Not in Kansas anymore...
Well," said the Head, "I will give you my answer. You have no right to expect me to send you back to Kansas unless you do something for me in return. In this country everyone must pay for everything he gets. If you wish me to use my magic power to send you home again you must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you." "What must I do?" asked the girl. "Kill the Wicked Witch of the West," answered Oz.-The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
You are welcome most noble Sorceress, to the land of the Munchkins. We are so grateful to you for killing the Wicked Witch of the East, and for setting our people free from Bondage." The Good Witch of the North in the original book (1900)
Dorothy Gale is a fictional character invented by L. Frank Baum, author and creator of the Oz legacy. She is the main character of Baum's first Oz book titled 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' and is introduced in the first chapter as the story's child protagonist. Dorothy is a little girl from Kansas who also is an orphan living at a small and joyless farm on the prairies in circa 1900 with her Uncle and Aunt who are her guardians. She was transported to the magical Land of Oz in a Kansas cyclone that swept her up while aloft in the prairie farmhouse with her pet dog named Toto, who also accompanied Dorothy on her trip to Oz. In Baum's Oz, Dorothy is viewed as the Hero who saves the day and is the one who exterminates Oz of it's Wicked Witches.
- In the story of 'Wicked' however, Dorothy is not the Hero nor Villain. Maguire portrays Dorothy as good-natured child, practical, single-minded and slightly boring.
The Matter of DorothyEdit
Author Gregory Maguire combined both the original character of 1900's Dorothy by Baum and the 1939 version of Dorothy portrayed by Judy Garland while adding his own traits into the character making it work for the story of 'Wicked'.
In the original story by Baum Dorothys' trip to Oz was not a mere dream like it appeared to be in the 1939 MGM film. Oz is in the terms of the Oz books just another dimension, a hidden and uncharted realm. A fairy land enchanted with fairy magic. Oz is a vast land cut of from the rest of the world, another place that’s abnormal compared to our own where great and marvelous things are possible.
And also note, that like in Baums' Oz, Dorothy was originally around ten to twelve years old. Maguire keeps his Dorothy a mere child like in the original book, while also adding some of the personality traits and mannerisms of Judy's Dorothy who was sixteen when she played the role.
Despite being the child protagonist in the original story, Dorothy Gale is only referenced to a few times in the musical and appearing as a semi-cameo character toward the end of the book in the story of Wicked who is not the focal point of the plot. She plays a rather small but important role and is only involved in the chaos and drama towards the end of the novel, being seen as a mere outsider who knows nothing about the land of Oz or it's complex politics and overall laws. Although Dorothy is well-meaning, mature for her age and very compassionate beyond her years, her innocence and unyielding desire to return back to her homeland Kansas, causes a domino effect in the result of negative outcomes. And much unwanted trouble and heartache for the main character of the book, Elphaba Thropp as Dorothy does not know any better.
In both Baum's original children's book written in 1900 and Maguire's 1995 mature revision, Dorothy spends her first night in Oz at the house of a wealthy Munchkin farmer named Boq who has a family. In the latter, it is revealed that the two discussed the etymology of Dorothy's name. Boq finds it interesting that Dorothy's name is the reverse of her land's "King" Theodore — which means "gift of the gods" — and that Dorothy means "goddess of gifts". Therefore, making many of the superstitious Ozians look as Dorothy as a saint, sent to Oz to fulfill a prophecy by the unnamed God. And the fact Dorothy wears Nessarose shoes, make the citizens of Oz even more superstitious of her and the coincidence that her last name is the same name of the Wizard's Army the "Gale Force", makes Dorothy nearly untouchable.
So much happened before Dorothy dropped in...
On Dorothy Gale's first arrival to Oz, she and her pet dog named Toto are swept away in a Kansas cyclone. In 'Wicked', Dorothy was the age of ten when her farmhouse fell out of the sky and landed on Nessarose.
When Dorothy and her companions are seen in the Vinkus land she is captured by the Witches Flying Monkeys and brought to the Kiamo Ko castle which is the home of the Witch. There she meets an old woman by the name of Nanny and a young boy named Liir, who forms a crush on her.
When Dorothy is confronted face to face with Nessarose's older Witch sister who is Elphaba, she demands for Dorothy to give her the magic slippers.
In Wicked, these authentic shoes are made of many sparkling jewels, gems and handmade glass beads from the glassblower Turtle Heart who was a friend of the Thropp family and had a Bisexual love triangle with Elphaba's parents Frex and Melena. Anyways, each bead is painted delicately, and glossed over to give it shine, also giving the slippers a chameleon effect as they change color depending on the lighting. The shoes can appear to be ruby, blue or silver.
(Gregory Maguire combines elements from the 1939 film and paying homage to the 1900 book by Baum by making the slippers both ruby and silver)
The pair are described as "striking" by everyone who sees them on Nessarose's feet all up until Dorothy's arrival.
Dorothy Gale In Wicked's OzEdit
In the Novels...
All while assuming she had to be tied into the tapestry of conspiracies in Oz. Dorothy tries to do what Elphaba commands but the shoes are enchanted under the protection of Glinda and will not come off. Dorothy confesses that the Wizard of Oz even tried to pry the shoes off but the pair have been stuck on her feet since her arrival in Oz. Despite Dorothy's efforts, the slippers simply will not come off her feet. She is magically locked tight inside of them.
As it became apparent, Elphaba breifly realizes that Dorothy really was an innocent human girl from a different place who had been thrown into a world that she knew nothing about. Meanwhile, hot sparks from a nearby fire suddenly caught on Elphaba's long clothing and cape so Dorothy tried to put out the fire with a bucket of water that was collecting rainwater from a leak. To help the Witch who was ablaze, Dorothy tossed the bucket at the Witch, but to Dorothy's horror it tragically melted Elphaba away, killing her by accident.
Son Of A Witch...
While traveling, Dorothy and the group all meet a shapeshifting Princess who is also leader to her Scrow tribe, in the Vinkus. The Princesses name is Nastoya who is originally an Elephant. But because of the Wizard and his prejudice veiws against Animals, Nastoya disguised herself and vailed her true form. And in front of the traveling group she morphs herself and transforms right infront of them all which is described as being revolting to watch as Nastoya's skin stretches and her bones shift and body mutates. Seeing this, Dorothy nearly vomits in her apron and Toto passes out.
When Dorothy reaches the Emerald City she leaves Liir behind as she speaks with the Wizard and never comes back to say goodbye before returning to Kansas like she promised Liir she would do.
Out Of Oz...
Dorothy was teleported back home, flying over the land of Oz and back to Kansas thanks to the power of the slippers. Dorothy loses the slippers on her flight back as they fell off of her feet. The shoes lost their enchantment once they were taken out of Oz's realm. And Dorothy is found shoeless while on the prarie field's near the farm.
Due to her extended disappearance and unexplainable survival from the cyclone, the other children at the Kansas Schoolhouse shunned Dorothy and labeled her a freak of nature for riding the winds of a twister and living to tell about it. Nonetheless suddenly reappearing out of nowhere months later. And Dorothy's tales of Oz, only make her seem completely crazy. Thus, making her unmarrigeable.
Six years later as a teenage girl, Dorothy along with Toto appear in 'Out of Oz'. Dorothy unexpectedly is sent to Oz by fate once again. But now she is approximately sixteen years old. Even though it has been less than a decade since Dorothy's first visit in her world, it has been around twenty to thirty years in Oz's time.
Back in Kansas, Dorothy's Aunt Em and Uncle Henry never believed her story about Oz and criticised her for having her head in the clouds and sabotaging herself as no one wanted to be around Dorothy because of her never-ending talk about Oz.
To help Dorothy forget about Oz, she is taken to San Fransisco on vacation by her Aunt and Uncle. However, after sight seeing, Dorothy ends up being trapped with Toto in a motel elevator during they're stay as an earthquake hits California. The elevator with Dorothy inside gets stuck and as the building collapses the elevator falls into the bowels of the earth and into another dimension. The elevator falls from the sky and accidentally landed on a cow and killed it. And also during the fall somehow Toto was lost as he fell out of the elevator doors which were cracked enough for Toto to squeeze through.
Dorothy is found by people nearby as she is buried alive under all the rocks and peices of the earth from the earthquake that came down with the elevator. Dorothy suffers from a temporary state of amnesia and a bump on her head which gave her a near concussion. She is taken in by strangers and nursed back to health. Dorothy spends many months recuperating from the traumatic event and slowly gains her memory back.
Dorothy realizes she is back in the land of Oz again, specifically in the country of Oz's Glikkus tribe. The Glikkun trolls extradited her to Munchkinland's new capital, Bright Lennins, where the new Eminence had her stand trial for the murders of Nessarose and Elphaba Thropp, calling it "regicide." Dorothy is imprisoned against her will and is used as a mere scapegoat who will be left accountable for the deaths of the two Thropp sisters who died decades prior. The overall court case finds Dorothy guilty and she is sentenced. To her surprise Brrr, her old friend who is the Cowardly Lion and Mr. Boss, and Little Daffy come to her defense and rescue her from her harsh sentence.
Dorothy is reunited with her dog Toto whom she thought was dead and the two eventually are sent back to Kansas in the end of the story to find her Aunt and Uncle who she wonders survived the earthquake or not. Dorothy's ultimate fate when she returns to California again is left a mystery and left for the reader's imagination.
In the MusicalEdit
While Dorothy is present in the popular Broadway musical Wicked (based on Maguire's book), she is never actually seen; when the main characters interact with her, they speak into direction of the wings, or into a trapdoor, as if she is sitting offstage and out of the view of the audience.
Dorothy does appear on the stage during a pivotal scene, but the audience sees only her silhouette.
However, in the Helsinki City Theatre Production (2010-2011) Dorothy appears several times throughout the musical in key scenes, such as in the Cornfields skipping happily along a road paved with yellow bricks and finally in the Melting scene throwing water at Elphaba. She's portrayed by Saara Aalto.
The Real Dorothy GaleEdit
- June 11, 1898, in Bloomington, Illinois, Dorothy Louise Gage, was born to Sophie Jewel and Thomas Clarkson Gage, the brother-in-law of L. Frank Baum. Frank’s wife was intensely fond of the child and treated her as the daughter she never had but always wanted. Five months later, Dorothy Louise died of a "congestion of the brain”. Frank’s wife was stricken with grief, she wrote to her sister- in-law: "Dorothy was a beautiful baby. I could have taken her for my very own and loved her devotedly." Frank loving his wife so dearly, not only named but changed the main character of his latest children’s book from a boy to a girl named Dorothy, after his little niece.