Nathan (vovat) wrote,

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The Power of Perhaps

One place I mentioned in yesterday's Oz post that I think deserves its own entry is Perhaps City, located in the Maybe Mountains of the Winkie Country. The people of this city are known as Happsies, and their ruler is Peer Haps. I don't think I've ever seen "Peer" used as a title anywhere else, but this IS Oz, where such titles often seem to be arbitrary anyway. His daughter is the lovely Princess Pretty Good, but there's no indication given as to the whereabouts of her mother. The Peer spends most of his time in the company of his somewhat flamboyant friend, the court poet Percy Vere. Percy is known as the Forgetful Poet because he often forgets the last word of his simple verses, or occasionally mixes them up in some other way. When Abrog captured the princess to try to force her into marriage, it was Percy who left the mountain to save her, meeting up with Dorothy and Toto pretty soon into his journey. Perhaps City itself is built of gold bricks, and it is also these bricks that enabled the Peer to acquire his fortune. The eggs are produced by a brick layer, a yellow hen that lays bricks instead of eggs. Whether this makes her sterile (not that it matters much in a land where all animals are functionally immortal, but maybe she WANTS some chicks) is never discussed, nor is whether she's any relation to the other famous yellow hen, Billina. The only other two inhabitants of the city I can recall being mentioned are a minister with the unfortunate title of Lord High Humpus, and a handsome but cowardly young man named Perix, to whom the Peer originally hopes to marry his daughter. Oddly, Perix is identified as a prince in Who's Who in Oz, although I don't think there's any indication in Grampa in Oz of his being royalty.

Like Pumperdink, Perhaps City appears to be at least partially based on some of Thompson's pre-Oz work. She wrote a series of poems about a place called Supposyville, focusing on its fun-loving king and his eccentric inventor subject Sir Solomon Tremendous Wise. The kingdom "lies between the Maybe Mountains and the Valley of Somewhere on the Nearlyso River." Are these the same Maybe Mountains as the ones in the Winkie Country? Well, since Supposyville has snowfall and is presumably near a sea, probably not. I suppose (which is appropriate behavior when talking about these places) that Thompson just liked the name. The Supposyville poems also saw Thompson's first use of the name "Handy Mandy," although Sir Solomon's robotic maid has only a small amount in common with the heroine of the 1937 Oz book. The Forgetful Poet also made appearances in Thompson's newspaper column as the creator of rhyming riddles. His quizzing friend, Mr. G. Ography, has yet to appear in Oz, at least as far as I know. Thompson also wrote some verses about the Perhappsy Chaps, another example of her fondness for words denoting uncertainty.
Tags: books, characters, oz
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