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Fountain of Youth

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General information
Location

Unnamed island, Caribbean Sea

Societal
Affiliation

Juan Ponce de León
Profane Ritual
Quest for the Fountain of Youth

Behind the scenes
First appearance

On Stranger Tides

Last appearance

On Stranger Tides

Cause

Destroyed by the Spanish

"Feast your eyes upon this, mateys. There's more than one way to live forever. Gents, I give you the Fountain of Youth."
Hector Barbossa to his crew[src]

The Fountain of Youth, sometimes known as just the Fountain or the Aqua de Vida, was a legendary spring that reputedly restored the youth or granted immortality to anyone who drank from its waters. Rumored to be discovered by the Juan Ponce de León, the Fountain was located within on a mysterious island in the Caribbean.

Ever since the rumors of the discovery of the Fountain of Youth by the Spanish explorer Ponce de León in 1523, it had been the ambition of many quests. On the Mao Kun Map, the struggle for eternal youth was symbolized by a tug of war between a skeleton and an angel, aligned with the symbol of the Fountain—the Chalices. The Chalices were required, along with a mermaid's tear, in order to perform the Profane Ritual, which was needed to use the Fountain. In 1750, three parties, including a pirate crew, the British, and the Spanish, embarked in a quest for the Fountain.

History

Legend

"Some say the Fountain be not more than legend false a mermaid's kiss. Others whisper of a curse that leave ya as dead as old Ponce here. What be the truth of it? I'll show ya."
Hector Barbossa[src] (featurette)

For centuries, various legends and lore surrounding the Fountain of Youth existed in many cultures, dating back thousands of years. It was widely believed that if anyone were to drink water from the Fountain, their youth would be miraculously restored—thereby granting eternal life. According to the legends of the Arawaks—a tribe native to the western Caribbean islands—the Fountain of Youth was located somewhere north of Cuba, in a island called Bimini. But in reality, the Fountain of Youth was located on an uncharted island. The Fountain itself would be found through dense jungles and past the Jungle Pools, within a cavern where water floats upward. To enter the Fountain's chamber, the words inscribed upon the two Chalices, "Aqua de Vida," must be spoken.[1]

CaveSymbol

The archaic symbol at the cave entrance.

At some point in its longtime existence, the Fountain of Youth was discovered by humans who built a temple around it. The Fountain had since been taken over by natural growth, in which it would become a ruined stone temple, with vines growing around it, pulling it down and tearing it apart.[2] Within this sacred chamber, exotic creepers and clinging moss covered ancient skeletons that littered the stone steps, and a delicate stream of enchanted water flowed through a natural stone circle at the center of the temple. An archaic symbol would at some point be used as the symbol of the Fountain of Youth, in which it would be carved at the cave entrance of the Fountain as well as being written on the few maps and guides that led to the Fountain.[1]

Ponce de León 1523

"No, I told you! Ponce de León died two hundred years ago."
"Aye, but he died searching for something, didn't he?"
"...The Fountain of Youth.
"
Captain, Fisherman and King Ferdinand[src]
OSTMaptotheFoY

The map to the Fountain of Youth.

The legend was most often associated with 16th-century Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León, who purportedly tried to find it in 1513, during his voyage to the New World. Ponce de León would have searched for the Fountain of Youth in an expedition to Florida and a mysterious island. While it was said that Ponce de León died while searching for the Fountain, rumors and legends persisted that the Spanish explorer had discovered it. Sometime after 1523, the route taken by Ponce de León in the Santiago's journey to the Fountain was depicted on the navigational charts that led to otherworldly realms: the Mao Kun Map.[1]

Santiagologbook

The ship's log of the Santiago.

The Mao Kun Map served as one of the few guides to the Fountain of Youth, with the map having one of the items needed for the Profane Ritual, the Chalices of Cartagena, and showing the only place where to find a mermaid, Whitecap Bay. The only other known guide was the ship's log of the Santiago, which had pages that chronicled every detail of Ponce de León's voyage.[3] Ever since rumors floated of Ponce de León's search, many men had sought the Fountain for the next two centuries.[1]

At some point during the quest for the Shadow Gold, Jack Sparrow and the crew of the Black Pearl learned about the Fountain of Youth from a distant descendant of Ponce de León's, Diego. After this, Jack had been intrigued by the idea of finding the Fountain.[4] At some point during their pursuit to lift the Aztec curse, Hector Barbossa's cursed crew discovered a young mysterious castaway who claimed to be Ponce de León. Barbossa believed his tale and, thinking the Fountain of Youth might hold the key to lifting the curse that his crew was under[5], set forth for the Fountain, only to discover the young man's tale to be false.[6]

Quest for the Fountain of Youth

"I hear-tell you've been to the Fountain?"
"There be a lot of hear-telling these days."
"The Fountain of Youth.
"
Angelica and Jack Sparrow[src]

Following the War Against Piracy, Captain Jack Sparrow set off in a small vessel to search for the Fountain of Youth using his compass and navigational charts he stole from Hector Barbossa, who had also intended to find the Fountain. However, even though he had been close as reaching the cave entrance to the Fountain itself, Jack never made it to the elusive Fountain and was forced to turn back.[7] Despite not finding the Fountain of Youth, Jack Sparrow had the way to the Fountain of Youth committed to his memory[8] and gained some renown as the pirate who knew its location, though some misinterpret that he had been to the Fountain himself.[9]


Race to the Fountain

"If I do not make it to the Fountain in time...neither will you."
Blackbeard to Jack Sparrow[src]

In 1750, several years after the War Against Piracy, a dangerous quest for the Fountain of Youth was endeavoured. Upon the discovery of the logbook of the Santiago, held by an ancient sailor, King Ferdinand of Spain sent the Spaniard to find the Fountain. After learning of this discovery, King George II sent Hector Barbossa, now a privateer of the court, to find the Fountain before the Spanish. Rumored of having been to the Fountain itself, Jack Sparrow was forced aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge to help Blackbeard find the Fountain.[9]

Throughout the quest, each party journeyed to find for the Fountain whilst collecting the items required for the Profane Ritual: the Chalices of Cartagena and a mermaid's tear. After the battle at Whitecap Bay, Blackbeard's crew was able to capture a mermaid named Syrena, who they later took a tear from at the Jungle Pools. Jack Sparrow was able to retrieve the Chalices after escaping from the Spanish with Barbossa's crew. The next day, Jack met up with Blackbeard and presented him with the Chalices before joining the crew towards the end of their quest.[9]

Battle for the Fountain

Cave entrance
"I could've swore it was somewhere right around here."
Jack Sparrow[src]
OSTQuartermasterandJackenteringcave

Blackbeard's crew in the cave entrance to the Fountain.

Having the route to the Fountain of Youth memorized, Jack Sparrow searched through the jungles to find the cave entrance to the Fountain. After searching through many huge palm fronds, Jack spotted a water droplet travelling up on one of the fronds, defying gravity. He watched it as it crawled upward, then started toying with it between his fingers. Squinting through the droplet, Jack spotted a rock wall with the archaic symbol of the Fountain carved on it. The droplet broke free of Jack's finger and floated upward just as Jack found the cave entrance.[9]

Torches lit and in hand, the Quartermaster led Jack, Angelica, Blackbeard, and the rest of the pirate crew as they climbed down a steep incline into the blue cave. As the pirates go through a part of the cave where stalactites hung from above, Salaman touch a stalactite which caused another to fall and kill another pirate. The pirate crew continued going much deeper in the cave until the Quartermaster waved his torch across a wall—a dead end.[9]

Arriving to the Fountain
"Sparrow, I'll be the first to taste those waters."
Blackbeard to Jack Sparrow[src]
Jacktouchceilingpool2

Going through the entrance to the Fountain.

Upon seeing the seemingly end of their quest, Angelica began to suspect that Jack didn't know where he was going. After Jack staged an unsuccessful attempt to gain entrance into the Fountain by hitting the two Chalices against one another, Jack revealed that he never been to the Fountain in person. Angered by this revelation, Blackbeard tried to have Jack killed until Jack was able to read the words inscribed on the Chalices: "Aqua de Vida". Water then gradually rose up along the walls, collecting into a pool above their heads. Jack then had Scrum hold the Chalices as he climbed onto Scrum's shoulders, where he would use his sword to poke the pool until he was sucked into it. He then appeared into a misty environment. Picking up his sword from the ground, Jack found himself in the Fountain of Youth.[9]

BarbossappearsFOY

Arriving to the Fountain of Youth.

Jack continued forward as Angelica, Blackbeard and the rest of the crew arrived. As they made their way into the Fountain, the crew gazed upon its environment as Jack walked up to the central stone, reaching to touch the water. But before Jack had the chance, Blackbeard stopped him, stating that he'd be the first to drink from its waters. However, Angelica turned around to see unwanted visitors emerging out of the fog, the one-legged man destined to kill Blackbeard: Hector Barbossa.[9]

Fight at the Fountain
"This land is hereby forever claimed in the glorious name of His Majesty, King George—"
[Groves is shot and killed by the Spaniard]
"...Someone make a note of that man's bravery.
"
Theodore Groves and the Spaniard[src]
OSTJackijustwanttounderstand

The battle for the Fountain of Youth.

As Barbossa stepped forward with his crew to confront Blackbeard, Angelica realized that Jack had brought him there. Declaring Blackbeard as his prisoner by stating the crimes he had committed, including the loss of his leg, Barbossa pulled out his sword. Blackbeard pulled his own sword out and ordered his crew to attack. Jack bursts in between the parties, briefly stopping the fight, and suggested to only let the two captains fight each other, while everyone else laid back, watch, have a drink and place wagers. However, the fighting commenced as the two captains engaged in a duel to the death.[9]

Both crews clashed against each other in battle as Barbossa and Blackbeard fight in their deadlock battle, which results in the death of one of Barbossa's men, Gillette, who got in the way. The young missionary Philip Swift was freed by the Cabin Boy, though was run through the stomach by one of Barbossa's crewmen shortly after. Clutching his fatal wound, Philip avoided the battle as he ran to the Jungle Pools to free Syrena, a mermaid imprisoned by Blackbeard, from certain death. Meanwhile, as the fight went on, Angelica ordered Scrum to toss her the Chalices and to take the mermaid's tear to the Fountain. Scrum made his way up until Jack appeared, where they briefly dueled for the tear, which Jack took from Scrum, only to find himself threatened by both Angelica and Scrum. Ultimately, Jack ended up with the tear and entered in a race for the Chalices with Angelica.[9]

Grovesinfrontofspanish

The Spanish arrive to the Fountain.

Blackbeard and Barbossa continued their duel, in which the notorious pirate was able to trip the privateer to the ground. An infuriated Blackbeard was about to finish Barbossa off, but wasn't able to get that chance, as Barbossa pointed out to him, as more unwanted visitors arrived. From out of the fog, the Spaniard and his men arrive to the Fountain amidst the battle. The fighting ceased as more Spanish soldiers surrounded the British and the pirates around the Fountain. Upon seeing this, Theodore Groves proclaimed the Fountain of Youth in the name of King George II, but was shot by the Spaniard.[9]

Destruction of the Fountain
"Only God can grant eternal life, not this pagan water. Men! Destroy this profane temple!"
The Spaniard[src]
Spanishdestroyingfountain

The Spanish destroying the Fountain of Youth while Jack looks for the Chalices.

After forcibly taking the Chalices from Angelica, the Spaniard stated that only God could grant eternal life before dropping the Chalices and stomping on them. The Spaniard tossed the Chalices into a deep pool before ordering his men to destroy the temple around the Fountain. As the Spanish begin destroying the temple, by pulling down the columns with grappling hooks, the Spaniard confronted Blackbeard calling him a fool for seeking in the Fountain for what only faith could provide. Blackbeard debunked that claim as he felt a cut on his wrist. As Blackbeard turned, Barbossa stabbed him through with his sword, which was poisoned by the innards of poison dart frogs. Angelica tried to help her father, but cuts her hand in the process. Seeing that Angelica was poisoned as well, Jack ran to find the Chalices in the pools where the Spaniard had tossed them.[9]

OSTFountainofYouthdestroyed

The Fountain of Youth destroyed.

Barbossa took Blackbeard's sword as his own and left with Blackbeard's remaining human crew joining him. The Spanish struggled with a large column as Blackbeard's loyal zombies, the Quartermaster and Gunner, fend off Spanish soldiers. The large column was soon pulled over and crushed the two zombies as it presented a fatal blow in destroying the Fountain of Youth. The Spaniard surveyed the Fountain's debris and made the sign of the cross. With their mission for King Ferdinand completed, the Spanish leave the ruins of the Fountain.[9]

OSTJackgettingFountainwater

Jack retrieving water from the Fountain.

Only Jack was left, still searching for the Chalices until Syrena emerged from the pool holding the battered Chalices. Syrena warned him to not waste her tear before disappearing into the water. Jack then ran to the destroyed Fountain where he was able to get a few drops of water before it dried up. He added the mermaid's tear into one of the Chalices before running to offer Angelica and Blackbeard the Chalices. Although Jack convinced Blackbeard to save his daughter by drinking the Chalice that takes life, Blackbeard ended up drinking out of the Chalice that gave life and told Angelica to save him. Even after the betrayal of her own father, Angelica willingly drank from the other Chalice.[9]

JackelicaafterBBsdeath

The ruins of the Fountain of Youth.

However, Jack revealed that he may have switched the Chalices. Almost instantly, Angelica's wound healed as the flowing waters of the Fountain bursted out, rushing towards Blackbeard in a whirlpool. The Fountain's last great act would be to taking all the years of life away from Blackbeard as his flesh rotted away, leaving nothing but bones. Angelica stared in horror as her father's rotting skeletal arm reached out to her. The waters cleared away as Jack and Angelica saw Blackbeard's skeleton collapsed, dead.[9]

Legacy

"Jack, I have to ask. You had the Chalices, the water, the tear. You could've lived, maybe, forever."
"The Fountain does test you, Gibbs. But better to not know which moment may be your last, every morsel of your entire being alive to the infinite mystery of it all. And who's to say I won't live forever, eh? Discoverer of the Fountain of Youth.
"
Joshamee Gibbs and Jack Sparrow[src]

With the Fountain of Youth destroyed, only its many myths and legends would be told. The Fountain was originally said to be discovered by conquistador Juan Ponce de León, which sprung many rumors to many adventurers and seekers of immortality. However, after the events of the quest for the Fountain of Youth came to a close, Captain Jack Sparrow believed that he himself would live forever as the "Discoverer of the Fountain of Youth".[9]


Design, power and usage

"And one last thing, Jackie. The Fountain tests you. Mark my words."
Teague to Jack Sparrow[src]

The Fountain of Youth rested within a hidden cavern accessible only by those who possess the silver Chalices of Cartagena, from which the words "Aqua de Vida" are inscribed, and must be spoken in order to reach the Fountain's location. The Fountain itself appears as a rock formation with a gapping circular hole through the middle with water flowing vertically from the bottom of the top most of the circle, pooling down at the bottom.

More valuable than gold, more precious than pearls, the Fountain of Youth's waters were a treasure of immeasurable worth. While the waters of the Fountain were known to grant eternal life, it can also heal any wound, sickness or poisons the drinker was diagnosed with. It was known on occasion that the Fountain of Youth would test any who searches for immortality.

FountainWatersGoTowardsBlackbeard

The Fountain's waters taking Blackbeard's life after the ritual was performed.

The Ritual of the Fountain

Main article: Profane Ritual
"Water...from the Fountain of Youth. The shimmering tear of a mermaid. The Silver Chalices of Ponce de León. With these items..."
"Yes."
"With these items, you may take all of the years of life from another, Jack.
"
Angelica and Jack Sparrow[src]

Legends tell that eternal life could be found at the Fountain of Youth, but only those who possess the knowledge of the ritual of the Fountain could achieve it. The two silver Chalices of Cartagena were needed, for the ritual required not just a seeker of youth but also a victim whose years would be consumed. Only a mermaid's tear, placed in one of the Chalices, would set the rejuvenating forces of the Fountain to work. After both drinkers drunk from the Chalices, the Fountain would give the seeker all the years of life from the victim.

Behind the scenes

FOYConcept

Fountain of Youth concept art

"Rob Marshall, from the very beginning, wanted the Fountain to be something natural that was not carved or embroidered by men. It was a natural formation, but we had this idea that thousands of years ago the Fountain was discovered by humans who built some sort of temple around it that has since been taken over by natural growth. For a while we played around with the idea of wooden totems from a tribal culture. Then we started moving more in the direction of a ruined stone temple, and that wines are growing around it, pulling it down and tearing it apart."
John Myhre[src]
  • For the filming of On Stranger Tides, the Fountain of Youth scenes were filmed in two locations. The scene near the Fountain's cave entrance was filmed in Waiakapala'e located on Kauai's North Shore—an appropriate choice because the Hawaiians believe that the waters in Waiakapala'e have their own life-giving power. The scenes inside the Fountain Cave and the Fountain of Youth itself was filmed at Pinewood Studios, with the Fountain scene filmed in 007 Stage.[2]
  • The Fountain of Youth set took three months to construct and features a ruined temple "in a mixture of architecture," according to production designer John Myhre, "with Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, even Japanese elements."[2]
  • The development of the concept for the Fountain of Youth was the longest and most challenging of On Stranger Tides for Jerry Bruckheimer, Rob Marshall, and John Myhre. At least 60 ideas for the Fountain of Youth were considered.[10] Throughout the evolution of the Fountain's concept, one thing never wavered, as stated by John Myhre: "Rob Marshall, from the very beginning, wanted the Fountain to be something natural that was not carved or embroidered by men". Though there was a temptation to go big and elaborate with the Fountain of Youth, but Marshall and Bruckheimer resisted.[2]
  • According to real myths and legends, the real location of the Fountain of Youth was in Florida. The Fountain also did not need a ritual in order for it to be used.
  • In the "Charting The Return" extra for the Dead Man's Chest DVD, director Gore Verbinski stated that every crazy idea was put on the table for the concept of expanding The Curse of the Black Pearl into a trilogy. The Fountain of Youth was one of the ideas he put in particular[11]; though it ended up in On Stranger Tides.
  • In the first screenplay draft of At World's End, Hector Barbossa starts to search for the Fountain of Youth, using the captain's journal of Juan Ponce de León that he took from Tia Dalma who in turn received it from a mermaid.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Fountain of Youth was the proposed title of the fourth installment of the POTC movie, which was highly used by both critics and fans. However, on September 11, 2009, Johnny Depp announced that the film was going to be called Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and that it would be released Summer 2011.
  • The Fountain of Youth appears in Tim Powers' novel On Stranger Tides, which was used as a plot basis for the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
  • The plot involving many parties searching for the Fountain of Youth, including the British, the Spanish and pirates, which eventually led to its destruction is remarkably similar to Age of Empires III.

Appearances

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