Time for another “useless secret” regarding an aspect of Peter Pan’s NeverWorld.
In my novel, Peter Pan now wears a capelet, i.e. a small cape. No, Barrie didn’t describe him with one in Peter and Wendy. So where did I get it from - and why did I include it? Even Andrea Jones, author of Hook & Jill, asked me about it during her visit.
Here’s the answer:
Truth be told, I’d rather liked the inclusion of it in Fox’s Peter Pan & the Pirates. It brought an extra certain something special to him, a neat touch out of the routine. But I knew very well that this could not be reason enough to impose it upon the eternal boy. So why else?
As can be expected, one reason for the capelet does in fact come from Barrie. In the original production of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, Nina Boucicault’s costume has something draped over Peter’s shoulders. I figured since Barrie had been involved with the show, if he objected to the small cape it would have been removed. Thus, I’d already found just cause for the addition of it in my novel.
But there’s also another reason. The very first public depiction of Peter Pan, it would seem, is art by Charles Buchel from 1904, used to promote the play before any other bit of it had been released. As you can see, Peter Pan is shown with a big flowing cape. It’s a great piece of art, but the big cape is a little much, I think. Yet it does give another reason to have Pan with something over his shoulders.
And there you have it. I really like Pan with the capelet, so I put it in the book. I of course made sure to have a line or two stating that it’s something “new” such as: Luckily she had a knack for catching hold of the capelet he’d taken to wearing.
Later on, as I learned from the recent Peter Pan at Kensington Gardens prodcution in London, it can also serve as a “reminder” of his wings from having been a bird.
My personal “rationale” for it is thus: It’s a given fact that fairies can weave cloth from leaves, as learned in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens: … a fairy who had been gathering skeleton leaves, from which the little people weave their summer curtains… So for me it only stands to reason that eventually Peter would have clothing made from such an endeavor. (In fact, that’s precisely the case for Peter’s entire outfit in my book.) And even more importantly, I reckon that some of Peter Pan’s “mothers” (descendants of Wendy) would have left their own marks on the Neverland and sewn him some new togs.
Yet in my mind it’s not one of the “mothers” who presented him with the capelet. Nope. I have something else in mind as to where he obtained it. I don't want to reveal that just yet… as I’ve got a scene in mind for another tale on NeverWorld which will explain its appearance. Nothing major, but I think it would be more fun to find out then rather than now.
Lastly, I also knew that even with these“justifications” for the inclusion of a capelet for Pan, I had to have at least one good reason story-wise. I surely do. The lesser of these is quoted up there, when Amy Alexis Richards grabs hold of it as tries to fly away. But there’s a better reason, too. What is it? Why, it’s in the book, of course! ;)