A Hundred Years Ago

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Fanfiction
Title: A Hundred Years Ago
Author(s): trifles
Date(s): 2004
Length: 5408
Genre: children's literature, slash, fantasy
Fandom: Peter Pan
External Links: A Hundred Years Ago at vintagefic LiveJournal comm
A Hundred Years Ago at AO3

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Contents

A Hundred Years Ago by trifles[1] is a 2004 fic set in the Peter Pan universe.

Summary

It tells the backstory of Captain Hook through the framing device of Wendy sorting through Peter's dreams, which was a canonical concept whereby mothers can rearrange the dreams in their children's heads to make them fit better, and make the children happier for it. The dreams that she looks at are actually memories, as Peter cannot remember everything that he has done, lest he realise that he is old -

When a young boy accumulates too many memories, all very real and solid, he cannot help but realize he has a history. If a boy has a history, surely that means he's been alive far too long to be continuing this childhood thing, and should find himself a business venture straightway. Therefore, Peter said he didn't remember things. This was perfectly true, because the things he remembered were just like dreams, and dreams, as we both know, aren't very real at all.

The memories that she thinks are giving Peter nightmares are described as "loose dreams, uncollected and with no string to catch them all." She looks at these, hoping to ease his nightmares, and in this way discovers Peter's history with Captain Hook, himself a former lost boy. He is described having grown up too soon because he has too many memories, which he cannot discard with the ease that Peter does.

Reactions

Many fans noted that this story made them rethink Peter Pan, in particular the sympathetic characterisation of Captain Hook. Many commented that they felt pity for Hook that they hadn't before, as he was described as "grown up and still lost." The story talks about who the pity of the audience belongs to, alternating between Peter, Wendy and James, and readers agreed that all three are sympathetic characters, prompting the author to comment that ze thinks of all them as "sad creatures."[2]

feather_qwill described it as a "unique take on Hook lore," and the author disagreed, saying that the hints were already there and ze had just pushed them to the forefront.[3]

Other fans, such as thefourthvine and nautilusl2, had already noticed the dark aspects of the original text, and enjoyed A Hundred Years Ago precisely because it highlights those aspects that they'd already recognised.

Trifles wrote that "Reading the tales I thought I'd grown up with (Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty...) is always, for me, an exercise in discovering what has been changed or removed for the protection of children," when commenting on the original book compared to the Disney version.[citation needed]

As well as the sadness of lost children, some readers focused on the horror of Neverland. thefourthvine wrote "I don't think you need to understand the horror concealed behind Peter Pan's careless grin to love this story."[4]

Other readers described the story as highlighting the unthinking cruelty that resulted from Peter's eternal youth[citation needed], and some readers were captivated by the image of Peter instantly becoming old if he remembered how much history he has.[citation needed]

The story is sad and poignant and mimics Barrie's authorial voice exceptionally well. Apatheia_jane describes the story as being perfect for reading aloud to someone else.

References

  1. trifles at LJ, Trifles at AO3
  2. comment by bethbethbeth at vintagefic post, 7 Nov 2004 (Accessed 23 August 2011)
  3. comment thread at vintagefic post, 18 Feb 2005. (Accessed 23 August 2011)
  4. Best FF That Exposes the Hidden Evil Inherent in Neverland. Only, If You Ask Me, It Never Was All That Hidden, Because That Is One Terrifying Concept, Folks. from Slashy Nominations 96: My Sleep Is Made Hot by a Recurrent Dream recs post by thefourthvine, 10 Nov 2004. (Accessed 31 Jan 2012)
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