Alma was one of three siblings, her brothers were Jack 'Caul' Bentham and Myron Bentham. When she was an infant, Jack would abuse her out of jealousy; this abuse continued, and escalated as they grew up. All three siblings were peculiars; by the age of three Alma had been discovered to be a promising ymbryne; Caul was able to transform into a Peregrine falcon but Myron's peculiarity is unknown.
As a child, she lived in a loop created and sustained by the famous Ymbryne Miss Avocet. Alma was the youngest student that Miss Avocet had ever taught. She lived in the loop with her "misguided" brothers, who came to the academy with Alma in order to avoid separation, despite the fact that as males they were not Ymbrynes, and her fellow Ymbrynes-in-training.
In A Map of Days she reveals to Jacob that her parents were outcasted from their village and their family due to her peculiarity. After studying under Miss Avocet for a while, she returned to her parents to try and win them over which only resulted in further fear and anger on her parents behalf. Eventually they chased her from the house and cursed the day she was born. Years later, she learned they had committed suicide by sewing stones into their pockets and walking into the sea.
As appears to be customary, upon finishing her education as an Ymbryne, Alma changed her surname to match her bird form, becoming Alma LeFay Peregrine.
For a time she and some of her charges traveled Europe as a traveling circus act, more specifically a freak show; allowing them to hide their peculiarities in plain sight. Emma is a noted member at this time. Miss Peregrine saved her shortly before when Emma was kidnapped from a non-peculiar sideshow, likely to be sold with other peculiars.
At some point during the 1930s, she established a home for peculiar children on the small Welsh Island of Cairnholm, taking in peculiar children from as far afield as eastern European countries such as Poland. For a time the isolation of the island provided her and her charges with a safe haven from the Hollowgasts and Wights. On September 3rd 1940 she established her first loop in order to protect her charges from a bomb.
At some point between September 3rd, 1940 and the present day several of her charges left the safety of the loop on Cairnholm:
- Abraham Portman: Abraham left Cairnholm shortly after the end of World War II to live in America.
- Charlotte: During Miss Peregrine's one and only visit to a sister Ymbryne. After establishing her loop, Charlotte escaped the older children who were minding the loop and the younger children. She was found by Police officers and taken to the mainland, she aged forward by around 30 years in the time that it took Miss Peregrine to find her and bring her back to the loop, as a result she was sent to live in a loop run by Miss Nightjar.
- Marcie: Marcie chose to go and live with a common family on the mainland but not long after she was tragically killed by Hollows. Miss Peregrine posssess a picture taken moments before her death.
- Victor Bruntley: The circumstances under which Victor left the loop are unknown, however, in leaving the loop he was captured and killed by Hollows, his body was later recovered and returned to the loop on Cairnholm.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
During the first part of the trilogy, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Miss Peregrine is still the headmistress of her home for Peculiar Children on the island of Cairnholm. At this point in time her remaining charges are Emma Bloom, Olive Abroholos Elephanta, Enoch O'Connor, Claire Densmore, Hugh Apiston, Horace Somnusson, Fiona Frauenfeld, Bronwyn Bruntley and Millard Nullings.
Shortly after Jacob Portman, the grandson of her former charge Abe, and his father Franklin arrives on the island, she seeks him out in bird form, curious as to why he has not yet entered the loop. She later guides him as he uncovers the truth about his grandfather and his own peculiar abilities. Several weeks after Jacob's initially arrival on Cairnholm, Miss Peregrine's mentor, Miss Avocet, wings in with grave news, leading to an increase in security around the house. However, despite the increased security several of Miss Peregrine's charges sneak out of the loop, inadvertently letting a lurking Wight to discover where the loop entrance is. Both Miss Peregrine and Miss Avocet are captured by a particular Wight, Dr. Golan who threatens to harm the children if they don't change into bird form and allow him to put them into a cage. The pair are then loaded onto a U-Boat, still caged and in bird form. However, Miss Peregrine's brother Caul took bird form himself and fools Miss Peregrine's charges into believing that he is in fact his sibling.
In the second part of the trilogy, Hollow City, Miss Peregrine's charges initially believe that the injured Peregrine falcon that they have escaped Cairnholm with, is their Ymbryne, and so they seek out another Ymbryne, Miss Wren in the hopes of getting 'Miss Peregrine' the medical help they believe that she needs. However, after eventually tracking down Miss Wren, it's revealed that the falcon they thought was Miss Peregrine turned out to be Caul, and all but Jacob, Emma and one of Miss Wren's charges, a peculiar dog by the name of Addison MacHenry, are captured by Caul's men. Miss Peregrine herself does not appear in the story.
Library of Souls
In the final part of the trilogy, Library of Souls, Jacob and Emma eventually manage to find Miss Peregrine. Since being kidnapped in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Miss Peregrine and her fellow Ymbrynes have been transported to the heart of Caul's fortress in the former punishment loop Devil's Acre. She stops Jacob from taking ambrosia to enhance his powers, willing him to defeat the army of hollows on his own. Upon her rescue, Miss Peregrine and other peculiars fight Caul's forces and very nearly escape. However, just at their moment of victory Miss Peregrine is recaptured by Caul, now joined by their other brother Myron who chose to betray them minutes after he is unable to win over Miss Peregrine's forgiveness. Caul and Myron transport their sister and several other peculiars to a loop known as Abaton; a loop that was locked by Ymbrynes many years before. In Abaton, Caul's search for power forces the peculiars into a final confrontation. The confrontation results in the presumed deaths of both Caul and Myron, as a result of Miss Peregrine and her fellow Ymbrynes collapsing the loop on Myron's instructions. Following the collapse of Abaton, Miss Peregrine resumes her duties as an Ymbryne, now based in Myron's house in Devil's Acre, and is elected the new head of the Ymbryne Council. It is also discovered that, along with the other peculiars who went to Abaton, her ageing process has been altered and she is now the age she appears to be; consequently she is able to live outside a loop without ageing forward. She brings Jacob back to his parents who are frantic after his long dissapearence. She uses her ability to take out certain parts of people's memory, a feature of the ymbryne peculiarity, to erase certain parts of the reunion. They also don't remember Miss Peregrine or Emma who accomanied him to meet them.
Some time later she and her charges visit Englewood, Florida in order to save Jacob from being placed in an institution. Miss Peregrine decides that she and her charges will, temporarily at least, remain in Florida in order to educate Jacob's parents on Peculiardom and to experience the modern world.
A Map of Days
Miss Peregrine and her wards arrive in Florida to live with Jacob for a period of time. Being the only group of peculiars who are experienced and do not age forwards, the group have an advantage when it comes to protecting new peculiars and interacting with the modern world in general. She encourages trips to the beach and the mall with Jacob, who she expects to teach them about the present. Jacob notices that the children have all grown up quite a bit since he first met them. Quite a few, particularly Millard and Enoch are willing to challenge Miss Peregrine's authority and disobey her frequently.
When Jacob's parents refuse to accept him as a peculiar, Frank Portman demands that Miss Peregrine wipes any memory of peculiars including an incident he witnessed with Abe as a child. She does so and comforts Jacob in his despair that his parents will not accept him as he is. She shares her own story of her disownment from her parents due to her peculiarness, which played a role in their outcasting from society and eventually their deaths. So Jacob and the children can easily visit with each other, she creates a pocket loop in Jacob's garden shed that leads right into Devil's Acre. The children have been taking on tasks to help the peculiars of raided loops and restore Devil's Acre now that the Wights are no longer in control. Most of the children are unsatisfied with their mundane tasks assigned by the Council of Ymbrynes . The conuncil is very busy with important tasks but the ymbrynes seem to want to handle all the more complicated jobs by themselves. When Jacob, Emma, Enoch, Millard, and Bronwyn run away to complete a mission from H without telling Miss Peregrine about it, she is very wrorried and upset. She attempts to call Jacob over twenty times and goes on frequent searches for them.
After being kidnapped by Frankie , Enoch is able to escape her property and contact Miss Peregrine who tracks them down. She negotiates their release from Leo Burnham the night before Jacob has been sentenced to die. He is relieved to see her and, despite her anger, she embraces him when they meet. Miss Peregrine reveals the the Council of Ymbrynes has been working for a long time with the American clans to arrange a peaceful agreement and that her wards have set them back tremendously by interfering with their society and contacting Noor. She is more stressed than the children have seen her, claiming she hasn't slept in days. Miss Peregrine scolds and distributes punishment to them all one by one. Jacob, still concerned about Noor being stuck with Leo's clan, asks Miss Peregrine her plan to rescue Noor. Upon learning that no action is to be taken, as it would only harm their relations with America more, Jacob get frustrated. He and Miss Peregrine begin to argue, causing her to shout and him and storm out of the room.
Jacob sneaks out to speak to H about his grandfather again without Miss Peregrine's knowledge. Doing this gives him the clues he needs to continue his mission.
The Conference of the Birds
Upon Jacob's return to Devil's Acre, he finds that Miss Peregrine has moved the children to a more private location. She is angry at him for leaving but hides the intensity of her feelings on the matter. Her main priority at this point is to help the American gangs make peace. While she is at the important conference to do so, there is a prison break at the Panloopticon which frees both Wights and the Hollow charging it. This causes Miss Peregrine to be stuck in a loop until it is fixed. Once they are able to reach her, Jacob, Emma, and Enoch arrive to help settle a dispute among the gangs as a result of members going missing. She spots a dogflower near the scene of the crime and tells Jacob to pretend that he saw evidence of a Hollow. This leads them all to eventually find real evidence. Later on it is revealed that she did this because she suspected the Wights had Fiona but didn't want to lead the gangs to be suspicious of her. Once the group learns that the Wights are trying to resurrect Caul, they search Myron Bentham's home for the list ingredients needed to do so. They quickly find that there are only two left to be collected, one of which seems to ellude to Miss Peregrine herself. As they hunt down the Wights she is told to stay behind due to her possible value to them. However, she does fly in her bird form to attack Percival Murnau in the final battle but he ultimately escapes. Although it feels like an apparent win. Miss Peregrine was not the final ingredient and Murnau collects the real final ingredient in order to bring back Caul.
She is an ymbryne, which gives her the power to manipulate time in various ways and turn into a bird, specifically a Peregrine Falcon. Out of the ymbrynes, she is one the only birds of prey noted. She is also able to selectively erase moments in people's memory, often done by reciting her name and then tickling the subject under the nose with a feather.
Miss Peregrine is noted to be the youngest of the fully trained Ymbrynes, or at least the youngest to have been taught by Miss Avocet. She is also said to be exceptionally powerful and talented.
Miss Peregrine is said to be a relatively short, yet distinguished woman with green eyes and dark hair that is always pinned atop her head in tidy bun/top knot. Her age, physical or actual, is never stated however it is mentioned that she grew up in Miss Avocet and Miss Bunting's loop on July 15th 1867, suggesting that she and her siblings were born prior to this date; she is also stated to be one of, if not the youngest of the Ymbrynes, as Miss Wren is described as appearing to be middle aged it can be inferred that Miss Peregrine probably appears to be in her mid thirties to early forties at the oldest.
She always wears black formal Victorian full-mourning clothes in remembrance of Victor Bruntley, including high collared blouses that are buttoned tightly at the throat. Miss Peregrine also walks with a limp that appears to make stairs and uneven terrain more challenging for her to navigate. The exact cause of her limp is unknown but may be the result of an encounter with a Hollowgast or a Wight; it is also possible that her limp may be a result of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother.
FilmIn the film, Miss Peregrine is portrayed by Eva Green. She is shown as a young woman with pale skin and black hair streaked with dark blue - a nod to her bird form that, based off of Miss Avocet's hair (white streaked with black, also like her bird form) may be an aspect of their peculiarity. She has long fingernails reminiscent of talons and her eye makeup is similarly reflective of her avian nature. She also displays far more bird-like mannerisms than her book counterpart - she often grasps objects, and food, in much the same way as she would in bird form, her movements are also very bird-like. Miss Avocet acts in similar ways, once again suggesting that this is also an aspect of being an Ymbryne, rather than simply being mannerisms unique to Miss Peregrine.
She wears a whimsical dark blue 1940s suit, with a fluted skirt and a jacket with a large feather embroidered on the shoulder of each sleeve and, on occasion, wears a black leather overcoat with the same silhouette. She is never seen without her French Railway watch, which she uses to ensure that her charges are alway on time, right down to the second (a necessity due to the complexity of the loop). She is not quite as conservative in dress as in the books, in large part due to her clothes being from the 1940s rather than the Victorian era, similarly although she still mourns Victor she doesn't dress in mourning clothes or exclusively in black. Though her hair is still in an updo, it is not the tidy bun that she wears in the books - once again it is inspired more by the era she is currently living in rather than the era that she was likely born in. Despite the other changes in her appearance she still smokes a traditional tobacco pipe.
When Abraham was a boy, he was sent to the UK from Poland by his parents in the hope that he would be safe there. Once he was in the UK he was found by Miss Peregrine and brought to Cairnholm. During his time on Cairnholm Abe became an integral part of the group of Peculiars living there. However, despite his respect for Miss Peregrine he began to resent the way in which she protects him and her other wards. Eventually Abe chose to leave Cairnholm, finding Miss Peregrine's protection suffocating, however, this did not sour any of his relationships with those on the island. He and Miss Peregrine were still communicating with each other via letter until around the late 1990s. Miss Peregrine admits to loving Abe as though he were her own child.
Emma Bloom is one of Miss Peregrine's charges. According to Emma Miss Peregrine rescued her from a circus when two other Peculiars were attempting to kidnap her in order to sell her. Emma and Miss Peregrine are very close with Emma seeming to act as Miss Peregrine's right hand during their time on Cairnholm. They are also incredibly protective of each other; Emma regularly putting Miss Peregrine's welfare first during the journey to rescue the Ymbrynes and Miss Peregrine even goes so far as to warn Jacob of the consequences should he, even inadvertently, hurt Emma. They also appear to consider each other family, often acting like mother and daughter; Emma chooses to celebrate her birthday on the anniversary of the day that Miss Peregrine rescued her and Miss Peregrine has said that she loves Emma like a daughter. However, despite their closeness their relationship can be somewhat tense; Emma growing weary of the loop on Cairnholm and of Miss Peregrine's protection.
When Jacob first arrives on Cairnholm Miss Peregrine immediately considers him to be one of her charges and therefore under her protection, whether he likes it or not. Initially their relationship is one of tentative trust as Jacob is aware that she is keeping information from him but feels some sense of obligation to aid Miss Peregrine and charges given the way that she took in his grandfather. As time goes on Jacob's opinion of Miss Peregrine begins to fall more in line with that of the other peculiar children she has taken in and protected, he soon considers himself to be one of her charges, despite his initial misgivings. By the time that he and Emma find Miss Peregrine and the other Ymbrynes in Devil's Acre he considers her to be a second mother, a feeling that is reciprocated.
Caul is Miss Peregrine's evil brother who can transform into a Peregrine Falcon. As a child he regularly abused his sister; pinching her to make her cry when she was an infant and when they were a little older catching her and plucking out some of her feathers when she was in bird form. Miss Peregrine is said to have distanced herself from her brother at a young age, already aware of the path he was heading down. Their relationship is strained at best, dangerously antagonistic at worst. Caul is intensely jealous of his sister's abilities and the power and respect she commands as a result. It was this jealously that spurred him to begin the Claywing movement, with the aim of overthrowing the Ymbryne Council. As an adult, Caul takes sadistic delight in tormenting Miss Peregrine, whether by hurting her or by threatening to hurt those she cares about.
Myron Bentham is one of Miss Peregrine's two brothers. Myron and his sister are not on very good terms with each other; he blames her for his exile in Devil's Acre and she blames him for his part in the Claywing movement, the creation of the Hollowgasts and his theft of Abe's second soul (all of which he is guilty of). Though Myron does not resent his sister in the way that Caul does he is more than willing to betray her to serve his own purposes. However, despite Myron's regularly changing allegiances when it matters he does choose to side with his sister over his brother, an act that saves peculiardom but ultimately appears to have led to his own demise. He has shown to care for himself more than his sister.
Millard often comes across as a sycophant in regards to Miss Peregrine. However, despite Millard's sycophantic tendencies he can be obnoxious and deliberately disobey/misunderstand instructions Miss Peregrine gives him. Though Millard is completely invisible when nude, Miss Peregrine appears to be the only person who can still tell when Millard is nearby. Miss Peregrine regularly tries to instil some manners in Millard, such as not using his abilities to eavesdrop on conversations and not walking around, attending dinner etc. in the nude, though it has appeared to not work very well.
Miss Peregrine has an enormous amount of respect for Miss Avocet. Miss Avocet was Miss Peregrine's mentor and, presumably given the way Miss Peregrine interacts with her own charges, a maternal figure. There is a great deal of affection between the pair; when Miss Avocet and Miss Bunting's loop is raided Miss Avocet's first port of call is Miss Peregrine's loop to ensure her protégé's safety and Miss Peregrine is often seen caring for Miss Avocet as a child would care for their elderly parent.
- She is a foot shorter than Jacob Portman.
- In the film, she calls her wards by only their first names, unlike the books. (e.g. in the book she would call Bronwyn "Miss Bruntley", but in the film she calls her by just "Bronwyn".)