessed the heart of Davy Jones, that person could control not only Jones himself, but the Kraken as well, which in effect gave the person control of the oceans.[5]

Search for the Dead Man's Chest[]

Chasing Jack Sparrow[]

"Jones' terrible leviathan will find you, and drag the Pearl back to the depths and you along with it!"
"Any idea when Jones might release said terrible beastie?"
"I already told you, Jack. Your time is up. It comes now, drawn with ravenous hunger to the man what bears the Black Spot.
Bootstrap Bill Turner and Jack Sparrow[src]

In the past, Jack Sparrow made a deal with Davy Jones, where Jones raised the Black Pearl from the depths and allowed Jack to be captain. Thirteen years after his deal, Jack was given the Black Spot by Bootstrap Bill Turner, on behalf of Jones, ensuring the Kraken would come for him. Now a marked man, Jack Sparrow was now forced to avoid the open water to escape Jones' "beastie". Knowing he couldn't escape forever, Jack sought out to find the Dead Man's Chest, which contained the heart of Davy Jones. He planned to use the heart to make Jones call off the Kraken.

The Kraken destroyed several sailing vessels throughout the search for the Dead Man's Chest. One such target was a fishing boat, that had a short sailor and a large sailor trying on Jack's hat - apparently drawn to the article of clothing, the Kraken quickly destroyed the boat by violently yanking it underwater. Another ship was attacked at some point before Jack Sparrow and Will Turner needed to find the Flying Dutchman, an attack that had few psychologically traumatized survivors and at least one of the crewmen's face was sucked completely off.[5]

Attack on the Edinburgh Trader[]

Kraken attacks 1

Captain Bellamy screaming while wrapped in one of the Kraken's many tentacles.

"Let no joyful voice be heard! Let no man look up at the sky with hope! And let this day be cursed by we who ready to wake...the Kraken!"
Davy Jones[src]

After Will Turner escaped from aboard the Flying Dutchman, he found refuge aboard the merchant vessel Edinburgh Trader. Using the capstan hammer, Davy Jones and his crew summon the Kraken to attack and destroy the Edinburgh Trader. Before the attack, the Edinburgh Trader lurched to a stop, and water around the ship began to churn and bubble, indicating the Kraken's arrival though some of the crew believed they hit a reef. As the crew followed Captain Bellamy's orders, one of the Kraken's tentacles caught Bellamy with the sailors unaware. As they turned for more instructions, the crew realized Bellamy was gone. The crew looked out toward the sea, where what appeared to be a tiny figure was wrapped in a huge tentacle. As the crew looked closer, it was clear to them that the figure was the captain. The tentacle rose high in the air and then slapped the screaming captain down upon the water. Much to the fear of the crew, the terrible creature appeared from the depths and began its attack.[5]

Kraken attacks 10

The Kraken attacks the Edinburgh Trader.

Arms of the huge creature swooped up the starboard side of the ship, clearing men from the deck, smashing the longboats. The Burser appeared with a wedding dress, believing it was responsible for the Kraken, and tried to offer it, but he too was grabbed by a giant tentacle. Sailors grabbed weapons to hack at the tentacles, to little effect, and were lifted into the sky and then smashed as one of the masts broke and fell. During the onslaught, Will Turner took his sword and slashed at one of the tentacles. Two of the Kraken's tentacles rise up high above the crew and crashed down, smashing the vessel in half as the creature killed nearly all the crew. Many of the crew either slid or were dropped into the Kraken's gaping maw, which awaited them between the two halves of the destroyed ship. While he was momentarily submerged underwater, Will Turner briefly caught a glimpse of the sea monster before hiding aboard the Dutchman.[5]

Attack on the Black Pearl[]

"Did we kill it?"
"No. We just made it angry.
Marty and Joshamee Gibbs[src]

When the Flying Dutchman fell behind in pursuing the Black Pearl, Davy Jones' crew summoned the Kraken again to finish it off. Again, the Kraken caused the Pearl to lurch to a stop, and the water around the ship began to churn and bubble. Based upon his previous experience aboard the Edinburgh Trader, Will Turner warned the crew that the Kraken was going to attack. Slowly, the Kraken's tentacles made their way over the railings. But Will had known that the Kraken would attack on the starboard side from his earlier encounter with the creature, and the gun deck cannons were ready. Will ordered the crew to fire the cannons into the monster's tentacles, severely wounding them and forcing the Kraken to momentarily retreat.[5]

Sea Fight Isla Cruces 22

The Kraken destroying the Black Pearl.

Because the Kraken's tentacles destroyed all the ship's longboats, except one being used by Jack Sparrow, the crew of the Black Pearl prepared for another attack. The Kraken soon returned, smashing the Pearl's cannons before attacking the rest of the ship. Will then had kegs of gunpowder and rum loaded into a cargo net and hoisted aloft. Moments later, it appeared that the Kraken was going to win this battle, as nothing the pirates did to stop the monster worked. Although Will Turner ordered Elizabeth Swann to shoot, one of the Kraken's tentacles slithered behind Elizabeth and caught her by the ankle, wrapping around his leg. Elizabeth screamed at the top of her lungs as the tentacle yanked her to the ground, dragging to pull her out of the ship through the Pearl's cabin, until she was saved by the timely arrival of Pintel and Ragetti with an axe, whom chopped the Kraken's tentacle off. Though he originally intended to leave, Jack Sparrow returned to the Black Pearl and shot the barrels, blasting the monster's tentacles in the resulting explosion. The wounded Kraken again withdrew, but the crew of the Pearl knew that it was far from finished - in fact, their assault had only managed to make it even angrier than before.[5]

Knowing that the Kraken's next attack would likely be fatal to the Pearl and all aboard it, Jack Sparrow ordered all the surviving crewmembers to abandon ship. Elizabeth Swann, however, realized that the Kraken was only after Jack - thus, the only way to stop the chain of attacks was to leave Jack to the Kraken. Under pretense of congratulating Jack on his courageous rescue of the crew, Elizabeth was able to chain Jack to the mast, apologizing to him and explaining her reasoning before leaving with the crew in the final longboat. By the time Jack was able to free himself, the tentacles of the Kraken had snaked onboard - the beast had finally found its prey.[5]


Jack Sparrow and the Kraken battle.

"Hello, beastie."
Jack Sparrow[src]

Raising itself out of the water, the Kraken opened its gaping maw to give a mighty roar, bombarding Jack with slime. Conveniently, this was also accompanied by Jack's missing hat falling right in front of him - donning his hat, the pirate pulled out his sword, ready for his final stand. As Jack charged into the Kraken's mouth, the Black Pearl was wrapped up by the sea monster's tentacles. From the longboat, the crew of the Black Pearl watched as the Kraken dragged the Pearl, along with its captain, to the depths of the ocean. Witnessing this, Davy Jones declared that his debt with Jack Sparrow was settled.[5]


"I would have thought you'd learned that when I ordered you to kill your pet."
Cutler Beckett to Davy Jones[src]
Kraken corpse

The Kraken's final resting place.

After obtaining the heart of Davy Jones, Lord Cutler Beckett gained control over Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman. With his forces bearing down on the seas, Beckett ordered Jones to kill the Kraken, most likely with the concern that Jones may command the beast to attack against the East India Trading Company to take back his heart. Because Beckett possessed Jones' heart, Jones reluctantly did as he was commanded. It is unknown how the Kraken was killed, though there is some suggestion that it was killed either by Jones himself under Beckett's orders[2] or that it was hunted down by the East India Trading Company.[8]

Upon returning from Davy Jones' Locker, the crew of the Black Pearl discovered the dead beast's body washed up on Black Sand Beach, originally having thought it was a giant whale.[9] Pintel and Ragetti cautiously approached the Kraken's corpse, until Pintel poked it with a long stick of driftwood. They mused on making profit from the creature, in which Pintel thought about declaring themselves as "Kraken Slayers". Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa reflected on their mortality as Jack filled with sympathy looked into the fallen beast's glazed eye.[2] The Kraken had been the last of its kind, and here it lay, alone, reduced to a mass of rotting flesh and rubbery tentacles.[10]


Kraken VG

Full side view of the Kraken.

"You stupid fish!"
"Actually, it's a cephalopod.
Pintel and Ragetti[src]

The Kraken was a cephalopod-like beast, with a squid-like mantle, a number of long, suckered tentacles at the base of its head. Some of these were as thick around as a galleon's main mast, most significant were the two long forearms powerful enough to split a ship into fragments in mere seconds. The huge suckers on the Kraken's tentacles were strong enough to pull the flesh clean away from a sailor's face.[4]

Kraken eye

Jack Sparrow looking at the dead Kraken's eye.

The Kraken used the tips of its tentacles to feel its way around a ship before deciding where best to strike. According to Will Turner, it prefers to first attack the starboard side. It also had large round eyes with orange irises and black pupils. It had a large, maw-like mouth surrounded by fangs below its eyes, and a massive body at least twice as long as its tentacles. [5]

The overall length of the Kraken was depicted as similar to the length of 10 ships, which would be approximately 1400 feet in total length. Its body resembles a massive, cuttlefish-like cephalopod with a long, sharp tail similar to a squid. In the films, it is depicted as a much smaller creature, approximately the size of the Black Pearl itself, with a whale-like tail.[4]

Known victims[]

In its life, the Kraken had destroyed many ships, which suffered casualties of dead or dying, and hunted down many marked with the Black Spot. The following list shows all known Kraken victims.


Destroyed ships[]


The Kraken in the At World's End video game.

Behind the scenes[]

  • The Kraken was first mentioned in the 2006 reference book Pirates of the Caribbean: The Visual Guide,[3] prior to its full appearances in the junior novelization and the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
  • In the making of Dead Man's Chest, the Kraken was masterfully brought to life by a phalanx of visual effects artists at Industrial Light & Magic, the live-action elements meticulously calibrated with the visual effects plans. "The Kraken sequences were extensively pre-visualized," notes visual effects supervisor John Knoll, "and we were literally shooting specific pieces to conform to that animatic blueprint. The Kraken scenes are technically very complex, because there’s a lot of interaction with water and we see shots looking down the whole of the ship, with a dozen tentacles swarming around, picking characters off the deck. Putting the composites together are very difficult...every shot takes months of effort."[11]
  • The Kraken in Dead Man's Chest is inspired by a thousand years of seagoing mythology, including original Scandinavian legends, with, perhaps, a tip of the hat to the famed giant squid in Walt Disney Pictures' own 1954 classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.[11] In the "Creating the Kraken" featurette, Lee Arenberg identifies the Kraken as the same giant squid, an "old Disney character".[12]
  • The word "Kraken" was first heard in 12th-century Norwegian legends, referring to a creature the size of an island, and usually depicted as a giant squid. In these legends the Kraken's many arms or tentacles could reach to the top of a ship's mainmast and could without any great effort capsize a full-rig vessel. So great was the creature's fame that it was even immortalized in British poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "The Kraken," scribed in 1830. In the 20th century, stamp collectors could find the Kraken's image on postages from such diverse countries as Canada and even the Commonwealth of Dominica, one of the Dead Man's Chest host countries.[11]
  • The Kraken's appearance in Dead Man's Chest marks the first time the legendary creature had been realized using modern computer graphics, made by ILM, who also did the undead skeletons in The Curse of the Black Pearl as well as Davy Jones's crew.
  • Creature modeler Frank Gravatt built the Kraken tentacles in three sizes: a small, noodly arm for snatching people, a medium-sized tentacle for wrapping the mast, and a crusher that smashed the ship.[13]
  • While the Kraken was seen in the game trailer (attacking a war frigate with its tentacles) and was playable in Call of the Kraken, it did not appear in Pirates of the Caribbean Online although it was promised by developers to the players as the highlight of the next major story chapter, for several years. It was even hinted at with the conclusion of the Raven's Cove story quest. But it was ultimately scrapped in mid-2012, one year prior to the game's closure.
  • In the At World's End video game the Kraken's corpse could be seen resting in Davy Jones' Locker.
  • A reference to the Kraken was present in Terry Rossio's original script of Dead Men Tell No Tales, where Jack Sparrow finds a tiny and cute baby octopus in the Caribbean Sea, mistaken for a giant Kraken at first. For the scene, the Kraken's musical theme from Dead Man's Chest was going to be played.[14] In the finished film, the Krakens were mentioned by Carina Smyth and Henry Turner.[15]


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External links[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 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 and Will' death and resurrection occurred in August 1729. The Kraken was killed relatively recently before this, given that the body had not started decomposing when it is found.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Visual Guide
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, pp. 72-73: "The Kraken"
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  6. Story of Davy Jones and Calypso
  7. Wordplay Forums: Kraken Attack by Terry Rossio
  8. POTC Interview with Jim Byrkit 2012
  9. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (junior novelization), p.87
  10. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (junior novelization), p.89
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 POTC2 Presskit
  12. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest "Creating the Kraken" featurette
  13. Yo Ho Ho! | Computer Graphics World
  14. Wordplayer.com: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES by Terry Rossio
  15. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales