OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

by Tim Powers

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OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby Liz » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:35 pm

Blackbeard...discuss!
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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:08 pm

Awesome, fearsome, resourceful, determined, wily, smart.
Last edited by nebraska on Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby Liz » Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:27 pm

Thanks for starting us off, nebraska. I think awesome is a good description. I think he inspired awe and fear in others. I would like to add mysterious to the list.
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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby gemini » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:54 pm

I agree he was fearsome and he went to much trouble to look the part. I loved the scenes in the book, like marooning his ships and staging his death as he actually died. I love that Tim puts as much history as he does into the story. Following Blackbeard’s escapades and even the history Tim invented for him as a boy was some of the best reading for me. The other villains were powerful but not nearly as fascinating to me as Blackbeard.
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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby Buster » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:41 pm

I'm a big fan of the real Blackbeard, an incredibly colorful character who epitomises the whole pirate mystique, so I was greatly relieved that Tim stuck to the known history. I love the way he wove the already over-the-top legend of Teach's death into the story. The actual event of his demise has been told in a lot of differing versions, each more fantastical than the last, so when I read Tim's version, which gave a "reason" why it went down the way it did, I was delighted.
I like the way he takes the lacunae in history and expands those spaces into stories. We'll never really know why Maynard was able to engage Teach in waters that Teach presumably knew well, but now I can rest easy that there is at least an explanation...
Blackbeard was a showman, and considering all of his allies, both piratical and political, it seems as if he must have had a lot of charisma.

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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:48 pm

Yeah, I liked the character of Blackbeard a lot. Not as a person mind you. He was both a really shrewd gamesman and also bottomlessly evil --an interesting combination really. I mean the shrewd part is familiar: we all know people who are really good at getting what they want. We know they're not the nicest people in the world but we're fairly confident they have sufficient common sense and we can depend on them to act in a reasoned matter, selfishly but generally within the standard parameters -- i.e. we can trust them as long as we watch them carefully. We may even allow them to lead us. Ha! Then there are the genuinely wicked who are bereft of any humanity and whom you better run from if you want to live. Combine the two elements in one character, so you are lulled into complacency one moment, willing to follow them into danger even, and then suddenly, the next moment, aware that yeah, they are more than a nasty piece of work and you're stricken cold with terror, ready to do them in yourself just to come out living. That's Blackbeard for me. And I liked that he wavered back and forth, flaming in and out of evil. It made him rather compelling, like a cobra is compelling.

On top of this, we've got the amazing bonus that the man is based on an honest to god real human, with real bones and deeds. Geez, half your job as a writer is done when you grab a guy with the history like this one has. You're putting your icing on the already made cake if you will. Great idea!

PS Written while Buster was writing, ain't that the way? I hope I am still saying something useful here.
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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby Buster » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:02 pm

Oh, and I wanted to thank Tim for answering my question early on about how Blackbeard could have grown up in Jamaica .
-
I'm going to jump the gun and answer Buster's question before I forget it!
There are several stories about Blackbeard's origins, so I just picked the one that was most useful for the story! And it was handier if he had grown up in Jamaica. I always like it when history gives several versions of something, so I can pick the version I like best -- I'm still not writing "alternate history" that way, since I can say, No, look, I didn't make it up!
Cheeers,
Tim

It got me thinking about how cleverly he interwove historical fact throughout the story, and added a new dimension to my reading of it. Thanks!

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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby Liz » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:12 am

Buster wrote:Oh, and I wanted to thank Tim for answering my question early on about how Blackbeard could have grown up in Jamaica .
-
I'm going to jump the gun and answer Buster's question before I forget it!
There are several stories about Blackbeard's origins, so I just picked the one that was most useful for the story! And it was handier if he had grown up in Jamaica. I always like it when history gives several versions of something, so I can pick the version I like best -- I'm still not writing "alternate history" that way, since I can say, No, look, I didn't make it up!
Cheeers,
Tim

It got me thinking about how cleverly he interwove historical fact throughout the story, and added a new dimension to my reading of it. Thanks!

And, as others have said, I like how he interwove historical fact into his story. I am always looking for that in a story. The more real facts in it, the more I enjoy it.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:20 am

He was a wonderful, pirately villian! I'm a big fan of history and historical novels so I found it great fun to disover how much real lore was included here. Well done! :cool:
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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby ladylinn » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:02 pm

No question about it - Blackbeard was the most feared and clever pirate of the time. Loved how he made himself even more awesome by his looks. Good job of weaving in history of Blackbeard into the story.

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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby gemini » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:15 pm

Buster wrote: We'll never really know why Maynard was able to engage Teach in waters that Teach presumably knew well, but now I can rest easy that there is at least an explanation...
Blackbeard was a showman, and considering all of his allies, both piratical and political, it seems as if he must have had a lot of charisma.

I was fascinated about ships on both sides getting marooned. Since they explain that many pirates used sloops because they were light in the water that seems to be a common thing. Interesting all the speculation on the real Blackbeard marooning his ships on purpose. I think he must have been either persuasive or charismatic to talk the real Bonnett into letting someone else Captain his ship while he was a guest on Blackbeard’s ship.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:19 pm

We know just enough "facts" to make the possible stories interesting, eh?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:35 am

Blackbeard was one of my favorite characters too. I was glad he was the last of the villians to go. So how do you take an already larger-than-life legend and make him real? Well, as everyone has said, Tim did a wonderful job a taking what we know about him historically, and weaving it into the storyline with a little twist, a little extra kick for fun. But the visual descriptions also really stood out for me, and I wanted to be sure to mention those. When Shandy first encountered him, from page 135:
“…his three-cornered hat seemed too tapering and long at the corners, and with the points of red light bobbing around his head he looked to Shandy like some three-horned demon newly climbed up from Hell. … He was a tall man, taller than Davies, and as solidly massive as a wind-etched rock outcrop.”
I also loved the lit ends of match cords “woven into his shaggy mane and beard”, and the fact that Tim gave them a purpose. How many villains have you read about that were tormented by demons? Of course usually the demons are the product of a mental illness. But here we have a villain who is truly “infested” with actual demon-ghosts! I thought that was a great touch! Pages 136-137:
“The pirate’s long coat seemed to shiver, as though rats were running around underneath.”
and
“Shandy thought he saw something like a little featherless bird clinging to Blackbeard’s hand…”
Yikes!!! Actually made me feel sorry for him! And I love how he keeps them under control by lighting and downing some gunpowder-laced rum every so often. Page 137:
“For a moment it seemed that his entire head had caught fire; then as quick as it had appeared the blaze was out, leaving just the dim corona of lit match-cords, and a puff of churning, red luminous smoke hung over his head…”
Great imagery. Great character. Great job!

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Re: OST Question #7 - Blackbeard

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:16 am

Buster, your the first quote in your post I thought was a great description of Blakcbeard. A very strong mental image!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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