Saturday, January 12, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Story

This week it's the penultimate story from The Lost Tales of Oz, "Vaneeda in Oz" by Nathan M. DeHoff. Vaneeda is the daughter of the Wicked Witch of the East and a talented magic worker in her own right, specializing in glass magic. When word spreads that the royal family of the Munchkin Country has been turned to glass, Vaneeda and her friends, Winnie (Jinjur's daughter) and Paella (a talented cookywitch), head to the Emerald City to offer their services. Ozma, Glinda, and the Wizard are skeptical at first, but they let Vaneeda try, and she discovers they're not transformed at all! The royal family of the Ozure Islands are just ordinary glass statues, and the real royal family must be somewhere else. While Ozma and her advisors deliberate, Vaneeda slips out and starts investigating on her own. She calls upon her son, Kluuon, who is able to deduce their location and the nature of their enchantment. They free the royal family, and Vaneeda is allowed to test for a magic license.

There's a lot to unpack in this one, and a lot of it has to do with the convoluted history of Munchkin royalty. The story touches on events from The Giant Horse of Oz, Ojo in Oz, and even the non-canonical The Blue Emperor of Oz. It all gets straightened out in te end, of course, and at least DeHoff deserves kudos for giving it a try. Vaneeda's a good character, and her conflicted nature and her attempts to get her own way, but in the right way, give her some nuances not always seen in the Oz books (although Andrea in The OzKids and Wilhelmina in Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz share some traits with Vaneeda). There's a mystery in there, too, which gets wrapped up as neatly as they usually do.

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