Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

The Strange Case of Ozma's Grandfather

In The Land of Oz, we learn that the previous King of Oz (or at least of the area where the Emerald City now stands) was named Pastoria, and Ozma is his daughter. Pastoria later shows up as a character in his own right in Lost King. But the story Ozma tells in Dorothy and the Wizard introduces another ancestor who might still be on the scene. Here's the relevant passage:

"That is quite a history," said Ozma; "but there is a little more history about the Land of Oz that you do not seem to understand--perhaps for the reason that no one ever told it you. Many years before you came here this Land was united under one Ruler, as it is now, and the Ruler's name was always 'Oz,' which means in our language 'Great and Good'; or, if the Ruler happened to be a woman, her name was always 'Ozma.' But once upon a time four Witches leagued together to depose the king and rule the four parts of the kingdom themselves; so when the Ruler, my grandfather, was hunting one day, one Wicked Witch named Mombi stole him and carried him away, keeping him a close prisoner. Then the Witches divided up the kingdom, and ruled the four parts of it until you came here. That was why the people were so glad to see you, and why they thought from your initials that you were their rightful ruler."

"But, at that time," said the Wizard, thoughtfully, "there were two Good Witches and two Wicked Witches ruling in the land."

"Yes," replied Ozma, "because a good Witch had conquered Mombi in the North and Glinda the Good had conquered the evil Witch in the South. But Mombi was still my grandfather's jailor, and afterward my father's jailor. When I was born she transformed me into a boy, hoping that no one would ever recognize me and know that I was the rightful Princess of the Land of Oz. But I escaped from her and am now the Ruler of my people."


This kind of makes it sound like both Pastoria and Ozma were born into captivity, which certainly isn't what Land said. I think the only way to really fit the references from both books together is that Mombi captured all three heirs to the throne in succession, which might seem a bit inefficient, but who knows what sort of struggles were occurring back then?

Ozma's grandfather is largely ignored in the canonical books (although there's a brief reference to him in Ozoplaning), but fans have picked up on this figure as someone whose character and fate could be explored more thoroughly. References to whether death existed back in Ozma's grandfather's day are somewhat ambiguous, and it's certainly possible he's dead and gone by now, but what fun is that? I believe the first writer to take up the fate of Ozma's grandfather was Henry Blossom, in The Blue Emperor of Oz. He gave the man the name Ozroar, which had originally been suggested by Fred Meyer, and associated him with the mysterious Blue Emperor mentioned in Purple Prince and Silver Princess. He also turns out to be the brother of King Pompus of Pumperdink, which means that Prince Pompadore would have unwittingly proposed to his cousin-once-removed in Kabumpo (although it's quite possible they're not blood relatives, and it's not like it worked out anyway). Without spoiling too much, I'll say that the book recounts how Mombi captured Ozroar while he was at a banquet, and gave him to a sorcerer to be enchanted.

A fairly recent book that touches on the grandfather question is Edward Einhorn's excellent Paradox in Oz. In this story, Ozma encounters an alternate-universe version of her grandfather in Absurd City, and the implication is that he arrived in her version of Oz when Mombi banished Ozma's actual grandfather to the alternate king's reality. Since parallel universes are significant to the plot, that allows for there to be an infinite number of fates for Ozma's grandfather (and, indeed, probably some Ozzes in which he's still ruling). I'm someone who likes to fit as much as possible together, though, so how about this? The man Mombi captured at the banquet was actually Ozroar's body double. Once she realized the deception, she sold him off to a two-ozzo sorcerer, and began searching for the true Ozroar. When she found him hunting, she took him to Absurd City, and performed the Ozziverse switch.

A bit hackneyed, you say? Oh, well. Oh, also, the actor who played Ozroar in the first season no longer wants the part, so I'm going to explain it by saying the former king had magical reconstructive surgery. {g}
Tags: books, oz
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