|“||I would say to you: Would you ever forgive me for that accident, for the death of your sister; would you ever forgive me, for I could never forgive myself!||”|
|— Dorothy to Elphaba Thropp, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West|
Dorothy Gale is a character from the Wicked Years novels and originally the adolescent protagonist/heroine from the Oz books by author L. Frank Baum. However, In the story of Wicked, Dorothy is the deuteragonist. The protagonist being the Wicked Witch of the West, the original antagonist from Baum's first Oz book from 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the iconic MGM musical film from 1939 The Wizard of Oz; whom Wicked reveals as tragically misunderstood.
Gregory Maguire, the author of the Wicked books, portrays Dorothy not as the villain, but a mere outsider who is thrown into a realm she knows little to nothing about. With all the political drama and chaos surrounding her, this Dorothy is in way over her head, and she is painfully aware of the fact. In Maguire's Oz Dorothy is still a good-natured child, practical and single-minded, but compared to the Ozians, she can seem slightly boring. She also has an annoying but slightly humorous tendency to burst into song, which the Ozians find irritating to the point she is able to use it as a threat later in the book series (specifically when she returns to Oz for the second time).
In Wicked, Dorothy is briefly described as being a ten-year-old little girl with her dark hair styled in two braided pigtails. She wears a checkered blue and white gingham pinafore dress with an apron. In the prologue, when Elphaba sees Dorothy with her friends from afar and wearing her sister's magic slippers, she sees the girl as "not a dainty thing, but a good-size farm girl."
Her description and appearance in Wicked seems to be a mixture of both the late actress/singer Judy Garland's iconic portrayal of Dorothy from the 1939 MGM musical film, and Baum's original 1900 book by keeping Dorothy a little child instead of a preteen as in the 1939 version.
In the fourth and final book of the series Out of Oz, Maguire has Dorothy return to Oz six years later after her first unexpected arrival when she is approximately sixteen years old. This is most likely Maguire paying homage to the 1939 film as Judy Garland was also sixteen when she played the character of Dorothy.
In the Wicked Novels
"She was up and running in an ungainly way, and her three companions followed in a mounting panic. As the first few drops of rain fell, the witch caught sight not of the girls face, but the shoes. Her sister's shoes! They sparkled, even in the darkening afternoon. They sparkled like yellow diamonds in the sun, embers of blood, and thorny stars..." -prologue to Wicked (1995)
In the year 1900, Dorothy is a ten year old orphan who lives on a Kansas farm with her Uncle Henry, her Aunt Em and her pet dog Toto. One day both Dorothy and Toto find themselves in Oz after a deadly cyclone picks up their farmhouse with the two of them aloft. The cyclone transported the house to the realm where Oz is and when the storm finally released the house it fell out of the sky and crash-landed in the heart of Munchkinland. It also landed on Nessarose Thropp, "The Wicked Witch of the East", crushing and killing her instantly in the process.
Dorothy soon met the Munchkins and Glinda the Good Witch who thought it would be best to get Dorothy out of Munchkinland due to all the political drama Nessarose's death caused. Glinda also gives Dorothy Nessarose's most prized possession-a beautiful pair of slippers before casting a protection spell upon them to keep the lost child safe. Afterwards, Glinda sent the girl and her dog to The Emerald City to see the Wizard in hopes that he could possibly help them. Along the way, and while on the yellow brick road, Dorothy spends the night at the house of a Munchkin named Boq. The two discuss her name which translates to "Goddess of Gifts". After her stay she continues her journey across Oz and soon meets a brainless Scarecrow, a heartless Tin Woodman named Nick Chopper and Brrr, a Cowardly Lion. The three join Dorothy and Toto on their journey to see the Wizard. After having many adventures and finally meeting the Wizard, he tells Dorothy in exchange to be sent back home, she and her friends must prove themselves worthy of his assistants and go to the Vinkus aka the Winkie country; there she will find the Kiamo Ko castle and must kill "The Wicked Witch of the West ". She must also bring back the witch's magic spell book called the Grimmerie as "proof".
Meanwhile Elphaba, (the Wicked Witch of the West) finds out about her sister's death and learns from Glinda that Dorothy now wears her sister's slippers and is furious because the pair were supposed to go to her and not to Dorothy. Several weeks later, and after many failed attempts to retrieve the shoes, Elphaba discovers Dorothy is on her way to see her and is accompanied by her three companions. Elphaba then immediately sends out her animals to try to lead Dorothy to the Kiamo Ko castle. However, Elphabla's attempt backfires and all her pets are killed except the flying monkeys who bring Dorothy to the castle along with the Lion. The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman are left behind.
"I am all alone in a strange land, don't make me do this!" Said the girl. I would give you these shoes, if I could. But they won't come off! I think Glinda put a spell on them, I've been trying to get them off for days and days. My socks are so sweaty it's not to be believed!" -Wicked (1995)
To get things straightened out, Elphaba finally confronts Dorothy. While assuming Dorothy had to be tied into the tapestry of conspiracies in Oz, Elphaba demands the slippers Dorothy has been wearing since her unexpected arrival. Dorothy tries to do what Elphaba commands but the shoes are enchanted under the protection of Glinda and will not come off. Dorothy confesses that the Wizard even tried to pry the shoes off before sending Dorothy to kiamo Ko in exchange to be sent home. But despite her efforts, the slippers simply will not come off her feet. Elphaba sees that Dorothy is magically locked tight inside of them. Dorothy tearfully admits to Elphaba that the wizard did indeed send her to kill Elphaba. But Dorothy just wanted to find an alternative way to go home as she believes Elphaba is a witch and witches have magical powers. Dorothy wanted to give Elphaba the shoes if Elphaba would help her. There was a part of Dorothy that secretly hated Oz. Dorothy was so desperate to go home and would do anything to leave, even if it meant going to Elphaba who could have killed her.
Elphaba is physiologically and emotionally crippled by Dorothy's honest pleas for forgiveness for killing her sister. Elphaba then becomes furious since she never received any absolution for her sins. As it became apparent, Elphaba breifly realizes that Dorothy really was an innocent human girl from another world just trying to find her way home again. It is then when Elphaba waved her burning broom in the air due to not paying attention to her surroundings. The hot sparks caught on her black dress and cape, setting her ablaze. Dorothy tried to save Elphaba and put out the fire by grabbing a nearby bucket of water that was collecting rainwater. Dorothy tossed the bucket at her, but to Dorothy's horror it instantly melted the witch away, killing her by accident instead of saving her. After liquidating Elphaba, Dorothy took a green bottle called "Miracle Elixir" with her to prove to the Wizard she was at the Kiamo Ko castle. She did not take the Grimmerie book because it was simply too heavy to carry.
Afterwards Dorothy is hailed as a messiah of some sort and mass celebration is thrown throughout all of Oz, mostly amoung the loyal Ozians. When the Wizard fails to keep his promise to Dorothy, she goes to Glinda for help and learns she had the power to go back to Kansas through the magic of the slippers.
It is rumored by the Ozians that when Dorothy was sent home, she was seen descending up into the sky in the direction of her homeland, waving her apron giddily and carrying that "damn fool dog". Other conspiracy theorists believe Dorothy never left Oz at all.
The story picks up right after Elphaba's tragic death. Liir, her oddball son, accompanies Dorothy, her dog Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion back to the Emerald City to see the Wizard again after successfully completing their task. On the way, Liir forms a small crush on Dorothy, becoming secretly infatuated with her.
While traveling through the Vinkus, Dorothy and the group all meet a shapeshifting Princess who is also the head leader of her native tribe. The Princesses name is Nastoya who appeared to the group as a human girl but was originally an Elephant at birth. Nastoya explains to them all that because of the Wizard and his prejudice veiws against Animals, she disguised herself and vailed her true form as a clever shield of protection. Yet Nastoya confesses she is finding it increasingly difficult to switch forms which leads her to believe she is dying.
As so, Nastoya shockingly morphs herself and transforms right infront of Dorothy and her companions which is described to be revolting to watch as Nastoya's skin stretches and her bones shift and body mutates. Seeing this, Dorothy nearly vomits in her apron and Toto passes out. In the fourth and final book of the Wicked series Out of Oz, it is revealed that an old Witch called Mombey was the sorceress who placed the spell on her.
When Dorothy reaches the Emerald City, Liir is told to wait outside the Wizard's palace while Dorothy and her friends step inside to speak with Oz. She could not get the Wizard the Grimmerie because it was too heavy to take with her but she gave him the green bottle he found familiar. Not only did Dorothy and her fellow comrades learn that the Wizard was not so great and powerful because he's a mere humbug human, and that he was the real antagonist who used deceit and trickery to get his way, but he was also the illegitimate father of Elphaba. Before he became the ruler of Oz, he raped her mother, Melena while she was drugged from drinking the green potion the Wizard gave her and nine months later, Elphaba was born with green skin. Elphaba became the Wicked Witch of the West because of the selfish heartless Wizard (who's real name is Oscar Zoroaster Diggs), made everyone in Oz believe that she was the wicked one. While the Wizard ruled the Land of Oz with an iron fist, Elphaba was an animal rights activist. Dorothy was going to leave Oz with the Wizard in a hot air balloon, but he already left, beacuse everyone learned the truth about him, his empire started to collapse and he left back to America to kill himself.
Glinda then steps in and sends Dorothy home through the magic of the slippers.
Despite Dorothy's promise to come back to say goodbye to Liir before returning to Kansas, Dorothy leaves without a proper farewell, leaving Liir heartbroken. Despite this, Liir ultimately does not hold it against Dorothy because he understands how eager she was to get back home again.
Dorothy makes a brief appearance when Brrr, the Cowardly Lion first encounters her after he abandons city life to live in the wilderness of Oz. He meets the girl on the yellow brick road when she is already accompanied by the Scarecrow and Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman. Brrr then travels With Dorothy to Emerald City and to Kiamo Ko when the Wizard demands the group to kill Elphaba.
It is also revealed in this novel, that Uncle Henry and Aunt Em are not blood related to Dorothy. They actually wrote an orphanage in Missouri asking for an orphan to help on the Kansas farm.
"It would take Dorothy Gale and her relatives three days to reach the mountains by train from Kansas, the conductor told them. No matter what the schoolteacher had said about Galileo, Copernicus and those other spoilsports, any cockamamie theory that the world was round remained refuted by the geometrical instrument of a rattling train applied to the spare facts of a prairie. Dorothy watched eagles and hawks careering too high to cast shadows, she watched the returning larks and bluebirds, and she wondered what they knew about the shape of the world and if they would ever tell her." -Out of Oz (2011)
It is explained that Dorothy was teleported home, flying over the land of Oz and back to Kansas thanks to the power of the slippers. Unfortunately, Dorothy lost the pair as they fell off of her feet on the flight back and were gone forever. Nevertheless, Dorothy reappeared on the horizon, shoeless but still in one piece on the prairie and of course, holding Toto in her arms.
Due to her extended disappearance and unexplainable survival from the cyclone, the other children at the Kansas Schoolhouse shunned Dorothy and labeled her a freak of nature for riding the winds of a twister and living to tell about it. Nonetheless suddenly reappearing out of nowhere months later. And Dorothy's tales of Oz, only make her seem completely crazy. Thus, making her unmarrigeable and "ungodly".
Six years later, Dorothy and Toto are unexpectedly sent to Oz by fate once again. But now she is approximately sixteen years old. Even though it has been less than a decade since Dorothy's first visit to Oz, it has been around twenty years in Oz's time.
Back in Kansas, Dorothy's relatives never believed her stories about Oz and criticised her for having her head in the clouds and sabotaging her future. To help Dorothy forget about Oz, Em and Henry decide to take a trip to San Fransisco on vacation. However, after sight seeing, Dorothy ends up being trapped with Toto in a motel elevator when a earthquake hits California. (Believed to be the same California earthquake from 1906).
When the building collapses, the elevator that Dorothy is in falls into the bowels of the earth and into another dimension. The elevator falls from the sky and accidentally landed on a cow and killed it. And Toto was somehow lost in the process when the small dog fell out of the elevator doors which were cracked just enough for Toto to slip through.
Dorothy was buried alive under all the rocks and pieces of the earth that the earthquake brought down along with the elevator. Luckily, the elevator was found by nearby locals who dug Dorothy up and saved her. Dorothy suffered from a temporary state of amnesia and a bump on her head which gave her a near concussion. She is taken in by strangers and nursed back to health. Dorothy spends many months recuperating from the traumatic event and slowly gains her memory back.
When Dorothy's health strengthens, she realizes she is back in Oz again, specifically in the country of Oz's Glikkus tribe. Dorothy learns that Oz has fallen into war and the Glikkun trolls extradited her to Munchkinland's new capital, Bright Lennins, where the new Eminence had her stand trial for the murders of saint Nessarose and saint Elphaba Thropp, calling it "regicide." Dorothy is imprisoned against her will and is used as a mere scapegoat who was left accountable for the deaths of the two Thropp sisters who died decades prior. And sure enough, the overall court case finds Dorothy guilty and she is sentenced. But to Dorothy's surprise her old friend Brrr, aka the Cowardly Lion came to her aid. The Lion was also accompanied by Mr. Boss, and Little Daffy who helped rescue Dorothy from her harsh sentence. The group then immediately high tail it out of Munchkinland before "things get ugly". Eventually Brrr is made the governor of Oz until the long lost Princess Ozma of Oz comes of age to take the throne.
Dorothy is finally reunited with her dog Toto whom she thought was dead and the Grimmerie book was used to send Dorothy and Toto back to California where she is presumably reunited with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em.
The Matter of Dorothy
Author Gregory Maguire used more the 1939 version of Dorothy portrayed by Judy Garland, using her appearance, personality traits, and mannerisms while adding his own traits into the character making it work for the story of Wicked. Maguire portrays Dorothy in Wicked as an optimistic and innocent child who finds herself caught in unfortunate circumstances. Much like in the original story by Baum, Wicked reveals that Dorothy's experience in Oz was real and not a dream like it was implied in the 1939 film. In both novels, Oz is just an undiscovered country-- a far off land that is cut off from the rest of the world and surrounded by a great vast desert too harsh to cross. Here Oz lies in a less civilized universe, so to speak, where real magic still exist and strange creatures dwell.
Dorothy is only referenced to a few times in Wicked, appearing as a mere silhouette in the musical and a semi-cameo character toward the end of the book revealing only her backside. In the story of Wicked, Dorothy is not the focal point of the plot even though she does play a rather small but very important role, only being involved in the chaos and drama towards the end of Maguire's tale. Dorothy is seen as a mere outsider who cannot read Oz's unique writing system, knows nothing about Oz's complex politics and overall system, laws or history.
Dorothy is oblivious to the world around her and although Dorothy is well-meaning, mature for her age and very compassionate beyond her years, her innocence and unyielding desire to return back to her homeland Kansas, causes a domino effect in the result of negative outcomes for the people surrounding her. And much unwanted trouble and heartache for the main character of the book, Elphaba Thropp, The Wicked Witch of the West.
It is Elphaba's tarnished reputation as Dorothy does not know any better to think of Elphaba for anything other than what everyone else in Oz views her as, the "Wicked Witch of the West". Even though Elphaba is not actually so, just misunderstood, yet Dorothy is not aware of this until she finally meets Elphaba in the Vinkus aka the "Winkie Country" at the Kiamo Ko castle when the Wizard sends Dorothy to kill her.
Goddess of Gifts...
''...When Boq saw the girl's silver shoes he said, "You must be a great Sorceress of some kind." "Why?" Asked Dorothy. "Because you wear the magic silver shoes and have killed the pair's owner, the Wicked Witch of the East. Besides, you have white in your frock, and only Witches and Sorceresses wear white." "My dress is blue and white checked," said Dorothy, smoothing out the wrinkles in it. "It is kind of you to wear that," said Boq. "Blue is the colour of the Munchkins, and white is the good Witch colour. So we know you are a friendly one.'' -The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
In both Baum's 1900 book and Maguire's 1995 mature revision, Dorothy attends a banquet party in Oz and spends her first night on the yellow brick road at the house of a wealthy Munchkin farmer named Boq who is the richest Munchkin in Oz. Boq held this celebration in honor of Dorothy for killing the Wicked Witch of the East and setting the Munchkinlanders free from her bondage.
In Wicked, it is revealed that the two characters discussed the etymology of Dorothy's name. Boq finds it interesting that Dorothy's name is the reverse of her land's "King" Theodore — which means "Gift of the Gods" — and that Dorothy means "Goddess of Gifts". This fact causes many of the superstitious Ozians to look at Dorothy as a saint in the flesh. And much like a disciple sent to Oz to fulfill a prophecy by the "Unnamed God". Given the fact Dorothy wears Nessarose, The Wicked Witch of the East's magic shoes, make the Ozians even more superstitious of her. And along with the coincidence her last name is the same name of the Wizard's Army aka the "Gale Force", makes Dorothy nearly untouchable. Her disposition was so incredible to the Ozians that they imagined at one point that she must be an assassin, disguised as a "Gullible Sweetheart."
In the Musical
Even though Dorothy plays an important role in this story, her face is never seen, only her backside in the Wicked book illustrations, and her silhouette in the Wicked musical.
Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Shiz University and the antagonist (along with The Wizard) in musical version of Wicked has control over the weather and killed Nessarose, The Wicked Witch of the East by bringing a cyclone from Kansas which brought it's resident Dorothy Gale. Glinda gives Dorothy Nessarose's Ruby slippers. She would befriend Brr, the Scarecrow and the Tin man while being sent by the Wizard to kill the Wicked Witch of the West. She throws water at her which she believes melts her. Dorothy is present in the popular Broadway musical Wicked, she is never actually seen; when the main characters interact with her, they speak into direction of the wings, or into a trapdoor, as if she is sitting offstage and out of the view of the audience.
Dorothy does appear on the stage during a pivotal scene, but the audience sees only her silhouette. The shadows of the performers being back lit onto a scrim that is drawn across the stage by Elphaba to protect Glinda. Contrary to popular belief, the melting is performed in real time every performance, and Dorothy is played - in full costume, by the Glinda understudy.
However, in the Helsinki City Theatre Production (2010-2011) Dorothy appears several times throughout the musical in key scenes, such as in the Cornfields skipping happily along a road paved with yellow bricks and finally in the Melting scene throwing water at Elphaba. She's portrayed by Saara Aalto.
- Dorothy Gale originally wore silver shoes with pointed toes in L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, not Ruby Slippers like in the 1939 MGM musical film version.
- In the 1900 book, the character of Dorothy is no older than 10 years old, yet Judy Garland was 16 when she portrayed Dorothy in the 1939 film. In the film, Dorothy is supposed to be 12 years old.
- Dorothy does not sing in the Oz books.
- In the Oz books, the fate of Dorothy's parents is never revealed. In Wicked, it is said Dorothy's parents died in a boating accident and she was then adopted by Uncle Henry and Aunt Em.