Written by Ransom Riggs in 2011 and directed by Tim Burton in 2016, ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ is a fantasy book and film.
Jacob Portman, the grandson of Abe Portman has, since his childhood, heard stories from his grandfather regarding how the latter survived the ‘World War II’, fighting monsters at the same time and living at a secret home under the wardenship of Miss Alma Peregrine at a secret home for different, peculiar children at Cairnholm, Wales.
‘Peculiar traits mostly skip a generation, as the gene is recessive. Peculiar children are not always, or even usually, born to peculiar parents, as most live in loops, stopping them from aging and reaching physical maturity. Peculiar parents do not always or even usually bear peculiar children as they would need a partner who is also peculiar.’
On becoming 16, that is when Jacob realizes that all the stories told by his grandfather were as true as the facts of the existence of earth, the sun, and the moon.
One day, Jacob receives a panicked call from his grandfather and on reaching his grandfather’s place, he finds him dying, with gashes across his midsection, warning him to go through the “loop of September 1943,” which, initially appeared as a riddle to Jacob Portman, but were actually direct and pretty comprehendible instructions from his grandfather, Abe Portman.
Dr. Golan, the psychiatrist of Jacob suggests his parents let their son visit Wales and thus, Jacob, along with his father, Franklin Portman, visits Wales where Jacob finds that his grandfather’s orphanage was destroyed in a Luftwaffe (was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II) raid.
Upon the second visit to the house, he found the children there pretty alive and well, who took him through a portal and cave which leads him to emerge on September 3, 1943, where he found the house intact and in good shape.
Jacob finds that the children there, were, Peculiar. Peculiars used to vary in appearance, while most of them qualify as normals, whilst others have peculiarity affecting their physical appearance, for instance, as having multiple eyes!
The queerest thing was that all the children remained of the same age even after so many years.
They must have lived for nearly 70-80 actual years but as they all lived in the time loop of September 3, 1940, where the next and the day next to the next was the same, i.e., September the IIIrd of 1940, where the children and the place, the house, and people around remained exactly the same, and of the same age, which means that they never actually grew.
They even witnessed the bomb attack by Nazis done on September 3rd, every day!
They became used to it and eventually started looking at it as a means of amusement, a show of fireworks which scared the hell out of Jacob when they took him out to show it to him for the first time.
“watching billows of black smoke roll across the sky. Treetops burned in the hazy distance. The drone of unseen airplanes seemed to come from everywhere. Now and then came a muffled blast I could feel in my chest like the thump for a second heart, followed by waves of broiling heat, like someone opening and closing right in front of me. I ducked at each concussion, but the kids never so much as flinched. Instead, they sang, their lyrics timed perfectly to the rhythm of the bombs…The kids applauded like onlookers at a fireworks display, violent smashes of color reflected in their masks”
Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine
Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine, the Ymbryne Council member, leader of the council of Ymbrynes and headmistress of the peculiar children, has the peculiarity of transforming into a bird.
She could also make time loops and one she made, which was the time loop of September 3rd, 1940 which she built as a safe haven for her peculiar children in Cairnholm, keeping them away from Hollowgasts and wights.
Miss Peregrine was described as a short woman with green eyes and dark hair pinned on her head in a tidy top knot. She used to walk with a limp.
Miss Peregrine, in the form of a Peregrine Falcon, approached Jacob in his room at ‘Priest Hole’.
1) JACOB MAGELLAN PORTMAN
The protagonist of the ‘Peculiar Children’ (book) story and the deuteragonist of the film, has the peculiarity of being a Library in the Library of souls which helped him to see and manipulate Hollowgasts (terrifying creatures with long and extremely strong tongues, always on the prowl to devour peculiars).
Hollows are invisible to humans and most of the peculiars, save as for Abraham Portman and his grandson Jacob Portman.
‘One theory is that they reverse-aged themselves to a time before even their souls had been conceived, which is why we call them hollowgast – because their hearts, their souls, are empty.’
When Jacob realized that he had the ability to see hollowgasts, he found himself in the midst of making the biggest decision of his life, which was, to either return to his mercenary mother and his father or to stay back with the peculiar children and Miss Peregrine and fight the hollowgasts for keeping them safe.
However, Jacob was hung in this dilemma because he was quite unsure as to how to bring his peculiarity to his use, which, in other words, means the way to defeat the hollowgasts.
As the story progressed, it is seen that when Jacob was about to be eaten by a hollowgast and he stopped struggling to get free from the former’s clasp, considering it vain and giving up, he realized that the pain drifted and he could control a hollowgast, conditioned that he remained calm concentrated, and this discovery helped him tame the hollowgasts.
2) EMMA BLOOM
Living for 88 years with being 16 in Miss Peregrine’s time loop of September 3rd, 1940, Emma Bloom had the peculiarity, Pyrokinesis, the ability to manipulate fire.
The deuteragonist in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar children, Emma Bloom and Jacob’s grandfather, Abe Portman were considered as the “sweethearts” of the loop. Jacob’s aunt and father also came across a love letter, written by Emma, to Abe, and they suspected him of adultery but Jacob trusted his grandfather and was quite sure that there was more to it than considering his grandfather to be guilty of adultery.
Emma was first spotted, gathered around the hole Jacob had made on the first floor. On peering down it, she believed it was Abe but on realizing that it wasn’t, she rushed out of the house, being chased by Jacob who was following her out of curiosity to know about her, the peculiar children, their house and most importantly, his grandfather Abe.
Emma initially accused Jacob of being a wight (normal people, save as for the fact that they have pure, milky-white eyes lacking iris. Some also appear to be unremarkable and can past unnoticed by most, enabling them to disguise themselves with little trouble. They are adept at passing unnoticed) but as his identity is revealed, she grows close to Jacob and eventually falls in love with him.
Emma is described as trustworthy by Miss Peregrine and her peculiarity of Pyrokinesis helps her not only control and manipulate fire but also create it.
Emma could easily venture out to explore the unknown of the polar caps without freezing to death!
Her fiery techniques will prevent her from the extreme cold and frost. Her amiability with the pyre will illuminate a whole new world of cognition.
3) THE TWINS
Two short children wearing fully covered masks on their face, having holes for the eyes and thick triangular eyelines as eyebrows with a little makeup in between them, and small black lips.
The twins wore baggy shirts with white shorts and stockings and shoes. In the movie, it was revealed that they have pale grey, scaly skin with grey serpentine eyes and fangs which very much hints towards the reason of them being covered from head to toe.
‘The Twins’ were found out to be quite shy and were known to be very attached to each other owing to the fact that they could speak to none besides themselves and this behavior of theirs, taken together with their appearance, suggests that they could only communicate in ‘Parseltoungue’ (the language of serpents), unknown to the other peculiars which must’ve been the reason for keeping them from communicating with others.
In the movie, ‘The Twins’ were seen to turn a wight into stone with a simple glare alike Medusa in Greek Mythology.
If one is bestowed with this peculiarity then one can explore an unknown land and stone up all the dangers and obstacles which comes in its way, making the land traversable for all.
4) ENOCH O’CONNOR
‘That’s what I can do-take the life of one thing and give it to another, either clay like this or something that used to be alive but ain’t anymore.’
With 118 days spent on earth being 13, living in the time loop of Miss Peregrine, Enoch O’Connor has the peculiarity to resurrect the dead and bring inanimate objects to life as his living puppets for a limited time by placing a heart inside.
Enoch appears as queer as his peculiarity, being described as having messy hair and a peaky blue gaze, be girded with black. For his behavior, he wore arrogance, rancor, and insecurity.
Enoch was the first one to lead Jacob to Victor Brantley where he brought Victor to life for a few moments, making Jacob, gasp! He used to wake up Victor whenever he desired but resuscitating a human required a good lot of his energy, leaving him worn out.
Enoch’s peculiarity is also his hobby and he sought leisure in preserving hearts of animals such as rats, sheep, cows and also of reptile’s, in jars, in Miss Peregrine’s basement. He ravishes creating “homunculi” figurines out of clay and dreamed of building his own army one day.
By using this ability of Enoch, we can unearth the causes behind mysterious deaths by bringing the victim into life for a while and saving innocents from pseudo logical allegations, thus preventing them from executions and imprisonment.
This peculiarity can also help us discover the after happenings of death!
5) BRONWYN BRUNTLEY
Bronwyn Bruntley, a robust, butch girl having a particular dislike for dresses, and who was nearly always spotted bare feet. Her very peculiarity is having super strength and is first in the circus in ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’, lifting a giant boulder.
She can lift heavy objects which, usually, are quite impossible to be lifted by others.
Despite her strength and masculinity, Bronwyn is known to be very caring and loving as she used to pick vegetables for dinner, tucking the children into bed at night, reading them stories and kissing them on their foreheads, which depicts that she had a very strong maternal instinct.
Bronwyn can definitely start the business of packers and movers and can earn a hell lot of money, single-handedly!
6) VICTOR BRUNTLEY
Victor, the deceased brother of Bronwyn, was killed by a hollowgasts before the beginning of the series. Alike his sister, Victor had Super Strength as his peculiarity.
Victor was not fond of living in Miss Peregrine’s home and when he finally left, he came across a hollowgast who murdered him.
7) HUGH APISTON
A frank and proud boy described being dressed as wearing a keepers’ net hat and a pair of goggles, with his black hair slicked back. He used to wear a white shirt and suspenders and had the peculiarity of commanding the bees, residing in his belly.
A few bees would fly every time he opened his mouth, but they only stung at his order or when Hugh was upset.
Hugh, being fond of his bees, provided shelter for them and also pollinated them, often using Fiona’s flowers. He also used to command his bees to spy, and so he did once when he followed wights who had taken his friends, hostage.
However, due to this peculiarity of his, Hugh used to eat dinner under certain circumstances, like he was required to eat under a mosquitoes’ net.
Well, a friend like Hugh can help wimps keep the bullies away. So if someone manages to befriend a boy like Hugh, his enemies should better watch out!
8) FIONA FRAUENFELD
‘I saw the wild-haired girl standing nearby. She wore a flower-print dress that had been patched so many it almost looked like a quilt.’
A girl in her late teens with mussy hair and wild appearance. Fiona is fond of Hugh and was once caught snogging. She had the peculiarity of making plants grow.
Jacob saw Fiona during the performance of “Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children” when she stood on the stage with planters and conducts “Flight of the Bumblebee” with daisies.
Fiona could also grow bushes, flowers, vegetables, and sometimes whole trees. Emma also explains about “Jill and the Beanstalk”, a game the children play where they grab onto saplings and see how high Fiona can grow them.
This peculiarity is rather a blessing and can come handy in areas stricken with poverty and famines so the problem of shortage of food could be sorted out to some extent.
9) OLIVE ABROHOLOS ELEPHANTA
Also known as ‘The Levitating girl’, Olive Abroholos, a small 7-year-old girl, has the peculiarity of levitation. Olive levitated to the ceiling of the hospital the moment she was born and would’ve floated out of the window had it not been for her mother’s umbilical cord which had her kept attached.
She alike Hugh Apiston, was required to have dinner under certain circumstances owing to her peculiarity. She had to be tied to the chair at the dinner table so she would not go levitating.
She was first seen approaching the centaur shaped bush where the children’s ball was stuck in its chest.
The other peculiar children tied a rope to her waist and she, after taking her weighted shoes off (which were worn by her to keep her anchored to the ground), began to float up towards the centaurs’ chest to retrieve her ball.
In the photograph in the book, she was dressed in an old white dress with three ruffles, wearing white tights and shiny black Mary Janes and her long wavy hear squeezed to the top of her head by a crown.
Having this peculiarity can help us steal fruits from orchards and escape before being caught.
10) CLAIRE DENSMORE
Claire is the youngest of the peculiar children at Miss Peregrine’s home dressed as wearing a pink dress. She has the peculiarity of having an extra mouth in the back of her head with extremely sharp teeth.
Claire is described as doll-like, with a dainty baby face and fair skin. Her taintless golden curls spruced up her appearance, neatly sheathing the mouth on the back of her head. Her back head is described as “sharp-toothed”.
Claire was found out to be quite a shy child and was also, to some extent, embarrassed by her peculiarity when she didn’t want to eat in front of Jacob on their first dinner, together, but she eventually, on the request of other peculiar children, did portray her peculiarity to Jacob by dipping her head back to the goose leg on her plate.
Claire can definitely talk and eat simultaneously. Having this peculiarity can help students eat in the class during lessons without being caught!
11) MILLARD NULLINGS
Millard Nullings, a 16-year-old boy with the actual age of 88 and a scholar of peculiar things. He also has a deep keenness for studying every living thing on the island: people, animals and so on, Millard has spent nearly 27 years on it and keeps his notes in an old leather journal.
His peculiarity is being invisible, which he permanently is but he enjoys the same and to keep himself out of sight of others, he tries to remain nude all the time until Miss Peregrine asks him to put clothes.
“polite people don’t eat their supper in nude”.
This peculiarity can help the government spy on their enemy nations without being caught, ever.
12) HORACE SOMNUSSON
‘Go ahead, have a laugh at old Horace’s expense! Call me a dandy if you will but just because the villagers won’t remember what you wear doesn’t give you license to dress like a vagabond!’
Horace Somnusson, a young boy, dressed as wearing tailcoats and jackets with a black top hat, over his head, like those worn during the Empire period usually, had a very useful peculiarity, which was, having prophetic dreams. He saw dreams of the future when asleep.
Horace can earn dollars by resorting to the career of fortune telling.
This peculiarity can serve as a boon for indecisive people by helping them make decisions, acquainting them with the consequences of the same beforehand.