Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

Ad Oztra

When we see stars in the Oz series, they aren't the heavenly balls of plasma that we now know they are, but rather more of the pointed objects in the sky that are common in artistic interpretations. They do vary somewhat, however. Tik-Tok's story of Mr. Tinker in Ozma of Oz says that he was picking stars for the king's crown, implying that they were small objects. As I mentioned yesterday, Maribella in Grampa shepherds stars across the sky. In Cowardly Lion, the Flyaboutabus is wrecked when it crashes against a day star, and the terrier encountered on Un belongs to a boy on a star. Wonder City includes a visit to a chocolate star, which I described a bit in this post. Perhaps the most interesting portrayal of an Ozian star, however, appears in Runaway, in which Scraps and Popla find themselves on a rather high-tech mechanical star. It's piloted across the sky by Captain Battery Batt, a man made of coils of electrical wire, and one button turns it into a shooting star for faster travel. The light of this star comes from many rows of lightbulbs, which are polished by Captain Batt's companion, the Twinkler. The impression given is that there might well be other steerable shooting stars with their own captains and twinklers in the skies above fairyland. I like to think they might be products of a lost civilization.


While on the topic of heavenly bodies, I should also mention Princess Planetty. Oh, and her old homeland, Anuther Planet. In Silver Princess, Ruth Plumly Thompson plays with the idea of life on other planets by creating a dull metal world where the people emerge fully grown from vanadium springs. Vanadium, a transition metal that's the twenty-third element on the periodic table, was named after the Norse goddess Freyja's alternate appellation Vanadis. The similarity of the name to that of the Roman Venus, as well as the fact that Freyja is said to be the Norse equivalent of Venus, perhaps could be seen as a suggestion that Thompson was thinking of the birth of Venus when coming up with this idea. Anyway, the people of Anuther Planet, known as Nuthers, usually keep to themselves, although they do sometimes have animal companions. Planetty's is a Thunder Colt named Thun, who accompanies her to Earth and Oz. The Nuthers are armed with staffs that can paralyze others, and they have to bathe in a vanadium spring once a week in order to remain alive. Jinnicky manages to turn Planetty and Thun into flesh and blood, and the princess marries King Randy of Regalia. As for Anuther Planet itself, Planetty's story of how she reached Earth is that Thun jumped on a thunderbolt and rode it down to Ix, suggesting that it might well be another world located in the sky above fairyland. It's also possible, however, that it actually is a planet in the sense that we generally use the word, and the so-called thunderbolt is really some other sort of space phenomenon.
Tags: astronomy, books, characters, oz
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