A list of specific characters in Peter Pan and Wendy that includes supplementary information about them. For mermaids, crocodiles, shadows and other creatures, please see the Neverland Almanac.
Peter Pan –adventurous; stubborn; confident and charismatic leader of the Lost Boys. Sometimes boastful and self-centered, but can also be caring and joyous; he is naïve, presumptuous and youthful in all that he does.
Peter Pan is the boy that will not grow up, and wishes to stay young and play forever. Barrie explained in 1908 that “Peter is only a sort of dead baby– he is the baby of all the people who never had one.” Differentiating between reality and play is difficult for Peter Pan. He is also quite forgetful, as his memory cannot hold all of the adventures, people, or places that he experiences.
While “Peter” came from the first name of one of the Llewyen Davies boys, Pan originates from the Greek God (hence Peter Pan’s playing pipes). Pan was a mix of goat, god, and human. He was the Greek God of nature, forests, wild animals, shepherds and their flocks, as well as the forest. He was allied with Dionysus and satyrs and associated at times with excessive amounts delight, mischief, and fun. Pan invited the syrinx, a flute made of seven reeds. J.M. Barrie thought that Huck Finn was “the greatest boy in fiction.” Huck, “who would rather go to hell than become civilized, may have inspired the rebellious streak found in Peter Pan” (Tatar xxxv). The connection with Peter has also been linked the biblical apostle Simon Peter, who founded the church in Matthew 16 yet “denied his relationship with Jesus ‘before the cock crows'” (Tatar xlix).
Lost Boys – Tootles, Slightly, Nibs, and Curly make up this group. They’re skateboard toting, heely gliding, scooter moving boys with teenage issues who share Peter Pan’s desire to never grow up.
Young boys end up in Neverland after being lost in their original life, such as falling from prams and being forgotten or overlooked by their nannies. The word “lost” is often used to mean dead. Lost Boys may also die or disappear from Neverland if they grow too old or are killed in an adventure such as from fighting pirates. They are better at distinguishing play and reality than Peter Pan, but like Peter, they have trouble remembering their past life. Though they have many adventures, they cannot stories from their experiences. They cherish and rely on Wendy for good stories. Each of their names describes their personality, probably:
Tootles: moving about leisurely.
Slightly: of little influence, small in amount
Nibs: either a point, a beak, pointed extremity on the body or a person who desires authority yet is often over demanding or tyrannical when in any power
Curly: having curly hair
Tinkerbell – Fairy loyal to the point of self-sacrifice to Peter Pan, mischievous, mean and petulant when thwarted. She is so small that she can only feel one emotion at a time.
Tinkerbell’s name originates from the idea that she tinkers with pots and pans. To read more about fairies, please visit the Neverland Atlas. Tinkerbell was originally represented on stage with light. Electricity was new for theatre and the world and was probably still considered a magical concept by many people.
The Darling House
Wendy – The central protagonist. She is 13 years old. The oldest of the Darling children Mothering, caring, loyal, and has curiosity and spirit of adventure. Responsible. Sensible in a youthful sort of way. Loves to tell stories.
The name Wendy came from a little girl who would say “fwendy” instead of “friendly” to Barrie. Wendy’s character has the full name of “Wendy Moira Angela Darling.” Moira has two origins: fate or destiny in Greek and a variation of Mary that literally translates to “bitter.” Angela means “messenger,” and Darling, aside from the usual definition, is what Barrie would cal Silvia Davies Llewyen in his correspondences with her.
John –loyal, bookish middle child of the Darling family. Always dreamed of being a pirate.
Michael –youngest of the three children. Sweet; likeable; full of fun energy; Always pushes the limits to see what he can get away with. Wearing John’s old pyjamas, therefore, a bit oversized.
Mrs. Mary Darling – a homemaker; the loveliest lady in Bloomsbury. Graceful; warm; motherly; elegant.
Mr. Darling – stern and unimaginative, but loving father. Works in the city at a desk like many other businessmen; very conscientious; but sometimes acts like a helpless, awkward child. He has an unpredictable temper. Takes his role as leader and keeper of the home very seriously.
Nana – Nursemaid of the Darling children. Large Newfoundland Dog with lots of energy and is very smart. She pushes doors open with her head. Helps to turn down the bed with her mouth.
Animals and humans are often fluid and interchangeable in abilities in London, like Neverland, for Barrie. Nana was probably inspired by Barrie’s second dog, Luath, a Newfoundland. Newfoundlands are a large breed (around 100lbs) known for their sweet temperament, patience, intelligence, and ability to get along well with children. Newfoundlands thrive on having a sense of purpose and need regular mental stimulation and physical exercise. They are also known for being able to distinguish between emotions, both from human and other animals.
Hook – Sinister, imposing, grand, vindictive, Captain of the pirate band. Preoccupied with good and bad form. Obsessed by his revenge on Peter Pan and fear of the ticking of the Crocodile.
Captain Jas Hook was inspired by a number influences. Treasure Island‘s Long John Silver, Captain James Cook (a real pirate), and the popularization of general pirate lore makeup Hook’s character. Hook’s obsession with good and bad form in particular come from his having attended a privileged college at some point in his life. In 1927, Barrie gave a speech titled “Captain Hook at Eton.” The speech can be read online.
Smee – Capt. Hook’s right-hand man. Jovial, simple; comedic in contrast to Hook in appearance and physical stature. Enjoys sewing.
Smee is the bo’sun, or boatswain, of the Jolly Roger. Bo’suns are “in charge of the rigging, sails, cables, and anchors, making sure they all work.” Bo’suns also manage replenishing provisions and stores. He was a translater from the Captain’s orders to the crew.
Other Pirates –Gentleman Starkey, Noodler, Cookson. Cunning and sinister, but with evaporating bravery depending on circumstances. They are often outsmarted and maneuvered by the Lost Boys.
Tiger Lily –Leader of band, princess of the braves; coquettish; feminine, sensual and bold.
Brave One and Brave Two Musicians backing Tiger Lily.