Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Characters of Oz — Queen Ann, Her Army and Ozga

In The Emerald City of Oz, we were shown various little places around Oz that served as their own kingdom. In Tik-Tok of Oz, Baum opens in one of those little places: the Winkie kingdom of Oogaboo, ruled by the young Queen Ann Soforth after her father abdicated and left Oogaboo, his wife following after him.

One of the first things we discover about Ann is that she has a sister, Salye, and they make up the Royal Family of Oogaboo. And the entire Royal Household, as they must also care for their home. The first bit of dialogue in Tik-Tok of Oz is Ann refusing to sweep!

Growing bored with her humble status, Ann decides to assemble an army from the men of Oogaboo to set out to conquer the world. Each of the members of the army was named Jo and their last name was from the crop they grew in Oogaboo: General Jo Apple, General Jo Bunn, General Jo Cone, General Jo Clock, Colonel Jo Plum, Colonel Jo Egg, Colonel Jo Banjo, Colonel Jo Cheese, Major Jo Nails, Major Jo Cake, Major Jo Ham, Major Jo Stockings, Captain Jo Sandwich, Captain Jo Padlocks, Captain Jo Sundae, Captain Jo Buttons, and finally Private Jo Files, the most dedicated fighter of the lot. Jo Candy of Oogaboo refused to go.

If the ranking of the Army seems a little familiar, that's because the Army of Oogaboo was modeled after Ozma's army in Ozma of Oz. Ozma was adapted for stage as The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, which took so many liberties with the plot that Baum adapted it as Tik-Tok of Oz. I can only imagine that Baum saw the appeal of a comic army on stage. However, Ann was not a substitute for Ozma's portrayal in the play. Ann was in the play, as was Ozma, who had a quite different role.

However, Glinda read about Ann's marching out of Oogaboo in the Book of Records and transported them into the wilds of the Land of Ev. Shortly afterward, they were attacked by a Rak, who Files shot, and it landed on the Army. Files managed to get the Rak to turn over and free his superior officers, and it became clear that perhaps conquering the world would be a little more trouble than they thought. Then, they met up with the Shaggy Man, Tik-Tok, Polychrome, Ozga the Rose Princess, Betsy Bobbin and Hank the mule. Files left the Army because he would not fight women, but Tik-Tok took his place, and the rest decided to march with the Army to the Nome Kingdom.

Ruggedo the Nome King activated his rubber country so that the Army bounced through it, but they would not be stopped, so he had the Hollow Tube turned so they would march into it and fall to the other side of the world. The Army met the Famous Fellowship of Fairies, ruled by Tititi-Hoochoo, who sent them back with a dragon named Quox to deprive Ruggedo of his throne and banish him from his kingdom. However, Ruggedo had Ann and her Army caught in a trap, but they found their way into a tunnel that led into the Metal Forest.

It was not easy in the Nome Kingdom, and by the time the Army was discovered, everyone was bruised and their gorgeous uniforms were tearing, and Ann decided to call it quits. She decided that it would be better to go back to Oogaboo and run her humble kingdom than take over the world. Eventually, she and her Army were transported back by the Wizard.

As with many characters in Baum's last eight Oz books, Ann and her army only appeared in this one book. The lack of reappearances gives us little to work with when we try to build a portrait of the character. (Which is why these later blogs aren't quite as good as the former ones...) Oogaboo isn't revisted in the rest of the Famous Forty either.

However, outside of the Famous Forty, there is a book that deals with Queen Ann, and it might seem that I consider it part of my personal Oz canon because a couple friends wrote it: Queen Ann in Oz by Karyl Carlson and Eric Gjovaag. In fact, Karyl has dressed as Queen Ann twice for the Winkie Convention costume contest. (2010 she had a glittering green outfit as Queen Ann visiting the Emerald City. In 2011, she had a pirate costume as Queen Ann on the Crescent Moon.) In their book, Queen Ann goes to seek her long-lost parents with the help of a group of children from Oogaboo. It's a well-done little book and that's why it's part of my personal canon. Being friends with the authors is just a plus.

Private Files was the most well-read of the Army, so he had a better idea of war, but he was coaxed out by refusing to conquer Betsy and the other ladies the Shaggy Man was traveling with. Particularly, Ozga the Rose Princess. She was going to be the ruler of the Rose Kingdom, but the Roses refused to accept her as they wanted a king. Her character was partly based on the Princess of the Mangaboos from Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, but she is much more appreciative of the people who set her free. Throughout the adventure described in Tik-Tok of Oz, she and Files become very close and the Wizard sends her to Oogaboo with Ann and the Army.

Ozga is defined as a mortal maid who was a fairy in the book. She officially doesn't have any magic powers, but she is able to ask field flowers the way to the Nome Kingdom, and they sway in the correct direction. So she at least retains a connection to her floral origins.
Source of this scan

Files and Ozga have a new adventure in Melody Grandy and Chris Dulabone's Thorns and Private Files in Oz, but aside from those two books, I'm not sure of any further adventures of our friends in Oogaboo.


Anonymous said...

Wonderfully informative and very well written.

Eric said...

Two more non-canonical books I can think of that have action taking place in Oogaboo are David Hulan's The Glass Cat of Oz, and Sam Sackett's Adolph Hitler in Oz (don't let the title scare you off, it's actually pretty good, even if the title character isn't). As for Queen Ann in Oz, let's just say that there may be more to the story very, very soon…

Nathan said...

There's also the short story "Nero Zeero, Snoz of Oz," in which Ann marries the title character.