- "You do as I say, boy, you hear? For if you don't obey, you'll go to bed hungry for a whole week! I'll see to it! Just try me, boy, just try…. "
- ―An angry Witch Mombi to her child slave, the kitchen orphan-Tip
- "Mombi's curious magic often frightened her neighbors, and they treated her shyly, yet respectfully, because of her weird powers. But Tip frankly hated her, and took no pains to hide his feelings. Indeed, he sometimes showed less respect for the old woman than he should have done, considering she was his guardian. "
The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)
Mombi is an old Wicked Witch who lives in the magical Land of Oz. She is first introduced in L. Frank Baum's second Oz book which serves as a sequel to the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, titled The Marvelous Land of Oz, published in 1904. She lived in the Northern quadrant of Oz called Gillikin Country. There Mombi was known as the Wicked Witch of the North, but only to be deposed by Locasta Tattypoo, also known as the Good Witch of the North, who overthrew her and proclaimed herself as the new, good ruler. Mombi would later go on to enchant the royal fairy-child of Fairy Queen Lurline and the deceased mortal King of Oz Pastoria, the princess baby Ozma of Oz. Mombi remained the infant's guardian even after being deposed of her position. In order to prevent Ozma from ascending to the royal throne and disposing the humbug Wizard one day, Mombi renamed the child Tippetarius aka "Tip", and turned her from a beautiful girl to a ragga-muffin boy to disguise the heir from ever being recognized or found.
- Transformations were Mombi's forte.
- "What did you do with the girl, Princess Ozma?" asked Glinda; and at this question everyone slowly bent forward and listened eagerly for the reply. "I enchanted her," answered Mombi. "In what way?" Inquired Glinda. "I transformed her into -- into -- "Go on!" Glinda said. "To a boy!" "
The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)
History of Mombi, The Wicked Witch of the North
Miss Mombi herself, is not a very powerful sorceress by nature, she is more of an imposter who wishes she was a real Wicked Witch like the legendary and infamous Wicked Witch of the East or the Wicked Witch of the West. Real magic does not run in her blood like other sorceress in Oz such as the Princess Gayelette or Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. But despite not being born with the blessing of natural magic, Mombi is a very clever creature nonetheless. She enjoys being cruel and nasty, and even though she may be very old, she has dedicated her long-life to the magic arts and has mastered the art of black magic due to lots and lots of practice. As she was determined to make a living as a magical figure, regardless if she wasn't born into it.
Mombi once even successfully enslaved the King himself, old Pastoria, who was the last King to rule Oz, prior to the Wizard's arrival. She became the Wicked Witch of the North, one of four Wicked Witches who had conspired to conquer Oz. (Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz)
After arriving in Oz, the Wizard of Oz made three visits to Mombi, and handed King Pastoria's baby daughter, Princess Ozma, over to the old witch. Mombi kept the infant heir to the throne successfully hidden away, transforming her into a boy named Tip. Having been the jailor of Ozma's father and grandfather before, Mombi treated Tip as a slave too, as "he" grew up. (The Marvelous Land of Oz)
During this time she fell in love with Cheeriobed, a prince from Munchkin Country, who was himself in love with Orin, a princess from a kingdom in the Gillikin Country. Mombi made herself young and beautiful and offered herself to him, but he refused. In anger, she transformed Orin into an old witch like herself. As for Cheeriobed, she left the monster Quiberon to cut off his island kingdom in Lake Orizon from the rest of Oz. (The Giant Horse of Oz)
She met her first match in the Tattypoo, who then became the Good Witch of the North. Tattypoo was the transformed Orin, who had forgotten her past life and become a powerful witch. When she came upon Mombi about to perform a cruel act, she challenged her, and won. (The Giant Horse of Oz)
Mombi's Child Slave Tip
After freeing the Gillikins from Mombi's clutches, the Good Witch forbade any other witch to live in her domain. Even when defeated, Mombi was apparently still a survivor, and she made herself appear to be no more than a lowly wizardess, under the Good Witch of the North's reign.
She lived on a farmland which included corn fields, a four-horned cow, and some pigs. (The Marvelous Land of Oz)
One day Mombi visited a Crooked Wizard and purchased the Powder of Life from him, which she used to bring Jack Pumpkinhead to life. Tip had created Jack in order to scare her, so as punishment Mombi began brewing a potion that would turn the boy into a marble statue. That night, Tip ran away, taking Jack with him.
When General Jinjur's Army of Revolt conquered the Emerald City, Jinjur feared that the deposed Scarecrow would return with the Tin Woodman to take back the throne of the kingdom. She asked Mombi for help and the old witch agreed, planning to recapture Tip, who had joined the deposed king of Oz.
After leaving the Gillikin Country to join forces with General Jinjur (the self-appointed new Queen of Oz), Mombi was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Good Witch of the North, but the unscrupulous old witch was forced to reckon with Glinda (who wanted to restore Princess Ozma to the throne). The wicked old witch tried to trick and escape Glinda with a series of transformations ranging from the maid Jellia Jamb, to a rose, and ultimately a Griffin, but the Good Sorceress was too clever, slick and resourceful. Glinda turned out to be an even tougher adversary than the Good Witch of the North, and ensured that Mombi could never harm anyone again.
Just before being disenchanted, Tip promised to provide for Mombi in her old age, despite the witch's fiendish actions. After forcing her to disenchant Princess Ozma, Glinda made Mombi drink a powerful draught that stripped the old witch of all her magic powers. (The Marvelous Land of Oz)
Mombi then worked for many years as a cook in the tiny kingdom of Kimbaloo, for cooking was the closest to witchcraft she could come. Nonetheless she wasn't satisfied with it, and continually tried to remember some of her lost magic.
She was spied on by a little boy named Snip, when a goose that she was about to cook demanded to know what she had done with King Pastoria. The goose turned out to be the King's former chamberlain, Pajuka, who Mombi had transformed into a goose prior to her defeat by the Good Witch of the North. Pajuka demanded that she restore the king, and so she, Pajuka, and Snip set out to find and restore him.
However, Mombi later failed to restore Pastoria, despite her honest intention to do so, because Humpy, a stunt dummy, was mistaken by Kabumpo to be the transformed form of Pastoria, and so Mombi could not undo any enchantment on the dummy.
- L. Frank Baum never suggested that water could destroy all witches, but Thompson certainly surmised as much. Moreover, Baum's original Dorothy and Ozma would never have had anyone executed; Dorothy was unwilling to kill the Wicked Witch of the West even for the sake of seeing Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, while Ozma was unwilling to destroy her enemies even when they were on the verge of conquering her entire land in Baum's The Emerald City of Oz. Above all, the events in Thompson's book directly contradict Baum's specification that Mombi would be provided for by Ozma herself in her old age.
- David Tai's "Executive Decisions" (from Oziana #38) retcons this discrepancy by indicating that Ozma had in fact not executed Mombi but made her instead drink from the Waters of Oblivion.
Many years later, the Wizard of Oz accidentally mixed too much magic into paint that was being used by many inhabitants of Oz to paint historical Oz scenes onto one of the walls in the Emerald City. One of the paintings was of Mombi, and it came to life. It promptly escaped from the wall and fled the Emerald City, having grabbed the Wizard's black bag of magic. But Jenny Jump leaped up using her fairy foot and recovered the bag before Mombi could get away. So Mombi was forced to go into hiding, and she hid in the cabin of Davy Jones. She remained there until discovered and returned to the painting. (Lucky Bucky in Oz)
- It is debatable whether this is the real Mombi or not. She certainly has all of Mombi's personality and memories. However, the other paintings made from the same paint also seemed to share characteristics of the people they were based on, even those who were still alive. Nevertheless, people react to her as if she were the real Mombi.
In Later Books
The Wicked Years
Mombi and Tip make a cameo appearance in Gregory Maguire's Wicked series. When the character named Liir encounters the two while he is on the road, traveling. He is suspicious of her, as Tip seems to be asking him for help. But Liir takes no action and continues along the road. (Son of a Witch)
Mombi reappears in the final book in the series, Out of Oz, and is a pivotal character, though mostly behind the scenes. She has become the leader of Munchkinland, opposing the Emperor's rule of the rest of Oz. She no longer appears as an old woman, and later Tip explains that she learned how to change her own appearance from a Princess (presumably Langwidere) in the neighboring Land of Ev, and possibly killed the Princess afterward to cover her tracks. She now appears in a variety of stately guises, and goes by the title of La Mombey. She appears to be a cunning leader, but a ruthless one - she forcibly drafts all the Animals in Munchkinland to fight in her war, orchestrates a sham court trial against Dorothy Gale for the crimes of killing the Wicked Witches of the East and West in order to distract the public, and shows no restraint in deploying dragons to bomb the Emerald City. She does show some kind of concern for Tip's safety, only deploying the dragons once his safety is assured, but this could be only because she needs to keep the oblivious heir to Oz under her thumb. She is undone when she uses the Grimmerie (once again in her normal, decrepit form) to perform a spell, "To Call the Lost Forward", which inadvertently exposes Tip's true identity and her role in concealing Ozma. She is then jailed in Southstairs below the Emerald City.
Mombi appears in Hidden History of Oz as a youthful witch. Though she aids in the destruction of Gaylette and the theft of her secrets, she doesn't get involved with the schemes of the other witches and instead allies herself with King Pastoria. In a radical twist, she is heavily implied to Ozma's mother in this canon.
In Dorothy in the Land of Monsters, she is noted to be a zombie who rules Gillikin Country and it is public knowledge that she has trapped Ozma for hundreds of years. Despite her scourge of turning people into undead beings, she helped Glinda make a special pair of ruby boots akin to the slippers.
The Wicked Years
- Son of a Witch (cameo)
In The Wonderful Land of Oz, Mombi is played by "Zisca" (Zisca Baum, no relation to L. Frank).
In The Marvelous Land of Oz (1981) theater production, Mombi is played Wendy Lehr under heavy makeup.
In the movie Return to Oz, the character of Mombi was combined with head-exchanging Princess Langwidere from the third book in the series, Ozma of Oz. As Princess Mombi, she is portrayed by Jean Marsh, the same actress who plays Nurse Wilson in the mental hospital where Dorothy is committed at the beginning of the movie. Just as in the original books, Mombi loses her magic powers in the end.
In second story arc of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (anime), Mombi is one of the principal villains. Her portrayal is almost entirely in keeping with L. Frank Baum's original depiction, although there is no mention of her having been the Wicked Witch of the North (and being routed by the Good Witch of the North). Instead, the series expounds on a friendship between Mombi and the Wicked Witch of the West.
In the animated movie Journey Back to Oz, Mombi is the cousin of the Wicked Witches of the East and West. She takes over the Emerald City with an army of green elephants, conjured out of her magic cauldron. She was voiced by Ethel Merman, and sang 2 solos titled "An Elephant Never Forgets" and "If You're Gonna Be a Witch (Be a Witch!)" in Merman's trademark brash style.
She appears in The Oz Kids special The Return of Mombi after being put into a tower and her memory erased by Glinda. She regains her memory via a magic potion and enacts revenge by abducting all of the adults, but the kids manage to defeat her. She comes into contact with the Water of Oblivion again, and Dottie tricks her into believing she is actually a good witch instead of a wicked one.
In Emerald City (TV series), she keeps Tip male through a magic elixir.
She is referenced briefly but does not appear in Once Upon a Time as simply "The Wicked Witch of the North" who turned the Nick Chopper character called Stanum into the Tin Man instead of the Wicked Witch of the East.
- The Fairylogue and Radio Plays (1908): Josephine Brewster
- His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914): Mai Wells
- The Wizard of Oz radio show (1933): Agnes Moorehead
- Shirley Temple's Storybook: The Land of Oz (1960): Agnes Moorehead
- The Wonderful Land of Oz (1969): Franzisca " Zisca" Baum
- Journey Back to Oz (1974): Ethel Merman
- The Marvelous Land of Oz (1981): Wendy Lehr
- Return to Oz (1985): Jean Marsh
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (anime) (1986): Chie Kitagawa (Japanese)/
- The Oz Kids (1996) : Darlene Cornley
- Dorothy and the Witches of Oz (2012): Mia Sara
- Emerald City (2017) : Fiona Shaw
- Hit the Bricks (2020): Emma Sherr-Ziarko