The Emerald City is a fictional element invented by L. Frank Baum. It appears in Baum's first Oz book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. The Emerald City is also an element used in the 1995 novel of Wicked by author Gregory Maguire, which is a more mature reinvisonment of Baum's original story. In both versions, the city lies in the magical land of Oz, and at the very end of Oz's famous yellow brick road. The city is also said to be located in the exact center of the land, being Oz's offical imperial capital.
In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz... When a little orphan farm girl named Dorothy Gale is swept away to the land of Oz via Kansas cyclone with her pet dog named Toto, Dorothy is determined to find a way back home again. Thus, embarking along the yellow brick road to seek out the lands most dominant figure known as the great Wizard of Oz, who rules over the land and lives in it's all green city which was built in his honor. It is he who is believed to be the only one powerful enough to grant Dorothy's wish.
The city is a magnificent place indeed, being described as stately, statuesque, imposing and even intimidating. The equal of which has never been seen or discovered, (even in other enchanted realms and fairylands.) The Emerald City is completely surrounded by an extremely high and handsome wall. This wall is said to stand 50 feet high and is described as being incredibly immense, thick and of the finest green marble, polished smooth and studded with giant sparkling emeralds that glisten and dazzle in the sun ever so brightly, it could easily blind one if not careful. Baum states that there are exactly 9,654 buildings and roughly 57,318 residents who reside in the Emerald City. Inside the buildings are mostly made of marble, glass and solid gold and silver. Every establishment is decorated with thousands of emeralds, any one of which would be the pride and glory of a King's crown.
The Emerald City in WickedEdit
In Wicked, the city is a much darker and dangerous place compared to the original city in the book or the one in the 1939 MGM movie musical adaption. Like Baum's Emerald City, and the city of 1939, it does have many prosperous and wealthy citizens who wear lavish clothes and costumes. And the city itself is also filled with splendid gardens with marble water fountains, beautiful streets set with glistening emeralds and elaborate and luxurious houses, shops, markets and Royal palaces of polished green marble. But also, there are less attractive streets filled with crime and poverty, consisting of unpleasant people who live in these godless districts such as prostitutes, drug-dealers/addicts, thieves, thugs and even sections of Assians who are involved in top secret conspiracies. There is even an underground prision called Southstairs.
Elphaba Thropp travels to the city before becoming an Animals rights activist and secret Assassin who is against the Wizard's laws. Elphaba and Prince Fiyero are reunited again in the city after college at Shiz and start a hidden love affair. The affair also is the reason for Fiyero's tragic murder.
In Son Of A Witch...
Elphaba's teenaged son named Liir accompanied Dorothy Gale and her companions to see the Wizard after Elphaba died by water. He also went to see Glinda who resides in a beautiful apartment in the upper class section of the city. Liir eventually enrolls in the Emerald City's army there and ventures into Southstairs which is an underground prison under the city.
In A Lion Amoung Men...
Brrr, the Cowardly Lion, lived in the Emerald City temporarily before abandoning high society and living in the forest and jungles of Oz.
In Out Of Oz...
The Wizard has been long gone now and Elphaba and Nessarose's younger brother named Shell becomes Emporer of the city. Eventually the long lost Princess Ozma is found and Brrr the Cowardly Lion is made the governor of Oz until Ozma is old enough to take the throne.
The Broadway Musical...
In the musical the city is the setting for the song, One Short Day. Visitors and inhabitants of the Emerald City are required to wear the Emerald Glasses to protect them from being blinded by looking into the brilliant lights and sparkling emeralds of the city.
In the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this is a part of The Wizard's con to make people believe that the city is green when it is not. In the musical, like in the 1939 film and, to a degree, the book, the city is obviously green and the glasses are quite superfluous.