Memorable characters that live in the story created by L. Frank Baum in 1900, from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, are numerous. The first thing, though, to understand, is that this is the same story that – since 1902 – has been more popularly known as The Wizard of Oz, which was the 1939 movie’s title. It is the story of a young girl, Dorothy Gale, who ends up in the Land of Oz when her farmhouse is swept up by a cyclone and she and her dog Toto are carried there.
The cyclone takes Dorothy and her house to the Land of Oz. Unfortunately, it lands on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, who was ruler of the Land of Munchkins in the Land of Oz. Dorothy wishes only that she could return home to Kansas, but in order to do so, she must go to the Emerald City. This is where the Great and Powerful Oz (usually referred to as the Wizard of Oz) rules as the Supreme Ruler.
Along the way, while following the Yellow Brick Road, she picks up three companions; the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Woodman (the “Tin Man,” in the 1939 movie). Dorothy and her new friends go through many trials and troubles. Many of them are due to the Wicked Witch of the West (sister to the now-dead witch of the East). Dorothy is finally able to return home with the advice of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South (“North,” in the movie). Dorothy’s a very determined girl and is single-minded, for the most part, in her desire to return home to Kansas, as a matter of fact.
Dorothy’s companions all also decide to seek help from the Great and Powerful Oz, who turns out to be a circus magician from Nebraska. One day, while riding in his hot air balloon, he was blown into the Land of Oz. They seek the Wizard’s help so that they each could receive a gift from him. One of them wanted a heart (the Tin Woodman needed one so that he could feel human again), liquid courage, in the case of the Cowardly Lion (who thought he needed a potion to act as bravely) and a brain (made of bran, pins and needles) for the Scarecrow.
A colorful cast of characters support this main group (and Toto, Dorothy’s little dog) throughout the story, including the Wicked Witch of the East. She is the witch killed when Dorothy’s house falls on her. She possesses the silver shoes which Dorothy will eventually learn to use to return to Kansas. Also, there’s Dorothy’s main enemy, the Wicked Witch of the West. This witch desires the silver shoes more than anything else. She almost succeeds in tricking Dorothy out of them, but is accidentally killed by Dorothy when she throws a bucket of water on her, causing her to melt away.
The Wizard of Oz is very well-told and is still a powerful example of how wizards and witches are still very interesting people even in today’s modern world. They might be even more interesting, because almost everybody loves to read stories about magical creatures and people!
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