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Adorkable: In the first act of the musical. Oh, she's got a biting tongue alright, but she's also socially awkward and her attempts to interact with people, as well as her mannerisms when excited, come off as rather endearing.
Anti-Hero: In the book, Elphaba is actually okay with innocent people being hurt while she's furthering her cause, and ends up going mad. Less so in the musical where she's more a Hero with Bad Publicity.
In the book it was stated that she had a long pointed chin, a rather mannish jaw, and Fiyero commented that she seemed to have a strange scar near her genitals. And that was before she went utterly insane and stopped sleeping all together, she probably looked like hell by then. Despite this, there are still indications that she's still rather good-looking, in an unconventional way — her nose, while strong, is described as lovely, and both Galinda and Fiyero tell her she's pretty at separate points. Galinda even goes on about Elphaba's beautiful hair, and says that there's an "exotic" type of beauty about her after a mini-makeover. Elpahaba is described as looking like her mom, but with green skin, at least once in the books.
In the musical, she only calls Elphaba pretty after "Popular", after she's Galinda-fied her with a flower and better hairstyling. Fiyero in the book refers to her as being "beautiful in her own way", meaning she's not conventionally attractive, and in the musical he finds her beautiful because he's "looking at things differently", which can be taken in multiple ways. The makeup designer flat-out states that "Elphaba is not ugly — she's supposed to be beautiful. People just hate her because she's green." Notably, her ensemble changes entirely for the latter part of the play, as she drops the bulky boots, glasses and drab school outfit and switches to an extravagantly crafted black gown instead.
Child by Rape: In the book, at least. In the musical, it could be interpreted as both parts getting drunk/having a mutual love affair.
Dark Is Not Evil: She may wear dark-colored clothes almost exclusively, have black hair, and seem Gothic, but she cares about her sister, Animals, and her anthropomorphic teacher and desperately wants to do good. This eventually leads to her Villainous Breakdown.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Though it wasn't intended as the good deed that it was seen as (and it ends up backfiringspectacularly when it turns out that Nessa's a total Yandere), Galinda setting up Boq and Nessarose turned out to be the key to unlocking Elphaba's softer side, and the relationship between the two roommates changes almost instantly, at least in the musical version.
Disney Death: In the musical. She only fakes being melted, actually falling down a trap door, and escapes Oz with help from Fiyero, although the two can never return.
Emotionally Tongue Tied: In the Lion cub scene, Elphaba is so bewildered by the situation she starts blabbering frustratedly to Fiyero.
Evil Laugh: Depending on the actress portraying her, she's had that distinctive cackle from as far back as her schooldays. Nearly all versions have her develop it by the time she's become infamous.
Flower in Her Hair: Galinda puts one in her hair to show she can be pretty. Elphaba is so shocked by seeing herself as something other than repulsive, she runs off.
Hair-Trigger Temper: She tries to keep it under control, but it really does not take much to get Elphaba sniping and shouting at those around her, and we see her temper literally explode several times over the course of the story. No doubt she became this way through having to constantly deal with peoples stares and jeers.
Hermaphrodite: Book Elphaba is strongly implied to have been born mildly intersex despite successfully giving birth to a son later, and suffer from some degree of gender dysphoria. Besides her "mannish" features, she occasionally seems to get a little confused about what equipment her body is "supposed" to have.
In the book when Fiyero dies Elphaba goes into a coma, takes a vow of silence, and lived in a mauntery for almost a decade.
Hero with Bad Publicity: Musical Elphaba is this without a doubt. Book Elphaba however is more prone to morally questionable actions and is more along the lines of Anti-Hero.
Hollywood Nerd: She gives off this image in her initial appearance, being a bookish girl who wears glasses and doesn't concern herself with trying to improve her appearance.
Human Mom, Non-Human Dad: Well, her father IS human, but he's not an Oz native like her mother is. The fact she was born of parents from "two different worlds" was said to be the reason she was so magically gifted. Also, the tonic the Wizard had in his possession and implied to be his own creation was apparently responsible for her coloring.
In-Series Nickname: Glinda calls Elphaba "Elphie". In the book, Nessa calls her "Fabala", and Fiyero gives her the nickname "Fae". Many fanfictions based on the musical still have both give her their respective nickname.
Knight in Sour Armor: In the musical. She keeps fighting for what she believes is right even though she doesn't think it makes much difference.
Magic Misfire: Elphaba causes these far more often than she'd like. Most notably, her messing up an invulnerability spell in her panic and desperation to save Fiyero from being beaten to death, which ultimately turns him into a scarecrow.
Meganekko: In her days at Shiz in the musical. She loses the glasses during the timeskip between acts I and II.
Motor Mouth: If riled up, Elphaba can get into passionate rants where no one can get a word in edgewise. Fiyero points this out to her once.
Not Good with People: Type two. She is very snarky, has a hard time expressing her feelings and seems to get along much better with Animals and animals.
Pimped-Out Dress: Her dress in the second half is pretty fancy. An early version had some ruffles and netting. The final version has lots of beaded detail, but to make the dress look like patchwork when seen from a distance rather than decorated.
Power Incontinence: Elphaba is powerful for sure, but she... doesn't have the best command over her magic abilities. She can make things happen that many can only dream of doing, but aside from enchanting her broom to fly, we never see her cast a spell that exactly has the outcome she desires. This may have something to do with how her magic often reacts to her emotional outbursts.
Even the broom wasn't intentional. She and Glinda expected her to grow wings like the monkeys.
Reality Warper: Implied, discussed and exhibited on one occasion. She seems to be able to make things happen unconsciously, without even thinking them.
Rebellious Spirit: In the book, she's almost rebellious for the sake of it — she insults almost everybody. In the musical, she becomes this once she meets the Wizard and realizes the depth of his corruption, declaring "I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game." and "I'm through accepting limits 'cause someone says they're so / Some things I cannot change, but till I try I'll never know!" She then begins her "campaign of terror."
Sanity Slippage: To different degrees in the musical vs. the book after Fiyero's death causes her to snap. In the musical she becomes unhinged and decidedly irrational in her actions but eventually recovers when a visit from Glinda, and news that Fiyero managed to survive as the Scarecrow, helps bring her back down to earth. In the book she goes flat out insane.
Seer: Seems to have this power in the musical; When she's envisioning in her head what her life would be like working with the Wizard, she predicts the fact that there will be a celebration all to do with her. (though she doesn't predict that said celebration will be her funeral.) She also senses her sister is in trouble upon seeing Dorothy's flying house.
Straight Man: When Glinda is being goofy in the play, Elphaba is the straight man.
The Snark Knight: Eventually, in the musical. She's sarcastic and introverted from the start, but at first, she has a distinctly idealistic streak ("The Wizard and I") - after "Defying Gravity", she evolves into a genuine, cynical Snark Knight.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy half. Elphaba is strong-headed, pragmatic, and has no interest whatsoever in gushing over things like makeup and clothes. She's also not afraid to get her hands dirty for her cause.
Trauma Conga Line: Not even counting what went down in the first act, Elphaba has to deal with her beloved little sister not wanting to have anything to do with her anymore, saving the life of Boq by turning him into a tin-man who forever resents her for it thereafter, her favorite teacher losing his ability to speak human language, her sister getting murdered, getting into a nasty spat with Glinda that puts them at odds with each other, and finally, watching Fiyero be dragged off to be killed because of her, all the while being collectively despised and hunted for by the populace. Can anyone really blame her for going off the deep end by the time Dorothy came around?
Tsundere: Has traits of one in the musical. She's very vitriolic to almost everyone upon first meeting, but she gets awkward and sweet around people who she hopes to impress or who show her kindness. She even gets this textbook tsundere line:
The Unfavorite: In both book and musical, her father heavily prefers Nessarose.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Yes, the Wicked Witch of the West was once a friendly, sensitive young girl. She's less villainous in the musical, though.
Villain Protagonist: Not so much in the musical where she never fully crosses the line to become a true villain, but the book has her genuinely going insane from all the failures of her life, making her into a very malevolent being by the time Dorothy shows up. She stops sleeping entirely, stalks Dorothy, kills a woman, threatens her former friends and when Dorothy and co. finally get to her castle, she's fallen into utter desperation. Very sympathetic, yes, but still quite villainous.
Voice Types: Is a classic, prime example of a mezzo-soprano "Belter". Most Elphaba actresses in the musicals are graded (by the fans) on the quality of: the end notes of "The Wizard and I", the long "Fi-yer-o-o-o-o-o!" in "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, and the end of "Defying Gravity", particularly the final line and the last belted "Ah-aah-ahhhh!"
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Book-verse, Fiyero calls her out on it. She's okay if "accidents" happen when trying to make her point.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In the musical. No matter how hard she tries to do good in the world, it ends up blowing up in her face spectacularly, especially when her magical powers get involved. Eventually she hits her breaking point.
Woman in Black: Her preference for black clothing is established long before she becomes known as the Wicked Witch, mostly due to her belief that she otherwise "clash[es] with everything".
Beware the Nice Ones: In the musical, at least. It takes until the end of the play, but Galinda eventually decides she's had enough of the Wizard and Morrible. She is directly responsible for ridding Oz of both of them in short order.
Book Dumb: At least, compared to Elphaba. More so in the musical than in the books.
Character Development: In the book Galinda starts of as rather vapid and shallow. But after meeting Elphaba, along with Dillamond's death, she realizes there's much more important things to worry about besides boys and popularity.
Clingy Jealous Girl: In the musical. Fiyero suddenly running off with Elphaba causes Glinda to feel a dark enough jealousy that she gives Morrible information to lure out Elphaba that culminates in the death of Elphaba's sister. This naturally leads to a My God, What Have I Done? reaction from her.
Cool Crown: In the play, she gets a couple tiaras with her outfits.
She has an even bigger one later, after inadvertently contributing to Nessarose's death.
Hidden Depths: In the fourth book, she protects Rain, who is working as a maid in her household. This appears to be an afterthought on her part - when forced to release most of her staff, she chooses Rain to spite her other maid - but she gradually realizes Rain's magical potential and enlists her aid in casting a spell. The Hidden Depths is proven at the end of the book, when it's shown that Glinda knew exactly what she was doing the whole time, and even raised Rain like a parent before it became dangerous to do so.
Incoming Ham: Her first appearance in the flashback is her gliding onto the stage (thanks to sitting on a luggage cart), while singing several high notes.
Inept Mage: Early on she qualifies. She gets better. She's the only one of the girls who actually has a formal education in magic in the books, and is not capable of doing many impressive things with it, though by the standards of Ozian society, she is actually very talented (In the sense that she doesn't accidentally set things on fire).
This gets shown in the musical when during the "Popular" number, she tries to do Gorgeous Garment Generation for Elphaba, and nothing happens. She just tosses the wand away.
Innocently Insensitive: Glinda lacks tact and humility about her status in life (exemplified in her "Popular" number), but she never means to flaunt it maliciously in other peoples faces, it's just how she is. Comes with being Spoiled Sweet.
Large Ham: The role practically calls out for this, especially compared to the more dour and sarcastic Elphaba. The song "Popular" is often the benchmark for any actress playing G(a)linda, as it involves a lot of hopping around, dancing, yodelling, and often bits of improvised comedy unique to that actress. Most later actresses took Kristin Chenoweth's performance and built on it, creating a series of zanier Glindas.
Light Is Not Good: Partially subverted later. She may be pretty and popular, but she is vain and too dumb to realize what the Wizard had done. She redeems herself in the end.
Stepford Smiler: Indicated in the novel Wicked, developed in the sequel, Son of a Witch. The musical makes her a Stepford Smiler at the behest of the state for the sake of keeping the populace blissfully unaware.
That Woman Is Dead: Borderline parody when she changes her name from Galinda to Glinda in the play. Played much more sympathetically in the book.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: The girly girl half. Glinda is the epitome of stereotypical girly girl, being obsessed with pink, boys, clothes, makeup and parties.
Valley Girl: Some actresses give her moments like this, particularly during "Popular".
Voice Types: A soprano — the role in the musical was written for Kristin Chenoweth. Many notes were added (at her request) to the opening number just so she could hit some high notes.
Adorkable: Shows shades of this. Mostly once he starts falling in love with Elphaba.
Arranged Marriage: In the book he is arranged to be married when he is in Shiz. He ends up marrying her and having three children with his wife. That doesn't seem to stop him from having some "fun" with Elphaba in the Emerald City, as it's generally a loveless union. In the musical he ends up engaged to Glinda without being consulted about it first, and then promptly breaks it off when Elphaba shows up.
Big Damn Heroes: He saves Elphaba from the Wizard and they run off together. He does this a second time (coming in swinging on a vine no less!) but with mixed results; Elphaba escapes, but he gets captured.
Brainless Beauty: Self-stated. He perpetuates this image so much that people actually become worried when he starts "thinking".
The Casanova: Apparently this was the general perception of him. To quote Galinda, "his reputation is scandalacious"
Composite Character: In the Musical he's a mix of Book Fiyero (with his name, position of Prince, and role as Elphaba's love interest), while his personality is more along the lines of Avaric (and possibly Crope and Tibbett) taken Up to Eleven. Also he actually is the Scarecrow in the musical, whereas in the book, Elphaba entertains the possibility that he never died and was hiding in that Scarecrow suit only to learn that the Scarecrow is nothing more than a Scarecrow.
Emergency Transformation: He's the musical's version of the Scarecrow through this, through Elphaba's slightly botched invulnerability spell she tries to cast to save him from being beaten to death (she doesn't find out it actually worked until much later).
In-Series Nickname: In the book, Elphaba calls him "Yero, my hero" at one point. Fanfiction authors often have her still give him the nickname "Yero" in musical-based work.
Ironic Echo: When they get together, Fiyero has to convince Elphaba that he thinks she's beautiful. At the end of the musical when Fiyero has been turned into a scarecrow, it's Elphaba who has to convince him that she still thinks he's beautiful.
I Will Find You: His motivation for joining the witch-hunting Gale Force is to find Elphaba before anyone else does.
Ladykiller in Love: In the musical, he gets basically the entire female population of Shiz University pining after him within hours of arriving on campus and he instantly hooks up with G(a)linda. Then he falls in love with Elphaba so hard that his life thereafter is spent trying to find her after she disappears from the public eye.
The Lost Lenore: For Elphaba, as it is his death that triggers her descent into wickedness. Played straight in the book, but subverted in the musical where at the end he turns up alive as the Scarecrow.
Love at First Sight: How he ends up in a relationship with Glinda in the first place, because they mutually deemed themselves to be "perfect together" upon first meeting. Of course, it doesn't end up lasting...
Arguably he developed an interest in Elphaba the moment he met her. He just didn't realize it until later.
Satellite Love Interest: Subverted. A lot of Fiyero's character does revolve around his relationships with Elphaba and Glinda, but unlike most examples he plays an important role in the plot, and goes through his own Character Development arc.
Safety In Indifference: His reason for having such a lackadaisical approach to life. Just look at the lyrics to "Dancing Through Life":
Race Lift: He was dark skinned and covered in diamond tattoos in the book. In the musical, he has no determined physical features and his appearance relies on the person who's acting him. There have been Fiyeros of all colors on stage.
Pragmatic Adaptation: When the musical was in its concept stages they considered keeping the tattoos, but then decided it would be too much of a hassle to deal with.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: He's a prince, and by the second act of the musical, certainly not an idle one, considering he joins the Gale Force and actively participates in Oz's Witch hunts (if only to protect Elphaba from everyone else trying to kill her).
Stepford Smiler: In the beginning of Act II, he, like Glinda, puts on a facade that he's enjoying his life and being against the Wicked Witch of the West, when the truth couldn't be further in the opposite direction.
Even in Act I when they're in school, it's heavily implied Fiyero's devil-may-care attitude is a coverup for the fact he's unhappy.
"You're going to lose your heart to me, I tell you! Even if I have to...I have to...magic spell you!!!"
Cruel Mercy: In the book a Munchkin asks her to enchant a woodsman's ax so that it would kill him when he swings it. She said this would be cruel, so instead she enchants it so it simply cuts off his limbs. And thus the tin woodsman is born.
Disabled Love Interest: In the musical she was a lovely young girl in a wheelchair. Less so in the book, where she was a zealous girl who had functioning legs, but no arms to speak of, which puts a damper on finding love.
Yandere: At least in the musical, where she is willing to strip the Munchkins of their rights and keep any of them from leaving the country just to keep Boq with her and then curse away his heart when he expresses the desire to leave.
Adaptation Distillation: He has a whole portion of the book devoted to him, yet is at-best a side character in the musical — he doesn't even get a whole song to himself, just small bits of other people's songs.
Adorkable: Especially around Glinda. Then he's turned into the Tin Man...
All Love Is Unrequited: Musical only. He loves Galinda, who won't give him the time of day. Nessarose is absolutely smitten with him, but he doesn't feel much more than sympathy for her, which decreases rapidly as time goes on.
Dogged Nice Guy: In the book he pursued Galinda for quite a while during his time in school. But eventually she set the record straight that it would never work out, and he gave up when she became more serious, and he grew up a bit.
Emergency Transformation: He's the musical's version of the Tin Man through this, after Nessa magically curses away his heart in a fit of jealousy and Elphaba in panic tries to save him.
The Everyman: In the book, he's a defining "this is what normal people are like" character, compared to the snobby Galinda (and her friends), sullen and sarcastic Elphaba, and whacky frat boys Avaric, Crope and Tibbett.
Flanderization: His crush on Galinda he has for a summer or two in college becomes the defining character trait of his whole life in the musical.
Happily Married: In the book he winds up living a happy, yet mundane, life as a farmer, father, and husband.
Stalker with a Crush: In the musical — Glinda's clearly not interested, and he still wants to break up her engagement years after they leave school.
Adaptational Badass: In the book, he's an evil occultist rather than a carnival worker, and his knowledge of magic is much more formidable.
Adaptational Villainy: Was merely a dishonest conman in the original stories, rather than an outright villain. More sympathetic in the musical, though.
Luke, You Are My Father: Although Elphaba never finds out. The Wizard goes into something of a quiet Villainous Breakdown upon realizing that he's actually Elphaba's biological father, and thus basically sentenced his own daughter to death. Afterwards Glinda tells him to leave Oz and he goes willingly.
Satellite Character: Despite mattering heavily to the plots of both book and musical (indeed; most of either story would have never happened without him), he actually doesn't appear a whole lot. Characters spend more time talking about him in absentia in the book, and he's only in one song in the play, and three scenes altogether.
Talking Animal: Which is the reason he ends up being the target of prejudice and the Wizard, as the Wizard doesn't like that animals in Oz can act like humans and wants to make them like normal animals in the "real" world.
Verbal Tic: A truly disturbing instance in the musical, as he loses the ability to speak human language and starts reverting to animal noises.
The Atoner: In the novel, Dorothy was touted as the leader of the witch-hunters. Indeed, she sought out Elphaba under the pretense of planning to kill her, but in reality, all she wanted was to sincerely apologize to Elphaba for what happened to her sister.
Good Is Boring: Liir's crush on her didn't last very long after leaving Kiamo Ko. He found that nice girls raised on a farm don't make for particularly interesting people.
Not only that, but he finds there is something rather fake about all her goodness. Something that is commented on by several characters (but then again, it never really comes up).
Hero Antagonist: In the book, Elphaba's dress caught fire prior to the fateful bucket of water and Dorothy had just been trying to help put it out. In the musical, she is an antagonist due to lack of knowledge rather than malice.
Adapted Out: He's not in the musical. Which is good, since he would have complicated things.
Baleful Polymorph: Gets turned into an elephant in the fourth book, as a sort of callback to a spell he helped undo in the second.
Bi the Way: He is in the center of a Love Triangle with a man and a woman. Who may have fallen in love with each other, too, or died separately.
In book four, it's revealed that neither one died, and if they met they didn't hit it off. Liir ended up married to Candle because she was the mother of his daughter, but still in love with Trism although they didn't see each other for years. (This might make him Ambiguously Gay, since while he seems to have regular sex with his wife they don't have much of a romantic attraction, something he and Trism enjoy in spades.) In the end, when Candle and Trism both leave him, he tells Rain he'd be happy if either or both of them would just come back.
The Ditherer: Seems to go out of his way to avoid making decisions until some tragedy forces him to. Taken Up to Eleven in the fourth book, where his stubborn refusal to act in his own interest ends up removing Mombey's spells on himself and two other characters.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Even after he finds out that he's the only one capable of riding the broom, the narrative still won't shut up about how unspecial he is.
That said, he certainly accomplishes quite a lot more than his mother, including missions he inherited from her failures.
Progressively Prettier: He is described as being fat in the first book, but second book onwards has him losing the weight and becoming lean, pale and dark-haired. Possibly justified in that he spent some time in the army and may have gotten into better shape during that time.
Character Development: Bordering on Dynamic Character. He is very different in all periods of his life from what he was at the start of his life, through his journey with Dorothy, integration with human society, etc. etc. All this from a character who doesn't really move the plotline at all. Although he ends the novels as ruler of Oz
Who Is This Guy Again?: He was only mentioned a handful of times in the first book, and completely cut out of the musical. Causing lots of people reading the second book to double take when remembering that yes, Elphaba had a brother.
Ambiguously Gay: They apparently tease Boq endlessly, but stop if he gets too upset about it.
Satellite Character: Both are essentially just there as Boq's schoolchums, though both play minor roles later on:
Tibbett's experience in the Philosophy Club results in a rapid deterioration in his physical and mental health. Eventually he ends up a palliative care patient in the convent where Elphaba has resided since Fiyero's death gave her a mental breakdown, and it's in renewing their friendship and caring for him during the last months of his life that Elphaba is brought out of her years-long fugue state.
Crope has a more minor role as Glinda's secretary in the latter half of the first book. He doesn't really do much and develops Chuck Cunningham Syndrome in the sequels, though.
Rain, aka Oziandra Osqa'ami
Hidden in Plain Sight: To protect her from the Emperor's forces, her parents magically disguise her green skin and place her in Lady Glinda's household. When soldiers take over her estate and camp there for months on end, she remains unnoticed.
Hollywood Autism: Averted. Rain seems to have a fairly realistic portrayal of high-functioning autism, though it is not named as such due to the lack of psychologists in the setting. She pays little attention to people, doesn't make eye contact, focuses on objects and animals, and is thought to be mentally challenged at first. As she grows, she learns how to better interact with people, largely through careful observation, and her intelligence gradually becomes evident.
Loyal Animal Companion: Tay, a small "rice otter" that accompanies her for most of the book. It eventually turns green.