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(NOTE: SPOILERS to the Oz books below!)

Owing to my long-standing interest in transformation-based media, it wasn't long before I discovered something awfully curious about the first 14 books of the "famous forty"...these being the many stories based around the magical(and of course, fictional) fairyland of Oz created by L. Frank Baum at the beginning of the 18th Century...that Baum himself wrote.

After having done the analysis? I'm convinced the man must have been a bit of a TF junkie himself. Granted, he wrote his 14 stories...among so many other stories he had written, including the Oz-related companion tales The Sea FairiesSky IslandQueen Zixi of Ix, and so forth...primarily for children, but anyone who is hungry for tales of transformation might want to give these stories a look, because Baum seemed to have a knack for perking his tales with plenty of physical alterations, some of them affecting major characters of the series(including Dorothy Gale herself).

Hell, even when I saw the ever-popular 1939 film with Judy Garland, I couldn't help but see that there was potential for magical alterations. The Wicked Witch of the West manages to capture Dorothy, and what does she do? She locks Dorothy in a room of her castle and forces her to stare at an hourglass. Pfft! Pull those shoes off(or trick her into taking them off) and change her into a cat or something! Dorothy likes the Scarecrow so much? Turn her into a straw-stuffed girl! Wouldn't have such a major impact on the ending, after all, given how powerful Glinda is. The Lion could prove his courage(despite having that dumb medal) by melting the Witch, and Dorothy would be restored by Glinda prior to clicking the heels of those sparkly shoes. Ideas like these would have me paying top dollar to see a remake despite my dislike of those kinds of films.

But I digress. There's a LOT more TF activity in Baum's original 14 books, and this is the guy who created Oz to begin with! In all but two of Baum's Oz books, there are flesh-and-blood characters who have been hit with enchantments that violated their natural forms(but please be forewarned, once again, before you keep reading: plot points are effectively spoiled in these revelations)...

.The Marvelous Land of Oz: Most who know the second book are aware of this already, and they probably found Ozma's altered conundrum in the movie Return to Oz laughable by consequence: the main character, a servant boy named Tippetarius, was changed at birth from the form of a female fairy called Ozma by Mombi, a witch who specializes in TF magic. Mombi herself changes to several forms to avoid being detected by Glinda.

.Ozma of Oz: Do you get a kick out of people becoming statues, or other inanimate objects? Book 3 should be on your Kindles. The adversarial Nome King challenges Ozma's entire party of rescuers...and Dorothy herself...to a game of find-the-royal-family-members-who-I-changed-into-Ornaments. Failing this turns the loser into an ornament. Only Dorothy's lucky guess spares her this fate, and her pet hen Billina...having previously spied on a gloating Nome King...saves them all, but not before every other character in Ozma's party, Ozma included, joins the ornament array.

.The Road to Oz: The eponymous road of this particular story includes detours to places called Foxville and Dunkiton. Two human members of Dorothy's crew become subject to enchantments which alter the shapes of their heads. In Foxville, the head of lost boy Button-Bright becomes that of a Fox. Dunkiton's resident King, Kik-a-bray, confers the head of a mule on the homeless, but kind and humble vagabond known only as the Shaggy Man. 

.The Emerald City of Oz: Among the villainous creatures the Nome King's ordained General, Guph, recruits are a race of animal-headed creatures called Phanfasms, who are led by a bear-headed humanoid called the First and Foremost. He demonstrates his transformational powers to Guph by altering the shapes of his entire group of Phanfasms in addition to himself. While there is nothing to indicate that he has control over the shapes of living creatures other than himself and his Phanfasms, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of a place Oz would be if they managed a successful takeover of the fairyland...

.The Patchwork Girl of Oz: Statue TF alert! The birth of the eponymous character results in the accidental spillage of a brew called the Liquid of Petrifaction. Two characters suffer its effects and become solid statues, compelling munchkin protagonist Ojo to commence the story's quest.

.Tik-Tok of Oz: Once again, ol' Shags is hit with an enchantment. The homeless vagabond, on a mission to rescue his brother from the Nome King, is captured by the Metal Monarch, who amuses himself by conferring the form of a Dove on the Shaggy Man.

.The Scarecrow of OzSea Fairies and Sky Island stars Trot and Cap'n Bill join the people of Oz here, but not before they get mixed up in a conspiracy plot in which a treacherous King named Krewl fears that the peg-legged former seaman may be a powerful wizard. He therefore convinces a wicked witch named Blinkie to use a magic powder upon Cap'n Bill, which changes the sleeping seaman into a grasshopper.

.Rinkitink In Oz: Why is Rinkitink's mount, Bilbil, so grumpy? Might be because he had his natural form changed to a goat prior to meeting the jovial monarch. Bilbil used to be a human Prince in a region called Boboland before an evil wizard enchanted him.

.The Lost Princess of Oz: Where'd Ozma go? And why are some seriously powerful magic artifacts gone? Might be the work of a Shoemaker named Ugu, who hits Ozma with an enchantment that literally turns her into a peach pit. Dorothy confronts Ugu wearing the all-powerful Magic Belt, however, and makes a Dove of the villainous shoemaker.

.The Tin Woodman of Oz: It is here that Baum introduces a major agent of change in a rare caste of sorcerers called the Yookoohoos, who are distinct in that they are restricted to transformation-based magic effects. Only two such Yookoohoos exist in Oz, and the first of them...a giantess named Mrs. Yoop...toys with the main protagonists of Book 12 when they slip into her castle seeking an evening's rest. She alters the Tin Woodman to the form of a tin-plated Owl, the Scarecrow becomes a straw-stuffed bear, and a human boy named Woot becomes a green monkey. She also has a canary in captivity which used to be a lost fairy named Polychrome. Mrs. Yoop's alterations are also difficult to break, too. It's easier for her to break the enchantments on the Tin man, the Scarecrow, and Polychrome, but Woot's human basis creates a logistics problem: whoever is changed to a form by Mrs. Yoop is stuck in that form, and the Yookoohoo's spell cannot be broken. It is only when Ozma attempts a sly body-switcheroo that Woot is able to regain his human form, while his powerless simian form is poetically inflicted on Mrs. Yoop.

.The Magic of Oz: Say the magic word and watch 'em change! Such was the neat little trick a naughty munchkin boy learns in Baum's 13th Oz story. Recruited by the Nome King in a bid for power, Ruggedo suggesting an awfully interesting plot in which humans become animals and animals become humans, the boy...Kiki-Aru by name...instead goes on a paranoid rampage as he and Ruggedo eavesdrop on a meeting between wary animals and a group of Ozians, and among the victims of his changing word? Ruggedo himself(he's ironically turned into a goose), the Cowardly Lion(a munchkin boy), the Hungry Tiger(a rabbit), the Wizard of Oz(a fox), and...surprise, surprise...Dorothy Gale(she becomes a lamb). While I liked the overall story, I obviously would have preferred to see everyone locked in their changed forms to provide an extra element of challenge in the story's overall plot(rather than having the Wizard learn the changing word and restoring everybody about two or three pages later). I mean, honestly...it's not like Glinda couldn't restore them all in the end, right?

.Glinda of Oz: Baum's 14th story...the last one published prior to his death...has all of one character struck with an alteration. The villainous Su-Dic gets a lucky shot in with a magic concoction which alters the equally nasty Skeezer Queen, Coo-ee-oh, to the form of a diamond-encrusted swan. The second Yookoohoo...a mean recluse named Reera who commonly takes the form of a gray-furred ape...is also encountered here, but she doesn't change anyone. She does, however, have a home full of pets which she routinely changes to suit her whims.

I should also mention that The Sea Fairies is a goldmine for anyone who likes reading stories about people who become mermaids: the entire story has its human protagonists...Trot and Cap'n Bill...swimming their way through the majority of this lively undersea adventure as merfolk, a perk conferred upon them by mermaids hoping to convince them both that mermaids in general are far from the malicious creatures Cap'n Bill's buddies believed them to be.

Now there are of course twenty-six other "official" Oz stories in the famous forty, but transformations are rare in these volumes(althoughOjo in Oz has one of its antagonists...an evil munchkin wizard named Mooj...change Dorothy and her friends into clocks(!)) compared to Baum's stories. Transformations are even more of a rarity in the Oz stories written by other authors, and when you consider that there is a wealth of potential in Baum's 14 stories alone, it's a bit of a shame for TF fans. Every now and then, you'll see someone throw in a TF perk(the recently-released Nutcrackers in Oz features a witch who turns Dorothy and her friends into wooden nutcrackers)...but for the most part? There's not a lot of TF action in latter-day Oz stories.

But who knows? Maybe sometime soon, someone will come along and realize all this potential by way of one or more brand new stories set in Frank's utopian fairyland...

...maybe my old friend, the Wandering Talespinner, can help there. *winks*

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John Bardy
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:iconmorphed08:
morphed08 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thanks for the watch :)
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