5 Fictional Characters I’d Invite to a Summer Picnic

This week’s post is sort of silly, and inspired by Chronically Vintage’s post featuring some helpful blog post ideas. Since I was stuck for an idea this week, I’ll roll with this idea. This list could potentially go on waaaaaay past five, so for my readers’ sanity, I’ll keep it just to five.

Thorn – from the Bone graphic novel series by Jeff Smith. She’s the fun-loving country girl who discovers that she’s the crown princess, and saves her land from the Rat Creatures and the evil Hooded One. Of course, if I invited Thorn, I’d have to invite her guardian Gran’ma Ben, and her best friend Fone Bone, so now I’m up to three people invited to this picnic already… Continue reading

Advertisements

Strong Women of Oz

March 8th is International Women’s Day, and so to celebrate (albeit a day late), I’ve decided to highlight some strong female characters of fantasy literature. (I suppose what I really should have done was highlight or interview a female author, but I didn’t plan this out well enough for that. Also, I just wanted an excuse to blog about fantasy characters, because I love fantasy. So there’s that.)

Anyway, there’s been a lot of buzz in recent years about writing strong female characters. A lot of people complain that many supposedly strong women characters are nothing more than gender-swapped male characters, or are women who are trying too hard to act like men. I’m not actually going to talk about that per se in this post – but what I am going to do is discuss some strong female characters of classic fantasy literature. Specifically, characters in the Oz stories.

The Matriarchal Land of Oz

Baum's three main female leads: Ozma, Glinda, and Dorothy

Baum’s three main female leads: Ozma, Glinda, and Dorothy

Okay, so it’s perhaps not quite accurate to call the Land of Oz a matriarchy, but L. Frank Baum was very adept at writing female characters. And remember, he was writing The Wizard of Oz and subsequent books in the first two decades of the 20th century. Women’s suffrage was a hot topic during this time, but even though women were fighting for the right to vote, writing strong female characters in books wasn’t really a big focus. Especially not strong female characters in children’s fairy tale books.

So was Baum a supporter of women’s suffrage, a feminist, or perhaps just a keen observer of people (male and female alike)? That’s a discussion for a different post. But whatever his reasons or method, Baum excelled at writing strong women. Not women who acted like men – but women who were every bit as feminine as a lady of the 1910s should be while still smart, resourceful, and did not usually require a man to get them out of a scrape. Continue reading

10 Wonderful Quotes from Oz

If you know me, then you know that I’ve always been a big fan of the Oz stories. I’ve seen the 1939 movie more times than I’ve seen the original Star Wars trilogy (if such a thing is possible). I love the two (different but equally awesome) prequel stories Oz the Great and Powerful and Wicked (the musical. I haven’t read the book yet. Yes, I know they’re rather different).

I’ve also been working my way through L. Frank Baum’s original books. You can see a recent post I wrote about that here. As I’ve been exploring the Land of Oz, I’ve started collecting some great quotes. So here are ten of my favorite quotes (so far, since I’m only on book 6 of Baum’s original 14) from books, movies, and shows.

 

“Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?” The Scarecrow, from The Wizard of Oz

This is one of the most famous quotes of the Scarecrow, and possibly one of the most well-known quotes from the entire movie (with the exception of “Fly, my pretties!” and “There’s no place like home.”) Apparently the Land of Oz has its share of morons who won’t be quiet, too, just like earth.

 

Oz: “You want me to lead an army that can’t kill?”

Glinda: “If this was easy, we wouldn’t need a wizard.”

from Oz the Great and Powerful

Poor Oz. There’s really nothing he can say to this. At this point he’s really wishing his balloon had never left Kansas.

 

“When music is not very good, and is indulged in all the time, it is better that the performer should be alone.” Princess Ozma, from The Road to Oz

I love Ozma’s polite, stinging slap to obnoxious people everywhere. I need her in the car with me at traffic lights, so she can roll down the window and say this to the guy next to me who has the bass cranked so loud that it can be heard all the way to Oz.

 

Fiyero: “You think I’m really stupid, don’t you?”

Elphaba: “No, not really stupid.”

from Wicked the Musical

Elphaba, the master of the back-handed compliment. Love it.

 

Elmira Gulch: “I’m here to see Dorothy about the bite on my leg.”

Uncle Henry: “You mean she bit ya?”

Elmira Gulch: “No, her dog.”

Uncle Henry: “Oh, she bit her dog, eh?”

from The Wizard of Oz

God bless acerbic, long-suffering Uncle Henry. This is one of my favorite dialogue exchanges in the whole movie.

 

“I’ve been lost before, and always got found again.” Dorothy, from The Road to Oz

The beautiful logic of a child. Baum did a good job in his books of portraying Dorothy with the emotional maturity of an adult so she could remain clear-headed during her various adventures, while still maintaining the imagination and purity of a child.

 

“Some things I cannot change, but till I try, I’ll never know.” Elphaba, from Wicked the Musical

Elphaba is never afraid of trying or pushing the envelope, and we never should be, either.

 

“I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.” The Scarecrow, from The Marvelous Land of Oz

More wisdom from the Scarecrow.

 

“You’re capable of more than you know.” Glinda, from Oz the Great and Powerful

Glinda’s encouragement to the Wizard is really an encouragement to all of us.

 

“In this world in which we live simplicity and kindness are the only magic wands that work wonders…” from The Emerald City of Oz

Baum may have been a writer of fairy tales, but he understood the truth.