Glinda’s Kin

Glinda, Good Sorceress of the South, is one of the most mysterious characters in the Oz series. We never learn her origins in any canonical book, but the hints we are given suggest that she’s been around for a long time. In Wizard, the Soldier with Green Whiskers says that Glinda “knows how to keep young in spite of the many years she has lived,” and Emerald City has Ozma credit her with placing the Forbidden Fountain in the gardens “many centuries” ago. Purple Prince has a mention that Glinda is celebrating her hundredth year as ruler of the Quadlings, but that doesn’t tell us how long she was active in Oz before taking up that position. As with most Ozian mysteries, fans have offered explanations for Glinda’s origins. Gray Cardinal’s clever “The Solitary Sorceress of Oz” makes the sorceress the former housemaid to John Dee, which would presumably mean she reached Oz in the sixteenth century. The original draft of Margaret Berg’s The Reading Tree of Oz (any word on that being published, by the way?) made her even older, having come from ancient Egypt with her brother Thoth, who later became known as the Lozbrarian. Whether this Thoth is the god or someone else with the same name and interests isn’t entirely clear, and I remember Margaret saying this bit wouldn’t be included in the final version anyway.

This was not the only relative given to Glinda by fans, either. Greg Hunter’s Enchanted Gnome gives a major role to her younger sister Belinda, the black sheep of the family.

She turned to the wicked and helped Ruggedo try to conquer Oz, but eventually redeemed herself and married her old sweetheart, the former King of the Gillikins. This book also implies that Glinda and Belinda’s parents are still alive in a place called the Magic Valley. These parents, Anjoel and Melinda, make an appearance in a scene from the past in Marcus Mebes and Chris Dulabone’s Magic Tapestry, in which they teach the school that most of the famous witches of Oz attended. I can’t say I ever really bought this idea, but it’s there nonetheless. In Allison McBain’s Cory, Belinda isn’t mentioned, but another younger sister of the great sorceress is introduced. Her name is Fabia, and her story is that she left Oz to marry a mortal, and they had a daughter named Cora-Lee. Her husband died in a car crash, while a villain named Malevola (you never would have guessed she was evil with a name like that, I’m sure {g}) stole her life force to sustain herself.

Ozma, Glinda, and Cora-Lee restore her to life with their magic, and Glinda’s sister and niece both move in with her.

Another book that addresses the Quadling Queen’s origin is Dennis Anfuso’s Winged Monkeys, which makes her a daughter of Gayelette’s from a previous marriage (i.e., before Quelala). I really don’t see any way that all of these stories could be true, and maybe Glinda prefers it that way. If she happens to see this post (and I wouldn’t put it past her), maybe she’s laughing at my attempts to make sense out of these conflicting myths when the truth is far more complex. Or perhaps far simpler. I can’t say I know. For the sake of completeness, however, I should mention that March Laumer’s books have Glinda marrying a grown-up Button-Bright, clear proof that fans trying to come up with really absurd romantic pairings did not originate with the Internet. I can’t say I can imagine Glinda being married, but there’s a lot we don’t know about her. Yes, I know she’s a public domain fictional character, so writers can technically do whatever they want with her, but revealing TOO many of her secrets just seems wrong.

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13 Responses to Glinda’s Kin

  1. vilajunkie says:

    Philip Jose Farmer had Glinda herself reveal in A Barnstormer in Oz that the title Glinda the Good is misleading. Her real and lesser-known title is Glinda the Ambiguous. Which may be far scarier than it sounds, as she was able to manipulate a demonic being that was about to swallow her up into turning on the witch that summoned it.

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  3. I even had her marry in a script for an Oz book I’d intended to write as a child…sadly she later divorced as well, which is a very un-Ozzy thing to write about in my opinion.
    She’s more interesting as an Athena like figure anyhow.

    • Nathan says:

      I guess living forever gives you more time to get sick of someone, but it still doesn’t seem quite right for Ozites to get divorced.

  4. Nathan, in The Emerald City Mirror, the Good Witch of the North (whether this is Orin, returned to her former post, or another person, isn’t stated) calls Glinda “her sister.” Now, she could mean this in a metaphoric sense, not a literal one. But the latter is a possibility.

    I have Enchanted Gnome and Magic Tapestry taking in parallel Ozziverses, so they don’t factor in to my estimation of Oz primary. But doesn’t The Witch Queen of Oz also offer a brief history of Glinda? I have to reread that book.

    • Nathan says:

      I don’t have that many Emerald City Mirror issues, so I wasn’t aware of this, but it’s interesting. I believe Witch Queen claims that Glinda got her power from the remains of Enilrul, as the other witches did, but she used her powers for good.

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