Peter Pan, a Boy without a Conscience?


I won’t give a huge summary of what happened from each episode from Season 3 of Once Upon A Time. No, I will be focusing on a very interesting character. Peter Pan. My thoughts may seem slightly scattered, just imagine it however as those cluster charts.


Many people have been upset with the fact that the beloved Peter Pan they knew from the childhood has become psychotic. Personally I’m excited about this. A Character that wasn’t truly good or truly bad has become a villain. I love villains (in books & movies- not in real life).  We were first introduced to him in the last episode of Season 2 “Straight Until Morning.”  Well his shadow and the fact that he exists. We really didn’t get to see him till the first episode of  Season 3. I was actually surprised about that, I was expecting to wait a little longer. Oh, who else was freaked out with Peter’s glowing eyes from the shadow?

Peter’s Shadow?

When I watched the first episode. I flipped out of my mind. Why? Peter. I, of course knew right away that Greg and Tamara both would die. I mean the last episode of Season 2 gave it away. Once we knew Pan was looking for Henry. Peter Pan tricking two normals that hate magic into stealing Henry. It just sounds too much like Pan for him to not do that.

Interesting thing that shocked me was Peter’s Shadow. It has the power to steal other shadows and when he does, they die. Greg was killed in this manner in episode 1. In episode 2 we see Rumpelstiltskin cut off his shadow and it took a metaphysical form and was able to take commands. Seems like an extreme measure. But as we learn, even he fears Pan.  Also Rumplestilskin cut off his shadow and didn’t die. Peter pan’s shadow is separate from him and he is still alive. Yet, why did Greg die?

Now from the moment when Greg’s shadow was taken, he became pale and lifeless. He was dead. Yes, there have been theories saying that Greg is not really dead and it’s only because Pan’s shadow has Greg’s shadow that he is in a empty shell like state (kind of like the Dementor’s kiss, but with stealing shadows). Interesting theory. Part of me is on the fence about it.

I will get to both issues later.

I think what Rumpelstiltskin did to his soul is the same thing that Pan did. That’s right, he cut off his own shadow and may have an army of shadows at his disposal. Why? Simple to be powerful. To have control. To not die.

“But, how is that possible? If they did it to themselves, they would be dead.”

We have seen people & heard people take out their own hearts and others and they are still kicking. Cora took her own heart and she was fine. This is Once Upon A Time and they are in Neverland. Anything is possible, remember that.

Now back to Rumpelstiltskin. He doesn’t fear anyone because he has power.  The Evil Queen doesn’t scare him. Cora wasn’t an issue (he loved her at one point). Only Love has scared/fascinated him so far. No villain we have seen has scared Rumple since he has become the Dark One. And yet the Dark One fears Pan. Why?

What can we gather from this?

  1. Rumpelstiltskin has met Pan before.
  2. He has been to Neverland before and knows how it works.
  3. Peter Pan has to be really powerful.
  4. Peter Pan is more ruthless and heartless than the Dark One, Cora, and Regina. Yikes!

Where Did Rumpelstiltskin and Pan Meet?

When I saw the first episode, I was expecting the storyline between Pan and Rumple to be along the lines that through Rumples travels he met Pan and they had this huge fight. Possibly met Pan through meeting Hook.

That theory got blown out of the water in the second episode.

As soon as I heard that Rumplestilskin was abandoned by his father. I knew.

Rumple had been a Lost Boy! 

Now I can hear what you are saying, “But Pan never lets anyone leave!” “Once you are with Peter, you are with him for life.”  Makes him sound like a controlling psycho boyfriend, huh?  Guess what you are all forgetting one thing, Baelfire. He was taken to Neverland by Peter ‘s Shadow.  And he was able to get out of there somehow. It may have taken a long time, like 100 years or so, but hey he still got out of there.

If Baelfire was able to do it. Rumple would have been able to do it as well. Like Father like son.

I also have another theory in case he was not a Lost Boy, but that is the theory I prefer.

Shadow = Soul?

In old fairy tales the soul and shadow were connected a lot. There has been a theory floating around about the fact that when Peter Pan’s shadow takes someone else shadow/soul he gains control over them.  Have his own personal army that would be pretty hard to kill, since its not completely alive.

Part of me wants to appreciate the theory that Greg is not dead/is in some form of limbo. However, I do think he is dead. He has served his purpose as a character and to drag him out at this point would be unnecessary.

Peter Pan, the boy.

He is a mystery. If he has been around since Rumpelstiltskin was a child abandoned by his father, he has to be old (even if Rumple wasn’t a boy when they met, Peter still has to be pretty old).  Also the fact that he doesn’t mind have his shadow steal children for his own army, he doesn’t care if people die, and it doesn’t faze him that he is hurting others. It’s all part of his plan. His game.

Doesn’t this remind you of someone?



That’s right. He reminds me of Cora. He will do whatever he takes to be powerful and to forget. Remember in the original Peter Pan story, he was abandoned by his parents. He too was an orphan. We see the orphan/abandonment theme a lot so far in this season and its only episode 2! Henry was abandoned by Emma. Emma was abandoned by Snow and Charming. Baelfire was abandoned by Rumple. Rumple was abandoned by his father. Pinnochio (who yes has not appeared, still helps makes the abandonment point) was left by his father. Mad Hatter’s daughter also abandoned in a way, she was left with another family, “abandoned.

In this series, a lot of people have been abandoned, left behind, orphaned. Whether it is physical by putting them into a magical wardrobe or its emotional/mental when there father is drinking away and not being there for his daughter, Cora. For those that don’t remember we see him in like 1 episode and he is drunk and we get the impression that this is not the first time. He is probably an alcoholic and hasn’t been there for his child.

As a result we are getting interesting view points on how each character reacts to being abandoned.


  1. Peter was abandoned. An Orphan
  2. Peter is ruthless
  3. Peter is feared by the Dark One.
  4. Peter likes playing Games
  5. Peter’s shadow steals children.
  6. Peter creepily reminds me of Cora

Peter has no heart.  Peter has no soul. 

My reasoning for this Peter Pan was abandoned. He felt hurt and unloved. He soon realized. Love makes you weak and we all know the worst thing for a boy is to look weak. It’s part of the culture. So, he somehow learned to take out his own heart and keep it locked away.  And to prevent him from being killed by another (or another way to take control and be strong), he also ripped off his own shadow, his soul.

This leads to another question. How did he learn to do this? I have 2 answers for that.

It was either Cora or Rumplestilskin (this is if Rumple was not a lost boy, although its possible he could have gone back to Peter since he knew how to find him). Cora seems just as heartless and I’m not sure what her motivations would be to be honest with helping Peter out, not without it benefiting her. But with Rumple, he would do it for a price of course. Maybe to find Baelfire. After all Peter goes after those that had been abandoned. It’s possible he could have asked for help with finding Bae.

Back to the issue of abandonment. Abandonment is a painful thing. We see Peter mention this fact to Emma in the second episode. Henry, Emma, Rumple, and Baelfire haven’t really come to terms with being abandoned. He almost seems to throw it in their face and mock them about it. He is not empathetic about it at all. He could see their desire to be loved as weak. Which could help explain his comment to Emma, “You’ve got fire. I like fire.” She is not weak, despite being abandoned, in Pan’s eyes. Especially if you compare how she has lived in comparison to Rumple and Baelfire. Both who have gone down paths that are not so good. She turned her life around. Granted, she still needs to forgive her family, but if she has that same spirit so does Henry and he was abandoned too….

Just wait. I’m getting there.

His soul and heart not being there would also explain why pixie dust doesn’t work anymore, which means it used to, so what could have changed? Maybe at one point he ripped out his own heart and cut off his soul/shadow. You need to have a heart & soul to believe in good, wonder and magic. After all death/lack of soul/ darkness/lack of life vs good/blind faith/hope (think Regina vs Snow White here). Emma is the daughter of Snow White. Henry is the grandson of Snow.

The Heart of the Truest Believer

Peter Pan intends to steal Henry’s heart. The title of the first episode of the 3rd Season is a dead giveaway. After all hearts, believing, and spirit (aka soul) is a huge theme that reappears throughout the series.   He has the same fire as Emma and the same belief that snow has. The whole “anything is possible if you just believe” mentality.  We saw the pixie dust immediately work and we saw not only Pan’s face, but the faces of the other Lost Boys. All Impressed.  So I wouldn’t be surprised if Pan doesn’t try to take Henry’s heart. And it would be something new we haven’t seen. We have never seen someone put a heart back into themselves.

After all Neverland runs on belief and Henry is full of it.


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