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John Silver

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John Silver
Silver 648x1080
Vital statistics
Alias Long John Silver
Title Cook
Quartermaster
Gender Male
Status Alive
Ships Parrish's ship
Walrus
Spanish Man O' War
Relationships James Flint (Captain)
Billy Bones (First Mate)
Madi (Lover)
Appearances First: I.
Portrayed by Luke Arnold
Gallery John Silver/Gallery
"What can I say...I'm not a joiner, never have been."
―Silver to Randall[src]

A lowly sailor-turned-pirate recruit, John Silver, better known as Long John Silver, is a born opportunist. He insinuates himself into the crew of Captain Flint while secretly possessing the “schedule” Flint so dearly wants. A staunch individualist, Silver resents authority of any kind, a quality that brings him into direct conflict with Flint, even as events conspire to make them reluctant partners in the quest to take the treasure fleet headed by the Urca de Lima.

Biography

Background

Not much is known about John Silver's past except that while growing up he spent three year at the St. John's Home for Poor Orphan Boys. At some point in life, he became a sailor, serving as a merchant seaman on the ship of Captain Parrish, somewhere in the Caribbean.

Season One

As a crewmember aboard Parrish's vessel, Silver witnessed the attack of the pirate ship Walrus. Not enthused at the idea of being involved in a naval battle against pirates, Silver ran below deck and blockaded himself in a room along with the ship's cook. During the battle, a scuffle between Silver and the cook began over an item that had fallen from the cook's grasp. Silver killed the cook and was captured by the crew of the Walrus. Realizing that a cook would stand a good chance at being spared by the pirates, Silver offered his services as a cook to the crew of the Walrus and was accepted.

Silversurrender

Silver surrenders.

Silver eventually learned that the item he battled with the cook over was a page that was torn from his former ship's log. At first, Silver does not fully understand the significance of the page until Captain Flint explained to the crew of the Walrus that the page was the sailing schedule of a Spanish galleon that they were seeking to catch as a prize.

Arriving at Nassau, Silver was confronted by two pirates who told him that all new recruits must meet Blackbeard. Fearing that he was about to meet the infamous pirate captain, Silver was relieved to discover that Blackbeard is actually the name of a uniquely endowed prostitute who, along with other prostitutes, began an orgy with Silver. One of these prostitutes, Max, noticed that during the orgy Silver's attention was focused on a particular item that was lying on the floor with his clothes. When Silver woke up, Max was standing in possession of the item. She had devised that the item must be of great importance for him to have paid such attention to it and proposed to Silver that she can help him sell whatever it is, as long as she could keep half the profit. When she asked Silver what it was, he honestly responded that he did not know. Believing that the document came from a logbook that was in Captain Flint's cabin, Silver and Max row out to the Walrus, which was anchored and sitting empty while the crew were ashore. Once in the Captain's cabin, Silver discovered the logbook hidden in a drawer and only then figured out what he had in his possession.

Silverjump

Silver jumps overboard.

Silver was soon found out by Flint and was forced to jump overboard to escape. When he made it ashore in Nassau, he ran to Max and demanded that they must move forward with the sale to Charles Vane and Jack Rackham. During the attempted exchange, Vane's violence unnerved Silver and he didn't emerge from his hiding spot to give the schedule to Vane. Instead, he was surprised by Billy Bones, who was trying to capture him. In act of self preservation, Silver memorized the page before burning it. This way, no crew that captured him could kill him. Silver was then captured by Flint and Bones. He transcribed much of the schedule to paper for Flint, but left off some important information, lest Flint have him killed.

Silvercook

Silver: the bad cook.

So as to not alert the crew, Flint let Silver maintain his position as ship's cook. Silver was a terrible cook and after getting the crew sick, had to learn from Flint how to properly cook a pig. In an effort to win favor with Flint and Bones, Silver began infiltrating himself with Morley, Randall, and Turk, three members of the crew who were still opposed to Flint's captaincy. During his spying, he overheard Morley talking to Bones about Flint's relationship with a "Mrs. Barlow". Silver eventually reported this information to Flint. This seemed to gain Silver a little more trust from Flint. While the ship was being careened, it fell over and trapped Randall by his leg. Flint was having difficulty pulling Randall out when Silver, who was thinking fast, threw his butcher's knife to Flint so he could amputate Randall's leg.

When the Walrus went off in search for the Andromache, Flint ordered that Silver stay behind, lest he be killed in the coming battle.
Hamund and Silver S1E6

Hamund threatening Silver

After Eleanor's meeting to attempt to reopen trades, ended by Benjamin Hornigold's ultimatum, Silver attempted to convince her to take the deal, as she had little choice. She came to him later, telling him she needed his help in a matter involving Hamund, one of the few remaining members of Vanes crew. When he refused, she told him he doesn't have a choice, as he needed friends, and she was the only person who could keep Flint from eventually killing him. Silver was then instrumental in the rouse that resulted in Hamund and other members of the Ranger crew being killed. 

A few days before the Walrus set out to find the Urca, Silver's secret was outed by Randall, who told the tale of Silver's theft of the schedule to Dufresne, De Groot, and Dr. Howell. The trio were confused about what to do because if they were to reveal the tale to the crew as a whole, then the whole expedition would surely come to an end. De Groot eventually decided to have Silver memorize an entire page of text from one of Dr. Howell's medical books as a test to see if Silver really did have the outstanding memory required to memorize the Urca's schedule in so short a time. Silver protested that this was a terrible test because he had days with the Urca's schedule and could have memorized it at any time, not just in the few minutes he had with it before he destroyed it. Once he had finished the test, Silver privately pleaded with Randall to change his story. Silver knew that Randall was being kicked off the ship because of his handicap. He then promised Randall that he would promise to the crew that he would take care of Randall and that way Randall could join back with the crew. When De Groot confronted Silver and informed him that he failed the test, Randall began shouting that everyone was a thief, thus making everyone think that he had just been lying the whole time. Once again, Silver escaped.

Silver finds Flint S1E8

During the chase for the Urca, Silver spent much of his time trying to take care of Randall. He attempted numerous times, but failed, to convince Randall to wear a special prosthetic that Dr. Howell had designed for him. When Flint killed Gates, Silver was the first to arrive to assist Flint in covering up the incident. When Dufresne came to investigate Gates' death, Silver confronted him and appeared to convince him to go along with Flint's plan. When Flint attempted to trick an approaching Spanish Man O' War into thinking that the Walrus was just a Spanish merchantman, Silver was used as the voice of the crew and convinced the Spanish ship to move on. Once Dufresne staged the mutiny and shot Flint, Silver fired one of the ship's cannons at the Spanish Man O' War, making it necessary for the Walrus to engage the ship in battle. When the Walrus was wrecked in the subsequent battle, Silver was one of the few crew members to survive, washing up on shore along with Flint.

Silver tells Flint that they’re both going to be charged for all this nonsense. Flint asks Dufresne why they didn’t just kill him, but Dufresne just take them to an outcrop where they can spy the shipwrecked of the Urca, which was caught in the horrible storm. They watch with excitement as the men try to collect up all that lovely gold.

Season Two

Ep9-1

Flint explains that the remaining Walrus crew don’t have enough men to get the gold; however he does put forth another plan to take the Spanish Man O’ War. He proposes that two men sneak onto the Spanish ship and overtake the skeleton crew. In exchange for a pardon, Flint volunteers for the mission. Much to Flint’s exasperation, Silver also volunteers; he needed a fighter for the plan.

Flint and Silver swim to the Spanish ship, and pull themselves aboard, to find a room full of Spanish sailors quietly sleeping in their hammocks. They stealthily make their way above deck, and kill the look-out. However, the ruckus wakes the Spanish crew and they are captured.

Below  decks,  Flint  and  Silver  are  tied  to  chairs  as  three  Spanish  sailors  begins  to  interrogate them. The leader states that he will let one of them go, but only the one who tells him what he wants to know. Silver immediately spills all the beans, and is untied. As the Spaniard is about to shoot Flint, Silver cracks him over the head and they manage to subdue the two remaining men in the room. While the remainder of the Spanish crew attempts to enter the room, they are surprised by the Walrus crew, who successfully kills the remainder of the Spaniards.

They set sail for Nassau on the Man O’ War, but Dufresne informs Flint and Silver that though they have escaped with their lives, they will still be kicked off the crew. When alone, Silver tells Flint that he knows him well enough to realise that he plans to regain the captaincy, and return to steal the Spanish gold.

Goingson

Silver is brainstorming a way to ingratiate himself with the crew, when he sees Randall spitting on another man’s plate. Silver realises there a many seething resentments within the crew. He begins to give a daily “goings-on” speech of petty grievances. Initially, this only results in him getting beaten, but when he tells of a man having sex with the ship’s goat, the crew turn on the man involved instead. Thus, Silver has finally accomplished his goal.

With Flint having also succeeded in turning the crew against Dufresne, and become captain again, they return to Nassau to find much has changed. Hornigold’s flag no longer flies over the fort, which is now held by Charles Vane. They start to plan to remove Vane from his fortress.

Flint sends Silver to the beach to use his very particular set of skill to persuade the unaffiliated pirates to join his side in attacking the fortress. While there, Silver learns that another Walrus man has washed up on shore, none other than Billy Bones. Silver immediately realises that Billy could make a bad situation much worse. He chains up Billy in a hut, and tries to convince him that Flint is doing the right thing. However, Silver eventually gives him the key and releases Bones.

Silver continues to support Flint, even as Hornigold turns against him when Flint proposes calling off the attack on the fortress, in exchange for the hostage Abigail Ashe. With the vote for captaincy tight, Silver goes to the brothel to find a missing crew member called Logen. At the brothel, he finds Max who then takes him to the room where Logan lays dead. Silver comes up with a plan to create a fiction where Logan and his lover have run off together to New Providence. When Max questions why Silver would help her cover up the death of his own crew member, Silver just says that things in Nassau are complicated enough; though it is probably as much in return for how badly their plot with the Urca schedule turned out for Max.

Ep15-2

However, Silver has begun to realise that Flint is no longer interested in the Spanish treasure. During the vote for captaincy, Nicholas and Vincent, the two men charged with keeping an eye on the Urca gold, return to Nassau. Silver speaks to them first and learns that the Spanish sailors on the beach had all become ill and died, leaving the gold virtually defenceless. He convinces them to lies, in a plan to claim a larger share of the gold for themselves. Silver brings them to Flint and they tell him that two Spanish ships arrived and took every piece of gold off the beach.

With the end of the search for the Urca gold, Silver tells Flint that they are no longer a team. However, Flint convinces Silver to go speak to the men on his behalf by telling Silver that there is no other place in the world where Silver matters other than with the crew. Silver then speaks to the men about Flint’s plan to return Abigail to Charles Town, so that one day they can live their lives not as wanted men, but as free men.

In the brothel, Max is enjoying a drink alone when Silver interrupts her. He asks Max if she knows of a crew who would be willing to go and collect the Urca gold; Jack Rackham’s crew.

On the Spanish Man O’ War to return Abigail to Charles Town, John Silver sees Nicholas and Vincent sniggering together. He confronts them below decks, warning them not to do anything that might give away their scheme. When Nicholas walks away, Silver tells Vincent that Nicholas has the potential to be a problem. The next day, Nicholas is sent up the main mast to release the sails. Vincent reveals to Silver that he has taken care of the problem with Nicholas, and moments later, Nicholas falls to his death, thanks to a sabotaged footing rope. Silver is aghast.

With Flint in Charles Town to exchange Abigail, Vane and his crew attack the Spanish Man O’ War by stealth, killing many of Flint’s crew and capturing the rest, except for Silver and Vincent who hide below deck. Silver tries to delay Vane from leaving the harbor by sabotaging the rope to the fore-mast, which he succeeds in doing but they are captured in the process.

Meanwhile, Flint is arrested in Charles Town, and Vane proposes to free Flint because if the most feared pirate in Nassau is hung then nobody will ever fear the pirates of Nassau again. He takes the most loyal half of his crew with him, leaving the rest to guard the ship under his right-hand-man Jenks.

Ep18-25

Silver is unchained and taken below deck, despite his crew's protests. Jenks demands that Silver influence several of Flint’s men to join his crew, so that he can adequately sail the Man O’ War back to Nassau. Despite being given a chance to get away himself, Silver has come to care for the crew more than just himself, and selflessly refuses. Enraged, Jenks proceeds to crush his leg with an axe. While this is happening, Flint’s crew escape their chains, take over the ship again, and rescue him.

Sometime later after Flint and Vane have escaped from Charles Town, Silver awakens inside the captain’s cabin. Flint informs Silver that he has been elected as the ship’s quartermaster. Silver tells Flint the lie that Vincent had confessed to him the truth about the Urca gold, and had sold the information to another crew.

Season Three

In the months following the events of Season Two, Flint, Silver and the Walrus crew have continued their reign of terror, raiding towns along the Carolina coast and killing magistrates. Silver as Quartermaster is struggling to control Flint’s increasing recklessness.

2 john silver

On the journey back to Nassau, they spot pirate Captain Hallendale’s ship drifting. Silver insists on investigating despite Flint’s reluctance. Onboard, they find it completely empty, save for the corpse of Hallendale. Too later, they realise it's a trap, when they spot the ship of Captain Hornigold, former pirate turned pirate-hunter. Hornigold approaches and offers them all pardons. Flint convinces the crew to reject the pardons, and escape into a terrible storm.

In the midst of the storm, Silver and Muldoon are below deck attempting to plug holes in the hull. Silver confesses that he feels useless with his leg gone, but Muldoon reassures him that the entire crew are indebted to him for Charles Town. Suddenly, a cannon comes loose and crushes Muldoon's leg. Unable to free him, Silver holds his hand as Muldoon slowly drowns.

303show 2560x1440

When the storm subsides, the Walrus is becalmed. Flint becomes increasingly tyrannical, dividing the crew into critical men who will be fed, the others not. Billy Bones tries to encourage Silver to stand up to Flint. When Flint casually executes two men for stealing food, Silver is convinced. During a trip to investigate a dead whale, Silver uses his smarts, and reveals how he deceived Flint and stole the Urca gold. He finally wins Flint’s respect, and his audacity is rewarded with the return of the wind.

The wind drives the Walrus to an uncharted island. As the crew recuperate, Silver and Flint consider all the pardons Hornigold offered. Silver fears this is the prelude to an attack on Nassau. If so, Flint fears the battle is likely already over. They are interrupted by a large force of well-armed ex-slaves.

The whole crew are taken at gun point, through a trap infested forest, to a large settlement and imprisoned. Billy Bones, Silver and Flint all deal with the direness of their plight in their own way. For Billy, he wants to escape through the trap laden forest. For Silver, he’ll talk his way out of it. And Flint, he doesn’t know if he has any more fights left in him. At night, Silver is taken to see the daughter of the Maroons Queen, Madi. He tries to convince her that they have similar hatred toward England. It seems to no avail, until the ‘away’ Maroon King arrives on the island, Mr Scott.

Flint is called before the Maroon Queen to discuss a proposed partnership. With Silver’s help, Flint polishes up his sliver tongue, and speaks honestly. He tells her that they can take things back together, starting with Nassau. The pirates and ex-slaves agree a partnership.

Black-sails-season-3-luke-arnold-02

Silver is left behind on the Maroons Island to solidify the partnership, while Flint searches out new allies, Charles Vane and Blackbeard’s fleet. During this time, Silver’s leg gets worse. Silver tries to insist on enduring the pain, but Madi convinces him to receive some medical treatment. The two bond during his painful treatment.

Flint returns to the Maroons Island, having failed to secure Blackbeard’s fleet. He now plans to go to Nassau, and find Rackham and Bonny and their cache of pearls. While there, Silver tries to recruit new men, by warning the pardoned pirates to rejoin Flint or else. However, Dufresne mocks his words as nothing but an empty threat. Silver knocks Dufrense down, and crushes his head repeatedly with his metal peg leg.

While Flint is trying to rescue Rackham and steal the cache of pearls, tension flares between the pirates and ex-slaves when Dobbs beats one of them, in retaliation for killing several of the crew before the partnership was reached. Silver and Madi deal with it, Madi orders her man to say nothing, while Silver has Dobbs beaten.

Preparing to pick up Flint, Hornigold‘s ship appears on the horizon. Hornigold follows the Walrus back to the Maroons Island, where Flint and Silver pull a daring move to turn the ships broadside on Hornigold. With a small army of ex-slaves on the beach, Hornigold is forced to fall back. Flint informs the Maroons Queen that they now have a week to prepare for the English attack.

As they prepare, Flint discusses Silver’s recent actions. Flint recognizes a darkness boiling up inside Silver and warns him of its costly effects if it is allowed to remain unchecked. Mr. Scott soon passes away peacefully. Silver approaches Madi to offer her some condolence and the two embrace as Madi cries.

Silver defense

On the eve of battle, while Silver, Flint and Rackham are burying the cache of pearls, Silver learns the truth about Flint’s past. Afterwards, Silver surmises that although those closest to Flint often die tragically, he himself might actually be Flint’s successor. As proof that he is both loved and feared by the men, he gives Dobbs a key role in the ensuing battle. During the battle, Silver and Madi leads the defenders of the encampment, while Dobbs pretends to betray the pirates and leads Hornigold and the English soldiers into an ambush. Flint, Silver and Rackham defeat the English both on land and sea.

Meanwhile, in Nassau, Billy Bones stirs up rebellion and creates a new spectre for the governing powers to fear; Long John Silver.

Personality

Silver begins the series as a born opportunist, a liar, a conniving thief, a coward, and a questionable cook; a man looking out for number one. But, he is also highly intelligent, and a charmer with an in-depth knowledge of human nature. He enters into the pirate world by accidental, weaselling his way onto Captain Flint’s crew to save his own hide. He does not even like the sea. He resents authority of any kind, a quality that brings him into direct conflict with Captain Flint, even as events conspire to make them reluctant partners in the quest to take the Urca gold.

While his morality has always been complicated, over Season Two he gradually comes to care about the crew rather than just himself, and they respect him electing him Quartermaster. Mr Scott points out that no one other that Flint has gained influence faster than Silver.

However, he remains in Flint’s shadow, until he climbs into a longboat with Flint in Season Three, who he has just seen kill two men in cold blood, and admits to stealing gold behind his back. Afterwards, he gradually grows to be both loved and feared by the crew, and not only Flint’s equal but possibly his successor.

Trivia

  • John Silver aka Long John Silver is a fictional creation of Robert Louis Stevenson. He is the morally ambiguous antihero in Stevenson's novel Treasure Island.
  • Silver speaks fluent Spanish.
  • In the series, he is an awful cook, while in the book set twenty years later his nickname is Barbecue and is considered an excellent cook.
  • In the season two finale, Silver’s left leg is amputated after it is brutalized by Vane's quartermaster with a sledgehammer, giving him the famous one leg and a crutch famous from the book. Although, in the book he claims to have lost the leg while in the British Navy.
  • In the season three finale, Silver gains the name Long John Silver.

Memorable Quotes

"Why aren't you on deck with the crew?"
"I think the better question is why aren't they down here with us? You could be killed up there.
"
Merchant Ship's Cook and John Silver[src]
"He couldn't handle the thought of what you might to do him. I, on the other hand, would very much like to join your crew. My name is John Silver, and I happen to be a very good cook."
―John Silver[src]
"I dont know how else to say this, but no. I suppose theres "fuck no", or "fuck you"."
―John Silver to Eleanor[src]
"You know when I first met you, I pegged you for an easy mark. But now, between you and Flint, I'm not certain who I should be more afraid of. I saw you earlier, after you lifted the ban. You were angry. Not just about Max. Those men out there, they made you admit you were wrong. They made you feel weak. I think you felt compelled to let everyone on this island know, that in this place, no one fucks with you and gets away with it."
―Silver to Eleanor[src]
"-Because I don't want to be a pirate, I'm not interested in the life, I'm not interested in the fighting, I'm not interested in the ships. Don't care much for the sea while we are on the subject. But being a pirate on this crew awhile longer, endeavors me an opportunity I don't believe I can find anywhere else on earth, one big prize."
―Silver to Flint[src]
"It bothers you doesn't it... what they think? The things you've done... my God... it must be awful being you."
―Silver to Flint[src]
"Until I know what you're going to say to the men, I can't let you say anything to the men."
―Silver to Bones[src]

Image Gallery

References

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