- This article is about Ruggedo, the most well-known Nome King. For info on other kings of the Nomes, see Nome King.
|Title||The Nome King, Metal Monarch, Roquat of the Rocks|
|First Appearance||Ozma of Oz|
Ruggedo is the former Nome King and an enemy of Princess Ozma of Oz. He opposed the people of Oz many times before being finally exiled from the Nome Kingdom, though he continues his plans against Oz. He is widely known as the main antagonist in the Oz series.
His name was originally Roquat the Red or Roquat of the Rocks, but after his memories were erased, he took on the new name of Ruggedo, which stuck even after his memories had returned.
He is a round little man with a flowing white beard, a red face, bright eyes, and a scowl that covers all his forehead. He was fond of magic, and learned a good many enchantments that other Nomes know nothing of.
He was clothed in gray-brown garments which match his throne. His face and his bushy hair and flowing beard are colored like the rocks. He smokes a pipe on occasion. When Dorothy Gale first met him he wore no crown, but only a jewel-studded belt around his fat little body which gave him much magical power.
He seemed at first kindly and good-humored, but later showed his true nature as a wicked, disagreeable person. (Ozma of Oz)
King of the Nomes
Roquat of the Rocks purchased the Royal Family of Ev from King Evoldo in exchange for a long life, and turned them into pieces of bric-a-brac to decorate his home. Princess Ozma, Dorothy Gale, and a party from the Emerald City freed the royal family from his enslavement and, for good measure, took away his Magic Belt. (Ozma of Oz)
Roquat became so angry that he plotted revenge. He had his subjects dig a tunnel under the Deadly Desert while his general, Guph, recruited a host of evil spirits to conquer Oz. Fortunately, at the moment of invasion Roquat tasted the Water of Oblivion and forgot everything, including his enmity and his name. He returned to the Nome Kingdom and took the name Ruggedo, re-learning his hatred for the Oz people. (The Emerald City of Oz)
Using some personal magic, he enslaved the Shaggy Man's Brother, a miner from Colorado, and imprisoned him in the Nome Kingdom. The Shaggy Man, with the help of Betsy Bobbin, the Oogaboo army, and some of Dorothy's old friends came to his rescue, and Ruggedo dropped them down the Hollow Tube. Quox the dragon conquered Ruggedo using an enchanted ribbon to deprive Ruggedo of all his magic knowledge and power. Ruggedo was forced into exile, and his former chamberlain, Kaliko, was installed as the new king. However, Kaliko agreed to let Ruggedo stay as long as he behaved, which he agreed to. (Tik-Tok of Oz)
Ruggedo had been promised as many jewels as he could carry, but he left the Nome Kingdom in quite a hurry. He went to a woman who lived at the base of the mountain and had dozens more pockets sewn into his clothes, then used a secret entrance to make his way to the Metal Forest. There he was given the jewels that had been promised, and was forced to help break an enchantment he had placed on the Shaggy Man's Brother making him ugly. Ruggedo was so repentant of his wickedness that Kaliko relented and allowed the former king to stay in the Nome Kingdom, as long as he promised to behave himself. (Tik-Tok of Oz)
Nevertheless, he had been exiled again by the time he met the young enchanter Kiki Aru in the Land of Ev. He overheard the boy's wicked intentions and saw him transform. He made an alliance with the boy to conquer the Land of Oz by inspiring an army of beasts to attack the Emerald City and then transforming the beasts into humans and the humans into beasts. He got into the country without Ozma's knowledge and created havoc. He was transformed into a nut by the Wizard of Oz, and then restored to his proper shape only to be made to drink from the Water of Oblivion again. Ozma decreed that he should be kept in the Land of Oz and educated there, so as not to return to his evil nature as he would among the Nomes. He again drank of the Water of Oblivion, and to stop him ever going bad again Ozma settled him in the Emerald City. (The Magic of Oz)
Life in Oz
He was given a cabin to live in near the Emerald City, but he couldn't stand life above ground; the sun was too bright and he couldn't stand the people's happy faces in Oz. He dug a tunnel underground from his cabin to a cavern under Ozma's palace, which had previously been dug out by someone else. There, Ruggedo spent most of his time, hoping to conquer Ozma. His memory slowly returned, and he began to write his own history on a series of rocks. During the days, he would wander the Emerald City and steal things from the people of Oz, only to return them to his cavern and give them to his rabbit friend Wag.
Ruggedo eventually found Glegg's Box of Mixed Magic and used it to enlarge Wag and Peg Amy, the doll who he had habitually abused. He also turned his hair to iron spikes by accident and caused himself to grow into a giant. When he grew, Ozma's palace became impaled on his iron hair spikes. He then ran away in confusion and terror, traveling to the Land of Ev and sitting atop a mountain. The people inside the palace threatened him to not move or else they'd unleash thousands of eggs, so he sat perfectly still. The Sand Man accidentally crashed into the palace and dropped sand on everyone, making them fall asleep, including Ruggedo. Much later, when everyone had woken up, Ozma dropped trick oil on Ruggedo's feet, which caused him to walk back to the Emerald City, then shrink. Ozma made him tell her the whole story, and he begged for mercy. Now believing he would never reform, she exiled him to become the king of the Runaway Land. (Kabumpo in Oz)
Ruggedo remained on that island for five years, until an American boy named Peter Brown landed there by accident. While Peter was disgusted with the greedy nome, Ruggedo began to admire the boy for his courage and plotted to conquer Oz with his help. He named Peter a General in his army, a title which pleased Peter. The two escaped from the island and discovered a sunken pirate ship, which they used to cross the Nonestic Ocean into Ev. They conquer the Nome Kingdom, as King Kaliko surrenders since Ruggedo claims to have powerful magic. From there, they managed to get into Oz, where Ruggedo got a magic patch they'd found fixed, but Peter wished him away to Zamagoochie Country. Peter and his new companions, the Patchwork Girl and Grumpy, made it to the Emerald City before Ruggedo. Just as Ruggedo got ahold of his Magic Belt, Peter threw an emerald at him which turned out to be a silence stone. Ruggedo found himself permanently silenced. Ozma then banished him to wander, thinking him harmless without the ability to speak. Kaliko was restored as the Nome King. (The Gnome King of Oz)
Ruggedo found a kingdom in Ev called Menankypoo, which was seeking a lame king. Since Ruggedo was unable to speak and hence lame, he applied for the position and received it. The Menankypoos were a peaceful people, he learned, who had done away with their previous King because he wanted them to have wars and such. As they didn't want to be bothered with that, they had thrown him into the ocean and searched for a lame king, as a lame king wouldn't bother them. Ruggedo wanted wars as well, but bided his time as he didn't want to be thrown into the ocean. However, a pirate crew, the mutinous crew formerly under the command of Samuel Salt, ransacked the Menankypoo castle and threw the Menankypoos into the ocean. Ruggedo helped them do this, and soon became the new Captain of the pirate crew. They made their way into Oz, and managed to conquer the Emerald City. But Captain Salt and his companions took their temporarily-flying ship, the Crescent Moon, and defeated Ruggedo, saving the Emerald City. Ozma, realizing the wicked Nome would continuously return, turned him into a water jug which they continued to use in the Emerald City. (Pirates in Oz)
Soon after taking over the Oz series, Ruth Plumly Thompson brought back Ruggedo, his memory and rancor restored. Finding a box of mixed magic, in Kabumpo in Oz he grows into a giant and runs away with Ozma's royal palace on his head. Later he returns to threaten the Emerald City in The Gnome King of Oz, Pirates in Oz, and Handy Mandy in Oz. The end of the last book finds him transformed into a cactus by Himself the elf so that he can never make trouble again. However, since he has recovered from amnesia, exile, being struck dumb, and even being transformed into a jug, it is quite easy to imagine the Nome King coming back again. [See A Grown-Up in Oz and Ruggedo in Oz.]
The character called the Nome King was originally named Roquat of the Rocks in Ozma of Oz, then Roquat the Red in The Emerald City of Oz. Later he took the name Ruggedo, which Baum first used in a stage adaptation. Even after Ruggedo lost his throne, he continued to think of himself as king, and the Royal Historians politely refer to him that way. Authors Ruth Plumly Thompson and John R. Neill used the traditional spelling "gnome," so Ruggedo is the title character in Thompson's The Gnome King of Oz.
In Other Media
Fairylogue and Radio-Plays
The Nome King appeared in the Fairylogue and Radio-Plays, which contained scenes from Baum's first three Oz books.
Return to Oz
He found Dorothy's Ruby Slippers after they fall on his mountain. Using them, he conquered the Emerald City, turning its inhabitants into stone, with the exception of the Scarecrow, who he captured and took to his mountain. When Dorothy, Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, and the Gump arrived at his mountain, the Nome King transformed the Scarecrow into an ornament. He told Dorothy that the emeralds were originally his and that the Scarecrow stole them from him, but she knew he was lying because the emeralds were there before the Scarecrow became king. The Nome King decided to have them all play a guessing game with each of his ornaments to see which one the Scarecrow was, in which if they guessed right, the Scarecrow would be restored, but if they guessed wrong three times, they would be turned into ornaments.
Whenever one was turned into an ornament, the Nome King became more human in appearance. If all of them were to guess wrong and become ornaments, the Nome King would be completely human. All of them were turned into ornaments except Dorothy, who was able to get the Scarecrow back and realized that people from Oz turned into green ornaments. Furious at this, the Nome King blamed Princess Mombi, who previously had Dorothy locked in her tower and was unable to prevent her escape, so he imprisoned her in a cage to punish her later and then turned into a giant form and attempted to eat them shortly after they found the Gump and Jack. He tried to eat the Gump, but only succeeded in eating the sofa part of him, as they were able to save his head. He then tried to eat Jack, but as he was holding him above his mouth, Billina, who was inside Jack's head since their arrival on the mountain, laid an egg, which fell down the Nome King's throat. As eggs are poisonous to Nomes, this killed him, leaving only a pile of rocks and the Ruby Slippers. His mountain was destroyed afterwards.
- In his most human appearances, the Nome King has a ruby ring on his finger and smokes a cigar. This, along with some of his lines, makes him similar to Dr. Worley (also portrayed by Nicol Williamson), whose final fate is mirrored with that of the Nome King.
Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz
The Nome King is rather bumbling, but still commands fear. He has his visitors play a guessing game with his ornaments, for the royal family of Ev. (Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz)
Dorothy and the Witches of Oz
The Nome King appeared in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz played by Al Snow. He is depicted as one of the allies of the Wicked Witch of the West. During the climax of the film, the Nome King fights the Tin Man and is defeated by him.