Peter Pan Is A Total Jerk, And There Are Mountains Of Evidence To Prove It

Peter Pan is a lot of things: a child who can fly, a rogue, a dreamer, and perhaps above all else, a terrible person. In fact, he's kind of a sociopath. Instead of viewing him as a childhood hero, you should probably be scared of Peter Pan. While it may sound far-fetched, there is a long list of evidence from the original novel and the classic family films that proves Peter Pan is a jerk. And that's being generous.

Maybe you already realize he's a killer, but you may not know just who he's willing to kill. What about his loyal friends, the Lost Boys? Well, they're more like followers than friends to him. For that matter, many of the inhabitants of Neverland are subject to his whims, stripped of their autonomy by a boy whose only concern is having fun.

Peter Pan sucks. Big-time. He is selfish, inconsiderate, and maybe even the villain of his own story. After taking a closer look at the leader of the Lost Boys, the truth is clear: Peter Pan is the worst.

  • Peter Tries To Indiscriminately Kill Adults

    Peter Tries To Indiscriminately Kill Adults
    Photo: Once Upon A Time / ABC

    There are quite a few disturbing events in J.M. Barrie's original novel Peter Pan, and some of the worst can be attributed to the "hero" of the story. One such incident is Peter's reaction to Wendy when she says she needs to return home to her worried mother:

    He was so full of wrath against grown-ups, who, as usual, were spoiling everything, that as soon as he got inside his tree, he breathed intentionally quick short breaths at the rate of about five to a second. He did this because there is a saying in the Neverland that, every time you breathe, a grown-up dies; and Peter was killing them off vindictively as fast as possible.

  • Peter 'Thins Out' The Lost Boys When They Get Older

    Peter 'Thins Out' The Lost Boys When They Get Older
    Photo: Peter Pan / Universal Pictures

    There's a passage in Peter Pan that seems to be a throwaway at first glance, but the implications are horrifying:

    The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out; but at this time there were six of them, counting the twins as two.

    "Peter thins them out." What does that mean? It doesn't take a large logic leap to assume he kills them. If Peter just sends them away, the phrase "thins them out" wouldn't be appropriate. That has a very specific meaning, and in this case, it points to serial murder.

  • Peter Is A Traitor For The Fun Of It

    Peter Is A Traitor For The Fun Of It
    Photo: Hook / TriStar Pictures

    There's a line in the novel that describes how Peter occasionally switches sides in the middle of a battle for the fun of it. While it's meant to characterize Peter Pan as a mischievous scamp, the ramifications of his actions could be deadly for those who call him their ally.

    It's also evident in the book that there is killing in Neverland, as Peter likes to go on pirate hunts. He's a killer. Peter might even "thin out" his Lost Boys by switching sides mid-battle and slaying the very people who trust him as their leader.

  • He Occasionally Withholds Food From The Lost Boys

    He Occasionally Withholds Food From The Lost Boys
    Photo: Hook / TriStar Pictures

    In the book, Peter sometimes gives the Lost Boys pretend meals, either because he forgets or he can't tell the difference between what's real and what's make-believe. When the boys complain about being hungry after receiving imaginary food, Peter refuses to believe them and ignores their requests for real sustenance. He starves his followers - another authoritarian trait.

  • Peter Generally Treats Wendy Like Garbage

    Peter Generally Treats Wendy Like Garbage
    Photo: Peter Pan / Universal Studios

    In practically every version of the Peter Pan story, Wendy clearly has affection for Peter. While those feelings may be reciprocated (though he's too much of a child to recognize it), Peter consistently treats her like crap. When she helps him reattach his shadow, he congratulates himself, as if he did it on his own. He laughs at her when she's bullied by others. He often just flies off, leaving her to figure out how to catch up on her own.

    Peter basically views Wendy as a plaything or passing fancy. Yes, he's a child, but that doesn't change the fact that his treatment of his friend is indifferent at best and cruel at worst.

  • He Doesn't Respect Tinker Bell At All

    He Doesn't Respect Tinker Bell At All
    Photo: Hook / TriStar Pictures

    Tinker Bell has her own flaws, but Peter's treatment of her might help explain a lot of those. He knows she is fiercely loyal to him and totally takes advantage of that. It's indicative of the way he treats all women, considering how insensitive he is toward Wendy.

    He doubles down on his manipulation of Tink. He has to notice the fairy's jealousy toward Wendy, yet he repeatedly directs Tink to help his new friend. He's totally rubbing it in her face. He seems to view Tinker Bell as either entertainment or a tool, but not a true companion worthy of a two-way relationship.