On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

by Tim Powers

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On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:17 am

What does Davies' character bring to the story? Did you like “Phil”?
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Re: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby fireflydances » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:35 am

Ah Davies! :toastingpirates: My favorite! Be back later.

It's later. Did I like Phil you ask? I loved Phil. In fact, I loved Phil so much that when he was killed, I didn't believe it. I re-read the section over twice. I read ahead. Then I stopped. I didn't read that book for an entire week because: well, because Phil was gone. :-O

Now when I commenced reading this fine book I was under the impression that the man of the hour so to speak (pssst! the dude who "inspired" those scriptwriters?) Well I was assuming that said fellow was Jack Shandy. So I am reading along--the introduction of Jack and Beth at hand--and something goes unexpectedly wrong (why are the guests shooting those defending the Carmichael?) Pirates! And then..
"One of the pirates stepped forward and sprang up the companion ladder to the poop deck so lithely that Chandagnac was surprised, when the man turned and tilted back his three-cornered hat, to see the deep lines of his dark cheeks and the quantity of gray in his tangled black hair. He scanned the men below him and grinned, narrowing his eyes and baring a lot of teeth."
Ladies (and gentlemen). It took me about a second to shuffle my mental deck and come to the conclusion that I'd just been introduced to the original, the prototype actually (if you consider that term in all its scholarly manifestations), of our dear Cap't Jack Sparrow.

The wit was there
You’re …… new Venner,” Davies said hoarsely. “You should ask Abbott or Gardner how dire a wound must be to slow me down.” He inhaled deeply, then swayed and stared down at the deck………..After a moment he looked up. “Or,” he went on, stepping back unsteadily and drawing his rapier again “would you like to….discover for yourself how much this has disabled me?”
the heart
four of my men were killed during our approach and boarding" he remarked softly
the mildly insane edge
Davies calmly hiked a pistol out of his garish paisley sash, and cocked it and fired it into Chaworth’s chest.
And of course that dead-pan honesty, the talent for telling tales, and the sheer balls approach to life in general. (I had to stop the quoting as the post would proceed far too long down the page, but all three above come within the first few minutes of meeting ol’ Phil.)

So I shed a bitter tear when Cap’t Davies fell. And for I’d say perhaps the greater portion of the rest of the book I remained convinced that the author was merely waiting for the proper moment to return the man to full life (I’d have taken him as an animated zombie frankly --- that faint shadow in the end didn’t cut it).

But that was not to happen. And perhaps the story needed that because he’d served his writerly function: got the main guy in gear, connected Jack to Blackbeard, moved the story apace (quite a thefty pace actually) and generally helped Shandy find the man he was supposed to be.

Lovely character, just lovely. A toast to Phil! :toastingpirates:
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby gemini » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:44 pm

While I am not sure whether Tim had Davies in mind as a sort of antihero or just a villain with somewhat of a conscience, but I liked him.

He took an immediate liking to Jack as if he might be foreseeing his destiny. He was a mentor passing along his seafaring experience, as well as a lttle magic, while leaving him to his fate so he would adapt to the life on his own.

Davies left me wondering how he must have once loved his life as a pirate Captain before he found himself too much under Blackbeards influence. He seemed much more intelligent and more his own man then Stede Bonnet. Even though he was a scallywag and every inch a pirate, even Jack admired him.

To be honest he was my favorite character.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby gemini » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:51 pm

fireflydances wrote:So I shed a bitter tear when Cap’t Davies fell. And for I’d say perhaps the greater portion of the rest of the book I remained convinced that the author was merely waiting for the proper moment to return the man to full life (I’d have taken him as an animated zombie frankly --- that faint shadow in the end didn’t cut it).


I also wanted him brought back to life. Tim should not have taught us enough about vodoo to give us hope and then not follow through. :bawl:
"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: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby fireflydances » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:48 pm

gemini wrote:I also wanted him brought back to life. Tim should not have taught us enough about vodoo to give us hope and then not follow through. :bawl:
Yes I definitely agree with this. I think Tim is very good at the"magic' of simulating contradictory emotions in his readers, and not so much via words as by the turns of a tale.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby Buster » Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:58 pm

I, too, liked Davies.In many ways he was the most authentic pirate of them all. He seemed three-dimensionally human, and honorable by his own lights. Definitely one of my favorite characters.
I'm sort of glad Tim killed him off, though. I'd have hated to see him co-opted by the magicians or reformed - better to die by the sword, in action. Swash, swash, buckle, buckle.

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Re: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby fireflydances » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:03 pm

Swash, swash, buckle, buckle.

Perfect Buster, simply perfect (giggle)

I think Cap't Davies left the stage appropriately, as we all called and cheered for more. :angel:
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Re: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:19 pm

Davies actually reminded me of Barbossa. Phil was my favorite character because I liked his comical essence, and, although a pirate, I thought he was a good man. I felt a bit like you did, firefly, when he died. It was unexpected and certainly unwelcomed.
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Re: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:22 pm

Definitely one of my favorites too, if not my favorite. I saw him as a combination of Jack and Barbosa. I was sad to see him go but he had served his purpose in the story and it was time to move forward. :bawl: I was glad to get a glimmer, as it were, of him at the end. Made me feel like he had been watching Jack and looking out for him.
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: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby moviemom » Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:12 pm

Captain Davies was one of the best characters in the book. He had a respectable fear of Blackbeard, but I got the impression that he wasn't completely afraid of him or controled in the same way as Bonnett (see question #10).

Good pirate, good man. I was sad that he died.
The year's no doubt, have changed me, sir. -- Sweeney Todd :sweeneysmile:

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Re: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:43 pm

I found this in an interview with Tim Powers:
On Stranger Tides is a book where many of the characters have aliases, was that common for the time period or a method to add to the storyline?



-TP “It was common to the time period, in that a lot of the European people in the Caribbean had pasts that they wanted to disown, for one reason or another -- and that's a handy device for the storyline too. “


It sure was a handy storyline device! If you look at Jack Shandy as the hero, who do you see as the "anti-hero”?



-TP “I guess that would have to be Phil Davies! I meant him to be a genuinely bad guy who had once been a good guy, and who sometimes reverted back to it. That's a fun sort of character to write about -- a bit like Long John Silver!”
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: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby Liz » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:36 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I found this in an interview with Tim Powers:
On Stranger Tides is a book where many of the characters have aliases, was that common for the time period or a method to add to the storyline?



-TP “It was common to the time period, in that a lot of the European people in the Caribbean had pasts that they wanted to disown, for one reason or another -- and that's a handy device for the storyline too. “


It sure was a handy storyline device! If you look at Jack Shandy as the hero, who do you see as the "anti-hero”?



-TP “I guess that would have to be Phil Davies! I meant him to be a genuinely bad guy who had once been a good guy, and who sometimes reverted back to it. That's a fun sort of character to write about -- a bit like Long John Silver!”


A bit like Captain Jack. :captainjack:
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: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:01 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I found this in an interview with Tim Powers:
On Stranger Tides is a book where many of the characters have aliases, was that common for the time period or a method to add to the storyline?



-TP “It was common to the time period, in that a lot of the European people in the Caribbean had pasts that they wanted to disown, for one reason or another -- and that's a handy device for the storyline too. “


It sure was a handy storyline device! If you look at Jack Shandy as the hero, who do you see as the "anti-hero”?



-TP “I guess that would have to be Phil Davies! I meant him to be a genuinely bad guy who had once been a good guy, and who sometimes reverted back to it. That's a fun sort of character to write about -- a bit like Long John Silver!”



Interview excerpt from novelchatter.com:
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: On Stranger Tides Question #9 ~ Phil Davies

Unread postby fireflydances » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:32 pm

Thanks DITHOT. Many thanks for that interview. Very interesting to read about how Tim develops a story and his perspective on his characters.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies


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