|Profession||Admiral of the East India Trading Company War Fleet
Commodore in the Royal Navy
Captain in the Royal Navy
Lieutenant in the Royal Navy
|Ship(s) served on||HMS Dauntless
|Appearance(s)||The Curse of the Black Pearl
Dead Man's Chest
At World's End
|Portrayed by||Jack Davenport|
According to the writers' audio commentary from the Curse of the Black Pearl DVD, Norrington was originally written as an evil character intended to join forces with Hector Barbossa, but the idea was later used in Dead Man's Chest, where he betrays his comrades and sides with Lord Cutler Beckett.
In an interview, producer Jerry Bruckheimer stated that Norrington was originally slated to only appear in the first film, but partially due to the positive audience reaction towards the character, and his respect for Davenport, he made him a prominent character in the sequel. Davenport's casting came in part from his father, Nigel, being a major character in the 1960s pirate film A High Wind in Jamaica, which both Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski enjoyed.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Norrington has a smaller role despite setting the film's plot in motion. Early scripts and a deleted scene had him stopping Governor Swann from stabbing the heart of Davy Jones and also had him forming a friendship with Davy Jones.
In At World's End Norrington is killed by Bootstrap Bill Turner when caught rescuing Elizabeth and the other members of The Black Pearl.
The Essential Guide to Pirates of the Caribbean states that Norrington is feared among pirates for his naval skills and swordsmanship. According to the audio commentary from the first Pirates of the Caribbean DVD featuring the scriptwriters, Norrington's sword fight skills are equaled only by Hector Barbossa and surpassed only by Will Turner. At the first film's climax, Norrington personally fights the pirate, Koehler, killing him after the curse is lifted.
Norrington is highly skilled in both swordsmanship and firearms. His sword, a smallsword with gold filigree in the handle, is a symbolic plot device recurring throughout the films that ties the characters to one another. According to screenplay writer Terry Rossio, it has "a bit of destiny about it". The sword was forged by Will Turner, who delivers it to Governor Weatherby Swann in the opening scene of The Curse of the Black Pearl for presentation to Norrington at his promotion to Commodore. At the film's conclusion, Norrington uses the sword as a means to express his feelings regarding Elizabeth and Will, despite his being in love with Elizabeth. He remarks to Will, "This is a beautiful sword. I expect the man who made it to show the same care and devotion in every aspect of his life."
In Dead Man's Chest, Norrington has resigned his commission in disgrace after losing HMS Dauntless in a hurricane near Tripoli while pursuing Captain Jack Sparrow. The sword now rests in Norrington's old office in Port Royal, as if awaiting its former owner's return. It becomes a haunting symbol of Norrington's brilliant career before he fell to piracy. Norrington is last seen making his way back to Port Royal, hoping to reclaim his former life.
Finally, in At World's End, Lord Cutler Beckett reunites the newly promoted Admiral Norrington with an 'old friend' when he presents him with his sword. But Beckett fails to anticipate the weapon's powerful emotional effect on Norrington—a painful reminder of the honorable man he once was and its strong ties to Elizabeth Swann and, by extension, Will Turner and Jack Sparrow. Norrington's sword ultimately becomes the instrument for his redemption, using it when he frees Elizabeth and her crew from the Flying Dutchman. Tragically, he is mortally stabbed by the deranged "Bootstrap" Bill Turner during the escape. Defying Davy Jones' offer of servitude aboard the Flying Dutchman, the dying Norrington spears Jones' shoulder with the sword. The immortal Jones merely extracts the weapon and claims it as a prize, exclaiming, "Nice sword!"
James Norrington appears in the book, Jack Sparrow: 10 - Sins of the Father. When he is about five or six years old, he trails after his father, Admiral Lawrence Norrington, who commands a Royal Navy ship. When young James falls overboard, the pirate, Captain Teague, (Jack Sparrow's father) jumps in and saves him. Admiral Norrington admonishes James for being indebted to a pirate, saying he would rather his son had drowned. Norrington is later seen as a Lieutenant aboard HMS Dauntless when it transports Port Royal's new Governor Weatherby Swann and his young daughter, Elizabeth, to the Caribbean. During the voyage, Norrington expresses his views about pirates to a young Elizabeth, commenting that they deserve a "short drop and a sudden stop," a metaphor for hanging. Captain James Norrington is devoted to the Royal Navy, and always puts duty and others first, often forsaking his personal needs for the greater good. He especially dislikes pirates, and sees himself as a purveyor of justice in the Caribbean. Though he often appears to be stoic and slightly snobbish, he is actually a kind and noble man who always shows his friends and colleagues great respect, particularly Elizabeth Swann, Governor Weatherby Swann's young daughter.
The Curse of the Black Pearl
Norrington served in the Royal Navy as a lieutenant, and was stationed aboard HMS Dauntless as it made the crossing from England, carrying Governor Weatherby Swann and his young daughter, Elizabeth, to Port Royal. Upon sighting a wrecked merchant vessel, Norrington ordered his men to search for survivors. He was so preoccupied by the rescue effort that he failed to notice the Black Pearl disappearing into the mist.
Eight years later, Captain Norrington is about to be promoted to to the rank of Commodore. Among those gathered for the ceremony is Elizabeth Swann, now a beautiful young woman that Norrington has fallen in love with. Believing a wife is the only thing missing in his life, he wishes to marry her.
When the newly promoted Commodore attempts to propose atop the fortress, Elizabeth, overcome by heat and a constricting corset, faints and topples over the fortress wall, into the harbor below. Norrington and his men rush to her aid, only to find that the notorious pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow, has rescued her. Norrington arrests Sparrow when he sees a scar from a Pirate brand on Sparrow's arm and immediately orders him imprisoned to be tried for piracy despite his heroic deed. Sparrow escapes, but is quickly subdued by Will Turner, a blacksmith's apprentice who secretly loves Elizabeth. He is imprisoned to be tried as quickly as possible.
More troubles ensue when pirates attack Port Royal and kidnap Elizabeth thereby postponing the trial and forcing Norrington to undertake a rescue by pursuing the pirates' ship, the Black Pearl. Will Turner initiates his own plan to save Elizabeth and frees Jack Sparrow from jail. Together they commandeer the HMS Interceptor, leaving Norrington helplessly stranded aboard the disabled HMS Dauntless. He, can only watch as Sparrow and Turner make off with the Interceptor, grudgingly acknowledges Sparrow's unexpected cleverness and competency.
Norrington pursues Sparrow and Turner with three objectives: reclaim the Interceptor, capture Jack Sparrow, and rescue Elizabeth. Barbossa sinks the Interceptor and maroons Sparrow and Elizabeth. Norrington spots Elizabeth's smoke signal and rescues them.
Norrington arrests Jack, ignores and Elizabeth's plea to rescue Will from Barbossa, believing he turned pirate. He only relents after Elizabeth accepts his previous marriage proposal. He asks for Jack's assistance to locate Isla de Muerta.
Norrington and his crew arrive at Isla de Muerta. Jack Sparrow now appears to be controlling the proceedings, though Norrington hardly trusts Sparrow or his plan to ambush the pirates. While waiting outside the sea cave's entrance in a longboat, Norrington is unaware that the pirates are infiltrating the Dauntless.
Hearing a distress call, he orders his men back to the ship where they battle the immortal pirates. The situation seems hopeless until Will Turner is able break the curse from within the island, thus making the pirates mortal once more, allowing Norrington's men to defeat them and finally trust Sparrow's plans again.
The Commodore imprisons the evil surrendered pirates and brings everybody back to Port Royal including Jack Sparrow. Despite thanking him for the victory against Barbossa, Norrington, apparently reluctantly, agrees to obey the law and hang Jack for piracy. Will and Elizabeth see the kindness in Jack and free Sparrow from the gallows, but they are quickly caught. Elizabeth, who loves Will, stands by him and Jack. Governor Swann pardons Will again, while Sparrow escapes. Norrington graciously accepts Elizabeth's wish to marry Will, and even postpones pursuing Sparrow for one day.
Dead Man's Chest
While pursuing Jack Sparrow, Norrington's ship gets lost in a hurricane off Tripoli. Disgraced, Norrington resigned his post and disappeared. Norrington's whereabouts are still unknown when Lord Cutler Beckett arrives in Port Royal with an arrest warrant for Norrington's part in Jack Sparrow's escape. Beckett also arrests Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann.
By now, Norrington has hit rock bottom; he drinks heavily, and wears his filthy, tattered commodore uniform when he turns up in Tortuga, applying for a position aboard Jack Sparrow's ship, the Black Pearl. He soon becomes obsessed with reclaiming his honour any way he can, and seeks revenge against those he believes responsible for causing his downfall, notably Sparrow.
While aboard the Pearl, Norrington believes Sparrow is being dishonest about the Chest of Davy Jones, but takes interest in the Letters of Marque signed by the King of England that employ the trader an occupation for the EIC if the document is also signed by Lord Cutler Beckett. The Letters of Marque, if validated, give the owner a full pardon and employment as a Privateer for England. He also observes a budding relationship between Sparrow and Elizabeth, who is also aboard. When Elizabeth hears that Will Turner is being held captive on Davy Jones' ship, the Flying Dutchman, Norrington suggests to her that Sparrow is somehow involved but she refuses to believe him.
When the Black Pearl arrives at Isla Cruces, Norrington is among the crew who accompany Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann ashore to search for Davy Jones' chest, after digging it and pulling it out of the ground, once he hears the heart beat he admits Jack was telling the truth. After a series of events, including Will Turner's sudden arrival, Norrington becomes embroiled in a three-way sword fight with Sparrow and Turner to claim the key to the chest containing Davy Jones' beating heart; Jack wants to free himself from his blood debt with Jones; Will wants to free his father from Jones' servitude, and Norrington wants to get his job back. Norrington just before the battle revealed that Lord Beckett hopes to claim the Chest, if Norrington delivered it he would get his life back, Just when Norrington was about to kill Jack, Jack pointed that Will had been responsible for some of the events that led to Norrington disgrace, Norrington then turned on Turner. Matters are further complicated by the Flying Dutchman's crew appearing on the scene. Shortly after, While the crew of the Black Pearl were distracted Norrington finds the Letters of Marque and Jones' heart he hides them in his coat. Norrington feigns a diversion that allows the Black Pearl crew to escape, while he makes off with the chest, heart, and Letters of Marque. When Jones' men catch up to him, Norrington tosses them the now empty chest, then flees, the heart and Letters of Marque hidden in his overcoat.
Norrington, after being found by EIC ships is taken to Port Royal when offering a trade for the Letters of Marque. Norrington then delivers the heart of Davy Jones to Lord Beckett thus giving Beckett control of the seas; in exchange for his job back. The delighted Beckett then unseenly informs Norrington that not only will he get his honors back but he will be granted full pardon, and put as England's Navy's Admiral.
At World's End
Lord Beckett is furious that Davy Jones destroys pirate ships without leaving any survivors to interrogate. Beckett places Norrington in command of the Flying Dutchman (Jones' ship), and posts marines to guard the Dead Man's Chest that Beckett had placed on board to remind Jones who controls him.
After the Empress attacks HMS Endeavour, Beckett orders the Flying Dutchman to pursue it. Norrington leads the boarding party, and is reunited with Elizabeth Swann, who is now captain of the Empress. Though Norrington is ecstatic to find her alive, Elizabeth is hostile, accusing Norrington of serving her father's murderers. Norrington denies any knowledge of or involvement in Governor Swann's death, though Elizabeth is hardly appeased, she also admonishes him for switching sides and serving Beckett. The prisoners are taken to the brig, but Norrington offers Elizabeth his quarters, which she refuses, preferring to be with her crew.
Norrington releases Elizabeth and her crew from the brig, declaring that he is, "choosing a side." As the Empress crew clamber across the tow rope to their own ship, Elizabeth still refuses to forgive Norrington. He again states he took no part in her father's death, though laments his other misdeeds. Elizabeth, relenting, urges him to join her and forgives him but before he can answer, Bootstrap Bill Turner, deranged from Jones' cruel imprisonment, sounds an alarm.
Norrington claims he will follow Elizabeth across the tow rope, but she knows he is lying. With a farewell kiss, Norrington says that though their lives have been intertwined, their destinies are separate. Elizabeth escapes as Norrington releases the Empress before being mortally wounded by Bootstrap. Arriving on the scene, Davy Jones asks Norrington if he fears death. Norrington defiantly thrusts his sword into Jones' shoulder before dying.
N.E.C.A. made James Norrington into an action figure in Series Three of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest series. He is portrayed as about to shoot Jack Sparrow, and his figure includes a pistol, a hat, as well as a sword, though he is not wearing his wig. Zizzle had made two Norringon action figures, one from Dead Man's Chest wearing his old worn Commodore uniform, and another from At World's End with his Admiral's uniform along with a Hat and a pistol. Both figures are hard to find, with the Admiral Norrington figure can very seldomly be found, making it the 2nd rarest Pirates of The Caribbean figure. In 2013, a French toy company called Papo made a figure called "Royal Navy Captain" for their toy line. Though not called "James Norrington", it closely resembles Lieutenant Norrington and Commodore Norrington from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. They most likely modeled it after Norrington. It was only released in the UK.
Playsets for At World's End depicting the Singapore Escape scene show Admiral Norrington fighting Sao Feng and stealing the map to Davy Jones' locker. The description says that during the opening sequence in Singapore, the East India Trading Company shows up, and a battle erupts on the docks with a lot of fireworks. The playset merchandise was released in 2007.
- Although he does not make a physical appearance, he is briefly mentioned in Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts II. When Sora inspects the cannons at the fort in Port Royal, the message says "To be used in case of pirate attack - Commodore Norrington."
- During his 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. Given, however, that the Pirates of the Caribbean series is set during the reign of King George II (as seen in On Stranger Tides), this is impossible, since 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.
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- Maureen. "Pillage and Plunder: March 2007". Pillage-and-plunder.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-11-04.