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Why did the pirates need Will Turner’s blood?

In the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, a group of cursed pirates need the blood of Will Turner to break an ancient Aztec curse. The curse prevented the pirates from dying, but also caused them to become undead skeletons in moonlight. They needed Will’s blood because he was the son of “Bootstrap Bill” Turner, one of the pirates who had taken Aztec gold and been cursed. Only Turner blood could break the curse and restore the pirates to normal.

The Origin of the Curse

The curse originated when Hector Barbossa and his pirate crew stole Aztec gold from a stone chest on Isla de Muerta. The heathen gods placed a curse on the gold, so that any mortal who removed a piece from the chest would be punished for eternity. When Barbossa and his men took the coins and spent them, the curse turned them into immortal skeletal beings whose true forms could only be seen in moonlight.

Who was Cursed?

The pirates cursed by the Aztec gold included:

  • Hector Barbossa – captain of the Black Pearl
  • Pintel and Ragetti – comic relief pirates
  • Bo’sun – the pirate taskmaster
  • Jacoby – the pirate with the parrot
  • Several other crew members of the Black Pearl

Barbossa’s crew believed the only way to lift the curse was to return all 882 coins to the chest and offer a blood sacrifice.

Why Will Turner’s Blood?

Will Turner was needed to break the curse because he was the son of Bootstrap Bill Turner. Bootstrap Bill had been part of Hector Barbossa’s crew when they first took the Aztec gold and became cursed.

Who was Bootstrap Bill?

Bootstrap Bill Turner was a pirate aboard the Black Pearl when Hector Barbossa captained the ship. He was part of the cursed crew, but felt guilty about the cursed treasure. Bootstrap Bill sent one Aztec coin to his young son Will, hoping to spare the boy from the curse. He also threw additional coins into the sea to prevent the curse from ever being broken. Barbossa’s crew saw this as an act of betrayal. They strapped Bootstrap Bill to a cannon and threw him overboard to the depths of the ocean.

How was Will Turner related?

Will Turner grew up believing his father was a merchant sailor, not knowing he was the son of a cursed pirate. When Will joined the British Royal Navy, he revealed his last name was Turner. Captain Jack Sparrow realized Will’s connection to Bootstrap Bill and the Aztec curse.

As Bootstrap Bill’s only child, Will Turner’s blood could be used to break the curse and free Barbossa’s crew from their damned state. They needed the blood of a family member – Will – to lift the curse.

Breaking the Curse

After capturing Will, Barbossa performed a ritual to break the curse. He made Will cut his palm and drip his blood onto the Aztec coins in the stone chest. Lifting the curse required a blood sacrifice from Bootstrap Bill Turner’s living relative.

The Ritual

To break the curse, Barbossa’s crew gathered in the treasure cave on Isla de Muerta. They stood before the stone chest filled with the 882 cursed Aztec coins. On Barbossa’s order, Will Turner cut his hand and dripped his blood over the coins. Barbossa then lifted the curse, which was finally broken after being in effect for years.


When Will’s blood offering lifted the curse, Barbossa and his men could once again feel, bleed, and die like mortal men. In a twist, Jack Sparrow fatally shot Barbossa at the moment the curse was lifted, killing him. With the curse broken, Barbossa did not come back as an immortal – he stayed dead.

Why Only Turner Blood Would Do

According to Tia Dalma’s explanation of the Aztec curse, only a blood sacrifice from a family member could break the spell. As Bootstrap Bill Turner’s son, Will fulfilled the specific requirement to lift the curse.

Tia Dalma’s Insight

Tia Dalma was a mystic who provided key exposition on the nature of the curse:

The curse was real. The greed of the pirates who took the Aztec gold summoned a heathen curse. The only way to lift it was to return all 882 coins and offer blood – the blood of a living Turner.

As Bootstrap Bill Turner was dead at the bottom of the ocean, only his progeny – Will Turner – could provide the blood necessary to break the curse.

Other Turner Relatives?

Some fans have speculated whether Elizabeth Swann’s blood could have broken the curse, since she was related to the Turners by marriage. However, Tia Dalma specifies the blood had to come from a living Turner. At the time, Will was the only living person with Turner blood able to break the curse.

The Significance of Turner Blood

In summary, Will Turner’s blood was significant for the following reasons:

  • Will was the son of Bootstrap Bill Turner, one of the pirates cursed by the Aztec gold
  • As a Turner family member, Will’s blood could lift the curse under the ritual rules
  • Will was the only living Turner available to offer his blood
  • Without Will’s blood, the curse on Barbossa’s crew could never be broken

Will’s blood was the key to ending the pirates’ undead curse of living immortality. This made him extremely valuable to Barbossa and his cursed crew.

Visualizing the Turner Family Bloodline

Family Member Relation to Will Status Role
Will Turner Himself Alive Breaks curse
Bootstrap Bill Turner Father Deceased Cursed pirate
Elizabeth Swann Wife Alive N/A

This table summarizes the Turner bloodline and illustrates why Will was the only person who could break the curse.

The Impact of Breaking the Curse

When Will Turner broke the pirates’ curse, it had significant consequences:

  • Freed Barbossa’s crew from the living death of the curse
  • Allowed the pirates to feel, bleed, and die normally again
  • Enabled Barbossa to be killed permanently when Jack shot him
  • Stopped the pirates from constantly plundering to find the last coins
  • Ended the pirates’ quest for Will’s blood to break the curse

By lifting the curse, Will played a pivotal role in the Pirates of the Caribbean story and changed the fates of many characters.

A New Quest Begins

Yet as one curse ended, another emerged. When Will broke the Aztec curse, the evil Davy Jones began pursuing him to collect a long-owed debt. This set in motion events leading to the next two Pirates films.

So while Will’s blood resolved the problem of the Aztec curse, it also bonded him to a new, perilous quest against Davy Jones’ Flying Dutchman crew.


In the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Will Turner’s blood was necessary to break the immortality curse on Hector Barbossa’s crew. As the son of Bootstrap Bill Turner, one of the cursed pirates, only Will’s blood could lift the Aztec curse under the ritualistic rules. Will unwillingly offered his blood in a ceremony, allowing Barbossa to end the curse. This freed the pirates from their undead state, but also led Will into further dangerous adventures against supernatural forces on the high seas.