- "The house began to pitch, the kitchen took a slitch! It landed on a Wicked Witch, in the middle of a ditch! "
- ―The Wizard of Oz song Lyrics (1939)
- "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 bondage 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 book, Baum never clarifies if the two Wicked Witches of the East and West were sisters or even properly acquainted.
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 female Munchkin servant to do 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 pleased.
The Wicked Witch of the East was far more brutal than the one of the West. She was very cold-blooded in her days long before the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz took place. First she successfully conquered the Munchkin Country and tyrannically ruled over the Munchkins, enslaving the majority of them. After the fall of the mortal King Pastoria who disappeared from Oz when the Wizard arrived via hot-air balloon and overthrew him, he then tried to overthrow her, just as he tried to overthrow the Wicked Witch of the West in the Winkie Country. Both the Wizards' attempts we're unsuccessful and he was ultimately ran out of the Munchkin Country being unable to subdue her as well. Thus, she remained in her place and position as the official Ruler of the east lands in Oz and became feared by many people as even the great and powerful Oz could not conquer her.
In the forest, the Wicked Witch of the East lived all alone. The only company she had was a very beautiful Munchkin maid named Nimmie Amee, who worked hard all day for the Witch. Nimmie Amee also was the love interest of the Munchkin Woodman named Nick Chopper. Nick had promised his love to build her a home and when the home was finished they would elope and run away to live happily ever after. The Wicked Witch however, was determined to prevent her maid from getting married. Among her exceedingly cruel actions was the enchantment of Nick Chopper's handy axe which caused him to tragically cut off all the limbs of his own body and eventually turn into the Tin Woodman aka the 'Tin Man'. This caused him to lose his ability to love because he had no heart in his hallow tin body.
Thus, losing all interest in Nimmie Amee, to her dismay. This is what caused him to eventually long for a heart later on. The Wicked Witch of the East finally went looking for spices and herbs to turn her maid Nimmie Amee from a beautiful maid to an ugly old crone. It was while the Wicked Witch of the East was searching for spices and herbs in the Munckin country when she finally met her end as Dorothy Gale's Kansas farmhouse 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 YOU! The Arrival of Dorothy Gale of Kansas:
- "Dorothy looked in the direction the woman pointed her wand at, and she gave a little cry of fright. There, indeed, just under the corner of the great beam the farmhouse rested on, two stocking feet were sticking out, shod in Silver Shoes with pointed toes! "
- ― The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
- 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, which was Kansas. In the story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, she appears, but when she does she is already dead. And her two feet are the only thing said to be visible as they are sticking up from under the great beam of the fallen house. 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 a block of wood from her house, that are also said to be shod in pretty Silver Shoes that hold 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)
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.
- "While Dorothy and the Good Witch of the North were speaking, suddenly they both heard one of the Munchkins, who had been standing silently by, give a loud shout and pointed to the corner of the farmhouse where the Wicked Witch had been lying under. "What is it?" asked the little old woman, and looked, and began to laugh. The feet of the dead Witch had disappeared entirely, and nothing was left but the Silver Shoes. "She was so old," explained the Witch of the North, that she dried up quickly in the sun. That is the end of her. But the Silver Shoes are yours, and you shall have them to wear." She reached down and picked up the shoes, and after shaking the dust out of them handed them to Dorothy. "The Witch of the East was proud of those Silver Shoes," said one of the Munchkins, "and there is some charm connected with them; but what it is we never knew. "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Her death was cause for a great feast and lavish banquet in Munchkinland. 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 declared Dorothy a hero for ever more. (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. (Lion 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