Out of Oz is the fourth book of Gregory Maguire's alternate Oz series, The Wicked Years. it was released on November 1, 2011. Out of Oz brings a conclusion to the narratives spread across The Wicked Years while providing a revisionist look at L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz incorporating elements from Baum's series as well as the 1939 film adaptation of the original novel. This novel presents an Oz in the middle of a civil war plagued with depression and adult situations, from the perspective of Rain, the young granddaughter of Elphaba Thropp, Maguire's reimagining of The Wicked Witch of the West. It concludes the story of that series.
It opens with Glinda under house arrest, under the eye of Cherrystone, mentioned in previous books. Rain is a strange, underdeveloped child that goes from Glinda's care to those of the Clock of the Time Dragon. Brrr is also running from the law with Nor and none other than Dorothy makes another appearance. Elphaba's little granddaughter who was born at the end of Son of a Witch, is named Rain and has come of age to use Elphaba's broomstick.
The story starts out in Kansas with Dorothy Gale who is now in her teens and on vacation with her uncle and aunt in San Francisco. The text states that, as with the 1939 film version, nobody believed in Dorothy's account of Oz and shunned her. While in San Francisco Dorothy hoped to see the ocean, but due to the fog, she was unable to see it. At the end of the prologue, the famous San Francisco earthquake of April 18, 1906 occurs while Dorothy is trapped with her dog Toto in an elevator at the motel she and her relatives were staying in.
To Call Winter Upon Water
The story switches to Oz, where there is turmoil once again. The Emerald City and the Free State of Munchkinland are at war over the precious Restwater Lake. Situated in the midst of this conflict is Mockbeggar Hall. Lady Glinda, now residing there, is held under house arrest on suspicion of treason by Cherrystone, mentioned in the previous books, who has now achieved the rank of General. Most of her staff are evicted, save for a few to attend on her needs. Among them is a strange, under-developed child named Rain, whom Cherrystone begins teaching to read.
Glinda is kept under tight watch and, to her surprise, the Grimmerie comes into her possession one night when the Clock of the Time Dragon comes to Mockbeggar Hall. As typical, the Dragon and its cronies put on a show that puts Cherrystone and his soldiers into a furious disarray. It is here that we are re-introduced to Brrr and his wife Nor, calling herself Illianora.
Cherrystone's soldiers garrisoned here begin taking over the barns for their own purposes. Using Rain as a spy, Glinda attempts to discover what they are up to, with little success. At last it is revealed that Cherrystone has been creating boats, pulled by dragons, to be shipped across the Restwater Lake to decimate the Munchkin forces. With Rain's help, Glinda uses a spell entitled To Call Winter Upon Water to freeze the ships in the middle of the lake. With her under suspicion, Glinda sends Rain off with Illianora, the Dwarf and the Clock of the Time Dragon, much to the Dwarf's chagrin.
The Patchwork Conscience of Oz
Rain, Brrr, Nor and the Dwarf are now on the run, and the Clock of the Time Dragon seems to have played its last show. At Rain's suggestion, they consult the Grimmerie, where an image of Yackle directs them to go south. On their way, the Dwarf, begrudging his service to an inactive prophetic machine, decides to marry on the spot. Here we are re-introduced to Sister Apothecarie from the last two books, now called Little Daffy. Shortly thereafter they meet Miss Grayling, the former sorcery teacher at Shiz. Once there, the Clock of the Time Dragon wakes, showing the demise of Pastorius and how the Wizard came to power.
They arrive in Quadling Country, escaping pursuing forces quite by accident when Rain makes the Clock of the Time Dragon fly. They stay in Quadling for a long while (the text is never specific on time, because in Gregory Maguire's Oz, the passage of time in the story is inconsistent and completely arbitrary), and Rain befriends a swamp-otter she calls Tay and steals a lake-shell. After a considerable amount of time passes (it is once again unclear, though Rain is definitely more than a child now), they leave Quadling Country. During an encounter with Muhlama, the Ivory Tigress from A Lion Among Men, the Clock of the Time Dragon is irreparably damaged. The stage is in chaos, though it is hinted that it could have been the last prediction of the Clock of the Time Dragon. At the end of the chapter, they arrive at a place in far eastern Vinkus Country called the Chancel of the Ladyfish.
The Chancel of the Ladyfish
In the third chapter, Liir has been living with Candle in secrecy some time after the end of Son of a Witch. Liir tells Rain that he is her father, but, mirroring his own repugnance towards his own mother, Rain does not reciprocate any feelings of affection toward him or Candle. While here, it is revealed that Liir is keeping up with some of his cohorts in the Council of Birds, particularly the goose Iskinaary, who is called his 'familiar.' While they stay here, it is revealed that Dorothy has returned to Oz.
Being on the run, Liir and company leave Chancel and head north-west, deeper into the Vinkus. While passing the Kellswater Lake, the Clock of the Time Dragon falls into the lake and is at last lost. With the Clock gone, the company go their separate ways. Liir and Candle go into hiding, the Dwarf, Brrr and Little Daffy decide to go to Munchkinland and the chapter ends with Rain in Nor's company.
The Judgment of Dorothy
Brrr, the Dwarf and Little Daffy arrive in Munchkinland on the eve of a trial to be held against the newly-arrived Dorothy. Apparently the Munchkins, who in Wicked gave Nessarose Thropp the title Wicked Witch of the East, now view Nessarose as a national heroine, and therefore hold Dorothy at trial for her "murder" and that of her sister. Throughout the chapter, it is revealed that the trial is nothing more than a political maneuver by Munchkinland's leader Mombey (of The Marvelous Land of Oz fame, who also appeared in Son of a Witch) to garner support and patriotism for the cause of the Munchkinlanders, and that it can only end in one way: with Dorothy found guilty.
Brrr, "Mr. Boss" and Little Daffy take part in the trial and, sure enough, Dorothy is found guilty. The trial is then interrupted by the three, who rescue Dorothy and high-tail it out of Munchkinland before "things get ugly."
At St. Prowd's
By the fourth chapter, Nor, who is staying at Kiamo Ko has enrolled Rain at the Gilikin school of St. Prowd's, where she is kept in an attic. She makes friends with a servant-girl named Scarly and a young boy named Tip (who also made a cameo-appearance in Son of a Witch).
Rain progresses with her studies, and (apparently) grows up some more. When she discovers that a 'book of magic' has been found and is in Mombey's possession, she and Tip escape from St. Prowd's.
Rain and Tip arrive at Kiamo Ko, along with Brrr, "Mr. Boss", Little Daffy and Dorothy and learn that Nor is dead. It is at this point that Rain begins to take matters into her own hands.
Liir is set upon by disguised men, who bring him to Mombey. To cross the border, they force Liir either to use the Grimmerie to aid Mombey's forces, or be smuggled into Munchkinland in the form of a dead Animal. He chooses the second option and is turned into an apparently dead Elephhant. A watching Bird misinterprets this that Liir is dead.
Rain decides to leave Kiamo Ko and head for The Emerald City, hoping that Shell Thropp, the Emperor Apostle, has news of the whereabouts of her father or the Grimmerie. While on their way they meet the Ozmists (from A Lion Among Men), who enchant Rain's lake-shell to summon them whenever sounded. She proceeds to the Emerald City accompanied only by Dorothy. Once they arrive, dragons attack the city from above, having been trained by Trism bon Cavalish.
To Call the Lost Forward
With The Emerald City brought to its knees by the dragon attacks, a parley between Emperor Shell and Mombi is called forth in the City. Dorothy is reunited with Toto and Rain with Tip, returning with Mombi and the victorious Munchkins into the City. The company receive news that Liir is dead.
The parley takes place in the City, and Mombi reveals that Liir is not dead. It is revealed during the parley that Mombi has the Grimmerie and uses it to attempt to revert Liir to his natural form. But something goes wrong. Rain, who has been making out with Tip in secret during the parley, is suddenly filled with a sharp pain that goes across her entire skin. Suddenly, Mombi starts shouting frantically: "What are you doing here? Where have you come from? No one gave you clearance. I never called you back!"
It is revealed that the spell Mombi had used to summon back Liir, entitled To Call the Lost Forward, had summoned more than just Liir. It is here revealed that Liir, upon discovery that his daughter was born with green skin, enlisted the aid of a Snake to conceal her skin color and hide her away for her own protection. Mombi's spell brings back Rain's true skin color, and Tip is revealed to be none other than Ozma Tippetarius (the lost queen of OZ), the last Ozma believed (and supported by Gregory Maguire) throughout the series to be dead. Elphaba herself is also rumored by the Ozians to have come back from wherever she went after her melting because of Mombi's spell, though there is no solid proof she did, in fact, return.
The closing action sees Liir and Candle still separated, Mombi and Glinda placed in the Southstairs, though it is strongly hinted that Glinda will not remain there for long. Brrr is made the governor of Oz until Ozma comes of age. The greenified Rain uses the Grimmerie to send Dorothy back to Earth.
With everything settled, Rain buries the Grimmerie and proceeds to live with Liir. Glinda is released from the Southstairs and, before long, the buried Grimmerie grows a tree of magic broomsticks. Rain takes up her own broom, the Grimmerie in tow and flies Out of Oz, passing over the Deadly Deserts, over Ev and over many other lands until she becomes ill. Iskinaary finds her and helps her recovery and encourages her to "keep going." Rain continues flying on, until she at last reaches and sees the ocean. She keeps on going, out over the ocean, planning to drop the Grimmerie into its depths and keep going. Mirroring the first lines of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Out of Oz concludes with the following statement: "A mile above anything known, the Girl balanced on the wind's forward edge, as if she were a green fleck of the sea itself, flung up by the turbulent air and sent wheeling away."
Lady Glinda, now a widow, lives in her mansion called Mockbeggar Hall on the border of Munchkinland. General (formerly Commander) Cherrystone and his men take up residence in her home while plotting the invasion of Munchkinland.
Rain is the daughter of Liir and Candle. Eight years of age, she is first seen working as a servant in Mockbeggar Hall, the home of Lady Glinda Chuffrey. Throughout the story she has flashbacks of her childhood. Through her paternal grandfather Fiyero Tigelaar and her paternal grandmother Elphaba Thropp she is the heir to both the thrones of Munchkinland and the Vinkus. A member of the Company of the Clock and taken under the care of Ilianora, her aunt, and Brrr.
Mr. Boss, the dwarf, keeper of the Clock of the Time Dragon and the Grimmerie. He is married to Little Daffy. A member of the Company of the Clock.
Ilianora, now in her thirties, is the daughter of Fiyero Tigelaar and half-sister of Liir. She is "married" to Brrr. A Member of the Company of the Clock.
Brrr, the Cowardly Lion, "married" to Ilianora. A member of the Company of the Clock.
Little Daffy, the Munckinlander maunt formerly known as Sister Apothercaire. A member of the Company of the Clock. Daffy is short for Daphodil.
Liir, first appears and is living in an old, forlon rest station for passersby just north of the Sleeve of Ghastille, the region on the border of the Vinkus and Quadling Country home to the infamous poppies Dorothy, the Tinman, the Scarecrow, and Brrr encountered 15 years prior.
Candle, living with Liir
Iskinaary and Dosey,a Goose and a Wren respectively from the Conference of Birds; Liir's associates.
La Mombey, an accomplished sorcress and the self-proclaimed Eminence of Munchkinland. Gillikinese by descent, she moved the seat of the Eminence to Bright Lettins and led the government of Munchkinland. (based on the character of Mombi from L. Frank Baum's sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of OZ The Marvelous Land of Oz.
General Jinjuria, head of the Munckinlander army. She is loosely based on a character with a similar name featured in L. Frank Baum's Oz-series sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of OZ entitled The Marvelous Land of Oz.
Throughout the series, there has been speculation that Elphaba Thropp may not be dead. In Son of a Witch, Nor writes the phrase Elphaba Lives in graffiti on several walls and in A Lion Among Men, Yackle says that "She's coming back."
However, in Out of Oz, the main idea is that Ozma is the one who has come back. Elphaba may have simply come back in spirit through her grand-daughter Rain.
There may be more to this however. The character of Nanny states that she saw Elphaba recently, though she is known to have, by now, become senile. As if to further complicate the issue, Glinda herself implies knowing the person who opens the door to her jail cell in the final chapter, saying her name before calling her "You wicked thing."
Many believe that Mombey's spell "To Call The Lost Forward" (which Rain interfered with) may also have brought back Elphaba herself.
Allusions/references to other oz works
Out of Oz borrows heavily from the second Oz novel by Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz,where the Emerald City's power is overthrown by a General Jinjur and her all-female army accompanied by a witch named Mombi. Out of Oz's revolution is led by reimagined versions of those characters named General Junjuria and La Mombey. The Marvelous Land of Oz's protagonist, a boy named Tip is in actuality the enchanted Princess Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz. The Wicked Years has recounted the story of Ozma as a myth, generally it presented that Ozma herself was killed by the Wizard. However, in Out of Oz Rain comes face-to-face with Tip and falls in love with him. As in the original book, the spell keeping Ozma bound in Tip's form is broken, and Rain is forced to acknowledge that she's lost her love to the throne of Oz. Dorothy's return was also inspired by Baum's Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz in which Dorothy comes back to Oz in a San Franciscan earthquake. Characters from the Oz books such as Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Nome King, Princess Langwidere, Handy Mandy in Oz and Ojo the Lucky are also referenced throughout, making fleeting cameos. The novel also references songs from the musical, and the 1939 film, albeit somewhat covertly to avoid copyright infringement.
|Gregory Maguire's The Wicked Years series|