|“||Well I wouldn't know an evil thing if it fell on me.||”|
|— Glinda, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West|
Lady Glinda Arduenna Upland (formerly referred to as Galinda) is a main character in the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and its spinoffs by author Gregory Maguire.
Unlike in L. Frank Baum's classic children's novel titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, and its sequels, the portrayal of Glinda in Maguire's novels stray further away from Baum's original character, who was the ruler of the southern quadrant of Oz called Quadling Country. In the story of Wicked, rather book or stage adaption, her character is based more upon the classic 1939 film's envisionment of Glinda portrayed by the late actress Billie Burke from MGM's The Wizard of Oz, by remaining the bubbly and bright Good Witch of the North instead of the "Amazon Goddess."
Galinda is a beautiful Gillikinese girl and the daughter of Highmuster Arduenna and Larena Upland. Through her parents, she is descended from the noble clans of the Arduennas and of the Uplands of Gillikin.
Her character is seen extensively in the first half of the novel, but disappears for most of the second half. She is snobby, superficial, and obsessed with appearing to be high-class enough, due to the fact she's only partially noble. However, despite her inner insecurities she is also intelligent enough to be accepted to Shiz University's Crage Hall, where she is forced to share a room with another student due to her chaperone, Ama Clutch, being temporarily delayed. To Galinda's surprise the roommate, whose name is Elphaba Thropp, is a green skinned girl with a great apathy towards beauty, fashion and social standing. She is the complete opposite of Galinda. At first, Galinda tries to ignore Elphaba and pretends she is not her roommate by not giving her the time of day to be properly acquainted. So instead she quickly makes friends with a group of girls on campus who enjoy partaking in the same interest and hobbies which allows Galinda to have an active social life and quickly become extremely popular among her fellow peers. At one point, Boq, a Munchkinlander student from Briscoe Hall, forms a crush on her, eventually falling in love with her, but she rejects him due to differences in appearances, race and social status, though she does agree to be friends with him which Boq accepts. Eventually, she and Elphaba seem to have a rather begrudging companionship, though she still resents the latter and is shocked when she appears at her vacation home due to a snarky prank by one of her friends.
It is not until Dr. Dillamond, who she'd met on the way to Shiz, and who she had behaved rudely towards, is tragically killed and Ama Clutch is incapacitated as a result that she realizes how self-centered and shallow she's been. She truly allows Elphaba to finally become her friend by looking past her flaws and seeing her as an equal person for the first time. To mark this new change, she changes her name to Glinda, which the doctor had mistakenly called her. In her second year, she takes up sorcery as her major and begins to slowly excel at it, being able to cure Ama Clutch's condition, though she could not save her life. At the Ama's funeral, she is called, along with Elphaba and the latter's religious and crippled little sister named Nessarose, to meet with Madame Morrible in her office with the offered chance of becoming an Adept of Magic, who work as a behind-the-scene minister for the Ozian government system that is ran by the ruler of Oz known as the Wizard. Though a secret spell is put on her so she does not remember until Morrible wishes her to. After this, she accompanies Elphaba to Oz's imperial capital, the Emerald City, to finally meet Oz who is praised for being "wonderful." Though it is a disappointing meeting and not much gets done. Afterwards, she is shocked when Elphaba says she's leaving Shiz and Glinda begs her to return with her, to no avail.
Glinda then returns to school alone, where she seems to take a sisterly role to Nessarose in Elphaba's absence. She completes her sorcery degree and later marries an older Paltos baron named Sir Chuffrey and becomes known as Lady Glinda Chuffrey. She becomes famous for her philanthropy, working in tangent with her husband's business deals. At one point, she casts a spell over Nessarose's beautiful shoes which inadvertently allow her to walk without any help or assistance.
Later Nessarose is accidentally killed by an adolescent girl named Dorothy Gale who had fallen out of the sky while aloft in a farmhouse that crash-landed in the heart of Munchkinland after being caught in cyclone from another universe. When Nessarose was handing out perfect attendance awards to the Munchkins, the house fell right on top of her. Glinda would then give Dorothy Nessarose's beautiful shoes and cast a protection spell upon them. To get the girl out of the way, Glinda then sends Dorothy and her dog Toto on the yellow brick road which will ultimately lead them to the Emerald City to seek the Wizard. There Glinda hopes that he'll help the lost girl, not realizing that she just contributed to Elphaba's oncoming death.
A little while later she meets Elphaba again before Nessarose's funeral, and tells her what happened, and is chastised by Elphaba for giving Dorothy the shoes. Though she tries to convince Elphaba that her intentions were not out of spite and she tries to talk Elphaba out of going after Dorothy, she refuses to listen and storms off. They see each other only once after that, but Elphaba walks past her and does not speak, even when Glinda calls her name trying to mend their relationship, with no avail. The two women would never see nor speak to one another ever again.
It is indirectly revealed that Glinda cast yet another spell on Nessarose's beautiful shoes that Dorothy was wearing. The spell allowed the girl and her dog to return back to where they came from by clicking the heels of the shoes together three times.
Later, after Dorothy's departure, it is revealed that Lady Glinda is tragically widowed from her husband, Sir Chuffrey, and is chosen by the provisional government to be Throne Minister. Her job, according to The Scarecrow, is to "clean up" the affairs left by the Wizard and it is implied that after this is complete, she would be expected to resign in favor of a new Throne Minister. When Liir comes for a visit to request her help in finding Nor, she does not believe him and has a breakdown in front of him, even smashing a glass china doll on a nearby nic-nac table, speaking about the treachery of her position and the people around her, and throwing Elphaba's broom into the fireplace in a fury. Upon seeing that despite the fire, the broom itself will not burn and disintegrate, thus being magic. Glinda realizes he must be a confidant of Elphaba's and directs him to Commander Cherrystone and Shell Thropp, who can lead him into Southstairs prison.
She reappears later in the book to make a donation to The Cloister of St. Glinda.
Glinda is living at her estate of Mockbegger Hall on the borders of Munchkinland and Gillikin. Years before, she had taken in Rain, the daughter of Liir, in order to protect her identity. Her household is on the Lake Restwater. This puts her on the forefront of the Oz-Munchkinland civil war as the lake's water is a chief resource both sides are fighting for. Because of this, her home is commandeered by Commander Cherrystone and most of her staff is dismissed. When the crew of the Clock of the Time Dragon came into town, she authorized a performance of the Clock. However, the prophetic performance upset Cherrystone and his men. The crew gifts her the Grimmerie, which she is able to conceal with a spell within it. However, the performance of the Clock causes greater restrictions in her household. When Cherrystone launches his invasion of Munchkinland using the dragon-pulled boats, Glinda and Rain cast "To Call Winter Upon the Water," a spell which freezes the lake, trapping the boats and dragons. She then smuggles Rain out, giving her over to Brrr for protection.
Glinda finally reappears towards the end of the book where she has a brief conversation with Rain, where she explains she is being sent to Southstairs for her actions at Mockbegger Hall, though Brrr later explains that she'll be freed as soon as it is advisable to do so, and indeed, she is freed as the book closes. Her ultimate fate, like most of the characters, is left open to the imagination of the reader.
- According to the family tree in A Lion Among Men, her mother is Larena Upland and her father is Highmuster Arduenna.
- Though the first book claims she is an Arduenna through her mother. the family tree in the third book claims her mother is an Upland and her father is an Arduenna.
- In L. Frank Baum's novel Glinda was the Good witch of the South, it wasn't until the 1930's movie that Hollywood changed it to the North for some "unknown" reason.