There are great things about being a writer, one is that I see stories within stories that are waiting to be told. Sure, I never seem to able to actually write a story myself, but I know they’re there when I see them! So, follow me in to the depths of my mind and I’ll illuminate the stories within the Wizard of Oz.
About a year ago The Wizard of OZ had its 75th Anniversary and my mom dragged me off to see it to appease some demented wish to make me suffer everything she suffered through. Okay, not really, I actually wanted to see the movie since I’d heard tales of it and had never actually seen the thing. It was actually quite good, but you want to know a secret? It’s not as good as the version that played out in my head as I watched the film.
So let’s recap for people who’ve never seen it though we probably all know the general story since its passed into common parlance and folklore. So a tornado hits in the middle of no-where and sweeps the protagonist, a one Dorothy, deep into the land of Oz and meets the Munchkins, a race of tiny people who sing and dance when their evil Witch overseer is a killed. All good right, I mean she was known as the Wicked witch of the West, obviously she was evil! Wrong!
Remember we have only their word for it that the witch was evil. We’re not presented with any evidence of her evilness, maybe everyone just hated her because she raised taxes. It can’t have been cheap to build a road made of gold bricks. Think about it, they’re all well clothed, have nice houses and obviously eat well judging by the full round stomachs. Where are the heads on pikes? Where are the chains of slavery? The whips of the overseers at their backs? No, they seem to lead perfectly happy healthy lives, I mean they obviously had time to keep up on their singing lessons.
But, I hear you cry, what about the Good Witch of the North, Glinda, she specifically tells the people that the Witch of the West is evil! Ah, so should we accept her word for it? Well allow me to illuminate the treachery of the land of Oz.
Glinda cannot be trusted, and if you look closely at the story during the course of the movie Glinda is revealed to be the spider that pulls the threads of her web, carefully and meticulously altering events in a grab for power she could never have achieved on her own. She arrives to give Dorothy the ruby slippers of her sister, stealing them away from her other main rival for power the Wicked Witch of the west and delivering them into the hands of an easily controlled pawn. Giving her as little information as possible she points Dorothy deeper into the land of Oz, which is sort of like heading up river in the middle of Deliverance but that’s beside the point.
When Dorothy collects her ragtag band of a tin, straw and fur companions and finally reaches Oz it’s revealed that the “wizard” will only grant them a wish when they retrieve the Witch of the West’s broomstick. Coincidence? I don’t think so. As I’ll explain later, the relationship between Glinda and the Wizard seems too ambiguous and it resolves too cleanly in the Witch’s favor.
But, before we get there there’s a matter of the Wicked Witch of the West. Finally a villain who actually seems to be a villain, fire and brimstone, flying monkeys, cackling laughter. All good stuff, and I can’t argue with the condemnations leveled against her. But even if she is evil, why did they send a complete stranger to finally destroy her. The most probable explanation is there in this world of Oz there are laws of nature that prevent direct conflict between the opposing forces as they constantly balance each other out, forcing Glinda to use an intermediary to accomplish her will.
At the end of the day Dorothy succeeds and the Wizard is uncovered as a fraud but just as the Wizard is about to take Dorothy back on his balloon a cat appears and lures Toto off the balloon and forcing Dorothy to take after her. But wait, aren’t cats often depicted as the servants of Witches, like our beloved Glinda? But why lure her away?
That’s right! The shoes. Had Dorothy been allowed to leave on the balloon the power of the ruby slippers would be lost, what could be the most powerful artifact in the land would leave as simple footwear and this was simply unacceptable. So Glinda then tells Dorothy to leave by simply tapping the shoes together. Now spare me all the talk about self-discovery lady, you could have told Dorothy that the moment she arrived here in this world and spared us all the effort. But she needed her rivals eliminated, and with Dorothy’s return to her own world, the broom, the slippers and her wand all under her control she might well be able to take over the entirety of Oz.
There, I’ve just single handedly given a menacing overtone to a movie about goofy antics and vibrant colors. Your welcome! Stay tuned for more rambling conspiracy theories coming soon!
What do you mean you think I’m taking things too seriously? Me, over analyzing a simple kids movie with a simple message? Not me!
Don’t you understand! They’re all in on it, man!