Who were they… really?

The witches of Oz, I mean, Well, surely they are all real people behind all their titles? AND WHY WERE THE WICKED WITCHES WICKED? Where’s our evidence for that? Especially the Witch of the East. She just got squished by a house. Ouch.

So, presenting to you, The Witches of Oz – once three girls named G(a)linda, Elphaba and Nessarose!
wicked portrait Elphabawicked portrait G(a)lindawicked portrait Nessa(rose)

So the bespectacled dark-haired one is Elphaba, the blonde G(a)linda, and the brunette Nessarose. Three innocent girls, hopeful, even. Except that Elphaba is passionate (not in the -cough- way), ambitious and ostracized for her… let’s just say, differences, Galinda, who later becomes Glinda, is extremely popular, shallow, and vain. Nessarose is handicapped and is very dependent (because she can’t help that) and is lacking in self-confidence (because she is so happy when she is asked out by a boy named Boq, thinking that someone can finally see past her limitations).

But when time comes for Elphaba and Glinda to decide if they would stand by the Wizard, who is responsible for stripping the Animals of their rights, including Dr Dillamond, a professor Galinda changed her name in honour of after learning of his fate, Elphaba chooses to defy him while Glinda chooses to be on the ‘safe side’, earning her title as the Good Witch of the South. And so Elphaba becomes a fugitive, seeking refuge at Nessa’s estate, and the latter herself is making rash decisions due to an obsession over Boq, living up to her title of the Wicked Witch of the East; Boq later reveals to her that he has ‘lost his heart to Glinda’. And so Nessarose Thropp makes her most reckless move of all: she attempts to cast a dangerous spell making Boq lose his heart to her, but fails and he loses his heart literally. Did I mention Nessa is really sick and tired of being handicapped and when Elphaba finally cures her, she gets dumped and a house comes crashing on top of her? More things go horribly wrong for Elphaba, and she finally loses it and lives up to her title – the Wicked Witch of the West.

Three girls, three hopeful, innocent young girls started out on the same point, and had their stories end so different. So who was good, and who was bad? Glinda wasn’t all bad either, and neither was Elphaba all good. It’s all the shades of grey that make Wicked so brilliant, and so much like life.
Three witches, three different stories woven into one. Three real people behind their titles of clear black and white. This is who they really were – thoroughly faulted, yet truly vulnerable.

Three ‘real’ people – can you bear to look at Oz the same way again?


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