Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

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Sex and the Emerald City

The topic of sex in Oz can be a controversial one, although I doubt there was any such controversy when the books were actually being written. I mean, come on, they're children's books from the early twentieth century! The argument comes in over whether writing more adult Oz stories is...appropriate, I suppose. There's also the question as to whether sex is even possible in Oz. Some people have taken the fact that Dot and Tot of Merryland is linked to Oz in a few books (most notably the visit of its queen to the Emerald City in The Road to Oz) to mean that the storks of Merryland bring babies to Oz. But then, it could be like the Xanth books, in which sex summons the stork. There's also the indication in Tin Woodman that even babies never grow older in Oz, which would probably make childbirth undesirable, if not impossible. We do see a child born in Oz in Ruth Plumly Thompson's books, however, so it apparently happens sometimes, even though I would imagine the birth rate is pretty low there. Besides, lack of childbirth doesn't have to mean lack of sex, especially if the country has birth control. And really, why wouldn't it? It's hardly a new idea, and magic might have made birth control devices more effective more quickly. Obviously it isn't mentioned in the books, but neither are bathroom facilities (well, bathtubs are, but not toilets), and it's likely there are some.

So why don't we see the number of sexual stories for Oz that we do for other fandoms? Well, part of it might be the relative obscurity of the books (except for the first one), but there's also the fact that a lot of the protagonists are either children or magical constructs with no apparent sex organs (which doesn't mean they aren't capable of romantic relationships; the Scarecrow and Patchwork Girl flirt quite a bit upon meeting, and some readers have compared the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman in Tin Woodman to an old married couple). It's possible to make the children grow older, especially with Thompson's idea that people can age if they choose to, but it still seems kind of wrong. I've seen some people pair up an older Ozma and Dorothy, which kind of makes sense, given how close they are in the books. March Laumer, the most famous and successful writer of more adult Oz books, gives Ozma unrequited romantic love for Dorothy, who goes on to marry a guy named Zippiochoggolak.

Ozma is definitely one of the more popular characters to involve in pairings. I guess that, as someone with beauty, brains (well, okay, that kind of depends on the book), and power, she'd be one of the most eligible bachelorettes in the country. She's young, but not AS young as many of the other main characters; Tin Woodman says that she's physically about fourteen or fifteen years old, and she might have even aged a little since then. Jack Pumpkinhead has Baron Mogodore trying to marry her, and while he's a villain, there's no indication that he's a pedophile. I believe it was David Hulan who suggested that John R. Neill started drawing Ozma as looking more mature after that.


Before and After:




So I don't really object in principle to Ozma being in a relationship, it's a tricky task, and I don't think the stories I've seen that paired her off with someone (usually a Mary Sue) really pulled it off. I mean, not only is she a beloved character, but she's the ruler of the most powerful nation in the region. Her marriage would result in a significant change to the status quo, even if she didn't want it to.

Anyway, speaking of sexuality in Oz, look where Private Files' left hand is.

What better time to cop a feel than when falling down a tube through the Earth?

And with that, I bid you adieu for now. I might well make another oz post tomorrow, though, because there are some Oz-related subjects that I've been meaning to address.
Tags: books, oz, xanth
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  • Winter Breakage

    I'm going to write a little about the winter holidays, although really that was only a few days with regular work days in between them. I did take…

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