The Marvelous Land of Oz, the Strange (Transgender?) Sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In any case, there was a happy gender transition story in a popular American children’s novel at the turn of the previous century. I found a blog that calls Ozma a “transgender icon.” I would prefer more space devoted to this aspect of the protagonist than to the Woggle-Bug being unfunny and long battles against story-irrelevant birds. Taken together, the gender politics are surprisingly messy and interesting.

It is this cumulative strangeness and many tensions that render The Marvelous Land of Oz fresh, or rather alien—they don’t write fantasy novels like this anymore. However, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is no less weird, its ideas about a tornado flinging a Kansas girl’s house onto a wicked witch in a land of little people and magic slippers and a talking scarecrow and so on normalized only through their popularity. I dislike the 1939 Oz movie not only because I find it boring (and not only because of harm actors sustained on set) but because it sanitizes the creativity and unsettling ideas and implications of the source material. The Tin Woodman chops zero animals apart with his ax in the Hollywood version, I’ll tell you that much. Reading this novel’s more obscure sequel, I am able to appreciate Baum’s inventiveness with an unspoiled mind.

You can read my post about the third novel of the series, Ozma of Oz, riiiiight here. Thank you so much for reading!