Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (e-book)/Wicked (audio)/The Wizard of Oz (movie)

Amazingly enough this was the first time ever reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  I don't know why.    I found it to be a very sweet, simple story although with more parts than the 1939 movie.  Dorothy lands on the Wicked Witch of the East and collects the Silver Shoes (not ruby) and is off to see the Wizard of Oz.  She meets her iconic friends, The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion along the way.  They see the Wizard who tells them to kill the Witch of the West, Dorothy accidentally melts her (although she throws the water because she is mad) and then they all go back to the Emerald City.  The three companions get what they already had (their wishes) and Dorothy gets to go home with the aid of the shoes.  It's a classic story that I know I would have liked when I was little.  The characters are very simple, Dorothy is about 10, I think, and it has some good adventures.

Hogwarts: History of Magic
Another Chance

Wicked is the story of Elphaba, the girl with the green skin and how she became the Wicked Witched of the West.  From her birth in Muchinland to her childhood in Qualding country, her education at Shiz University and her rebellion against the Wizard and finally her exile to Winkie country, here is the story of the Wicked Witch of hte West.

I've read Wicked before, a long time ago.  I remember it being very tedious in the beginning and good after Elphaba gets to Shiz University and meets Glinda.  My memory was right for the most part.  I decided to listen to Wicked this time around instead of reading it.  The thing about audio books is that they are not forgiving of tediousness.  And I forgot how many philosophical questions are apart of Wicked.  And how Gregory Maguire will use 50 words when 5 would do.  So frankly what I probably skimmed over when I read it, I was almost forced to blunder though in the audio.

But it really is a good book.  I like Elphaba's story even if she, herself, is a hard character to like and I feel sympathy for her.  Glinda is what you would expect and the entire thing is a surprise and a very grown-up take on the old childrens classic.  It is full of conspiracy and adultery and death, of political intrigue and oppression and dictators.  My big problems is that I'm always waiting for Dorothy.  But she is such a small part of this story, almost not worth mentioning except for that bucket of water.  But I would read it instead of listen to it.  It's not the narrator's fault.  He does a fine job.  This just does not lend itself to the audio format very well, in my opinion.

As far as how it relates to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the events work out closer to the book, with her sending out her familiars, but for different reasons in each book.  There are also a lot of story elements borrowed from the musical too.  The Witch doesn't enter the story until close to the end.  I listened to Wicked before I read Wizard of Oz and kept picturing what I heard in Wicked as I read Wizard.  It's worth it to have both books on hand to do a comparison reading.  It is very interesting how Maguire took a simple children's book and created something as deep as Wicked.

Hogwarts: Charms
Another Chance

I decided to round this all by re-watching the 1939 musical with Judy Garland.  I haven't seen this movie in so long.  I remember when it would be an event when TBS would play it and we would make cookies to watch it.  Good times.

The music is so great with almost every song being a classic.  "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is one of my favorites.  Did you know that Shirley Temple was originally offered the role of Dorothy but her studio wouldn't let her go so it went to Judy Garland?  How different this movie would have been.  Temple was actually closer to Dorothy's age, but she wasn't the singer that Garland was. 

It is still a beautiful movie.  Everything is so brightly colored and amazing.  The story is changed from the book to be Dorothy's dream instead of really happened like in the book.  So there is a long introduction before the tornado, all done in sepia.  The Witch is in the story more instead of only appearing at the end and the events of the book are condensed.  Still it follows along with the book fairly well and is a good adaption of it.  Of course, I might be a little biased.

 Read the Book, See the Movie


  1. I was just thinking I need to read this too :)

  2. I did this (almost) exact same thing a few years ago. I heard the music from Wicked and LOVED it so got all inspired and read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Wicked, and watched the movie. Then didn't sit still for the next 6 months until I saw Wicked in West End in London. Bliss!! I've now seen Wicked 3 times and really want to read the book again. And now I'm off to defy gravity!!

  3. I have another friend who's reading Wicked for the first time right now and she called it tedious too. I think I'll skip it.

    On the other hand, my son loves the Baum books and has all of them in a single gorgeous hardbound copy.

  4. I have the album of Wicked the broadway musical here at home, I love it. I haven't read the book, but I really want to give it a try. I love the Wizard of Oz, that's a great movie. I always watched that movie with my two older sister and eat lots of candy with it. Gosh, fun memories. :) I need to watch it again, call the sisters and make a day out of it.

  5. @Juju - Which one? They are both pretty good.

    @Elise - I haven't seen Wicked, but I would like to one day.

    @Amanda - It's like it was too much. If he had just parred it down some, it would have been an easier (better?) book.
    I really thought that the original Wizard was very cute.

    @Nina - That sounds like a fun day. It is a very cute book.

  6. Wicked is the only Gregory Maguire book I actually like- what seems frustrating in his other works actually works in it. Took me a while to find that out, too! I agree that the beginning can be a bit tedious, but the worldbuilding and Elphie are just so fascinating that I don't really care.

  7. I love your choice for this part of the Take Another Chance challenge! I never read the Wizard of Oz either ... I can't believe they weren't ruby slippers. Now I think you should go even one more step and see the musical Wicked!


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