In 1984, Syme is one of Winston's colleagues at the Ministry of Truth. Winston describes him as a "friend" and as a person whose company he genuinely enjoys. Winston is concerned, however, that Syme will be vaporized by the Party because he is "too intelligent." Specifically, he feels this way because Syme "sees too clearly and speaks too plainly."
Syme is a language specialist who is working on the newest edition of the Newspeak dictionary. It is his job to oversee the "destruction" of the English language and the development of Newspeak, the language of the Party, in which true expression is replaced by political and social orthodoxy. But Syme is so intelligent that he sees beyond orthodoxy: he can envision a time in which the Party's slogans, like "freedom is slavery," must be eliminated because Newspeak has destroyed those very concepts, like freedom, on which they rely. For Winston, it is Syme's ability to think for himself and to express his thoughts openly which puts his life in jeopardy.