This is one (among many) pet peeves I have regarding people’s perception of the Peter Pan story. Seemingly invariably, people tend to be wrong. Most likely because of the majority of Captain Hook depictions on stage and screen. Usually they show the left hand with the claw. Why? Well, it’s likely that would-be Hooks can’t swordfight with their left hand. So it’s a detail that’s switched. The result? The wrong image/idea becomes ingrained in people’s minds and pop culture.
But does it really matter? Am I just nit-picking?
Far from it. It’s the only valid choice.
My new (relatively, I’ve known him months now) friend Darling had not been sure which hand the infamous pirate lord sported his menacing iron. But he didn’t want me to tell him. He wanted to reason it out. He DID! Correctly. And Darling doesn't even fully know the story! Here’s what he surmised:
Assuming James to be part of the right-handed majority trait from the start, the hook would HAVE to be the right hand. Why? Darling figured that James fought valiantly with it against his foes, and therefore that hand would be prominently in position for hacking off.
Besides this simple logic, there’s the bit that Darling does not yet know: The issue of infliction rather than circumstance. Cutting off someone’s hand is ‘wrong’ enough. Yet when it’s the most often used hand, the one which allows someone to function (let alone swordfight), it’s something else entirely. It’s not only problematic, but more humiliating. Most of us realize that part of the reason Hook is bloodthirsty for Pan stems from the fact that the flying urchin mutilated him. If Peter had chopped off his left, it would have been dreadful, but not as debilitating. Pan knew that. So whack went the hand on the right. It doesn’t work the other way.
Think about it.
Side Note: Jason Isaacs [the best Hook!] had been asked if he had swordfight training. Of course, said he. “With your left hand?” came the follow-up question. And so, Isaacs learned to fight with his other hand instead. Bravo. Thanks for not “copping out”, director P.J. Hogan and Jason Isaacs!