Fairy Families


Although I can’t actually find a post where I do so, I believe I’ve written before about how The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus mentions near the beginning that “[a]ll the immortals are full-grown; there are no children among them.” Then, later in the same book, we’re told that “the Gnome King had children of his own,” that the Frost King is Jack Frost‘s father, and that the King of the Light Elves is accompanied by “his two Princes, Flash and Twilight.” As J.L. Bell has pointed out before, the former need not necessarily be gnome children, and L. Frank Baum’s Nomes (regardless of how they’re spelled) have a habit of keeping human prisoners. And while I always interpreted “his Princes” as meaning the King’s sons, this isn’t directly stated. The Oz books later give hints of immortals being related to one another, most notably with Polychrome, who calls herself the Daughter of the Rainbow. John R. Neill draws other Daughters dancing on the Rainbow in The Road to Oz, and Baum works them into the text starting with Polly’s second appearance in Sky Island.

And according to Tik-Tok of Oz, the Rain King is Polly’s uncle.

This tends to be taken as meaning that he’s the Rainbow’s brother, although again that’s not specifically stated. At least once, in Grampa, Polychrome is referred to as the Rain King’s daughter, but I assume that’s a simple error. We’re never really told how the Rainbow is capable of reproducing, nor does Baum ever give Polly and her sisters a mother. Post-canonical stories by Marcus Mebes and Jeff Rester have given her one: Iris from Greek mythology.

As I’ve indicated before, my fondness for mythology makes me appreciate nods to it in Oz stories, but the Baumian immortals have a lot of the same duties the Olympians do, which would create redundancies.

Hugh Pendexter’s The Crocheted Cat of Oz gives a possible out in that the Greek gods have largely retired to another world after their worship fell out of favor.

In general, Baum’s immortals don’t desire worship, and don’t interact a whole lot with mortals. While I don’t know that Baum’s introduction of what could be considered much less competitive gods was intentional, it does seem to fit with the philosophy espoused in his fiction. In the Oz books and related fantasy stories, we see a mix of immortals from classical mythology (nymphs, elves), later folklore (gnomes, goblins), and newly invented ones (Ryls, Knooks). What we don’t really see in canon are family relations among the immortals the way there are among the members of many classical pantheons, but later authors have made some attempts at creating some. In one story I just read, the Snow Queen is identified as Polychrome’s aunt. I wonder what relation she is to the Frost King, or to the Ice King from Eric Shanower’s graphic novel. Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen seems to be at least partially inspired by the Norse goddess Skadi. Margaret Berg’s story “Santa’s Surprise” introduces a chilly cousin of Polychrome named Frostoria, and I think an earlier draft of it might have specified that she’s Jack Frost’s sister.

So maybe the Frost King and Snow Queen are married, and Jack and Frostoria their children? In Wendy Roth’s “Northeast Wind,” Polly’s cousin Ventilation is the titular wind, and he has a nasty brother named Typhonic.

Camilla Townsend’s “Blue Raindrops” features the Rain King’s daughter Sapphrisse.

Laura Jane Musser’s “The Romance of the Silver Shoes” gives us Queen Turbulenta, Ruler of the Kingdom of Storms, and her siblings Princess Zephyra (who presides over spring and summer breezes) and Prince Torno (who controls cyclones).

It also mentions the Olympian god Mercury. Interestingly, in Greek mythology, the rainbow goddess Iris was married to the West Wind Zephyrus.

Princess Melody of the Winkie River and her three sisters are also cousins of Polly’s.

And in Royal Explorers, the sea serpents Anko, Unko, and Inko (said here to be short for Ankorgemir, Unkorgemir, and Inkorgemir) are brothers of the Rainbow and Rain King.

Anko is also married to Queen Aquareine, ruler of the mermaids, who according to Philip John Lewin’s Witch Queen considers Lurline‘s sister Enilrul to be her “fairy-aunt.” So does Ozma, for that matter. Pendexter’s Wooglet identifies Aquareine’s father as Aquarus. The more fish-like merfolk, including Arko, Orpa, and the elder Orpah from Giant Horse, are descendants of Inko. As per Paul Dana’s Law, Tititi-Hoochoo is Lurline’s brother, and hence presumably Enilrul’s as well.

There’s probably enough here to devise some sort of family tree. Other connections are certainly possible as well. Is Queen Erma the consort of the King of the the Light Elves? Is Electra related to the Demon of Electricity? There are a lot of possibilities with the mythology Baum introduced.

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This entry was posted in Camilla Townsend, Characters, Dick Martin, Eric Shanower, Fairy Tales, Families, Greek Mythology, Hugh Pendexter, Jared Davis, Jeff Rester, John R. Neill, L. Frank Baum, Magic, Marcus Mebes, Mythology, Norse, Oz, Oz Authors, Phil Lewin, Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Fairy Families

  1. James says:

    Funny that this is mentioned…
    “Hugh Pendexter’s The Crocheted Cat of Oz gives a possible out in that the Greek gods have largely retired to another world after their worship fell out of favor.”

    Here is a journal note for Book III. A prologue.

    Book III
    Lurline before the Council of Olympians

    Zeus: “Sister Lurline, you know the one Universal Rule…”
    Hera: “That ever since, what the mortals now call quantum entanglement, of the dreams of the mortals of the Earth to bring life to Ozantium-the conduit which is Lake Quad, the One who told us to never break.”
    Aphrodite: “Sister Hera, Brother Zeus what would that be?”
    Artemis: “Sister Aphrodite, that of all of those chosen and brought to Ozantium there must never be those of the Children of Abraham, of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. For, the Great I AM is an all-consuming Fire.”
    Hera: “Once the teachings of Saul of Tarsus spread, we were told to come here under one condition.”
    Lurline: “Fellow Olympians, I have done so but he will not bow down.”
    Zeus: “That may be true, Sister Lurline, but the Throne. The Great Danger. There are those who would wish that we all burn up. Even themselves.”
    Artemis: “For on the day that a Child of Abraham, of the Twelve Tribes of Israel should EVER sit on the Throne of Oz-the one that rightfully belongs to the one who is a product of you and the mortal Pastoria, it would be the end.”
    Lurline: “I am confident he never will, even at the cost of great pain.”
    Artemis: “But why bring him, Sister Lurline?”
    Lurline: “Because those I choose are for much, much more as is my right.”
    Zeus: “That is true, Sister Lurline.”
    Lurline: “I chose him and his dear friend to be the Shield and Sword for my beloved daughter.”
    Hera: “That is admirable, Sister Lurline. But there is more…”
    Lurline: “Yes, there is my dear brother and sister Olympians. I have adopted him…”
    All of the Olympians gasp loudly.
    “But he is already Chosen.”
    Hera: “Your beloved daughter, the result of the union of you and the mortal Pastoria, one of the most magical beings in all of Ozantium, having an adopted brother who is not magical and is one of the Chosen?”
    Lurline: “Yes!”
    Zeus: “You again have proven yourself to be quite mysterious, Sister Lurline, but the cost! You know he will have to be tested…”
    Lurline: “Brother Zeus, sadly at this moment there is a coming challenge-one that they have never faced before. One that will affect all of those who are of Ozantium-even the Beloved and Chosen Companion.”
    Artemis: “He will have to rely not on his own strength but faith in the One who has kept his people throughout the ages.”
    Lurline: “I know, and I know he will.”
    Hera: “His kind have been known to, in the words of the mortals, gum up the works.”
    Zeus: “Yes, they have either been the biggest blessings to mankind or the source of great curses. They have no middle ground.”
    Lurline: “Which is why. I know our great enemy is already working against my daughter.”
    Artemis: “I am starting to see, Sister Lurline, we will be waiting with baited breath.”
    Zeus: “Sister Lurline, much is at stake, but we trust you for you have never let us down. Go in peace. We shall all wait.”

  2. Bryan T Babel says:

    Perhaps the answer lies in the very Greek mythology you cite. Athena springs full-blown from Zeus. She was never a child, not having to grow, but was the child of Zeus. Perhaps Baum means there may have been younger (in time) offspring or emanations of the Immortals, but no immature ones that need to develop, except maybe in wisdom and experience.

    • Nathan says:

      Since Necile the Wood-Nymph is said to have sprung into existence fully-formed when there was a tree for her to protect, this seems likely. It might not hold true for all sorts of Immortals, though.

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