The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I just finished re-reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) for the umpteenth time. Here are 15 intriguing ways the book differs from The Wizard of Oz (1939) film:

  1. The film suggests Dorothy's journey to Oz is imaginary, the result of her being hit on the head during the tornado. But in the book, she really does physically go to a new land. (It won't be her last trip to Oz, either…)

  2. The shoes are silver, not ruby.

  3. Upon arriving in Munchkinland, Dorothy is assumed to be a sorceress because she's wearing a blue and white gingham dress. Blue is the color of Munchkins, but "only sorceresses wear white," Boq tells Dorothy. (Boq is a wealthy Munchkin who gave Dorothy room and board during her first night in Oz.)

  4. The film character of Glinda the Good Witch of the North is a combination of two characters from the book: The Witch of the North, and Glinda the Good Witch of the South. The Witch of the North rules the Gillikin Country. She is described as a "little old lady" with white hair, wrinkles, and a stiff walk. This is who Dorothy first meets when she lands in Munchkinland. Glinda the Good rules the land of the Quadlings in the south, and, upon the Wicked Witch of the West's demise, the Winged Monkeys. She is described as "beautiful and young … Her hair was a rich red in color and fell in flowing ringlets over her shoulders. Her dress was pure white, but her eyes were blue, and they looked kindly upon the girl." Dorothy doesn't meet her until the end of the book, when the Wizard leaves in the balloon without her. Dorothy and her friends travel to the land of the Quadlings on a whole other adventure that isn't in the movie (e.g., the village made entirely of china, the Lion's battle with the giant spider, the Hammer-Heads).

  5. Before Dorothy begins her journey to the Emerald City, the Witch of the North kisses her on the forehead. This leaves a mark that Ozians can see and protects Dorothy from harm. It is how she was so easily allowed into Emerald City, granted access to the Wizard, when few others ever interact with him, and why the Wicked Witch of the West needs time to determine how to eliminate her.

  6. The Tin Woodman's name is Nick Chopper. He was in love with a Munchkin who lived with "an old woman who did not want her to marry anyone, for she was so lazy she wished the girl to remain with her and do the cooking and the housework." In order to prevent the marriage, the old woman made a deal with the Wicked Witch of the East, who enchanted Chopper's axe. He went on to cut off his limbs, until he was made entirely of tin replacement parts.

  7. The Tin Woodman saves the Queen of the Field Mice from a wildcat, and as repayment, the mice carry the sleeping Dorothy out of the deadly poppy field.

  8. Everyone who enters the Emerald City has to wear spectacles in order to allegedly "protect their eyes" from the emerald's brilliance, as ordered by the wizard. We learn later that this was hogwash. The city wasn't green, the glasses' lenses were, only giving the appearance of everything being green. It's symbolic of the wizard's long-standing subterfuge.

  9. In the film, Dorothy and her friends all meet the wizard together. But in the book, they each go alone, over the course of four days, and the wizard takes on a different form for each of them: For Dorothy, he appears as a giant head (like what you see in the film); for the scarecrow, a beautiful woman; for the Tin Woodman, a terrible beast; and for the Lion, a ball of fire.

  10. The Wicked Witch of the West is described as having "one eye, yet that was as powerful as a telescope, and could see everywhere." When she sees Dorothy and her companions entering her country, she sends first wolves, then wild crows, then a swarm of bees, then her Winkie slaves to defeat them. When all of these plans fail, she puts on the Golden Cap to summon the Winged Monkeys, who owed her one more wish.

  11. There is a whole background story to the Golden Cap, regarding Princess Gayelette and her fiancé, Quelala, on whom the winged monkeys played a hurtful trick. The Winged Monkeys were then bound to the Golden Cap, having to bid its owner three wishes. Once the Wicked Witch of the West took possession of the cap, she ordered the Winged Monkeys to 1.) Help her conquer and enslave the Winkies; 2.) Drive the Wizard out of the West; and 3.) Destroy Dorothy and her friends.

  12. The Monkeys do not harm Dorothy because of the kiss left on her forehead. "She is protected by the Power of Good … all we can do is carry her to the castle of the Wicked Witch and leave her there."

  13. Dorothy was a slave for quite some time in the witch's palace. Much longer than what the movie suggests.

  14. As Dorothy and her companions leave the west, the Winkies ask the kind-hearted Tin Woodman to stay and rule over them. After the Wizard leaves Oz and leaves the Scarecrow in charge of the Emerald City, the Tin Woodman returns to the West to become its emperor and the Lion goes south to rule over the wild beasts.

  15. After melting the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy takes the Golden Cap with her. She uses the cap to command the Winged Monkeys to carry her and her companions back to the Emerald City, then to carry them over the Hammer-Heads, into the land of the Quadlings. She wanted them to return her to Kansas, but they refused. According to the Winged Monkey king, "We belong to this country alone, and cannot leave it. There has never been a Winged Monkey in Kansas yet, and I suppose there never will be, for they don't belong there."

21 views