Monday, December 14, 2009

The Weirdest Oz Characters Ever

The Weirdest Oz Characters

Johnny Dooit - Johnny Dooit is a creepy old man who shows up whenever you ask for him, with a strong implication that he’s been watching you the whole time. At one point in the fifth book, Dorothy and her companions du novel need to pass over the Deadly Desert that surrounds Oz, so called because if you touch the sand, you turn to dust. So one of the travelers, a hobo called the Shaggy Man who has a magnet that makes everyone fall in love with him, asks Johnny Dooit to show up, and he does, and builds them a “sand boat”, which they sail to Oz. The fact that this made perfect sense to me at age 9 will probably be something you want to keep in mind when you read the rest of these.

Betsy Bobbin - Betsy’s not weird, her existence is. See, Dorothy was a girl from Kansas who got washed away during a storm at sea and landed in Ev with a farm animal that was suddenly able to talk, and then made her way to Oz. Betsy had the exact same story, except she’s from Oklahoma. Sure, she’s got a mule instead of a chicken, but otherwise, her story could have been told with Dorothy and not lost anything. There was, by the way, one other girl in the same age group that wound up in Oz, but Trot was from California, not the Midwest, and instead of a pet she had a one-legged sea captain.

Toto - You all know Toto, right? That’s what you think. Toto is a little black dog which Dorothy had with her on her first trip to Oz. On her second and third, she had a yellow hen and then a kitten and a cab-horse, all of whom learned to speak as soon as they hit magic country, as did Betsy’s mule and Trot’s sea captain. Starting to see why Toto is so weird? And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with him. He can talk, he just doesn’t. Except in the eleventh book, The Lost Princess of Oz. For some unknown reason, in that one he is completely the same as every other animal in Oz, despite saying a grand total of one sentence across 13 other books.

Captain Fyter - Also called “The Tin Soldier”. And you can probably see where this is going. See, for those unaware, in the original book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, the origin of the Tin Woodman was that he was a woodcutter by the name of Nick Chopper, who was in love with the servant girl of the Wicked Witch of the East. Upon finding out, the Witch naturally decided to enchant Chopper’s axe to hack off his legs, arms, what have you, which he had replaced one by one with tin surrogates. Well, anyway, he rusted and just sort of hung around until he was oiled by Dorothy. He then went to the Emerald City to get his heart so he could love his fiancee again and marry her. Which he got around to trying in book twelve. Sheesh, maybe he should have asked the wizard for an attention span.

Well, on the way to her parents house, where they assume she still lives after twenty years or so, they happen across… another tin guy. Completely identical to the Tin Woodman, save for a different hat. He is similarly rusted, and they oil him, and he reveals himself to be Captain Fyter. See, he was a soldier who was in love with the servant girl of the Wicked Witch of the East. Upon finding out, the Witch naturally decided to enchant Fy-Ter’s sword to hack off his legs, arms, what have you, which he had replaced one by one with tin surr… Whoa. I think there’s a glitch in the Matrix. No, wait, it’s just Frank Baum adding extra drama to his story by repeating it exactly.

Not only did Nimmie Amee (Oh, that’s the girl, by the way.) fall in love with the guy who was completely dismembered and magic-cyborged, she was completely uninterested until he was tin… Of course, being tin means he can’t love her. (Also, it apparently makes him too stupid to come out of the rain.) Getting engaged to an emotionally unavailable person identical to someone who abandoned you is creepy enough to get Nimmie on this list herself, not to mention the tinsmith Ku-Klip, who just made identical faces rather than trying to match what his clients actually look like. But that’s not the weirdest thing either of them have done. To examine that, let’s look at these next two characters…

Nick Chopper’s Head - Oh, you read that right. See, after the first Oz book came out, Baum decided that nobody in Oz could die… Even on dismemberment. And when he apparently decided to spend his dozenth book fixing up the Tin Woodman’s origin, which I’m pretty sure nobody had complained about for the past 18 years, he had to deal with this. If the body parts live after getting removed, what happened to Nick Chopper’s head?

Well, it’s in Ku-Klip’s cupboard.

Seriously, it lives on a little post in Ku-Klip’s cupboard, and it find’s the Tin Woodman’s claim that they are the same completely ridiculous. The head, of course, has no heart, and therefore no emotions. All it can accept is what’s right there in front of it, which is usually a cupboard door. Anyway, they decide he’s an asshole, and leave him in there. But they can’t find poor Captain Fyter’s head anywhere. WAIT FOR IT.

Chopfyt - See, after all the business his tin men had brought to him, Ku-Klip decided he could use an assistant, and since he had all these living body parts just sitting in a barrel, he did what any sensible man would do and… glued the parts together… with “Meat Glue”. Plus one tin arm, since the left ones were both missing. Anyway, once he had “got together a very decent body, with heart and all the trimmings complete," he tried to put his unholy abomination to work. But with Ku-Klip having accidentally given him two stomachs or something, ‘Chopfyt’ was eating the poor tinsmith out of house and home, and was discharged into the world to seek adventure. Then guess what happened?

Well, as fate would seem to require… He fell in love with the former servant girl of the Wicked Witch of the East. Fortunately, the Witch was dead, and Chopfyt had the good sense to not carry anything sharp. They got married. Yeah, she married the Frankensteined body parts of her two former robot fiancees. That girl is FUCKED UP. Dammit, this book is messed up. I didn’t even tell you about the part where a giant turns them all into monkeys and shit.

The Hungry Tiger - This character was introduced in the third book as a friend for the Cowardly Lion. And like ol’ Cowie, he has a defining personality trait. He is hungry. He just eats and eats and eats and nothing ever satisfies his hunger. Now, I know you’re thinking that for a children’s book character, that’s not so unusual, but what gets him a spot on this list is that he knows what exactly would stop his hunger. A baby. Yes, he is certain that if he ate a baby, he’d be so totally satisfied and his hunger would dissipate. Fortunately for all the babies of Oz, his conscience will not allow it. But that doesn’t mean he won’t stop talking about it. Just look at these actual quotes.

"Fat babies! Don't they sound delicious? But I've never eaten any, because my conscience tells me it is wrong."

"A fat baby. I want a fat baby," said the Hungry Tiger. "A nice, plump, juicy, tender, fat baby. But, of course, if I had one, my conscience would not allow me to eat it. So I'll have to forget my hunger."

"You certainly look delicious; Will you kindly give me permission to eat you?"

"If I could eat grass I would not need a conscience, for nothing could then tempt me to devour babies."

"There will be lots of fat babies at the celebration, I hear," remarked the Hungry Tiger, "but of course I can't eat any of 'em."

"Is he ALWAYS hungry?" asked Loo the Unicorn. "I am," replied the Tiger, answering the question himself. "I am always hungry for fat babies."

Those are all taken from different books, and I only took a few of the times he was talking about himself. There’s plenty of other occasions when someone is discussing him or introducing him, or in one memorable case singing a song about him.