west-oz

Choosing

I’m constantly fascinated by how the show combines and twist the story of the first two books. The Mysterious Land of Oz was a story of Tip’s adventures after escape from Mombi’s clutches but also of women’s rebelion against false and inept ruler of Oz. The rebellion that was stopped by Ozma taking her rightful place as the ruler of Oz.

This means that Tip had to give up travelling and having adventures with friends to become a girl who takes care of the land and her people. Tip escaped from Mombi and finally had freedom to do what he wanted. Being a boy is something that was magically done to him without asking but he liked the boy and his friends travelling around having fun lifestyle. Being Ozma meant responsibility and that wasn’t high on his priorities. But Glinda convinces him to do it for the good of the Kingdom.

Obviously, the books were written a century ago. Gender identity wasn’t something very well understood so we never get any idea what Tip true self is - when he is Tip he is a boy an then she is Princess Ozma. He mostly doesn’t want to be Ozma because he thinks his friends wouldn’t like him any more (and being a girl is lame) but once they all say they still be his friends he agrees to Glinda changing him back. After that Ozma never really thinks about being a boy again (at least not in Baum’s books). She is a queen and the greatest ruler Oz ever had. She and Dorothy and all their friends have a lot of adventures together. She is happy with her life. The whole identity crisis takes only a few pages.

The show decides that Tip not Ozma is the identity he identifies with. It was still chosen for him by Mombi but he wants to stay who he was all those years. He becomes West servant hoping she could change him back. And then when she realises he was born Ozma she gives him power. The kind of power that can fulfil that wish. But then he gets bullied into changing back into Ozma. To save West. To prove to the other witches he has the right to Oz. To get an army and revenge.

In the book it’s a choice between fun and responsibility. In the show the choice is forced by expectations of others.