Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This One Doesn't Pan Out Either

Another Peter Pan story drifted my way. It's been around for a little while (since May 10, 2010), but this is the first I've seen of it. Hook and Peter Pan: How It All Began by Giles Scott. As you can tell from the title, it's meant to be a prequel story.  Like Barrie's novel of Peter Pan, it's a novelization of a play.  This play had been created by the same author along with Helen Dooley and Bob Walsh.  This staging, however, started as a musical.  I had been aware of it in this form.  But when I looked into at the time, I uncovered inconstistencies and then paid it no more mind.  But here it is again, as a book. 

First let me say it's nice to see that Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is recognized, as it tells of him being a baby and a week old. No other prequel attempt that I know of (with the current available information) has even acknowledged Barrie's origin tale. Unfortunately, though, I didn't have to look too far to see a place or two that it doesn't connect to Barrie.

For one thing, it says that the Neverland and its inhabitants like the Native American tribe and the pirates had all been there originally, sprung up from the imagination of children. While it is in fact true that imagination can shape the Neverland, it is not true that Captain Hook had been dreamed up by kids. Barrie presents his pirate chief as having existed in and having ties to the real world. Besides his connection to the pirates of Treasure Island (fictional, yes, but not within the world of fiction), there is also his time at Eton as well as his ambiguous 'scandalous' identity not to mention him sailing with real-life Blackbeard.

On the first page we meet Tootles. As in, Tootles had been in the Neverland before Peter Pan. Sorry, but Tootles is not one of the original Lost Boys. The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; ... ; but at this time there were six of them, counting the twins as two.   Well, yes, I suppose it's possible that Tootles had been around for that long.  Except that Barrie says He had been in fewer adventures than any of them and that wouldn't make sense at all.  Even so, it also includes Curly, Nibs and Slightly.  Can't be all of them.

Lastly, it ignores that Peter Pan didn't "acquire" immortality and flight.  Both are inherent to him, however so.  This tale would have you believe he has to obtain them by fulfilling the Neverland-Foreverland Legend. 

To end on a positive note, it does seem very imaginative.  At least it's not just coupling it with Oliver Twist as seems the case with the SyFy prequel. 


Anon said...

I...don't think we're in the year 20,010 yet....

Seriously, though, from your description it sounds like it's better than most but still not quite right.

Peter Von Brown said...

(Removed the extra 0!)