5 Horrifying Things Found in the Insane Sequel to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz

By: Jacob Lewis

L. Frank Baum’s The Marvelous Land of Oz, the sequel to his Wonderful Wizard of Oz, continues the further adventures of the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow. It’s also bug-fuck-nuts insane.

The story centers around Tip, an Orphan boy living in the North of Oz with the somewhat evil witch Mombi.  After years of abuse, Tip decides to flee Mombi’s home after she threatens to turn him into a statue. Tip makes some new friends and decides to travel to the Emerald City and seek help from its current ruler, the Scarecrow.

Unfortunately, Tip arrives moments before the Scarecrow is overthrown by General Jinjur and her Army of Revolt.  Tip and his friends decide to help the Scarecrow find a way to reclaim his throne, and along the way he also meets up with the Tin Woodman and a giant arrogant pun spewing insect called H.M. Woggle Bug T.E. Eventually the group teams up with Glinda the Good Witch and decide that instead of returning the Scarecrow to power, they will find the lost Princess Ozma, the true ruler of the Emerald City, and let her take charge.

Oh, what a delightful story it is. But, and then there’s the following:

Everyone is Guilty of Irresponsible God Playing 

One of the key components of the story is the Powder of Life, which can be used to turn anything into a living creature. The powder, which originally belonged to Mombi, is first used to bring Tip’s pumpkin headed wooden scarecrow, Jack, to life. When Tip flees Mombi’s land he takes Jack with him and steal’s the powder in order to bring more random things to life.

Jack Pumpkin Head

Jack’s body consists of a giant, poorly constructed wooden frame with a carved pumpkin stabbed on a spike jutting out of his neck.  He can barely walk due to the poor construction of his joints.

Look at him. Does that look like something that should be alive? Does that look like something that wants to be alive? Keep in mind that the smile on his face is permanent and can’t actually express the emotions he is feeling. Imagine if you wanted to make a Facebook post about the horrors of your own existence, but the only thing you could press was the happy face emoji.

In addition to his flimsy appearance, Jack only has a few defining character traits:

First, Jack is an idiot. This is a different kind of idiocy than the Scarecrow, who if you remember, lacked a brain but had a group of friends who never held it against him. In Jack’s case, everyone feels the need to remind him he is stupid, and will always be stupid. As soon as he opens his mouth, everyone tells him to shut the hell up because he’s a fucking moron.  Even L. Frank Baum can’t help but pilling on ol’Jack, and uses the qualifier “stupidly” whenever Jack speaks. (Example: “What does that mean? enquired the Pumpkin Head, stupidly”). That’s pretty mean, but what’s worse is that while Jack views Tip as his father, Tip openly tells him that while he created him, he still takes every opportunity to curse his existence and remind him he is a moron. Jesus Christ, Jack is 3 days old, the fact that he can talk is a god damn miracle. Even Frankenstein’s monster got more respect than this.

Second, Jack is very aware of his own mortality, and is constantly terrified of the time when his pumpkin head will eventually rot away. Whenever he complains about this to the group, Tip and everyone else just tells him to stop bitching and just deal with it. I mean, sure we all have an expiration date, but that usually doesn’t involve your own head rotting away while you are still alive to see it.

So basically the first use of the powder of life created a rickety being, barely able to walk on his own, unable to learn or deeply consider anything other than his own rapidly approaching death.  All of these facts fail to convince a single character to treat Jack with even a monicom of love or respect.

Unfortunately, Jack represents Tip and his friends most responsible use of their new god like magic.

The Saw Horse

At the beginning of Jack and Tip’s voyage to the Emerald City, they find a wooden saw horse left behind by a lumberjack. Tip looks at it and immediately thinks “Wow that saw horse looks kinda like a real horse, better bring that shit to life right away.”

So, he does, and we we get a better understanding of how the powder of life works. It doesn’t turn an object into some moving about cartoony version of a living thing. Pour it on a rock and you don’t get an animated rock with arms and legs running around. Instead, you get a living rock, unable to move, speak hear or see…screaming into the void without a voice and demanding to know why it was created, but receiving no response.

Tip brings the Saw Horse to life and he gets this.

It’s not so much a horse as he is a living log that sort of looks like a horse. It has no joints and has to move by rocking its body back and forth.  Again, ask yourself, does that look like something that should be alive? Does that look like something that wants to be alive?

Tip names it, “the Saw Horse” because why should the soulless objects a person has ushered into existence get real names.

The Saw Horse’s purpose in life becomes to ferry around Jack (remember, his shitty wooden body is unable to properly walk for anything other than a short distance). To help Jack hold on, Tip impales a stake into its back for Jack to hold on to. The Saw Horse doesn’t feel it though…he doesn’t feel anything…ever.

That picture should either horrify you or give you an erection, which should in itself, horrify you. But, my dear friends, the horror doesn’t stop there. During the characters journey, the Saw Horse manages to break one of his wooden legs. While most horses would just be shot at this point, the Saw Horse is beyond death so that would do nothing but leave a pile of living splintered wood scraps. Strangely, their actual decision manages to be a lot more heartless. The band decides that the best course of action is to just rip off one of Jack’s legs and jam it on to the Saw horse. This makes Jack completely unable to walk so they tie Jack to the saw horse, creating some sort of Oz version of the Alien from the Thing.

Hurrah! Isn’t consciousness awesome!

The last indignity for the Saw Horse occurs towards the end of the book when Glinda, uses him to chase after Mombi who is fleeing her encampment. She says, and this one is a direct quote, “Now you shall prove that you have a right to be alive! Run—run—run!”

The Saw Horse’s response is not recorded, but we can guess it went something like “Bitch are you fucking serious. Right to be alive? I didn’t ask to be alive in the first place! You don’t think I deserve life, then please, kill me, end my torment. Run? I’m a god damn log that some kid thought looked like a horse. I don’t have fucking shoulders or knees! It’s a god damn miracle I can move at all!”

Thankfully, after Tip’s experiment with the Saw Horse, he realizes that they all need to be more responsible with the god like power in their hands.

Haha, nope. “Fuck that noise”, Tip says as he continues to desecrate the heavens with his abominations.

The Gump

Later in the story, Tip and his friends need to escape the royal palace of the Emerald City, which is surrounded by the Army of Revolt. Tip gets the brilliant idea to have everyone in his band bring items from the palace to the roof so the Tinman can build a flying machine that he can bring to life and allow them to escape. Nobody thinks to mention that if the Tinman can build a flying machine there isn’t really a need to bring it to life, unless they have some need to only ride on things that can be drowned the cosmic horror of the pointlessness of their creation.

In response to Tip’s plan, everyone brings a bunch of random items to the roof. And thus, the Gump was born. The Gump is an amalgam of all the basic elements of intelligent life: Two couches, tied tougher with some clothes line, four giant palm fronds, stapled to its side for wings, a stuffed and mounted deer head, taken from the mantle of the palace fireplace, and a broom for a tale. Once it’s all tied together (they don’t even bother to use nails or glue) Tip brings it to life with the hopes that it will fly and not immediately reflect upon the horror of its existence and hurl itself from the roof. Take a second to look at this thing:

I’m not a religious person, but shit like this is probably why we got cast out of the garden of Eden.

God: “I’ve created the earth, the sky, and the life on the land and sea.”

Mankind: “I stapled a deer head to a Sofa! Can you bring this to life too?”

God: “What…holy shit! What is that? Why did you do that? Are you all…are you all a bunch of serial killers?”

Once the Gump is brought to life, Tip and his friends jump on and it’s able to fly them away from the palace and the Army of Revolt. While traveling, the Gump communicates that it can actually remember its former life as a deer and the moment of its own death, but doesn’t understand what he is now. When he further tells the group that he can’t feel his legs, Tip informs him that was because they didn’t have enough powder to bring them to life and they all decided he was created to fly and not to walk.

Think about this. Imagine a person in a wheelchair meeting their creator and being informed that he can’t walk because god ran out of his magic creator juice. But, “chin up” he’s told, he has a chair with wheels so walking wasn’t really in the cards for him anyway. Same basic concept, only the wheelchair guy isn’t held together by bits of old string.

Be advised, in describing the Gump, I am resisting the urge to make too many jokes about him praying for death.  Resisting hard, because there are so so many (again, just look at him…what is that? Why is that?). The reason is that it would diminish the effect of telling you that at the end of the book, that’s exactly what happens. After the enemies of the Emerald City are defeated, princess Ozma offers to give him anything he wants for his bravery. The Gump immediately answers:

“please take me to pieces. I did not wish to be brought to life, and I am greatly ashamed of my conglomerate personality. Once I was a monarch of the forest, as my antlers fully prove; but now, in my present upholstered condition of servitude, I am compelled to fly through the air—my legs being of no use to me whatever. Therefore I beg to be dispersed.”

This is children’s book talk for “please…kill me…please”

Upon hearing this, his friends and creators go, “what evs” and take him apart. “I hope they at least do that with some dignity,” the reader hopes.  Well, to answer their question, Tip and friends throw the Gump’s wings in the trash, the couches go back into the royal sitting room, the broom goes back in the janitorial closed and his head goes back on the wall. So…not so much dignity as indifference that they are killing a living thing of their own creation.  Of course, the Gump isn’t even granted the sweet release of death because we are told that from time to time the mounted deer head just starts talking to visitors.

Enjoy the horror of immortality Gump!

In regards to the ending of the other creations, the Saw Horse gets off pretty well. He is given gold legs to replace his clumsy wooden ones and becomes Princess Ozma’s royal steed. The same can’t be said for Jack. The Narrator tells us that he lived longer than he expected (i.e. it took him longer for his organic head to rot from the inside out) but during that time he never got any smarter.  I’m sure as he lay dying on a barn floor somewhere in the emerald city, rotting pumpkin matter slopping off his forehead, he may have had the clarity to scream towards the heavens, “What was the purpose of me? Why was I even here? Why did I exist?”

I’m sorry Jack, we don’t know. We just don’t know. And, quite frankly, nobody around you seems to care.

Random Sexist Undertones

This is an old book, and like any book that tries to get humor out of, what were then, contemporary gender and racial issues, won’t hold up with future generations. What’s strange is that this series isn’t known for being completely dismissive of women.

  • Dorothy was a pretty strong female character in the first book.
  • The land of Oz is mostly ruled by powerful women.
  • Glinda generally considered the most powerful person in Oz. Her army consists entirely of female soldiers adorned in heavy  red armor and shields with ivory spears and swords. That’s some cool high fantasy stuff there. Even Tolkien and Lewis never had that kind of shit.

But, as if the universe needed to balance out this progressivism, this book also gives us General Jinjur and the Army of Revolt.

The Army of Revolt is a group of girls from all over Oz who have banded together to overthrow the Scarecrow and take command of the Emerald City to establish a matriarchical society. Okay, Mr. Baum, that’s not too bad I guess. What’s this female regime going to do once it seizes power? Well,

  • They’re going to make all the men do all the house work and cooking because that shit sucks. In exchange, the women will just get to lie around all day and smash caramels and fudge down their throat.
  • They’re going to remove all the pretty jewels and diamonds that decorate the Emerald City, because Emeralds are pretty and they want pretty things.
  • They’ll use the treasury to buy a bunch of things like dresses and jewelry.

Also, in case you thought the women were carrying swords in the above picture, they aren’t. The Army is armed entirely with giant knitting needles, because why not, that they use to poke people until they surrender or run away.  Given all of this, the Army of Revolt is pretty much what you would get if you gave Al Bundy the opportunity to write a children’s fantasy novel.

When Tip and his party reenter the Emerald City after it’s overthrown by General Jinjur they find her sitting on a throne, adorned in jewelry and smashing caramels into her mouth.

Of course, General Jinjur is ready for their return and quickly has them surrounded with her soldiers and threatens to kill everyone in the party. Fortunately, the Scarecrow knows how women really work and had previously filled his straw body with a dozen field mice. Right when all hope seems loss, he lets them burst forth from his body and the army runs screaming out of the palace….because women, right.

In the end, Glinda and her army comes to the Scarecrow’s support and helps them capture General Jinjur and end her revolution. With that, the men in the city are rescued from a life of domestic servitude and the women are rescued from a life of not domestic servitude. The men even forgive the women when they cook them a really good dinner and everything is restored in the emerald city.

Again, women, am I right?

The Tin Woodman Somehow Became Emperor Palpatine Mixed With the Terminator

At the end of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz the Tin Woodman decides that when Dorothy leaves for Kansas he is going to go back to the Western land of the Winkies (the Fuzzy Russian Hat people you see guarding the the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle in the movie) and rule over them.  The Winkies are a very submissive people. They were originally conquered and enslaved by the Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard of Oz also tried to Conquer the Winkies, but was defeated by the Witch when she used her winged monkey soldiers. Now, the moment the Witch is killed by Dorothy and the Winkies are freed form enslavement, they immediately beg the Tin Woodman to be their new ruler. I don’t know what this issue is called, but when you are begging a metal man with an Axe to rule over you, it’s definitely an issue and it can’t be healthy.

When we catch up to the Tin Woodman in the second book we find that not only has he established himself as the ruler of the Winkies, but he has proclaimed himself their Emperor and adorned his body in a shiny nickle plating so all others may revel in his glory. His palace has been covered with massive portraits of him and his friends defeating the Wicked Witch and other examples of his might. He doesn’t have an Udau and Qusay style gold plated axe yet, but he does have a jewel encrusted oil can. Basically, dictator 101 stuff here.

The fact that the Tin Woodman has proclaimed himself the supreme emperor of the Winkies is not given much attention in the story, but the book drops a lot of subtle comments on his style of leadership. For example, when comparing it to the Emerald City he says that his land may be much smaller, he says,

“It isn’t a very big Kingdom,” said he to Ozma, “but for that very reason it is easier to rule; and I have called myself an Emperor because I am an Absolute Monarch, and no one interferes in any way with my conduct of public or personal affairs.”

But, how is the Tin Woodman able to maintain his empire and do as he pleases, you ask. While the movie portrays him as a jolly singing robot man, in the books was once a Munchkin who was cursed by the Wicked Witch of the East to have his axe cut off a body part whenever he used it. However, instead of dying he replaced each missing limb, and eventually his torso and head, with one made of tin until he became literal unfeeling and unkillable terminator. For example, in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, he kills 100 wolves just by standing there and chopping their heads off one by one with his axe. He often proclaims that he never tires, never sleeps, cannot be harmed and will never die.  As such, when the Scarecrow comes to the Tin Woodman’s empire for help against General Jinjur, the Tin Woodman doesn’t assemble his army, but isntead just picks up his Axe, and says “lets get to it” and starts walking in the general direction of the palace.

This is a Kid’s book, so we can be pretty sure he’s not going to start chopping off the heads of young girls. Right?

RIGHT?

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a Colossal Dick

The “Wizard of OZ”, aka “the Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, aka “Oz the Great and Powerful”, aka “Oz the Great and Terrible”, doesn’t actually appear in this sequel. You remember the Wizard of course; the wonderful charlatan who ran the Emerald City by pretending to be a magical wizard, but was actually a snake oil salesman from Omaha. What a scamp. He pretends to have magical powers, but in the end he uses good old fashioned common sense to give Dorothy’s companions the items they are desperately seeking.

However, we learn a few more things about Oz in this book. The people of the Emerald City didn’t just give him the crown when he arrived. He actually took it from the city’s much loved rightful ruler, King Pastoria. The King eventually died in exile, but not before having a daughter named Ozma, the rightful ruler of the Emerald City. Fortunately, the Wizard took kindly on the orphaned baby Ozma and…secretly delivered her to the Witch Mombi, and demanded that she hide the girl forever so he could maintain his rule over the City without challenge from its rightful ruler. In exchange, he gave Mombi magical knowledge which she used to do a bunch of evil shit.

Oz doesn’t seem so wonderful right now, does he? However, the book is pretty okay with this act, and the Wizard is still regarded with reverence by the main characters. Political coup, infant kidnapping and arming an evil witch with magic. You can judge him, or you can just realize that this is why pencils have erasers and move on with your life.

Glinda the Good Promotes Forced Gender Reassignment

When Tip and his followers join with Glinda they are able to capture Mombi and learn the true location of Princess Ozma. Mombi tells them that in order to hide Ozma she used her powers to transform her into a boy…namely Tip.

This takes Tip by surprise as, having been a boy for 99% of his life, suddenly learns that he was born a girl.  Tip states pretty flatly he does not want to change into a girl because he likes being a boy and is also afraid that his friends will treat him differently (a strange fear considering that his friends consist of a pumpkin man, a scarecrow, a living log, a a man made of tin, a giant talking bug and a creature made entirely out of shit people managed to find laying around – and not a genital among them).

However, all Tip’s friends assure him that whatever he decides, nothing will change in their relationship. The Woggle Bug tells him that boys and girls are equally intelligent, the Tin Woodman says that he has always believed that Girls are simply better than boys , to which the scarecrow replies that has felt boys and girls have always been at least equal (and manages to add nothing to the conversation). Jack says that he is confused because he no longer has a father, to which Tip replies, good, I never wanted to be that anyway (because even in this moment of life altering revelation, fuck that pumpkin headed guy, am I right).

Tip proclaims that this is something he will need to think over, whether he wants to remain a boy or become a girl and rule the Emerald City. Glinda the good Witch then turns to Tip and assures him that…transformational magic is evil, she is going to force Mombi to undo it and turn him back into a girl and he is going to go off and be a queen whether he likes it or not (paraphrased, but really not as much as you would hope).

So, that’s exactly what happens. Tip is turned back into a girl, becomes Queen Ozma of the Emerald City, and will surely have no emotional or mental issues to deal with after her magical forced gender reassignment surgery.

So there you have it. The sequel to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A delightful story that includes a collection of horrifying offenses to man,  god and creation.

Oh, I almost forgot. We learn in this book that the Tin Woodman’s human name was “Nick Chopper”.

Nick Chopper… delightful!

Definitely add a tally to the not horrifying column.

In closing, despite the above insanity, the Wizard of Oz series is pretty great. If you feel the need to introduce these stories to your children, I highly recommend that they check out the Graphic Novel versions adapted by Eric Shanower and illustrated by Skottie Young. Not only are they near perfect adaptations, the artwork is unique, beautiful and really brings new modern life into the stories. Also, if you click on the below links to purchase these items, I get a little more funding for my project. Once complete, I will use it to finally kill Superman. Or Vince Vaughn. Haven’t decided yet, but definitely one of those two.

Books in the Wizard of Oz Series by L Frank Baum

Graphic Novel Adaptions of the Books in the Wizard of Oz Series

Back to Top