Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

Here I come by the name of Bill!

The Oz character I'm focusing on today is sort of a one-joke character, but since I like the one joke, my overall opinion on him is positive. It's Bill the weather-cock, who appears in Ruth Plumly Thompson's Grampa in Oz. Grampa and Prince Tatters of Ragbad find him in a blue forest in the Munchkin Country near the Quadling border, but he's originally from Illinois. He was set on top of a barn near Chicago, and came to life by hitting a live wire during a thunderstorm. Kind of unlikely, perhaps, but this was from an era when fiction writers used electricity as an explanation for just about anything. He flew through the storm and ended up in Oz, as seems to happen to most previously inanimate objects that come to life. I have to suspect there might be something in that, as if the mundane world is rejecting these beings. Anyway, Grampa tells the metal fowl to go by the name of Bill, to which the newly named weathercock replies, "I'll go by the name of Bill, but what name shall I come by?" When informed that he should use the same name for both, Bill is constantly shouting here "Here I come/go by the name of Bill!" He retains some of the nature of his old weather vane, and is able to tell which way the wind is blowing. Also, Bill can fight by landing on the heads of enemies. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing him again, but the fact that Grampa is still under copyright would make that pretty difficult.

The only online picture I could find of Bill, aside from the one on the cover of the book, was this, in which he's in the center of the circle with Toto. From left to right, the other characters pictured are Urtha, Grampa, Tatters with his father Fumbo's disembodied head (it's a long story), Dorothy, and Percy Vere the Forgetful Poet.

Tags: books, characters, oz
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