Thursday’s Children: White Pearl, Black Oceans

For this week’s Thursday’s Children inspiration post, I want to talk about the song White Pearl, Black Oceans by Sonata Arctica:

Again, this is a song with a tragic story, though I don’t believe it has any links with real-life.

It’s about a man who lives in the lighthouse and makes sure the light never goes out at night (this is before we had electric lighthouses). On New Year’s Eve, the man decides to leave his lighthouse and go enjoy the festivities in the town. He meets a woman at the celebration. This is her last night in town, she’s leaving on a ship that sets sail the next evening. After much festivities, the two end up spending the night together in bed (it’s also implied the man is falling in love with this mysterious woman). He wakes up early to return to the lighthouse, and on his way back, he’s attacked from behind and beaten unconscious.

When he awakens, while the song doesn’t implicity state it, I’m assuming he’s in a hospital room. The first words out of his mouth are: “Please tell me everything’s alright.” The townspeople glare at him, blaming him for the tragedy that had occurred. He’s told: “All on board the White Pearl have died. Coastal reef has tolled their lives. And you are the light of the night.”

So, not only is the man blamed for the ship sinking because it had no guiding light to keep it away from the reefs, but the woman he’d fallen in love with the prior night is also dead, drowned in the sea like all the others aboard the White Pearl.

The next phase of the song is the man standing trial at a courthouse. The person that had beaten the man to unconsciousness was the woman’s husband. It also comes to light that the woman had been pregnant and was fleeing her husband (hence why she she’d booked passage on the White Pearl). Again, it doesn’t exactly state in the song, but I’m assuming the lighthouse man is found innocent of the ship sinking since he’d been attacked and grievously wounded.

The end of the song deals with the man’s grief and depression. The townspeople scorn him. He feels alone and guilty at what happened. He also feels emasculated and no longer respects himself or gets respect from anyone. The man also imagines himself haunted by the spirits of those that died aboard the White Pearl. He fears they hate him. In the end, he throws himself from the top of the lighthouse and dies.

Is that a depressing enough song for you? I get chills every time I listen to this song. I find the story to be incredibly moving and the music is absolutely beautiful. It always inspires me to get in touch with things like grief, depression, and sorrow. If I find myself having a difficult time adequately describing a scene that is supposed to be emotionally charged, I listen to this song. It always does the trick for me. I hope you find the song inspirational too.

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  1. Holy cow, that song has as much in it as some novels! I wonder if that might be helpful, turning one’s novel’s synopsis into a song. *ponders*

  2. Well, I have a bit of a thing for lighthouses (note avi) one figures prominently in my book TENDRIL, and I’ve blogged about them too. In real life they have often been the spindle around which a fascinating and often tragic tale is wound.

    1. Me too! I find lighthouses to be fascinated. A very large percentage of them are also claimed as being haunted. You’re definitely right in that many tragedies can be traced back to a lighthouse being the “setting” so to say.

  3. Wow, when I leave work I’m definitely going to take a moment & listen to this song. Thanks for sharing it!

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