The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, XVII.—How the Balloon Was Launched

Tonight’s Soundtrack: Queen, “Keep Yourself Alive”


Mr. Lyman Frank Baum regrets to inform you that he cannot contribute to your fuck charity, for he simply has no fucks to give.

Seriously. This guy. We already know he’s willing to name a chapter after the very last thing that happens in it, or even change a title after he’s already put it in the table of contents. The Continuity would put Aristotle into traction. The Queen of the Field Mice appears more often than the main villain. He strictly promises to leave out heartache and nightmares, then lets you watch a smiling stuffed homunculus snap the necks of birds for an eternity. And now this:

We’re exactly three-quarters of the way through the book, and Baum just got rid of the title character.

Welcome to America! Yee-haw!

 * * *

Were I taking the Red Pills tonight, I would probably go off about Dorothy being such a surprisingly powerful fictional entity - the female fantasy adventure hero, the witch-killer and lion-tamer - that the very God of this world resigns himself to forsaking his divinity to grant her desires. It’s just that I can’t hear my thoughts over the sound of Baum’s giant brass ones clanging together.

* * *

You’ll note that it’s the dog, again, keeping Dorothy in the fairy tale where she belongs. 

Note further that the story doesn’t stay with her when the wizard floats away, presumably removing her last hope of returning to (horrific dustbowl poverty) home. It instead chronicles the citizens, once again, mourning the loss of a dictator.

Nobody ever knows when they’re better off.