- "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 speaking to Dorothy Gale in Return to Oz (1985)
King Of Nomes
- "Don't you know that Eggs are...poison, poison, poisonous to Nomes...? "
- ―Nome King Return to Oz (1985)
- "Like much of the time, the Nome King was in an angry mood, and at such times he was very disagreeable. All of his subjects kept away from him, even his Chief Steward Kaliko. Therefore the King stormed and raved all by himself, walking up and down in his glittering jewel-studded cavern and getting angrier and angrier by the minute. Then he remembered that it was no fun being angry, unless he had someone to frighten and make miserable. So without a second thought, he furiously rushed to his giant gong of solid gold, and gave it a big hard hit with his gem encrusted scepter, to make it bang and clatter as loud as it possibly could. "
- ―The Emerald City of Oz (1910)
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, stubborn and power-hunrgy 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 half human and half rock. They are a tribe adapted to living hundreds of miles below the earth and rarely surface. They are from the same continent where the magical Land of Oz lies and the Land of Ev can be found. There the Kingdom of Nomes neighbors both of these countries. Interestingly, chicken eggs are highly poisonous to the Nome race, much like how water was fatal to the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900.
- "I've lost my Magic Belt. That annoying little girl named Dorothy Gale who was here with that preposterous Princess Ozma of Oz, stole my Magic Belt and carried it away with her," said the King, grinding his teeth with rage. "But your Majesty, aren't you forgetting, the two captured it in a fair fight," Kaliko ventured to say. "But I want it! I must have it! Half my power is gone without that Magic Belt, and I want it back, now!" roared the King. "You will have to go to the Land of Oz to recover it, and your Majesty can't get to Oz in any possible way," said the Steward, yawning because he had been on duty ninety-six hours, and was very sleepy. "Why not?" Groaned the King. "Because there is a vast Deadly Desert all around that country, which no one is able to cross. You know that fact as well as I do, your Majesty. Never mind the lost Belt. You have plenty of power left, for you rule this underground kingdom like a tyrant, and thousands of loyal Nomes obey your every command. I advise you to drink a nice warm glass of hot melted silver, to quiet your nerves, and then take a little nap." The Nome King grabbed a big ruby jewel nearby and threw it straight at Kaliko's head! "
- ―The Emerald City of Oz (1910)
The Nome King plays minor but very important roles in Baum's sequel Oz books as one of the most relevant and significant 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 neighboring Kingdom of Oz. He is extremely short tempered, to the point of even getting hostile and 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 his dream of conquering Oz and all the Ozians.
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 in later Oz books.
Baum's Nome King of Nome Mountain
There was also a different kind of Nome King, spelled "Gnome", 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, stones and other countless treasures such as gold nuggets and silver.
- "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 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 was accurately portrayed in Walt Disney's 1985 cult classic film 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)
Return to Oz
In Walt Disney's 1985 cult classic film Return to Oz, the Nome King got a hold of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers when she clicked her heels together three times and was transported home. In the process the shoes fell off of her feet on the flight back to Kansas. The Nome King claims that the pair just "fell out of the sky one day" and landed on his mountain. And with the slippers he uses their powers to conquer the Ozians, replace Munchkinland with a dark gloomy forest, destroy the Yellow Brick Road and demolish the beautiful green Emerald City. When Dorothy returns to Oz six months later, to her horror she finds Oz in apocalyptic ruins.
After escaping the Nome King's accomplice "Princess Mombi" and her creepy band of "Wheelers", Dorothy Gale and her new found companions Billina the chicken, Tik-Tok the mechanical man, Jack Pumpkinhead, and Gump made a journey to the Nome mountain across the Deadly Desert to rescue the King Scarecrow. The Nome King had kidnapped and wrongly accused the stuffed man of stealing his emeralds that decorated the city. Luckily, in the end Dorothy was able to get her Ruby Slippers back and use them to restore Oz back to normal once again after the Nome King was defeated. Princess Mombi's life was spared but 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, Princess Ozma was released from the mirror Mombi had enchanted her within under the Nome King's orders to keep the true heir to Oz's throne a secret. Once free, Ozma revealed herself to Dorothy and the Ozians as the child Queen of Oz and the rightful ruler like her father, Pastoria once was long before the Wizard came.
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 magical 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.