“However in the world did her skin come green?” Nanny wondered, stupidly, for Melena blanched and Frex reddened, and the baby held her breath as if trying to turn blue to please them all. Nanny had to slap her to make her breath again.”
― Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
And so we meet Elphaba, the baby girl who would grow up to be the Wicked Witch of the West.
Why this quote of all the options I had? It’s simple. It jumped out at me. “-and the baby held her breath as if trying to turn blue to please them all.” To me, it offered a stark contrast to the question “Are people born wicked?” which is a theme throughout the book. From the time she was born, this green skinned girl had to fight for things that were a given for others. I’ve heard the word- misunderstood- used to describe Elphaba and it couldn’t be more accurate. Throughout the book, the reader is shown that she wasn’t truly born wicked. More often than not her actions were misunderstood. But she never gave up- not even when she thought she had given up. This is one of the qualities I like best about Elphaba. Despite her weaknesses, she was stronger than she could ever imagine herself to be. And I believe that her wickedness was born out of necessity to survive in a world that was determined to see her as wicked.
I don’t remember being overly curious about why the Wicked Witch was wicked in the Wizard of Oz. Being one of my favorite movies from childhood, I watched it endless times but accepted that in most stories, there’s a villain and in this one it is the witch.
If you haven’t read the book, have no desire to, and love the musical, it’s all good. If you grew up with the movie and want it to stay sacred, that’s good too. Or if you’re like me and want to turn the movie, book and musical into a joint effort, overview, collection, I’m not sure of a clearer picture of what the whole story could be, that’s an option, too.
I’m terribly behind in the A to Z Challenge- Obviously. When I began this post this morning I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about Elphaba. I had chosen a handful of quotes and my plan was to see if any one quote stood out. I can tell you that it wasn’t until I saw that the SoCS was ‘joint’ that it all seemed to come together….well sort of.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday- Joint
“I’ve always taken ‘The Wizard of Oz’ very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I’ve spent my entire life trying to get over it.” – Judy Garland
“The rainbow is a part of nature, and you have to be in the right place to see it. It’s beautiful, all of the colors, even the colors you can’t see. That really fit us as a people because we are all of the colors. Our sexuality is all of the colors. We are all the genders, races, and ages.” – Gilbert Baker
“We live in a rainbow of chaos.” – Paul Cezanne
Wishing you a rainbow filled day!
I LOVE musicals. And Wicked has to be my favorite. I’ve seen it on stage 3 times. Each and every time has been amazing. My obsession with Elphie’s story can be traced back to my childhood, watching the Wizard of Oz each year when it came on tv. When I heard that a book had come out telling the Wicked Witch’s story- Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, I knew I had to read it. It didn’t matter that I had three children, five and under and no time to read. I read that book and I loved it. And when it was made into a musical…….. sigh.
If you are a book lover, then you already know that books that are made into movies/musicals/tv shows never live up to the written word. They just can’t because there is no end to where the written word can go. A scene from a movie can give you many possibilities but it is limited to the picture it presents. You miss out on backstory and subtle nuances that are conveyed in a nicely written passage.
And Wicked was no different. BUT, the stage production was incredible and made up for any missing story line. The costumes and set were impressive. And the musical score….. it was perfection.
Defying Gravity is a powerful song. It’s an empowering song. And it’s the perfect song for a misunderstood witch.
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts. Close my eyes: and leap!
You can learn more about the A to Z Challenge, here.