Glinda the Good Witch
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|Glinda the Good|
Glinda depicted in Glinda of Oz, illustrated by John R. Neill
|First appearance||The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)|
|Created by||L. Frank Baum|
|Occupation||Ruler of the Quadling Country|
|Title||The Good Witch of the North; The Good; The Sorceress of the South; The Royal Sorceress of Oz|
Glinda (in full, Glinda the Good Witch of the South) is a fictional character in the Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. She is the most powerful sorceress of Oz, ruler of the Quadling Country south of the Emerald City, and protector of Princess Ozma.
Baum's 1900 children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz refers to Glinda as the Good Witch of the South. An unnamed, but very old woman, and three Munchkins, are the only persons present when Dorothy emerges from her house. In the film version, Glinda is a composite character with the Witch of the North. She does not appear in the story until the final act. After the Wizard flies away in his balloon, the Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Dorothy, and Toto travel south to the land of the Quadlings to ask Glinda for her advice. Later books call her a "Sorceress" rather than a "witch." Baum's writings make clear that he did not view witches as inherently wicked or in league with the Devil, so this change was probably meant to signal that Glinda's knowledge and command of magic surpassed that of a witch.
In the books, Glinda is depicted as a beautiful young woman with long, rich red hair and blue eyes, wearing a pure white dress. She is much older than her appearance would suggest, but "knows how to keep young in spite of the many years she has lived" - a fact that is established in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by the Soldier With Green Whiskers. She has ruled the Quadling Country ever since she overthrew the Wicked Witch of the South during the period when Ozma's grandfather was king of Oz.
She plays the most active role in finding and restoring Princess Ozma, the rightful heir, to the throne of Oz, the search for whom takes place in the second book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, although Glinda had been searching for Ozma ever since the princess disappeared as a baby. It may well be that she didn't overthrow the Wicked Witches of the East and West, despite being more powerful than they were, because she wanted all of Oz to be unified under its rightful ruler, Ozma, first. After Ozma's ascent to the throne, Glinda continues to help the Queen of Oz to shape the future of the Land of Oz as a whole, no longer confining her powers to guarding her Quadling Kingdom in the South alone; true to her character, Glinda does not interfere in affairs of State unless Ozma seeks her counsel or help specifically.
In addition to her vast knowledge of magic, Glinda employs various tools, charms, and instruments in her workshop. The Emerald City of Oz reveals that she owns a Great Book of Records that allows her to track everything that goes on in the world from the instant it happens. Starting with The Road to Oz she trains the formerly humbug Wizard in magic; he becomes a formidable practitioner, but acknowledges that she is more powerful yet.
Glinda lives in a palace near the southern border of the Quadling Country, attended by fifty beautiful maidens from each country of Oz. She also employs a large army of female soldiers, with which she takes on General Jinjur's Army of Revolt, who had conquered the Emerald City in The Marvelous Land of Oz. Men are not prominent in Glinda's court.
Glinda is strongly protective of her subjects in the South. She creates gated communities for the rabbits of Bunnybury and the paper dolls of Miss Cuttenclip, showing a personal interest in the concerns of not only the humanoid Quadlings, but also the other inhabitants of her jurisdiction.
In The Emerald City of Oz, when Ozma goes to consult Glinda about the security of her Ozian citizens, the Sorceress seals off all of Oz from the Great Outside World, making Oz invisible to the eyes of mortals flying overhead in airplanes and such. However, unlike Ozma, Glinda is willing to ignore strife and oppression in remote corners of Oz like Jinxland and the Skeezer territory as long as it does not threaten the Emerald City or innocent outsiders. The readers are left with the sense that Glinda is experienced and seasoned to the point of knowing that there isn't a magic cure for everything, and that certain things cannot be changed or perhaps should not be changed for better or for worse.
One of the more obscure facts about Glinda is that she created the Forbidden Fountain with the Waters of Oblivion, at the center of Oz, whose waters redeemed a former King of Oz who was exceptionally cruel. This happened "many centuries ago" according to Queen Ozma (again alluding to Glinda's advanced age), and it is this fountain that saves Oz from the invading Nome King and his allies in The Emerald City of Oz, by making them forget their nefarious intentions. Glinda clearly made the Fountain at a point in Oz's history when the Land was unified under one of the members of the Royal Family of Oz, albeit a tyrannical king in this isolated incident, and so she was able to intervene in a way that she couldn't when the country was divided between the Wizard and the Wicked Witches of the East and West et al., prior to Dorothy's arrival.
Most intriguingly, in The Emerald City of Oz, when the Nome King considers invading Oz, he is told by a minion, General Guph, that Glinda the Good's castle is located "at the north of the Emerald City," when it has been established that Glinda rules the South. Guph may have gotten his facts muddled, as none of the Nomes had been to Oz at that time, but it portends the depiction of Glinda as the Good Witch of the North rather than the South in the 1939 MGM film (which is the most widely known version of Oz to date).
General Guph also tells the Nome King that Glinda "commands the spirits of the air,". As mentioned above, he is not an expert on Oz, but this statement made by Guph once again foreshadows a much later cinematic rendition of Glinda, in the film version of the Broadway musical The Wiz in which Glinda (played by Lena Horne) is responsible for the twister that brings Dorothy's house to Oz and sets all subsequent events into motion.
Of all the characters in L. Frank Baum's Oz, Glinda is the most enigmatic. Despite being titled "Glinda the Good," she is not a one-dimensional caricature whose sole purpose is to embody and generate all that is generically considered "good," as indicated above.
She ultimately becomes the adult anchor in the Oz books, because she is never distracted or swayed, and always maintains absolute firmness of purpose - something that cannot be said for the other adult characters in the series such as the Wizard and the Shaggy Man or even the Good Witch of the North. They all fall short of Glinda's wisdom and resoluteness.
Wicked (novel) 
In Gregory Maguire's 1995 revisionist novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, she is initially called "Galinda," and (through her mother) is descended from the noble clan of the Arduennas of the Upland. Her character is seen extensively in the first half of the novel, but disappears for most of the second half, compared to her musical counterpart.
Though originally snobbish and superficial, she is also intelligent enough to be accepted to Shiz University's Crage Hall, where she is forced to share a room with Elphaba. After a long period of mutual loathing, the two girls later become close friends.
Galinda drops the first 'a' in her name in the middle of the story, in tribute to Doctor Dillamond, a martyred Goat who teaches at Shiz (Dillamond made the habitual mistake of calling her "Glinda" instead of "Galinda" while they shared a carriage, before her arrival to the University). The Goat's death also prompts Glinda to re-evaluate her life, and she dedicates herself to studying sorcery, at which she proves to be quite skilled.
It is stated that she marries Sir Chuffrey in the second half of the novel and they have no children. She initially dislikes Elphaba's sister Nessarose (who goes on to become the Wicked Witch of the East), but becomes close to her after Elphaba leaves Shiz, and enchants the Silver Shoes that enable Nessarose to walk without any assistance.
As in the original Oz books, she is revered as a powerful sorceress, but she admits that her magic is nowhere near as great as Elphaba's, in direct opposition with L. Frank Baum's original books in which Glinda is described as being more powerful than "all the Witches" in Oz. Maguire follows the 1939 movie in having Glinda ultimately become the Witch of the North, not the South. Glinda also appears in Son of a Witch, Maguire's sequel to Wicked, now widowed from Sir Chuffrey. Maguire has strongly suggested that the fourth book in The Wicked Years will be about Glinda.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) 
In the 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz, Glinda is the Good Witch of the North. She is played in the film by Billie Burke. Glinda performs the functions of not only the novel's Good Witch of the North and Good Witch of the South, but also the novel's Queen of Field Mice, by being the one who welcomes Dorothy to Oz, sends her "off to see the Wizard," and orchestrates her rescue from the deadly poppy field in addition to revealing the secret to going back home.
It must be stressed, however, that even in Baum's original Oz book series, Glinda is the only "good witch" in Oz of any consequence. The older-looking Good Witch of the North makes her only speaking appearance towards the beginning of Baum's first book, re-appearing only as one of the numerous guests at Ozma's birthday celebrations in the fifth book, after which she is not mentioned again until the books written by Ruth Plumly Thompson after Baum's death.
Glinda evolved into the all-knowing and only prominent "good" sorceress in Baum's version of Oz, long before she was portrayed that way in the 1939 MGM film; although Baum's exceedingly refined and no-nonsense-type Glinda is quite different from the quirky and bubbly Glinda embodied by Billie Burke in the movie musical.
The MGM movie incarnation of the "Good Witch" knew the powers of the Magic Shoes, but withheld this information from Dorothy at the beginning, in order to facilitate her psychological and emotional maturity, which suggests that Billie Burke's Glinda is not as superficial as she appears to be at first glance, and that her flighty persona conceals her true depth and adult wisdom.
She is the only primary Oz character not to have a counterpart in the sepia-tones of Kansas.
In the original novel, of course, the unnamed Good Witch of the North genuinely believed that the Wizard of Oz was the only entity powerful enough to send Dorothy back home to Kansas, while Glinda the Good Witch (later "Sorceress") of the South does not claim to be similarly powerful until the sixth book, The Emerald City of Oz, by which point in time she creates "The Great Book of Records," which chronicles everything that takes place inside as well as outside Oz.
The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays(1908) 
In Evelyn Judson played Glinda. She is played by Olive Cox in the 1910 version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, according to IMDB. In the latter, she appears in one scene in which she enlarges Toto to make him a better protector for Dorothy. She does not appear in any of the productions of The Oz Film Manufacturing Company nor the 1925 silent film.
The Wonderful Land of Oz (1969) 
Glinda is played by Hilary Lee Gaess; her singing voice was dubbed. She is portrayed as much younger than the Billie Burke incarnation, although her pink costume/gown is similar. She sings 2 stirring solos titled "Try To Touch a Star" and "I've Watched Over You." In the latter song, she makes the touching and astute observation that the Scarecrow possesses not only a brain, but also a heart (at least metaphorically).
She is able to summon the powers of "all the good fairies" when restoring Princess Ozma to her rightful form, almost making her equal to L. Frank Baum's Queen Lurline (whereas Baum's Glinda is a stately sorceress showing no association with fairy magic or "unscrupulous" witchcraft, insisting that the witch Mombi herself disenchant Ozma unlike in this film). Apart from undoing Mombi's evil magic herself, this incarnation of Glinda also tells the old Gillikin witch that she has "allowed" her to practice some of her "less horrible tricks" thus far, suggesting that every practitioner of magic in Oz is ultimately answerable to Glinda should they go too far.
Filmation's Journey Back to Oz 
In the official sequel to the 1939 film, operatic mezzo soprano Risë Stevens provides the voice of "Glinda, the Good Fairy" as she is described in the opening title sequence (however, the Cowardly Lion refers to her as the Good Witch of the North later in the film. In L. Frank Baum's novel, The Lost Princess of Oz, the Wizard says: "Ozma is a fairy, and so is Glinda, so no power can kill or destroy them, but you girls are all mortals and so are Button-Bright and I, so we must watch out for ourselves." However, the only fact established by this statement is that Glinda is one of Oz's "fairy people" (L. Frank Baum's term for anyone native to an enchanted land) rather than a Fairy proper. Even the citizens of Oz who do not possess magical powers are referred to as "fairy people" by Baum in The Emerald City of Oz, meaning that they are not mortals like Dorothy and the Wizard who were born in the outside world.
In this film, it is revealed that this Glinda's magic is no match for Mombi's (the exact opposite was true in Baum's original books). Still, she helps Dorothy confront Mombi and her army of green elephants in a way that evokes the help offered by the Queen of Field Mice in Baum's The Land of Oz. She sings a climactic song called "You Have Only You (To Look To)" to Dorothy, making her look inside herself for the strength that is not forthcoming from old companions such as the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. In this regard, Glinda reveals how in touch she is with stark reality, a trait that hearkens back to Baum's original Glinda.
At the end of the film, she sends Dorothy back to Kansas by conjuring up another twister. This too is in keeping with L. Frank Baum's original Glinda, who had the power to "command the spirits of the air" according to The Emerald City of Oz.
The Wizard of Oz (1982) 
Glinda, looking very young and with long blonde hair, voiced by Wendy Thatcher, claims to be the sister of the Good Witch of the North despite the appearance of quite a large age gap (Baum did always say she is much older than she looks), and appears in the Emerald City in a deus ex machina similar to the MGM film.
In Panmedia's 1986 animated series, Glinda is portrayed as a tall and very slender sorceress with long blue hair. It is she who offers to make Dorothy a Princess of Oz in this series, during their very first encounter, but Dorothy maintains that she wishes to return to Kansas.
In Baum's The Land of Oz, Glinda categorically states that she does not engage in "transformations" because "they are not real", but in this series, the Good Witch transforms into an eagle in order to pursue Mombi, who attempts to fly away from the Emerald City in the form of a dragon.
After restoring Princess Ozma to the throne, Glinda uses her magic on Mombi and Jinjur to make them reform, when the witch and the rebel queen refuse to mend their villainous ways. Having thus changed Mombi and Jinjur's inherent natures, Glinda ensures that they will never create trouble for anyone again.
Glinda entrusts Dorothy with the task of preparing Ozma for her official coronation ceremony, confident that the maturer Dorothy will mould the series' playful young Ozma into a responsible queen. As the series draws to an end, Glinda telepathically contacts and saves Dorothy from falling to her death from a tower, following a confrontation with the Nome King and his minions.
DiC's The Wizard of Oz (1990) 
Glinda appears in The Wizard of Oz voiced by B.J. Ward. Glinda's portrayal in this short-lived series is much more in keeping with the 1939 MGM film, although the character looks significantly younger than Billie Burke did, wears a white gown with pink embroidery (rather than a wholly pink gown), and has blonde hair. Her voice and her personality, however, are extremely close to the Billie Burke version. She arranges for Dorothy to return to the Land of Oz by means of the Ruby Slippers, because the Wicked Witch of the West has been brought back to life, and Glinda needs Dorothy's help to set things right again.
Wild At Heart (1990) 
In David Lynch's "Wild At Heart" - a film drenched with "The Wizard Of Oz" references, there is a character based on the good witch Glinda that bears a great resemblance to the "The Wizard Of Oz" film original character, portrayed by Sheryl Lee.
Glinda is the Good Witch of the South and is played by Miss Piggy, as are her sisters the Good Witch of the North and the two Wicked Witches. In keeping with the traditions of Muppet films, she is attracted to the Scarecrow (played by Kermit the Frog). She is portrayed in a lavender dress with a feather boa, an archetypal Hollywood starlet much more in keeping with the character of Miss Piggy than Glinda.
The Wiz 
In the Broadway musical The Wiz, Glinda is the Good Witch of the South, as she appears in the Oz books. She appears only once at the end of the musical to help Dorothy return back to Kansas from the Land of Oz. Glinda is the sister of Addaperle (Abrakadabra), Evilene (Sadista), and Evvamean, the other three witches of Oz. The role was originated by Dee Dee Bridgewater. In the film version, she is played by Lena Horne, and she causes the snowstorm that brings Dorothy to Oz.
In the Broadway musical Wicked (based on Maguire's novel), Glinda is one of the two female leads as the musical focuses on her love/hate relationship with Elphaba (the young woman who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West). As in Gregory Maguire's revisionist novel, Glinda is characterized by her popularity and goes by the name of Galinda Upland (who hails from the Upper Uplands). She is described as "blonde" in every way, whereas Baum's original Glinda as well as Billie Burke's Glinda in the 1939 MGM movie (which dictated the visual look as well as the overall feel and flavor of this stage musical) had red hair. This is because composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz tailor-made this version of Glinda for actress/singer Kristin Chenoweth (who was the original performer of Glinda for this musical).
Elphaba and Glinda find out the Wizard has a campaign to rid Oz of all talking animals, and has tricked Elphaba into creating flying monkey spies. Elphaba rebels against the horrendous torturing and cruel treatment of animals, vowing to bring down the Wizard. Glinda prefers to play it safe and moreover explore her political opportunities with the Wizard, ultimately sealing her destiny to become "Glinda the Good", and a public icon/spokesperson of Oz.
The love triangle between Glinda, Fiyero and Elphaba is what primarily distinguishes the Wicked musical incarnation of Glinda from Gregory Maguire's novel. Glinda and the "scandalacious" Winkie Prince Fiyero gravitate towards each other, but while Glinda convinces everyone that the two of them are in love, Fiyero re-evaluates his priorities and becomes increasingly drawn to Glinda's now best friend Elphaba.
Most significantly, in the musical, Glinda unwittingly sets into motion the events that lead to the Munchkin Boq becoming the Tin Woodman (which only happens in this musical), and Elphaba's sister Nessarose being killed by Dorothy Gale's farmhouse. Boq was an unwanted but ardent suitor that Glinda foisted upon Nessarose, the Munchkin Governor's daughter, who became so attached to him that she stripped the Munchkins of their rights just to keep Boq with her (thus earning the title "Wicked Witch of the East"). Boq was transformed into the Tin Woodman when Elphaba attempted to correct a Grimmerie spell-book charm that was miscast by Nessarose (who wanted to claim the "heart" he "lost" to Glinda). Not long after, Glinda was so determined to bring Elphaba and Fiyero to justice for running away together, that she suggested to the Wizard and Madame Morrible that they spread a rumor about Nessarose being in danger to lure Elphaba out of hiding. The Wizard and Madame Morrible took Glinda's suggestion to its most extreme level, with Morrible creating the cyclone that brought Dorothy's house to Oz and crushed Nessarose to death.
Glinda comes to understand that Elphaba and Fiyero "deserve each other" in the most positive sense of the term. She tries to avenge Elphaba's supposed death by threatening to expose the Wizard as a fraud unless he leaves Oz altogether. Having thrown the fiendish Madame Morrible in jail, Glinda follows in Elphaba's footsteps, trying to fix all the damage that has been caused in Oz over the past few decades, and hoping to truly earn her title as "Glinda the Good" among the people.
- Baum, L. Frank, Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), Ch. 18
- Michael O. Riley, Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum, p 104, ISBN 0-7006-0832-X
- Baum, L. Frank, The Scarecrow of Oz (1915), Ch. 13
- The Wizard of Oz Production Timeline
- "Michelle Williams is cast in Oz: The Great and Powerful". Best For Film
- "Bernadette Peters Joins Dorothy of Oz". ComingSoon.net