Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Characters of Oz — Tik-Tok

Dorothy and Billina were forced to climb onto a big rock to escape the Wheelers! As they waited, Billina discovered that the rock led to a path that the Wheelers couldn't reach. However, it led to a dead end. Or did it? They found a keyhole in the wall and discovered a small, sealed off cave.

Inside the cave, Dorothy and Billina found an odd clockwork man. His body and head were spherical and he was made entirely of copper. Dorothy found a sign and key on his back that instructed her on how to wind him. (Also that he was made by the firm of Smith & Tinker and that he was guaranteed to work perfectly for 1000 years.) Dorothy wound up his thinking, then his speech, then his action.

The clockwork man bowed and introduced himself as Tik-Tok. He further revealed that he was a one of a kind creation, made for Evoldo, the late king of Ev, who was so cruel that he beat his servants until they died. But since Tik-Tok wasn't alive, the beatings only kept him polished. (Presumably, Tik-Tok was made to prevent any further deaths due to Evoldo's rage.) However, Evoldo sold his family to the Nome King in exchange for a long life. After doing this, he regretted his action. He locked Tik-Tok in the cave, then threw the key into the ocean and jumped in after it, drowning.

Surprisingly, Tik-Tok knows what happened after he was locked away, also somehow knowing of the events of The Marvelous Land of Oz. Either Evoldo's actions were rather recent or Tik-Tok somehow has a news source he can plug into. (Does fairyland have its own form of the internet?)

Leaving the cave, Tik-Tok used Dorothy's lunchpail to fight the Wheelers, making one of them lead them to the city of Evna. The Wheeler did so, leaving them at the home of Princess Langwidere, who occupied the "left" wing of the Royal Palace.

Langwidere was rather rude to Dorothy, and when threatened with imprisonment, Tik-Tok was about to fight Langwidere's guards when he ran down. Langwidere left him to serve as a statue. The next day, he was discovered by the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, and then Dorothy wound him again. Deciding that he was Dorothy's servant now, he agreed to accompany her and Ozma to the Nome Kingdom to rescue the Royal Family of Ev.

In the Nome King's guessing game, Tik-Tok fared no better than anyone before him. But he ran down just before his last guess. Dorothy was sent in to wind him up and make her own guesses, and Tik-Tok suggested that she watch and see and what he was changed into for a clue. However, Dorothy wasn't able to see it. Billina later rescued Tik-Tok, knowing that he was a solid gold ornament. (It seems odd that the Nome King had no other golden ornaments, but perhaps since he was a Nome, gold was too common for him to consider until he decided to transform Tik-Tok and the Scarecrow. Perhaps other ornaments were gilded.)

Tik-Tok's actions in Ozma of Oz were very much ported directly into his role in Disney's Return to Oz, with him taking some roles of the Tin Woodman from that book as well as making the Gump from The Marvelous Land of Oz.

The Royal Family of Ev decided not to claim Tik-Tok, but let him go on to Oz with Dorothy. Perhaps it was a gift, or perhaps the fact that they had needed Tik-Tok to prevent the deaths of servants left them with some bad memories. In Oz, Dorothy left Tik-Tok with Ozma, who he served afterward.

Not being alive, Tik-Tok is the one who offers the somber reminder in The Emerald City of Oz that the Nome King's foiled invasion may only be the first invasion of Oz to occur. (How right he is.)

In Baum's Little Wizard Story "Tik-Tok and the Nome King," Tik-Tok goes to the Nome King for some new parts. The Nome King smashes him to pieces with his scepter, but Kaliko put Tik-Tok together again. After frightening the Nome King, Tik-Tok left with jewels for Ozma.

Later, Ozma sent Tik-Tok to help the Shaggy Man find his lost brother. However, Tik-Tok met with the Nome King again first. The Nome King threw him down a well, where he was later rescued by Shaggy, Betsy Bobbin, Hank the mule, and Polychrome. Shortly, he took over as the private of Queen Ann of Oogaboo's army.

When the Nome King sent Tik-Tok and his friends through the Hollow Tube, it was Tik-Tok that Tititi-Hoochoo demanded to speak with, being the lowest of the characters assembled. Tik-Tok and his friends returned to the Nome Kingdom with Quox the dragon and took the old Nome King Ruggedo from his throne, replacing him with Kaliko.

In the Famous Forty Oz books, Tik-Tok doesn't do much after that. In fact, Thompson rarely used him. Without looking at her books, I can only recall him worrying over the riddle of "GO TO MORROW TODAY" in The Lost King of Oz (uncharacteristic for a character who doesn't have emotion) and Clocker being renovated to be a "twin" for Tik-Tok in Pirates in Oz. Neill had him help the Wizard with the Scalawagons in The Scalawagons of Oz, but Tik-Tok doesn't really have any featured roles after Tik-Tok of Oz.

Aside from that gaffe in Lost King, Tik-Tok is a very consistent character. He always looks to help out in the situation, even when he believes it is hopeless. He is faithful to whoever he has allied himself with: Evoldo, Dorothy, Ozma, Betsy, or Queen Ann. He'll do what he can to the best of his ability.

Another thing about Tik-Tok is that to get the idea of how a mechanical man would speak, Baum had Tik-Tok split his words by syllables. Want to demonstrate, Tik-Tok?
Thank you, Jar-ed. Yes, I sup-pose Mis-ter Baum thought a mech-an-ic-al man such as my-self could on-ly speak one syl-la-ble at a time. And he was right. Smith and Tink-er can not be blamed for what they could man-u-fact-ure at the time, and I be-lieve that they did a very fine job of me re-gard-less.
Well, have you seen another clockwork man who could do better?

One last note: Tik-Tok's name in the Oz books is often spelled differently. I have decided on the spelling "Tik-Tok," but it has also been spelled "Tik-tok," "Tiktok," "Tik Tok," and possibly a few other variations.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

There was also an instance in Gnome King in which Tik-Tok was described as "chuckling with mechanical mirth." For some reason, Thompson seemed to have a problem keeping the copper man unemotional.