A Lion Among Men – Closing Review

Finally, FINALLY, I am writing the last instalment for A Lion Among Men.

To recap. After interviewing Yackle about the whereabouts of Liir and (more importantly) the Grimorie and relieving his own life through flashback, Brrr has not learned very much. Yackle herself is rather fed up with being alive, even though she’s certain there’s something she has to do. Soon after, the dwarf, Nor (Fiyero’s daughter), and the Time Dragon arrive at the mantuary, the invading army hot on their heels. Yackle realizes this is what she’s been waiting for and they all gather around to watch the Time Dragon close out the story with another play. The Time Dragon also produces the Grimorie and as the group flees the army, Brrr realizes he’s never been one for court society and decides to abandon the task given to him.

Let me back up a second because I want to talk about one of Brrr’s major internal conflicts, which of course is present throughout the whole book. Back when Brrr failed to turn over that dying soldier’s medal to his father and instead found himself in the middle of a riot, he ran off to Oz. There he joins up with high society, selling prints. But it soon becomes apparent that others view him as a dandy and pussyfoot and he’s mostly being invited so they can laugh at the idea of the King of the Forest being so delicate. Over time, Brrr realizes more and more how he is failing to live up to people’s expectations of him – expectations they have simply because he’s a lion – and this is much of what drives his internal conflict.

Brrr doesn’t really know who he is. He has no family and he didn’t grow up with lions, so he has no sense of being a lion. He also lives in a time with the Wizard is squelching animal rights, so Brrr also can’t simply slip in as another Animal in the Emerald City. He’s a curiosity, an oddity, divided from his own kind. Most of the time, his identity is not defined by who he is, but what he is labeled as. Since he has vague connections to both the Wizard and Dorothy, he gets called a traitor and a spy by both sides. While living in the Emerald City, he’s under constant threat of being thrown in jail or shipped to the outer regions of Oz with a yoke on his shoulders.

Just as he fails to fit in in human society, he fails to fit into Animal society. At one point he finds himself living with a pack of Ivory Tigers. He thinks he’s found a home. He does his best to be helpful and falls in love with Muhlama H’aekeem. However his affair with Muhlama is discovered and he’s banished. He soon begins to realize the Ivory Tigers were using him for manual labor and Muhlama may have only slept with him so she wouldn’t have to be the heir. Just like in Oz, even though he thought he was making his own decisions and finding out who he was, others were simply using him as they saw fit. Later when he runs across an Ape and Boar, they are all immediately aware that the three of them do not belong together.

For the majority of the story Brrr allows others to define his identity. He is a passive character, preferring to cower and let the wind blow him where it will. And because he has very little sense of morality, he’s willing to do just about anything, so long as it keeps him alive. He agrees to go looking for the Grimorie because it’ll keep him out of jail. He bursts the dwarf and company out of their tower room because he wants to get out too. The fact that Yackle pushes him so hard about who he is and why he’s doing this is frustrating to him because he lacks enough of an identity to understand his own motivations and desires.

The very end of the story could be read as overly sentimental. Brrr runs off to help a family harvest their crops before the army invades and destroys it all, which is by far one of the most selfless and kind-hearted things he’s ever done. And maybe it is a little bit, but I still think it works so long as you don’t consider it a full-on about-face for his character. I don’t think it signifies that Brrr is now going to be an amazing, sweet Lion who knows where his life is going. Rather this is a moment of Brrr squaring up and decidedly taking an action that will help someone. He’s realized his faults and is going to do his best to remedy them. He isn’t perfect, but at the very least he can help a farmer harvest their field.

A Lion Among Men – Opening Review

In the interest of moving these reviews along, I’m not going to give a whole review to the ending of Son of a Witch. While presenting a more lighthearted ending it is, in many ways, similar to Wicked. Liir does actually build up the gall to help the Birds revitalize Elphaba’s memory and send a clear message to Oz, as well as convincing Candle to help the Elephant return to her natural form for her death. His ending also doesn’t have the same ache of failure or sense of fated doom that Elphaba’s did. But all of his relationships are in ruin by the end and he flees the pregnant Candle in a bid to find Nor – an endeavor that feels incredibly fruitless.

A Lion Among Men opens once again at the mauntery, which Lirr has recently left. The war has picked up in the area and the maunts are mostly trying to keep the place intact. It’s fascinating that we spend so much page time in the mauntery, because the closest they have to a main character is Yackle, who doesn’t really identify with the maunts. She mostly seems to be there because she knows so many important events will revolve around it. But these books have always had a lumbering pace and the simple and (usually) quiet lifestyle of the maunts easily shoulders that. It also serves, logically, as a waystation and crossroad for travelers attempting to escape the frightening world.

In the opening chapters Yackle is entombed and then unable to die. The Lion doesn’t even show up for some time and when he does, he and Yackle mostly spend the next dozen pages insisting that they’re not going to tell the other anything. Despite the repetitive nature of the conversation, Greg’s brilliant handle of dialogue ensures that the conversation continues to reveal things about the characters. Fortunately for us, even if they are often mum with each other, we get to hear their stories unfiltered, which leads to an interesting situation wherein it’s not entirely clear to the reader or even the characters what has been shared between them.

Like Liir and Elphaba, Brrr’s parentage is uncertain, albeit much more so. Brrr’s early childhood is a complete blank and there isn’t even any instances of characters appearing who might be Brrr’s parents. There are several indications that he was the lion cub who appeared, caged, in Elphaba’s classroom – an identity that Brrr likes enough to take on – but, like many things, this is never confirmed.

As a character Brrr is often similar to Liir, although really the epithet of Cowardly Lion suggests he is much more like Liir than he really is. Liir is often a coward and although Son of a Witch is all about his journey towards being an active rather than a passive character, I still think Liir would rather stay out of danger and current events than not. Brrr is cowardly less because of his passivity and more because of how horribly misaligned his moral compass is. Certainly Brrr is also very inclined to avoid current events, but not only is he pulled into them far more often than Liir, but when he does run away, he runs away much faster and much harder than Liir.

While Liir spent several months loafing around the Emerald City, Brrr quickly finds himself faced with a choice. He discovers a soldier caught in a trap, begging for help. Having had little interaction before this, Brrr attempts to have a pleasant chat with the soldier. The soldier continues to beg for mercy, but Brrr very matter of factly states he simply can’t get involved with soldiers. After the soldier gives him a medal of bravery to give to his father and to ensure Brrr safe passage, Brrr leaves. However, he soon fears that the soldier will become lonely and returns, waiting until the soldier finally dies.

Brrr then wanders off in hopes of finding the soldier’s father and perhaps a cushy life for himself. Along the way he encounters ghosts, which he flees in an utter panic, before ending up in a town adjacent to the one he intended. He arrives in the middle of growing tensions, as the trolls and locals are squabbling over the price of emeralds. When a riot breaks out, Brrr finds himself right in the middle. The trolls attempt to sway him to their side, but he collapses to the ground and pretends to play dead, resulting in the trolls’ slaughter. He is hailed as a hero, but in a particularly snide way as he is also given the epithet of Cowardly Lion. The medal of bravery he is wearing becomes increasingly ironic and shameful until Brrr throws it away and gives up his hopes of visiting the soldier’s father.

Because Brrr is intentionally recalling his backstory – unlike Liir who was simply reliving it in an unconscious state – he is also far more reflective. He wants to be brave and dignified and is painfully aware of how much he isn’t. He puts on a show for Yackle, tossing about official papers and continually telling her that he’s here on official business, but he also just wants to get away from Yackle and out of the war zone.

Son of a Witch – Some Comparisons

It is perhaps unsurprising, but nonetheless worth noting that there are certain things Greg handles in a very similar manner across the Wicked series. In both Wicked and Son of a Witch the protagonist, as a child (or at least young person) enters an institution where many quiet, character building years go by. This happens at roughly the 1/3 mark and serves as a lull in the story. The basics of this are also true for the fourth book Out of Oz, but we’ll get to that later.

Structurally, the protagonist’s time in an institution serves as a calm moment. Liir’s time in the military stands between his traumatic experiences in Southstairs (where he realizes how perverted Shell is, as Shell trades the inmates drugs for rather unwilling sex) and traumatic experiences in Quadling Country, which are both characterized by violence and action. Shiz was a quiet moment between Elphaba’s troubled childhood and deteriorating home life and her time in the rebellion. It’s a time to focus on character and relationships.

In the military, Liir grows further into his own passivity and isolation, albeit a different kind of passivity and isolation than it was previously. I would say the major difference is that he chooses to be that way. The tone also shifts significantly as Liir gains more interest in dignity and order and is less at a loss about the world. We’re much more in Liir’s head than we ever are in Elphaba’s (much of Elphaba’s mysterious nature comes from the fact that most of the story is told from other character’s POVs, not hers), so we see this character shift much more clearly than we did in Wicked. But I think it is nonetheless true that Elphaba grows into many of her ideas at Shiz – her passion for equal rights, her disgust for the world, and her paranoia about the government.

This section is characterized by mundane details, exposition about politics and religion, and enough details about the protagonist’s comings and goings to keep the story moving little by little. Liir spreads a rumor about magic Hogs on the faint hope that he’ll get information about Nor – his stepsister, of sorts, who was captured many years ago. He serves in a parade and has a brief moment of hoping Glinda will recognize him. He never acknowledges it, but Liir is constantly searching for someone who loves him enough to care, just as Elphaba later in the story wanted someone to forgive her. They are both, ultimately, disappointed.

Liir and Elphaba’s time in the military and Shiz, respectively, is also when they meet their lover – Trism and Fiyero. For both of them this is a defining and unique moment in their life when they meet someone who honestly and truly loves them. Most of their other relationships are unhappy. Even Elphaba’s relationship with Glinda never feels like it hits the mark of a simple, happy friendship. Elphaba and Liir never again have a relationship like this in their life, although of course ultimately they are torn asunder because of bad timing and missed meetings.

Son of a Witch – Opening Review

It is not surprising that Son of a Witch didn’t carry forward the success of Wicked. It has a great opening line, “So the talk of random brutality wasn’t just talk” (Greg does love his gossip) and it’s followed by a tantalizing scene of a carriage train finding three dead maunts with their faces scraped off. However, the story quickly descends into a quiet trek across Oz that ends in a mauntuary and an extended flashback.

Our main character, Liir, spends the entirety of the opening unconscious. This is of course intriguing in and of itself. He was found badly wounded out in the wilderness, so did someone try to kill him? Why was he there? What happened over the last twenty years? But the opening is still very passive – mostly because Liir is unable to do anything. It’s very reminiscent of the middle of Wicked, the slower moments that highlight Greg’s rural background and a breathtaking ability to describe the wilderness. But it doesn’t have the flash-bang quality of Wicked that started with magic, sex, and a birth gone horribly awry.

Nor does the book build to any strong sense of excitement. Greg’s ability to handle minor wonders and soft mysteries creates a beautiful opening, but it’s not one that will grab someone who is waffling about whether or not they want to read the book.

Son of a Witch is also not a retelling. As with all retellings, Wicked is exciting because it draws on a common pool of knowledge. Most of us know the gist of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, either from the book or the movie, so it’s very easy to create a tantalizing balance of familiar and strange. Greg doesn’t return to direct retellings until the fourth book in the series, at which point almost all of the original fan-base had wandered off elsewhere. So in order to get into Son of a Witch, you have be interested enough in Oz’s politics (which are very heavy in the opening because we quickly have to be caught up on twenty years of three different governments) and the mysterious Liir.

Liir is also not a character to pull in the fan looking for excitement. Elphaba was active and passionate. She was an outsider and ultimately rejected the world, but she had convictions and a fierce intelligence. Liir is a misfit, but in a more floppy kind of way. He’s like Terry Pratchett’s Rincewind, only less funny. He floats through life with no understanding of who he is and little interest in pursuing anything. Dorothy is who gets him out of Kiamo Ko, Princess Nastoya thrusts the plot point of helping her die upon him (which he then promptly ignores for about a hundred pages), and the Scarecrow literally drags him out of the Emerald City after Liir loafs around for about twenty pages. I love his dilemma about his feelings towards Elphaba and his general sense of loss, but it’s hardly exciting.

I continue to love Son of a Witch and if you enjoyed the end of Wicked, especially the trek to Kiamo Ko and the years Elphaba spent there, it’s absolutely worth a read. But this was ultimately a book for the fans of Gregory Maguire, not the fans of Oz.

Wicked – Part 5 (The End)

After Elphaba leaves for the Emerald City, she joins a rebel organization bent on dethroning the Wizard. After her relationship with Fiyero gets him killed, she distractedly makes her way to a mantuary. With time, she leaves with Liir (who is written as if he appeared from nowhere) for Kiamo Ko, the castle of Fieryo’s widow Sarima and children. There Elphaba attempts with little success to teach a winged monkey to talk, despite never being a good hand at magic. She also desperately seeks forgiveness from Sarima, without letting on that she is responsible for Fieryo’s death. However, Sarima never gives it and decades later dies with most of the rest of her family. Elphaba is left with Liir and nanny until Dorothy arrives.

So there is your final summary and here are my final thoughts. For me, Wicked is about failure and desperation. Despite being surrounded by magic, Elphaba is completely unable to control it, first out of disinterest and later because magic is something that is perpetually out of reach. Even the Wizard, who is capable of using the Grimmerie, is unable to locate the book. Even the Kumbrick witches, who were once powerful wielders of magic, are these days mostly seen as common prostitutes.

Elphaba never manages to forge a good relationship with her family because her father too desperately loves Nessarose and Elphaba can’t put aside her differences with her sister. Her friendship with Glinda is only tentative and neither of them forgive the other in their uneasy last goodbye. Even though she loves Fieryo, Elphaba doesn’t trust him and in the end she’s unable to protect him, accurately discover the nature of his death, or receive forgiveness for it. She’s so desperate to find a resolution through Sarima that she ignores Liir and fails to realize the resolution she could have forged through him. She won’t even go so far as to admit the very likely fact that he is her son. (Albeit, the mystery of Liir’s parenthood and the fact that no one will confidently state who they are is a masterwork on Greg’s part, creating amazing mystery and uncertainty).

Because of a spell Morrible supposedly laid on Elphaba, Nessarose, and Glinda while they were at Shiz, Elphaba is constantly plagued by the fear that she is being controlled. She spends a long, long time running away from authority figures, but in the end she can never be certain if that spell was real or not. Even her attempts to kill Morrible fail; first when she hesitates after receiving orders to kill Morrible and later when she finds an ancient and deathly ill Morrible, only for Morrible to die seconds before Elphaba can kill her.

Running away from Morrible also means she is unable to stop the Wizard or resolve her fears about him. In the end, he comes after her anyway, murdering Sarima and her family and taunting Elphaba with the last surviving member – Nor. But even through bargaining Elphaba is unable to retrieve Nor.

Wicked is about a woman who wants the best for the world, but is beaten down by it so many times that all she can manage is a few simple spells out in the backcountry. And it’s only when she finally leaves the flying monkey alone that he gains speech – when it is too late and no one understands the significance of it anymore. Liir is left scarred and cowering and it seems as if everything has come to naught because of a child who is blithely unaware of the world and in her own attempt to seek forgiveness from Elphaba, ends up killing her.

Next up is Son of a Witch!

Wicked – Part 4

Elphaba reaches the end of her school days as she and Glinda take the dreary road to The Emerald City. Glinda later returns after a disappointing meeting with the Wizard, but it’s years until anyone sees Elphaba again. As the girls head off in one direction, the boys head in the other, finally attending the infamous Philosopher’s Club.

The Philosopher’s Club, a gentleman’s club, has a very similar feel to the Time Dragon. The boys go to a special involving audience members and strange sex, which has a prophetic but ultimately unclear message. The show explores ideas about the Unnamed God, the Time Dragon, and the Kumbric Witch (a supposedly powerful witch once-upon-a-time who’s status in legend has become lowly and generally viewed as unclean). The show expresses, albeit vaguely, the past and present conflicts between humans and Animals and the various religions. Although I haven’t discussed this conflict much, it is one that’s very important to the story and it’s a large part of why Elphaba is going to see the Wizard. Thus the eeriness of this scene reflects on Elphabas journey to The Emerald City.

The Kumbric witch has shown up many times at this point and has been discussed in a variety of ways – as powerful, as weak, as mysterious, as a creator, as common prostitutes. The Kumbric witch and her followers reflects pretty heavily on Elphaba – which of course relies on the idea that we already know Elphaba is going to end up a witch. But it’s unclear if the Kumbric witch has any magic or if magic even still really exists in Oz, which makes Elphaba’s position as a witch much more uncertain. She could defy all odds and become extremely powerful or she could fumble through her attempts to use magic (spoilers, it’s the second one).

Elphaba’s encounter with the Wizard is the first major blow to Elphaba. She’s struggled through family problems and being an outcast, but this is the first time where an authority figure points to how little the world cares about people it doesn’t like. It’s a heartbreaking moment of dissolution that follows Elphaba through the rest of the story.

But, at the same time, it’s a moment of self-discovery. She’s always had a loud mouth, but Elphaba is blunt and brutal towards the Wizard in ways she hasn’t been previously. Even as she realizes he’s not going to help her, she also decides to do something about it.

Her good-bye to Glinda at the end of the encounter reflects her determination while also expressing the bond that has grown between them. Glinda has just realized how much she’s come to love and accept Elphaba – to the point where she pretends Elphaba is her sister. When Elphaba comes to say she’s leaving, it’s abrupt and rushed manner makes the parting all the more desperate as Glinda attempts to say everything she wants to in such a short time. Elphaba is exceptionally sentimental and by the end Glinda breaks down into fragmented sentences and repeated words.

Wicked – Part 3

Many years later, Elphaba enrolls in Shiz University and through various circumstances (set up by the headmistress, Mistress Morrible, perhaps?) ends up roommates with Galinda. The set-up of the bookworm and beauty queen rings a little cliché – likely not helped by later media that utilizes that idea like Mean Girls or The School for Good and Evil. Specifically, while Galinda later gains greater complexity, here she sticks a little too close to the airheaded cheerleader constantly mortified by her weird roommate. Though this is alleviated somewhat by Greg’s exceptional ability to portray the snooty and modest refinement of Victorian England. And although the character is not the most original, Galinda is still portrayed with enough subtlety and complexity to be a very believable character.

I have similar qualms with Borq’s infatuation with Galinda. Borq is a Munchkinlander in a nearby university who meets Elphaba and her group when he sneaks into the women’s university to see Galinda. I’ll buy that he fell head-over-heels for her initially because of her beauty. But his interaction with her are so limited – and they all end with her rejecting him – that I don’t believe that he could (or should) remain infatuated for so long. As it stands there’s really nothing to recommend her to him and it further serves to push the stereotype of the man that doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘no.’

Elphaba, on the other hand, is wonderful as ever. She’s grown into her mouth and while shy and awkward about her green skin, she’s exceptionally passionate, witty, and intellectual. She’s also clearly very confused about herself and attempting to find a place for someone like her. This is best shown in a scene where Elphaba explains to Galinda that she’s reading unionist texts not because she’s really interested in them or wants to read them, but because she’s trying to understand her father and the nature of good and evil – which is both relevant to someone so different and an overarching theme of the story.

Mistress Morrible is also a wonderfully subtle threat. It’s obvious that there’s something very dubious under her fawning and bumbling veneer, but it’s handled so delicately that it’s easy to dismiss her actions as harmless. Specifically, during a poetry reading she recites a poem that is likely criticizing Animals (talking animals who are quickly becoming second-class citizens under the Wizard’s rule), but easily bats away the criticism when Elphaba finally gets up the courage to call her out on it. Morrible also continually hints to Galinda that something should be done about Elphaba, but in very vague terms. Morrible’s cleverness and sense of people is also spectacular, especially as she’s able to pick up on Galinda’s magical talents far before Galinda does.

Wicked – Part 2

The last chapter in part one of Wicked is Darkness Abroad and it starts all of the macro-plot elements that will move the rest of the story forward – specifically the coming of the wizard and the fight for Quadling rights. As is the way of plots, this momentum is created by everything going horribly wrong. Up until this point, Wicked hasn’t really had a plot – although exploring Elphaba’s childhood is important both in understanding that she wasn’t horribly abused by monstrous parents and in giving a glimpse of the sexual/religious/political/fate bound background she did in fact come from. Also the writing is just great and it was fun to read.

But let’s mostly talk about tone. Greg does a great job of building ever-increasing tension and fear in Darkness Abroad, albeit a little melodramatic at times. So let’s break it down piece by piece.

By now, a Quadling named Turtle Heart has ingratiated himself into the life of Elphaba’s family and is liked by pretty much everyone. In answer to why Turtle Heart left Quadling country, he responds, “Horrors” (which is a pretty great word for creating the appropriate tone. If I was a linguist I could probably tell you why). A few lines later, Elphaba picks up the word and continually interjects it into the conversation as things grow gloomier. It is of course wildly foreboding that this is Elphaba’s first word.

As Melena suddenly fears that everything is going to change, she and Nanny attempt to turn the conversation away. But it is at this point that Elphaba says “Horrors,” throwing the room into silence and ruining Melena’s last chance to keep things the same.

Turtle Heart describes how the Quadlings keep their delicate country intact and how the Emerald City is going to destroy it. Because Turtle Heart’s speech pattern is very different from ours, it allows him to create a greater sense of wonder and impending doom, especially as his language become more poetic, “Rubies under the water. Red as pigeon blood…Quadlings to say: The blood of Oz.” He speaks of learning of future horrors through magic – which has been infrequent enough throughout the rest of the story to still have a strong sense of wonder to it – saying, “As the water to run red with rubies it will to run red with the blood of Quadlings.”

In response to Turtle Heart, Melena and Frex grow increasingly tense, attempting to deny his claims. When Frex suggests they move to Quadling country, Melena screeches at the idea and hastily reveals her pregnancy. Although it’s not made clear if Frex believes Turtle Heart is the father, nonetheless, his response is, “‘Congratulations,’ he said coldly.” Just as Elphaba’s birth pushed a wedge into their relationship, so will another strange child.

As everyone heads off to bed, Nanny tells Melena that she went to an alchemist named Yackle, who predicted that Melena’s child will be an important part of history – so grows the sense of large and important things to come, things that will change the nature of the story.

As everyone heads off to bed, Elphaba goes missing and further throws everyone into a panic, only egged along by Nanny declaring, “It’s the prowling hour” and “Punishment for your wicked ways, you two-faced hedonists.” When they find Elphaba, the whole chapter coalesces into an unexplainable, wonderful, terrifying moment of Elphaba crouched in the arms of a tiger, her eye unnaturally hollow, staring into Turtle Heart’s magic glass, continually whispering “Horrors.”

Wicked – Part 1

Gregory Maguire loves his strange sex, which that is immediately apparent in the opening of Wicked. As the Witch flies over Dorothy and friends, she hears them trading gossip – the witch is a bereft lover, a lesbian, a man. And Elphaba is born into a world where various sexual identities are already being thrust on her. Her parents want a son and a lot is made of the idea that girls are ‘damaged’ or ‘unwanted.’ Even after she’s born, there is some debate about what her sex is. The Tin Woodsman suggested that she’d been castrated at birth – which she is, symbolically, when the birthing-matter that (maybe) brought on the confusion of her sex is removed.

The other long-running theme in this series is mysterious nature of magic. In this world, magic is never fully understood and no one is ever fully able to control it. Greg handles this mysterious nature brilliantly. The first taste of magic we get in Wicked is the Time Dragon. It is generally understood that the Time Dragon accurately shows the past, present, and the future. But, at the same time, the things it shows are almost never proven to be true and almost everyone who watches the Time Dragon’s little shows consider them to be nonsense. They generally spend a good deal of time explaining rationally how the shows must have been put together. So here we have little Elphaba, who, because of an angry mob, is birthed in the Time Dragon. Is it fate? Is it just happenstance? Is this what gives her some inclination towards magic? The beauty of it is that we’re never sure.

Elphaba’s father, Frex, a minister, is fighting to divert the villagers away from the Time Dragon, as he sees it as an apparatus of the ‘pleasure faith.’ Elphaba is clearly a spiteful child and her birth in the apparatus her father is fighting against knits in very well with that. It is also this failure to protect his people that starts to break Frex. From here on out, his and Melena’s banter moves from lightly scathingly to actively unpleasant. Elphaba’s green skin color also ratchets up the tension as Melena begins to resent her husband’s long forays away from the house. We learn she has her own history of sexual promiscuity, bringing into doubt Elphaba’s parentage – another long running idea in the series. Melena may have been drugged and raped – drugged specifically with something that made her dream of the Otherworld (here, our world). Melena also grows more and more isolated, as she fears letting the rest of the village see her child.

A lot of the opening is on Melena and Frex trying to cope with having this kind of child in a small village. Frex wonders on his failures and Melena grows increasingly into hers. In other words, the trauma of the situation is given appropriate breathing space.

And Wicked We Shall Be

I’m an all-around fan of Gregory Maguire and when the Wicked series first came out, I happily charged through the first two books. Several years after I was delighted to learn there was a third and I also read that. Being of the opinion that the series was now finished (a common delusion among Wicked readers, I have found), I wandered off into the mist. Many, many years later I found myself in the rather rococo-ish bedroom of a complete stranger and I began to peruse their bookshelf. What should I find there but a copy of Out of Oz. Some months later I acquired and finished the book. Now, being older, wiser, and snarky enough to spend my time writing blog posts about my own opinions, I’m rereading the series. So for the time being I will mostly post on Wicked and its sequels, with the occasional digression into other topics when I see fit.