Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Interview Series: Long John Silver

This week's interview is with one of my all time favorite villains, Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Long John is an interesting study for a bad guy, because throughout Treasure Island we see more of the nice Long John than we do of the evil Long John. Oh sure, he shows flashes of brutality, but most of that is only hinted at. For me, this makes him much more interesting.

Okay, enough with the character analysis. On with the interview!

Greg:   Welcome, Long John. Thanks for coming ashore.

Long John Silver:  Aye, you’re welcome, matey. I don’t often come ashore, ground’s too firm beneath m’ foot. Not enough give. ‘Sides it reminds me too much of m’ time on that cursed island lookin’ for Flint’s treasure.

Greg:  Were you always a seafaring man?

LJS:  Aye, almost since I can remember. I run away from home as a lad, and stowed away aboard His Majesty’s frigate Unrepentant. It were there I came into His Majesty’s service. I served under a number o’ fine naval gentlemen, squire.

I started off as cabin boy, then midshipman, an’ finally seaman. It were a good enough existence, I suppose, but it wore on me to have to take orders from them as claimed to be m’ betters, but weren’t..

Greg:  How did you lose your leg?

LJS:  I lost it in service to Baron Hawke, one o’ the toughest sailors to ever trim a sail. None better at it, ‘ceptin’ maybe Captain Flint, but it’d be a close call there.

We were fightin’ pirates, strangely enough. Cannonball took it clean off. Guess I should of gone below decks and steered clear in m’ berth, but that aint ol’ Long John’s way. General quarters was soundin’ anyhow, so I was stuck an’ had to meet m’ fate, so to speak.

After I lost m’ leg, I weren’t fit for the service of His Majesty, so I had to shove off. We were in the Indies. I couldn’t even work my passage home. Well, says I to m’self, what other sea work can a mostly able bodied sailor get in these here waters?

That’s when fate smiled on me, squire. I met up with an ol’ shipmate I used to know what had jumped ship and turned pirate sometime back. He got me to sign on with Cap’n Flint.

Greg:  What was your role on Captain Flint’s ship?

Now Flint were hard, but I were never scared of him. Ol’ Long John had put in too many years and seen too many things on the high seas that would make a lesser hearted man’s blood run cold. I weren’t afraid of his rantin’ an’ he knew it.

Before any time at all had passed, he had made me quartermaster, second in command only to him. So I knew all about Flint’s treasure and the map. Flint gave the map to Billy Bones, his mate, an’ died of the effects o’ rum. Bad business, that. Rum also done for Billy. I never touched it, an’ I’m still here, so that should speak for somethin’.

Greg:  Describe your relationship with Jim Hawkins.

LJS:  I aint sure what he thinks o’ me, but young Master ‘Arkins is foursquare, he is. Reminds me more’n a bit o’ m’self he does. There’s no truer lad, nor braver. ‘Course ol’ Long John didn’t get away with all the treasure, but it all worked out for the best in the end, I’d have to say. It’s good enough I got away with m’ skin and some gold to boot, enough to retire by in the colonies.

Greg:  What do you like most about the sea?

LJS:  The freedom of it. Give me a sturdy craft an’ a star to sail her by, an’ I wouldn’t have to ask for much more, squire. I’d be right capped with that. ‘Course, a nice pile o’ gold would warm the cockles of m’ heart, too, heh, heh!

Greg:  How do you want literary history to remember you?

LJS:  I don’t rightly reckon that it would. But if anyone did happen t’ trouble to think o’ ol’ Long John, I’d want ‘em to say “Long John were a stout sailor an’ true shipmate. He’d twist a dagger in your gut if ya crossed him, but he were as good as gold to those as stood by him.”

Aye, that’s how I’d like to be remembered. It’s how anyone’d want it—wouldn’t you, squire?


  1. A nice pile of gold would warm my cockles of my heart too! : ) great interview- fun! ~ Jess

    1. Thanks! They're fun to do, too. Glad you liked it!