|“||No one wants me, no one cares to come looking for me! No one knows who I am, not even myself.||”|
|— Liir, to the Scarecrow[src]|
Liir Thropp (pronounced [leer]) is a key character in The Wicked Years series by Gregory Maguire, appearing in all four novels.
He is the son of Elphaba Thropp and the main protagonist of the second book Son of a Witch, published in 2005. Liir's heritage is in doubt throughout the novels, but it is definite that he is the illegitimate son of Elphaba, and her lover, Prince Fiyero Tigelaar. In Wicked, Elphaba claims not to know whether Liir is her son or not, and aside from occasional moments of warmth, does not treat him as such; however, it should be noted that Elphaba was not a particularly affectionate person. Through his mother, Liir can lay claim to the title of Eminent Thropp and through his father he can lay claim to the monarchy of the Arjiki tribe due to his half-sibling's demise. In an interview, author Gregory Maguire does describe Liir as "Elphaba's son".
In the Novels
Liir is first seen accompanying Elphaba Thropp from the Cloister of St. Glinda after she abandons her apartment in The Emerald City and where she was hiding after Fiyero's tragic murder. While at the mauntery an incoherent Elphaba, severely traumatized, fell into a deep coma-like sleep which lasted for an entire year. During this time, she supposedly gave birth to Liir, whom she is not even sure is hers due to being unconscious during the pregnancy and labor.
Liir grows into a silent and sullen child, and Elphaba appears largely indifferent to him, though she later realizes she does has motherly love for him, which he sadly never notices. Liir travels with Elphaba to Fiyero's family home, Kiamo Ko in the western quadrant of Oz called the Vinkus. There, he attempts to befriend Fiyero's children, Irji, Manek and Nor. Irji and Manek, the boys, torture Liir (for example, Manek made him hide in the fishwell and he almost drowned, which made Elphaba so furious she semi-accidentally killed Manek through magic), but Nor befriends him, after a fashion. When the Wizard sends a garrison of soldiers to the neighboring town of Red Windmill, Liir, seeking a male role model, becomes attached to their leader, Commander Cherrystone (which worries Elphaba to no end). He is shocked when Cherrystone carries out his orders to abduct Fiyero's children, wife, and sisters-in-law. Several years later, when Dorothy Gale is then sent to the Vinkus by the Wizard to murder "The Wicked Witch of the West", Liir becomes infatuated with her, forming a small crush. He is not present when Dorothy kills Elphaba (although accidentally) with a bucket of water. Liir was approximately 14 when Elphaba was liquidated.
The story picks up after the death of Elphaba, and now focuses solely on Liir. He decides to accompany Dorothy and her three companions on their journey back to the Emerald City. On the way, they encounter the semi-nomadic Scrow and their leader, Princess Nastoya, an ancient Elephant who asks for Liir's help in breaking the enchantment which disguises her as a human, in exchange for information about his long lost half-sister Nor who had been kidnapped by the Wizard's army less than a decade prior. In the Emerald City, Liir is refused an audience with the Wizard. When the Wizard abruptly leaves Oz via hot air balloon, Glinda the Good then steps in as Throne Minister and sends Dorothy back to her homeland through the magic of Nessarose's slippers.
Despite Dorothy's promise to come back to say goodbye to Liir before returning to her own world in Kansas, Dorothy leaves without a proper farewell, leaving Liir heartbroken. Despite this, Liir does not hold it against Dorothy because he understands how eager she was to get back home again.
A week or so after Dorothy's departure, Liir finds himself without a purpose. The Scarecrow advises Liir on how to survive the political turmoil after the Wizard's departure. He visits Glinda who resides in a beautiful apartment in the upper class section of the city. Glinda has now become the temporary throne minster of the empire. She assists Liir in gaining access to Southstairs, an underground political prison deep beneath the Emerald City where Liir believes Nor may be held. However, to his dismay he discovers that Nor has already escaped yet ultimately comes to the conclusion that Nor is responsible for the graffiti in the Emerald City that reads: "ELPHABA LIVES". Eventually, Liir enrolls himself into the city's Home Guard and is posted to carry out missions in the southern quadrant of Oz, the Quadling Country. He is ordered to burn down the native village of Bendga and carries out his orders, but then deserts in shame and self-disgust and returns to Kiamo Ko.
At Kiamo Ko, Liir encounters a dying Swan on her way to a Conference of Birds. The Birds are being oppressed by dragons raised by Oz's pious new Emperor (in reality Elphaba's younger brother Shell, although this is not revealed until late in the novel). Liir decides to take the Swan's place at the conference, but while flying there on Elphaba's broom, he is attacked by dragons, knocked from the sky and left for dead; the dragons take the broom as a spoil. He is found by a party of travelers led by Oatsie Manglehand, who takes him to the Cloister of St. Glinda, where readers first met Liir in Wicked. At the mauntery, a Quadling novice named Candle, an accomplished musician, nurses Liir back to health. (She also sleeps with him while he is comatose, horrifying Liir when she announces later that she is pregnant). On the advice of the ancient maunt Mother Yackle, Candle removes Liir to Apple Press Farm, a farmhouse some distance away.
When he has fully recovered, Liir returns to the Emerald City, where he joins up with dragon trainer Trism bon Cavalish to destroy the dragons (reclaiming the broomstick while doing so). Liir and Trism flee the Emerald City, and while on the run the two become lovers, having sex in an inn whilst hiding from soldiers. They take refuge at the mauntery, where the maunts protect them from a pursuing Home Guard regiment. Liir escapes on Elphaba's broom, and Trism leaves disguised as Glinda's manservant. Liir rejoins the Conference of Birds, and leads them in a display of defiance against the Emperor. He returns to Candle, who is heavily pregnant, and resentful of Liir, the newly arrived Scrow, and of Trism, who reached the farm before Liir, but left apparently unable to convince Candle to flee for her safety. The Scrow have encamped near the farmhouse, and Liir convinces Candle to use her music to help the dying Princess Nastoya. Candle's music returns Nastoya to her true form, and she dies. Liir accompanies the Scrow on their return to the grasslands, and when he comes back, Candle has gone, abandoning her newborn child; the baby girl is green, apparently confirming for the last time that Liir is indeed Elphaba's son. He is approximately 24 when Oziandra (Rain) is born.
He appears briefly in the book during the Cowardly Lion's account of his journey with Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman back to Emerald City after Elphaba's death.
The first mention of Liir in Out of Oz is by a Wren sent by Grace Graeyling of the Conference of Birds who tells the company of the Clock of the Time Dragon that Liir is alive and "well hid." It is also written in the first pages of the book that Liir is 30 years old and his daughter Rain is 7 or 8. The company of the Clock of the Time Dragon, with Rain in tow, eventually comes upon Liir and Candle hiding out at what appears to be an abandoned temple with Iskinaary, Liir's familiar. Liir is reunited with his half-sister Nor, however becomes equally frustrated at her resistance to his affection. When the company leaves the Chancel of the Ladyfish, Liir, Candle, Nor, Iskinaary, and Rain split off from the others in the northwest direction and build a home at Nether How, the spot where Liir had a vision of the Grimmerie's original owner. When their cottage is raided, they agree it's once again time to leave. Sometime during Rain's year at St. Prowd's, Liir makes his way back to Kiamo Ko with the Grimmerie. It is there that he is captured my Mombey's soldiers, who whip and torture him as they make their way back to Munchkinland. Before crossing the Munchkinland border, Liir is given a potion that changes him into an elephant. He is in a coma-like state for several days until he comes to at Mombey's fortress where she threatens him with death if he does not help her decipher the Grimmerie. There he is reunited with Trism, who has been working for Mombey after fleeing loyal Oz. Liir recognizes Trism at once by smell. Trism recounts how he was tortured for Liir's whereabouts, and shows Liir how his skin was stripped away by Cherrystone. Liir and Trism state that they still love each other, and they embrace. Trism used Liir to help him perfect the spell to control Mombey's army of dragons, which Thas been training to fight Loyal Oz. When Liir later refuses to aid Mombey's cause, Trism tells him that he will surely be put to death. They both solemnly acknowledge each other's choices and follow Mombey away. When Mombey takes the EC by dragon attack, it is implied that Liir has been killed in his elephant form, and his family and friends prepare to mourn him. Shell demands that Mombey return Liir's body as a condition of their treaty. A cart carrying a shrouded elephant body is brought into the city as Shell and Mombey prepare to meet. However Mombey later reveals that Liir is not dead, he has only been weakened by the Elephant state, but if he does not revert to human form, he will perish. When Mombey inadvertently reverses the spell she had put on him, he returns to his human form. He is cared for by Daffy alongside who is suffering as well. When Ozma and Brrr have restored order to Oz, Liir and Candle return to Nether How, however they never resolve their quarrel and she leaves him. At the end of the book, Rain is about 16, making Liir about 42 when we last see him taking out a pen and paper to write his own book.
In Son of a Witch, Liir searches for a sense of identity. Uncertain of his parentage, he drifts from place to place, following vague missions with little commitment. Eventually he does become an effective leader, although his sense of loneliness never truly abates. Unlike his mother, who valued solitude, Liir tries to find meaning for himself by interacting with other people — from following Dorothy, to curing Princess Nastoya, to rescuing Nor, even joining the army.
Liir is bisexual and often pines for his male lover, Trism; but despite this, Liir chooses to stay with Candle out of apparent devotion, and although he hopes to make things work with her, in the end he finds himself alone again.
- Liir is gifted with the ability to see the past; he has many lucid dreams during the course of his adventure in which he sees past events which have happened within the area he is occupying.
- Liir was named #1 on a list of Top Ten LGBT Book Characters.