Oz Characters

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[NOTE: As with the previous section, some parts of the Oz books may be given away here. If you'd prefer to meet the characters by reading their stories, you may wish to skip this section. Also, questions about characters who appear only in The Movie are answered in the section The Movie — Trivia and Miscellany.]

Who are some of the famous citizens of Oz?

There are an awful lot of these, as you can imagine from a series of forty books. But here are some of the most famous and important:

  • Dorothy Gale, formerly a Kansas farmgirl and now a princess of Oz. She destroyed two wicked witches on her first trip to Oz, and has had many adventures since. She eventually moved to Oz for good, and has lived there ever since. Her Uncle Henry, Aunt Em, dog Toto, and cat Eureka all have come to live in Oz as well.
  • The Scarecrow. Former ruler of Oz, he is still well beloved by the citizens and a trusted advisor to Queen Ozma. He helped Dorothy on her first adventure, hoping to receive a brain. He got it, and his wisdom has been most helpful in thinking through many problems.
  • Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman. He was an ordinary woodchopper who, having angered the Wicked Witch of the East, accidentally chopped parts of himself off when the witch enchanted his ax. Fortunately he had a friend who was a skilled tinsmith, who was able to replace each part, until there was nothing left of Nick Chopper but tin. He joined Dorothy looking for a new heart. He is one of the kindest men in Oz, and rules the Winkie Country.
  • The Cowardly Lion. He came with Dorothy to the Emerald City looking for courage, and the Wizard helped him acquire it. He is loyal and brave, and often acts as a bodyguard for Ozma on state occasions. But he's the first to admit that he's still scared sometimes.
  • The Wizard of Oz. After returning to America, the Wizard found his way back to Oz once again, where he was invited to stay and become a real wizard. He has learned much real magic from Glinda the Good, and is now one of Ozma's closest advisors.
  • Glinda the Good. Ruler of the Quadlings, she is also a skilled sorceress, and one of the most respected citizens of Oz because of her power and knowledge. She is able to keep track of all that goes on through her Great Book of Records, where every event is written down as soon as it happens.
  • Jack Pumpkinhead. Made to scare an old witch, she brought him to life instead, and he eventually found his way to the Emerald City. His pumpkinseeds don't seem to always work well as far as brains go, and he must carve a new head when his old one gets soft or mushy, but his simple charm makes him a favorite of all his friends.
  • Professor H. M. Wogglebug, T. E. Once an ordinary small wogglebug (a common Ozian insect), he learned much when he made his home between the floorboards of a schoolhouse. (He gave himself the honorary degree of T. E., for "thoroughly educated.") He was found by the schoolteacher and magically enlarged (hence his first initials, H. M., standing for "Highly Magnified"), and so he made his way to the Emerald City to become a lecturer. He is now dean of the Royal Athletic College of Oz.
  • Ozma. The daughter of deposed king Pastoria and the rightful ruler of Oz, she was discovered and restored to her throne, where she has ruled ever since. Her subjects love and trust her, and she is good and kind to them in return.
  • Billina, a yellow hen who accompanied Dorothy on her second trip to Oz. She was the first character from the Great Outside World since the Wizard to settle in Oz, and she has since raised several chicks, all named Dorothy or Daniel.
  • Tik-Tok. A copper man who runs by clockwork, Dorothy met him in the land of Ev. After helping Dorothy and Ozma in an adventure there, he was invited to come to Oz, and he accepted. Trustworthy and bright, he does have a problem with winding down at inopportune moments, and he is helpless until somebody winds him up again.
  • The Hungry Tiger. This beast longs to eat a fat baby, but his conscience will not allow it. Like his good friend the Cowardly Lion, he also acts as Ozma's bodyguard on important occasions. (Although officially introduced in Ozma of Oz, the Hungry Tiger may have actually first appeared in an incident towards the end of The Wizard of Oz, when he meets the Cowardly Lion and his friends in a Quadling forest.)
  • The Shaggy Man. A wanderer from America, he came to Oz with Dorothy on one of her adventures, and was invited to stay. His philosophy of life and wanderlust make him a fine friend of Oz.
  • Button-Bright, Betsy Bobbin, and Trot. These three children have all found their way to Oz from America (the latter with her boon companion, Cap'n Bill, a one-legged sailor; and Betsy Bobbin brought her mule, Hank), and have all made homes in Oz.
  • Scraps, the Patchwork Girl. Made from a patchwork quilt to be the servant of a magician's wife, she proved to be too independent and saucy for domesticity, so she went off on her own instead. Her lightheartedness and silly rhymes make everyone glad to see her, but her manner can be trying at times.
  • The Woozy. A strange animal, fond of eating honeybees, he's the only one of his kind. He is made up entirely of cubes and blocks, with a square head and rectangular body. He is also a true and loyal friend, willing to help all in need.
  • Sir Hokus of Pokes, the Yellow Knight of Oz. Dorothy found this gentle Medieval knight in an enchanted city, and once she rescued him he proved to be brave and loyal, rendering assistance to Ozma many times.
  • Kabumpo. Royal elephant of the court of Pumperdink, a small kingdom in the central Gillikin Country, Kabumpo has had his fair share of adventures in service to his country, and later to his friends in neighboring kingdoms and the Emerald City. His elegance and aloof demeanor do a poor job of hiding his loyalty and compassion.
  • Jinnicky, the Red Jinn. Living in his own castle far from Oz, on the seacoast of Ev, Jinnicky has nevertheless become involved in a number of Ozian affairs. He is a fast friend of Kabumpo, despite their good-natured bickering. Although encased in a red ginger jar, he is a powerful magician, who has even topped the Wizard on occasion. His hearty disposition causes all to meet him to become his friends.

Of course there are many, many other characters, some of whom only appear in one book, some in several. To meet them, start reading!

What is Dorothy's last name?

Gale. Interestingly enough, Dorothy's last name isn't given in the original novel of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Her last name is first mentioned in the 1902 stage version of the story Baum wrote a few years later: "My name is Dorothy Gale. I'm one of the Kansas Gales." To which the Scarecrow replies, "Well, that explains your breezy manner." In the later Oz books, Baum kept the name (he first used it in Dorothy's second appearance, in Ozma of Oz) but mercifully spared his readers the pun. Her last name was first seen in print in W. W. Denslow's "Scarecrow and the Tin-Man" comic strip in 1904, however. The last name was also used in The Movie, Return to Oz, and other adaptations of the story.

Does Dorothy have a middle name?

If she does, she's kept it a secret. I don't recall any instance of Dorothy having a middle name. However, in the 2011 television miniseries The Witches of Oz, a grown-up Dorothy does have the monogram "DEG" on her pillows. (Perhaps this Dorothy's middle name is "Emily", after Aunt Em?)

Was Dorothy named or modeled after a real child?

There were a number of women during Baum's lifetime, and even after he died, who claimed to be the inspiration for the heroine of The Wizard of Oz. But the Baum family always had a chuckle at these claims, and said it was just a name Frank liked. There's even some speculation that he'd hoped to have a daughter and name her Dorothy, but he and his wife Maud had only four sons. The family always claimed that Dorothy was named after no particular person. Baum also used the name for characters in two of his other early books. The heroine of a short story in his first published book of fiction, Mother Goose in Prose, is named Dorothy, and both Dot and Dolly, characters in Dot and Tot of Merryland, are diminutives of Dorothy.

Some research into the Baum family, however, turned up an interesting find. Baum's sister-in-law, Sophie Jewell Gage, gave birth to a daughter in July of 1898. Maud Baum, Frank's wife, doted on the child, but sadly, Dorothy Louise Gage died only four months later. Sally Roesch Wagner, biographer of Matilda Joslyn Gage, a noted suffragette and Baum's mother-in-law, speculates that naming his most famous character Dorothy was Frank's way of keeping the baby's memory alive. Wagner discovered Dorothy Gage's tombstone in a Bloomington, Illinois graveyard in 1996. The Baums also had another niece named Dorothy Louise Gage, who lived from 1883 to 1889, and who may have been living in Aberdeen at the time of her death. In the 1990 television movie The Dreamer of Oz, Dorothy is depicted as Baum's seven-year-old niece, and dies in the film. While based on the real events surrounding the first Dorothy Gage, the second one, who died in infancy, was more recent when Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and was more likely the inspiration for the character's name.

What happened to Dorothy's parents? How did she come to live with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry?

It's never explained, in the main books or any other well-known source, who Dorothy's parents are, how they died, or how she came to live with her aunt and uncle — only that Dorothy is an orphan. The only comment in the books about them is in The Emerald City of Oz: "As for Uncle Henry, he thought his little niece merely a dreamer, as her dead mother had been…" Some unofficial books and other sources, however, have come up with some fanciful explanations. In 2015's The Wiz Live, Dorothy was originally from Omaha, and her parents died in an accident. Aunt Em, as her mother's older sister, was her closest relative.

How is Dorothy related to Uncle Henry and Aunt Em?

It's never been clearly stated just which of Dorothy's parents they were related to, nor which is the blood relative. Glinda of Oz does say that Uncle Henry was "...Dorothy's own uncle," and Aunt Em is referred to as his wife, which some have taken to mean that Dorothy is most closely related to Uncle Henry, and Aunt Em married into the family (this would make sense in light of Uncle Henry's comments about Dorothy's dead mother in Emerald City, if Dorothy's mother was Henry's sister — see the previous question). Also, in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, Zeb, in speaking to Dorothy, refers to "your Uncle Henry's wife," again implying that Henry is the blood relative and Em married into the family. Some Ozmologists have even speculated that, based on their apparent ages, Uncle Henry and Aunt Em may be Dorothy's great uncle and great aunt. But their appearances have been an invention of the illustrators, not Baum himself. In the apocryphal novel Was, Dorothy's mother was Aunt Em's sister. She had died of malaria, and Dorothy's father had abandoned the family. Joan Vinge's 1985 novelization of Return to Oz sees Aunt Em as Dorothy's mother's sister. In the novels Dorothy: This Side of the Rainbow and Looking for a Rainbow, both by Vincent Begley, Dorothy is the daughter of Irish immigrants in New York City who is sent west on one of the orphan trains after her parents died. She ends up living with, and is eventually adopted by, the Gales, whom she calls Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. This is similar to what she tells the Cowardly Lion in Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men, but she was in a Topeka orphanage and sent to the Gales when they asked for someone to help them on the farm. In another apocryphal novel, Halloween in Oz: Dorothy Returns, Dorothy is the daughter of Thomas Gale and Sarah Hopkins Gale, who died in a fire in their home town of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Aunt Em was Sara's older sister and only remaining relative. In The Witches of Oz (2011 television miniseries), Dorothy is Uncle Henry's aunt! She was the daughter of Frank and Maud (no last name given, but that's also the names of the author of The Wizard of Oz and his wife), but was carried to Oz in a cyclone in 1899. She stayed in Oz and never grew up, observed by her parents through a magic water globe, until she came back to the farm in 1992 to protect Oz. The farm stayed in the family, and her nephew Henry and his wife Emily found her and raised her, and she forgot that her time in Oz was real. In The Wiz Live in 2015, Aunt Em was Dorothy's mother's older sister (Uncle Henry didn't appear).

What kind of storm took Dorothy to Oz?

Throughout the book, and most of the movie versions, it's called a cyclone. The trouble is, that's not what it was. It was actually a tornado. I'm not a meteorologist, but I understand that these are two different phenomena, although it's a common mistake. A tornado can also be called a twister, which has also been used in some movies (but not the book itself). Almost as soon as the book came out, the problem was pointed out (even the chief of the United States Weather Bureau got involved), and the original publishers made plans to correct the term in the next edition. They went bankrupt, however, the book went to another publisher, and the correction was never made.

What color are Dorothy's famous shoes in The Wizard of Oz?

They are silver in the book. When writing the script for The Movie, Noel Langley originally left them that color, but because it was being filmed in Technicolor, it was decided to change them to something more colorful. Script pages even exist with "silver" crossed out and "ruby" written above it. So, the shoes became ruby. Most versions of the story now use silver, but some use ruby, not knowing that they are a Hollywood invention — and still legally protected. For Return to Oz in 1985, Disney paid MGM a fee to use the ruby slippers. In Wicked, both the book and the play, the shoes are either silver or red, depending on circumstances and how the light hits them.

What is Uncle Henry and Aunt Em's last name?

Nobody knows for sure. They are never given a last name in the books. In The Movie, Miss Gulch refers to Uncle Henry as "Mr. Gale," but in Return to Oz, Dr. Worley calls Aunt Em "Mrs. Blue." Since these references come from movies, and not the books, they're considered to be apocryphal, and the question is still unanswered.

Does Dorothy have any other relatives?

Yes — sort of. In Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, Dorothy meets up with Zeb, the closest thing she has to a living relative other than Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. Uncle Henry is visiting with Zeb's Uncle Bill, and as Zeb explains it to her, "Uncle Bill Hugson married your Uncle Henry's wife's sister; so we must be second cousins." Of course Zeb isn't really Dorothy's second cousin, he just used the term to indicate that he and Dorothy must be related somehow. Throughout the rest of the book, they just refer to each other as cousins. (It is not clear what Zeb's last name is. Although often referred to by Ozmologists as Zeb Hugson, he is not given a last name in the book itself. And since he refers to his uncle more than once as "Uncle Hugson," it's entirely possible that Hugson is not Zeb's last name.) Also of note, in Return to Oz, Aunt Em's sister Garnet is mentioned, which would mean Garnet was also Dorothy's aunt (she's still living, so she's not Dorothy's mother).

Where in Kansas did Dorothy live?

It's never made clear. In the books, the only clue given is in The Road to Oz, where it is revealed that she lives near Butterfield. Only trouble is, there is no real town named Butterfield in Kansas. (There is, however, a town named Butterfield in southwestern Missouri, not very far from the Kansas border.) Another clue Baum gave us — but not in the books — comes from some publicity material for his 1904-05 comic page, "Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz." In a letter to her old friends, Dorothy's address is given as "Uncle Henry's Farm, Near Topeka." (The publicity material may not have been written by Baum, however.) In an installment of the "Queer Visitors" comic, Dorothy takes her friends to the (presumably nearby) Jones County Fair. Only trouble is, there is no Jones County in Kansas. Aunt Em also refers to a Topeka hotel in The Emerald City of Oz, which some Ozmologists have taken to mean that the farm was near there, but all it tells me is that Aunt Em once stayed in a hotel in Topeka. The non-FF novel The Ozmapolitan of Oz by Dick Martin mentions Dorothy and her family reading The Topeka Times when they lived in Kansas, which may strengthen the case a bit. No clue is given in The Movie, but in Return to Oz, she lives just outside of Franklin, and Dr. Worley's clinic is located in Cottonwood Falls. Both of these town really do exist in Kansas — but Cottonwood Falls is about halfway between Topeka and Wichita, in east-central Kansas, while Franklin is in the southeastern part of the state, over one hundred miles away, so they're not neighboring communities as implied in that movie. (A newspaper ad for Dr. Worley also mentions Black River Falls and the Town of Brockway, neither of which appears to actually exist, at least not in Kansas. Research has discovered a character named Dr. J. B. Worley in the 1973 book Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy and Charles van Schaik. He, too, ran a "school and sanitarium of magnetic healing," which was located in Brockaway, Wisconsin, near Black River Falls.) In the Emerald City television series, she is from Lucas, an actual small town in north central Kansas. There is a tourist attraction, Dorothy's House, in Liberal, Kansas, in the southwestern part of the state near the Oklahoma border. Some of the folks there say that Dorothy is from their town, but there is no basis for that claim. (It should be noted that many Kansans are not happy with Baum's unflattering portrayal of their state, and claim that he was actually describing South Dakota, where Baum lived for a few years before writing the book.)

How old is Dorothy?

Baum wrote Dorothy as a generic child, with few descriptors, and never gave her a specific age. She could be as young as five or as old as twelve if you go by the illustrations in different books. In the 1902 stage adaptation, she was probably quite a bit older, as some of the characters expressed a romantic interest in her. In The Movie, Judy Garland was sixteen during filming (by the time the film premiered, she had turned seventeen), but her costume included a corset to flatten her bosom so as to make her appear younger. Studio publicity of the day usually gave the character's age as twelve. An earlier film adaptation from 1925 had Dorothy celebrating her eighteenth birthday — and discovering that she was a lost princess of Oz! In The Wiz on Broadway, Stephanie Mills was in her teens (but played her a bit younger), while in the film version, Dorothy was played by Diana Ross and was twenty-four (!). Fairuza Balk was ten when she made Return to Oz, but Dorothy's age was never given. In the novel Visitors from Oz, author Martin Gardner gives her age as seventeen, but this book is considered apocryphal by many Oz scholars. In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, as played by Ashanti, is probably an older teenager, as she's working at her aunt and uncle's diner but longing to move on and become a Hollywood star. Best guess on how old she is in the books? In The Lost Princess of Oz it is stated that Betsy Bobbin is a year older than Dorothy, and Trot is a year younger. Then, in The Giant Horse of Oz, Trot declares that she is ten years old. If that's the case, then Dorothy would be eleven (and Betsy Bobbin twelve), and since nobody ages in Oz who doesn't want to, she's probably going to remain eleven. Of course, she would have been even younger on her first visit to Oz in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

What breed of dog is Toto?

It depends on your source. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Baum describes him as "a little black dog, with long, silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose." He never said what breed he was, but Denslow drew him as looking somewhat like a Cairn terrier or a Scottie. When Toto next appears in an Oz book, John R. Neill drew him as a Boston terrier or French bulldog (Neill had a French bulldog himself at the time), even though he was well aware of Denslow's depiction. In one illustration in that book, Neill's Toto laughs at a statue of himself, which Neill drew in Denslow's style, complete with signature seahorse. As Neill drew Toto more in later books, however, he got shaggier, and ended up looking more like Denslow's depiction, a convention other Oz illustrators have pretty much stuck with. For The Movie, Scotties were initially looked at, but when Carl Spitz brought in Terry, a Cairn terrier, she got the job, and Toto became a Cairn to many. In the television series Emerald City, Toto is a police K-9 dog, so he is a German shepherd, and he gets the name Toto because it is the Munchkin word for dog. In other movies, and some newer illustrated editions of The Wizard of Oz, Toto has been depicted as other breeds. In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, Toto wasn't even a dog; he was played by Pepe the King Prawn, so in Kansas, there was a reference to Dorothy adopting a prawn because she wasn't allowed to have a dog.

Is Toto a male dog or a female dog?

Male. But he was played by a female in The Movie.

Does Toto talk?

Not at first. When he wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum hadn't created all the rules that he would later use in the Oz stories. So Toto didn't talk in that book. Baum kept Toto mute in his appearances in The Road to Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, and The Patchwork Girl of Oz as well, even though other animals from the Outside World could talk in those and other books. Finally, at the end of Tik-Tok of Oz, Baum addressed the problem at last. Dorothy confronted Toto and commanded him to talk, and Toto finally spoke for the first time. He's been speaking in the Oz books ever since, but he often prefers to stay quiet and use his native barks and growls instead. In the Russian books, however, Totoshka spoke as soon as he came to Magic Land.

What's the name of Dorothy's cow?

This seems to be a popular trivia question in radio contests. Dorothy doesn't have a pet cow in the books nor in most dramatic versions of The Wizard of Oz. But in the 1902 stage production, Toto was replaced by Dorothy's pet cow Imogene, probably because it was easier to fit an actor inside a cow costume than a little black dog costume. A cow named Imogene appears in the Oz books in Eric Shanower's The Giant Garden of Oz, but other than the name and species, there is no relationship between the two characters, as Shanower's Imogene is an Ozian native who gives magic milk.

What are the names of the Wicked Witch of the East and the Wicked Witch of the West?

In the "official" Oz books, neither witch is given a name. Nor are they named in The Movie, although an early draft of the script called the Wicked Witch of the West "Gulcheria" (an obvious reference to her Kansas counterpart, Miss Gulch). Some of the unofficial Oz books have given the Wicked Witch of the West a name, but there is no consistency, she's had several — most notably "Elphaba" in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and "Allidap" in a number of books from both The Wiz Kids of Oz and Buckethead Enterprises of Oz. Some books have also used Bastinda, the name Aleksandr Volkov used for his wicked witch in The Wizard of the Emerald City (Volkov's equivalent of the Wicked Witch of the East was called "Gingemma"). The non-fiction reference work The Wizard of Oz Catalog consistently claims that the Wicked Witch of the West is named Blinky, but there appears to be no basis or justification for this name (and it shouldn't be confused with Blinkie, the witch in the book The Scarecrow of Oz). In the 1910 film The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the wicked witch is named Momba. In The Wiz, the Wicked Witch of the East was named Evvamean on stage and Evermean in the film, and her sister in the west is Evillene both on stage and screen. In the novel and play versions of Wicked, the Wicked Witch of the East is Nessarose, and she is Elphaba's sister. In the novel The Living House of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West, who originated in a different, parallel Oz, was named Mordra. In Roger S. Baum's The Oz Odyssey, her name was Bekama. In Halloween in Oz: Dorothy Returns, the Wicked Witch of the West is named Wurstella, and the Wicked Witch of the East is Edsilla. When she appeared on the television show Once Upon a Time, the Wicked Witch of the West was named Zelena, and turned out to be the half-sister of Regina, the Evil Queen from Snow White. In the television miniseries Tin Man, the Wicked Witch of the West as named Azkadellia, and was D. G.'s long lost sister.

Are the wicked witches sisters?

It depends on what version of the story you're enjoying. While many people seem to think so, no relationship between them is ever given in the book. The first mention of their being sisters probably comes from The Movie, and it's a kinship that many people have used ever since, including in The Wiz (in the play script, all four witches, good and bad, are described as sisters, but this may be the African-American use of the word to mean fellow African-American women), Wicked, and the Magic Land books of Aleksander Volkov. In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, all four witches are sisters — and as they're all played by Miss Piggy, it was easy to pull off. The Wicked Witch of the East and the Wicked Witch of the West were also sisters in the 1987 Cinar cartoon series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Two examples that further add to this: In the animated movie Journey Back to Oz, Mombi the Witch is the cousin of both witches. And in the book The Wicked Witch of Oz, written by Rachel Cosgrove Payes, Singra, the titular character, is also the cousin of both witches. But neither of these stories are seen as official by many Oz researchers. Both were written after the idea was first raised that the wicked witches are sisters.

Why does water melt the Wicked Witch of the West?

There is no explanation given in The Wizard of Oz as to why water dissolved and destroyed the Wicked Witch of the West. The only indication might be in an incident when Toto bites her: "The Witch did not bleed where she was bitten, for she was so wicked that the blood in her had dried up many years before." Many believe that she had extended her life through magical means for so long that there was actually very little of her left, and so the water was enough to finally break her down. (This was also the explanation used in the apocryphal novel A Barnstormer in Oz.) Some people have remembered that she was made of brown sugar, which is why she melted so easily — but I don't think she could be considered to be anywhere near that sweet! The book actually described her demise this way: "...Dorothy...was truly frightened to see the Witch actually melting away like brown sugar before her very eyes [emphasis mine]." Similarly, the impact of Dorothy's house landing on the Wicked Witch of the East caused her to turn to dust. Some speculate that water is dangerous for all Oz witches, as buckets of water are kept around the palace in the Emerald City in case of emergencies (as seen in The Cowardly Lion of Oz), Mombi was washed out with water in The Lost King of Oz, and Singra in The Wicked Witch of Oz took the precaution of enchanting herself so that water would not affect her. In one made-for-record original sequel to The Wizard of Oz that I am aware of (The Further Adventures of the Wizard of Oz, issued by Golden Records in the late '60s or early '70s), water even washes out the Good Witch of the North, so water may not affect just wicked witches!

Is there a Wicked Witch of the North or South?

Yes, there are. In the north, it's a pretty straightforward answer, as Mombi, first introduced in The Marvelous Land of Oz, has pretty much been give the title Wicked Witch of the North, even if she's never officially been called that or acknowledged it. But she was pretty mean, and deserves it. It's in the south that it gets complicated. In Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, Ozma mentions that Glinda conquered the evil witch in the south, but that's all we hear of that tale. One character in The Scarecrow of Oz is Blinkie the Witch, and she's a pretty nasty character, too. So for many years, Oz fans called her the Wicked Witch of the South, and made up elaborate theories about how she was hiding out in Jinxland and the like. But while she wasn't very nice, her deeds were pretty small scale compared to the other wicked witches, and she never claimed that she was the Wicked Witch of the South. (Further complicating matters is three other witches who come to Blinkie's aid in that book.) The first character to actually be called the Wicked Witch of the South was the unnamed witch in Eric Shanower's first graphic novel, The Enchanted Apples of Oz, published in 1986. She had been defeated by a powerful, unnamed sorceress and placed in an enchanted sleep. Then in 1993, IWOC published The Wicked Witch of Oz by Rachel Cosgrove Payes. The title character is Singra, who wakes up after a one hundred year-long nap. She is also called the Wicked Witch of the South. So, which one is the real Wicked Witch of the South? We have no definitive answer. Eric Shanower, who created one witch and illustrated the other, suggests that they were rival claimants to the title, and neither was willing to acknowledge the other. It's also possible that, thanks to their enchanted sleeps, they were each the Wicked Witch of the South at different times.

What is the name of the good witch — and how do you spell it?

Glinda Not Glenda.jpeg

One of the most common misspellings I've encountered for an Oz character is the character played by Billie Burke in The Movie. She was the Good Witch of the South (later a sorceress) in the books, and Burke's character in The Movie was the Good Witch of the North, but no matter where she's from, her name is Glinda. That's G-L-I-N-D-A with an I, not G-L-E-N-D-A with an E. In The Wiz, the name was kept, but she was restored to being from the south. In Russia, the Good Witch of the South is named Stella. And in case you were really curious, in the books the Good Witch of the North, a separate character, is named Tattypoo in The Giant Horse of Oz, a name borrowed for the 2005 television production The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. Baum named the Good Witch of the North Locasta (sometimes also spelled Locusta) in the 1902 stage version of The Wizard of Oz. Some scripts for this play also give us the alternative spelling Galinda for the Good Witch of the South. In Wicked, both in the book and on stage, she starts off as Galinda, but later shortens her name to honor one of her professors who kept mispronouncing her name. In Russia, the Good Witch of the North (also the Witch of the Yellow Country) is Villina, and in The Wiz she is Addaperle on stage, and Miss One on film. Finally, the good witch in the 1905 play The Woggle-Bug was named Maëtta, after a good witch in Baum's book A New Wonderland/The Magical Monarch of Mo. Maëtta took the role given to Glinda in The Marvelous Land of Oz, the book on which The Woggle-Bug is based. In the novel Halloween in Oz: Dorothy Returns, the Good Witch of the North is named Boreala.

What is the origin of the name "Munchkin"?

There is no known source of the name. It just appears to be a name Baum made up. But he was the first to use the word, which has now become a part of the English language and appears in several dictionaries. Most dictionaries even cite Baum and The Wizard of Oz as the source of the word. In Russia, the characters are constantly chewing, which is how they got the name Zhevuny, or Munchers, from "munching" all the time. This is an invention of Volkov's, based on Baum's word.

What are the names of the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion?

Sadly, two of Dorothy's original friends on the Yellow Brick Road don't have names. The Scarecrow is just called "Scarecrow," and the Lion is just called "The Cowardly Lion." But the Tin Woodman does indeed have a name. It wasn't given in the original book, but in the 1902 stage play he was called Niccolo Chopper. This was shortened to Nick Chopper in the play. The shortened version of this name then appeared in the book The Marvelous Land of Oz, and he's been called Nick Chopper ever since. It was even used in Wicked and its sequels. The Cowardly Lion was given the nickname "Cowy" in Ruth Plumly Thompson's book The Enchanted Island of Oz, but it doesn't seem to have caught on with him, his friends, or the readers. In Russia, the Scarecrow is named Strasheela (literally, "Little Scary One"), and the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion go unnamed, although the former becomes the more-apt-to-rust Iron Woodchopper, and (in the books of Sergei Sukhinov) his name when he was a flesh-and-blood person was Goode Kerly. In the 1961 television series Tales of the Wizard of Oz and 1964 television movie Return to Oz, both produced by Rankin-Bass, they are named Socrates the Scarecrow, Rusty the Tin Man, and Dandy Lion — but these names should not be taken at all seriously. In the film version of The Wiz, the Cowardly Lion is named Fleetwood Coupe de Ville — Fleet for short. In the stage musical Wicked, it turns out that the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman are enchanted versions of some of the other characters, but I won't reveal who so as to not spoil the surprise. And in his third book about Oz, A Lion Among Men, Gregory Maguire gave the Cowardly Lion the name Brrr.

What are the flying monkeys called?

Most people who ask me this question have already answered it, since they don't have an unusual or exotic tribal name. In the books, they're just called the flying monkeys or winged monkeys. In the books they aren't given individual names, but in The Movie their leader is named Nikko (see the question Who is Nikko?). He is actually referred to as Nikko in some Movie-based play scripts. In the 1990 Wizard of Oz cartoon series, based on The Movie, the leader of the winged monkeys is called Truckel (I'm not sure exactly how that's spelled), but this could be a different monkey. In the Russian books, the leader of the Winged Monkeys is named Worra. In Wicked, the flying monkey who befriends Elphaba is named Chistery. In the 2017 cartoon series Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, Wilhelmina, the Wicked Witch of the West's niece, has two flying monkeys helping her out named Frank and Lyman, both named for the creator of Oz, L. Frank Baum!

What's the Wizard's name?

Like so many other characters, the Wizard didn't have a name in the original novel. But in his second appearance in the Oz books, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, he reveals that his name is Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Issac Norman Henkle Emmanuel Ambroise Diggs. Of course, this meant that the poor man's initials were O. Z. P. I. N. H. E. A. D. When he grew up, he shortened this to O. Z., and thus became Oz professionally. (The rest of the initials spelled "pinhead," which he felt reflected badly on his intelligence.) He worked in a circus as a magician, ventriloquist, and balloonist, and put his new name on all of his possessions, including his balloon. When an accident brought him to the land of Oz, the citizens, seeing the name of their country on the balloon, thought he was their new ruler. He's now generally called Oz or Wizard. He also states this as his name in the 2013 movie Oz the Great and Powerful. In Russia, he is named James Goodwin. In the film version of The Wiz, he was named Herman Smith. In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, he was named Francis Cornfine. In the novel Halloween in Oz: Dorothy Returns, the Wizard is called both Oztoz and Jeremiah M. Quincy (perhaps the latter is his real name, and Oztoz an Oz name or title he adopted).

Where is the Wizard from?

In the books, and the stage version of The Wiz, the Wizard is from Omaha, Nebraska. In The Movie, he says he's "an old Kansas man myself," and his balloon reads "State Fair Omaha." In the film version of The Wiz, he's from Atlantic City, New Jersey. In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, he was a tour bus driver from Hollywood. In the Russian books, James Goodwin is from Kansas. In the 1902 stage play, an "ethnic" comedian was often cast as the Wizard, so depending on which performance you saw, he could have been Irish, Dutch, or German.

Was the Wizard modeled after anybody?

There has been much speculation on this by Ozmologists. Some have made a compelling argument that the Wizard could have been based on turn-of-the-century stage magician Harry Kellar. Others have made an equally compelling case for the Wizard being based on circus impresario P. T. Barnum. Still others claim that the Wizard was modeled after Washington Harrison "Professor" Donaldson, a ventriloquist, magician, tightrope walker, and balloonist who worked for Barnum — and disappeared in his balloon during a storm over Lake Michigan in 1875. Others have mentioned Civil War balloonist and engineer T. S. C. Lowe as a possible Wizard model. The Wizard has also been compared to Thomas Edison, Dr. William P. Phelon (leader of a Theosophical society of which Frank and Maud Baum were members), confidence man John A. Hamlin, and even L. Frank Baum himself. Whether Baum had any contemporary figure in mind when creating the Wizard, we will probably never know with any degree of certainty.

What's the name of the Soldier with the Green Whiskers?

This is a bit complicated. The Soldier with the Green Whiskers first appears in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and also takes part in the action in the next book, The Marvelous Land of Oz. He doesn't appear again until The Patchwork Girl of Oz — until one discovers that he appeared in three books without the green whiskers! In Ozma of Oz, the one private in Ozma's army is named Omby Amby. Omby Amby also has a large part in The Emerald City of Oz, and reveals that when he was a private, he once cut off his long green whiskers to disguise himself from an army of rebels. The Soldier with the Green Whiskers in The Marvelous Land of Oz even mentioned that he would do just that so he could escape. The Wizard, upon returning to Oz in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, also recognizes the Soldier with the Green Whiskers, even though he has shaven off his beard (this soldier's name is not given, but it is clearly the same character). So, the Soldier with the Green Whiskers is named Omby Amby, right? Maybe not! Throughout the rest of the Oz books by Baum and Thompson, he has his green whiskers again, but isn't called by any name until Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, when Ruth Plumly Thompson gives him the name Wantowin Battles. Is this a new name Omby Amby is using? It's doubtful, as Thompson mentions that the soldier is from a Munchkin family named Battles. (In Thompson's defense, it's quite likely that she overlooked the connections between Omby Amby and the Soldier with the Green Whiskers that Baum made. It is subtle, and mentioned in passing, in both Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz and The Emerald City of Oz. It has also been speculated that the name was not created by Thompson, but by a Reilly and Lee editor who was finishing up Thompson's incomplete book.) John R. Neill also used the name Wantowin Battles for the character, but Jack Snow gave him back the name Omby Amby — and was, in fact, the first writer to use the name with the character when he was actually wearing green whiskers. The difference between the two names is still unexplained at this point, but many Ozmologists have chosen to overlook the name Wantowin Battles. To add to the mix, he is named Din Gior in Russia.

What's the connection between Jack Pumpkinhead and Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Many people have noted some similarities between the Oz character Jack Pumpkinhead, first introduced in The Marvelous Land of Oz in 1904, and Jack Skellington, the main character in the 1993 Tim Burton animated movie The Nightmare Before Christmas — primarily, both are named Jack and both have a pumpkin fixation (the latter's most famous line is probably "I am the Pumpkin King!"). Some have even wondered if the existence of Jack Pumpkinhead influenced Tim Burton and the creation of Jack Skellington. However, the two are not as similar as one might think. The Oz character has a wooden body and a pumpkin for a head, and is a farmer in the Winkie Country. The movie character is a living skeleton, and is the coordinator of Halloween events in Halloween Town. Jack Pumpkinhead is not generally considered to be very bright (you try being intelligent if your brains were nothing but pumpkinseeds) and is a bit rustic, while Jack Skellington is quite smart in both thought and manner. So they really aren't all that similar. Remember, jack o' lanterns carved from pumpkins predate both characters. However, in his first scene in The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington does have a pumpkin on his head, and looks very much like Jack Pumpkinhead. Also, the director of Nightmare was Henry Sellick who, eight years earlier, had been a storyboard artist on Return to Oz, and therefore had several opportunities to draw Jack Pumpkinhead. From another perspective, similarities can also be seen between Scraps, the Patchwork Girl of the Oz books, and Sally in The Nightmare Before Christmas, so there may be another connection there, but it's also not terribly likely.

Why doesn't Polychrome recognize the Shaggy Man in Tik-Tok of Oz, even though they traveled together in The Road to Oz?

The Shaggy Man and Polychrome, the rainbow's daughter, first meet in the 1909 book, The Road to Oz, and both travel with Dorothy and are major characters. When the two characters meet again in the 1914 book, Tik-Tok of Oz, however, they don't appear to recognize each other:

"I - I've lost my bow!" wailed Polychrome.
"Take me, my dear," said Shaggy Man in a sympathetic tone, thinking she meant "beau" instead of "bow."
"I don't want you!" cried Polychrome, stamping her foot imperiously; "I want my Rainbow."
"Oh; that's different," said Shaggy. "But try to forget it. When I was young I used to cry for the Rainbow myself, but I couldn't have it. Looks as if you can't have it, either; so please don't cry."
Polychrome looked at him reproachfully.
"I don't like you," she said.

So why don't they seem to recognize each other? This stems from the origins of Tik-Tok of Oz, as the play The Tik-Tok Man of Oz a year earlier. As playgoers would most likely not be familiar with The Road to Oz, they didn't recognize each other there so they wouldn't have to stop and explain how they already knew each other.

And yet, their dialogue in Tik-Tok of Oz continues:

"No?" replied Shaggy [in response to Polychrome's previous "I don't like you" line], drawing the Love Magnet from his pocket; "not a little bit? - just a wee speck of a like?"
"Yes, yes!" said Polychrome, clasping her hands in ecstasy as she gazed at the enchanted talisman; "I love you, Shaggy Man!" [Aha, she remembers his name now.]
"Of course you do," said he calmly; "but I don't take any credit for it. It's the Love Magnet's powerful charm. But you seem quite alone and friendless, little Rainbow. Don't you want to join our party until you find your father and sisters again?"

It's subtle, but the Shaggy Man does seem to know Polychrome after all, and certainly knows about her father and sisters. It's entirely possible that Polychrome was so distraught over being left on Earth that she wasn't thinking clearly when the Shaggy Man first talked to her, and didn't really recognize him until he showed her the Love Magnet. Perhaps this initial confusion was Baum's tip of the hat to those who had seen The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, and a way to keep the bow/beau joke.