The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 film starring Judy Garland, loosely based on the series of novels by L. Frank Baum set in the land of Oz. In 1995, Gregory Maguire wrote a spin-off novel called Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which has since been adapted into a Tony Award-winning musical.
In Canon Edit
Original Baum Books Edit
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written by L. Frank Baum in 1900, and tells the story of Dorothy Gale, a farmgirl who is swept up by a tornado and finds herself in the magical land of Oz. In her quest to return home, she befriends a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Lion, who wish to have a brain, heart, and courage, respectively. The Great Wizard of Oz sends them to kill the Wicked Witch of the West, but when they return, triumphant, he is revealed to be a fraud, a man from Dorothy’s own world with no real powers and no ability to actually grant their requests. Dorothy and her friends then travel south into Quadling Country to find Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, who tells Dorothy that the silver shoes she wears (which belonged to the Wicked Witch of the East until Dorothy’s falling house killed her) have the ability to take her wherever she wishes. Dorothy uses the shoes and finds herself back home, but loses them in transit.
Baum wrote an additional thirteen Oz books, and more were published by other writers after his death. In this version of canon, Oz is a real place, an oddly rectangular country surrounded on all sides by an impassable desert.
- Dorothy Gale
- An orphan girl of about nine years, who lives on a farm in Kansas with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. She has a little black dog, Toto, whom she loves dearly. Dorothy is very good and innocent, rather naïve, but forthright and quite brave.
- The Scarecrow
- A walking, talking scarecrow whom Dorothy frees from a pole in a cornfield. His sole ambition in life is to have a brain. When the Wizard leaves Oz, he names the Scarecrow ruler of the Emerald City.
- The Tin Man, a.k.a. Nick Chopper
- Born the son of a woodsman, he fell in love with a Munchkin girl and promised to marry her. The old woman the girl lived with didn’t like this, wanting to keep her servant, and so employed the Wicked Witch of the East to enchant his axe to cut off his limbs, then his head, then slice up the rest of him. A tinsmith replaced his body parts one by one until he was made entirely of tin, but with no heart, and so (he believed) he could no longer love the Munchkin girl. Heart or no heart, he is tender to the point of being a sop. After his adventure with Dorothy was over, he took over as Emperor of Winkie Country (the west).
- The Lion
- The Lion is a talking lion who believes that because he feels fear, he isn’t worthy of the title "king of beasts." While helping Dorothy travel south in search of Glinda, he kills a giant Spider that has been terrorizing creatures in the Forest of Wild Beasts. Grateful, they ask him to become their king.
- The Wizard of Oz
- A little old man from Omaha, U.S.A., the Wizard is a ventriloquist and magician who accidentally flew into Oz in a hot-air balloon. Through trickery, he convinced the Ozians that he was a great wizard and for decades, no one suspected otherwise. In later books, Baum gave him the name "Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs"—since the acronym of this is O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D., and no one wants to be called "pinhead," he shortened his nickname to simply "Oz."
- The Wicked Witch of the West
- An old, one-eyed woman who rules tyrannically over the Winkies in the west of Oz, this Witch is something of a coward, being afraid of the dark and the roars of the Lion. She does not bleed, "for she was so wicked that the blood in her had dried up many years before," and employs simple tricks to steal the Silver Slippers from Dorothy. She carries an umbrella, lives in a fairly beautiful castle, and melted when Dorothy threw a bucket of water over her.
- Glinda, the Good Witch of the South
- A beautiful woman apparently much older than she looks, Glinda is considered to be the most powerful sorceress in Oz. She rules Quadling Country in the south and instructs Dorothy on how to use the Silver Slippers to get home.
- The Wicked Witch of the East
- Oppressed the Munchkins. She was off to uglify Nimmee Amee, the Munchkin girl Nick Chopper and Captain Fyter had fallen in love with, when a farmhouse landed on her.
- Sovereign of Oz, she was transformed into a boy named Tip and raised by ex-Witch Mombi. Princess Ozma is the hereditary, destined ruler of the Land of Oz. She first appears in the second book of the Oz series and rules Oz well for many years, defending her kingdom against several attempted invasions. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wizard grants the Scarecrow the throne of Oz, but he gratefully abdicates in favor of Ozma when she is revealed. Ozma is a clever and kind girl with a streak of mischief, who is more than usually good at understanding the male side of things. (Princess Ozma does not appear in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but is in most later books.)
- Uncle Henry and Auntie Em
- Dorothy's aunt and uncle. In later books, Henry is Ozma's minister of agriculture.
- Jack Pumpkinhead
- Sort of a son to Ozma, a walking stickman with a succession of jack-o-lanterns for a head, replaced when they spoil.
1939 Film (Judy Garland) Edit
A number of film and musical adaptations of Baum's first book were made, but the most famous is undoubtedly MGM's 1939 version, directed by Victor Fleming. This movie is more or less faithful to the book, but streamlined and missing several sections, including the additional quest into the south. The filmmakers took great advantage of the new color technology, adding (among other things) the Witch of the West's most famous feature: green skin.
Major Book/Movie Differences Edit
- The land of Oz is depicted entirely as a dream Dorothy has after hitting her head. In Baum’s books it was real, and Dorothy returned there several times, eventually taking her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry along to stay.
- The Good Witches of the North and South are merged into a single character: Glinda, the Witch of the North, who travels around by bubble.
- The Wicked Witch of the West plays a bigger part, becoming the primary antagonist and much crueler than in Baum’s novel. She is also green-skinned.
- The Silver Slippers are ruby-red (probably to take advantage of Technicolor cinema).
- The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion are left to rule the Emerald City together, rather than going off to their own lands.
- More time is spent at Dorothy’s home in Kansas, and several minor characters are invented or fleshed out; the three farm hands and the nasty Miss Gulch were created for the film.
- Dorothy is supposed to be twelve instead of nine, but since the actress was actually sixteen, confusion sometimes arises.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (novel) Edit
Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel is a prequel and parallel story to The Wizard of Oz that covers the life of the green-skinned "Witch of the West" from birth to death, and incorporates many characters and concepts from Baum’s books. There is a sequel, Son of a Witch, and a third novel, A Lion Among Men.
The novels are written for adults, not children, and contain relatively detailed descriptions of sex and violence. It is full of social, political, and religious themes, and expands bits and pieces of Ozian history from throughout Baum’s books, the central issue being the rights of Animals, who (as opposed to animals) talk and think just as humans do, but are the victims of heavy prejudice and legal injustices.
Maguire is not entirely faithful to either Baum’s original works or the `39 movie; he picks and chooses elements from each, though it is mostly the books he uses—for example, Baum wrote about members of Oz's royal family always being named "Oz" or "Ozma," and in Maguire’s world, the Wizard "peacefully took power from" (read: overthrew and possibly murdered) the last Ozma queen and her daughter, and had her husband (the Ozma Regent) imprisoned. This portrayal of the Wizard is dramatically different from any previous version.
- Elphaba Thropp
- The illegitimate daughter of a traveling salesman who was almost certainly the Wizard of Oz, Elphaba was born green, with sharp milk teeth and fatally allergic to water. Cynical, sarcastic, and a revolutionary, she firmly supports Animal rights and joins the Resistance against the Wizard's government. She falls in love with Fiyero and became pregnant by him, but the shock of his bloody murder drives her into madness, and she delivers the child while in a year-long coma—as a result, she is never entirely sure that Liir is, in fact, her son, despite bursts of maternal protectiveness. Living in Fiyero's old home, Kiamo Ko, Elphaba is slowly going a little mad when Dorothy arrives seeking forgiveness for Nessa's death. Elphaba is killed when Dorothy throws a bucket of water over her in an innocent attempt to put out a fire.
- Galinda / Glinda Arduenna
- Intelligent and proper, Galinda is a snobbish and shallow girl who initially hates her roomate. They become friends anyway, and after the murder of Doctor Dillamond, she drops the first a from her name in honor of his habitual mispronunciation.
- Fiyero Tigelaar
- A dark-skinned man tattooed with a pattern of blue diamonds, Fiyero is a prince of the Arjiki from the western lands known as "the Vinkus." He was married at the age of seven to a woman named Sarima and they had three children: Irji, Manek, and a daughter, Nor. He meets Elphaba at Shiz University and again in the Emerald City, where he has an affair with her before being murdered by the Wizard’s secret police.
- The son of Elphaba and Fiyero, Liir is born with white skin and is fourteen when Dorothy comes to Kiamo Ko. Maguire’s second novel, Son of a Witch, focuses on him.
- Nessarose Thropp
- Elphaba’s younger sister, Nessa is born without arms. Delicate, white-skinned and beautiful, Nessa is spoiled, extremely pious, rather close-minded, and Frex’s favorite child. Through her mother she inherits the title of "Eminent Thropp" and becomes governor of Munchkinland. She uses sorcery as a tool to control or reward her subjects and she is responsible for enchanting the axe of Nick Chopper, who becomes the Tin Woodsman. Nessa is killed when Dorothy's farmhouse lands on her.
- The Wizard
- The Wizard arrived from Earth in search of an spellbook known as the Grimmerie, but gave up this quest when he realized he could take over ruling power of Oz. Unlike all other portrayals, Maguire's Wizard is a cold, cruel man who comfortably has his citizens persecuted, humiliated and executed.
- Madame Morrible
- A biased, "fish-faced" woman, Morrible teaches at Shiz University and is responsible for the murder of Doctor Dillamond.
- Doctor Dillamond
- A Goat professor at Shiz University, Doctor Dillamond taught Life Sciences and was attempting to prove that Animals were genetically closer to humans than animals when he was murdered.
- Melena Thropp
- Born to a rich, pampered life, Melena fell in love with Frexspar but never really adjusted to the life of a minister's wife. She had several affairs and died while giving birth to Frex's son, Shell. (Canon suggests that she and Frexspar may have engaged in a fairly long-term menage a trois with the Quadling glassblower Turtle Heart.)
- Frexspar Thropp
- A fanatically devout minister, Frex blames Elphaba’s green skin on his failure to religiously convert villagers the day she was born.
- Boq, a Munchkin student at Shiz, knew Elphaba briefly as a toddler and they become friends, assisting Doctor Dillamond in his research. He is briefly infatuated with Galinda and eventually marries another student, Miss Milla.
Comparison with Baum's Novels Edit
- Maguire makes a strong point of explaining Elphaba's persecution of Dorothy: She sees the silver shoes, being a gift from Frex to Nessa, as a symbol of her father’s love, hence her desperate desire to have them. Maguire bridges Baum's book with the `39 movie by explaining that it was Glinda’s spell that gave them a ruby-red glow.
- Elphaba's title of "Wicked Witch of the West" has little to do with her own actions and more with her association with Nessa, who was called "Witch of the East" first.
Wicked – the Musical Edit
Wicked was adapted into a Broadway musical by Mark Platt (producer), Winnie Holzman (writer), and Stephen Schwartz (music/lyrics). After a brief tryout in San Francisco, the play opened in New York in October of 2003, starring Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda. It has been running ever since, and is currently performing in New York, London, Sydney, Oberhausen, Osaka, San Francisco, and on tour across America.
The musical is notably different from the novel: less violent and dark, more suitable for children, and streamlined to take place over six years instead of forty, focusing on the friendship between Glinda and Elphaba. Unfortunately, the nature of the musical makes parents think that the book is for children as well.
- Elphaba Thropp
- The musical's Elphaba is notably more likeable than book-Elphaba. She never actually becomes "wicked" (and it is debatable whether her book-self does, or is simply driven insane), instead being a victim of propaganda and prejudice. She begins as a very idealistic, naïve girl who is excited by the prospect of meeting the Wizard and daydreams that he will be able to "de-greenify" her. The tragedy of her life is that no matter how noble her motives, nearly every good deed she manages to achieve is viewed as wicked by the rest of the world. At the very end of the play we learn that this Elphaba is not, in fact, allergic to water, and never had been. (Presumably, she was not born with sharp teeth, either.)
- Galinda/Glinda Upland
- As in the book, Galinda begins the play as a shallow, spoiled girl whose actions—no matter how selfish her motives—always make her appear good and noble. Throughout the play she is forced to grow up, mainly thanks to her friendship with Elphaba, and truly earns her title of "the Good." She ends up ruling the land of Oz.
- Fiyero Tiggular
- Strikingly different from his book-self, Fiyero Tiggular is introduced as a careless, unfairly handsome prince who has no interest in thinking about anything and just wants to "dance through life." He falls in love with Elphaba and, through that association, begins to change. He is somewhat passive, allowing Glinda to think he is in love with her rather than break her heart, but his loyalty and, ironically, his intelligence are commendable: he allows himself to be captured and tortured so Elphaba can escape, and when he wakes to find himself transformed into a scarecrow, manages to plot an elaborate deception to fake Elphaba's death.
- Nessarose Thropp
- Unlike in the book, this Nessarose is not armless, but confined to a wheelchair. She is not noticeably religious, but rather a sheltered and spoiled girl who is favored by her father and cares about her sister, to a degree. She is swept away by the attention of Boq and (like Glinda) convinces herself that they will be married and live happily ever after. Her slow realization that Boq doesn't love her drives her to abuse her power as governor of Munchkinland. She is killed when Dorothy's house lands on her.
- Somewhat simplified from his book-self, Boq's life as we see it is almost entirely wrapped up in his mad infatuation with G(a)linda. He is transformed into a Tin Man by Elphaba in a desperate attempt to save his life, but due to Morrible's propaganda, believes her to be wicked and rallies a mob of witch-hunters to kill her. Boq's fate is unknown.
- Madame Morrible
- Headmistress of all of Shiz University, this Madame Morrible is a powerful sorceress with a specialty in weather, who creates the magical cyclone that kills Nessa in an attempt to lure and capture her sister.
- The Wizard
- A cross between Maguire’s tyrant and the jolly, well-meaning con man of Baum's book, this Wizard was seduced by the flattery of being called "wonderful" and wants more than anything to be a father. After Elphaba's death, he is devastated to learn that she was, in fact, his daughter. Broken, he meekly bows to Glinda and obeys her orders to leave Oz forever.
Book/Musical Differences and Other Notable Points Edit
- A great deal attention is given to building the iconic imagery of the Wicked Witch—first her pointed hat, a gift from Galinda, then the broomstick, which she enchants almost by accident in a rush to escape, then the black cloak, which Glinda gives her for warmth just before they say goodbye.
- In the novel, there was no connection between Fiyero and the scarecrow other than a slightly mad Elphaba's desperate wish that her lover might have somehow survived fourteen years earlier, but here, he too is a result of one of Elphaba's good deeds gone wrong (though he is the only one not bitter about it).
Cast – Original Broadway Production Edit
- Elphaba: Idina Menzel (Tony Award winning performance)
- G(a)linda: Kristin Chenoweth (Tony Award nominee, same year)
- Fiyero: Norbert Leo Butz
- The Wizard: Joel Grey
- Madame Morrible: Carolle Shelley
- Nessarose: Michelle Fedrer
- Boq: Christopher Fitzgerald
In Fanfic Edit
Wizard of Oz Fanfiction Edit
Most Oz fanfiction is based on the 1939 Judy Garland movie, but some of it derives from the characters and events in later Baum books (Princess Ozma, for example). A large number deal with an older Dorothy (usually late teens, the perfect age for a romance fic), or her descendants; many are Mary Sues. Dorothy is often paired with either the farmhand Hunk or the Scarecrow, probably due to Garland’s movie line "I think I'll miss you most of all," and the abandoned idea of giving Dorothy an "innocent romance" with Hunk.
Other fics focus on the farmhands of Almira Gulch, who appeared only in the movie, and often merge them with or play on the fact that those four characters had Ozian counterparts played by the same actors.
Many try to "mature" Oz, often using Dorothy's innocent naïvety as the pivot point, and throw in large amounts of sex or violence, often as abuse.
Wicked Fanfiction Edit
Being musical-based, this may be one of very few fandoms in which songfics could work well. While there is often a clear label of bookverse or musicalverse, many stories deliberately mix the two, thus complicating work for PPC agents. Whether or not to include Elphaba's water allergy seems to be a free choice made to suit whatever story is being written, book-Fiyero's (apparently very appealing) pattern of blue diamonds often appear on a character that is very clearly the musical version, and Avaric is often the arrogant student of the bookverse as opposed to the carriage driver he is in the musical.
It must be noted that while the appearances of Elphaba and Glinda (and Madame Morrible) remain consistent, a multitude of actors have played each part in the musical, and so the choice of Nessa's hair color, whether Frex and the Wizard have hair, and everything about Fiyero from hair length to skin color are undefined. Also, many authors pick their favorite portrayals to use as a basis, regardless of which actors performed at the same time.
Agents working in Wicked fanfics should bear in mind that throughout the play, there are several uses of Ozian slang, mostly by G(a)linda—words such as "confusifying" and "definish" (rather than "definite"). The use of such words is not a valid charge.
Elphaba/Fiyero ("Fiyeraba") seems to be the most common pairing, followed closely by Glinda/Elphaba ("Gelphie"); though canonical Glinda/Fiyero ("Flinda") is not so popular. Glinda/Boq ("Gloq") and Boq/Nessa ("Bessa") appear often despite requiring a rather dramatic change of heart on the part of either Glinda or Boq to be plausible in terms of characterization, and generally seem to exist just to create a Happy Ending For Everyone.
For the same reason, perhaps because some authors can't stand to have one of three hearts broken, several fics have Glinda, Elphaba, and Fiyero either in a threesome or with one character in love with both of the others. Male slash is rare, comparatively, save for the canonical Crope/Tibbet 'ship from the novel, and several other ships crop up here and there, like Boq/Elphaba, derived from their childhood friendship in Maguire's novel.