I’ve recently had the opportunity to re-read Treasure Island. Or sort of. I’m not sure if I ever actually read it properly in the first place, but I’ve watched enough adaptations, and pored over the puzzle activity book version* I had as a small child, so I’m fairly familiar with the story. It’s also the ur-example of a pirate story**, so there’s an awful lot that you sort of absorb by cultural osmosis***.
But it is fun, and very well written—the main narrative having the detached nostalgia of a young man reminiscing on a boyhood adventure, and the brief interlude from the doctor/magistrate having a clipped, clinical air: the salient facts without any emotion, or any speculation of the thoughts or motivations of other characters.
Obviously, despite Jim Hawkins being the protagonist, the main character is definitely Long John Silver: the most focused on, and most explored character in the entire piece. Shrewd, ruthless, and quick to adapt, it’s no wonder he’s a formidable figure, even to the other pirates. But at this point (roughly 2/3 through), he seems completely villainous, so I question (*spoiler alert*) Jim’s eventual decision to let him go. Presumably he does something mitigating/redemptive later, but as I cannot remember the details of what happens I shall have to wait and see.
Watch this space****.
* A heavily-abridged version of the story with associated mazes, spot-the-difference puzzles, and similar.
** Or perhaps that should be arr-example? 🙂
*** A messy and unpleasant process it’s not worth getting into here.
**** It has a penchant for generating copious footnotes if left unattended.