Name That Witch


This picture spawned some conversation on Facebook about the name of the Wicked Witch of the West. As you probably know, the name Elphaba is from Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, and was derived from that of L. Frank Baum. The Wicked Witch of the East in that version is named Nessarose, and they both have the last name Thropp. In Oz the Great and Powerful, their names are Theodora and Evanora, respectively. I’m not really sure how these names came about, but “Theodora” is more or less “Dorothy” rearranged, and Evanora might have some connection with the Land of Ev. Not that any of the Oz books other than the first are referenced in the movie, but apparently they were in earlier versions of the script. Of course, neither of these sets of names are canonical to the original Oz books, and neither witch is ever given a name in any of the Famous Forty. It appears that the closest Baum came to naming either one was in the 1910 film version of The Wizard of Oz, in which the Wicked Witch of the West is called Momba. Since Mombi is the Wicked Witch of the North, does that mean the other two also have names starting with “Momb”? They aren’t named in the MGM movie either, although the WWW’s alter-ego is named Almira Gulch, and early versions of the script called the Witch herself Gulcheria. They also gave Miss Gulch a son named Walter, who would become the WWW’s son Bulbo. I wonder if that was part of the reason why Elphaba in Wicked has a son.

The Russian Magic Land books named the WWW Bastinda and the WWE Gingemma, the second apparently being an insulting term for an old woman. March Laumer incorporated these names into his Oz books, and they’ve been used in other works as well. The main villain in Sherwood Smith’s The Emerald Wand of Oz is a young witch named Bastinda, who claims to have been named after her aunt, the original WWW. Marin Elizabeth Xiques and Chris Dulabone’s Foolish Fable gives both witches long names, Gingemma Inky Madge Ugnat Antonifurrpio for the WWE and Bastinda Slinky Myrna Krisantasia Evillene Allidap for the WWW. Evillene is the name of the WWW in The Wiz, although for some reason Marin and Chris didn’t use the WWE’s name Evermean, spelled Evvamean in the play script. Hey, maybe “Evermean” is an insulting nickname for “Evanora.” The Wiz Kids of Oz used the name Allidap for the WWW, getting it by simply reversing the name of their teacher, Serafin Padilla. Allidap also shows up in Atticus Gannaway’s Sinister Gases. Edward Einhorn’s Living House has a good version of the WWW from an alternate Oz named Mordra. Peter Schulenberg calls them Sindee and Oppressa, and gives them a good sister named Emmy. Eric Gjovaag mentions some other names in his FAQ, and Joe Bongiorno uses a few existing ones and suggests others of his own.

Recently, Jared Davis suggested the idea that these witches don’t have names because they sold them for power. Darrell Spradlyn and Marcus Mebes’ “Witches of the West” picks up on this idea, with Calimyrna, Bastinda, Elphaba, Allidap, Evillene, Mordra, and Theodora all being names she acquired and sold.

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This entry was posted in Atticus Gannaway, Characters, Chris Dulabone, Edward Einhorn, L. Frank Baum, March Laumer, Marcus Mebes, Marin Elizabeth Xiques, Oz, Oz Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Name That Witch

  1. Pingback: Names for the Nameless | VoVatia

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