Storytime with Mic Lovin' - The Wizard of Oz's Redemption Story Arc
by Mike LevinWednesday, June 22, 2022
Welcome to story time with 🎤 💙in’
This morning, I’m going to spoil fourteen books for you, but that’s okay. Consider it like unboxing presents on Xmas morning. Regardless of your religious affiliation this symbolism should resonate. Ever watch The Grinch? It’s an American thing. So let’s get right to the good stuff, Cindy Lou Who…
On Xmas morning kids wake up to a day of surprise, box-opening and playing. The natural release of dopamine and serotonin into the system is quite… uhhh, large. That Xmas-morning feeling is one of the great gifts religion has given American culture. Or was that Coca Cola? Either way, Red & Green means passion and sheen! Serotonin and dopamine… generally for the good.
Red Ironman emotional armor-stockings are hung with care next to a tree that’s quite literally Green Arrow spearhead shaped. Two great emotional story-telling devices that vibe great together! Whether all this evolutionary-triggering imagery was planned or just itself evolved is unclear, but it’s funny looking at it under a microscope. This is not to to poke fun at the rampant materialism it institutionalizes once a year, but rather to pick out the bits that can help us improve our lives today… daily!
So what about this morning? There’s always some sort of backdrop of crap in life. I’m in the middle of a move back to an extraordinarily expensive place out of love for someone who is rejecting me but in dire need—and won’t understand my actions for years to come. It’s putting pressure on my new marriage. But everything is fine. I’ll pull through and it will all be for the better for both me and them. This is just life. And it’s not about me. It’s about The Wizard of Oz.
This is their Dorothy adventure, and the Wizard of Oz’s little-known crime and redemption arc that’s as big as Darth Vader’s, which few will know about, not having read the books.
The Wizard stared out as a talented ventriloquist but humbug wizard who was all smoke and mirrors and found himself, like Dorothy, in Oz as a result of unexpected bad weather.
The Wizard was a circus ventriloquist floating over the Omaha State Faire in his tethered hot air balloon that, which got swept into a mysterious land full of witches and munchkins who thought him a powerful Wizard and embraced him as their leader.
Not one to turn down an opportunity and seeing no better prospects, the Wizard accepted their offer and moved to Oz. Unfortunately, this amounted to a coup and he cast out their ruling family and gave their daughter, the rightful heir to Oz to the old witch Mombi who turned her into a him and tried turning him (now Tip) into a statue in old Mombi’s garden.
This is where the unforgivable act of the Wizard of Oz begins.
To be perfectly clear, the Wizard of Oz, still a humbug Wizard accepting his new title and not fully knowing what he was doing, handed over Ozma, the daughter of the overthrown ruling family of Oz, and the most sweet, wise and most powerful person in all of Oz (or at least is destined to become), to an old witch who made a slave of her and turned her into a him to throw off suspicion and keep Ozma hidden. Mombi the old witch further intended to turn Tip into statue in her garden.
Had Tip (actually Ozma) not escaped with Jack Pumpkinhead, an animated magical friend made my Tip to scare Mombi, but turned alive by Mombi herself testing a powder of life, Ozma would be Tip stone statue holding a water basin for squirrels to bathe in Mombi’s garden.
The Wizard of Oz at this time in the story has been revealed as a humbug and returned to the non-magical state of Omaha in the United States. “Child, you cut me to the quick. I’m an old Kansas man myself” says the exposed Wizard in the movie when schooled my Dorothy. The book says “I was born in Omaha—” “Why, that isn’t very far from Kansas!” cried Dorothy.
Later, the Wizard flies off in his restored hot air balloon back to Kansas, Omaha or wherever, but without Dorothy because Toto ran after a cat and Dorothy missed the trip. That’s where most of the movie-educated public’s knowledge ends; partial and with a most incomplete story of the Wizard himself.
Well through extraordinary means involving subterranean cannibalistic vegetable people—you’ll never know if you’re not a reader, the Wizard connects again with Dorothy, becoming part of her regular crew of peeps, thus beginning his Darth Vader redemption story arc, which this post is about. For you see, the Wizard of Oz is actually Dorothy’s father, because you remember he’s a Kansas man himself and she lives with her Aunt and Uncle Henry.
Do you think L. Frank Baum did that by accident? No, of course not. It was completely intentional and he took that secret to his grace. Nobody knows that when she ran away she stumbled upon none other than her own real father. Take that Matt Patt!
So, this is your Xmas Morning git surprise. Surprising Information is better than any material gift. This knowledge and new insight into The Wizard of Oz will be with you for the rest of your life. Something you thought you already knew has new deeper meaning, and in fact a whole series of fourteen excellent books ahead of you to enjoy.
There are fourteen books in the Oz series, written by L. Frank Baum himself. The rest, such as The Shaggy Man, are written by Baum’s successors. That’s okay, start just with the first fourteen (they’re small) and decide whether to continue. You’ll meet The Shaggy man in The Road to Oz, which is one of Dorothy’s many return visits. But be warned, they’re full of violence (the Tin Wiidman can break a mean neck).
Would Ozma have been better off as the daughter of a privileged royal family? We’ll, she does seem naturally predisposed to compassion, wisdom and intelligence. But who knows? Perhaps her experience as the boy Tip with her very sheltered life of servitude and cruelty were necessary so he (still Tip at this time) could orchestrate his own escape. Would Dorothy have been better off if she got into that storm cellar and was never swept away to meet such challenges and all of her friends?
Both Ozma and Dorothy’s experiences were certainly the kind of coming of age adventure that classically help shape you and helps to turn static personalities into dynamic ones. Tip to Ozma. Dorothy the evader into Dorothy the embracer. Alice the… no, Alice stayed static. Brits.
Should the Wizard upon his return to Oz have remembers his criminal mistreatment of Ozma, trusting her to old Mombi, and has ‑immediately done everything in his power to make good? Yes! But the Wizard was still not very powerful yet and was wrapped up in his own story-arc of redemption. He still had some growth to do to be powerful enough to properly help Ozma. So he helped Dorothy instead and let the two roads gradually converge.
Was the Wizard of Oz a bad guy? Was Dorothy wise to re-embrace him into her life on their joint return to Oz? Was the Wizard hypocritical in his desire to unhumbugify himself and learn real magic? Is the Wizard wrong to actively learn real magic now as the apprentice of Glinda the Good Witch of The North? I think not.
The Wizard is now filling his bag of tricks with real magic. Good people recognize his redemption arc and they love Ozma for who she is—including everything that brought her to be the wonderful young person she is today, including her time with Old Mombi Ozma now understood to be a profoundly valuable educational opportunity she would have never had in her previously privileged royal life.
- Ozma is stronger
- Ozma is wiser
- Ozma has more real, true friends
- Ozma now can rule Oz with the benefit of her friends
- And yes, even counting The Wizard among them
And so that takes us back to the now-moment. I will switch from talking about the Wizard of Oz to my own life and my return to New York City. My child is still rejecting me and I can understand why. All I can do is lead my example, developing my own story arc and sort of magic, dehumbugifying myself, learning from the Good Linux of the GNUrth, sharing everything I learn with you, my good friends of the YouTubes.
This has been Storytime with Mike Levin. [insert mic poem]