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Headscratchers / The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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  • The Tin Man is so kindhearted that he can't stand to see a mouse killed by a predator...and so he takes out his ax and lops off the predator's head? How does that work?
    • Well, the mouse's death would be quite painful and graphic, where the beheading is relatively clean and painless, right?
      • Plus, the wildcat was knowingly trying to kill the mouse (all animals in Oz are sentient, remember), so really, he was saving her from a murderer.
    • Nick is the kindest fellow...but that kindness extends to protecting the innocent from harm. When innocents (or his True Companions) are in danger, all bets are off. Scarecrow's not much different, but he didn't have as many opportunities to show off the badass streak.
  • Just what did the Wicked Witch of the West do to earn the "wicked" title? That is, what did she do in the past (before Dorothy arrived) that made her so feared amongst the populace?
    • The usual stuff - a tyrannic rule with the help of the flying monkeys?
      • That's about right. She enslaved the people of Winkie Country. Likewise her sister had enslaved the Munchkins.
    • According some of the later books, Oz used to be ruled by a line of kings and queens. The last king disappeared and four wicked witches split up Oz among themselves. The Wicked Witches of the North and South were overthrown by The Good Witch of North and Glinda the Good.
      • Also, she's guilty of accessory to musical theater.
  • If water is the only thing that can kill a witch, why did that first witch die from having a house fall on her?
    • Having a house dropped on you is NOT going to leave you in good shape, no matter what else your weakness.
    • Weaksauce Weakness. They never said it had to be pure water or liquid water for that matter. Even if the house itself is disconnected from the water supply, Dorothy herself being in the house at the time could have been enough. Or more realistically, Dorothy's house lands on witch, causes injury to witch's lungs, and complicated stuff ensues which leads to the wicked witch essentially drowning in her own bodily fluids.
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    • Tornadoes also come with nasty rainstorms in tow, if I recall right. Caught in the rain probably didn't help matters.
    • Where is it said water is the only thing that can kill a witch?
      • To my knowledge, only in the "How It Should Have Ended" animation for The Wizard of Oz.
      • In one of the books, an early one, it says the wicked witches had been dried out as the result of being wicked for so long, making them vulnerable to water. Sort of like living mummies. So you'd expect them to get powdered pretty well by falling farm-houses, too. Now you just have to figure out why evil has a dehydrating effect.
      • It was the first one - and only said of the Wicked Witch of the West, not Witches or Wicked Witches in general.
  • Tin doesn't rust.
    • Could be partially justified, in that one of W.W. Denslow's color illustrations shows the Tin Man's joints are a different color, perhaps indicating that his joints are made of a different metal.
      • Actually, The Tin Man is made from tin sheets — which are sheets of iron coated in tin, which is what tinsmiths use to make products from. The tin coating prevented the iron from rusting, but the Tin Man's coating may have chipped in places, and — more likely — is probably worn through at the joints.
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    • Volkov's adaptation avoids this by making him made of iron instead of tin, but still.
  • The Tin Woodman's transformation occured gradually, with individual parts of himself being replaced as they were hacked off by his cursed axe. 1) How do you survive chopping off your own head (or) what injury is severe enough to require completely replacing your torso, but you still survive it? and 2) After the second or third limb, did he not think to just get rid of the axe? (or stop chopping wood for a living?)
    • 1) No-one dies in Oz. 2) Munchkinland was probably in a caste system at the time.
  • So is the Emerald City made of emeralds after all? Supposedly the Wizard built it out of glass, and that's what the green glasses law is for, but about halfway through the second book all mentions of glasses disappear and the emeralds are treated as real afterwards. Continuity error?
    • I assume the Scarecrow made it into a city of emeralds.
    • You're mistaken on two counts. The city was never mentioned to have been built out of glass, and even in the first book, many of the buildings are described as being studded with emeralds and other gemstones. Without the glasses, the emeralds would still appear green while the rest of the city assumes its regular range of colors.
  • If Oz is real but is surrounded by the impassable Deadly Desert, how did enough people reach it to establish a viable population, let alone a civilization of five distinct nations and innumerable smaller cultures?
    • As I recall, Oz used to be connected to the other magical lands. A passing fairy queen made the impassable deserts and isolated Oz from the outside and enchanted the land. They may have been already people living there. The four nations came about when the last King of Oz disappeared along with his daughter and four Wicked Witches carved up Oz among themselves. Later two of the four Wicked Witches, North and the South, were overthrown by Glinda and an unnamed Good Witch. As to the fifth nation (The Emerald City), that was founded by the Wizard after he came to Oz.
    • Wicked (the book) gave a simpler, Hand Wave-ish explanation: the desert isn't really deadly; that's just a bit of political propaganda intended to discourage foreigners from intruding into Oz.
  • If the witch melts with water, how does that dirty woman take a bath?
    • Dry cleaning.
    • She doesn't. It's why she turned green.
      • Actually, that's more or less what Wicked said; she rubs oils into her skin.
    • She's a witch, maybe she just magics herself clean?
    • In the book, the reason water caused the witches to melt was because they're both so old that all the fluid in their body has dried up. No fluid means no sweat, and no sweat means there isn't any need for them to bathe.
  • If there is No Death in Oz what does Munchkinland need with a coroner?
    • Well, that's one more Munchkin who escapes unemployment — possibly the fact that his job is essentially pointless is less important than the fact that he has a job. There are a lot of "jobs" like this in Oz canon; they're of no practical use to anyone except to let people feel they actually have something to do.
    • My recollection is that "No Death in Oz" is only true in the books, and the coroner only appears in the film, so there's no contradiction.
      • More specifically, the "no death" rule was only introduced in the later books. There are actually quite a lot of deaths in Wonderful Wizard, including both Wicked Witches and many animals encountered by Dorothy's company in their journeys.
    • My recollection was that the "No Death" rule only came into play when Ozma (or the rightful heir) was placed in power. Presumably, this makes the wicked witches even more evil by taking over Oz.
    • As the sixth book clarifies, the rule that no one dies in Oz only extends to death from natural causes. You can't grow old and die, and you (maybe) can't get sick and die. But any other thing that could kill you will still kill you.
  • This video asks why the question: if witches can be killed by the impact of a falling house, why not the impact of bullets?
    • This is the page for the original book, not the film. In the book there is no mention of any guns.
  • Why is there a yellow, brick road in blue Munchkinland? For that matter, why is there a ruby palace in purple Gillikin? Rubies are, by definition, red sapphiresnote . They can't BE any other color.
    • The books never said that everything in the Land of the Munchkins was blue, just that things like fences, clothes, and houses tended to be. And we know that the yellow brick road appears elsewhere in Oz — if I remember, Tip came across it while traveling from the Land of the Gillikins to the Emerald City — so it's not supposed to match the color scheme of any one of the five lands.
  • Was Baum's statement that he wanted to write a fairy tale with less violence and gore than the classics sarcastic, or did he somehow miss all the violence and gore he put in his fairy tale? Characters getting beheaded and torn to shreds and attacked by wolves, bees, and flying monkeys is great, but it seems the opposite of what he intended.
    • His intention was to write the sort of fairy tale that would serve primarily as entertainment. When violence and gore were brought up in older stories, they tended to be described in great detail so as to instill a given lesson or moral in the reader. Baum wanted an upheaval of those kinds of moral-centric stories, which is why the violence in the Oz books is glanced over or moved past fairly quickly whenever it comes up.
  • Was the house carried off by a tornado or a cyclone? It is referred to in the book as a cyclone, but is described more like a tornado.
    • Is there that big a difference?
  • Why didn't Dorothy enlist the winged monkeys to carry her to Glinda's castle from the Emerald City?
  • When Dorothy first arrives in Oz, she goes outside immediately after her house lands. Soon after, we learn that one of the Munchkins sent for the Good Witch of the North after the house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East. If that's the case, how was it that they got back to greet Dorothy so quickly? According to a map of Oz, her house landed smack in the middle of the Land of the Munchkins, a pretty fair distance from the Gillikin Country where the good witch lives, and even if she can teleport, it would've taken time for the messenger to have delivered the news to her in the first place.


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