- "Princess Langwidere looked at Dorothy and said, as if talking to herself: You are rather attractive, not at all beautiful you understand...but, you have a certain style of prettiness, that is different from that of any of my other thirty heads. I believe I'll take your head, and give you number twenty-six for it! "
- ―Ozma of Oz (1907)
Princess Langwidere is a fictional character who is first introduced in L. Frank Baum's third Oz book titled Ozma of Oz, published in 1907. Langwidere is not the protagonist nor necessarily the antagonist in Baum's Oz book. She is more of a character of annoyance with a distasteful personality to entertain the reader for the plot of the story involving the return of Oz's main heroine and child protagonist named Dorothy Gale from Baum's first Oz book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900.
Langwidere is the highly narcissistic, spoiled, vain and conceited niece of King Evoldo who lives in a tiny Kingdom in the magical Land of Ev, which is a very small fantasy-land with little to no population, that neighbors the Land of Oz. Ev is a very desolate place, inhabited only by the Royal family of Ev and the gang of bad-mannered creatures known as the Wheelers, who inhabit the country also.
Elements from the land of Ev were used in the 1985 Disney Cult Classic film Return to Oz. Such as the Lunch Pail Trees that grow in Ev and the Deadly Desert which surrounds both Oz and Ev, cutting both lands off from the rest of the world as well as the Nome King's rock mountain which neighbor's Oz and Ev as well.
Appearance, Personality & Lifestyle
- "Will YOU exchange heads with ME!?" demanded the Princess. "NO INDEED!" cried Dorothy! "
- ―Ozma of Oz (1907)
- "Princess Langwidere's sitting chamber was paneled with great giant mirrors, which started at the floor and reached up to the ceiling. Infact, every inch of the room was constructed and composed of mirrors, and the floor was of polished gold and silver that reflected every object upon it. So when Langwidere sat in her vanity-chair and played soft-sweet melodies upon her Mandolin, her reflection was mirrored hundreds of times, in walls, ceilings and floors. And which ever way the vain Princess turned her head, she could see and admire her own features of the head she was wearing at the time. This she loved to do, and just as her maid entered the chamber Langwidere was too distracted as she off saying to herself: "Hmmmm.... this head with the dark auburn hair and light hazel eyes is quite attractive indeed. I must remember to wear it more often than I have done lately, although it may not be the best of my Head-Collection, this look is quite a unique one! "
- ―Ozma of Oz (1907)
The only company Langwidere allows to have is usually just from her maids and ladies in waiting. Langwidere does not like to socialize with commoners or even other royalty or people of noble blood. She rarely interacts with others too much and prefers to simply seclude herself much of the time to keep from being interrupted from her daily rituals of pampering or being disturbed and awaken when she is catching her beauty sleep or having one of her many daily naps. Langwidere lives a life of luxury and privilege. She wants little to nothing to do with the outside world and isn't bothered by her reclusive reputation.
In her life of nearly complete isolation, Langwidere entertains herself as she has thirty young heads that are interchangeable on her neck. All are described to be very striking and all are very beautiful, having nice eyes, rich hair and flawless skin. Instead of changing her outfits or jewelry every day, such as wearing different crowns, gowns or tiaras like other princesses, she simply changes her head to accessorize or match her current state of mood, rather it be a good mood she is in or a bad one. The heads are said to all be safely kept in a vast bejewelled boudoir known as her "cabinet" in her sleeping chambers. These precious heads are described as being very attractive in bone structure with soft features that run and vary through all combinations of hair and eye colors (except for gray hair and red, tired eyes), skin tones, and even noses of different shapes to represent different ethnicities. And the heads of this collection can never age of become worn out as they are all preserved to keep young forever.
Langwidere herself, is very vain, conceited, selfish and ultimately lazy as she generally spends every waking moment of her life indoors admiring whichever head she's currently wearing in her large mirrored chambers and napping in the day for hours at a time. She highly enjoys constantly changing heads whenever she pleases and adopts a new look when she is tiresome of sitting on her vanity-chair admiring her reflections or simply bored with playing music on her Mandolin.
Since she can change her face at will, she has no interest in fashion or beautiful clothing. She always wears a simple white silk gown that falls gracefully to the floor like a wedding dress. Langwidere is said to wear only white because the color white suits any of her heads and goes with anything. Because her appearance changes so frequently, even Langwidere's loyal maid Nanda can only recognize her by a ruby-red key which she wears on a chain attached to her left wrist, and which opens up all of her bejeweled cabinets.
Princess Langwideres' History:
After King Evoldo sold off his family to the infamous Nome King, and threw himself into the deep sea, his Niece, Princess Langwidere by default became regent of the Royal Kingdom in the country of Ev. She spent a lot of money from the Royal-Treasury and the family fortune, vainly on herself. She also only spent ten minutes of every day actually governing and tending to matters of state which was not enough. But much so as she did not care about the people of her land. Furthermore, she admitted that she would rather spend those ten minutes admiring her beauty in a mirror.
When the little girl named Dorothy Gale of Kansas met Langwidere, the Princess was wearing No. 17, which is her most beautiful head but comes with a terrible temper in return. Langwidere curtly told Dorothy that she was boring and stupid, and dismissed her. Then, after closely inspecting Dorothy's face, she changed her mind and said that Dorothy should stay so that Langwidere could take her head and add it to her collection, offering Dorothy one of her less attractive heads, No. 26, in exchange. Dorothy was indignant at this and refused; she was then imprisoned by the Princess's guards until she would consent to Langwidere's demands.
The next day, Dorothy was rescued by Princess Ozma of Oz, who along with the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and other Oz creatures, was passing through Ev on a mission to rescue the Royal Family from the Nome King. At first, Langwidere was furious that Ozma and her assembly had stormed her palace, but when the Oz party explained the nature of their mission, Langwidere completely calmed down and said she supported them because if the Royal Family was restored to rule the kingdom, she could finally devote all her time toward admiring herself in the mirror. Langwidere then freed Dorothy, provided room and board for Ozma's people, and told them where to find the Nome King's kingdom.
In Return to Oz-1985
- "I think I'll put on something more appropriate to wear, come with me, your friends can stay here..."
- ― Princess Mombi #1 in Return to Oz.
The character of Princess Langwidere is combined with another character from the Oz books--the Witch Mombi in the Disney cult classic 1985 film Return to Oz. The film was an adaptation of two of Baum's Oz books titled The Marvelous Land of Oz, published in 1904 and Ozma of Oz, published in 1907. Return to Oz combined these stories together for the live-action non musical version of the books which stayed very close to what Baum most likely envisioned.
- "DOOOORROOOTHYYYYY GAAAAAAALLLE!!!! "
- ―Princess Mombi
In Return to Oz, this character is called Princess Mombi. Mombi is a Wicked Witch with thirty beautiful heads kept in a long hallway of solid gold-glass cabinets. These heads were harvested from the dancing slave girls of the Emerald City. These attractive ladies were decapitated and all magically turned into stone statues with the rest of the city citizens by the wrathful Nome King, who took over all of Oz with the help of Mombi and the power of the Ruby Slippers. Princess Mombi was an underling of the Nome King and was responsible for keeping Princess Ozma a secret and imprisoned in the enchanted mirrors of her palace chambers in the only standing building in the ruins of the Emerald City. After escaping Mombi, Dorothy Gale and her companions Billina, Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, and Gump made a journey to the Nome mountain across the Deadly Desert, to rescue the King Scarecrow whom the Nome King had kidnapped and wrongly accused of stealing his emeralds that decorated the city. Dorothy was able to restore the land of Oz back to normal once again and the Nome King was defeated and killed. Mombi's life was spared. However, as harsh punishment for her crimes, Mombi was forever stripped of her title and was also stripped of her magic powers for good when the curse over Oz was broken and Ozma was released from mirror and revealed to the Ozians as the official child Queen of Oz.
Princess Langwidere in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz
Princess Langwidere is after a grown up Dorothy Gale!
In Dorothy and the Witches of Oz, Langwidere teams up with the Wicked Witch of the West to destroy Dorothy Gale who is now a children's author in New York City.
As Langwidere, she attacks Dorothy in her home in Kansas, leading her to realize that her Oz stories are more than just stories. Later, as Ilsa Lang, she tries to take the role of Dorothy in the movie version of Dorothy's Oz book, corrupting it in the process.
She also takes on the role of Ev Locast with another of her heads. (Dorothy and the Witches of Oz)
Langwidere was created by L. Frank Baum, and appears only in Ozma of Oz, the third book in the Oz series. As depicted in an illustration by John R. Neill, Langwidere's looks are styled on the Gibson girl standard of beauty which was popular at the time of this novel's publication.
The theme of interchangeable or detachable heads appears to have been a recurring motif at this point in Baum's writing career. Other examples of this appear in his fifth Oz book, The Road to Oz, in the form of the Scoodlers, and the transformations of Button-Bright and the Shaggy Man.
- Jean Marsh, Sophie Ward and Fiona Victory as Princess Mombi (Return to Oz, 1985)
- Mia Sara as Langwidere (Dorothy and the Witches of Oz, 2011)
- Sasha Jackson as "Ilsa Lang" (Dorothy and the Witches of Oz, 2011)
- Jessica Sonneborn as "Ev Locast" (Dorothy and the Witches of Oz, 2011)
- The character of Princess Mombi is actually Langwidere. Her name and the fact that she is more evil and has powers is based on Mombi.