Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ever since Tim Brannon was kind enough to post his review of Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, I've wanted to repay the favor by blogging about one of his favorite subjects: Witches. It's actually a subject that I haven't touched on very much and every time I stared at this screen trying to write that blog, I've been confronted with all the reasons that I haven't gone into depth of the witches of Oz.

1 ) Book vs. Movie. One of the most famous of the Oz witches is, of course, the Wicked Witch of the West. This is due to the very memorable performance of Margaret Hamilton in the classic MGM film. But the book version of the WWW is a different character with a smaller role in the story. I could go into depth, but that's one of the blogs I've been trying to avoid writing. Because if you've read the book, you know all of that already. If you haven't read the book, it tends to come off as movie trivia ("Look at all the things you don't really know about the Wicked Witch of the West!").

2) Cardinal Witch Theory. This is the idea that there must always be a Witch of the North, South, East and West. People tend to like this idea because it lets them put the Wicked Witch of the West back into play. But it's not supported by the rest of the series. Once the Wicked Witch of the West is defeated, the Tin Woodman takes over ruling her territory and does so for the rest of the series. There is also no successor to the Wicked Witch of the East. But of course, since all we see of her is a pair of feet under a house, we don't care about her as much.

3) There's more to Oz than the Yellow Brick Road. Look at the top of your screen. That's what this blog is called. Because one of the things that I wanted to do from the beginning was to reinforce and encourage the idea that Wizard is only one story of Oz. Not only are there several other Oz stories out there (that are a fantastic joy to read), but AiO is about creating Oz stories of your own. So my objective is to give you a broad range of ideas, rather than stick you with one story, one format, one style.

1 comment:

Timothy Brannan said...

It is not too much of a stretch to say that my fascination with witches started with Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West.

I can recall the first time I saw the movie quite vividly. I could have been much more than four to be honest. It left a lasting impression.

I was about the same age when we got a copy of the Wizard of Oz as a book. You are correct that there are a number of differences.

I think one of the reasons I keep coming back to Oz and to your game is that initial fascination. Oz is a fantastic (in both senses of the word) place.

The Witches of Oz serve a role in the book. I do rather like the modern interpretations of the WWW/Elphba (Wicked) but that is something I can do in my own games.

Honestly though I always felt Ozma was a bit of a witch herself and lets not forget Mombi. She was always so mysterious to my young(er) mind.

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