His name is John Silver
There’s something profoundly satisfying in Silver’s arc, something which I find very difficult to put into words, but I think there are three layers to it.
Layer one has to do with seeing a human grow into a myth, witnessing a legend coming to life. Layer two has to do with the inner workings of oral storytelling, the fact that we, as humans, are programmed to rejoice when we recognise an older story inside a new one; the belonging we feel when a literary motive we grew up with resurfaces inside a new narration, the thrilling comfort we take in finding out that history does, in fact, rhyme [watching those pirate stories we grew up with as they shed their 19th century persona to wear a 21st century one, without ever ceasing to be true to their core] -
Layer three, though, has to do with Silver, and Silver alone. The point is, the feeling I feel towards a character is a function of the fact that they will never be mine; that their story won’t be living inside mine forever; that no matter how much I long for them, what I have of them is finite, and I must part from them eventually.
But if I love a character the most because they elude me, then few characters will be more lovable than Silver, the one you cannot define, cannot know, cannot grasp; the ever-shifting changeling whose many faces are all true at the same time, but none more than the others – and nothing will ever tell you more about yourself than the face John Silver chooses to show you and you alone, or so you think. And can you really call a liar a creature who’s simply and truly made of many opposing creatures, all aiming towards the same inscrutable aim? The trickster, the killer, the storyteller who becomes the story itself. His name is John Silver, and it’s a name that will outlast us all.