- This article is about the first Nome King met by Dorothy, known as Roquat and later renamed Ruggedo. For his successor, see Kaliko.
|Title||The Nome King, Metal Monarch, Roquat of the Rocks|
|First Appearance||The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus|
The Nome King is the ruler of the Nomes (sometimes spelled "Gnomes"), immortals who dwell underground. They hide jewels and precious metals in the earth, and resent the "upstairs people" who dig down for those valuables. The Nome King is also sometimes called the Metal Monarch.
The Nome King's name was originally Roquat the Red, or Roquat of the Rocks; his name was later changed to Ruggedo.
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)
Roquat of the Rocks later 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)
Nevertheless, he had been exiled again by the time he met Kiki Aru in the Land of Ev. He overheard the boy's wicked intentions and saw him transform. He made an alliance with the boy to conquer the Land of Oz by inspiring an army of beasts to attack the Emerald City and then transforming the beasts into humans and the humans into beasts. He was transformed into a nut by the Wizard of Oz, and then restored to his proper shape only to be made to drink from the Water of Oblivion again. Ozma decreed that he should be kept in the Land of Oz and educated there, so as not to return to his evil nature as he would among the nomes. (The Magic of Oz)
He was given a cabin to live in near the Emerald City, but he couldn't stand life above ground; the sun was too bright and he couldn't stand the people's happy faces in Oz. He dug a tunnel underground from his cabin to a cavern under Ozma's palace, which had previously been dug out by someone else. There, Ruggedo spent most of his time, hoping to conquer Ozma. His memory slowly returned, and he began to write his own history on a series of rocks. During the days, he would wander the Emerald City and steal things from the people of Oz, only to return them to his cavern and give them to his rabbit friend Wag.
Ruggedo eventually found Glegg's Box of Mixed Magic and used it to enlarge Wag and Peg Amy, the doll who he had habitually abused. He also turned his hair to iron spikes by accident and caused himself to grow into a giant. When he grew, Ozma's palace became impaled on his iron hair spikes. He then ran away in confusion and terror, traveling to the Land of Ev and sitting atop a mountain. The people inside the palace threatened him to not move or else they'd unleash thousands of eggs, so he sat perfectly still. The Sand Man accidentally crashed into the palace and dropped sand on everyone, making them fall asleep, including Ruggedo. Much later, when everyone had woken up, Ozma dropped trick oil on Ruggedo's feet, which caused him to walk back to the Emerald City, then shrink. Ozma made him tell her the whole story, and he begged for mercy. Now believing he would never reform, she exiled him to become the king of the Runaway Land. (Kabumpo in Oz)
He 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.
The character called the Nome King was originally named Roquat of the Rocks in Ozma of Oz, then Roquat the Red in The Emerald City of Oz. Later he took the name Ruggedo, which Baum first used in a stage adaptation. Even after Ruggedo lost his throne, he continued to think of himself as king, and the Royal Historians politely refer to him that way. Authors Ruth Plumly Thompson and John R. Neill used the traditional spelling "gnome," so Ruggedo is the title character in Thompson's The Gnome King of Oz.
- Tik-Tok of Oz
- The Magic of Oz
- Kabumpo in Oz
- The Hungry Tiger of Oz
- The Gnome King of Oz
- Pirates in Oz
- Handy Mandy in Oz
In Other Media
Fairylogue and Radio-Plays
The Nome King appeared in the Fairylogue and Radio-Plays, which contained scenes from Baum's first three Oz books.
Return to Oz
He found Dorothy's Ruby Slippers after they fall on his mountain. Using them, he conquered the Emerald City, turning its inhabitants into stone, with the exception of the Scarecrow, who he captured and took to his mountain. When Dorothy, Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, and the Gump arrived at his mountain, the Nome King transformed the Scarecrow into an ornament. He told Dorothy that the emeralds were originally his and that the Scarecrow stole them from him, but she knew he was lying because the emeralds were there before the Scarecrow became king. The Nome King decided to have them all play a guessing game with each of his ornaments to see which one the Scarecrow was, in which if they guessed right, the Scarecrow would be restored, but if they guessed wrong three times, they would be turned into ornaments.
Whenever one was turned into an ornament, the Nome King became more human in appearance. If all of them were to guess wrong and become ornaments, the Nome King would be completely human. All of them were turned into ornaments except Dorothy, who was able to get the Scarecrow back and realized that people from Oz turned into green ornaments. Furious at this, the Nome King blamed Princess Mombi, who previously had Dorothy locked in her tower and was unable to prevent her escape, so he imprisoned her in a cage to punish her later and then turned into a giant form and attempted to eat them shortly after they found the Gump and Jack. He tried to eat the Gump, but only succeeded in eating the sofa part of him, as they were able to save his head. He then tried to eat Jack, but as he was holding him above his mouth, Billina, who was inside Jack's head since their arrival on the mountain, laid an egg, which fell down the Nome King's throat. As eggs are poisonous to Nomes, this killed him, leaving only a pile of rocks and the Ruby Slippers. His mountain was destroyed afterwards.
- In his most human appearances, the Nome King has a ruby ring on his finger and smokes a cigar. This, along with some of his lines, makes him similar to Dr. Worley (also portrayed by Nicol Williamson), whose final fate is mirrored with that of the Nome King.
Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz
The Nome King is rather bumbling, but still commands fear. He has his visitors play a guessing game with his ornaments, for the royal family of Ev. (Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz)
Dorothy and the Witches of Oz
The Nome King appeared in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz played by Al Snow. He is depicted as one of the allies of the Wicked Witch of the West. During the climax of the film, the Nome King fights the Tin Man and is defeated by him.