The Stories that Made Me: The Legends of Treasure Island

Stories are incredible things. They evolve, shift, change and are recreated with each retelling and iteration. This is why I don't tend to get upset at the "remakes" that Disney tends to put out. Because to me, they're just a new retelling of an old story, for a new generation. The cycle is simply continuing. Over - and over - and over again - and each time that story is told, something is left out - and something new replaces it. This, to me, is a very fascinating process.

I love that we, as Humans, tell stories.

And we tell the same types of stories - over and over - perhaps we think we're telling different stories, but really, they all tend to follow the same patterns, deep down in their skeletons.


One such story I love is Treasure Island.

I first read Treasure Island when I discovered it amongst a stash of old books in our house - goodness knows where the book had come from - but there it was. I tend to regard it as a coming of age tale. It also has pirates. Pirates, naturally, make everything cooler.


However, I already knew about Treasure Island before I found the original source material. I mean, I feel like I grew up just knowing Treasure Island was always a thing. It always existed as a story that I knew. I don't know if that's because we grow up knowing about pirates and treasures as a clique and trope?


Let me take you back to 1993 - twenty-three years ago.

There was a little show called "The Legends of Treasure Island".

This, I believe, was my first introduction to the concept of Treasure Island as a setting, and the characters of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver.


The cartoon has the characters portrayed as anthropomorphic animals, mostly dogs, but other animals are thrown in.

Going back and rewatching episodes on Youtube is really something nostalgic. I really have no idea what to call the style they were aiming for. It was an English production, and I utterly adore all the voice actors. It's all so wonderfully stereotypically British.

The character Jane is an extra character added just to this adaption, I presume so that there was a girl in the story. She's a vixen who was captured for ransom by Long John Silver but her parents didn't want to pay it, so he ended up with this kid to look after. Upon reaching Treasure Island she decides she'd much rather luck it out with Jim's crew. I remember as a kid I found her rather annoying as a character, but now - rewatching some episodes - she's actually not that bad.

For me though, even when I was a little girl, my favourite character was Long John Silver, a fox. In this iteration he plays a villain, all "I want to kill everyone and take the treasure" sort of villian. He's not some misunderstood character with questionable morals, he's greedy and wants his treasure.

But for some reason - I was fascinated with dynamic they played between kid Jim and Pirate Silver. Long John Silver was bitter, manipulative and sly, and Jim constantly too trusting and innocent in his youth. I'm pretty sure my little imaginative brain came up with lots of adventures about this little cartoon that filled in all the plot-holes and gaps.


My favourite episode is the final episode of season one ""The Beginning Of The End". I remember it well because it had a volcano in it. Like any good climatic moment, our hero and villain fight to the death in an erupting volcano. Rewatching this episode was hilarious, as it was not as epic as I remember in my head. I guess little girl Kylie really built it up in her head. Still, like with most of my childhood cartoons there is that stark contrast of "good" vs. "evil" and the strong moral line that is drawn in the sand between the two.


Unfortunately, once again - they did that thing where they made Long John Silver's lackies all stupid, bumbling idiots. Perhaps that's why I liked Long John Silver, because he was a villain who finally acted out his will, he proactively attacked without remorse. There was no "haha, that's comic relief" - he was a character with all the intentions to kill and get his treasure.


While moral amagrunity in villians is a fascinating concept to play around with, I still really appreciate the defined lines and hard parallels that was often shown in the older cartoons of my childhood.

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