Wicked Witch of the West

Wicked Witch of the West

Infobox character
colour = yellow
colour text =
series = Oz
name = The Wicked Witch of the West

caption = The Wicked Witch of the West threatening to beat Toto with her umbrella
Art by W.W. Denslow.
first = "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (1900)
last =
creator = L. Frank Baum
nickname =
alias =
species = human/witch
gender = female
age = unknown
born = unknown
death = c. 1899 [http://www.timelineuniverse.net/Oz/Mainlinetimeline.htm]
occupation = (at time of death) ruler of the Winkies
title = The Wicked Witch of the West
family = unknown
spouse = none known
children = none known
relatives = none known
residence = castle in the Winkie Country
nationality = Winkie Country

The Wicked Witch of the West (or simply The Wicked Witch) is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum in his children's book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". The character also figures prominently in the classic 1939 movie based on Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". In these works, The Wicked Witch poses the biggest threat to Dorothy Gale, because she covets the magical pair of silver shoes (ruby slippers in the movie) which previously belonged to the Wicked Witch of the East and are now worn by Dorothy. The Witch has often been used by editorial cartoonists to represent an evil force; for more details see Political interpretations of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". In subsequent Oz books, it is the Nome King who is the principal villain; the Wicked Witch of the West does not appear after the first book, and is rarely referred to again. Despite this, she makes frequent appearances in modern works based on Oz, and as such has been both reimagined and expanded upon a number of times.

The classic books

In The Oz Books, the Wicked Witch is the one witch in Oz whom the Wizard of Oz fears after the Wicked Witch of the East is destroyed. He managed to defeat her with simple magic tricks in spite of her making use of the Winged Monkeys that she commands through the power of the "Golden Cap," for the second time. With the first command, she seized control of the Winkie Country in the western part of Oz, where the Wizard never ventures, considering himself quite vulnerable to her. When young Dorothy is dropped in Oz by a cyclone, The Wizard promises to help her return to her home in Kansas if she and her ragtag group of friends kill the Wicked Witch. Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion journey toward her castle and are attacked by wolves, crows, bees, and her Winkie slaves. Dorothy and her companions defeat each threat, but are eventually subdued by her third and final permitted use of the Winged Monkeys. Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion are carried to the Wicked Witch's castle. However, The Wicked Witch cannot kill Dorothy because the girl is protected by the Good Witch of the North. She enslaves her and tries to force the Cowardly Lion into submission by starving him, though Dorothy sneaks him food. When she succeeds in stealing one silver shoe, by making Dorothy trip over an invisible bar, Dorothy angrily throws a bucket of water onto the Wicked Witch. It causes the witch to melt.

The Wicked Witch's dryness was enumerated in some clues before this. She carries not the traditional broom but an umbrella.L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, "The Annotated Wizard of Oz", p 231, ISBN 0-517-500868 ] Furthermore, when Toto had bitten her, she had not bled; her wickedness had dried her up long ago.L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, "The Annotated Wizard of Oz", p 234, ISBN 0-517-500868 ]

W.W. Denslow's illustrations for "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" depict the Wicked Witch as a paunched old woman with three pigtails and wearing an eyepatch; her good eye gave her the visual powers of a telescope. She is afraid of the dark, and for that reason, never went for the shoes while Dorothy was sleeping.

Her position as ruler of the Winkies was awarded to the Tin Woodman, who moved the capitol out of her castle because it was too damp.

The 1910 movie

The 1910 silent film "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" features a character similar to the Wicked Witch of the West, identified in intertitles as "Momba the Witch". (Compare the character Mombi from "The Marvelous Land of Oz".) In the film, Momba has an unspecified hold over the Wizard, who promises his crown to anyone who can release him from Momba's power. As in the novel, Momba captures Dorothy and her companions, and is destroyed when Dorothy throws a bucket of water over her.

The 1939 movie

In the classic movie "The Wizard of Oz", the Wicked Witch, played by actress Margaret Hamilton, was stooped, green-skinned, and dressed entirely in black. In many people's minds, this representation of the Wicked Witch has become an archetype for human wickedness.

While this relationship is not mentioned in Baum's books, in the movie, the Witch is the sister of the Wicked Witch of the East, who is killed when Dorothy Gale arrives in Oz. The Witch asks aloud, "Who killed my sister?" (albeit with more calculation than sorrow). As a result, the Wicked Witch of the West's role is made more prominent as she seeks revenge against Dorothy for killing her sister. When Dorothy claims the death was an accident, the Witch of the West replies, "Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents too." It is from this movie that popular culture gets the oft-quoted phrase, "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!" Later, when she sends her aerobatic apes to capture Dorothy, she stands by the window shouting, "Fly! Fly!" repeatedly. This too is a very well-remembered quotation of hers. The most memorable quotation, when Dorothy accidentally threw water on her, was "You cursèd brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting! Melting! Oh, what a world, what a world! Who would've thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? I'm gone! I'm gone! I'm going!"

The convenient positioning of the bucket in the Witch's castle is not handled realistically, but with the situation now Dorothy's dream, that is of little relevance. Rather than carelessly harassing Dorothy in the middle of cleaning, the scene now occurs in a hallway where Winkie guards have blocked her from all escape routes.

In spite of the Winkies serving the Witch only out of fear, the screenplay states that they were to look as much like her as possible, and uses the word "inhuman" to describe them.

The Witch also has a counterpart in the Kansas world: a rich, grumpy single woman named Almira Gulch who seeks to have Dorothy's dog, Toto, put down. There is some ambiguity as to whether Gulch turns into the Wicked Witch of the East or of the West in the Tornado scene when Dorothy sees her transform in the window. However, it is often said that during the transformation you can clearly see the ruby slippers, indicating that it may in fact be the Witch of the East.Fact|date=March 2008

Modern works

In Alexander Melentyevich Volkov's "The Wizard of the Emerald City", her given name is Bastinda. March Laumer uses this name for the witch in his Oz books.

"Rhea of the Cöos" from Stephen King´s The Dark Tower series is by many considered a homage to the Wicked Witch.

Wicked witch is also a song from Demons & Wizards' second album "Touched by the Crimson King". Due to the album centering around the Dark tower series the song is possibly about the character above.

In "The Wiz" (1975), The Wicked Witch Of The West is given the name Evillene, and is the malevolent ruler of the Winkies. She is the sister of Addaperle, Glinda, and Evvamene, the other three witches of Oz. In the film version, she runs a sweatshop under Yankee Stadium, with the slogan, "Manufacturers and Exporters of Sweat," and extracts it not only from the Winkies, but the Crows, the Poppy Girls, and the Subway Peddler. Her magic creates urban variations on the Hammer Heads (sent by the Subway Peddler), Fighting Trees, and Kalidahs, all in the Subway system.

In "The Wizard of Oz" (1982), the Witch, voiced by Elizabeth Hanna, is purplish-skinned, white-haired, and wears an eyepatch. Her telescopic eye, however, is replaced with a magic mirror. Her soldiers are completely magical, disappear at her demise, and quite distinct from the Winkies, whom she uses only for labor. She wears an old-fashioned peasant dress. She also has a staff which is the source of her magic.

In "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" anime series, the Witch is purplish skinned, with long white hair, but much thicker than in the 1982 anime, and with a blood-like red streak. She has both eyes, and she dressed in a long, black hooded gown. The bucket of water does not do her in, but only starts the process. The scene occurs in the castle kitchen. The witch backs away from Dorothy and inadvertently flips ladleful out of a pot with her shoulder, which causes her to steam and decay as if hit with acid. Dorothy state she now understands that water is the witch's weakness and smashes a large jugful on the ground. This version gives the witch the most prolonged and dramatic death scene of all versions.

Gregory Maguire's successful 1995 revisionist novel "" takes the familiar Oz story and turns it on its head, with the Wicked Witch (given the name Elphaba) as the novel's protagonist and Dorothy as a hapless child. Born with hydrophobic green skin and shunned because of her differences, Elphaba is a misunderstood child who grows into a brooding and very mischaracterized young woman rebelling against an oppressive dictator, the Wizard of Oz. Maguire's story was developed into a Broadway musical, "Wicked", in 2003. Idina Menzel won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Elphaba. 2005's "Son of a Witch" is the sequel to "Wicked", focusing upon Elphaba's purported son, Liir.

In the 1990–1991 animated series from DiC Enterprises, the Flying Monkeys resurrected the Wicked Witch of the West (voiced by Tress MacNeille) by simply putting her hat, cloak, and dress on a tree. Afterwards, she terrorized Oz once again, ruining Emerald city, stealing the items of Dorothy's friends (Scarecrow's diploma, Tin Man's clock and Cowardly Lion's medal), and even sent the Wizard himself away on his hot-air balloon. The series was canceled before an ending could be produced, so her fate remains a mystery.

In the commercials for Energizer, the Wicked Witch from the 1939 movie tried to steal the Energizer Bunny's battery by using fire on it only to set off the sprinklers and melt.

In "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" (2005), Miss Piggy plays all of the witches of Oz including the Wicked Witch of the West. Her basic attire was a homage of W.W. Denslow's illustration, with a "biker" theme. The eyepatch also covered a magical glass-eye that gave her visual powers. This version of the Wicked Witch is only vulnerable to "tap"water; she is able to bathe in bottled water.

In "The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles" (2005–), a "new Witch" enters Oz and makes plans to obliterate the place. At the end of the comic, we see a figure who we are led to assume is this new witch. She wears an eyepatch and strongly resembles the Wicked Witch of the West as depicted by W. W. Denslow.

In "Shrek the Third", the Wicked Witch of the West appears as part of Prince Charming's villain army. This is clearly the movie version of her, as Charming notes how Dorothy killed her sister, the Witch of the East.

The Witch appears among the many evil characters in the South Park Imaginationland trilogy. She only appears in the third episode and battles Pegasus in an aerial dogfight during the battle with the good characters.

In the Sci Fi television miniseries "Tin Man" (2007), a re-imagining of Baum's story world that makes allusive references to "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", the main antagonist is a tyrannical sorceress named Azkadellia. She plays the role of the Wicked Witch of the West although she is not the same character. Kathleen Robertson who played Azkadellia, made reference to the Wicked Witch of the West, saying that "it was quite daunting to be playing one of the most iconic villainesses in film history." Azkadellia is in fact a descendant of Dorothy Gale and is possessed by a demonic entity (played by Karin Konoval) who is referred to as "The Evil Witch of the Dark". It is not clear whether this witch is related to the original Wicked Witch of the West, but an ancient inscription in the cave refers to "light conquering darkness", and the old woman says to the girls when they find her that she has been waiting there many years. She also later makes references to, "waiting almost 500 years," and other sayings to further suggest she is the same witch. The most common speculation is that since Dorothy Gale does in fact turn out to be the ancestor of DG and Azkadellia (the main antagonist), then the Witch who lost to Dorothy was sealed away and has returned to once again try and conquer Oz, or the OZ (Outer Zone) as it is referred to here. At the end of the series, the witch is exorcised from Azkadellia and melted by the destruction of a machine she is using to bring eternal darkness over the Outer Zone. In contrast to the Wicked Witch of the original story who was afraid of the dark, this Witch is obsessed with it, hence her name.

In the cartoon series "Futurama", the wicked witch was played by Mom, the adversary in many "Futurama" episodes, in a scenario in the episode "Anthology of Interest II". Her sons were the flying apes, and she claimed Dorothy (played by Leela) to be her daughter. She was ultimately vanquished when another character sprayed her with celebratory champagne, and in the end, Leela decided to become the new Wicked Witch.


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