As Many Questions As I Dare

It’s only a little over a week before I leave for OzCon, and the theme this year is The Tin Woodman of Oz. I took another look at the book a few months ago, and here I’m just going to look at a few loose ends the tale leaves.

The story Nick Chopper tells about becoming tin is somewhat different from the original one in Wizard. The earlier version says he lost his head first, and the later one that he had his flesh head on top of an entirely tin body for a while. Since both end with him being entirely tin, it doesn’t matter much in the long run, but it’s weird. I think part of it was L. Frank Baum trying to update the story to better match what he’d since established about Oz and near-immortality. He tells Woot that he didn’t die when cut to pieces because no one in Oz can ever be killed, which he hadn’t decided yet when he wrote Wizard, and the detail about Nimmie Amee taking his old head helps to set up the conversation with it later on. That Nimmie Amee is now working for the Wicked Witch of the East herself instead of an unidentified old woman who pays the Witch might be something Nick came to realize later on.

Perhaps the Witch was living incognito, or he just didn’t know what she looked like. That does, however, raise the question as to how Nimmie came to be living with the self-styled ruler of the Munchkin Country. While the Good Witch of the North says the Witch kept the Munchkins in bondage, we’re never told of any others who work specifically in her household.

Woot seems strangely ignorant of his own homeland. He doesn’t know who the ruler of one of the quadrants is (not HIS home quadrant, but still) or that nobody dies in Oz. He does say that a lot of people he’s met don’t like to answer questions, but he’s unaware of some very basic things. How isolated is his homeland? He says it’s “in a far corner of the Gillikin Country of Oz” (why does he need to specify the “Oz” part when he’s still there?), and later that it’s “in one of the top corners of the Gillikin Country, near to Oogaboo.” According to the map, Oogaboo is in the Winkie Country, and there’s a bit more Winkie land to the east of it (where Ruth Plumly Thompson would later place Corumbia, Corabia, and Samandra). As such, Woot’s home is probably near the Skeezers‘ lake, which is pretty far out, although both the Skeezers and Flatheads seem better informed.

Atticus Gannaway mentioned that on the first page of the handwritten manuscript are written, “Vooles of Voobrille, Kraux, Divus.” None of these names appear in the finished draft. The Vooles might have become the Loons, but I have no idea about the other two. “Dives” can mean “rich man” and has been misinterpreted as the name of a character in one of Jesus’ parables, but I don’t know if that’s relevant.

Also, Til Loon was originally Sal Loon, which makes more sense but was presumably considered inappropriate for children.

The idea that the dragons are only allowed to come to surface to feed once per century is an intriguing one, but as I explained before, the details are remarkably unclear. Roger Baum has Dorothy and company meet dragons who are presumably the same ones in his Dorothy, and she convinces Gayelette to give them a home. Did Roger forget that his book was taking place BEFORE Tin Woodman? We do know Gayelette has a temper, though, so she could possibly have banished them back underground after they offended her in some way.

Tommy Kwikstep identifies his twenty legs as the result of a foolish wish granted to him by “an old lady who was a fairy, or a witch, or something of the sort.” He delivers magic medicine to another old woman, and the wish is actually granted before he makes the delivery. Maybe it would have been rescinded if he hadn’t fulfilled his mission, but he was presumably too polite for that. He says he could never find the woman who granted the wish again, and there’s no indication as to whether or not he asked the second old lady about what had happened. Nick asks if the witch-woman had wrinkled skin and half her teeth missing, to which Tommy says no, and Nick confirms that it couldn’t be Mombi, even though he’s seen Mombi change her form. I don’t know of any indication that Mombi ever granted wishes, though. The woman could be a character we’ve met before, but wouldn’t have to be. It’s something I’d sort of like to address in a future story. I’m working on one now that identifies the owner of the magic book that brings Benny to life in Giant Horse, and I’ve already written about Soob the Sorcerer who’s mentioned but doesn’t appear in Gnome King, so I guess revealing secret magic-workers is a hobby of mine. Tommy also says he got his name for his speed at running errands, which means we don’t know what his name might have been before that, but it might have been Tommy (Thomas?) and the Kwikstep was added later. He turns up again in Jared Davis’ short story “Tommy Kwikstep and the Magpie,” which is slated to appear in the upcoming The Lost Tales of Oz.

Polychrome says she remembers Jinjur, but when would they have met before? My best guess would be the party in Road, which Jinjur is never said to have attended, but it’s possible she was there. And the Tin Woodman says that he remembers Mr. Yoop, even though he wasn’t in the scene where the Scarecrow encountered him in Patchwork Girl, although maybe he just means he remembers HEARING about Mr. Yoop.

This entry was posted in Atticus Gannaway, Characters, Jared Davis, L. Frank Baum, Names, Oz, Oz Authors, Places and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to As Many Questions As I Dare

  1. I’ve been puzzling over “Til Loon” since the Eisenhower administration!

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