|First appearance Peter Pan (1904)|
Children Jane (daughter)
Significant other Edward
Parents Mr. Darling, Mary Darling
|Created by J. M. Barrie|
Creator J. M. Barrie
Play Peter and Wendy
|Portrayed by Hilda Trevelyan (1904 production)Mary Brian (Peter Pan 1924)Maggie Smith (Hook 1991)Rachel Hurd-Wood (Peter Pan (2003))|
Voiced by Kathryn Beaumont (Peter Pan (1953))
Relatives John Darling (brother)Michael Darling (brother)Margaret (grandchild)
Movies Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Hook, Neverland
Played by Rachel Hurd‑Wood, Kathryn Beaumont, Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Smith, Minnie Driver
Similar Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Lost Boys, Tinker Bell, Smee
Wendy Moira Angela Darling is a fictional character and the protagonist of Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie, and in most adaptations in other media. Her exact age is not specified in the original play or novel by Barrie, though it is implied she is about 12 or 13 years old, as she is "just Peter's size". Wendy expresses an innocent admiration for Peter as soon as they meet. As a girl on the verge of adulthood, she stands in contrast to Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to grow up, the major theme of the Peter Pan stories. Wendy hesitates at first to fly off to Neverland, but she comes to enjoy her adventures. Ultimately, she chooses to go back to her parents and accepts that she has to grow up.
In the novel Peter Pan, and its cinematic adaptations, she is an Edwardian schoolgirl. The novel states that she attends a "kindergarten school" with her younger brothers, meaning a school for pre-adolescent children. Like Peter, in many adaptations of the story she is shown to be on the brink of adolescence. She belongs to a middle class London household of that era, and is the daughter of George Darling, a short-tempered and pompous bank/office worker, and his wife, Mary. Wendy shares a nursery room with her two brothers, Michael and John. However, in the Disney version, her father decides that "it's high time she had a room of her own" and kicks her out of the nursery for "stuffing the boys' heads with a lot of silly stories", but changes his mind at the end of the film after he returns home with his wife after the party.
Wendy is the most developed character in the story of Peter Pan, and is often considered the central protagonist. She is proud of her own childhood and enjoys telling stories and fantasising. She has a distaste for adulthood, acquired partly by the example of it set by her father, whom she loves but fears due to his somewhat violent fits of anger. Her ambition early in the story is to somehow avoid growing up. She is granted this opportunity by Peter Pan, who takes her and her brothers to Neverland, where they can remain young forever.
Ironically, Wendy finds that this experience brings out her more adult side. Peter and the tribe of Lost Boys who dwell in Neverland want her to be their "mother" (a role they remember only vaguely), a request she tentatively accedes to, performing various domestic tasks for them. There is also a degree of innocent flirtation with Peter which incites jealousy in Peter's fairy Tinker Bell. In the Disney version, she is upset with Tiger Lily that Peter rescued. In Barrie's book Peter and Wendy, Wendy asks Peter at the end if he would like to speak to her parents about "a very sweet subject", implying that she would like him to speak to her parents about someday marrying her.
Wendy eventually learns that adulthood has its rewards and returns to London, deciding not to postpone maturity any longer.
Barrie's short play When Wendy Grew Up - An Afterthought was first staged in 1908, and the story line included in the novel published in 1911. It was published in 1957 and sometimes incorporated into productions of the play. In this Afterthought Wendy has grown up and married, although it's not known whom she married, and has a daughter, Jane. When Peter returns looking for Wendy, he does not understand at first that Wendy is no longer a young girl, as he has no notion of time when in Neverland. He meets Jane and invites her to fly off with him to Neverland. Wendy lets her daughter go, trusting her to make the same choices as her. The narrator states that Jane has a daughter, Margaret, who will one day also go to Neverland with Peter Pan, and "in this way, it will go on for ever and ever, so long as children are young and innocent".
Barrie does not give any description of Wendy, but she is generally depicted as a pretty girl with either blond or brown hair. While Tiger Lily and Tinker Bell are usually portrayed as exotic or magical figures, Wendy represents the conventional young mother figure who ultimately captures Peter Pan's attention. Wendy is portrayed in the Disney movie with light brown hair, wearing a blue nightdress and a blue ribbon in her hair.
In the original novel and the 1953 Disney movie, Wendy has an easy relationship with her mother, Mary Darling. Her relationship with her father, George Darling, is more difficult as he is always serious and does not like Wendy telling stories to her brothers that he considers childish, threatening to move Wendy to her own room. However, Wendy and her father do love each other and when Wendy comes back from Neverland, she seems to have a better understanding of her father.
Wendy and her brothers, John Darling and Michael Darling, to whom she tells stories, have a good relationship. She shows great concern for them and is very protective towards them. In the 1953 cartoon movie, she makes John and Michael realize that they need their real mother and persuades them to return home after their adventures in Neverland.
Wendy believes in Peter Pan and shares his stories with her brothers every night. When Wendy and Peter meet for the first time, she begins to care about him too. Romantic feelings between them are hinted at, but never articulated. In the 2003 film, the feeling is mutual and Wendy shows her love when she gives Peter a hidden kiss in order to save him from Captain Hook. They also have a special moment in the cartoon sequel to the 1953 film, Return to Neverland, when Peter and a grown up Wendy are reunited for the first time in years and they say goodbye for the final time. In Hook, an older Wendy hints she still has feelings for Peter (who has grown up and married her granddaughter, Moira).
The name Wendy
The first name Wendy was very uncommon in the English-speaking world before J. M. Barrie's work and its subsequent popularity has led some to credit him with "inventing" it. Although the name Wendy was used to a limited extent as the familiar-form of the Welsh name Gwendolyn, it is thought that Barrie took the name from a phrase used by Margaret Henley, a five-year-old girl whom Barrie befriended in the 1890s, daughter of his friend William Henley. She called Barrie her "friendy-wendy", which she pronounced as "fwendy-wendy". She died at the age of five and was buried, along with her family, in Cockayne Hatley.
In Great Britain, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, children's playhouses are commonly known as Wendy houses.