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George Darling

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George Darling is the husband of Mary Darling and the father of Wendy, Michael, and John. His characterization varies substantially from one version of the story to the next, but each characterization views him as a practical man that views Peter Pan as childish nonsense at first, and is especially concerned with his daughter Wendy, who is about to come of age and mature. Some adaptations turn that concern into borderline anger at Wendy, such as the 2003 Warner Brothers film. His physical appearance also changes considerably from one version to the next. He is a rather pompous and blustering bank/office clerk, and is concerned about his social status at the lower rung of the middle class in the society of his day.

At the beginning of Peter and Wendy, Barrie stresses George's practicality and no-nonsense attitude above all else. Like his wife Mary, he was very pleased with the arrival of each of his children, but was concerned about the expense of raising them. When Wendy arrived, he added up each of the various anticipated costs by the pound, shilling, and penny, including figures for each of the childhood ailments he expected (such as mumps and the flu), and he had to be persuaded by Mary to fudge the numbers just enough to allow them to keep her. He repeated the same procedure with each of his sons. When the Lost Boys arrived expecting to be taken in, he hesitated only because his feelings were hurt at not having been asked before Mary agreed, but quickly proposed that they stay in the drawing-room. "Mind you, I am not sure that we have a drawing-room, but we pretend we have, and it's all the same."

This change of attitude comes about from his remorse over the disappearance of the children to Neverland. Because he had dismissed the stories of Peter Pan as nonsense, and had prevented Nana from protecting the children by putting her outside, he blames himself. As punishment he puts himself in the doghouse, even to the point of having Nana's kennel (with him inside) conspicuously transported to the office and back each day. He refuses to come out, to the point that Mary feels she has to confirm that he really is doing it as punishment, not because he likes it. (This is possibly the origin of the expression "in the doghouse".)

Adaptations

1953 Disney film

Disney's George Darling
Disney's George Darling

In the Disney adaptation of the story, he believes the stories (told by his daughter in this version and not by his wife) to be a "lot of silly stories" and "poppycock", though he could be stressing from finding out that he might lose his job. He was modeled after and voiced by Hans Conried, who is also the model and voice for the villainous Captain Hook. In many productions of the play, they are sometimes played by the same actor; However, when cooled down in the end of the film, he changes his mind about Wendy's "crazy stories" and allows her to stay in the nursery. He later remarks having seen a pirate ship such as Peter Pan's when he was very young himself.

He is a very moody and dramatic figure. In the beginning of the film he is called "a practical man". He has had enough of the boys listening to Wendy's imaginary tales about Peter Pan, and in a moment of frustration he demands that Wendy's room be parted from the nursery, saying she "has to grow up". He is easily irritated at the mere mention of Peter Pan, and expresses his dislike in a rage of temper to his daughter, who is turning 13 by presumably the next day. He thus screams that that night is her "last night" in the nursery; the next night, she will be forced to have a separate room.

2003 Warner Brothers film

Jason Isaacs as George Darling in 2003 film Peter Pan
Jason Isaacs as George Darling in 2003 film Peter Pan

The 2003 movie also has George Darling as a pompous and angry man; he states to Mary and Millicent that he must become a man "that children fear and adults respect", and he again screams at his daughter Wendy for her to grow up, here angrily demanding formal instruction for his daughter the following morning with his sister Millicent (who suggested it in the first place to him earlier in the film) instead of just kicking her out of the nursery. He is played by Jason Isaacs. Some of Wendy's lines in the movie imply that she is afraid of her father and his fits of uncontrolled rage, and it is implied in the movie itself that the other children that live in the neighborhood of Bloomsbury are scared of him and his practicality.

In the book Peter and the Shadow Thieves, it states that George and Molly Aster were childhood friends in their neighborhood of Kensington Gardens, and it is hinted in that story that he had a crush on her. Since Molly is a nickname for Mary, and his wife was named Mary in Peter and Wendy, it is assumed that Molly later married George Darling, and gave birth to Wendy, John, and Michael. It is confirmed in the third book.

He is named after George Llewelyn Davies.

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