When fans enjoy Salazar as the handsome, badass disney villain he is
When fans sugarcoat him and say he did nothing wrong as if he were 10
;;I’ll try not to be arrogant enough to assume I influenced this post (despite my own paranoia) but I think things I might have said or joked about in the past would qualify as me as target for this so I’ll go ahead and take the opportunity to clarify my feelings about Salazar, his villain-dom (for lack of a better term) and his culpability. I tend to advocate for him pretty hard so this may be useful. Or something.
I want to clarify that I don’t believe Salazar never did anything wrong or that he isn’t a flawed character; I wouldn’t be interested in him if that truly were the case. While I understand his hatred for pirates, I think it’s warranted and find him to be admirable, if not tragic, character on the whole. That said, I recognize that this burning need to address Jack’s challenging of his honor and power is what drove him to the curse he’s under by the time of the film and that it involved him recklessly sacrificing his crew in the process.
This influences how I write Salazar in my RPs; specifically, that I come at him from the perspective of someone who considers himself very dedicated to his country and his mission. He comes across as someone acting in the interest of the innocent, and he is that, but he also acts from a deep well of rage (initially to avenge his father and grandfather) and this rage only grows in death. Said rage causes him to act impulse, throwing caution to the wind to seek out the one pirate that evaded him. This is, I recognize, selfish and part of what thrusts him into the villain category.
When he’s cursed and dead I’ve always interpreted that this zapped any sense of morality, mercy and temperance that once defined the man who lived and now cursed!Salazar seeks only satisfaction and revenge for what’s happened to him and will cut down anyone who gets in his path. I think even after the curse lifts this is still more or less the case, causing him to completely forsake his men in order to finally get Jack Sparrow. All of this is, from a moral perspective, wrong. Of course.
But to say Salazar is simply evil and bad and wrong is to simplify him beyond what’s true. He’s complicated, he’s layered, he’s a deeply flawed character that had the capacity to be a hero in a different series of events, in a different franchise where (ironically) self-serving attitudes aren’t lauded by the narrative so long as the character was never in the lawful alignment at any point.
That’s primarily my issue with the franchise and why I so often defend my muse; there are characters who forsake the safety and lives of others time and time again and are never really punished for it, whereas if a formerly lawful-good character chooses a path that’s a bit more ‘pirate-y’, like stealing the heart of Davy Jones, their painful death with be inevitable. I’m not sure what message that’s supposed to send, but I’ve always felt it was irresponsible and that Salazar is, in some measure, a victim of a double standard.
I like the way Salazar was written in the book. Unlike in the movie, where he only mentions that his father and grandfather were killed by pirates, in the book he goes into more detail about how his father betrayed them by giving in to pirates, rather than do his job and take them down. However, it’s his relationship with his mother that I love, the way he talks about her and how he hates how his father’s actions were the reason she ended up where she did. The book gave him more humanity, and it would have been better if the movie had done that, then maybe more people would have seen him as being tragic and not a true villain.