The prologue begins with a scene set towards the end of the book as the Wicked Witch of the West looks down from a mile above Oz on Dorothy and her traveling companions. She sees them maneuvering toward the Emerald City along the Yellow Brick Road, which has become buckled and broken at certain sections as a result of both winter storms and agitators tearing up the road.
Not sure of what she plans to do, the Witch flies down and creeps quietly towards the group, hiding herself behind a tree as she eavesdrops on their conversation. From there, she can finally make out the companions: a huge Cat of some sort, perhaps a Lion; a Tin Woodman; and an animated Scarecrow. She also sees that the girl is carrying a dog.
From their conversation, the reader is introduced to some of the questions that will permeate the novel, both in regards to the Witch’s character and the notion of evil itself. The Lion states some of the pervading rumors: “Psychologically warped; possessed by demons. Insane. Not a pretty picture.” The Tin Woodman adds another juicy tidbit: “She was castrated at birth. . . . She was born hermaphroditic, or maybe entirely male.” All of these rumors are among those that the Witch must face throughout her life.
As the Lion and Tin Woodman continue, however, they both offer more sympathetic views based on their own tragic experiences, positing that perhaps the Witch is the way she is because she was deprived of a mother’s love, was an abused child, was addicted to medication for her skin condition, was unlucky in love, was the spurned lover of a married man, or even that she preferred the company of other women. All of these possibilities introduce the question of why a person might become evil. Perhaps they are not born that way; perhaps they become that way as a result of the circumstances of life.
While the Lion soon returns to his contention that the Witch is a “despot . . . (and) a dangerous tyrant,” the Tin Woodman mentions that he has heard she is “a champion of home rule for the so-called Winkies.” This news offers some insight into her more compassionate side. The Witch’s passionate political interests, concerns, and actions will become more evident as the action of the book gets underway.
It is Dorothy, however, who ultimately states, “Whoever she is, she must surely be grieving the death of her sister.” At her words and her sincere tone, the...
(The entire section is 563 words.)
The Root of Evil Summary
This first chapter opens with Melena Thropp, a woman originally born to privilege and now the wife of a unionist cleric in the outback Munchkinland district of Wend Hardings, announcing that she thinks she will give birth that day to the child she is expecting. Her husband Frex (Frexspar the Godly) teasingly encourages her to exert some self-control if possible, for this is a “perverse and inconvenient time” for the baby to be born since he is preparing to head out to deal with a “community problem” that has arisen near his parish of Rush Margins.
As Frex attends to his appearance, knowing that “a handsome priest attract(s) more penitents than a homely one,” Melena prepares breakfast in the kitchen and sings a song she learned as a child from her Nanny, who helped to raise her. She imagines she hears the child inside her singing with happiness; she knows it will be a singing child, and she expects it to be a boy.
Frex is not nearly as happy as his wife. He takes from its hiding place a report sent to him by another minister in the nearby village of Three Dead Trees. He does not want his wife to see the report because he does not want her to go with him on his mission. He also begins practicing his speech as Melena listens on, one in which he warns: “Idolatry looms. Traditional values in jeopardy. Truth under siege and virtue abandoned.”
Frex stands as a protector of tradition against the violence and magic that seem to be invading the land. He says to Melena he hopes she will not be angry with him for leaving her on this day, but his holy work will not wait and “there will be other children.” At this she becomes angry—but she also knows she loves him for his intensity.
Melena’s anger at Frex does not last, but she is upset again when he warns her that the devil is coming. He says this in reference to the report he has just read, but she does not like hearing these words on the day she is about to give birth. Frex clarifies his words, then shares his concerns that his crowd of followers will turn their backs on him and on their worship of the Unnamed God and instead turn to the “razzle-dazzle spectacle of idolatry.”
He worries he will return a failure, although he must admit to himself that “to fail in the cause of a high moral concern (is) satisfying to him.” As he departs, he wishes Melena well, but she sees he is already wearing his stern...
(The entire section is 472 words.)
The Clock of the Time Dragon Summary
Out of concern for his wife, Frex stops at a fisherman’s hut on his way to Rush Margins to ask if one or two of the local women can stay with his expectant wife. His wife is not one of the local favorites because of her upper class mannerisms and expectations, but the fisherman consents and Frex gratefully rides off.
He then pulls out two letters from his pocket, both written by a distant cousin who is also a minister. The first letter describes a contraption called “the Clock of the Time Dragon,” a theater of sorts with a moving clockwork dragon on top. The contraption features many puppets, marionettes, and figurines in its various doorways, windows, and porches, all “caricatures of peasants and royalty alike.” The puppets even poke fun at unionist saints.
As he reads, Frex wonders again who is behind this Time Dragon, “this fake oracle, this propaganda tool for wickedness that challenge(s) the power of unionism and of the Unnamed God.” The clock is accompanied by a dwarf and his helpers, but beyond that its origin is a mystery.
The second letter warns that the clock is on its way to Rush Margins. It also tells a more specific story of the troubles caused by this contraption. During one recent show, the curtains opened to show a puppet husband and wife; as the wife slept, the puppet husband sneaked out of bed. Before continuing with the story, the Dragon turned on its base and indicated three individuals in the crowd—one a faithful but inattentive husband, the others a widow and her daughter. The crowd immediately backed away from these three, and the “puppet show” continued.
The puppet husband met up with a puppet widow and her daughter and then proceeded to have sex with both of them at the same time—having, somehow, “two full sets of male goods.” After finishing their glee-filled act, the puppet widow and her daughter kissed the adulterous husband, then kneed him on both sides before running away.
In the audience, the three individuals who had been singled out felt mortified. The daughter disappeared and, at the time of the letter’s writing, had still not been found. The widow was shunned. The husband was attacked that night by his neighbors but fortunately was not killed. The letter concludes with the cousin expressing his concern about how all of their souls have been affected by witnessing the spectacle.
(The entire section is 532 words.)
The Birth of a Witch Summary
By evening, Frex works up the courage to enter Rush Margins and begin preaching against the Clock of the Time Dragon. The crowd, made up of many of the members of his congregation, “all (look) guilty as sin” even before be begins condemning them for their eagerness about the clock’s arrival.
After just a few words of warning, the mayor of Rush Margins, Bfee, speaks for the crowd when he says, “Could you perhaps tone down your harangue until we get a chance to see what fresh new form temptation might take?” When Frex responds that they don’t have the strength to withstand such temptation, Bfee says he needs to give them the chance to prove themselves against sin. Frex glowers at this, but soon everyone’s attention is turned to the noise down the road.
The crowd watches as the clock approaches, pulled by four horses and escorted by the dwarf and his gang. Before anyone can say anything, Frex jumps onto the contraption and begins criticizing it, pointing out that the “clock” is not even a clock—it’s just a “tiktok-y business” with the hands frozen at one minute before midnight.
When he asks the crowd why they do not use a real clock, he answers his own question: “The answer, of course, is that the clock isn’t meant to measure earthly time, but the time of the soul. Redemption and condemnation time. For the soul, each instant is always a minute short of judgment.”
Frex’s warnings are silenced when the show begins and he is pulled off his perch. Soon, the dwarf appears and addresses the crowd, claiming that “the Time Dragon sees before and beyond and within the truth of your sorry span of years here” and urging them to watch what it shows them.
The clock soon unfolds a story of “a publicly pious man . . . who preache(s) simplicity, poverty, and generosity while keeping a hidden coffer of gold and emeralds—in the double-hinged bosom of a weak-chinned daughter of blue blood society.” The story ends with the man being run through and killed with a long iron stake and served up to his hungry flock.
Frex knows he is in danger, but there is not much he can do. Soon he is being kneed and kicked, and he doubles over in pain. Finally a sympathetic woman helps him out of the crowd and hides him in her root cellar, telling him to stay there until morning. When he expresses his worries about Melena, the woman promises to...
(The entire section is 775 words.)
Maladies and Remedies Summary
With the clock’s departure, life in Rush Margins returns mostly to normal. Melena, however, for many days cannot bear to look at her daughter. Not only is she not the son she had expected, but she is undeniably green. Not knowing what else to do, she sends to Colwen Grounds for Nanny to come out of retirement to help her.
Frex goes to pick up Nanny from the station and on the way back, Nanny asks him what is wrong. Rather than stating the most obvious, Frex babbles on about the nature of evil and the absence of the Unnamed God creating a vortex through which “spiritual poison” must rush. When pushed further, he says the baby is “damaged.” His first complaint is that it is a girl—but at this, Nanny is actually pleased. It means “the family title’s preserved for another generation,” for the title of Eminent Thropp passes through the female line. In fact Melena is next in line, but she has cut herself off from her family and from her grandfather, who currently holds the title.
Finally Frex admits the truth: the child is green, which he clearly sees as a punishment for some evil act. Nanny tries to encourage him, saying she will find a solution to this problem. She then asks the baby’s name. “Elphaba,” he replies, “after Saint Aelphaba of the Waterfall.”
As they pass through Wend Hardings, Nanny is struck by the poverty of the district, for “the country (is) filthy, depressed, peasant-ridden.” When she arrives, she wants to greet the baby first, which is not a problem because Melena is once again out cold from the the pinlobble leaves to which she has become addicted. Nanny sees that the baby’s mouth and ears are strapped with a sling to keep her from biting herself or others. She is also struck by how well the baby is able to track her with her eyes, seeming to watch and understand everything even though she is only a few weeks old.
Despite her own revulsion, Nanny picks up and holds Elphaba—the first actually to do so. She rubs the baby to calm her, singing to her softly at the same time. Finally Melena wakes up, and Nanny brings her some tea and bread. Nanny tells Melena she is willing to be stay and help but that Melena is going to have to be honest with her about everything.
Nanny sets to work trying to figure out why Elphaba is green. First she questions Frex, who insists there is no green in his family background. He does admit,...
(The entire section is 790 words.)
The Quadling Glassblower Summary
The chapter picks up when Elphaba is a year and a half old. For one brief month the drought lifts and the spring weather leads Melena to enjoy time outdoors. By this time Elphaba no longer has to wear the chin sling, and she and her mother pay more attention to each other; Melena even sometimes finds her daughter endearing. She resents, however, that Frex has left her alone for most of the winter with only Elphaba for company. As she dances around the yard, drunk on wine and leaves, her breasts uncovered, she tells Elphaba her father is a “fraud” and a “charlatan,” and she longs for her old way of life.
Amid this display Elphaba gestures to the gate, where they see a man “leaning, shy and hungry-looking, with skin the color of roses at twilight.” He explains in rather scrambled words that he has crossed the hills from Downhill Cornings looking for the inn at Three Dead Trees and has become lost. Melena invites him to stay for a meal and tell them his story.
The man, Melena learns, is a glassblower named Turtle Heart from Ovvels in little-known Quadling Country. As he talks, he unbuckles Elphaba from her harness and without flinching begins tossing her in the air. Elphaba likes him immediately. He tells Melena, who has never met a Quadling, about life in the outreaches of Ovvels—“the houses rotting gently into the swamp, the harvest of snails and murkweed, the customs of communal living and ancestor worship.” As he speaks, Melena is mesmerized by his eyes and words.
After they eat, Turtle Heart blows her a piece of glass to show his thanks—a round glass, similar to a mirror. As they look in it, he announces, “husband is near . . . traveling on a donkey and to bring elderly woman to visit you.” He says her husband will be there by nightfall, so he and Melena hook Elphaba back into her harness and proceed to make love before Frex’s arrival. Elphaba, meanwhile, is fixated on the glass disc, which “look(s) like a magic mirror showing nothing but silver-cold water within.”
(The entire section is 357 words.)
Geographies of the Sea and the Unseen Summary
Frex returns after being away for many months, having spent the winter in an adandoned cottage where he prayed, fasted, and tried to make sense of his life and ministry. Since the Time Dragon’s slanderous story, his congregation has avoided his chapel services, so he hopes that a time of penance will help to prepare him for “something else, something next—but what?”
When he returns, he brings Nanny with him and brings a small gift for Elphaba, or “Fabala” as he calls her, who soon proceeds to break the toy. When Frex warns Elphaba not to swat at the glass disc because she will break that too, Turtle Heart tells him she cannot break that—he did not make it to be broken. He then goes on to say, “She is herself pleased at the half things. . . . I think. The little girl to play with the broken pieces better.”
Frex and Turtle Heart continue in their conversation, learning more about each other. Turtle Heart is surprised that Frex is a Munchkinlander, thinking that they are all short, but Frex explains that “anyone with bloodlines worth tracing married into height somewhere along the way.” Frex is also surprised to meet a Quadling and even more surprised that Melena offered him hospitality, for “a Quadling ranked about as low on the social ladder as it was possible to get and still be human.”
Turtle Heart then asks Frex to explain the world to him, for he does not know much about Oz. Frex explains that Oz is basically shaped like a circle with an X through it. The top is Gilliken, filled with cities, universities, theaters, industry, and civilized life; to the east is Munchkinland, which is mostly made up of farmland except for the mountainous southern region where they are now living.
Between these regions is a disputed area called the Glikkus, where there are many emerald mines which both Gilliken and Munchkinland want to claim. In the South is Quadling Country—which is mostly viewed as “marshy, useless, infected with bugs and feverish airs.” To the west is Winkie Country, which is very dry and largely unpopulated. The area surrounding Oz is made up of deserts. And at the dead center is the EmeraldCity, where Ozma, the ordained Queen of Oz, lives.
When Turtle Heart asks about the area above Oz, a religious discussion ensues. Frex explains that Gillikinese and Munkinlanders are largely unionist, ever...
(The entire section is 606 words.)
Child’s Play Summary
Towards the end of the summer, Nanny surprises Melena by asking what sorts of creatures live in the hills nearby, for she believes she has seen a beast abroad. Melena says nothing bigger than a gopher lives nearby, but Nanny insists what she saw is more like a bear or a wolf. At this Elphaba, who still does not speak, growls. Melena admits there is a rumor of rock tigers but that none has been sighted for a long time.
Nanny then raises two other concerns; the first is the fact that she knows Melena and Turtle Heart have been having sexual relations and that Frex is bound to realize it sooner or later. Melena tells her this is none of her business. Nanny’s second concern relates to Elphaba: she needs to be around other children. Nanny believes other children might encourage her to speak and to develop a sense of fun, so she proposes they take her to Rush Margins to find some small children to play with.
Melena worries that this will only make Elphaba subject to ridicule, scorn, and abuse, but Nanny argues that Elphaba needs to learn to get by in the world—that “she must learn who she is and she must face down cruelty early.” She also says she can blackmail Melena if needed, so Melena finally relents.
The next day they set out on their journey and finally arrive at the dark stone cottage of Gawnette, who has five boys and two girls of her own. Nanny says to Gawnette that they need her advice: “Because (Elphaba) is green, she is shy. Look at her. Little frightened spring turtle. We need to draw her out, make her happier, and we don’t know how.” She goes on to suggest that Gawnette let Elphaba come to her house to play and to learn, for Gawnette knows more than they do. Gawnette finally agrees when Nanny says they will pay her.
The children try to start a game of tag with Elphaba, but she does not run after them. While they try to get her to play, Melena becomes defensive after Gawnette mentions she has heard they have a “Quadling muckfrog” living with them. Melena insists he is the most “sensitive person (she’s) even met,” but Gawnette cannot see how that is much use to a minister and his wife. The conversation is interrupted when Gawnette must stop the children from biting each other—after seeing Elphaba’s teeth, she realizes she has to move quickly.
(The entire section is 423 words.)
Darkness Abroad Summary
Nanny continues to take Elphaba to play at Gawnette’s cottage every second or third day. Meanwhile Frex has started up with his ministry again, leaving the house for periods of up to 10 days at a time.
Melena entertains herself by playing the piano and spending time with Turtle Heart. Despite the great comfort she feels with Turtle Heart, she still does not feel that she really knows him, and Nanny tries to remind her they are from different cultures. She asks Melena what she really knows about him.
One night when Frex is once again home—happy that the poor are finally turning back to the Unnamed god—they build a fire in the yard and Turtle Heart makes supper. When Frex posits that maybe their time in Wend Hardings will be ending soon, Turtle Heart suggests that he travel to Quadling Country.
Melena uses this opportunity to learn a little more about Turtle Heart, and she asks him why he left Ovvels. He simply states, “Horrors.” His short answer brings “a sudden premonition of things changing” to Melena, and she feels a chill. Elphaba’s response is to utter her first word: “Horrors.” Then she says it again and again. When Turtle Heart remarks at this, Frex only tells him that she too must want to hear his answer.
So Turtle Heart explains how many workers have started coming to Quadling Country "to look and taste and sample the air, the water, the soil. They to plan the highway." The Quadlings have tried to explain that "this is wasted time and wasted effort," but the workers do not listen to them. He explains that in his hometown of Ovvels, the houses float between the trees, crops grow on small platforms hooked by ropes, and boys dive in shallow water for vegetable pearls. There is a very fine ecological balance that must be maintained—“It only to support life by careful planning and cooperation."
As Turtle Heart speaks, Frex is drawn to his intensity. Turtle Heart explains that Quadling resistance to the construction of the Yellow Brick Road is only part of it. The Quadlings fear that the builders will discover the secret the Quadlings have known for a long time: their country sits atop huge deposits of rubies, “the blood of oz.” The Quadlings worry that when news of this reaches Oz, horrific acts will follow. Turtle Heart has seen this in the glass—and to look in the glass “is to see the future, in...
(The entire section is 1119 words.)
Galinda, Part 1 Summary
As this new section opens, 17-year-old Galinda of Pertha Hills, a small town called Frottica in rural Gilliken, is travelling by train to Shiz University. Unexpectedly, she is traveling alone since her chaperone, Ama Clutch, stepped on a rusty nail at the train station and had to seek medical attention. Sharing her train car is a large Goat who is sleeping and with whom she seeks to avoid eye contact.
Galinda tries to feign boredom as the train moves along but in reality, she has never traveled far from home. She has great expectations for herself at Shiz; she reasons that “because she (is) beautiful she is significant.” She is also proud of herself for getting a three-year fellowship to Crage Hall at Shiz because she is smart—and she recalls how she quoted excessively from the Oziad in her entrance exams.
The neighboring Goat wakes up when the conductor comes by to check tickets, and he asks Galinda to get his down from overheard. The conductor shows surprise that the “beast” is able to afford a ticket for first class, and the Goat objects to being called a beast, pointing out that Animals are still allowed to travel in this manner, even if it costs them more to do so.
The Goat, it turns out, is Dr. Dillamond, a Fellow of Shiz University who teaches in the Biological Arts department. After Galinda introduces herself, emphasizing the proper pronunciation of her name and the fact that she is an “Arduenna” on her mother’s side, Dr. Dillamond wastes no time in asking her what she thinks of the Wizard’s “proposed Banns on travel.”
Since Galinda has heard nothing of the proposal, he explains that the Wizard wants to restrict Animals from using public transport except in limited cases. Animals are different from animals, for Animals can speak and have a spirit. He is upset when Galinda says she does not see a problem with this and, after a few more angry words, they travel the rest of the way in silence.
When they finally arrive at Shiz, Galinda is overwhelmed by what she sees and more than a bit nervous about what to do next. Dillamond sympathetically helps her get a carriage to take her to Crage Hall. On the way, she notices with surprise how many animals and Animals inhabit the city.
Once at Crage Hall, she meets the “fish-faced upper-class Gillikinese” Headmistress, Madame Morrible, who is greeting all the new arrivals. Their chaperoning...
(The entire section is 684 words.)
Galinda, Part 2 Summary
When Ama Clutch arrives the next day, Galinda hopes she will refuse to chaperone Elphaba, but instead Ama Clutch warmly greets Elphaba and says to Galinda that perhaps this experience will be good for her.
Galinda had not gotten any further in her exchange with Madame Morrible the evening before—at which time she was once again struck by how much Madame Morrible looks in both countenance and dress like a fish, specifically a giant carp.
At their meeting, Galinda made up an elaborate story as to why Ama Clutch could not supervise a group of girls. According to her tale, while picnicking last summer, Ama Clutch took a serious fall, causing her to slip into a coma for weeks, from which she emerged with no memory of the accident at all. She suffers from “amnesia by trauma,” Galinda claims, and this causes her at times to become “addled,” even to the point where she will talk to inanimate objects or forget that people and Animals are alive.
Galinda goes on to say that because she has known and loved Ama Clutch for years, she poses no problem to her; however, she should not be responsible for the well-being of others. By this, she hopes to also get Elphaba removed from her room. Madame Morrible, however, does not move to do this. Instead she says, “I suppose if Miss Elphaba cannot live with what we give her, she will leave Crage Hall on her own accord. Don’t you think?”
With these words, Galinda understands—with a tinge of foreboding—that Madame Morrible is drawing her into a campaign to get rid of Elphaba. She tentatively agrees, feeling like a “fish . . . caught on a most clever hook.” As she leaves, she notices a robotic servant, a “small tiktok thing,” hovering nearby and then whirring away with the dishes.
Back in their room, Elphaba spends most of her time reading and twirling her hair around her finger. Galinda sets out to “(forge) alliances with the better girls who had been her rightful roommate prospects,” including Milla, Pfannee, and Shenshen. Soon, the girls turn to gossiping about Elphaba, with Galinda trying to hide the fact she is her roommate. Pfannee, who also is a Munchkinlander, expresses her surprise at Elphaba’s poverty-stricken appearance, saying that the Thropps are highly regarded in Nest Hardings and that the Eminent Thropp “put together the area’s militia and tore up the Yellow Brick Road...
(The entire section is 699 words.)
Galinda, Parts 3-4 Summary
As the chapter opens, Madame Morrible holds a “poetry soiree” to which the girls of Crage Hall as well as the boys from Three Queens and Ozma Towers are invited. In addition, many of the professors and doctors from Shiz University attend, including the Animals from Crage Hall and the men from the boys' classes.
Madame Morrible opens the evening with her explanation of a new verse form gaining popularity called the Quell. “The Quell,” she says, “is a brief poem, uplifting in nature. It pairs a sequence of thirteen short lines with a concluding, unrhyming apothegm. The reward of the poem is in the revealing contrast between rhyming argument and concluding remark.” She hopes the evening’s poetry will serve as a pleasant break from the recent, unpleasant news from the capital. The boys nod to this; the girls are clueless as to what she means.
Next Madame Morrible recites two Quells, with the second ending with the line: “Animals should be seen and not heard.” This sparks controversy in the room, as Dr. Dillamond insists this is not poetry but propaganda. Elphaba, for the first time, sidles up to Galinda to ask what she makes of this. Clearly she is deeply interested in the conversation; all Galinda can think about is whether anyone sees her talking to Elphaba. Several of the Animal professors march out of the room, but the evening of poetry continues.
Later, while refreshments are served by Madame Morrible’s tiktok creature, a boy approaches Galinda and Elphaba and introduces himself as Boq, a Munchkinlander from Briscoe Hall. Galinda is all pleasantries while Elphaba tries to excuse herself.
He surprises both women, however, when he says he thinks he knows Elphaba—or “Miss Elphie”—and says they used to play together when they were young. His father was Bfee, the mayor of Rush Margins, and they were both cared for by Gawnette. Elphaba says she has no memory of this—that she remembers growing up in Quadling Country—but Boq remembers clearly the stories of Elphaba’s parents and the night the Clock of the Time Dragon came to town. Elphaba leaves, and Boq continues his conversation with Galinda.
In the week following the poetry evening, discussions continue about what was said. Dr. Dillamond interrupts his biology lecture to call for a response from his students, and when they have none—looking at...
(The entire section is 753 words.)
Boq, Parts 1-2 Summary
The section begins with Boq trying to study in his room while several other boys, led by “the strapping Gillikinese bucko named Avaric,” encourage him to come drinking with them at the pub. Boq insists he needs to continue studying but says he may join them later. The boys are especially excited because the pub has a new witch performing—a “Kumbric Witch.” Avaric also suggests that maybe later, some of them will sneak off to the Philosophy Club—a club known for its questionable antics and sexual perversity.
Boq watches the boys leave, determined to return to his studies so he can pass his exams, but instead finds himself distracted by thoughts of Galinda as he looks out toward Crage Hall. Moments later, he finds himself racing down the stairs and charging through the corridors with an idea “to see his hearththrob again.”
Soon he finds himself climbing onto a stable roof, where he can peer through the windows into Crage Hall, searching for Galinda. Before he can catch sight of her, he hears from below a voice shouting, “What the hell are you doing up there?”
Unable to maintain his balance, Boq falls from the roof into a patch of lettuce, where he is met by Elphaba’s gaze. Once over the initial shock, she teases him a bit, asking him if he “(saw) the tree of (his) dreams” and quickly guessing that it is Galinda he hopes to see.
When he learns Elphaba is Galinda’s roommate, he begs her assistance in bringing the two of them together. Elphaba agrees, mostly because she thinks it better to dash his hopes immediately rather than let them drag on, and they make a date for her to bring Galinda to this same meeting place three days later.
At the appointed time, Boq returns to find Elphaba and Galinda sitting on a bench, with Galinda looking uncomfortably the other way. When she does speak, Galinda says she finds their meeting highly improper and, although she is flattered at his attentions, she has no special feelings for him. Besides, there are too many “social impediments” to keep them apart, including their different cultures, his career as a farmer, and the fact that he is too short. She only agreed to come, she explains, because Elphaba insisted and because she wanted to tell him this in person.
Boq, not surprisingly, is hurt by her words but says he knows all that is true and that what he really wants is for them...
(The entire section is 540 words.)
Boq, Part 3 Summary
As summer begins, Boq spends his days working at the Three Queens library under the watchful eye of the head librarian, a giant Rhinoceros. His job, along with two others boys named Crope and Tibbett, is to clean old manuscripts, although the boys spend much of their time teasing each other and gossiping. They spend their lunchtimes by the banks of the canal, where Boq hopes to some day run into Galinda.
Finally his hopes are answered when Galinda walks by with Ama Clutch, Shenshen, and Pfannee. They have a brief conversation during which Galinda announces that she will be spending a month with her friends at a house on the shores of Lake Chorge. She also lets them know that Elphaba has a job working in the lab and the library under the direction of Dr. Dillamond. Boq is impressed by this, calling Dr. Dillamond “the most impressive Biology tutor in Shiz” and wishing he were the boys’ professor.
A couple weeks later, as Boq sits at Railway Square reading in the newspaper about the Emerald City Home Guard’s suppression of Animal dissenters and the ongoing drought in Munchkinland, Elphaba approaches him at his table. She is carrying a package containing a beautiful Vinkus shawl and some stockings for her sister. When Boq asks if her sister is as difficult as she is, Elphaba says, “She is difficult in a different way. She’s crippled, pretty severely, is my Nessarose, so she’s a handful.” She also tells Boq that her mother died in childbirth, so their father raised them—although he was too religious to really do much. Nanny did most of the work.
The conversation then turns to Elphaba’s work with Dr. Dillamond. She explains that the doctor is working in natural essences, “trying to determine by scientific method what the real differences (are) between animal and Animal tissue.” Most of the literature on it, Elphaba explains, is from pagan or unionist perspectives. The ultimate significance of this comes back to the essential question: “How can the Banns on Animal mobility be upheld if Dr. Dillamond can prove, scientifically, that there isn’t any inherent difference between humans and Animals?”
Elphaba’s job is chiefly to serve as Dr. Dillamond’s secretary since he cannot write things down, as well as to look things up at the Crage Hall library. At this point, Boq interjects that the Briscoe Hall and Three Queens libraries would be better sources for...
(The entire section is 471 words.)
Boq, Part 4 Summary
As Boq begins researching materials at the library, he recruits Crope and Tibbett to help as well. Once a week they meet with Elphaba at Railway Square to share what they have found. Elphaba appears at these meetings “entirely swathed in a brown cloak with a hood and veil that (hide) all but her eyes . . . long, frayed gray gloves . . . her bamboo-pole legs (sheathed) in a double thickness of cotton stocking.” Boq tells her that she looks like the original Kumbric Witch.
One day the boys notice Elphaba’s aversion to water and ask her about it, teasing her that she must be trying to avoid a “baptismal splash” that would curtail her “liberty as a free-range agnostic.” She avoids the question and they get down to business—but their conversation by this point has become very comfortable and friendly.
Elphaba reports excitedly that this week Dr. Dillamond has made some sort of breakthrough and that his passion is thrilling. “He began to dictate,” she recalls, “and he was so excited that he sang his findings; he composed arias out of what he was seeing!”
What Dr. Dillamond needs now, she explains, is for them to find old Lurlinist and unionist explanations of how the animals and Animals had been differentiated, as well as some of the old myths of origin that predate the Oziad. He hopes to understand the earliest thinking on origins to better challenge the Wizard’s laws.
Tibbett uses this moment to retell the myth of the Fairy Queen Lurline, believed by Lurlinists to have brought Oz into existence when she stopped on a journey and called forth water from deep beneath the desert sands. She drank up so much of the water that she fell asleep in a stupor, then woke up to relieve herself. From her urine came the Gilliken River. All the animals were caught up in the raging flood; those that became fearful and turned back remained animals, whereas those that swam on and made it to shore became Animals.
Boq then tells of some unionist scriptures he read where the sea came from the tears of the Unnamed God during his only visit to Oz, the tears resulting from the sorrow he knew would fill the land. In the resulting flood, animals stayed alive by floating on logs. Those who drank up enough of the tears began to construct rafts and saved the others out of mercy, and they became Animals.
Elphaba says she has been looking into the teachings of the...
(The entire section is 562 words.)
Boq, Parts 5-6 Summary
As the end of summer approaches, Avaric returns to school after a leisurely time at his home, the seat of the Margreave of Tenmeadows. At the same time, Elphaba receives a surprising letter from Galinda, who is with Pfannee and Shenshen at Lake Chorge, inviting her to join them.
Elphaba has no intention of going, but Boq believes that maybe Galinda is in some kind of trouble and needs her there. He continues pressing her, saying that he and Avaric can join her as chaperones and can rent a room at a nearby inn.
Madame Morrible does not find them proper chaperones, but she offers Grommetik as a companion. Elphaba finally agrees, and the group sets off on the train for Lake Chorge, with Elphaba and Avarik immediately disliking each other and Avarik teasing Boq about his lovesickness.
When the group finally arrives, with Grommetik trailing behind, they are greeted by Ama Clutch, who expresses great surprise at seeing Elphaba there, saying she knew nothing of the invitation. It turns out that Galinda knew nothing of it, either—it was all a big joke by Pfannee and Shenshen.
Galinda is mortified by the group’s arrival, even going so far as to say to Elphaba, “Were you born to plague me? Did I ask for your association?” At first confused, Elphaba quickly pieces the situation together and then tells Pfannee she accepts her invitation. She then proceeds to stay in her room all day.
The boys commence to swim and row on the lake with the girls. Boq finally confronts Galinda on her treatment of Elphaba and urges her that if she feels so humiliated, she should leave. He tells her that over the summer, he and “Elphie” have become friends and that as a result, he feels closer to Galinda as well.
Galinda, despite herself, admits that she finds Boq “a little sweet . . . a little charming . . . a little maddening and . . . a little habit-forming,” and before she knows it, the two of them are kissing.
The next day, Elphaba, Galinda, Boq, Grommetik, and Ama Clutch head back to Shiz; Avarik stays behind with Pfannee and Shenshen.
The next chapter opens with Boq back at work and the Rhino librarian breathing down his, Crope, and Tibbett’s necks after realizing how little work they got done that summer. One afternoon as he is cleaning some very old manuscripts, Boq comes across a picture, maybe 400 or 500 years old, of a Kumbric Witch....
(The entire section is 647 words.)
Boq, Part 7 Summary
Tragedy strikes Shiz, and the chapter begins with all the girls crying outside the gate of Crage Hall—only Elphaba has a dry face. When Boq and Avarik stumble upon them and ask what has happened, all Galinda can get out is that the police and a doctor are there. It is Galinda who says, “They found out…. Somehow the bastards found out.” Moments later, three policemen and a doctor emerge carrying a stretcher holding Dr. Dillamond, his throat slit and knotted with blood.
When they finally sit down, Galinda tells the story of how, as they were going to bed the night before, Ama Clutch got up to close the drapes and noticed the lights on in Dr. Dillamond’s lab. Then she said, “Well now isn’t that funny?” Without further explanation, she said good night and left. When Galinda and Elphaba woke up that morning, Ama Clutch was not there with their tea as she usually was. Here Galinda breaks down crying, and it is up to Elphaba to continue the story.
When Ama Clutch still had not shown up after breakfast, the girls went to see Madame Morrible, who told them that Ama Clutch had had a “relapse during the night and was recovering in the infirmary.” She also told them they could not see her at that time. When Doctor Dillamond did not show up to his lecture that morning, they pushed their way into the infirmary to see Ama Clutch, whose face looked funny and who stared vacantly but said nothing.
As they were leaving, Ama Clutch turned to a long rusty nail on a silver tray beside her and began talking to it, saying she knew it had not meant to stab her foot last year. Before Elphaba can finish her tale, Boq leaves, not able to listen to any more of her “blather” or any more prayers for Dr. Dillamond’s spirit, which has clearly left his body.
(The entire section is 326 words.)
The Charmed Circle, Parts 1-2 Summary
While everyone who has seen the corpse believes that Dr. Dillamond was murdered, the official story is that “the doctor had broken a magnifying lens and stumbled against it, cutting an artery in the process.” The only one who might be able to contradict this story, Ama Clutch, says nothing, only talking to the various objects surrounding her.
Galinda, as a belated apology to Dr. Dillamond for her initial rudeness, begins calling herself “Glinda,” as he called her, but she refuses to visit Ama Clutch or discuss her condition. Elphaba, however, continues to visit, and it is Elphaba who comes up with a solution when Madame Morrible says that without a chaperone, she and Glinda will have to move to the dormitory.
Soon after this, Boq picks up Nanny at the station. Along with her comes Nessarose—“gorgeous, pink, slender as a wheat stalk, and armless.” With another’s steadying hand and her own careful footing, Nessarose can keep her balance, but she requires constant aid. She was not expected at Shiz until the following year, but with Nanny summoned to step in as chaperone to Elphaba and Glinda, Nessarose must come along too.
Upon their arrival they meet with Madame Morrible, who says she will set up Nanny and Nessarose in a room adjoining Elphaba and Glinda. When Glinda questions what will happen when Ama Clutch recovers, Madama Morrible brushes aside this possibility, saying, “You have already told me of the long-standing recurrence of this unusual medical condition. I can only assume this has deteriorated into a permanent relapse.”
Boq, who witnesses the whole exchange, realizes how much Glinda has changed. Still, he looks forward to seeing her the following week in life sciences in the first coeducational lecture to be offered at Shiz; now that prohibitions are in place on Animal hiring, the colleges have decided to jointly give assembly lectures to all the students.
In the following chapter, Glinda herself ponders how much she has changed: “She had come to Shiz a vain, silly thing, and now found herself in a coven of vipers.” She worries that what has happened to Ama Clutch is her own fault, for “she had invented a nonsense disease for Ama Clutch, and Ama Clutch had come down with it.”
She certainly no longer trusts Madame Morrible, and she sees Pfannee and Shenshen for the “shallow, self-serving snobs” that they are. She...
(The entire section is 881 words.)
The Charmed Circle, Part 3 Summary
A few days later, Boq stops Elphaba to ask whether she knows if Dr. Dillamond’s lab has been cleared out. Elphaba admits that she snuck in there soon after his death to remove his findings and has been studying them on her own, although without much success. Boq asks to be able to see the findings as well but Elphaba refuses, saying that “the less (he) know(s) the better.” She believes that whoever killed Dr. Dillamond did so to keep his findings from being published. Boq is upset by this, but Elphaba will not budge.
Soon after this, they find themselves listening to Dr. Nikidik’s lecture on the Life Force—most of which they cannot understand because of his mumbling. The class’s attention is finally captured when he releases a kind of smoky powder from a bottle, gesturing for the students to be quiet and not to breathe too deeply, for it would throw off the path of the powered “Extract of Biological Intention.” It seems to be drifting toward four portraits of the school’s founders, and the students anxiously await what might happen.
The moment is disrupted when someone opens a sidedoor, disturbing the air currents. A new student enters, “oddly dressed in suede leggings and a white cotton shirt, with a pattern of blue diamonds tattooed on the dark skin of his face and hands.” He is a Winkie from the Vinkus—the first any of the students have ever seen. He apologizes for being late and explains that the other doors were locked.
As if having the entire class stare at him is not enough, he is soon attacked by an animated pair of antlers, which had fallen in the path of the strange powder. The antlers pin him to the door, and it is only the quick action of Crope and Tibbett that saves him from being pierced through. The two boys wrestle the antlers off of the unprepared Winkie and proceed to break off the tines.
The attack provokes a discussion the next day in sorcery about the difference between science and magic. As the teacher Miss Greyling explains:
“Science, my dears, is the systematic dissection of nature, to reduce it to working parts that more or less obey universal laws. Sorcery moves in the opposite direction. It doesn’t rend, it repairs. . . . In the hands of someone truly skilled . . . it is Art.”
Glinda ponders this, but Nessarose immediately disagrees, saying that “only the...
(The entire section is 747 words.)
The Charmed Circle, Parts 4-5 Summary
As the group of friends—including, Elphaba, Glinda, Nessarose, Boq, Crope, Tibbett, and Avaric—begins spending more time together, they become more comfortable with each other, a kind of “charmed circle.”
One day, Crope brings Fiyero along with him and the group learns that even though he is only 18, Fiyero has been married for some time. This is standard practice in the Vinkus—although they later learn that he will not actually begin living with his wife until he is 20. Boq also finds that his crush on Glinda is abating. She is a changed person, more self-reliant and less self-absorbed, and he is happy to have her as a friend.
During this time, the girls try to avoid Madame Morrible as much as possible. However, one day she sends Grommetik to summon Elphaba and Nessarose into her office to tell them she has received a package from their father as well as some news. “He writes,” she says, “to ask of Nessarose’s health and progress, and to tell you both that he is going to undertake a fast and penance for the return of Ozma Tippetarius.” The young Ozma had disappeared when the Wizard took power, and although most believe she is dead, others believe she has been “spirited away and frozen in a cave like Lurlina.”
Madame Morrible is not happy about this news, and she wants to assure herself that the girls do not share their father’s “seditious attitudes . . . (and) royalist yearnings.” They tell her they do not. She then presents them with the package, which contains a pair of dazzling shoes for Nessarose—“the surface of the shoes (seems) to pulse with hundreds of reflections and refractions. In the firelight, it (is) like looking at boiling corpuscles of blood under a magnifying glass.” There is nothing in the box for Elphaba, which does not go unnoticed by either Elphaba or Nanny.
Later, while out with their charmed circle of friends, Nessarose admits that while she may have been her father’s pet and captured his heart because of her disability, Elphaba captured his heart when she sang. This surprises everyone in the group, and they will not relent until Elphaba agrees to sing.
The whole room quiets as she sings a song about “a land where injustice and common cruelty and despotic rule and the beggaring fist of drought didn’t work together to hold everyone by the neck.” When she finishes,...
(The entire section is 726 words.)
The Charmed Circle, Part 6 Summary
Soon after, Ama Clutch’s funeral is held, at which minimal refreshments are offered, offending both Glinda and Nanny considerably. To their criticisms, Madame Morrible simply reminds them of the food shortages that currently exist and points out, “If only people would obey the Wizard absolutely, there would be abundance.” She then tells the girls she wants to see them alone after the guests leave—even Grommetik and Nanny are sent out of the room.
Once alone, she asks the girls to tell her about Ama Clutch’s last words. They all insist she “spewed nonsense to the last,” but Madame Morrible seems to believe otherwise and mentions how often at the end, “the dying often try to make sense, at the last possible moment, of the puzzles of their lives.” She then says she thought Ama Clutch might have mentioned seeing the Goat’s body, the blood, and Grommetik, then goes on to tell her own version of what happened.
According to Madame Morrible, she had sent Grommetik over with a pot of tea when she noticed the lights on in the morning at Dr. Dillamond's lab, but when Grommetik arrived, the Doctor was already dead from somehow stumbling into the lens and severing his jugular vein. Grommetik had gone to check a pulse, at which time Ama Clutch arrived.
Seeing Grommetik with blood on him, she had assumed the worst, and Madame Morrible believes the shock of it all “sent Ama Clutch pitching back into her ailment.” At this point, Glinda finally admits she invented the ailment. This only causes Madame Morrible to express renewed conviction in Glinda’s talents for sorcery. Glinda does not bring up the fact that Ama Clutch had noticed something was wrong in the evening.
Next Madame Morrible tells the girls she has something to say to them all in the strictest confidence—something that cannot be repeated out of that room. For some years, she explains, she has been working on a “crucial task . . . essential to the internal security of Oz” and only now are the “goods” at her disposal. The girls soon understand they are the “goods” about which she is speaking. Next, she puts a binding spell on each of them that will make it impossible for them to discuss what she is about to say.
After explaining some of the difficulties facing Oz and praising the Wizard for his work, Madame Morrible announces that the Wizard needs some “agents . . . a few...
(The entire section is 735 words.)
The Charmed Circle, Part 7 Summary
As Elphaba and Glinda head to the Emerald City, seven members of the "charmed circle" go to the Philosophy Club: Boq; Avaric, Crope, Tibbett, Fiyero, Shenshen, and Pfannee. All are a bit nervous, especially Boq. They are greeted at the window by Yackle, who explains the rules to them: once in, the doors are locked, and there is an “if-you-pay-you-play policy.”
Inside a dwarf welcomes them, tells them they are the “seven-of-diamond tickets,” and tells them what they should do: “Have a drink on the house, watch the girlie show, and dance a little if you want. Every hour or so I close this street door and open the next. . . . You all go in together or you don’t go in at all.”
Inside they find a mixed crowd of Animals, humans, dwarfs, elves, and tiktok creatures. Several of them say they think they have gone far enough, but before they can take action, their tickets along with those of several others are called, and the group of 23 proceeds through the door. All but Shenshen and Avaric feel a bit squeamish. They find themselves in a dark theater, where the friends are split up. Some kind of hallucinogenic incense fills the air, and Boq finds his thoughts becoming more and more blurred.
Soon the dwarf appears on stage and points to a woman, a man, and a tiger on stage. The man, Boq realizes, is Tibbett. Then, using shackles, emollients, scented oils, and riding crops, the dwarf directs the three in an act of sexual perversity, where the “true, clandestine study of knowledge (can) begin.” Tibbett, the reader later learns, never recovers from this night’s experience, and the whole group is never together again.
(The entire section is 285 words.)
The Charmed Circle, Part 8 Summary
While the others go to the Philosophy Club, Glinda and Elphaba head to the Emerald City. It takes them more than a week to finally arrive after experiencing bad weather, hunger, run-down inns, uncomfortable carriages, and horrible nightmares.
Finally they see the Emerald City in the distance. Glinda notices the “pomp (and) pretension” and Elphaba notices that there are no Animals in sight. Together they notice many poor, destitute people on the streets as well as dirty children running in packs and young girls “dressed like women for hire.”
Five days later, after working their way past the gatekeeper, receptionist, social secretary, and Commander General and dropping Madame Morrible’s name to help them gain access, they find themselves about to meet the Wizard. They are advised they will have only four minutes and then are warned: “Do not approach until you are bade to do so. Do not speak until you are addressed. Do not venture a remark unless it is to answer a comment or question.” When Elphaba comments that this sounds pretty aristocratic, Glinda warns her to keep quiet.
They proceed through a series of salons before they finally get to the inner chamber, where they see no sign of the Wizard. A “skeleton of dancing lights” appears before them along with pelts of rain and sounds of thunder. Finally a voice speaks to them from out of the thunder saying, “I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. . . . Who are you?”
Elphaba freezes, so it is Glinda who speaks first to reveal their names. This prompts Elphaba to continue, and she tells him they are students of Madame Morrible and are “in possession of some vital information.” The news she brings, she continues, concerns the murder of Dr. Dillamond and the suppression of the discoveries he was making. She has an “interest in the pursuit of justice,” which she hopes the Wizard shares, and believes that knowledge of Dr. Dillamond’s discoveries would cause him to change his treatment of Animals and his opinions about their rights.
The Wizard has only criticisms and put-downs of Dr. Dillamond to offer but Elphaba persists, presenting papers that she says detail the Doctor’s “Theory of Consciousness Inclination” and arguing that “no right-thinking ruler can afford to ignore the implica(tions).” Here the Wizard cuts her off, saying he is touched that she believes him to be right-thinking. Elphaba says that if...
(The entire section is 592 words.)
City of Emeralds, Part 1 Summary
This section picks up five years later as Fiyero, who has just graduated from Shiz, makes a stop at the unionist chapel in Saint Glinda’s Square during a trip to the Emerald City on business. There he unexpectedly runs into Elphaba, who appears as a “penitent . . . at prayer.” She denies that it is her and to avoid speaking to him further she soon sneaks out a side door, but he follows her.
Although she is clearly trying to avoid anyone following her, Fiyero is a skilled hunter and manages to trail her to the poor side of town, where he calls out “Fabala”—her nickname—and she unthinkingly turns her head. Stuck, she invites him in for a brief visit. They pass her cat “Malky” in the stairwell. Fiyero teases her, asking, “Your familiar?” Elphaba replies that she would “as soon be thought a witch as anything else,” so she does not correct him.
Fiyero then tries to strike up a conversation by sharing a bit about his life, saying that he and his wife, Sarima, have three children and spend part of the year in the Thousand Year Grasslands and part at Kiamo Ko, the former Office of Public Works waterworks headquarters that his father had taken over and made his tribal stronghold. He is in town to work out some business trade agreements. He urges the silent Elphaba to reveal why she left Shiz so suddenly all those years ago, leaving her sister and Nanny distraught and with no explanation. She finally agrees to speak but warns him that he is never to come to this place again.
“I was fed up with Shiz,” she says. “The death of Doctor Dillamond vexed me, and everybody grieved and nobody cared. Not really. It wasn’t the right place for me anyway, all those silly girls.”
When he questions why she cut off even her own sister and Nanny, she says she “loved (them) too much to keep in touch,” and he guesses that she is working with some kind of resistance group. She admits as much but says she can give him no details. She rails against the many abuses going on in the city and the rights being taken away, and she worries that he could turn her in to a Gale Force soldier or lead them to her unknowingly. That is why, she insists, he can never come to see her again. When she hands him his coat and shakes his hand, he looks into her face and can see her need.
They meet again. This time Fiyero shares news of some of the others. Boq married Miss...
(The entire section is 1604 words.)
City of Emeralds, Part 2 Summary
As Lurlinemas approaches, Fiyero wanders the city, unable to see Elphaba and confused about his life. As he is buying scarves in a shop for both Elphaba and his wife, he runs into Glinda and Crope. Glinda insists they go for tea after making her purchases—all of which she puts on the account of her husband, Sir Chuffrey, “holder of the most useless title and the biggest stock portfolio in the Pertha Hills.” At tea, when she learns Fiyero’s wife is not with him, she immediately accuses him of having an affair “because (he) look(s) so happy.”
He quickly turns the conversation back to her and she talks about sorcery, her husband, her lack of children, and running into Nessarose and Nanny recently at their family home in the Emerald City. She invites Fiyero to come for dinner, but he says he doubts he will be able to do so. As they part, she says in reference to Elphaba, “If you should see her, tell her I miss her still,” seeming to suspect that Fiyero and Elphaba are in contact.
When two weeks have passed, Fiyero anxiously goes to see Elphaba again and finds her making a vegetable pie for him. He does not tell her about running into Glinda or hearing that her sister was in town—he knows she has enough on her mind right now.
Later that night she suggests he might want to be out of town on Lurlinemas Eve—something big is going to happen although she is not sure exactly what. At a minimum, he should “stay away from anything social . . . theater or crowds or even restaurants.” Neither should he wait at her apartment for her. When he questions what he has to live for, she tells him she loves him.
He promises to be careful but that night, he follows her. She is dressed in a long, dark skirt; a dark scarf pulled over her mouth; tight-fitting gloves; and a “tall wide-brimmed hat with a crown like a cone.” She walks through many parts of the city, making a brief stop at the chapel of Saint Glinda (he guesses for last-minute instructions), but ultimately marches away from the location where he knows the Wizard to be, so Fiyero supposes she is either part of a diversionary tactic or is aiming to kill some lesser accomplice.
Elphaba continues until she reaches a fashionable part of the city called Goldhaven, where she stops near a theater named the Lady’s Mystique. There she waits and Fiyero watches—“he (doesn’t)...
(The entire section is 919 words.)
The Voyage Out, Parts 1-2 Summary
After seven years of leading the solitary life of a maunt, with two years in town and five years at the Cloister of Saint Glinda in the Shale Shallows twelve miles outside the Emerald City, Sister Saint Aelphaba leaves the Cloister with some clothes, a basket of simples, some paper, a pen, and a broom given to her by Mother Yackle.
She joins the Grasstrail Train, bound for the Vinkus, to “conduct an exercise in expiation,” for she feels “there is a penalty to pay before (she) may find peace.” The Superior Maunt provides the needed payment to the driver, Oatsie Manglehand, who believes it is especially generous until she realizes the “small, chunky ragamuffin boy behind the trunk” is coming, too.
Once on the road, Oatsie explains their route, which will take them “south along the edge of Kellswater, west through Kumbricia’s pass, northwest through the Thousand Year Grasslands, stopping at Kiamo Ko, and then wintering a bit farther northwest.” She also reminds them that these are uncivilized lands filled with various tribal groups, and they will need to trust each other and stick together. She asks the Sister what she would prefer to be called, and she says “Elphie.” When asked for the boy’s name, Elphaba merely shrugs. To Oatsie, it appears the boy is her page, for he attends to her various needs but the two never speak.
After some time of traveling, Elphie finds her own thoughts returning to her. The seven years as a maunt all blend together—washing floors, making wine, caring for the sick and infirm. Three years she had spent in absolute silence and two in whispers; the final two, she had been moved up to work in the ward for incurables. It was there she encountered the “pale invalid Tibbett.” He recognized Elphaba at once—“he joked, he remembered stories, he criticized old friends for abandoning him . . . (and) under the scrutiny of his tired frame she was recreated, against her will, as an individual.” When he finally died, the Superior Maunt told her it was time for her to move on.
The others in the group all have their own reasons for traveling to such a faraway place. They also bring many animals with them, including a dog named Killyjoy that belongs to the cook but takes a liking to the boy. Oatsie hears the boy tell the dog, “I’m Liir.” The cook does not like that his dog prefers someone else. Elphaba does not like the...
(The entire section is 932 words.)
The Voyage Out, Parts 3-4 Summary
The following day they meet up with the Scrow, who carry a large palanquin filled with “a huge slab of an old woman” with two crows on her shoulders. She is the Princess Nastoya, “the filthiest, least-educated princess anyone had ever seen, yet she had some dignity.” The Princess’s tent is at the middle of the Scrow camp, and she invites five members of the group to join her at the Scrow Shrine: Oatsie, the rafiqi, Igo, a man named Pinchweed, and Elphaba.
Elphaba is caught up in the wonder of it all. When the group arrives, they see the Princess Nastoya dressed in a native costume, surrounded by crows. When she lets her toweled garment drop, she reveals herself to be an Elephant. She then proceeds to ask each member why they are there.
Considering the situation, Elphaba realizes she needs to speak. She says:
“To retire from the world after making sure of the safety of the survivors of my lover. To face his widow, Sarima, in guilt and responsibility, and then to remove myself from the darkening world.”
At this the Elephant tells everyone else but Elphaba and the rafiqi to leave the room and she addresses Elphaba directly, explaining that she herself is under a spell. Because Animals are being hunted, she “chooses magical incarceration as a human over the dangerous liberty of (her) own powerful form.” She wants to help Elphaba, so she gives her three crows to serve as her “familiars” since she is choosing to disguise herself as a witch.
Elphaba is surprised to hear she is viewed as a witch, wondering what her father would think, but she appreciates the gesture. Since they have the same enemy, the Princess promises if possible to send help to Elphaba if she ever needs it—she only need send word through the crows.
She also reminds Elphaba of the strength that is within her, for “something told those bees to kill the cook.” Elphaba grows pale at these words, not wanting to believe she is responsible, but the Princess Nastoya knows there is more to her than she recognizes. She also reaches out her trunk, places it on Elphaba’s shoulders, and says to her, “Remember this: Nothing is written in the stars. Not these stars, nor any others. No one controls your destiny.”
In the next chapter they say goodbye to the Scrow as well as to Igo, who dies along the way; then they enter Arjiki...
(The entire section is 630 words.)
The Jasper Gates of Kiamo Ko, Parts 1-2 Summary
Inside the house Sarima’s youngest sister, Six, wakes her up to let her know they have a houseguest—a woman “green as sin, thin and crooked, older than any of us. Dressed in black like an old maunt.” She wants to know what they should prepare for dinner; Sarima readies herself to welcome the guest. She puts on one of the scarves that had arrived unexpectedly in the mail from her husband “several months after the Incident.”
Sarima next checks on her children: sons Irji, 12, and Manek, 11; and daughter Nor, 9. She has had to watch over them all very carefully out of fear that another clansman might try to claim leadership of the tribe by killing them off. They tell her that a boy has also arrived. Manek has already thrown stones at him “to see how far they would bounce off him” and “made him pull down his trousers so (they) could make sure his thing wasn’t green.” Liir had done nothing to retaliate. Sarima expresses her disapproval, then tells them the story of the “Witch and the fox babies” before going downstairs to greet her guest.
After brief introductions, with Elphaba holding back her name, Sarima invites her to stay for a meal. Elphaba insists that she can do nothing until they speak. She is anxious to present her confession, blurting out that “(she) was the cause of Fiyero’s death,” but Sarima will have none of it. No matter how anxious Elphaba is to tell her tale, she cannot speak “unless (Sarima) want(s) to hear it, which is (her) prerogative. This is (her) house and (she) choose(s) to hear what (she) want(s).”
Elphaba pleads, saying that Sarima must listen for she needs her forgiveness. Sarima leaves her to carry that burden a while longer—and correctly guesses that she must be Elphaba, the one who Fiyero said did not believe in the soul. So why, she pointedly asks, is she so worried about forgiveness?
At dinner Sarima introduces Elphaba as “Auntie Guest.” The sisters are only known by their numbers: Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six. Elphaba does not speak during the meal, and she appears miserable as they later sit in the Music Room listening to the youngest sister sing. Sarima holds out hope that Elphaba might be someone she can eventually talk to about her troubling life.
As time passes, the sisters begin calling Elphaba “Auntie Witch,” and the children become very curious about her habits and abilities....
(The entire section is 690 words.)
The Jasper Gates of Kiamo Ko, Parts 3-4 Summary
Elphaba enjoys her tower room with its large window that looks out onto the Kells. She does not, however, enjoy the company of the sisters and tries to avoid everyone but Sarima as much as possible. She has no idea where Liir sleeps, but he appears every morning to bring her cocoa and help with the crows.
One morning near Lurlinemas, a commotion arises when Chistery gets into the kitchen. Only Elphaba can finally calm him down, but she wonders how he got out of her room and is upset to find that Nor had gone into her room to get some of her paper. She leaves in a rage, and the others go back to decorating for the holiday.
In the morning, Sarima’s three children all have a basket of gifts left for them by Lurline and Preenella; Liir has none. When Irji suggests that perhaps they left it at his old house and asks where he used to live, Liir starts to cry and tells them he does not know. Nor shares parts of her gingerbread mouse with him. The children and sisters then sing songs together. Elphaba never appears and says she is taking a “few days in solitary comfort.” Sarima spends the day in her private chapel, remembering her husband.
Part Four picks up a few weeks later. While the children are having snow battles outside, Elphaba appears to the sisters and apologizes for her earlier outburst over Chistery. She also uses the opportunity to ask them about Sarima and how she learned of Fiyero’s death.
They hesitantly begin speaking, saying she learned of it from an Arjiki trader who came through the following spring. He recounted how he had received an anonymous message that Fiyero had been murdered. He hired some brutes to go with him to the address, where they broke down the door and found “evidence of struggle and massive quantities of blood” but no body.
For a year Sarima refused to believe he was dead, thinking that any day they might receive a ransom note. But when none came, they had to accept the worst. Now, it will be up to Irji to claim his rights to leadership when he comes of age—but the sisters all agree that Manek would be a better candidate.
As for what Sarima believes, they admit she thought Fiyero might be having an affair with Glinda and that Glinda’s husband found out and had Fiyero followed, then killed. The sisters, however, think he might have gotten involved in some political enterprise and that perhaps his body was taken...
(The entire section is 501 words.)
The Jasper Gates of Kiamo Ko, Parts 5-6 Summary
As winter wears on, Elphaba begins wearing her hat more often to keep ice from falling on her, and the sisters entertain themselves by rereading the romantic novel Fiyero had at one time sent them, which they have read over and over for many years.
One afternoon, Sarima and Elphaba stumble upon each other in an unused room, where Elphaba has discovered some old books. One especially catches her interest: a beautifully crafted Grimmerie, “a sort of encyclopedia of things numinous. Magic; and of the other spirit world; and of things seen and unseen; and of things once and future.” The book itself seems magical, as it scrambles itself as one looks at it. Elphaba can only make out a few lines.
Sarima, who had forgotten about the book, now recalls that it was given to her more than ten years ago by an old man who said he was a sorcerer. After she had given him a meal and a bath, he gave her the book—a book, he said, which “was a book of knowledge . . . that belonged in another world, but it wasn’t safe there.” He had brought it to this world in hopes of hiding it, keeping it “out of harm’s way,” and he believed the isolated and fortress-like Kiamo Ko would be the perfect place. The man, she recalls, spoke with an accent and wore a strange tunic.
Elphaba, who is very curious about the book, proposes that perhaps he was someone loyal to the Ozma Regent, who brought the book—an ancient Lurlinist Tract—to Kiamo Ko for safekeeping until Ozma Tipperarius could be restored. Sarima does not believe this, but since he did not say not to read it, she lets Elphaba take it.
The next chapter picks up one day when the children are bored with their lessons and agree to play hide-and-seek. Manek picks the best hiding place and cannot be found—the children finally give up in the house and head down to the basement, where Irji says there are “tunnels from here all the way to hell” because Kiamo Ko used to be a waterworks headquarters. While there, he points out the fishwell where they get all their fish to eat. Once, Irji reports, Six saw a gold carp in there.
The children finally find Manek on the steps outside Elphaba’s room, where he is spying on Auntie Witch. They see that she has her finger in a book and is mumbling to herself. Manek says she is trying to teach Chistery to talk. When Liir looks in, he overhears her speaking...
(The entire section is 712 words.)
The Jasper Gates of Kiamo Ko, Parts 7-8 Summary
The children continue to be curious about Elphaba’s efforts to teach Chistery to speak; they wonder if she is crazy or truly magical. One day while she is out of the room, they sneak in and try talking to Chistery themselves. He can only roughly mimic their words. As they are speaking, she catches them in the act. Much to their surprise and joy, she does not get angry with them—she simply tells them they are not allowed in there, so they leave. They decide after this that they are no longer afraid of her.
In the next chapter, on another rainy afternoon, the children again play hide-and-seek. This time, though, Manek criticizes Liir for not being able to hide well, then tells him he will help him to hide. Manek leads him down to the basement, where he lowers him into the fishwell and covers it with the lid. Liir is fearful, but Manek promises to hide nearby and assures Liir that Nor will never find him here.
Meanwhile, Elphaba goes to Sarima to complain that her children are undisciplined and “ungovernable”—they bother Chistery, they go through her things, and they do not listen when spoken to. They ought to be in school.
Sarima, however, does not believe this is possible because she thinks that at school, their lives might be in danger. She and Elphaba begin to debate the evilness versus innocence of children, but their conversation is interrupted by the news that a caravan is approaching. They excitedly discuss who could be approaching over dinner. When Four asks where Liir is, the children say they do not know—they were playing together earlier. Instead of reporting what he knows, Manek suggests they build a bonfire to welcome the travelers.
(The entire section is 295 words.)
The Jasper Gates of Kiamo Ko, Parts 9-10 Summary
The next day, much to Elphaba’s surprise, Nanny emerges from the carriage that has just arrived. All of the sisters are surprised to see Auntie Guest so overcome with emotion. A delicious dinner is served, with all the adults and children dressed in their best clothes. Liir is still missing.
Nanny explains how she found Elphaba. One day while in the Emerald City, she ran into Crope, who said that Elphaba had tended to Tibbett in his final days at the Cloister of Saint Glinda. Nanny went to speak to the maunts, who finally told her where Elphaba had last been headed.
She also brings the news that the Wizard has crowned himself Emperor and that there is now an “enforced conscription,” with the Gale Force almost outnumbering the Royal Army. There are also questions about his expansionist aims, and Elphaba worries that perhaps he might tighten his grip on the Vinkus.
The sisters are glad to finally learn Auntie Guest’s real name, and Five reminds them of the story of Saint Aelphaba of the Waterfall, who had to hide behind the waterfall to get away from the wild beasts and men who threatened her and to find the privacy to pray, read her holy scriptures, and eat her single bunch of grapes. When she finally emerged hundreds of years later, she blessed the children and elderly, heard confessions, healed the sick, then went back to her waterfall. There they built a chapel in her honor.
To this Sarima says, “So you can disappear and not be dead,” thinking of her husband. More to the point, Nor and Irji burst into the room saying they have found Liir. They did so with Chistery’s help because the monkey wrinkled up his nose when they passed by the fishwell When they finally retrieved Liir from the bucket, he appeared “like a corpse left in a stream, bloated.”
Elphaba sends the children away, immediately suspecting Manek of being behind the mischief. The sisters urge her to use magic to bring Liir back and she desperately looks through the Grimmerie for guidance, but it is Nanny who steps in with more practical advice, telling her to “put (her) mouth on his and push air into his lungs.”
Soon, Liir begins to choke and his eyelids move. Nanny continues giving directions, telling them to get him out of his wet clothes and put him to bed. None of the adults knows where Liir sleeps; the children, who are listening upstairs, say that sometimes he sleeps on...
(The entire section is 673 words.)
Uprisings, Parts 1-2 Summary
One afternoon, after things have quieted down because at Nanny’s insistence the children have started school, Elphaba and Nanny take a walk. Nanny tells her about her family. Nessarose has taken over as Eminent Thropp since their great grandfather finally died and Elphaba is presumed dead. Their father lives there, too, having finally given up the ministry. Her brother Shell is rumored to be an agitator for Munchkinland independence, but Nessarose guards her words carefully, not taking a clear stand for or against independence. Nanny suspects her of wanting to start her own theocracy.
When Nanny says Nessarose is “adept” at what she does, it reminds Elphaba of Madame Morrible’s words to them so long ago, and she wonders if all of them are pawns in Madame Morrible’s game. This thought is only strengthened by her memory of what Liir said about the fish he saw in the fishwell: “The fish told me she was magic. She said that Fiyero was my father, and that Irji and Manek and Nor are my brothers and my sister.” Sarima calls the boy “silly . . . (and) delusional,” but Elphaba feels more drawn to him than she ever has, even reaching out to touch his shoulder.
Another day, Nanny tells Elphaba that Nessarose can now stand on her own two feet—literally. Some years back, Glinda cast a spell on the beautiful shoes that Frex had sent to Nessarose while she was a Shiz, and the shoes now allow her to stand on her own.
Nanny also questions Elphaba about Liir, asking her if he is her son. Elphaba says she cannot answer that question with certainty. She recounts how, when she first went to the mauntery, she “was in no state to know what was happening . . . (and) spent about a year in a deathly sleep.” It is possible that during that time she had a child.
It took her another year to recover, Elphaba explains, and once she started working with the sick, the dying, and the abandoned children, Liir was just another one of the children surrounding her. When she left the mauntery, she was told to take Liir with her.
When Nanny suggests that perhaps Elphaba has “an obligation to be motherly to him . . . despite the mystery,” Elphaba resists. And a;though Nanny says she is too old to raise another generation of Thropps, after this she begins tending to Liir’s needs more lovingly than she had before.
Having also heard from Nanny that the Wizard has started a...
(The entire section is 927 words.)
Uprisings, Part 3 Summary
As the troops settle in, Nor finds herself often alone. Liir spends his time following after the soldiers, serving as their waterboy; Irji spends his time composing religious songs for Lurlina; and her aunts spend most of their time in their rooms, uncertain of how to behave around the men in residence. Although they would all love to be free to “court” the young men, none of them can be married until Sarima remarries, and she seems to have no interest in doing so.
Bored, Nor begins hanging around the men’s dormitory, helping with chores whenever needed. One day, she steals Elphaba’s broom because she likes “its thicker brush and longer handle,” and she wants to do a full cleaning of the rooms while the men are gone. While seated, she reaches out toward the broom, and it starts to move toward her. She realizes that it is magic.
Soon the broom starts hovering, and she climbs on. Before she knows what is happening, it takes off and carries her through the window of the barracks, higher and higher into the sky, until it stops in front of Elphaba’s window. She and Nanny see Nor and yell for her to come down. The broom responds to these words and returns her to the floor of the men’s barracks. Fearful, Nor grabs the now lifeless broom and returns in to Elphaba, who proceeds to chasten Nor, then warns her to stay away from the soldiers—but not before asking her about the plans, maps, and letters Nor saw in the barracks.
This episode gets Elphaba thinking about the broom, which had originally been given to her by Mother Yackle, and she wonders whether it was “magicked” by her or whether Nor has some hidden ability starting to develop within her. Curious whether it will fly for her too, Elphaba begins attempting to make it fly, and after many days, she finally gets it to hover. Finally, after threatening it with fire, it carries her up into the sky, making her feel like “a night angel.”
In midsummer, a letter arrives by way of the mauntery for Nanny and Elphaba from Frex, informing them that Nessarose has orchestrated a revolt and that Munchkinland has seceded from Oz. Nessarose, now the Eminent Thropp, is serving as the head of state.
Frex’s letter, however, suggests that perhaps this is a position better suited to Elphaba. His concerns surprise Elphaba, but she is also excited by the news that Munchkinland is “free of the Wizard’s iron grip,”...
(The entire section is 502 words.)
Uprisings, Parts 4-5 Summary
Elphaba sleeps by day and flies by night. As she gets further east, she can see that the drought’s effects are no longer visible and the farmlands are again lush. She also sees that the further east she goes, the more torn up the Yellow Brick Road is.
When she finally arrives in Colwen Grounds, she asks for directions to the “great house” and is shocked when she sees its grandeur. The guards are about to send her away when someone calls out “Fabala,” and she sees her father coming to greet her warmly. The two proceed to share news of their lives, and her father explains how the secession finally came about—with Nessarose gathering support for such an act after the Wizard’s troops had burned an opposition meeting house, raped some Munchkinlander women, heavily taxed the farms, and participated in the Massacre at Far Applerue.
His concerns now, he explains, are that “Nessie is at the mercy of her religious voices, and she could slip and undo the terrible good she is helping to create right now by being a focal figure for resistance.” He hopes Elphaba, with her “cunning and (her) conviction,” will stay and join her sister in ruling Munchkinland.
Because the Wizard has not yet retaliated for their secession, he thinks Nessarose and the Munchkinlanders have been deluded into thinking they are safe, and they need Elphaba’s clearer mind to help them prepare for what he sees as the inevitable response. His new pragmatism surprises Elphaba. He also worries that Nessarose, with her magicked shoes, “thinks she needs no one, to help her stand or help her govern,” and for this reason he believes the shoes are dangerous.
When Elphaba admits for the first time that she wishes her father had made the shoes for her, he tells her, “You didn’t need them. You had your voice, your intensity, even your cruelty as your armor.” Elphaba recoils as this idea of “her cruelty,” but Frex recalls how as a baby, she was a “fiendish thing,” and it was only after holding and spending time with her sister that she began to calm down. He also tells her about her brother, Shell, who is now serving as a spy behind enemy lines. Frex predicts Shell will not live long, being a foolish and stubborn boy.
After this, Elphaba goes to visit her sister and finds her in an upstairs parlor. Nessarose, not completely surprised, stands to greet her. And although she recalls how...
(The entire section is 772 words.)
Uprisings, Parts 6-7 Summary
With Nessarose busy with another meeting, Elphaba goes for a walk with her father and pointedly asks him why he sent for her. He tells her directly that he thinks she would make a better Eminent Thropp than her sister and reminds her that it is her birthright. He also worries that Nessarose is “too devout to be a central figure in public life,” that she does not know how to relate well to others, and that Elphaba would be a much more capable ruler and would better meet their current needs.
As they are walking, the two of them see a couple of farmhands erecting a scarecrow in the cornfield. Elphaba notices they are wearing something like a talisman on their necks, and Frex explains that it is the “straw man . . . another pagan custom that had almost gone underground, and then was revived during the Great Drought.” The straw man is meant to be a charm against drought, crows, insects, and rot—and it was once associated with human sacrifice.
Frex then recalls how Turtle Heart the Quadling was butchered right there in Colwen Grounds on the day of Nessarose’s birth after the local population, incited by the itinerant dwarf and his tiktok clock, attacked him. Elphaba uses this opportunity to accuse her father of being in love with Turtle Heart—and he readily admits it, saying he and Melena shared him. When she suggests Frex return with her to the Vinkus, he says he could never leave Nessarose—even if, as Elphaba proposes, she is not his daughter. Through Nessarose, Elphaba realizes, he feels connected to Turtle Heart.
Later Nessarose also tries to encourage Elphaba to stay and act as a “sister-at-arms,” helping her to rule Oz. However, Elphaba has no desire to stay and says that Nessarose seems to be doing fine on her own—that her shoes have made her strong. At this, Nessie announces that she will change her will to leave her shoes to her sister when she dies.
What ensues after this is a conversation in which Elphaba challenges Nessrarose to remember the conversation they had with Madame Morrible years ago. She wonders if, perhaps, they are somehow unknowingly living out some collusive plan she had for them—after all, she had wanted Elphaba, Glinda, and Nessarose to serve as Adepts for the Wizard, and they are now two witches and a sorceress.
Nessarose insists that Madame Morrible only predicted...
(The entire section is 684 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Parts 1-2 Summary
This section begins seven years later with a great commotion in Oz as a “noise (seems) to come from all corners of the sky at once.” Everyone has their own explanation—some religious, some scientific—for what has happened, since none of them has experienced a tornado before.
The storm devastates farms throughout the Corn Basket, kills many Munchkinlanders, and most famously drops a house on the Wicked Witch of the East. Inside the house, it is later discovered, are two passengers: Dorothy, who “by virtue of her survival (is) elevated to living sainthood,” and her “annoying” dog Toto.
Elphaba receives the news of her sister’s death by carrier pigeon. Her monkey Chistery brings her the message as she is sewing wings onto her monkeys—a procedure she has finally perfected with the help of spells from the Grimmerie, thus allowing her monkeys to fly skyward. She tells Chistery to bring Nanny and Liir to her; then she goes back to work.
After she delivers the news of Nessarose’s death, Nanny weeps and Liir, now 14, begs to accompany her to Colwen Grounds, complaining that he has never gone anywhere. She tells him he will need to stay and take care of Nanny, but he suggests that Chistery can do that. Nanny worries about being left alone, questioning what will happen if the castle is attacked again. But Elphaba sees no chance of that happening; the Arjiki militia now guards the castle, and the Wizard’s army is well housed far below.
The three also reminisce about the events of seven years before. Elphaba has never given up hope up finding Sarima and her family, but Nanny thinks they are all long dead. Liir heroically recalls how he tries to rescue them. In fact, he only survived because Commander Cherrystone tied him up in a sack and left him in someone’s barn, not wanting to have to kill him or incarcerate him.
Elphaba spent a year following every clue but turned up nothing. She is still haunted, knowing that she was never able to get Sarima’s forgiveness for Fiyero’s death. She now wonders if maybe this is her chance to step back into the political affairs of the world. She decides to return to Colwen Grounds for the memorial service, bringing a page of the Grimmerie with her to see if Frex can help decipher it.
(The entire section is 400 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Part 3 Summary
When Elphaba arrives at Colwen Grounds, she learns that the Munchkinlanders have finally done away with the title of “Eminence” and are busy destroying the great house, that her lineage no longer carries any weight, and that her brother Shell is once again abroad. She sees that her father has aged and his eye sight nearly gone.
When she shows him the page from the Grimmerie and asks if he can read it, he says no and points out that it is in a foreign tongue. He is surprised she can read it at all, although, as he points out, even as a child she “could see things no one else could.” He recalls the looking glass Turtle Heart created, in which it sometimes seemed Elphaba could see “other worlds, other times.”
As they are speaking, someone approaches, and Elphaba realizes it is Glinda. After Frex drifts off to sleep, the two go for a walk, and Glinda laments the destruction of the beautiful house and all its accoutrements. Elphaba does not care about the house and says she understands why the Munchkinlanders did it, having read the slogans in reference to her sister: “She walked all over us.”
Next, Glinda recounts how she happened to be just twelve miles away from Colwen Grounds when the storm hit, so she was quickly able to arrive on the scene after she got news that Nessarose had been killed. She found the locals celebrating the Witch’s death and singing the praises of Dorothy, the girl from Kansas who arrived in the flying house, and her dog.
Since Glinda did not know how Dorothy could get back to Kansas and that seemed to be Dorothy’s biggest concern, she directed her on to Oz, thinking that perhaps the Wizard might have an answer. She was also anxious to get Dorothy out of Munchkinland, not knowing whether civil war might soon break out as a result of the Witch’s death. She did not want the Munchkinlanders rallying around Dorothy as their new leader, which some seemed determined to do.
Although disappointed she will not get to meet Dorothy, Elphaba initially seems to accept Glinda’s explanation of what happened and her insistence that Dorothy “wasn’t piloting the house . . . she was trapped in it.” That all changes when Glinda mentions that she gave Dorothy Nessarose’s shoes as a kind of protection. This enrages Elphaba, who complains that the shoes were not Glinda’s to give and that Nessarose had promised them to her.
(The entire section is 499 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Part 4 Summary
After Nessarose’s memorial service, an emissary of the Wizard approaches Elphaba and tells her that the Wizard wants to meet with her secretly that evening at Colwen Grounds. Elphaba agrees to meet him, hoping to use the opportunity to find out if Sarima is still alive and what happened to Fiyero as well as to ensure her father’s safety.
Before she can meet the Wizard, his emissary searches her and finds the page of the Grimmerie, which he takes, saying she can bring nothing in with her. She threatens that she can “reinstate the office of the Eminent Thropp and have (the Wizard) arrested,” but they do not listen to her.
When the Wizard enters, he is without disguise and looks like a “plain-looking, older man.” Almost immediately, he tells her he has two things he wants to know: whether she plans to take over her sister’s position, and where she got the page she brought with her. She now realizes that the army that has been stationed near Kiamo Ko all these years is there to keep an eye on her.
Elphaba assures the Wizard she has no desire to take over the position of Eminent Thropp, but she says she will not tell him where the page comes from unless she gets some information. She wants to know what happened to Sarima and, if she is still alive, how she might gain her freedom.
At this, the Wizard calls in what looks like a crouching dwarf, but Elphaba soon realizes it is Nor, with chains running through her clothes to keep her hunched over. Her hair cut short, welts all over her body, Nor does not look at Elphaba or respond to the voice of “Auntie Witch” but rather tosses her head side to side as if listening to music. The Wizard insists on keeping her as his captive, for she is his “protection” from Elphaba.
After this, he again asks where Elphaba got the mysterious page, which he says is “a spell for the Administration of Dragons” and comes from another world: his world. As the Wizard explains, the book is “an ancient manuscript of magic, generated in a world far away from this one . . . long thought to be legendary . . . (and) removed from (his) world” for safe keeping. The book is the reason he came to Oz: he had plans to retrieve it and then to return to his world to study its secrets.
When Elphaba hears this, she proposes that she will give him the book if he gives her Nor and promises to leave Oz. The Wizard, however, does not want to...
(The entire section is 708 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Parts 5-6 Summary
Before returning to Kiamo Ko, Elphaba decides to go looking for Dorothy to see if she can get back her sister’s shoes. After asking several Munchkinlanders if they had seen where she had gone, she is directed a well-kept house where she is told Dorothy stayed. There she finds her old friend Boq, his wife Milla, and their many children. They welcome her courteously, and she explains why she is there and why she wants the shoes. Boq and Milla tells her how they adored Dorothy, and they invite her to stay for a while.
As they talk, Elphaba tells them she now calls herself the Wicked Witch of the West, for “as long as people are going to call you a lunatic anyway, why not get the benefit of it? It liberates you from convention.” Boq insists that Elphaba is not wicked, that “it’s people who claim that they’re good, or anyway better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.”
This brings to mind Nessarose, and both Boq and Milla make it clear that they are glad she is gone. They both hope for a “sensible government” to take her place. Neither worries about the possibility of reunification—they just want peace and quiet.
At this, Elphaba wonders what has become of all her friends. They used to have ideals, and now they seem to have given them up. She brings up Dr. Dillamond and points out how his ideas still live on—that it is still possible to make a difference. Milla, however, insists that those times are gone and that the people who used to be in charge are now wasting away and that they should not bother with them. Elphaba points out that the Wizard is still just as powerful, but Milla says that is not true of Madame Morrible, who she has recently learned is now bedridden and in pain.
The conversation turns back to Dorothy, and Milla says how Dorothy reminded her of what Ozma might be like if she ever comes out of her supposed deep sleep—a “holy little girl.” Elphaba can think of nothing but the shoes and, saying she cannot waste any more time talking, she grabs her hat and broom and prepares to leave.
Frustrated, she feels disappointed by everyone around her and wonders why she did not team up with Nessarose when she had the chance. All of her campaigns, she thinks bitterly, have been unsuccessful. She decides to accomplish one important task before returning home: to kill Madame Morrible.
(The entire section is 586 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Part 7 Summary
Wanting to hear people’s reactions to the news of the attack on Madame Morrible, Elphaba decides to stick around Shiz for a while. Feeling impatient, she seeks out someone to whom she can confess and settles on Avaric, now the Margreave of Tenmeadows, which lies on the edge of Shiz.
Although he does not immediately remember her name and is certainly surprised to see her, Avaric remembers Elphaba, then wonders aloud whether “the whole world (is) playing reprises.” Earlier he had seen the same dwarf who had greeted their group of friends years back when they ventured to the Philosophy Club. Elphaba says she was not there, but he continues to think she was. He next recalls the “old hag who called herself Yackle.” At this Elphaba bristles, thinking it cannot possibly be the same Yackle and that Avaric must be mistaken.
She directs the conversation after this, telling him she killed Madame Morrible and that she “want(s) someone who would be believed to know about it.” While Avaric does question why she did it, he does not seem too surprised. He recalls how after Elphaba disappeared, Madame Morrible gathered her old group of friends together to warn them about her and her traitorous activities. Now he does not seem too bothered by her act, and after he assures her he will not call the police, she agrees to stay for dinner.
What ensues over dinner with Avaric and his friends is a philosophical discussion on the nature of evil. Avaric’s wife, the Margreavess, insists that evil is not a proper subject for a dinner conversation, but the rest of the group debates exactly what evil is, each offering his or her own point of view. Some think it is an absence of good, some an attribute, some an infection, some a primitive stage of moral development, some a mistake by the Unnamed God, and some an act in which one selects vice over virtue.
Ultimately, when the hostess asks Elphaba why she killed Madame Morrible, she shrugs and says, “For fun? Maybe evil is an art form.” With that she rises to leave, and although Avaric urges her to stay for the night since she is rather tipsy from the red wine she has been drinking, she declines his offer. After telling them they are a pack of fools for not turning her in to the authorities, she leaves with the final thought that perhaps “it is the nature of evil to be secret” and therefore impossible to fully understand.
(The entire section is 424 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Parts 8-9 Summary
Feeling too drunk to fly, Elphaba looks for a place to sleep and finds the Clock of the Time Dragon outside of town. Before she can lie down, however, the dwarf appears and they begin a conversation that addresses many of the questions Elphaba has about her life. When she asks him about Yackle and how he knows her, he responds that everyone knows Yackle and that sometimes they work together if their goals are the same.
When Elphaba asks him his name and who he works for, he gives another ambiguous answer, asking “Who haven’t I worked for?” and saying he has no name in this world. Frustrated with his riddles, Elphaba threatens to kill him like she killed someone else that day, but he tells her the person she “killed” was already dead.
However, since he is impressed by her determination, he agrees to tells her something of his story and admits he is “the guardian of the book, and (he) was brought to this dreaded, forsaken land to watch over the book’s history, to keep is from getting back to where it comes from.” The "book” refers to the Grimmerie now in Elphaba’s possession, and when she asks him why he does not take it back, he says he only interferes when it is necessary to keep the book safe.
Still feeling confused, Elphaba further questions him about Yackle, wondering why this “fiend” seems to hover around the edges of her life. The dwarf tells her that surely she must know—that she must realize by now—that she is a “half breed . . . a grafted limb . . . a dangerous anomaly” made both of Oz and the other world. When she insists she does not know what he means, he puts on a show for her in three acts.
Act One, “The Birth of Holiness,” portrays the life of Saint Aelphaba until she disappears behind the waterfall. Act Two, “The Birth of Evil,” depicts Melena kissing her parents goodbye at Colwen Grounds and running off with Frex, then sitting at home bored while he is off preaching to disinterested peasants. Soon a man comes along with a small black bag, from which he takes a green glass bottle. This he gives to Melena to drink, and she falls into his arms and the two make love. After this the traveler departs in a large balloon: it is the Wizard.
The Dwarf then calls out Act Three, “The Marriage of the Sacred and the Wicked,” but no action ensues. He tells Elphaba that the end of the play has not yet been...
(The entire section is 774 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Parts 10-11 Summary
In the air again, Elphaba feels both exhilaration and panic. She debates with herself why she really wants the shoes so badly. Is it truly to keep them out of the Wizard’s hands, or is it somehow to win her father’s affection? Should she abandon this quest and give up Nor, Liir, Nanny, Dorothy, and the shoes?
Just as she thinks that maybe she should, the wind carries her away and she loses control of her broom. Soon she sees the Yellow Brick Road below, and she thinks she sees Dorothy and her gang beneath a tree.
The Witch wakes up the next day with a horrible hangover and the inability to remember exactly what happened the day before. She’s not sure whether she ever confronted Dorothy and her friends or not. Knowing that she cannot follow them into the Emerald City at this time, she decides to head back to Kiamo Ko, where Nanny is happy to see her. When Liir appears, it is with the news that he has finally caught the mysterious golden carp in the fishwell, although when he finally caught it, it was already dead. He wonders aloud whether he will ever be able to tell Nor and the others about the fish.
Elphaba goes to her room and hangs the mirror, not wanting to look at it. She worries that somehow, she will see Dorothy in it. She realizes that Dorothy reminds her of someone, and although at first she thinks it might be Nor, she later realizes it is herself.
With this thought she flashes back to her time in Ovvels, when she was the “green girl, shy, gawky, and humiliated,” her mother pregnant with Shell and Nanny tending to Nessa. Her father brought her along when he went to seek forgiveness from Turtle Heart’s relatives, but rather than being drawn to her father, they were drawn to her—to her courage, her submissiveness, her unflinching quality.
She watched as an old woman beat her father, refusing to give him her forgiveness, and she recalls now that this was the moment he began to “lose his way.” She remembers how he tried to pass his brokenness on to her and how at the time she felt she was staring at “a world too horrible to comprehend,” much as Dorothy is now, but that somehow, she held on to her belief that something greater was at work.
Before falling asleep, the Witch takes a sip from the green glass bottle she had found among Nanny’s things and sets out to try to make sense of her dreams. In her dreams, she sees figures of...
(The entire section is 551 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Parts 12-14 Summary
A few weeks later, Liir returns from a visit with the Wizard’s soldiers with the news that Dorothy and her friends were allowed to see the Wizard. According to reports, the Scarecrow asked for a brain, the tinman for a heart, the lion for some courage, and Dorothy for the ability to go home.
Liir hesitates to tell the rest of the news: the Wizard said he would only grant their requests if they killed the Wicked Witch of the West—in part because she is “crazy” and in part because she killed an “old lady in Shiz.”
The Witch suspects that the Wizard plans to have his own Gale Force soldiers kill the group as soon as they are out of the Emerald City, but Liir says no, the Gale Forcers are superstitious about the fact that Dorothy’s full name is Dorothy Gale.
Nevertheless, the Witch tells Liir he should stay away from the soldiers for a while, warning that they might try to kidnap him to force her to give herself up. When the Witch lets it slip that earlier she saw Dorothy and her group, Liir is full of questions. He is especially anxious to meet Dorothy, although the Witch insists Dorothy is too old for him.
Before leaving, Liir runs through the list again of what everyone wants from the Wizard, then asks Elphaba what it is she wants. She surprises both of them when she says, “A soul.” When she asks what he wants, he replies, “A father.”
Later that night, the Witch cannot stop thinking about her response. She ponders what it is that drives people to religion—and why she, who has sworn off religion, might still believe in a soul. Perhaps, she thinks, it is in trying to accept all beliefs, as unionism does, that they lost their way. Maybe the Unnamed God needs to be named. Maybe paganist notions of Lurlina are closest to the truth.
The Witch’s thoughts drift a lot over the next few days as she tries to stay awake, standing guard at her window and watching for Dorothy’s band. One night Liir returns, teary eyed, from a visit to the soldiers’ camp. One of the soldiers had suggested that when Dorothy arrived, they should kill her friends and tie her up so the men could have a little fun. This upset him, but what upset him more was that the other soldiers had reported him to their commander.
Now that soldier had been stripped, castrated, and nailed to a windmill, where he still hung while vultures pecked at...
(The entire section is 566 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Parts 15-16 Summary
On a day in early autumn, Dorothy’s group arrives in Red Windmill at the soldiers’ camp, where they receive a warm greeting. Elphaba sends Killyjoy and his pack of kin to lead them to the castle; however, the dogs never come back, and she watches through her telescope as Nick Chopper strikes and kills all of them with his axe.
Enraged, Elphaba next sends her crows with instructions to pull the mask off the scarecrow so she can see who it is, to peck the eyes out of Dorothy and the Lion, and to bring word to Princess Nastoya of all that is happening. Soon Liir, looking through the telescope, reports that the Scarecrow knows how to scare crows—and they will not be coming back either.
Still the Witch does not give up hope that the Scarecrow could be Fiyero. She sends her bees to attack with their stingers. However, Liir reports that the Scarecrow has covered the Lion, Dorothy, and her dog with his straw to protect them, and he is now lying in pieces on the ground.
Elphaba, refusing to believe this, looks and sees that there is “no hidden lover returning, no last hope of salvation,” but only straw and air inside the Scarecrow’s clothes. What’s more, the bees, with only the Tinman to attack, blunt their stingers on his hard surface and fall to the ground, dead.
Finally the Witch sends Chistery and some of the other flying monkeys to go and get Dorothy and the Lion and to bring them back to her at the castle. She tells Liir she does not plan to kill them; she will just get the shoes, send them on their way, then take the Grimmerie into the mountains and go live in a cave.
She then sinks back, sad at the loss of all her “familiars,” and thinks to herself that the group “had enough courage, brains, and heart among them to do quite well.” She decides that maybe it would be better to welcome Dorothy kindly, get the shoes, join up with Princess Nastoya, and finally seek vengeance against the Wizard.
When Dorothy, her dog, and the Lion are dumped on the floor of Kiamo Ko by the monkeys, Liir and Nanny welcome them and offer them food. Dorothy tells them how worried she is about the Scarecrow and the Tinman, and Liir promises to find them the next day.
Soon the Witch appears in the doorway and confronts Dorothy about the fact that she killed her sister. Then Dorothy surprises her by taking her hand and saying how sorry she is and how she...
(The entire section is 600 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Part 17 Summary
The Witch locks Dorothy away in the tower, demanding to know why she has come. She wonders if her real purpose is to murder her, or if perhaps the Wizard sent her on another mission, such as stealing the book. Dorothy insists she does not know what the Witch is talking about.
When the Witch demands the shoes, Dorothy tells her they will not come off her feet. She tried to take them off for the Wizard, but they would not budge. As she backs away from Elphaba, she knocks over the beehive and unintentionally steps on the remaining queen bee.
The Witch cries out that everything she loves, Dorothy kills. She accuses her of being the third Adept, conscripted by Madame Morrible. Dorothy again says she does not know what the Witch is talking about. Next Elphaba accuses her of being her “soul come scavenging for (her);” she wants nothing to do with a soul, for that would mean everlasting torment. Therefore she must kill Dorothy. She decides she will kill the girl, get the shoes, abandon Liir and Nor, take the Grimmerie to the wilderness and burn it, and then bury herself.
Still she pressures Dorothy to tell her why she has come, wondering if it is really with the intent to murder her. With complete sincerity Dorothy admits that is what the Wizard directed her to do, but she insists that her real purpose in coming was so she could speak to the Witch. Asked what exactly it is she wanted to say, Dorothy replies: “I would say to you: Would you ever forgive me for that accident, the death of your sister; would you ever ever forgive me, for I could never forgive myself!”
The irony of Dorothy’s words hits Elphaba as she recalls her own intent in coming to seek forgiveness from Sarima but never receiving it. Now she is being asked to show Dorothy the mercy that was always denied her. She recoils, twisting and turning, and somehow catches fire to her dress with her lighted broom, which she had been using as a torch. Dorothy cries out, “I will save you!” and throws a bucket of water at the Witch.
Overcome by pain and numbness, the Witch begins to fade away, thinking of all the people she has known, both alive and dead, and the various characters on the fringes of her life. She wonders again about the nature of her body and soul. Finally she thinks about the Wizard, Yackle, the dwarf, the Adepts, and “the creatures of makeshift lives, the hobbled together, the disenfranchised, and the...
(The entire section is 449 words.)
The Murder and Its Afterlife, Part 18 Summary
The final chapter describes what is happening as the moon travels across Oz on the night of the Witch’s death. The Arjiki and the Scrow are meeting to consider an alliance given that the Wizard’s armies are amassing nearby, and they are sending a delegation to the Witch to ask for her support.
Elphaba’s crows never got through to Princess Nastoya, and they have not yet heard of her death. Grommetik is talking class revolution to the tiktok labor force in Shiz. Glinda is lighting a candle in the Gilliken, not knowing why.
In Colwen Grounds, Frex is sleeping and dreaming of both Turtle Heart and Melena. Shell is sneaking in from another one of his clandestine endeavors.
In the Emerald City, the Wizard is fretting, believing that his reign in Oz is coming to an end and that Dorothy is a sign that it is time for him to return home and go through with the suicide so long delayed.
Dorothy and her friends, along with Liir, return to the Emerald City in triumph. No one believes her account of what happened. Since the Witch’s broom had been burnt beyond recognition and the Grimmerie was too heavy to carry, Dorothy presents the Wizard with something else to prove she had been at the Witch’s castle: a green glass bottle that says “Miracle Eli-”on it.
When he sees the bottle, the Wizard gasps and clutches his heart. Soon after, he secretly flees from the palace in his hot-air balloon, only a few hours before a planned revolt seeking his execution.
What happens to Dorothy after that is something of a mystery. Some say she is still hiding in Oz; others that she flew up into the sky, holding her dog, on her way to the Other Land. No one knows for sure what happened to the shoes. Soon after Nor's disappearance, Liir begins searching for her in the Emerald City.
And while Elphaba seems to be “dead, dead and gone,” just as with Saint Aelphaba behind the waterfall, the question remains of whether she will ever come out again.
(The entire section is 355 words.)