Literature: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, and the Tin-Woodman meet the Cowardly Lion.The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
, written by Lyman (long for "L.") Frank Baum
in 1900, was an instant success, which has been much homaged
and parodied. It had many sequels, beginning with The Marvelous Land of Oz
, about which see a separate entry
. The Film of the Book
is the 1939 movie version, The Wizard of Oz
, which is far better known
. Return to Oz
, a 1985 semi-sequel released by Disney, is a Cult Classic
. Many viewers feel that the latter film captures the spirit of the books better than its MGM predecessors. It certainly looks
far more like the books' original illustrations.
Dorothy is a little girl from Kansas whose farmhouse is carried away to Oz by a tornado, with her and her dog Toto inside. The tornado drops the house on the Wicked Witch
of the East, killing her. Dorothy is quickly fetched by the native Munchkins as a hero, but wants nothing more than to get home. The (un-named) Good Witch of the North is sympathetic, but unfortunately has never heard of this strange place called "Kansas". So she gives Dorothy the wicked witch's silver
shoes, kisses her on the forehead for magical protection, and sends her off to the capital — the Emerald City
— to ask the Wizard who rules there for his advice.
Along the way, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow (who wants a brain), the Tin Woodman (who misses his heart), and the Cowardly Lion (who wishes he had courage). Together they travel to the Emerald City to ask for the Wizard's help, along the way having to deal with the aptly named Wicked Witch of the West, who wants revenge for the death of her sister as well as the return of her magical silver shoes.
Although the basic story is close to that of the film, there are several deviations and extra parts - such as the history of the Tin Woodman, the Wizard's multiple disguises, the Emerald City only looking green because everyone there had to wear green glasses, the fact that there are two
Good Witches rather than just one, an extended Dénouement
journey after the defeat of the Wicked Witch, and (most significantly) the ending, which in the movie implied it was All Just a Dream
, while in the book it is all most definitely real.
Check out the Character Sheet
For a list of the many, many adaptations, see The Wizard of Oz
The book version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz includes examples of:
- All Just a Dream: Averted in the original books. Baum himself stated that the land of Oz is located somewhere in the world, it's just surrounded by impassable desert.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Wicked Witch of the West's Golden Cap, which she uses to control the Winged Monkeys.
- Armless Biped: Hammerheads, who attack by extending their necks à la a jack-in-the-box.
- The Beastmaster: the Wicked Witch of the West's main source of power is in her animal servants - a pack of black wolves, a murder of crows, a swarm of black bees, and the Golden Cap that allows her to summon the Winged Monkeys thrice. When most of those minions are slain and the Cap's powers exhausted, the Witch seems to be almost powerless.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The Tin Woodman. Sweetest, nicest, most loyal guy you'd ever encounter. Cried himself rusted over accidentally killing a harmless bug. Threaten an innocent life, and his axe will be used to make the offender a head shorter.
- Bee Bee Gun: The Wicked Witch of the West can control a bee swarm.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: The Wicked Witch of the West is too concerned about self-preservation to even try to steal Dorothy's silver slippers (due to her fear of the dark and her weakness against water). Of course, she later wises up and steals one slipper using a cheap shot (read: invisible brick). Unfortunately for her, when Dorothy's slippers are messed with, it's a Berserk Button; Dorothy swiftly retaliates by weaponizing the Witch's weakness and mopping up the remains.
- More justified in Volkov's version, in which the silver shoes themselves protect Ellie (Dorothy) from harm, and she never removes them, even when sleeping. This is why both the Winged Monkeys and the Witch are afraid to harm her.
- Boring Return Journey
- Bridge Logic: The Scarecrow has the Tin Woodman do this by chopping down a tree... and then has him chop it down again, with the pursuing Kalidahs still on it. The book was published in 1900, making this one Older than Television.
- City of Gold: The Emerald City.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Tornado itself actually set in motion the plots for later books Due to the stress of Dorothy being carried away, Uncle Henry and Dorothy go on a vacation, which in turn during which, Dorothy ends up in Oz a second time via shipwreck. Then later it turns out that the destruction of the house and farm from the tornado took a toll on her Aunt and Uncle's wallet, in which they couldn't afford to live anywhere. In turn Dorothy brings them to Oz, to live and never worry about money again
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Blue is the colour of the Munchkins and Green is the colour of the Emerald City. Witches all wear white so when the Munchkins see Dorothy wearing her white and blue checked dress they assume she is a witch as well as a friend to them because of those colours. Furthermore, yellow is the favorite color of the Winkies in the West (they're even called Yellow Winkies), and red for the Quadlings of the South.
- Creepy Crows: A murder of crows serves the Wicked Witch of the West. She sends them out to kill Dorothy and her companions, but the Scarecrow kills them instead.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The Tin Man is convinced of this, despite being the most empathetic person in the series and prone to Tender Tears.
- Deadpan Snarker: Surprisingly, the narrator in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz shows this at times.
"For," they said, "there is not another city in all the world that is ruled by a stuffed man." And, so far as they knew, they were quite right.
- Down the Rabbit Hole
- Dungeon Master: The Wizard
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Natch. This goes double for the book, in which after journeying all that way to see the wizard, the company then has to make another journey to Glinda so Dorothy can go home.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Quite a few characters, including the Wicked Witches of the East and West, the Good Witch of the North and the wizard himself even in his true form.
- Fairy Tale: Wizard of Oz was Baum's attempt to write an "American" fairy tale. A supposedly less violent and frightening version, he said. Speaking of which...
- Family-Unfriendly Death
- The deaths of the wolves:
He seized his axe, which he had made very sharp, and as the leader of the wolves came on the Tin Woodman swung his arm and chopped the wolf’s head from its body, so that it immediately died. As soon as he could raise his axe another wolf came up, and he also fell under the sharp edge of the Tin Woodman’s weapon. There were forty wolves, and forty times a wolf was killed, so that at last they all lay dead in a heap before the Woodman.
- The deaths of the crows:
The King Crow flew at the Scarecrow, who caught it by the head and twisted its neck until it died. And then another crow flew at him, and the Scarecrow twisted its neck also. There were forty crows, and forty times the Scarecrow twisted a neck, until at last all were lying dead beside him.
- In a scene unimaginable in any movie version, the Lion decapitates a giant spider with his claws!
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: The Tin Woodman's origin among others.
- Feet of Clay: The wizard himself.
- Forbidden Zone: The Deadly Desert.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Cowardly Lion (choleric/melancholic), Tin Woodman (melancholic/sanguine), Scarecrow (sanguine/choleric), and Dorothy (leukine/phlegmatic).
- God Guise: The wizard is just a fraud from Omaha.
- Good All Along: All of the Wicked Witch's servants, including the Winged Monkeys.
- Actually, the Wolves, the Crows and the Bees are debatable.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Not having a brain, the Scarecrow never thinks to avoid pits in the road that keep tripping him, but luckily he can't actually get hurt.
- Heart Trauma: The Tin Woodman's entire motivation in the original book that he erroneously believed he was experiencing this. Since he had literally lost his heart, he thought he had lost his capacity for kindness and love. In fact, he was almost saintlike in his love and kindness toward nearly everything he met; he just wasn't sentimental or strongly emotional.
- Home Sweet Home
- The Homeward Journey
- Invisible Block: Well, an invisible iron bar, which the Wicked Witch summons to make Dorothy lose a shoe.
- Irony: The Scarecrow wants a brain, the Tin Woodman wants a heart, and the Cowardly Lion wants courage. Throughout their adventures, guess who comes up with all the plans, is unusually tender-hearted, and casually displays real courage? Yeah...
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Dorothy sure has to go through a lot because of those shoes.
- It Was with You All Along: Dorothy is an example.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Aunt Em is said to have been cheerful and pretty when she came to live in Kansas but the sun and wind took away her sparkle and left her sad and grey.
- Kill It with Fire: Discussed. The Scarecrow feels no pain and can recover from any injury as long as his body remains more or less intact (new straw and he's good to go), but if he catches fire, he'll be dead for real.
- Kill It with Water: How the Wicked Witch of the West meets her demise.
- Literal Change of Heart: The Tin Man, who wants to get a heart from the Wizard. (May be a subversion, in that he's just as nice without it.)
- Logical Weakness: The Scarecrow, being cloth and straw, is afraid of fire. The Tin Woodman will rust at the joints and become unable to move if he is in prolonged contact with water.
- Made a Slave
- Magic Feather: Dorothy's friends already possess the qualities that they seek, but they insist on getting a Magic Feather from the Wizard anyway.
- Magic Kiss: Dorothy receives a kiss which marks her as under the protection of the Witch of the North.
- Magical Land: Oz and the countries around it.
- The Magocracy: The Quadling (South) Country of Oz is this, being ruled by Glinda.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: The winged monkeys, and the Kalidahs (part tiger, part bear).
- Non-Human Sidekick: Lots of them.
- No Sell: The Wicked Witch of The West uses wolves and bees against Dorothy's party... that includes a tireless scarecrow who feels no pain and an equally tireless metal man whose body is completely impervious to bites and stings.
- Offered the Crown
- Outside-the-Box Tactic: See Weaksauce Weakness below.
- Parental Bonus
- Phony Degree: For the Scarecrow.
- Public Domain Character: The book is now public domain.
- Protective Charm: The good witch's kiss, the silver shoes.
- The Quest: Dorothy's quest to go home
- Really Was Born Yesterday: The Scarecrow.
- Serial Prostheses: The Tin Woodman is an extreme example, having literally replaced his entire body serially.
- Set Bonus: While you need both slippers to get wishes, just wearing one is a powerful Protective Charm.
- Shadow Dictator: The Wizard
- Shining City: The Emerald City.
- Shrouded in Myth: The Wizard
- Single Palette Town: The Emerald City and each of the four quadrants of Oz: blue for the Munchkins to the east, yellow for the Winkies to the west and red for the Quadlings to the south. Though this book does not mention it, the Gilikins in the north have purple.
- Talking Animal: The Lion.
- Tears of Remorse
- Technicolor Death: The Wicked Witch of the West melts after being thrown a bucket of water, her weakness.
- Tender Tears
- Theseus' Ship Paradox: The Tin Woodman pissed off a witch who enchanted his ax so that it would cut off pieces of him, and he went to a tinsmith to replace the missing parts. Eventually he was made entirely out of tin - but since it was a gradual process, he's still human Nick Chopper and not a new person.
- Threshold Guardians: The Guardian of the Gates of the Emerald City
- Trapped in Another World: Dorothy and, for that matter, the Wizard.
- Unable To Support A Wife: In the Tin Woodman's Back Story, the reason the witch gave for keeping him from marrying.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The Wicked Witch of the West melts when hit by water.
- When Trees Attack: The Fighting Trees they run into while they going to Glinda's palace in the south.
- Witch Species
- Wicked Witch: Obviously, the Wicked Witches of the West and East. The Good Witches of the North and South are an inversion (and a rather radical one too, as the notion of a good witch was alien at the time).
- Widow's Weeds: Dorothy fears that if she doesn't return, Aunt Em will think she is dead and go into mourning, and Uncle Henry won't be able to afford the required mourning wardrobe.
- The Wonderland: Oz itself, with talking scarecrows and robots before there were robots...