- "Dorothy looked in the direction the little old woman pointed her wand at, and the little girl gave a little cry of fright. There, indeed, just under the corner of the great beam the old farmhouse rested on, two stocking feet were sticking out, shod in Silver Shoes with pointed toes! "
- ― The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
- "Oh dear, who was she?" asked Dorothy. "She was the Wicked Witch of the East, as I said," answered the little old woman. "She has held all the Munchkins in boyndage for many years, making them slave for her night and day. Now they are all set free, and are grateful to you for the favor."
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Wicked Witch of the East
|Title||Wicked Witch of the East|
|Occupation||Wicked Witch of Munchkin Country|
|Affiliation||L. Frank Baum, Pastoria, Land of Oz, Wicked Witch of the West, Mombi, Wicked Witch of the South, Munchkin Country, Munchkins, Good Witch of the North, Glinda, Oscar Diggs, Wizard, Cyclone, Dorothy Gale, Nick Chopper, Nimmie Amee, Silver Shoes, Ruby Slippers, Nessarose, Evanora|
- "Well, I'm a little muddled. The Munchkins called me because a new witch has just dropped a house on the Wicked Witch of the East. And there's the house, and here you are, and that's all that's left of the Wicked Witch of the East. "
- ―Glinda (1939)
- "As Coroner, I must aver I thoroughly examined her, and she's not only merely dead, she's really, most sincerely dead..."
- ―Munchkin Coroner (1939)
The Wicked Witch of the East is a fictional character created by L. Frank Baum. She is first introduced in Baum's first Oz book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. She is only involved in the second chapter of the book titled The Council with the Munchkins. She never actually appears alive in the story. However, she is mentioned multiple times and Baum does give her a backstory and insight into her history. The Wicked Witch of the East was one of four powerful Witches who presided over the four countries of the magical Land of Oz. She was the original owner of the magic Silver Shoes, (Ruby Slippers in the 1939 movie) which helped her conquer and enslave the Munchkins in the eastern quadrant called Munchkin Country and kept them tightly in her bondage.
The Wicked Witch of the East was never given a name by Baum and is only known by her title of position. She was said to be much more powerful than Locasta Tattypoo aka the Good Witch of the North, who lived in the northern quadrant of Oz called Gillikin Country. But she was not near as powerful as the beautiful sorceress Glinda, the Good Witch of the South who ruled over the southern quadrant called Quadling Country. She was arguably more powerful than the Wicked Witch of the West who ruled the western quadrant called Winkie Country, but was much more private and humble.
In the original version of the story, the Wicked Witch of the East was not related to the Wicked Witch of the West but leagued together with her, as well as the Wicked Witch of the South and the old Witch Mombi to conquer Oz and divide it among themselves in four sections, long before the Wizard arrived, or even Glinda the Good surfaced. This is recounted in L. Frank Baum's fourth Oz novel titled Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, published in 1908.
- The Wicked Witch of the East was ultimately killed when the main character of the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and child protagonist named Dorothy Gale of Kansas came to Oz via cyclone.
Oz History: The Wicked Witch of The East
The Wicked Witch of the East appeared to have a humble dwelling. In Baum's Oz book titled The Tin Woodman of Oz, published in 1918, more of her history is revealed. And instead of a giant castle or fancy mansion, she appears to have a small standard cottage house deep within the Munchkin forest and has one beautiful Munchkin maid named Nimmie Amee who did the housework and cooking. The Munchkin slaves seemed to be a happy folk, as long as they didn't displease the Wicked Witch or make her angry. Basically, you could live happily and quietly under the reign of the Wicked Witch of the East, as long as you did everything she wanted and kept her satisfied.
The Wicked Witch of the East was not as powerful as the one in the West but she was far more experienced and educated in the art of Witchcraft. Long ago, after the fall of Oz's mortal King known as Pastoria who disappeared from Oz when the Wizard arrived via hot-air balloon and overthrew him. Oz then tried to overthrow the Wicked Witch of the West, and then the Wicked Witch of the East. Both the Wizard's attempts were unsuccessful, and he was ran out of both quadrants each time, unable to effectively subdue their rulers.
One day, a Munchkin woodman named Nick Chopper had promised his lover Nimmie Amee that he would chop down many trees to build her a pretty, comfortable home, and when the house was finished they would marry and elope by running away together to live happily ever after and away from the all their troubles. The Wicked Witch however, being a cunning creature, happened to eavesdrop on the two lovers making their escape plans. And since the the Wicked Witch was a rather lazy one, she was determined to prevent her servant from leaving her. Among her exceedingly cruel actions was the evil enchantment of Nick Chopper's handy axe which caused him to cut off all the limbs of his own body and eventually turn into the Tin Woodman aka the 'Tin Man'. This caused him to believe he no longer needed a heart with his new hallow tin body, so he never married Nimmie Amee, a belief and choice he would one day deeply regret.
About a year or so later, the Wicked Witch was searching for some spices and herbs in the fields and meadows in Munchkin Country. She finally met her end when Dorothy Gale's Kansas farmhouse unexpectedly fell out of the sky and landed right on top of her, ultimately crushing her to death and putting an end to her Wickedness once and for all.
- (In other versions the Wicked Witch was not the boss of the Beautiful Munckin girl, but still was responsible for Nick Chopper's tragic fate. As an old widowed woman one day visited the Wicked Witch of the East to ask for her help and stop her maid from leaving. She payed the Wicked Witch two sheep and one cow in exchange to get Nick Chopper out of the way and stop him from coming n between her and the Munchkin Maid.)
Drop a House on That Witch: The Arrival of Dorothy Gale of Kansas
- The Wicked Witch of the East meets her final fate as she is accidentally crushed to death by a falling farmhouse that was carried by a cyclone from another realm outside of Oz, a place called Kansas. In the story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, she appears, but when she does she is already dead. Her two feet are said to be the only thing visible under the wooden boards. The house happened to have passengers inside of it, a little girl named Dorothy Gale and her little pet dog named Toto. Both were aloft in the house as it crash-landed in the very heart of Munckinland. When Dorothy learns what has happened to the Wicked Witch, to her horror she sees her two feet under the crashed establishment that are also said to be shod in attractive Silver Shoes, (Ruby Slippers in the 1939 movie) that hold a mysterious magic inside of them.
- "Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" cried Dorothy, clasping her hands together in dismay. "The house must have fallen on her. Whatever shall we do?" "There is nothing to be done," said the little woman calmly. "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
In the book, shortly after Dorothy's house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, her body crumbles to dust. Whatever magic was holding her together must have been something she needed to keep doing to stay alive as she was said to be so old that just like the Wicked Witch of the West, the blood in her body dried up long ago. In the film versions, instead of crumbling away, her feet slowly roll up into her legs like a giant party horn. Dorothy obtained her magical Silver Shoes which was all that was left behind.
- "Suddenly, one of the Munchkins, who had been standing silently by, gave a loud shout and pointed to the corner of the house where the Wicked Witch had been lying. "What is it?" asked the little old woman, and when she looked, she began to laugh. The feet of the old dead Witch had disappeared entirely, and nothing was left but the Silver Shoes with pointed toes. "Oh, she was so bad and old," explained the Good Witch of the North, "that she dried up quickly in the sunlight. Well, that is officially the very end of her, and thank goodness. But the Silver Shoes are passed down to you and you shall have them to wear always, and rightfully so." The Good Witch reached down and picked up the shoes, and after shaking the dust out of them, she glady handed them to Dorothy. "The Wicked Witch of the East was very proud of those magic Silver Shoes," said one of the Munchkins, "and there is some powerful charm connected to them; but what it was, and is we never knew... "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Her death was cause for a great feast and lavish banquet in Munchkinland. The day was officially set aside as a national Holiday forevermore. In the original book an evening party is specifically held by a rich Munchkin man named Boq. And Dorothy attends this event as an honored guest. In the film versions, the Munchkin people also threw a huge celebration in the Munchkin City and treated Dorothy as if she was a celebrity. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
Her sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, came to her for advice on how to conquer the Wizard of Oz shortly after his arrival in Winkie Country. She advised her sister to seek out Gayelette and get the Winged Monkeys from her, which she did. (How the Wizard Came to Oz)
The witch is much talked about in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (the first of many Oz books by L. Frank Baum) and later in Baum's The Tin Woodman of Oz. There is significant discrepancy between the two books with regard to the exact role played by the Wicked Witch of the East in relation to Nick Chopper and his fiancée, but what is clear in both books is that the Tin Woodman became the way he is because of the Wicked Witch's enchantments.
The Wizard of Oz 1939
In the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the East is seen briefly flying past the house during the cyclone, wearing the ruby slippers. The famous sequence of the house dropping from the cyclone is actually a subjective point of view shot, showing the witch's view as Dorothy's house crushes her to death. She is not on screen again except for her stockinged feet sticking out from under the house.
In the movie, the shoes were changed to ruby slippers to look better for the Technicolor film.
The film portrays the Witch as being the sister of the Wicked Witch of the West, a relationship neither stated nor implied in Baum's books.
The Lion of Oz Cartoon
Prior to her death under Dorothy's house, the Wicked Witch of the East encounters the Cowardly Lion who, at the time, had a medal of courage from his friend, Oscar Diggs and so was just the Lion; not Cowardly. The Wicked Witch lied and said she had Diggs captive, which lead the Lion on a quest to find the Flower of Oz.
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, Miss Piggy Is Wicked!
In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005), the Wicked Witch of the East is played by Miss Piggy (as are all of the other witches). She managed to lift the diner up long enough to threaten the Munchkins before it fell back on top of her, killing her this time. (The Muppets' Wizard of Oz)
Dorothy and the Witches of Oz
The Wicked Witches of the East and West have come to New York City, where they begin a scheme to defeat Dorothy Gale, along with a number of allies from Oz. (Dorothy and the Witches of Oz)
Oz: The Great and Powerful
- Main Article: Evanora
Evanora was the former Royal Advisor to the King before she betrayed and murdered him in attempts to take the Royal Throne for herself. She is the Pre-Wicked Witch of the East. She successfully manipulates her younger naive sister Theodora the Good into thinking that Glinda, is the true murderer and true Wicked Witch as she convinced the people of Oz, specifically the citizens of Emerald City this as well. In the end good wins over bad and Evoanora meets her ugly end in a brutal batal with Glinda and is ultimately cast out of the Emerald City with the help of Oscar Diggs who becomes the Wizard of Oz. (Oz: The Great and Powerful)
In Alexander Melentyevich Volkov's The Wizard of the Emerald City, the Witch's name is Gingema. Like in the 1939 movie, the two Wicked Witches are sisters. The book begins with her summoning a magical hurricane to destroy all humanity (since people, in her opinion, exterminate her food). However, Villina learns of her schemes, and changes the spell to only affect one house (her magic book told her it was always empty during storms) and drop it on Gingema's head. Unlike in Baum's books, while being the formal ruler of the Munchkins, she interfered little in their lives, and only demanded that people collect food for her. Since her food was snakes, leeches, spiders, and other similarly disgusting creatures which the Munchkins were afraid of, that was nevertheless a heavy burden for them.
In the Broadway musical, The Wiz, The Wicked Witch of the East is named Evamene and terrorizes the Munchkins.
In the more recent novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by author Gregory Maguire, The Wicked Witch of the East is known as Nessarose Thropp. She is the beautiful but physically handicapped (born with no arms in the book and paraplegic in musical) sister of Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West). She gains the ability to walk unsupported thanks to the enchanted silver/ruby shoes. In both the book and musical, the character is portrayed in a less negative light than in the Baum books or earlier movie, although she becomes fanatical, (something of a religious "nut-job" in the books and desperately and manipulatively dependent on the munchkin Boq in musicals) so much so that she limits the rights of the Munchkins and ends up being referred to as a 'wicked witch'.
In Roger S. Baum's Lion of Oz and the Badge of Courage, the Wicked Witch of the East is the main antagonist. The book was adapted into the 2000 animated film Lion of Oz.
In 2007, Turner Entertainment collaborated with Madame Alexander to create a series of McDonald's Happy Meal toys centered on the main characters from the 1939 movie, one of which was the Wicked Witch of the East. She is depicted as having blonde hair, a red shirt with a green belt and a burgundy dress over her distinguishable striped stockings and ruby slippers. She also is wearing a hat similar to the Witch of the West's, although it is colored red.
- The Wizard of Oz (1939): Margaret Hamilton
- Lion of Oz (2000): Lynn Redgrave
- Wicked (2003): Michelle Federer as Nessarose
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005): Miss Piggy
- Dorothy and the Witches of Oz (2012): Sarah Lieving
- Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013): Rachel Weisz as Evanora