Tia Dalma

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Tia Dalma (Calypso)
Pirates of the Caribbean character
220px-Tia Dalma-1-.jpg
Tia Dalma (Calypso)
Portrayed by Naomie Harris
Appearance(s) Dead Man's Chest
At World's End
Information
Gender Female
Occupation Obeah sorceress, Hoodoo practitioner, Voodoo Queen
Ship(s) served on Black Pearl

Tia Dalma, played by Naomie Harris, is a fictional character from the films Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. It is revealed in At World's End that she is the sea goddess Calypso.

Name[edit]

The name implies several linguistic possibilities stemming from Portuguese to Spanish.

Tia is both Portuguese and Spanish for "aunt". Dalma could be a reference to the colloquial Caribbean Spanish del mar, "of the sea". It could also be a reference to Spanish de Alma, or Portuguese da alma, which means "of the soul".

Her full name is also an anagram for Dalmatia, a region in modern day Croatia infamous for its pirates, who were mostly active during the 9th and 10th centuries.[citation needed]

Character history[edit]

Prior to the films[edit]

Prior to the events of the films, Tia Dalma was known as the goddess Calypso. Davy Jones, a human, fell in love with her. Calypso gave him the task of guiding the spirits of the dead lost at sea, and Jones accepted the task out of love for her. Jones was granted immortality on the condition that he could return to shore only once every ten years. However, when Jones returned to shore after ten years of service, Calypso failed to appear.

Feeling betrayed, Davy Jones made a secret agreement with the Pirate Lords. He showed them how to bind her to human form using Pieces of Eight; and thus, at the first Brethren Court, the pirates captured Calypso and bound her to a human body. Her binding tamed the seas and satisfied Jones's desire for vengeance. This entrapment could only be reversed if the Brethren Court reassembled, resubmitted the original nine Pieces of Eight they used to bind her, and burned them. Until the events of At World's End, she was unaware of the crucial role that her former lover had played in her imprisonment. After she was bound in human form, Tia Dalma began to practice Voodoo and Obeah magic.

It was thought that Tia Dalma and Sparrow became lovers at some point during the latter's adult life; Sparrow confessed to having "known" her at a time when they had been "nigh inseparable". Tia Dalma provided him with his compass, a mysterious device that pointed to that which its user wanted most.

Dead Man's Chest[edit]

When the events of Dead Man's Chest begin, Jack Sparrow returns to see Tia Dalma after many years, in need of her assistance. Pursued across the Caribbean by Davy Jones's Kraken, he plans to find the Dead Man's Chest. This chest contains Jones's heart, and offers the only means to kill him. A series of trades takes place, leaving Jack with the location of the Flying Dutchman and a jar of dirt to protect him from Jones, while Tia Dalma gains possession of the undead monkey belonging to the late Captain Barbossa.

Jack's crew returns to Tia Dalma's shack after Jack is dragged to Davy Jones's Locker by the Kraken. Tia has apparently foreseen this eventuality, and informs the mourning crew that there is a chance to save Jack. She reveals that she has resurrected Barbossa, who will help lead the rescue mission.

At World's End[edit]

Tia Dalma joins Barbossa, Will, Elizabeth, and the rest of the Black Pearl's crew as they travel to Singapore. There, they infiltrate Sao Feng's headquarters to acquire the navigational chart needed to sail to World's End and Davy Jones' Locker, barely escaping the clutches of the East India Trading Company. On the journey, she explains to Pintel and Ragetti that Jack Sparrow cannot be resurrected the same way Barbossa was because Sparrow was "taken" by the Kraken while Barbossa died from normal, earthly causes. When rescuing Jack from the Locker, Tia Dalma flirts with him and references a presumed past romantic relationship.[1]

As the group searches for an escape route back to the mortal world, they encounter numerous souls adrift in the water. Tia Dalma tells the group the story of Davy Jones and Calypso, but does not reveal her identity. While caressing her locket, she reminisces that Jones was once human.

Later, is revealed that Tia Dalma is Calypso, bound into human form. Her true motives for resurrecting Barbossa and Jack are unveiled when it is learned that both are Pirate Lords of the Brethren Court. Each has their respective "Pieces of Eight", the talismans necessary to free Calypso. She resurrected Barbossa to obtain his piece, and rescued Jack because his Piece went with him to Davy Jones' Locker. Upon arrival at Shipwreck Cove, she reminds Barbossa of her power by gripping his hand and temporarily rendering it skeletal. She warns him that it was only by her power that he is alive again and that he must fulfill their agreement to release her. If he failed, she would kill him.

Tia Dalma and her estranged lover, Davy Jones, briefly reunite while she is locked in the brig of the ship. Calypso says she still feels deeply for Jones. She responds to his anger by saying that Jones never would have loved her if not for her uncontrollable and unpredictable nature. Calypso also chastises him for abandoning his duty to ferry souls to the other world. It was because he neglected his charges that Jones became a monster. Calypso is also furious that the Pirate Lords trapped her in her human form. Thus, her true motives are revealed: she plans to use her powers against the current court in revenge for the original act of turning her into a human. She will also fully give her love to Jones, and it appears they reconcile. When she touches Jones, he momentarily transforms back into the man he once was. Jones's parting words betray that his heart will always belong to her.

As the battle between the East India Trading Company and the pirates looms, Barbossa and Ragetti release Calypso from her human form. Before Calypso is fully freed, Will tells her that it was Davy Jones who betrayed her by revealing to the first Brethren Court how to bind her into her human form. Bound by ropes, she grows to nearly sixty feet high, towering over the crew. Barbossa asks that she fulfill their agreement and use her powers to aid the pirates. Calypso breaks free, transforming herself into thousands of small crabs that engulf the ship and flee into the sea. Her fury then creates a violent maelstrom that becomes the battlefield between the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman. Instead of aiding a particular side, her wrath is directed both at the pirate lords for imprisoning her and at Davy Jones for his betrayal.

Personality and appearance[edit]

In Dead Man's Chest, Tia Dalma appears to be quite mysterious and enigmatic. Her personality is flirtatious and playful, alluding to the belief that Calypso was a seductress. She speaks in Jamaican Patois with a typical West Indian accent. Harris's mother, a Jamaican immigrant, was her accent coach for the films.[2]

The movie-based comic series of the same name depicted Tia Dalma barefoot, which was seen in At World's End. The Kingdom Keepers book series also described her as perpetually barefoot, which was a plot point in "The Insider".

Other appearances[edit]

In Kingdom Keepers, Tia Dalma appears near the fifth book of the series, Shell Game, as a member of the Overtakers. Having set up residence in Castaway Cay, she meets with Jafar, who had been sent by the Overtakers to bring her aboard the Dream. Serving as the guardian of the Overtakers' DHI server, she fights with Finn and Willa, only to be given a death threat unless she released Finn's mother from Overtaker control. In the sixth book, Dark Passage, she works with the witches Maleficent and the Evil Queen to bring Chernabog out of his stupor and back to full power; she burns a key flower and tricks Finn into fatally stabbing his best friend, allowing Chernabog to lick the blood and fully awaken. She is knocked out, and taken hostage by the Keepers. In the final book The Insider, Tia Dalma escapes custody and searches through the maze, freeing Chernabog and the Evil Queen, while collecting some of Maleficent's bones; she was horrified that a powerful praticioner of the black arts had been killed. She manipulates a supply driver for Disneyland to get herself and her allies to their new hideouts. She originally leads the attack against the Keepers in Toontown, but forfeits leadership to the Queen. Tia Dalma instead focused on the spell needed to resurrect Maleficent.

References[edit]

External links[edit]