Liir Thropp (name pronounced, [leer]) is a key character in the Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire, appearing in all four books.
He is the son of Elphaba Thropp and the protagonist of the second book, Son of a Witch. Liir's heritage is in doubt throughout both novels, but it is definite that he is the illegitimate son of Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West, and her lover, Prince Fiyero Tigelaar. In Wicked, Elphaba claims not to know whether Liir is her son, and aside from occasional moments of warmth, does not treat him as such; however, it should be noted that Elphaba was not a particularly affectionate person. Through his mother, Liir can lay claim to the title of Eminent Thropp and through his father he can lay claim to the monarchy of the Arjiki tribe due to his half-sibling's demise. In an interview, author Gregory Maguire describes Liir as "Elphaba's son". Liir befriends Dorothy Gale, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto.
In the Novels
In the novel, Liir accompanies Elphaba Thropp from the mauntery (cloister) where she hides after Fiyero's death. He is a silent and sullen child, and Elphaba appears largely indifferent to him, though she later realizes she has motherly love for him, which he never notices. Liir travels with Elphaba to Fiyero's family home, Kiamo Ko. There, he attempts to befriend Fiyero's children, Irji, Manek and Nor. Irji and Manek, the boys, torture Liir (for example, Manek made him hide in the fishwell and he almost drowned, which made Elphaba so furious she semi-accidentally killed Manek), but Nor befriends him, after a fashion. When the Wizard sends a garrison of soldiers to the neighboring town, Liir, seeking a male role model, becomes attached to their leader, Commander Cherrystone (which worries Elphaba to no end). He is shocked when Cherrystone carries out his orders to abduct Fiyero's children, wife, and sisters-in-law. When Dorothy Gale and her party arrive from the Emerald City, Liir becomes infatuated with her. He is not present when Dorothy accidentally kills Elphaba. He was 14 when Elphaba was melted.
He accompanies Dorothy and her friends on their journey to the Emerald City. On the way, they encounter the semi-nomadic Scrow and their leader, Princess Nastoya, an ancient Elephant who asks for Liir's help in breaking the enchantment which disguises her as a human, in exchange for information about Nor. In the Emerald City, Liir is refused an audience with the Wizard. The Scarecrow advises Liir on how to survive the political turmoil after the Wizard's departure. Glinda assists him in gaining access to Southstairs, a political prison beneath the Emerald City where Liir believes Nor may be held; however, he discovers that Nor has already escaped. Eventually, Liir joins the Home Guard and is posted to the Quadling Country, until he is ordered to burn a native village. He carries out his orders, but then deserts in self-disgust and returns to Kiamo Ko.
At Kiamo Ko, Liir encounters a dying Swan on her way to a Conference of Birds. The Birds are being oppressed by dragons raised by Oz's pious new Emperor (in reality Elphaba's younger brother Shell, although this is not revealed until late in the novel). Liir decides to take the Swan's place at the conference, but while flying there on Elphaba's broom, he is attacked by dragons, knocked from the sky and left for dead; the dragons take the broom as a spoil. He is found by a party of travelers led by Oatsie Manglehand, who takes him to the mauntery of St. Glinda, where readers first met Liir in Wicked. At the mauntery, a Quadling novice named Candle, an accomplished musician, nurses Liir back to health. (She also sleeps with him while he is comatose, horrifying Liir when she announces later that she is pregnant.) On the advice of the ancient maunt Mother Yackle, Candle removes Liir to a farmhouse some distance away.
When he has fully recovered, Liir returns to the Emerald City, where he joins up with dragon trainer Trism bon Cavalish to destroy the dragons (reclaiming the broomstick while doing so). Liir and Trism flee the Emerald City, and while on the run the two become lovers, having sex in an inn whilst hiding from soldiers. They take refuge at the mauntery, where the maunts protect them from a pursuing Home Guard regiment. Liir escapes on Elphaba's broom, and Trism leaves disguised as Glinda's manservant. Liir rejoins the Conference of Birds, and leads them in a display of defiance against the Emperor. He returns to Candle, who is heavily pregnant, and resentful of Liir, the newly arrived Scrow, and of Trism, who reached the farm before Liir, but left apparently unable to convince Candle to flee for her safety. The Scrow have encamped near the farmhouse, and Liir convinces Candle to use her music to help the dying Princess Nastoya. Candle's music returns Nastoya to her true form, and she dies. Liir accompanies the Scrow on their return to the grasslands, and when he comes back, Candle has gone, abandoning her newborn child; the baby girl is green, apparently confirming for the last time that Liir is indeed Elphaba's son. He is 24 when (Oziandra) Rain is born.
He appears in the book during the Cowardly Lion's account of his journey with Dorothy.
The first mention of Liir in Out of Oz is by a Wren sent by Grace Graeyling of the Conference of Birds who tells the company of the Clock of the Time Dragon that Liir is alive and "well hid." It is also written in the first pages of the book that Liir is 30 years old and his daughter (Oziandra) or Rain is 7 or 8. The company of the Clock of the Time Dragon, with Rain in tow, eventually comes upon Liir and Candle hiding out at what appears to be an abandoned temple with Iskinaary, Liir's familiar. Liir is reunited with his half-sister Nor and his daughter Rain, as well as Brrr. Liir is fascinated by Nor, however she aloof to him. Liir becomes equally frustrated at his daughter's resistance to his affection. When the company leaves the Chancel of the Ladyfish, Liir, Candle, Nor, Iskinaary, and Rain split off from the others in the northwest direction and build a home at Nether How, the spot where Liir had a vision of the Grimmerie's original owner. When their cottage is raided, they agree it's once again time to leave. Sometime during Rain's year at St. Prowd's, Liir makes his way back to Kiamo Ko with the Grimmerie. It is there that he is captured my Mombey's soldiers, who whip and torture him as they make their way back to Munchkinland. Before crossing the Munchkinland border, Liir is given a potion that changes him into an elephant. He is in a coma-like state for several days until he comes to at Mombey's fortress where she threatens him with death if he does not help her decipher the Grimmerie. There he is reunited with Trism, who has been working for Mombey after fleeing loyal Oz. Liir recognizes Trism at once by smell. Trism recounts how he was tortured for Liir's whereabouts, and shows Liir how his skin was stripped away by Cherrystone. Liir and Trism state that they still love each other, and they embrace. Trism begs Liir to help him perfect the spell to control Mombey's army of dragons, which Trism has been training to fight loyal Oz. When Liir later refuses to aid Mombey's cause, Trism tells him that he will surely be put to death. They both solemnly acknowledge each other's choices and Trism follows Mombey away. When Mombey takes the EC by dragon attack, it is implied that Liir has been killed in his elephant form, and his family and friends prepare to mourn him. Shell demands that Mombey return Liir's body as a condition of their treaty. A cart carrying a shrouded elephant body is brought into the city as Shell and Mombey prepare to meet. However Mombey later reveals that Liir is not dead, he has only been weakened by the Elephant state, but if he does not revert to human form, he will perish. When Mombey inadvertently reverses the spell she had put on him, he returns to his human form. He is cared for by Daffy alongside Rain, who is suffering as well. He later states to Candle that he wanted to die as an elephant rather than face his humanity, to which she calls him a coward and inhumanly monstrous. When Ozma and Brrr have restored order to Oz, Liir, Candle, Rain, and Iskinaary return to Nether How. Candle and Liir never resolve their quarrel, and she leaves him. Liir and Rain bury the Grimmerie and the Broom, which results in the growing of the broom tree. At the end of the book, Rain is about 16, making Liir about 42 when we last see him taking pen to paper to write his own book. His last act is to send Iskinaary after his daughter who has fled to the west, which leaves him alone to write at Nether How.