|Peter Pan character|
1907 illustration by Oliver Herford of Wendy and the Lost Boys
|First appearance||Peter Pan (1904)|
|Created by||J. M. Barrie|
|Significant other(s)||Peter Pan|
|Relatives||John Darling (brother)
Michael Darling (brother)
Wendy Moira Angela Darling is a fictional character and the female 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 she is implied to be 12 or 13 years old or younger, as she is "just Peter's size" and he still has all his baby teeth. Her hair colour has variously been blonde, brown, or black. Wendy is portrayed in the Disney movie with a blue ribbon in her hair and blue nightdress. Wendy expresses an innocent adoration for Peter as soon as they meet, and is honest to herself and company throughout the entire book, play or movie. As a girl who is beginning to "grow up", she stands in contrast to Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to do so, the major theme of the Peter Pan stories. In the beginning, Wendy hesitates to escape to the Neverland, to take care of her brothers and accompany her mother, but in time, she shows passion for magical events and adventures.
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 found a room of her own" and kicks her out of the nursery for "stuffing the boys' heads with her 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 fantasizing. 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 indefinitely.
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 or implied flirtation with Peter (thereby forming a love triangle with Peter's sometimes-jealous fairy friend Tinker Bell). In the Disney version she also becomes jealous of Princess Tiger Lily after the Princess kisses Peter. (In fact, she becomes so jealous she turns on her heel and marches back to Hangman's Tree. In the original script of Barrie's book, Peter and Wendy, Wendy asks Peter, towards the end of the book, 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 to accept the virtues of adulthood, and returns to London, having decided not to postpone maturity any longer.
In An Afterthought written by JM Barrie and staged in 1908, which was included in the novel published in 1911 and later incorporated into some productions of the play, Wendy has grown up and married, and has a daughter, Jane. When Peter returns looking for Wendy (not understanding that she would no longer be a young girl, as time escapes him while he is in the Neverland), he meets Jane; Wendy lets her daughter go off with him, apparently trusting her to make the same choices. The same scenario later plays out between Jane's daughter, Wendy's granddaughter, Margaret. (We don't actually see this happen. Barrie states [at the very end of the book] that Jane has a daughter, Margaret, who will one day go to the Neverland with Peter Pan, and that the same thing will happen with Margaret's future daughter and future granddaughter, and on and on, for as long as children believe in fairies.)
Physical appearance 
Wendy is generally depicted as a pretty girl with soft features, twinkling eyes and either blonde, brown or black hair. While Tiger Lily and Tinker Bell are portrayed as the figures of exotic, magical beauty, Wendy represents the conventional, flirtatious young mother figure, and ultimately, it is she who captures the attention of Peter Pan.
The name Wendy 
The first name Wendy was very uncommon in the Anglosphere 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.
Portrayal in film 
- Peter Pan (1924 silent live-action film) – Mary Brian. The actress was 18, but publicity materials claimed she was 16.
- Peter Pan (1953 animated film) – Kathryn Beaumont. Disney's Wendy is portrayed as being a mother first and foremost, with all the classical ideas of how to be a mother and care for people. She appears bossy but well-meaning, and slightly taken with Peter. She also appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character.
- Hook (1991 live-action film) – Maggie Smith plays an elderly Wendy, who is being honoured for her lifetime of work in finding homes for orphans. She was also a former neighbour of J. M. Barrie, who loved Wendy's stories to her siblings and wrote them in books. Her granddaughter Moira is the wife of Peter Banning (Robin Williams), the former Peter Pan who has grown up and forgotten his life in Neverland. During a flashback to Peter's childhood, a younger Wendy is played by Gwyneth Paltrow. (Peter's and Moira's daughter, Wendy's great-granddaughter, is Maggie, a common pet name for Margaret, the name of Jane's daughter, Wendy's granddaughter, in the original book by Barrie.)
- Return to Never Land (2002 animated film) – Kath Soucie voices a grown-up Wendy who has raised her children on tales of Peter Pan. Her role is minimal in this portrayal, but at the end of the film she is briefly, but happily, reunited with Peter.
- Peter Pan (2003 live-action film) – Rachel Hurd-Wood. In this film, as in Barrie's original treatment, Wendy easily falls into a mothering role with her male companions, but is conflicted by her romantic feelings towards Peter, who reacts with incomprehension and annoyance. She is also more adventurous than in most adaptations, taking part in the conflict with the pirates including sword fighting. The film also develops Barrie's hint that Wendy has incipient romantic feelings for the more mature and virile Hook, showing that she is growing up in spite of herself.
- Tinker Bell (2008 animated film) – America Young. In Tinker Bell, Wendy was the baby on which Tinker Bell came from. Wendy is shown as the recipient of a long-forgotten ballerina music box that Tinker Bell has repaired. Wendy is much younger in appearance than in 1953's Peter Pan.
Portrayal in television 
In the first two telecasts of the 1954 Broadway musical version of the play (1955 and 1956), Wendy was portrayed by Kathleen Nolan, who had also played her onstage. In the 1960 telecast of the musical, Ms. Nolan was replaced by Maureen Bailey, whose only major television role this was.
In both these musical versions, Wendy as an adult was played by a different actress.
In the anime series Peter Pan no Boken (Adventures of Peter Pan), which is a part of the World Masterpiece Theater, a rather tomboyish Wendy has a pivotal role in the second part of the series, which depicts a completely original story where Peter Pan, the Lost Kids and the Darling siblings must save a young witch named Luna from the clutches of her evil grandmother, the witch Sinistra, and Wendy is the one who truly saves her. She's also shown directly antagonizing Captain Hook when he kidnaps her in the first part, yelling at him and even impersonating his mother at some point to manipulate his fears against him.
The Disney version of Wendy was featured as one of the guests in House of Mouse; however, despite the fact that Kathryn Beaumont was credited as providing Alice's voice, Wendy said nothing.
Wendy will appear in the final two episodes of the second season of Once Upon a Time.
Portrayal in other media 
- The Disney version of Wendy is featured in the video-game Kingdom Hearts. In the game, Captain Hook believes she is a princess of Heart and is displeased when it turns out she's not.
- In Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's adult graphic novel Lost Girls, first published in full in 2006, Wendy is re-imagined as a middle-aged woman who (in an encounter with Oz's Dorothy and Wonderland's Alice) recounts her sexual encounters with a local homeless boy who represents the "real" Peter Pan. The graphic novel faced disapproval from Great Ormond Street Hospital, which denied permission to publish the book in the European Union while their copyright was still in force (through 2007).
- In 2008 Disney campaign "Year of a Million Dreams", Wendy was portrayed by supermodel Gisele Bündchen.
- The Wendy Trilogy, a feminist-minded retelling of the Peter Pan story as a three-song cycle, shows Wendy accepting, rather than refusing, Captain Hook's offer to make her a pirate, and subsequently becoming mistress of the Jolly Roger.
- In the Peter and the Starcatchers series, Wendy Darling is the daughter of Molly Aster, whom Peter has encountered while first discovering Neverland.
- In the 2005–2006 comic book series The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles, Wendy is portrayed as sharing an apartment with Alice from Alice In Wonderland, Dorothy Gale from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Susan Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia.
- In the Once Upon a time episode Second Star to the Right. Wendy finds Baefire after he arrives in the real world. She hides him in her house and brings him food until her parents discover him. After they let him stay, Wendy tells Baelfire about a shadow she keeps on seeing. Baelfire warns to stay away from it, since he comes from a world with magic. She eventually goes with the shadow to Neverland. When she returns, she tells him the shadow doesnt let anyone leave. It lets her leave because it wants a boy. So it will come back for John and Michael. When the shadow returns, they make a stand against it. To protect them, Baelfire volunteers to go instead. As he is taken away, Wendy watches on from the window.
In non-fiction 
- Dr. Dan Kiley's book, The Wendy Dilemma (1984), advises women romantically involved with "Peter Pans" how to improve their relationships. This book is a sequel to The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up, about individuals (usually male) with underdeveloped maturity.
- Patricia Craine's Wendy's Club: ...for women hooked on "Peter Pans" and how to break the addiction (2006) addresses the same target audience as Kiley's 1984 book.
- Birkin, Andrew. J. M. Barrie and the Lost Boys, Yale University Press, 2003.
- "The History of Wendy". Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- Winn, Christopher. I Never Knew That About England.
- Kiley, Dr. Dan (1984). The Wendy Dilemma: When Women Stop Mothering Their Men. Arbor House Publishing. ASIN B000O6BTHI. ISBN 9780877956259.
- Kiley, Dr. Dan (1983). The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up. Avon Books. ISBN 0380688905.
- Craine, Patricia (2006). Wendy's Club: ...for women hooked on "Peter Pans" and how to break the addiction. AuthorHouse. ISBN 1425960472.