Wicked

#1JanitorPosted 1/18/2009 8:21:24 AM
You know, it annoys me that people think that Wicked is the be all end all story of the Wizard of Oz. Wicked is just a century-long game of Telephone. It's based on the 1939 movie, which is based on the 1903 stageplay, which is based on the 1899 book. Just like any other game of telephone, each step introduced distortions until the story is now completely unrecognizable.

You know, Glinda was originally based on Matilda Gage, the influential feminist? L. Frank Baum, the original author, saw her as a strong, independant woman, and a model for his young female readers in a time when they had no role models. Now Glinda is merely an air-headed ditz.

The Wicked Witch of the West (who Baum left unnamed) was a one-eyed caucasian woman who was scared of the dark. Baum made her thus because he thought children had too many things to fear in the childrens books of the age. He wanted a non-threatening villian, which the 1903 stageplay immediately threw out the window.

So what is the true story of Oz? Baum wrote fourteen books. After his death, the series was continued by Ruth Plumly Thompson, then John R. Neill, then Jack Snow, then Rachel Cosgrove, then the mother and daughter team of McGraws. Just recently, the Baum family hired Sherwood Smith to start a new series of Oz books.

The Oz series is big. Not just in the sense of totalling 40 cannonical books and hundreds of semi-cannonical works. It was more popular than Harry Potter in its day, and has remained widely read for over a century. But now it's eclipsed in the common mind by the abomnation that is Wicked. It's a very sad state of affairs.
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