- "The Guardian of the Gates led them through the city's green streets until they came to a big beautiful green building in the middle of the city, which was the Palace of Oz, the Great Wizard. There was a soldier before the door, dressed in a handsome green uniform and wearing a long green beard. "Here are strangers," said the Guardian of the Gates to him, " these visitors demand to see the Great Oz." "Step inside," answered the soldier, "and I shall carry your message to him." So they all passed through the Palace gates and were led into a big room with a green carpet and lovely green furniture set with sparkling emeralds. The soldier made them all wipe their feet upon a green mat before entering into this room, and when they were seated he said, politely: "Please make yourselves comfortable while I go to the door of the Throne Room and tell Oz you are here. "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Wantowin Battles, (known better as the Soldier with the Green Whiskers ) is a fictional character invented by L. Frank Baum. His first appearance is in Baum's first Oz book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. He is part of the staff administration who works for the Wizard who rules the magical Land of Oz and lives in the land's imperial capital known as the Emerald City. Wantowin also lives in the city and mostly gaurds the Royal Palace of Oz. After the Wizard's reign ended, he became the official head bodyguard of the child Queen of Oz known as the lovely Princess Ozma. Wantowin also is the head captin of Oz's Royal Army of Oz as well as the boss of the Police Force in the Emerald City.
- When Wantowin is introduced in Baums' first Oz book, other characters are also introduced who are said to work in the Emerald City's staff administration with him. Such as the Guardian of the Gates and the Emerald City Maid named Jellia Jamb.
He is very tall and wears a handsome green and gold uniform and a tall hat with a waving plume. His belt is thickly encrusted with green jewels. His most memorable feature is a long, green beard that falls far below his waist and makes him seem taller than he truly is.
- In the later Oz books it is mentioned that his wife has an unpleasant temper, and when upset tends to pull out his whiskers by the roots. He carries a gun, but does not keep it loaded for fear of accidents. In fact, he doesn't even remember where he hid the powder and shot.
Wantowin was born to a Munchkin family called Battles. Upon reaching maturity, he enthusiastically applied for a position in the Ozian army. The Wizard of Oz was impressed by his height and green whiskers and quickly hired him. (Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz)
When the Scarecrow was made king, General Jinjur led an Army of Revolt which conquered the Emerald City. The Soldier escaped into the Royal Palace to warn the king, and then helped the Scarecrow and his companions escape the city, staying behind to await their return. (The Marvelous Land of Oz)
When the Wizard returned to Oz, the Soldier told him that he had shaved off his whiskers long ago and become the Chief General of the Royal Armies. (Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz)
The Soldier was the first to discover that Ozma's palace had gone missing when it had been stolen by a giant-sized Ruggedo. Acting on Unc Nunkie's advice, the Soldier took the Sawhorse to Glinda's palace and told her the news. (Kabumpo in Oz)
Later, the Soldier's flowing green beard turned red at a banquet, a symptom of hostile magic being practiced against Oz. (The Wishing Horse of Oz)
When the wizard created the first two Ozoplanes, the Soldier with the Green Whiskers came aboard the Oztober with the Tin Woodman and Jellia Jamb. He accidentally launched the plane by slumping over the control panel, hitting many buttons at once. (Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz)
- He is sometimes considered the same character as Omby Amby, because in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, a text reads:
- ...a tall soldier in a Captain-General's uniform.
- The Wizard turned to look at him.
- "Did you not wear green whiskers at one time?" he asked.
- "Yes," said the soldier; "but I shaved them off long ago, and since then I have risen from a private to be the Chief General of the Royal Armies."
In Other Books
In Magic Land he is named Din Gior. His whiskers are not mentioned, but he does have a very long beard. He really likes to spend time combing it, to the exclusion of all else - this absentmindedness is a running gag in the series. However, it does end the moment there is an actual threat to the safety of the city, and he shows himself to be a capable commander. In the Wizard's times Din Gior has sometimes demonstrated to the public excellent skill with weapons. He carries no gun.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (first appearance)
- The Marvelous Land of Oz
- Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
- The Patchwork Girl of Oz
- Kabumpo in Oz
- The Cowardly Lion of Oz
- The Lost King of Oz
- Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz
- Pirates in Oz
- The Wishing Horse of Oz
- Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz
- The Wonder City of Oz
In MGM's 1939 musical classic, The Wizard of Oz (1939), the Soldier with the Green Whiskers is introduced at the palace gates when Dorothy and her companions ask to speak to the Wizard.
After refusing to let them enter, Dorothy begins to cry at the thought of never going home again. Touched by her tears of sorrow, the Soldier has a change of heart and opens the gate that leads to the Wizard's elaborate throne room.
In Walt Disney's 1985 cult classic fantasy, Return to Oz (film), the Soldier with the Green Whiskers can be seen in the coronation parade celebration towards the end of the film.
In the Movies
The Patchwork Girl of Oz
The Soldier with the Green Whiskers guards the gate to the Emerald City. He's a very sleepy fellow. (The Patchwork Girl of Oz)
In The Wiz their are two soldiers that guard the gate to the Emerald City. One is portrayed by Clifton Jackson.