Tuesday, August 27, 2013
The Characters of Oz — The Hungry Tiger
Baum is never fully clear: does the Tiger just constantly feel hunger, or is it because his hunger always returns, or is it because he constantly craves to eat a fat, human baby but hasn't because his conscience won't let him? I'm going to suspect it's a combination of the last two, but some have taken it to mean the first one.
Like the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger accompanies Ozma on her quest to rescue the Royal Family of Ev, pulling her chariot. (Apparently, they agreed to it. Ozma does not have to whip or guide them.) The Nome King did not allow them into his palace to take part in the guessing game.
After Ozma of Oz, the Hungry Tiger is the faithful companion of the Cowardly Lion, and they are often seen in each other's company. Most of the time, they are at Ozma's throne, one sitting on each side of her.
Barnyard Studio's L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, has let me know that their film will follow suit as he shares the idea.
The Hungry Tiger serves on the jury during Eureka's trial in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, oddly saying that kittens have no consciences. That book also describes the Tiger with purple stripes, which some take quite literally, while others think it was a one-off description. Perhaps tigers in Oz have dark purple stripes?
Aside from serving as Ozma's bodyguard, the Hungry Tiger doesn't do much in the remaining Oz books. Little Wizard Stories features him and the Cowardly Lion going out to attempt to look fierce, the Lion mauling someone and the Tiger eating a fat baby, but both—when given the chance—decline in the end.
Like the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger is a faithful member of Ozma's court. Just don't make him hungry for you.