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In Dead Men Tell No Tales / (also titled Salazar's Revenge in some countries), Will is shown to be covered in sea shells and was said to be

cursed.

But from At World's End we're made to believe that it should only happen if one were to neglect their duty of ferrying the dead.

So, did he at some point stop ferrying the dead?

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+50

I concur with Mac, that Will was able to fulfill his duty (at least to a great degree), but disagree with the conclusion that the barnacles directly correlate with the dereliction of said duty. Now I will bring up two points to clarify my explanation.

The Curse of the Flying Dutchman

In short, the Curse of the captain is this: You are to ferry the dead lost at sea for all eternity. One day at land for every 10 years at sea. You lose your heart (physically) to become "one with the crew, one with the ship". In other words, you are bound to the crew and ship by your life. This is the curse- you are unable to leave. You can only be "forcibly removed" from your post as captain by one who stabs your heart.

Wills barnacles

The barnacles can only be explained as a natural occurrence of underwater inhabitancy. All members of the crew (as well as the ship itself) collect barnacles. I wouldn't say it is a direct influence of the curse, as a direct consequence of dereliction of duty leads to the eventual loss of what makes you human. So Davy Jones became ol' squidface specifically because he chose to take a few centuries of vacation time.

TL;DR Will has barnacles because of extended time in the ocean. Not because he didn't ferry around the dead people.

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I imagine that Will Turner was able to (for the most part) fulfill his duty as captain of the Dutchman ferrying souls but after 10+ years when we see him at the beginning of Dead Men I'm sure that the job has grown wearisome and he may have let some souls slip, hence the few barnacles.

This is evidenced merely in his presence at the bottom of the ocean when his son Henry sinks down to him. If he were dutifully ferrying souls, wouldn't the Dutchman be in the upside down, locker realm seen in At Worlds End?

  • Is this pure speculation or do you have any evidence? Also the Dutchman may have to get the souls as they die in the sea and transport them across so it makes sense for him to be there to pick Henry up. – TheLethalCarrot Jun 9 '17 at 14:42

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