As Disney’s popular Tinkerbell movies came out, people fell in love with the precocious and adorable character. She was cute as a button. She seemed perpetually to get herself into trouble yet she never intended to hurt anyone. She was loyal to her pals and community, and went out of her way to be a friend to anyone.
So, what happened to her? My recollection of Tinkerbell is that she was a spiteful, dangerous creature. I couldn’t figure out how she was so lovely in the new movies but so awful in the old one. Based on the events of the Peter Pan movie from the 1950s, I discerned that Tink’s adventures with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys took place after her experiences in Pixie Hollow. We see her from her birth through her young adult years in the first straight-to-DVD movie from 2008. The follow-up stories seem to take place in generally the same time period. Peter Pan and the Neverland stories hadn’t even figured into the picture at that point.
Well, my curiosity got the better of me so I did some digging. An unfortunate history unraveled. During one of her adventures near the seashore, she discovered a “lost thing” that turned out to be a map in a bottle. She pried the cork off, fished it out, and discovered to her amazement the layout of an enchanted island called “Neverland” which was second to the right and straight on till morning. After building herself a submersible vessel to avoid taking on water, she set out to find the island. It was a long journey and some say the solitude and claustrophobia took its toll on the little fairy’s mind, and that she never fully recovered afterwards.
Upon arrival at the island, she discovered that it was inhabited by various groups of people. There were pirates, which she avoided, redskins, which she thought was as apt a designation as “Indian” since they neither had red skin nor were Indians, and a group of nitwits called the Lost Boys. She decided to fall in with the boys since they were harmless enough and their antics amused her. After several days, the leader of the pack, Peter Pan, showed up and discovered the new group member. Tinkerbell was immediately drawn to the handsome imp. He was playful, intelligent, and … he was a bad boy. Like many girls, the cavalier braggadocio of a ne’er-do-well rogue appealed to her (what the hell is that all about anyway, ladies?).
Peter took to liking Tinkerbell. She was resourceful and courageous. In all, they were good friends, although Peter relentlessly joked about her figure (she weighed about 1.3 grams after all), laughingly calling her “Tinkerpear” or “Fattie-bell.” It amused him to no end to “get her goat” which sent her into hours, sometimes days, of pouting.
Over time, Tinkerbell became a bit of brat (OK, a lot of a brat) and enjoyed harassing the pirates as much as Peter did. She still needed pixie dust to fly so when her initial supply ran out, she was relieved to discover that Neverland had its own form of dust as well. However, it was much more potent and tended to have an adverse affect on her personality, making her jittery and ill-tempered if she used too much of it. It was also highly addictive for a creature as small as Tinkerbell and she got hooked very badly. She found that she would get a rush if she snorted rather than sprinkled pixie dust. Peter would laugh uncontrollably as he watched her fly around like a hummingbird on Aderrall during one of her binges.
Tinkerbell began to develop an antisocial personality. She was fiercely jealous whenever Peter flew off without her to spend time with the redskin chief’s daughter. So, when Peter showed up one evening with a group of humans from the mainland and one of them was a pretty girl named Wendy, Tinkerbell was furious. You should all know the history at this point because it’s chronicled in the 1953 Disney movie.
Wendy returned for a handful of other adventures and while Tinkerbell kept her temper under control when Wendy was around, her resentment was building. Eventually, she began to display out-of-control behavior like inciting wild boar to attack the redskin camp, and sprinkling pixie dust on the Lost Boys while they were asleep so she could fly them over to the pirate ship. Peter managed to prevent most of the fallout but after Tink helped Hook drown one of the Lost Boys, Peter decided he’d had enough. A tribal council was held and Tinkerbell was incarcerated as an accessory to murder. She spent five weeks locked up in a jar without any pixie dust. Her withdrawals were horrendous and any sanity she retained was gone by the time one of the redskin children accidentally released her.
Tinkerbell went on a rage and burned down a swath of Neverwood Forest, then slashed the faces of several mermaids and killed two of them. By the time Peter Pan had managed to capture her again, the island was in a state of chaos. Even the pirates were terrified. Smee had gone missing and since the crocodile was standoffish, they assumed he had recently fed on Smee’s body. Hook actually appealed to Peter and begged him to extinguish Tinkerbell. But Peter wasn’t a killer and decided the best recourse was to fly her back to Pixie Hollow and see if the Fairy Queen could calm her tattered mind.
Once Tinkerbell was returned to Pixie Hollow, her situation was made known to the rest of the fairies. Most of her shocked friends shunned her. Only Iridessa and Rosetta approached Tinkerbell initially but they too eventually stopped visiting the enchanted jail cell where she was held. However, after many moons of detox and therapy, Tinkerbell seemed to regain some of her sensibilities. She cried incessantly as she took in the horrible damage she had caused. The Fairy Queen took this as a good sign and spent as much time as she could consoling Tinkerbell. With joy, she observed that by the time four seasons had passed, Tinkerbell appeared to be back mostly to her old self. So, it was a shock to everyone when Clank swung by her house for a little tickle and a giggle, and found her hanging by a root one Spring day. The fairy community mourned for a very long time. Her home was bulldozed and replaced with flowers. The fairies were so distraught, they rarely mentioned her name afterwards.
Several years later, a child in America was born and when he let out his first laugh, a fairy was born as it had always been. As all the eager fairies waited to see their new addition, they were amazed that the newborn fairy was female and had the identical semblance of Tinkerbell. As she grew, the community began to see the same precocious traits and the thirst for adventure that Tink had manifested. The Fairy Queen declared that the magic of the wise old Home Tree of Pixie Hollow had given re-birth to the essence of Tinkerbell thus affording her another chance at a good life. Many celebrated with joyousness the wonder of it all.
But what they didn’t know is that the child who’s laugh had given birth to the reincarnated Tinkerbell was none other than Pastor Fred Phelps. One particularly dark night, Tinkerbell Redux (as she was dubbed by the queen) slashed the throats of 72 fairies including the Fairy Queen and burned down the Home Tree. Terrified, the remaining fairies disappeared into the woods and fields where most fell victim to predators, windshields, and the elements. Today, all of the fairies are dead. Damn you, Tinkerbell.