Captain Henry Avery
The Curse of the Black Spot / A Good Man Goes To War
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Captain Henry Avery was a naval officer in the 1690s who became a pirate. He left his wife and son, Toby, behind in England. His wife died in his absence.
Captain Avery had much of the rest of his treasure hidden in the crypt of a church outside a small Cornish village, under the care of Joseph Longfoot. (The Smugglers)
In 1699, Captain Avery was returning home with Mughal treasure. Midjourney, the Fancy encountered a Siren who began taking the crew away after marking them with a black spot. (Prequel (The Curse of the Black Spot)) Unknown to him, his son had stowed away on the ship. His son had fallen ill with typhoid fever (incurable in the 1690s) and had been marked by the siren but not yet taken due to his hiding place onboard.
The Eleventh Doctor came aboard the Fancy during this crisis and investigated the Siren. He identified Avery’s treasure as allowing the Siren to attack and told Avery it must be thrown overboard. Avery did so, but kept one crown. It allowed the Siren to take his son. He realised how possessed he was by greed and was forced to reassess what he valued.
When the Doctor realised that the Siren was in fact the automated doctor of an alien spacecraft, Avery let himself be taken to her hospital in order to care for his son and crew.
The Doctor saw it was important to send the ship back into space, and Toby would soon die of his fever if he left the ship. Avery decided to stay with Toby. He, with his crew from Fancy and his son, flew the spaceship away from Earth towards the Dog Star. (The Curse of the Black Spot)
Some time later, the Doctor recruited Avery to help him with an attack on Demon’s Run to rescue Amy Pond. Avery, Toby, and his crew boarded the ship of Madame Kovarian during the attack and subdued its crew, preventing her escape. (A Good Man Goes To War)
Captain Samuel Pike, who used to work for Avery, led a band of ex-Fancy crew in a search for Avery’s treasure. they ran across the First Doctor. (The Smugglers)
Initially an honourable man, Henry Avery was corrupted by his greed for wealth and power. He became a pirate, abandoning his wife and son. His wife died while Henry was at sea and his son stowed away on his ship. Henry was furious with Toby for stowing away, saying that his mother would be worried. When Toby revealed that she was dead, Henry felt remorse and told his son that he was sorry. Despite his anger with Toby, Henry clearly cared for his son and decided to stay with him on board the Siren’s host ship when he discovered that without the Siren, Toby would die.
Henry was a superstitious man, initially believing that the Siren was a demon. He was suspicious of the Doctor and his companions when they first met and didn’t like the Doctor acting as though he was in charge. He aimed his pistol at the Doctor and reminded him who was Captain several times, but in the end, he grew to trust and respect him. (The Curse of the Black Spot) Henry was a loyal ally to the Time Lord and helped him rescue Amy Pond from Demon’s Run. (A Good Man Goes To War)
He was also quite intelligent and a fast learner. When confronted with the technological devices on the Doctor’s console, he easily figured out their functions by comparing them to objects he used himself on the Fancy. (The Curse of the Black Spot)
Behind the scenes
Henry Avery was a real-life pirate and did indeed vanish after 1696, shortly after plundering the Mughal’s fleet: one of the largest pirate raids in history. The Brilliant Book 2012 summarised Avery’s real-life career.
There is some dispute about the spelling of the historical Avery’s last name. Some records have it as Every or Avary. The use of Avery on this wiki is based on the spelling employed by the end credits to The Curse of the Black Spot and the script for The Smugglers.
Writer Steve Thompson was unaware of The Smugglers when he wrote The Curse of the Black Spot. He’d simply looked through his sons’ book about pirates and picked Avery because of his mysterious disappearance. (The Brilliant Book 2012)