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The Wicked Witch of the West

A Witch, in the Land of Oz, is a person that has the ability to harness and manipulate the magic around them. The Good Witches are Protectors of Magic and its Natural Balance, while the Wicked Witches are bent on controlling the Magic and using it to gain more power. No one knows the origin of the witches or their powers, but they are all a force to be reckoned with. There are two types of witches, Good and Wicked, who are associated with the four cardinal directions and the four separate countries of the Land of Oz who have chosen if they follow the path of Good or Wickedness.

Powers and abilities

  • Spell casting: The power to affect changes with magical incantations and rituals.
  • Telekinesis: The power of move things and people with the power of the mind.
  • Electrokinesis: The power of control or create the eletricity.
  • Pyrokinesis: The power to control or create fire.
  • Hydrokinesis: The power to control or create water
  • Potion making: The power to create supernatural potions.
  • Flight: The power of fly with or without a broom.


Characteristics by authors

L. Frank Baum

In his first Oz book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), L. Frank Baum famously created good witches in the north and south of Oz and evil witches in the east and west. The Wicked Witch of the East ruled the Munchkin Country, while the Wicked Witch of the West dominated the Winkie Country. Dorothy Gale met the Good Witch of the North, from the Gillikin Country, early in her first stay in Oz (Chapter 2). Glinda is identified as the good "Witch of the South" (Chapter 18), though in later books she is generally called a sorceress rather than a witch. She is consistently located in the Quadling Country.

Baum left his Good Witch of the North unnamed in his original book; but in his 1902 stage adaptation of the book he called her Locasta.

The author killed off both of his wicked witches in his first Oz book; when he came to write his second, The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904), he needed a new villain, and produced Mombi, the Wicked Witch of the North. For the first time, both a good and an evil witch were associated with one of the cardinal directions. She had been taking care of the young Ozma who had been changed into a male called Tippetarius or Tip by order of the Wizard. However in the end of that book, she is stripped of her powers.

Baum added another level of complexity to his scheme in his fourth book, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908). At one point, Princess Ozma explains that there had previously been wicked witches in all four quadrants; in addition to the two destroyed by Dorothy, "a good witch had conquered Mombi in the North and Glinda the Good had conquered the evil Witch of the South" (Chapter 15).

Baum added others villains, witches (like Blinkie), Yookoohoos, and other magic workers in later books, but did not amend his large-scale yet still incomplete fourfold scheme, of four evil witches and two good ones.

Ruth Plumly Thompson

Ruth Plumly Thompson, Baum's successor as Royal Historian of Oz, made two significant additions to this scheme. Most significantly, she created Gloma, the witch-queen of the Black Forest, in The Wishing Horse of Oz (1935). Gloma, if not precisely the Good Witch of the West, is at least a good witch in the west.

Thompson also created Tattypoo, in The Giant Horse of Oz (1928), as her version of the Good Witch of the North. In that book, Mombi with magic had previously placed the monster Quiberon in Lake Orizon, which was to harass and oppress the people of the Ozure Isles.

Interestly enough in The Lost King of Oz, Mombi is issued capital punishment of death by water for all of her misdeeds. (a short story called "Executive Decisions" from Oziana 38 says she wasn't really executed)

Later authors

The remaining gaps in the larger fourfold plan tempted the talents of later Oz writers. Rachel Cosgrove Payes took up Baum's hint and created Singra as the Wicked Witch of the South in her novel The Wicked Witch of Oz, a book written in 1952 but not published until 1993.

Eric Shanower draws his own, unnamed Wicked Witch of the South in his first Oz graphic novel, The Enchanted Apples of Oz (1986). In his fifth Oz graphic novel, The Blue Witch of Oz (1992), Shanower accepts Thompson's Gloma as the Good Witch of the West, and then creates his own Good Witch of the East in the person of Abatha, the Blue Witch of the Munchkins.

In the Wicked series by Gregory Maguire, the Wicked Witch of the West is named Elphaba as the Wicked Witch of the East is named Nessarose. Also Ginda's original name is Galinda, but was changed because of Dr. Dillamond mispronouncing it.

In his 2000 novel The Unknown Witches of Oz, David Hardenbrook accepts Locasta as the Good Witch of the North, but adapts the character to his own purposes.

Film and Television

Many film and television adaptations tend to either combine, rename, or create new characters.

In the 1939 film, Glinda becomes the Good Witch of the North.

In The Wiz both musical and movie present all the Witches from the original book but under different names all except form Glinda. The Good Witch of The North had two different names for the different adaptations. Addapearle for the musical and Miss One for the movie. The Wicked witch of the west was given the name Evillene and The Wicked Witch of The East was given the name Evamene.

The Wiz 1975 Addapearle, Evillene, Glinda.

In Return to Oz (1985), Mombi is combined with Princess Langwidere, and thus has the ability to switch heads that she has magically collected.

In the unaired pilot of 2002's Lost in Oz, a new good Witch of the South is named Bellaridere who sets the heros Alexandra Wilder and Caleb Jansen off to fight the new Wicked Witch named Loriellidere. It is explained by the Patchwork Girl named Brianna knew her previously as a normal girl who became the new Wicked Witch after Dorothy melted the first one with the spirit transferring at random.

In the 2007 miniseries Tin Man, the new Wicked Witch is named Azkadellia as she is similarly possessed by the Witch's spirit after a childhood encounter with an old lady in a cave. Dorothy Gale's descendant named D.G. is her sister who in the end separates the two letting Azkadellia live normally.

In 2013's Oz the Great and Powerful, the Wicked Witch of the East is named Evanora as the Wicked Witch of the West is named Theodora who both try to convince Oscar Diggs that Glinda is Wicked while they are good.

Starting in 2014, the TV series Once Upon a Time has featured the Wicked Witch of the West named Zelena  who is revealed to be the character Regina's sister. The other Witches do appear but are rather minor in the series as Glinda, the Witch of the North, and a good Witch of the East have been waiting for a Witch of the West who would arrive as prophesied in the Book of Records. They accept Zelena whom however turns against them in first faking her death through the melting incident and switches places with the Wizard who she has changed into a winged monkey. She banishes Glinda to a secret ice area of the Enchanted forest along with the other two witches to different areas.

In 2016, the nbc TV series Emerald City The Cardinal Witches of Oz are linked to the four sides of the world: East, North, West and South. At the time of Dorothy's arrival to Oz, Mother South is spoken of as dead and East is no longer. Mother South's death means there are no more witches being born in Oz

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