Aren’t You a Little Leonine for a Winkie Guard?

Okay, here’s a question about the MGM Wizard of Oz that I actually haven’t seen discussed before. When the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion are trying to infiltrate the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle to rescue Dorothy, the Scarecrow says he has a plan to get in that requires the Lion to lead. This brings on the classic line where the Lion agrees, but says he wants the others to talk him out of it. They’re then ambushed by three guards, whom they manage to knock out and steal their uniforms, using those to sneak in.

But was this the Scarecrow’s original plan, or something improvised after the guards noticed them? If the latter, what WAS his plan? I suppose we’ll never know. There are many oddities about the scene anyway. Why were they noticed by exactly the number of guards they needed to knock out, while none of the others even came close to seeing them?

How did it happen that the uniforms fit them, and no one saw that their faces didn’t look anything like those of the other largely identical green-faced guards? There’s no scene comparable to this in the book, in which only Dorothy and Toto are present for the Wicked Witch’s death. MGM presumably wanted to get all of the stars on screen for this climactic moment. What’s amusing is an old trailer I saw mentioned that the film included everything from the book, including “the rescue of Dorothy,” which was original with the movie. And while the guards can’t spot a lion in a guard uniform, they seem more component than the Witch’s soldiers in the book, who are scared away by a mere roar from the Lion.

Their chant, by the way, is officially just nonsense syllables, not “All we own, we owe” or “Oh, we love the old one,” contrary to popular rumor.

The idea of tricking somebody by dressing up in their henchmen’s uniforms is an old one, with TV Tropes citing The Iliad as an early example. The Trojans take the uniforms from some dead Greeks and put them on in order to launch an ambush. More recent appearances often tend to reference the Oz scene, complete with the uniforms fitting perfectly. Well, except when they make a joke out of it, and the uniform either fits terribly or manages to fit despite the knocked-out enemy being nowhere near the same size.

Or sometimes the people trying to steal the outfits will be the ones who get knocked out. Star Wars played this fairly straight with the protagonists wearing Storm Trooper uniforms, which conveniently also covered their faces, but weren’t perfect fits. That’s presumably why Leia thought Luke was short for a Storm Trooper, even though it never looked to me like most of them were all that tall.

Then again, that could just be because Darth Vader towered over them. Gwendoline Christie, who plays Captain Phasma, is REALLY tall.

The Star Wars bit is parodied in Final Fantasy VI if you have Locke rescue Celes while in the clothing of an Imperial soldier.

Locke mentions when stealing the clothes that they’re a little too big, while the merchant outfit is a tight fit. It’s made even funnier by the battle screen convention in that game that makes the enemies considerably bigger than the heroes even when it doesn’t make sense.

FF7 has a bit where your characters dress in Shinra military uniforms, and these characters include the lion-like Red XIII, who has trouble walking on his hind legs and a tail that hangs out the back in Cowardly Lion fashion.

Posted in Final Fantasy, Humor, L. Frank Baum, Oz, Oz Authors, Star Wars, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Virtue Is Victorious

When looking at a Tor article about mapping fantasy lands, which I previously looked at here, I noticed that the description for post-Wizard Oz gave it a Virtue level of two, defined as “Overriding harmony in world, active championing of human/being rights, but still threatened.” We know that things don’t change much in Oz. Bad stuff can happen, but it never lasts. Indeed, after L. Frank Baum returned to the series after taking a few years off following The Emerald City of Oz, Ozma’s administration has access to a picture that can show whomever or whatever someone asks it to, a book that records everything that happens, and a belt that does pretty much whatever magic the plot requires. For a villain to come close to succeeding, they generally have to have powerful magic of their own, a cunning plan to evade Ozma and Glinda’s magic, or sheer dumb luck. Oddly, Ruth Plumly Thompson, who reinforced the idea of Oz always returning to the status quo in her books, has the Unicorn Queen Roganda say in Ojo that, “Nothing is ever the same. That is what makes life interesting.”

Not only does Oz thrive on many things staying the same, but even the minor change that occurred in that particular book (Ojo moving out of the Emerald City and in with his parents in Seebania) is more or less negated by John R. Neill and Jack Snow.

Mind you, I grew up on cartoon series in which the villains never won, but the heroes never killed or captured them either, so there was basically always a stalemate at the end.

At least Ozma generally either tries to render a villain harmless or reform them at the end of an Oz book, even if it’s not always ultimately successful (as with the Nome King).

Interestingly, Narnia under Aslan’s control is given a higher Virtue score, even though it’s also still threatened. That’s the case in The Silver Chair and The Horse and His Boy, anyway; there’s an Aslan-approved ruler on the throne, so the good guys essentially have the upper hand, and have to stave off invaders. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, on the other hand, have Narnia start out under the control of villains. I should think having Almighty God on a fantasy land’s side would be better than Magic Picture, Great Book of Records, and Magic Belt combined; but it doesn’t really seem to work out that way. That’s really the case with just about any spiritual warfare narrative, however. God, or whatever name you use for the Forces of Good, can easily defeat any challenge, but for some reason allows evil to thrive.

I suppose it makes sense to followers of religions that use this model, but I can’t say it does to me. It kind of applies to Baum’s fairylands as well, as The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus tells us, “But it is the Law that while Evil, unopposed, may accomplish terrible deeds, the powers of Good can never be overthrown when opposed to Evil.” Even when Good is dumb?

Oz, at least after Land, is a place where the good side always has the upper hand, and while not all-powerful, will pretty much always win. I’ve mentioned before that I was kind of hoping for something more like that in the most recent Star Wars film. Obviously there had to be wars among the stars, but did they really need to give us another evil government and return Princess Leia and Han Solo to being a rebel leader and smuggler? I’m not saying the galaxy should have been utopian, just that the good guys should have a chance to be in control for once. The prequels took more of a third direction, with the galactic government being corrupt but not strictly evil, and the corruption allowing evil forces to take control. It’s much the same way with Harry Potter. While I’m not quite as familiar with Star Trek, I get the impression that worlds under the United Federation of Planets are generally peaceful except when threatened by outside forces. Come to think of it, there’s also a lot of restoring the status quo in that franchise, as with Kirk in the first few movies. Of course, people can and do question how good the good characters really are, and the same with the bad ones; but it’s generally pretty clear in fantasy universes whether the writers intend for those in control to be moral, immoral, or amoral. All of them can certainly work, but there’s probably a reason why the ones where love and peace generally triumph are often the ones I find myself coming back to frequently. Then again, there’s also some appeal to total chaos.

Posted in Authors, C.S. Lewis, Cartoons, Chronicles of Narnia, Fairy Tales, Harry Potter, Jack Snow, John R. Neill, L. Frank Baum, Magic, Oz, Oz Authors, Religion, Ruth Plumly Thompson, Star Trek, Star Wars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jezebel of the Ba’al

Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible’s Harlot Queen, by Lesley Hazleton – This book examines the reputation of one of the most infamous figures in the Bible, the wife of King Ahab of Israel and daughter of the King of Tyre. As a powerful and influential woman in a patriarchal setting, she’s definitely someone who deserves a revisit. I’ve seen indications elsewhere that Ahab, portrayed as a total villain in 1 Kings, was actually pretty good in terms of bringing prosperity to his kingdom. He invested in building projects and made trade agreements with neighboring countries. Ahab also doesn’t appear to have totally abandoned the worship of Yahweh, as he consults prophets of the national deity before going into battle. Rather, he legitimized the worship of Phoenician gods alongside Yahweh, which could be considered a precursor to religious freedom, but was a total no-no according to the compilers of the Deuteronomistic History. So was making peace with an enemy king; the general policy in the region at the time was subjugation or total destruction. Jezebel herself has come to be viewed as a whore, when evidence suggests she was actually quite loyal to her husband. Rather, her being a harlot was slang for driving Israel into polytheism, as the nation was the bride of Yahweh. She was quite formidable, someone who could stymie even the fierce and fiery prophet Elijah, and who maintained power after Ahab’s death when their sons ruled Israel. When she finally met her death at the hands of Jehu, who instituted a coup with the support of Elijah’s successor Elisha and assassinated the rulers of both Israel and Judah, she was proud and defiant to the end. Hazleton, a former psychologist who spent a lot of time in Israel, does some interesting speculation into the viewpoints of Jezebel and her opponents. Still, we can’t really know the minds of people who died nearly 3000 years ago, so it can hardly be considered entirely factual. Still, it was a fascinating read, and an example of how differently someone from the past can be viewed by historians with different agendas. The author also proposes that temple prostitution was a myth spread by opponents of Semitic religions, particularly Herodotus. I do have to wonder what she thinks of the Epic of Gilgamesh, which gives a positive portrayal of a temple prostitute as the one who tames Enkidu. By the way, I know it’s traditional to leave a place for Elijah at the Passover Seder, but would you really WANT a guy who brought drought on his own homeland and led the slaughter of 850 priests of an opposing religion as a guest?

Posted in Book Reviews, Feminism, History, Judaism, Middle East, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Letting the New Year In

Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to have written about this post’s subject last month, but it makes more sense to me to cover her now instead of waiting until next March. Anna Perenna was the Roman goddess of the new year, whose name basically means living through one year and many years, as per the words “annual” and “perennial.” Her festival was celebrated on the Ides of March, then considered the first month of the year. That’s why, by the way, the ninth through twelfth months of the year have names indicating that they’re the seventh through tenth months. Back then, January and February didn’t count. Anyway, the festival, popular primarily among the lower classes, celebrated the circle of the year, and was marked with wild revelry and drunkenness. There was apparently a tradition that the goddess would grant you as many years of life as cups of wine you drank. Nowadays, people don’t even need a superstition like that to get totally wasted on New Year’s Day. Much of our knowledge of the holiday comes from the work of Ovid, whose unfinished Fasti was a poetic guide to all the festivals of the Roman year. He gives two different accounts as to the identity of the goddess.

One is that she’s the sister of Dido of Carthage, driven out of Africa by the Berbers after the queen’s death. As I mentioned before, I don’t think Anna was part of the earlier accounts of Dido and the founding of Carthage, but I don’t know whether she was Virgil’s invention. I do wonder why, if Dido’s father intended to divide his kingdom between his children, Anna wasn’t figured into the inheritance.

Anyway, she sought sanctuary in a few places before coming to Italy, where Aeneas allowed her to stay as a guest. He was probably still feeling guilty about what happened to her sister. Aeneas’ wife Lavinia was jealous, however, and sought to kill the refugee. I’m not quite sure what Lavinia’s motivation would have been. Did she think her husband would fall for Anna, or was it just her connection to his ex-lover? Warned of Lavinia’s treachery by Dido’s ghost, Anna fled from the city and was turned into a nymph in the River Numicius.

Picture by Eleonora Stella
Ovid’s other account makes Anna an old woman from the town of Bovillae, who was made a goddess for her work distributing cakes to the people. After Anna achieved divinity, Mars confided in her his desire for an affair with the perpetual virgin Minerva. Anna disguised herself as Minerva instead, and when Mars realized the deception, everyone laughed at him for almost having sex with an old maid. The relation between Anna and Mars probably had something to do with her holiday falling within his month. The poet also mentions that Anna Perenna was sometimes associated with the Moon, Io, and Themis. The favored historical explanation seems to be that she already existed as an Italian goddess, and these later stories were attempts to connect her with the Greek mythology that the Romans adopted as their own.

Posted in Holidays, Mythology, New Year's Day, Poetry, Roman | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

No Place in the Processional and No Seat in the Convention Hall

They Might Be Giants, Phone Power – TMBG have always been a prolific band, and not everything they do fits all that well onto their albums. Sometimes this doesn’t stop them from including these songs on the albums anyway, but they also released a lot of EPs back in the day. Now that this isn’t much of a thing anymore, they’ll often come out with what might be considered complementary albums. Cast Your Pod to the Wind was released with The Else, and Join Us was soon followed by Album Raises New and Troubling Questions. In 2015, the band brought back their Dial-A-Song service, something they’d been doing since pretty much when they first got started in the early 1980s, but eventually had to stop. I think it was because they could no longer get the answering machines they used to use, but I’m not totally sure. Anyway, for every week of the year, TMBG recorded a new song, and put it up on both the phone and the Internet. Well, okay, some of them weren’t ENTIRELY new, but most were. While many of them showed up on Glean and Why?, there were still some quality songs left over, so this is a collection of some of them.

Apophenia – Is there anything more quintessentially TMBG than a bouncy song about insanity? The title term is the tendency of humans to see meaningful patterns in random data. That’s at least partially what the song is about, with its mentions of streetlights spelling out thoughts and reading tea leaves. The unreliable narrator is worried that a lover he’s not even sure exists will break up with him. Musically, the bass part is particularly catchy, and I like the faster-paced bridge.

I Love You for Psychological Reasons – With this, we go from a catchy John Linnell number with a psychological sort of theme to…the same thing. There’s what I might call a Gilbert and Sullivan kind of vibe to it, in that it has tongue-twisting lyrics and a lot of unusual rhymes. It bears some similarity to “Bee of the Bird of the Moth,” although it’s more up-tempo. And really, isn’t ALL love for psychological reasons when reduced to its simplest form?

To a Forest – A slower song with loungey John Flansburgh vocals and an interesting fuzzy, distorted guitar solo. The lyrics are kind of hippie-ish, and it somewhat reminds me of the Apples in Stereo.

I Am Alone – Not the same as “I’m All Alone,” the one about the cold germ that survived on the Moon. Instead, it’s basically about an identity crisis. Being confused by mirrors seems like a favorite theme of Linnell’s. Okay, the only other song of his I can immediately think of with that theme is “Till My Head Falls Off,” but it’s just a very Linnellian idea. There’s more fuzzy guitar on this one, but it’s not as discordant.

Say Nice Things About Detroit – The title comes from a slogan in the 1970s, part of a campaign to improve Detroit’s image. Laying off fewer people would probably help more. Anyway, the singer here seems to be kind of a sleazy guy who;s been dumped and is having trouble handling it.

Trouble Awful Devil Evil – While perhaps mostly just about how sleep can be a blissful escape from the evils of waking life, I’m particularly interested in the connection to “Reprehensible.” That song has the line “10,000 years of unerasable acts and permanent facts,” while this one has “10,000 years have passed and still I continue to descend.” They’re also both about evil thoughts just before going to sleep, and Linnell plays clarinet on both. This can’t all be a coincidence, can it? I don’t like this song as much as “Reprehensible,” which remains a favorite of mine, but it’s enjoyable enough on its own.

ECNALUBMA – The title is “ambulance” spelled backwards, which is also what’s printed on the front of one when you’re not looking at it through a mirror. I’m sure you already figured out that part, but I like to be thorough. There’s kind of a processional sound to this one, especially in the chorus. The narrator associates religious pageantry with ambulances, and might be purposely injuring himself to have that experience. I’m not sure about that last part, but self-injury to induce spiritual fervor is hardly a new thing.

Daylight – Flansburgh has said this short, rather melancholy song is about addiction. I don’t think I would have figured that out on my own, but it definitely fits, and makes it rather sadder. The line “tilting at tilting things” might well be a reference to Don Quixote’s tilting at windmills, which indirectly led to the band’s name.

Sold My Mind to the Kremlin – I’m not exactly sure what this one is about, but there’s a definite Cold War theme to it, with a mention of President Reagan closing down mental hospitals. There’s somewhat of a stream-of-consciousness style to the lyrics. I remember learning about schizophrenia in college psychology (contrary to popular belief, it’s not the same as multiple personalities), and how people afflicted with it often speak in word association. A lot of TMBG songs come across like this as well, which isn’t to say that I think the Johns are schizophrenic, just that I can definitely see them taking some interest in the disorder. Also, I recently mentioned how I like lyrics that mix up seemingly unrelated celebrities and cultural references. The song I was talking about was Tori Amos’ “Happy Phantom,” but it fits this one as well. Someone on the TMBG Wiki mentions that all the references are to the same time period, but I’m not entirely sure that’s fair, as the Manson Family murders occurred in 1969 and Masters of the Universe began in 1982, but it is all stuff from the Johns’ younger years. Flans has said he originally wanted Kimya Dawson to sing on it, but they couldn’t finish the collaboration in time. I like Flans singing it just fine, but I do hope the Kimya version is still in the pipeline.

It Said Something – A keyboard-heavy song about being awakened by a mysterious voice, with some quite dreamlike lyrics. The impression is that the voice scared the narrator to the point that he doesn’t want to sleep again. It gives me the sense of waking up from a weird dream and thinking it was meaningful, but not really knowing how.

Impossibly New – A pretty traditional and sweet love song in many ways, although it also compares the narrator to a smokestack and rhymes “campfire” with “vampires,” probably not all that typical for such numbers. There’s kind of a nostalgic vibe to it, and the smokestack might refer to old factories that are no longer in operation, like the burn smell factory in “Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head.” Both Johns sing together on this one.

I’ll Be Haunting You – A fairly straightforward ghost story about a guy coming back to haunt someone for revenge, but it has a few unusual lyrics that might or might not be references to something specific. For instance, why would flipping a switch guarantee someone would become a ghost, and why specify the year 1993? It’s kind of campy, really, with a lot of echo and a psychedelic flute solo.

Got Getting Up So Down – Like “Out of a Tree,” this is an extended version of a song the band wrote and performed for a Dunkin Donuts commercial. I appreciate that TMBG tends to run the musical gamut even when it comes to jingles, with this one being a funk sort of thing. Still, was this really worth inclusion on the record?

What Did I Do to You? – The electronic percussion gives it kind of an interesting sound. The lyrics are kind of bizarre, but basically about a theft. And the idea of cast-off appendages making phone calls is the kind of delightfully gory absurdity that the Johns can do so well.

Shape Shifter – This reminds me quite a bit of “Monsters of Mud,” although I think I might like it better. Not only does it have a similar structure, but both are about the world being invaded by some force that scares the narrator. It doesn’t as much of the Beach Boys style vocal harmony, though. It’s basically about someone being scared of how the world keeps changing and has become unfamiliar. The wiki has an interpretation saying it could be about transphobia, and while such might not have been the intention, it does fit the line “I accepted what you were and then everything changed.” Of course, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about physical change.

Bills, Bills, Bills – Of all the songs TMBG has chosen to cover, I’m not sure anyone would have expected something by Destiny’s Child. Beth used to bring up this song occasionally because she was amused by the phrase “automo-bills.” There was actually an automotive shop near where we used to live called AutomoBill’s, but I don’t know if there was a connection. TMBG’s take on it isn’t particularly hammy or anything, but it’s just so different from what they normally do that it seems a little ridiculous. But then, ridiculous can be good sometimes. Incidentally, the Puppini Sisters included a few lines of this song in the “Material Girl Medley” on their latest album. I wonder why it’s making a comeback now.

Black Ops (Alternate Version) – The song was originally released on Nanobots, and this version is much faster and more rocking. It’s cool to hear, although I think the other version better demonstrates the irony.

I Wasn’t Listening – Another one of the many jingles the Johns have written over the years for Dial-A-Song, a little more developed than most of them. It’s pretty fun.

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Nonsense That Makes Sense

This Tor article presented the idea of mapping fantasy lands along two axes, nonsense vs. logic and virtue vs. wickedness. Obviously there’s a lot of opinion involved here, but the first thing I thought was kind of weird was Neverland being more logical and less nonsensical than Oz. I guess you could argue that, since Peter Pan’s island doesn’t have all the talking animals and transformations. On the other hand, Neverland seems to be a place that’s specifically affected by children’s imaginations. The Darlings were already familiar with some aspects of it before coming there because they’d featured in their own make-believe. Oz, despite the MGM movie and the fact that the Kingdom of Dreams is right across the desert to the west, is never anything but real within the context of the books.

There’s also an attitude difference in whether remaining young forever is a good thing, but that doesn’t directly relate to what’s being mapped. It’s also worth noting that Oz becomes rather more nonsensical as the series goes in, as L. Frank Baum started adding in sillier elements from some of his lighter fantasies. Ruth Plumly Thompson increased the nonsense level, and John R. Neill’s books were totally ridiculous. If anything, Jack Snow might have been a little less nonsensical than Baum. Perhaps logic and nonsense aren’t strictly opposites in fantasy. Lewis Carroll constantly plays on twisted logic, arguments that follow the basic structure of logic but contain flaws that make the conclusions ridiculous.

The Alice books also contain a good amount of dream logic. Another element of many such magical lands that’s absurd but follows a weird logic of its own is that of metaphor and puns being taken literally. There can be some overlap here, but not always. Captain Hook on the run from a ticking clock is a literal metaphor, but not a pun, unless it’s on the similarity of the words “clock” and “croc.” Norton Juster’s Kingdom of Wisdom is largely based on both metaphors and puns becoming literal. Magic can also be absurd while still following consistent rules.

A few people in the comments mentioned how Narnia, despite having a god who takes a personal interest in his creation, isn’t really all that consistent or logical. Aslan mostly just interferes when he feels like it, and some of the rules change from one book to another. That’s not to say that C.S. Lewis didn’t INTEND Narnia to be a fantasy land that made sense, just that such is not how it always comes across. But then, a lot of people think God is directly involved in our world and has a divine plan, but it certainly doesn’t look that way. But we often expect fiction to make more sense than reality. I’ve written before about how fantasy often relies on Higher Powers, not always necessarily a god, but some kind of supernatural assistance. Another point not necessarily directly related to the main subject here is that even fantasy works by atheists tend to contain spiritual elements, just from a different perspective. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld has gods who physically exist and are quite powerful, but also tend to be amoral and rather petty, and are dependent on human belief.

God in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series can only ineffectually apologize for the inconvenience, and when Thor shows up he’s really only interested in attending parties and picking up women. Even Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, in which the heroes overthrow God, is in practice more Gnostic than atheist. God is a real being, but he’s a jerk who takes credit for things he didn’t actually do in order to retain power. Pullman’s multiverse includes angels and souls, and falling in love has mystical effects.

Posted in Authors, C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia, Discworld, Douglas Adams, Dreams, Fairy Tales, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Humor, Jack Snow, John R. Neill, L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carroll, Magic, Oz, Oz Authors, Religion, Ruth Plumly Thompson, Terry Pratchett | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

If I Only Had a Brain Surgeon

Although I don’t think he’s licensed, the Wizard of Oz seems to have an urge to mess around with brains. This is mostly, but not entirely, with artificial constructs. One of the first things we see him doing is giving the Scarecrow a brain made of bran mixed with pins and needles, which doesn’t actually make the straw man smarter, but makes him think he is. In The Emerald City of Oz, he explains that he gave the Sawhorse sawdust brains made from knotted wood when he was fitting the steed with new ears.

The Wizard does have some genuine magic powers by this point, so whether these brains actually work or just have a psychosomatic effect isn’t as clear as it was with the Scarecrow. In both of these cases, however, the brain-making was voluntary. It’s different with the Glass Cat in Patchwork Girl. Her brains made of pink stones contribute to her vanity, so he turns them transparent so she’ll be more humble.

I’m not sure how he would have changed them without having to break and reseal Bungle’s head, but maybe there’s a sort of magic that allows for that sort of thing. Another possibility I’ve seen suggested is that the Wizard didn’t actually change the stones themselves, just their color. The cat did earlier suggest that Dr. Pipt replace her brains with pebbles so she could be more content with her lot in life, but there’s no indication that she says the same to the Wizard. Regardless, by the time we see her again in Magic, she has the pink brains and haughty attitude back again. David Hulan’s “A Bungled Kidnapping” claims that this was a reward for thwarting Jommy Zelv’s attempt to capture Ozma. In Greg Gick’s Bungle and the Magic Lantern, we’re given the more humorous suggestion that replacing the feline’s brains makes her act erratically, like trying to drown herself in a bowl of lima beans and spraying bubble bath on people from the top of a tree.

In Pirates, the Wizard promises to replace Clocker‘s bad works with good ones, but since we never see the character again after this, we don’t know how well it worked. Then, in Wonder City, he removes Jenny Jump‘s anger, envy, and ambition with a magical extractor, making these traits visible and saying he’ll give them to the Wogglebug and his students to study. Since his attempt to replace Bungle’s brains was apparently a failure, I have to wonder why he tries to do the same basic thing with more organic beings.

According to the published version of John R. Neill’s Runaway, edited by Eric Shanower, the Wizard eventually gives the lobotomized personality traits back to Jenny. In the original publication of Shanower’s “The Final Fate of the Frogman,” in the 1990 Oziana, it’s learning about this operation and telling the Wizard that he thinks it’s wrong that leads the Frogman to leave the Emerald City. Presumably for copyright reasons, the publication of this story in the Salt Sorcerer anthology changes this to Bungle’s pink brains. It’s a clever substitution, but I still see the Oziana take as the accurate one, as the cat has the pink brains back by the time of Magic, and the Frogman is still in the Emerald City in Glinda. Hopefully the Wizard has gotten over his penchant for brain-altering, but we don’t really know. After all, this IS a land where removing someone’s memory is considered to be a compassionate punishment.

Posted in Characters, Eric Shanower, John R. Neill, L. Frank Baum, Magic, Magic Items, Oz, Oz Authors, Ruth Plumly Thompson | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments