When I Get Back to Emerald County

Way back in the first Oz book, we learn that there’s an area around the Emerald City that’s green in color instead of matching any of the color-coding of the quadrants surrounding it. The people wear peaked hats like the Munchkins do, except in green instead of blue. Dorothy rather confusingly refers to it as “the Land of Oz,” presumably because it’s the part of the country where Oz lives and rules. From what I can remember, later books only use “Land of Oz” to refer to the entire nation, but the other usage seems to have stuck in some places. Recall “To Oz!” from the MGM film, or “He’s the Wiz and he lives in Oz” from The Wiz. There’s never been an official name for this place, although I’ve seen Emerald County, Midland, the District of Oz, and the District of Quadumbia.

The Road to Oz mentions, “a green meadow as pretty as a well-kept lawn, and in this were neither houses nor farms to spoil the beauty of the scene,” when Wizard mentioned several houses and farms in the area, and Dorothy and her friends spent the night at one of them.

Patchwork Girl once again has travelers in the green area stop for dinner at a farmhouse. I suppose we have to take the comment about the lack of houses with a grain of salt, or perhaps it’s only true of a certain part of the territory.

It may be significant that the characters approached the place from the Munchkin County in Wizard and Patchwork Girl, but from the Winkie in Road. Patchwork also has the travelers pass through a gate that’s only real when you’re looking at it in order to reach the area.

And in Purple Prince, Kabumpo passes through a crimson arch on the crest of a hill to reach the Quadling Country from the green area. According to Road, the boundary with the Winkie Country is formed by a river.

So what’s located in this central area other than the city itself and some farms? Road speaks of feathery trees with varicolored leaves shaped like ostrich plumes lining the pathway. According to Patchwork, it’s where six-leaved clovers grow, and the road curves through a grove of tall trees.

The map of Oz shows a large lake to the south of the city, which is mentioned in the text of Lost Princess, and John R. Neill later names Lake Quad. Ozma gives Ojo and Unc Nunkie a house right outside the city wall, and Notta Bit More lives in a tent “on the outskirts of the Emerald City.” Lost King says that Pastoria and Pajuka were enchanted “in a small greenwood near where the Emerald City stands to-day.” In Scalawagons, it’s revealed that Bottle Hill with its bell tower is just north of the city, and can be accessed by means of something called the Lumbering Gate. Neill also puts Jack Pumpkinhead’s home in Pumpkin Park in this area, although L. Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson had him living in the Winkie Country just west of the green territory. David Maxine at Hungry Tiger Press suggests here that Jack might have actually have two homes. Thompson’s map also places the Fiddlestick Forest in this area, although James E. Haff and Dick Martin move it to the Munchkin Country. Their map also makes the area as a whole smaller in proportion to the rest of Oz than it is on earlier ones. Also, the map in Forbidden Forest places Beryl Mountain in the southeastern part of the country, but I’m not sure I can accept a mountain being in the area. Maybe it’s actually indicating the underground mountain of emeralds in Mark Haas’s…well, Emerald Mountain.

This entry was posted in Dick Martin, John R. Neill, L. Frank Baum, Maps, March Laumer, Oz, Oz Authors, Places, Ruth Plumly Thompson, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to When I Get Back to Emerald County

  1. You know, I always thought that when they said “To Oz?” in the movie that they were referring to the Wizard. Like he took the name of the world, or the world was named after him. I’m not entirely sure where I got that impression, but it stuck pretty strongly.

    • Nathan says:

      You might be right about that. The first book and the movie are ambiguous about why the Wizard happens to have the same name as the country. A later book explains that the land was already known as Oz, as were its rulers, and O.Z. were the Wizard’s first two initials. When he arrived from the clouds with those initials painted on his balloon, the people took him for their ruler. In the movie, very few characters use Oz for the name of the Wizard. He does himself, however, and it could well have been the intention of the person who wrote that line.

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