Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Latest Oz Reading

My reread of the main Oz books continues with Ozma of Oz, the third book in the series but the first in which Baum knew it was a series, and would continue with at least two more books (if Baum only know…). Dorothy is back, the Cowardly Lion returns, and some of the most beloved characters in the series are introduced. There's a good reason Oz fans often vote this one to be the best in the series, as there is a lot of drama and suspense, and may be one of the most tightly-plotted books Baum ever wrote for the series. I'm trying to read the books this time around with an eye to finding something new, but there isn't much I haven't seen before here. I did notice a few instances of multisyllabic words spoken by Tiktok (as his name is spelled in this book) that aren't broken up, and a few instances of missing or extraneous quotation marks, a phenomenon that just got worse in later books, particularly the Thompson era. But honestly, I was mostly enjoying myself, because it is so good. Ozma of Oz is the first novel I ever remember reading at one sitting (and that was after also immediately finishing The Land of Oz), so there must have been something to this whole Oz and reading thing even way back then.

There is one curious thing I found: At one point, the Nome King tries to enchant the Sawhorse, only to be reminded by his chamberlain (not named Kaliko yet, I will add) that his magic doesn't work on wood. But since Dorothy was able to use the Magic Belt on the Sawhorse in The Lost Princess of Oz, I thought that maybe Roquat was trying to use innate Nome Magic, and not the Belt. But no, the Nome King specifically asks why "my magic belt" didn't work on wood. This not only raises the question about how it worked in Lost Princess, but also the origin of the Magic Belt itself. If the Belt was made with Nome magic, then why didn't Roquat just make another one after it was taken from him in this book? Why go to all that effort to conquer Oz and steal it back so many times? I think someone needs to do some definitive research on the Magic Belt and determine its origins!

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