Day of the Locasta

I’ve been looking at TV Tropes a fair amount recently, and of course I read the stuff about Oz, as well as about some other properties of which I’m a fan. I looked before at some conspiracy theories, many of which are now included on the Wild Mass Guess page. There are also some interesting thoughts on the Headscratchers page, although some are pretty easily refuted. Why was Ozma so accepting of the man who killed her father? Uh, because the Wizard of Oz DIDN’T kill her father. Mind you, I can see why someone might think that based only on The Land of Oz. When Glinda asks the Scarecrow how the Wizard came to take the throne, he says, “I am told he took it from Pastoria, the former King.” He then adds, “Pastoria is now dead and gone, and some one must rule in his place.” According to Ruth Plumly Thompson’s Lost King, Pastoria is still alive, but presumably no one present knew this at the time. Then again, it might be telling that Glinda doesn’t play a role in that book. She likely lived through Pastoria’s reign, and might not want him back on the throne. Anyway, Dorothy and the Wizard seems to absolve the Wizard of responsibility for disposing of either Pastoria or Ozma, and Hugh Pendexter’s Oz and the Three Witches ties all this together. According to his testimony in this story, Pastoria had already disappeared by the time the Wizard arrived in Oz; and while the Wizard did give Ozma to Mombi, he wasn’t fully aware of who she was. That still doesn’t explain why Glinda would think the guy who deceived the whole country was a prime candidate for learning real magic, but she works in mysterious ways.

Another Headscratcher is whether the kiss of the Good Witch of the North remains after the events of Wizard, and someone correctly points out that it does in Wishing Horse, when it stops Gloma’s destructive black magic from having any effect on the girl.

It doesn’t show up in any of the books between those two or after Wishing Horse, but are there occasions when it would have affected anything? The Witch tells Dorothy that “no one will dare injure a person who has been kissed by the Witch of the North,” and the Winged Monkeys later refuse to harm her despite being ordered by the Wicked Witch of the West to do so. The King of the Winged Monkeys explains, “We dare not harm this little girl, for she is protected by the Power of Good, and that is greater than the Power of Evil. All we can do is carry her to the castle of the Wicked Witch and leave her there.” As Joe Bongiorno and J.L. Bell point out, it doesn’t stop her from being transformed against her will into a lamb in Magic or a clock in Ojo. I would add that it also doesn’t protect her from being frozen and captured by the Mimics in Jack Snow’s Magical Mimics, despite their clear evil intent. In Glinda, the giant spiders are unable to touch her, but this is said to be because of the Magic Belt.

I’ve looked at the Good Witch of the North before, but she’s a fairly mysterious character. After playing a significant role in Wizard, she receives a mention in Land and makes a cameo in road. Then she doesn’t show up until Giant Horse, in which she’s revealed to be a beautiful queen under an enchantment by Mombi. Supposedly this happened about twenty years before the events of Giant Horse, but if the Wizard is correct that the GWN was ruling in the Gillkin Country when he arrived in Oz, this seems like way too little time. Dave Hardenbrook proposed the existence of a different GWN, with whom Mombi switched Queen Orin’s form; and Jared Davis is using a similar idea in some of his stories. Mombi switches her own shape with Jellia Jamb in Land, and Melody Grandy’s Seven Blue Mountains trilogy involves a separate Tip who had temporarily worn Ozma’s form and vice versa, so there’s precedent for it. This would, however, require Mombi to have been conquered by two different Good Witches. But then, fitting together DotWiz and Lost King means she captured at least three different members of the royal family at different times. This is starting to sound like the attempts to harmonize the resurrection accounts in all four Gospels, except no one has dedicated their entire lives to Mombi. Well, no one that I know of, anyway. Thompson names the GWN Tattypoo, a name that fans tend not to like. In Paul Dana’s Magic Umbrella, it’s revealed that “Tah-Tipuu” is a traditional title for a Gillikin woman with oracular powers, so it might not even be her name. In L. Frank Baum’s stage play of Wizard, the GWN was called Locasta, and it’s possible that this was the name of the first GWN, or even Tattypoo’s real name while in that form. March Laumer’s Good Witch has Orin divorce King Cheeriobed and take up the name Diane. She eventually marries Robert, Duke of Gilliquin, who is actually Cheeriobed acting on advice from Glinda as to how to get his wife back. After this, she sometimes goes by “Tod,” an acronym for Tattypoo-Orin-Diane. There’s also the question of whether Orin retains any of the magic she had as Tattypoo.

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10 Responses to Day of the Locasta

  1. Joe says:

    Thanks for the shout-out! There’s some great GWN and Mombi stuff coming out from Jared and Paul. Even I got a chance to contribute a little something with a short-story called “The Malevolent Mannequin of Oz.” The timeline of events as revealed by Thompson and Baum make it clear that Mombi was defeated by both Orin and her predecessor (Locasta), and yet one of the things I love about Mombi is that she just keeps going. She emerges from those encounters initially weaker, but determined to carry on. And in both cases, she manages to get some measure of power back. Her heritage and background are a factor in this, as Paul’s story will reveal, but there’s just something almost admirable about the fact that despite the choices she’s made, she remains tenacious and driven.

    As regards Glinda’s choice to train the Wizard, there are several reason, I think, which made him an ideal candidate:

    1. His record: In all the years he ruled from Morrow and the Emerald City, from 1871 when he first lands in Oz to 1902 when he returns, he proved himself a good leader, and more importantly, a man who was not interested in oppression, exploitation and power for its own sake. Nor was he corrupted by wealth and greed, or adversarial to Glinda’s reign in the south. There is the later period of isolation and paranoia, but Glinda doesn’t seem to have a problem with this.

    2. She utilizes the pearl of truth: With that magical device she’s able to discern whether he’s telling the truth under some very pointed and uncomfortable questions that she asks him. And those few times when the pearl turns grey, the Wizard provides explanations that make sense (and which turn the pearl to white).

    3. Necessity: Another powerful magic worker in the land was needed, particularly one that Glinda could trust and who would defer to Ozma’s rule. Ozma hadn’t yet developed her fairy powers, and Tattypoo/Orin’s powers were limited. Gloma was even more insular and had gone into hiding. The Adepts were an unknown quotient, and there were three of them. So, the Wizard really became the ideal choice.

    • Nathan says:

      It’s not like there isn’t plenty of historical precedent for someone losing and regaining power several times of the years.

      I suppose the Truth Pearl would be a big help for Glinda in choosing an apprentice. I wonder if she interviewed anybody who didn’t pass the parl test. (“If I teach you magic, are you going to take over Oz?” “Uh…no.” “Oh, for Lurline’s sake, it turned black again!”)

      • Joe says:

        I was surprised to see the pearl disappear from the original series, but then again, with the Fountain and the Belt, not to mention numerous other magical implements, it suppose it became yet another device amongst an arsenal. I’m sure it’s been said before, but it would’ve been interesting to see where an author with a wider-ranging vision of the saga would’ve taken the series instead of the more episodic approach that Baum and Thompson employed. But, of course, arc-driven books and storylines are really a much more recent phenomena, and I think there’s a drawback to that approach as well.

  2. marbpl2 says:

    Volkov’s version named “Villina” plays a larger role in his books than Baum’s does. Sergei Sukhinov has his own origin of Villina as well.

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