Saturday, August 3, 2013

Memorable Worlds: Oz


My Experience with this World: 

I watched the movie like all good children when I was younger, but I didn't really care for it. Yeah, sure it was a wonderful magical land and all that, and some of the songs were fun ... but I didn't really connect. Maybe if Shirley Temple had been cast as Dorothy, it would have been different but ... eh. (Random fact about Kendra: I was a HUGE fan of Shirley Temple as a kid. I had many of her songs memorized.)

Later my mom checked the book on tape out of the library and had me listen to it, and my opinion improved but, still ... eh.

It wasn't until I was twelve or so and I discovered the other books in the series that I fell in love. I didn't read them in order, and I definitely haven't read all of them. (We didn't own Patchwork Girl, Tin Woodman, Glinda, Magic, Scarecrow, or any of the other minor works, though I have chased a few of those down on Librivox, namely Scarecrow {Which is my favorite oz book} and Magic {which is another favorite}). I have not read any of the books by other authors (though I have had the opportunity to read a few of them)

Most of Baum's works were interconnected, so I do suggest that people read the lesser known ones if they want to fully understand the characters, especially The Sea Fairies, and Sky Island, which were about Trot and Captain Bill.


The origin of Oz and its surrounding countries (which are, as a whole, called Nonsensica I just discovered whilst searching for maps) is unknown. However, the name came from Baum's file cabinets.


These maps came from here, since my own copies of the series are cheep 2 for 1 copies that my mom picked up at wall mart once upon a time and have no lovely pictures.

Oz has every sort of landmark you could ask for (and many you wouldn't ask for). There are thick forests, some with minds of their own, and mountains and hills and bottomless chasms. Some parts (such as the area surrounded by the roly poly mountains) are cut off from the rest of the country, and the country itself is cut off from the rest of the world by a impassable dessert. (though the definition of impassible changes from book to book) After Emerald City this cutoff is furthered by a spell of invisibility.

Oz is divided into five sections, the red Quadling country to the south, the blue Munchkin country to the east, the purple Gillikin country to the north (my favorite country, personally, though it is the country least ventured into if I remember right), the yellow Winkie country to the west, and the Emerald City in the middle which is, of course, green. The extremity of color varies from book to book.

The most important country that is outside of the dessert was the Gnome King's country. This country is underground.

Peoples and Culture:

The peoples of oz are as varied and unique as the land they live in. There are the humans who have come from the real world, the munchkins, winkies, gillikins, and quadlings, talking animals (some of which are oversized), and various animated creatures such as the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Sawhorse and Jack Pumpkinhead. No native of Oz is capable of dying, though it unclear whether the same is true of the humans and animals which come from other lands, so they take good care of their foreigners.

The northern and southern countries are ruled by Glinda and the Good Witch of the North. The west is ruled by the Tin Woodman (who lives in lovely tin palace) and the east by the munchkin king. All four countries give their allegiance to Ozma, their lovely fairy princess.

The Gnome country is ruled by the Gnome Kings, whose name starts with an "r" but I've forgotten what comes after "r." There are two versions, due to the fact that he lost his memories in Emerald City. He is succeeded by Kaliko. The gnomes are nasty folk who don't like Oz and are constantly causing trouble.

What I like about this world:

I love the variety of oz best. Every book goes somewhere new (and often it ventures into one or ten of the surrounding countries), sees something different, and introduces a delightful new character. 

What I don't like:

Unfortunately, Baum was not a very careful world builder. Something that is true in one book is completely false in another. Also, oz is a bit communistic, and while this works in magical, fictional countries, it does not in the real world. Young, impressional readers do not often know this however. Same goes for the good witches. I would have much preferred it if Baum had found a different title for them.

What I learned from this world: 

That children are rather forgiving when it comes to inconstancy. I'm not sure that I have any country that is influenced directly by these, but Klarand, my favorite island in the world of Rizkaland, is divided into sections much like oz. I have never written any Oz fan-fiction, though I have considered letting a character of mine go there. Also my sister's initial idea for Ooladada was very similar to Sky Island. (She says she dreamed it before she read the book, though ...)

Wait, no ... I forgot about the Land of Numbers! That one is very influenced by Oz ... but I really haven't worked much on it, so I can't say much. (Though if you email me, I'd be happy to send you the bit of story that inspired it. It was a story game on facebook between my mom, me, and a friend at church.)

These world-building posts are for the promotion of the upcoming release of my book The Ankulen. Feel free to do one yourself, just make sure you refer back to my blog and let your readers know about my upcoming book. If you do write a post, post a link in a comment somewhere on my blog and I'll add you to a giveaway for a copy of my book.

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Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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