- "The most precious stones in all the world are down within here; my underground Domain, all made for me, by my loyal Nomes. So imagine how I feel when someone from the world up above comes along and steals my treasures? -All those emeralds in the Emerald City, really belonged to me, I was just taking back what was mine to begin with..."
- ―The Nome King to Dorothy Gale in Return to Oz (1985)
King Of Nomes
The Nome King is a fictional character created by L. Frank Baum, author and inventor of the Oz legacy. He is introduced in Baum's third Oz book titled 'Ozma of Oz', published in 1907. He is portrayed as the impatient, immature and stubbornly funny ruler of the Nomes (sometimes spelled "Gnomes"). In Baums' writings, the Nome King and his people are a species of which exist only underground. They are a rare race of immortal beings who are an adapted tribe to living hundreds of miles below the surface of the earth. They are from the same fantasy realm where the magical Land of Oz and the small fantasy-country known as the Land of Ev can be found.
- "The Nome King took the King Scarecrow and all of the emeralds back to his mountain, and turned everyone else to stone..."
- ―Mombi in Return to Oz (1985)
The Nome King plays minor but important roles in Baum's Oz books as one of the many villains and antagonist. He is portrayed as a very lazy king who usually spends his time sitting upon his jewled throne, next to a burning furnace of hot flaming red fire, smoking his pipe and ranting and raving as he thinks of ways to overthrow the land of Oz. He is extremely short tampered and even violent at times. The Nome King hates losing and never gives up on the idea of taking over Oz and all it's people to enslave them and bring them all back to his mountain to work underground for him forever. Despite this long goal of his, he luckily never achieved this.
In some versions the Nome King is also sometimes called the "Metal Monarch" due to his love for earths metal minerals and his collection of metal treasures.
The most well-known Nome King's name was originally Roquat the Red, or Roquat of the Rocks; his name was later changed to Ruggedo.
Baum's Nome of Nome Mountain
There was also a different kind of Nome King, that appeared in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus By L. Frank Baum. This may be Roquat earlier in his life or possibly a different Nome entirely from another fantasy-realm, as he is never identified by name.
The Nome King lives in his very own rock mountain which also happens to neighbor the Land of Oz. His mountain and Oz are separated by the Deadly Desert, which is what keeps his turf and Oz divided into two. In the Mountain, deep underground, there the Nome King dwells with all of his loyal Nome subjects and servants. His Kingdom is a large and vast carven with hundreds of rooms and walkways, all with high domed ceilings which are always beautifully lite up by all of the glowing tourmaline rocks, Diamonds, gems and other lovely treasures that are all within his underground Domain.
The Nomes hide and greedily Pack-Rat sparkling jewels, pearls, stones and other rare and precious metals of the earth, and resent the 'Upstairs-People', who are constantly digging deep down and making big tunnels in the Nome Kingdom to retrieve all those valuables to sell without the Nome Kings permission to do so. Which causes the Nome King to look at it as stealing. The Nome King also has a soft side despite his ways, as he loves to collect valuable antiques and attractive nic-nacs. In his underground Kingdom, the Nome King has an entire room dedicated to his collection, as the whole room is filled with nothing but beautiful decor and ornaments, such as china vases, porcelain plates, gold plated jewled eggs, solid gold and silver furniture, polished marble statues, expensive paintings, pretty music boxes etc.
The Nome King's Nic-Nac collection is portrayed in Disney's 1985 Cult-Classic 'Return to Oz'.
History Of The Infamous Nome King
Long ago, the Gnome King provided Santa Claus with steel runners for his sleigh, and sleigh-bells for his reindeer. In return he received a collection of toys for his children. He was part of the Council of Immortals who bestowed upon Santa Claus the Mantle of Immortality and was the first to cast his vote. (The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus)
- Main Article: Ruggedo
The next known Nome King was called Roquat of the Rocks. He was a cruel, round little ruler who could seem decent at first, but who ruled through fear and trickery. He had purchased the Royal Family of Ev from King Evoldo in exchange for a long life, and turned them into pieces of bric-a-brac to decorate his home. Princess Ozma, Dorothy Gale, and a party from the Emerald City freed the royal family from his enslavement and, for good measure, took away his Magic Belt. (Ozma of Oz)
Roquat became so angry that he plotted revenge. He had his subjects dig a tunnel under the Deadly Desert while his general, Guph, recruited a host of evil spirits to conquer Oz. Fortunately, at the moment of invasion Roquat tasted the Water of Oblivion and forgot everything, including his enmity and his name. (The Emerald City of Oz)
He returned to the Nome Kingdom and took a new name, Ruggedo. Using some personal magic, he enslaved the Shaggy Man's Brother, a miner from Colorado. The Shaggy Man, with the help of Betsy Bobbin, the Oogaboo army, and some of Dorothy's old friends came to his rescue, and Ruggedo dropped them down the Hollow Tube. Quox the dragon conquered Ruggedo using an enchanted ribbon to deprive Ruggedo of all his magic knowledge and power. Ruggedo was forced him into exile, and his former chamberlain, Kaliko, was installed as the new king. However, Kaliko agreed to let Ruggedo stay as long as he behaved, which he agreed to. (Tik-Tok of Oz)
- Main Article: Kaliko
Kaliko, unlike his predecessor, maintained a friendship with Oz. While he was generally a more decent person than Ruggedo, he felt pressured by his position and by the Nomes to engage in wars and cruel acts. He tried to avoid offending the people of Oz, but this proved impossible when Dorothy Gale saw him being cruel to Prince Inga of Pingaree and his companions, and this soured relations. (Rinkitink in Oz)
Kaliko was briefly overthrown by Ruggedo, and for a time returned to being his chamberlain, until Ruggedo was defeated and rendered mute thanks to the efforts of Samuel Salt and his crew. Kaliko then became the king again. (Pirates in Oz)
The Nome King is an enduring enemy of the characters of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. Although the Wicked Witch of the West is the most famous of Oz's villains (thanks to the popular 1939 film The Wizard of Oz), the Nome King is the closest the book series has to a main antagonist. He appears again and again to cause trouble for the Land of Oz.
In Rinkitink in Oz the king of the Nomes is Kaliko, Ruggedo's chamberlain; he behaves much like his former master, at least in this book, which is a revision of a lost 1905 novel titled King Rinkitink, which, had it been published, would have been the original character's debut.