Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

by Gregory Maguire

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Summary

Chapter Summaries

Prologue Summary

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...

(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 angrybut 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 public expression. She tells him “to try not to be killed,” then rushes out to the Outhouse, frustrated at his self-righteousness and not wanting to watch him ride away.

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 crowdone 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 timehaving, somehow, “two full sets of male goods.” After finishing their glee-filled act, the puppet widow and her daughter kissed the adulterous husband,...

(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 clockit’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 emeraldsin the double-hinged bosom of a...

(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 girlbut at this,...

(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...

(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 nextbut 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 thathe did not make it to be...

(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...

(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 homehappy that the poor are finally turning back to the Unnamed godthey build a fire in the yard and Turtle Heart makes supper. When Frex posits...

(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...

(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 beforeat 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...

(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...

(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 performinga “Kumbric Witch.” Avaric also suggests that maybe later, some of them will sneak off to the Philosophy Cluba 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...

(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 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...

(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...

(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 Hallonly 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...

(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....

(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 Forcemost of which they cannot understand because of his mumbling. The class’s attention is...

(The entire section is 747 words.)

The Charmed Circle, Parts 4-5 Summary

As the group of friendsincluding, Elphaba, Glinda, Nessarose, Boq, Crope, Tibbett, and Avaricbegins 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...

(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 leaveeven 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 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...

(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...

(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 nicknameand she unthinkingly turns her head. Stuck, she invites him in for a brief visit. They pass her cat “Malky”...

(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 purchasesall 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...

(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.

...

(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...

(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 houseguesta 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....

(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...

(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...

(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 themshe 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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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 aboutwith Nessarose gathering support for such an act after the Wizard’s troops had burned...

(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 . . ....

(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 explanationsome religious, some scientificfor 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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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 Westin 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...

(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 crowsand they will not be coming back either.

Still...

(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...

(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...

(The entire section is 355 words.)

Ed. Scott Locklear