Wizard of Oz (character) - The Classic Books

The Classic Books

The Wizard is one of the characters in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Unseen for most of the novel, he is the ruler of the Land of Oz and highly venerated by his subjects. Believing he is the only man capable of solving their problems, Dorothy Gale and her friends travel to the Emerald City, the capital of Oz, to meet him. Oz is very reluctant to meet them, but eventually each is granted an audience, one by one. On each of these occasions, the Wizard appears in a different form, once as a giant head, once as a beautiful fairy, once as a ball of fire, and once as a horrible monster. When, at last, he grants an audience to all of them at once, he seems to be invisible—nothing but a disembodied voice.

Eventually, it is revealed that Oz is actually none of these things, but rather a kind, ordinary man from Omaha, Nebraska, who has been using a lot of elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem "great and powerful." Working as a magician for a circus, he wrote OZ (the initials of his first and middle name) on the side of his balloon for promotional purposes. One day his balloon sailed into the Land of Oz, and found himself worshipped as a great sorcerer. As Oz had no leadership at the time, he became Supreme Ruler of the kingdom, and did his best to sustain the myth.

He leaves Oz at the end of the novel, again in a hot air balloon. After the Wizard's departure, the Scarecrow is briefly enthroned, until the rightful hereditary ruler of Oz, Princess Ozma, is freed from the witch Mombi at the end of The Marvelous Land of Oz.

In Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, Oz explains that his real name is Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs. To shorten this name, he used only his initials (O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D.), but since they spell out the word pinhead, he shortened his name further and called himself "Oz".

In The Marvelous Land of Oz, the Wizard is described as having usurped the throne of King Pastoria and handed over the baby princess to Mombi. This did not please the readers, and in Ozma of Oz, although the character did not appear, Baum described Ozma's abduction without including the Wizard as part of it.

The Wizard returns in the novel Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. With Dorothy and the boy Zeb, he falls through a crack in the earth; in their underground journey, he acts as their guide and protector. When Ozma rescues them from the underground kingdoms, he recounts his story of becoming the ruler of Oz, and Ozma explains that before the witches usurped her grandfather's throne (an occurrence happening long before the wizard arrived), the ruler of Oz had always been known as Oz or (if female) Ozma. Ozma then permits him to live in Oz permanently. He becomes an apprentice to Glinda, the most powerful magic-worker in Oz. Ozma decrees that, besides herself, only The Wizard and Glinda are allowed to use magic.

In later books, he proves himself quite an inventor, providing devices that aid in various characters’ journeys. He introduces to Oz the use of mobile phones in Tik-Tok of Oz. Some of his most elaborate devices are the Ozpril and the Oztober, balloon-powered Ozoplanes in Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, and intelligent taxis called Scalawagons in The Scalawagons of Oz.

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