Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The Characters of Oz — Inga, Rinkitink and Bilbil
Rinkitink was the first book Baum wrote that featured a group of characters going to the Nome Kingdom to rescue royal prisoners and going through a tough trial to complete their task. This element was successfully reworked into Ozma of Oz. Ozma was in turn adapted into the musical The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, in which the prisoner was reduced from royalty to a tramp's brother. As the musical was a loose amalgamation of elements from several Oz books, Baum adapted it into Tik-Tok of Oz, adding in an original fairyland on the other side of the world that the characters are temporarily sent to, as well as shaking up the Nome Kingdom's throne and putting Oz proper into the final chapters.
Health conditions and other issues gave Baum little time to produce a new book for 1916, so he decided to see if he had any manuscripts that he might turn into an Oz book. And so, King Rinkitink had its opening revised to mention Oz, and part of its original ending changed to have Dorothy and the Wizard suddenly visit the Nome Kingdom to resolve the plot and facilitate a trip to Oz. Unfortunately, the original version of King Rinkitink is not known to exist, so how our heroes eventually left the Nome Kingdom is anyone's guess.
Inga happens to be in a tree top studying when Pingaree is invaded, enslaved, carried off and devastated by Regos and Coregos and manages to escape imprisonment. Finding the visiting Rinkitink and Bilbil the talking goat, Inga takes lead of the survivors and recovers the pearls at night, later taking them to Regos and Coregos where they use the pearls to drive the king and queen away, despite a few mishaps. They chase King Gos and Queen Cor to the Nome Kingdom, where the Nome King (Kaliko, who acts suspiciously like his predecessor) keeps King Kitticut and Queen Garee of Pingaree prisoner after being paid.
Although always preferring comfort and food and a song (which he writes and sings on the spot, much to Bilbil's chagrin), Rinkitink does manage to give some good advice to Inga, and later helps the boy keep the secret of the pearls, using one himself to get past a few trials the Nome King puts him through.
Finally, the jolly fat king of Gilgad returns home after his adventures, much to his dismay. But he is glad to have had his adventures with Inga.
The gruff, surly goat serves as Rinkitink's steed. Rinkitink is too fat to walk far without tiring and cannot expect to ride a taller beast. Bilbil accepts his duty, but not without complaint. He seems to despise being attached to Rinkitink, even suggesting that Inga leave him in the well. However, Bilbil does pull his weight in the story, helping Inga and even butting King Gos and Queen Cor at great speeds.
After being protected by Rinkitink and his borrowed pearl, Bilbil meets the Wizard, who wonders why the goat can talk, since he's never been to Oz. (Because we've seen talking foxes, donkeys and chickens outside of Oz and now this is a surprise, Wizard?) He then identifies Bilbil as the transformed Prince Bobo of Boboland. (We never discover who enchanted him or why in the Famous Forty.) Returning to Oz, the Wizard and Glinda work hard to restore Bobo to his natural form, and he proves to be an amiable prince, though the last line of the book suggests that he still isn't a fan of Rinkitink's songs.
Aside from that, I've seen Rinkitink and Bobo appear in small roles in non-Famous Forty tales. Inga not so much, though a couple books have him lend the pearls to the heroes. But the history of Oz is ever-expanding. Perhaps the prince (or now king?) of Pingaree will have another adventure in the near future, perhaps with his old friends.