This is my longest FIHL yet, so it should be no surprise to anyone that this is the fandom I know the least about. I probably don't know enough about it to consider myself a real fan, even. And there's two reasons for that: Disneyland and Orlando Bloom. Let's take them in order, shall we?
I've spent a lot of time at Disneyland over the years; probably more than is entirely healthy. And the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is long, air-conditioned, fun, and suitable for all ages. So I've also spent a lot of time on that ride, which is a good thing, really. Except that it sort of gets in the way when I'm reading FF. After the first story, I find myself humming "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me." After the second story, I’m informing the world at large that "Dead men tell no tales." Third story, and I'm ordering all bloomin' cockroaches to strike their colors. A person can only recite dialog from a Disneyland ride for so long before she begins to doubt her sanity, and I have enough doubts about that already, thanks. So I really have to limit the time I spend with Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth, and Will et al.
Which brings me to my other problem with this fandom. Will is a thinly-disguised (and just plain thin) Orlando Bloom, and if you've ever read this blog before today you'll know why that doesn't work for me. I just can't buy seductive Will, or sweet Will, or smart Will. About the only Will I've really been able to buy, I'm afraid, is dead drunk Will. Who is, at any rate, good company for Jack. But, again, there's only so many drunkfics that can pass before my eyes before I'm ready for something a little more sober – you know, a nice angsty Spike/Xander, or some kinky Fraser/Kowalski. Or, hell, an absolutely appalling Dangermouse/Penfold. (Yes, there is one, and yes, it is rated NC-17, and no, I won't link to it; if you want to scar yourself forever, you can do it through Google like everyone else. Talk about the loss of childhood innocence; that single fic did more psychological damage to me than my entire sixth grade year.)
So I don't know PotC as well as I'd like. But, hey, it's a fandom of mine, and I love it as I love all fandoms, so I'm writing about it. As always, though, people with useful information or snarky remarks should comment; this is all about dragging newbies into our fandoms and mocking the characters we love, folks. Feel free to join in.
-Helpful Links for the PotC Newbie-
If you don’t know the canon, you can fake it with:
Look, just rent the movie. It'll be two hours out of your life. It'd take you longer to figure out the fandom from secondary sources than it would to see everything the canon has to offer.
You won't, you say? You have an undead-pirate phobia? You're repelled by exceedingly slender British females who nonetheless wear corsets? Your loved ones have threatened to commit you if you make them watch one more film featuring Johnny Depp? OK, no problem, I'll help you out. Here's everything you need to know.
JACK SPARROW is a swashbuckling (in all senses of the word) pirate; he has beaded facial hair, gold teeth, a strange sashay, and the eerie ability to turn even the worst script into riveting box office gold.
WILL TURNER is a swashbuckling (in no senses of the word) blacksmith; he has alarmingly wispy facial hair, straight and even teeth, a straight and even walk, and a straight and even way of delivering his lines.
ELIZABETH SWANN is a thin (in all senses of the word) anachronistically spunky upper-class young lady; she has gorgeous hair (not, of course, on her face), gorgeous teeth, gorgeous posture, and a fruity accent that almost conceals her ability to act. She also has a father, who ponces.
NORRINGTON is an uptight Navy officer who is inexplicably posted on land; he wears the Powdered Wig of Pomposity, never shows his teeth under any circumstances, walks with exceptionally magisterial bearing, and manages to be somewhat charming even though the filmmakers had all character surgically removed from him in a Tijuana alley just after dark by a red-headed man named Boldo and his three strangely androgynous teen-aged assistants.
BARBOSSA is an evil undead pirate; he has scraggly hair all over the place, chips in his teeth from all the scenery-chewing he does, a fixation on apples, and an excellent growl. He also has a pirate crew.
THE BLACK PEARL is Jack Sparrow's love interest; she's got a fine figure, she's very fast, and she likes vigorous scrubbing and the company of pirates.
THE MONKEY is evil. Do not taunt the monkey. Do not go near the monkey. We fear the monkey, oh yes we do.
Barbossa once stole the Black Pearl from Sparrow's loving hands. Sparrow is determined to get her back. Norrington, the dastard, has proposed to Elizabeth, even though Will Turner, who is younger and supposedly cuter, loves her. Turner uses his youthful form and manly wiles to persuade Sparrow to help him recover Elizabeth; Sparrow uses his twisted mind and wiliness to make sure he gets the Black Pearl back, too.
Adventures ensue. Jack and Elizabeth are trapped on an island and she takes advantage of him. Jack and Will spend a great deal of time on boats, on unprincipled islands, and on demand; they fight pirates that cannot die, bugger about with the British Navy (probably not literally), and wave their swords at everyone in sight. Planks are walked, treasures are fondled, apples are eaten, dresses are worn, and canons are fired. To no one's surprise, it all works out about five minutes before the movie ends.
At the end, Will rescues Jack from hanging just in time to show him his excellent new hat. Norrington lets Jack go just in time to admit that he was never man enough for Elizabeth, and now she's not man enough for him. Elizabeth manages to get Will's mind off his hat just long enough to kiss him. Jack closes the movie caressing and singing to his Pearl. And they all live happily ever after until the sequel comes out in 2006, except Barbossa, who is dead.
There. That should hold you. On to the fics, hmmm?
Where to start with Pirates fanfiction:
With porn, my precious. With porn. Preferably with porn that's longer than 250 words, which is tougher to find in this fandom than you'd think. And please note that, as with all FIHL entries, these are stories I've mostly nominated before. I pick 'em for their kindness to beginners, not their freshness to the experienced and jaded.
Where to Begin If You Like Your Porn to Feature Fantasy and Masturbation: Breathless and Breathless Too, by Gloria Mundi, aka viva_gloria. Jack/Norrington. Sort of. These marvelous, strange stories (each one is 1,200 words and one sentence long) give you an excellent idea of the characters of Jack and Norrington, and PotC FF is really all about character. No, sorry, it's all about sex. But in-character sex, and that's what you have here.
Where to Begin If You Like Your Porn to Feature Jack Davenport: Jjail, by firesignwriter. Jack/Norrington. Warning: this is a work in progress. We all need to send messages to firesignwriter asking her to finish this, because this is a great story that squeezes a lot of perfect characterization into the spaces between the sex. It's longer than most PotC stories, even only half-done, so you get a real sense of the characters, too. (Note that Jack and Norrington never find themselves in jail in the actual canon; that's all the author's idea.)
Where to Begin If You Like Your Porn to Feature Orlando Bloom: Hurricane Jack, by shrift. Jack/Will. This is another one where everyone is solidly in-character. And it's a drunkfic, of course; someday I'm going to have to branch out to other kinds of Jack/Will. But there's no need for you to, since drunk Will is probably the best kind of Will there is, and drunk Jack is absolutely identical to sober Jack (if there is any such beast).