YMMV / Land of Oz

  • Acceptable Targets: Several.
    • The Woggle-Bug in Marvelous Land is supposed to be an obnoxious character, so when he makes puns, it's offensive and the others reproach him for it. When a sympathetic character like the Scarecrow or the post-redemption Wizard does the same, nobody complains.
    • Baum had a serious hate-on for recorded music. The Musicker in Road to Oz has lungs that work like an organ, so he makes music by breathing; he's the only person who asks for an invitation to Ozma's birthday party and doesn't get one, as Ozma cheerfully points out he would annoy everyone there. And a living phonograph in Patchwork Girl gets routinely yelled at and told to go away when it tries to join the heroes' party.
  • Adaptation Displacement: Tales of the Magic Land, basically an unauthorized Alternate Continuity, is much more popular in the former Soviet Union than the original. Baum versus Volkov is still a major point of contention among Russian Oz/Magic Land fans.
  • Designated Hero: The Wizard of Oz lied to the gullible people of Oz, convincing them that he was a powerful magician, and declared himself its new ruler. He usurped the throne from its rightful king and had the witch Mombi transform the king's baby daughter into a boy and raise him herself. He then had the citizens build him the Emerald City and forced them to wear green tinted glasses 24/7 in order to keep up appearances. About two decades later, he sent Dorothy and her friends to kill the Wicked Witch of the West, hoping to either rid himself of the one real threat to his rule, or rid himself of the little girl and her friends and avoid granting their wishes. On the whole, his actions make him little better than the Wicked Witches but the books say that he was just a bad wizard and not a bad man and the worst thing to happen to him was the Scarecrow calling him a humbug. On the other hand, the fourth book tries to pull one big retcon by stating that the Wizard didn't have a clue about Pastoria and Ozma, and that the former had already died and the latter had been Gender Bended and Made a Slave before he even got there. And seeing how said former Gender Bended slave (Ozma) was the one who told the Wizard most of this herself, there's not really any room for doubt. Now you could try and justify this as saying that Ozma was perhaps misinformed, or that the Wizard was lying through his teeth about not knowing a thing, but even that still needs a bit of wiggle room to work. For all intents and purposes, the Wizard was excused from many of his past misdeeds, if only because he had apparently no longer committed them. You can argue till you're blue in the mouth about whether he should have been excused, but as far as Baum was concerned, the Wizard was now 'a very good man' in both word and deed.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: With several one-off or incidental characters popping up in every book that has no less than 40 canonical installments and dozens of fan additions, it's not surprising:
    • Scraps, The Patchwork Girl (who's insane even by the series' standards) was very popular when she debuted, but nowadays Jack Pumpkinhead has been gaining quite a bit of popularity.
    • Jellia Jamb from the second book, who provides a Crowning Moment of Funny by mistranslating Jack and the Scarecrow's dialogue since they're both too dimwitted to figure out they're speaking the same language, milking the situation for all its worth.
    • Tik-Tok, one of the earliest examples of robots in fiction. He even inspired Asimov's famous Three Laws concept.
  • Fanon: Since continuity and backstory are inconsistent and contradictory, many fans have attempted to make it more coherent. Sometimes an attempt is good enough to be considered as good as canon by fans. Some examples include:
    • The hair colours of characters varied Depending on the Artist, thus fans (and as a result, most adaptations) have to figure out their own colours. Fans of the books usually pin Dorothy down as a blonde (because early art depicted her as so, it fits her, and it distances her from the MGM film version) while fans of Oz who are more into The Wonderful Wizard of Oz draw her as a brunette. Ozma is described as a strawberry blonde but, due to most official art depicting her with dark hair, most fans draw her as having medium-to-dark coloured brown or black hair.
    • You'll find it hard to meet someone in the online fandom who doesn't ship Dorothy/Ozma to some degree. Due to Values Dissonance their heavily fluffy friendship comes off as lesbian more than platonic.
    • Due to the LGBT Fanbase, Ozma has been a bit of a trangender icon and it's common to headcanon her as trans. The issue is that fans differ on just where on the spectrum she fits. Some see her a trans girl metaphor due to being forcibly Raised as the Opposite Gender, while others see her as a trans boy due to how comfortable she seemed as Tip and how she didn't want to become a girl. There are also fans who see her as nonbinary. Even amongst those that don't see her as trans, her being a Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak who likes wearing trousers is a widespread train of thought due to her years living as a boy combined with her acceptance of becoming Ozma again.
    • Fanworks usually age up Dorothy just bit. Eventually she gets bored of being prepubescent and decides to age up to 15-20. Naturally, Ozma ages up with her.
    • Lurline is the Fairy Queen however most fans, and many fan adaptations such as Wicked, make her into a goddess.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: After the first six books, it's pretty easy to just take your pick of whatever you don't want to consider canon. Baum didn't seem to worry too much about what was canon either.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Dorothy/Ozma is by far the most supported ship. They get along well, have a lot of sweet interactions, and outside of the classic characters from the first book, Dorothy's known her the longest. Some authors have tried to avert the romantic implications by giving them male love interests, but it never stuck.
  • Franchise Zombie: Baum had only meant to write one or two Oz sequels (if any) and then move on to other projectsnote , but the popularity of the books, coupled with his own financial issues and the fact that all of his non-Oz books (apart from Father Goose, which he wrote before the first Oz novel and which was his first success) were flops, forced him to keep writing Oz books for the rest of his life, long after he had lost interest in them.
  • Fridge Horror:
    • In The Tin Woodman of Oz, the Tin Woodman meets his former head in a cupboard. Was that the real Nick Chopper, who was systematically dismembered by the Wicked Witch of the East? And then placed in a cupboard for the next couple of decades?
    • This would make the Tin Woodman a different person from Nick Chopper, but with Chopper's memories.
    • The Adult Fear for Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, inherent in Dorothy's disappearance in apparently deadly circumstances, isn't mentioned.
    • In The Marvelous Land of Oz, Jack Pumpkinhead worries all the time about his head spoiling, presumably leading to his death. In a later book, we find that Jack Pumpkinhead has become a pumpkin farmer (living in a pumpkin house, of course). When his head begins to spoil, he carves himself out a new fresh pumpkin for his head. Query: does he commit suicide every time he does that, while creating a new person?
    • The Fountain of Oblivion, and what it entails.
  • Fridge Logic: Huge amounts because of the Canon Discontinuity, but to begin:
    • Isn't the Fountain of Oblivion a villainous tool, a huge evil?
    • Does the Pond of Truth require that someone always tell the truth, or merely make it impossible to lie? In requiring the truth, does it require the genuine truth? Or are blatant falsehoods allowed as long as every statement is literally true?note  What happens when someone is persistently interrupted when telling the truth requires explanation?note  What happens when the truth sounds like gobbledygook?note  We've not even touched the cases where one's beliefs are false.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Oz books are more popular overseas than in America.
  • Ho Yay: The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, insofar as both are both are actually men. In The Tin Woodman of Oz, we are told that they are satisfied to sit near each other for hours on end without saying anything.
  • LGBT Fanbase: "Friends of Dorothy" originated with the gay male fanbase for Judy Garland, and Wicked added another surge, so the original books imported a hefty dose of it. It helps that there's a fair amount of Ho Yay and Les Yay in the main cast, and that Ozma spent her first nine to twelve years or so as the incorrect gender.
  • Les Yay: Dorothy and Ozma are rather close. In fact, when half of their interactions consist of kissing each other on the cheek, it's safe to say they're a bit more than 'rather close.' Hell, one of the official illustrations has them nearly lip-locking. There's not any other real way to spin this after that.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Oscar Diggs. A third-rate Nebraska con man lands in a magical fairyland. He knows nothing of the land or its customs. He is very much a squishy, not very physically stout, Muggle. Yet, within weeks, using a combination of BS and carny tricks, he has bluffed the four most powerful magic users into standing down in an Enforced Cold War, made himself an undisputed God-Emperor, and kidnapped the true heir to the throne and sent her to Mombi, who raised her bespelled as the opposite gender! Baum played this aspect down in later books, but modern adaptations certainly have fun running with it. The Lost King of Oz has the Wizard feeling regret or guilt about what he'd done to Ozma.
  • Mary Suetopia: L. Frank Baum envisioned Oz to be this. Even with Wicked Witches around, Dorothy never had to pay for anything. It gets more explicit in his later books when Ozma assumes the throne and everyone in Oz is granted functional Immortality. For the record, the Oz books don't have any bent toward then-contemporary politics or try to insist on proper way in which to run a county (Ozma's reign could be best described as a benevolent dictatorship), but exist primarily as whimsical escapism.
  • Nausea Fuel: Chopfyt, the final husband of Nick Chopper's (and Captain Fyter's) former sweetheart. He was made from the flesh parts of Nick Chopper and Captain Fyter glued together with the Wicked Witch of the East's flesh glue, along with a tin arm.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Oz books have several instances of this, as does the movie Return to Oz. It's possible to make a complete list of this:
    • How Princess Ozma was found in The Marvelous Land of Oz might qualify.
    • Princess Ozma had Bungle's brains changed to make her more agreeable. (May count as Canon Discontinuity as Bungle has her old brains and attitude back in later books.)
    • The Tin Woodsman's actual origin. Yikes!
      • And what happened to his original body parts (see below and above).
    • The Fountain of Oblivion.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Betsy for Dorothy in Tik-Tok of Oz. In fairness she was a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to get around legal entanglements to make the play the book was based on, but she contributes nothing to the plot and just comes off as a more boring version of Dorothy. A few books gave her the occasional spotlight but it never caught on.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: A more modern audience spoiled by high and low fantasy (or even Tolkien's works) might find these books to be rather shallowly-written and the World Building to be rather clunky or sound like it was flat out made-up to suit the plot. Except, it's sometimes easy to forget that Baum's books were written within 1900 and 1920 - these predate Codifiers and Makers by as little as either two years or decades. (Narnia, The Hobbit, The Zimiamvian Trilogy, and The Prydain Chronicles weren't even written yet and wouldn't be for at least another decade at the earliest.
  • Tear Jerker: The introductory note to the reader of Glinda of Oz, signed by "The Publishers", telling the reader how L. Frank Baum left the physical world and brought Oz to those who lived too early to experience the Oz books in this world.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: The Ruth Plumly Thompson books, especially, to counteract the sheer number of Deus ex Machina artifacts Ozma and Glinda have between themselves.
  • The Woobie:
    • Ojo the Unlucky. He gets better, finally becoming "Ojo the Lucky".
    • Nick Chopper himself could qualify. All he wanted was to earn enough money to be a proper husband to his fiancee. The girl's parents didn't like him, so they went to the Witch and got his axe cursed. He chops off limbs, but is lucky enough to have a tinner just pass by at the right moment to rebuild him with metal. Back he goes to work, because he really wanted to marry her. Eventually, his whole body was rebuilt. Why does he want a heart? So he can go back to his girlfriend! He's okay with the placebo the Wizard gives him, but when he finds his girlfriend again? Well, while he was working his tail off (and losing body parts in the process), she was cheating on him with a soldier who got the same curse. The tinner was likely working for the Witch (seeing as she did him some favors like gluing on a severed finger), and has built Frankenstein-style creations of metal and flesh. And Nick's ex-girlfriend married one that was built from both her suitors' curse-amputated parts!
    • Not so much the "girlfriend was cheating on him" part. In fact, Nimmie Aime is a bit of a Woobie herself. Let's see, she lives with an unidentified old woman who allows her to experience nothing but caring for her and doing her chores. She meets and falls in love with sweet and compassionate Nick Chopper, who not only loves her but is going to take her away from this horrible life. She can do nothing as he's slowly dismembered, becoming less and less human, until finally he's entirely made of tin and has no love for her. Then he disappears (first by being rusted in the woods, but once he's freed by Dorothy, he still stays away for years- because the wizard gave him a "caring heart" not a "loving heart," so he didn't see the point in even tracking her down). She moves on, finds another nice Munchkin and falls in love again, only for the exact same thing to happen to him! After that, is it really any surprise that she ends up in a relationship with the Frankensteined amalgamation of her two former lovers' human body parts? He has the personality of the second, but enough similarity to remind her of the happiness she had with the first, he loves her, he stays loyal and treats her well. And even now that she's found love with a stable man, she still needs to live surrounded by an invisible barrier just to feel secure that no one's going to take this one away from her too. And then, after who knows how long of neglect, both her former lovers reappear to tell her, no, we don't still love you, yes, we could have come for you before now but simply couldn't be bothered, and we expect you to commit yourself to a loveless marriage to one of us. Sure, they back off the instant she asks them too, but you have to feel sorry for that poor woman. Chopfyt is the only good thing we ever hear of happening to her that she gets to keep.

See also The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/LandOfOz