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||This article possibly contains original research. (October 2008)|
Illustration by W. W. Denslow in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz of Dorothy holding the Shoes
|Plot element from the Land of Oz series of prose fiction|
|First appearance||The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)|
|Created by||L. Frank Baum|
|Genre||Children's books, Fantasy|
|Function||Able to send the wearer wherever they wish to go|
The Silver Shoes are the magical shoes that appear in the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as Dorothy Gale's transport home. They were originally owned by the Wicked Witch of the East but passed to Dorothy when her house landed on the Witch. As gathered from the clues throughout the various books and films, the Silver Shoes will only pass to a new owner if they have physically defeated the previous owner or the previous owner willingly hands them over.
- 1 Appearances in the books
- 2 Appearances in film
- 3 Appearances in television
- 4 Appearances in other media
Appearances in the books
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
This is the only book in the original series to feature the Silver Shoes directly. They are the property of the Wicked Witch of the East until Dorothy's house lands on and kills her. They are then given to Dorothy by The Good Witch of the North, who tells Dorothy that "there is some charm connected with them; but what it is we never knew" (L. Frank Baum-The Wizard of Oz). When Dorothy is captured by the Wicked Witch of the West, she tries to steal the shoes. She finally gets one by tricking Dorothy into tripping over an invisible iron bar. Dorothy then melts the Witch with a bucket of water and recovers the shoe. In the final chapters of the book, Glinda, the Good Witch of the South explains that the shoes can transport the wearer anywhere they wish. If the Silver Shoes have any other powers they are never outlined in the books, however the Witch of the West was obsessed with obtaining them, as they would give her much greater power than any other thing she possessed, suggesting the shoes hold immense magic. After saying goodbye to her friends, Dorothy knocks her heels together three times, and commands the Shoes to carry her home. When Dorothy opens her eyes, she has arrived in Kansas. She finds that the shoes are gone, having fallen off during her flight and landing somewhere in the Deadly Desert. Though they are mentioned several times in sequels, they never appear again in the original series.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
In Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the silver shoes are a gift to Nessarose (the Wicked Witch of the East) before she and her sister, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) start college. They are made by her father using special glass beads another man (Turtleheart, possibly her biological father) taught him to make, which make the shoes appear silver OR ruby depending on the light. They are enchanted by Glinda (the Good Witch of the South) to give her the necessary balance to walk. In the Broadway musical adaption of the book, Elphaba is the one who enchants the shoes. Her spell made the silver shoes burn red hot, turning them into the ruby slippers.
The Wizard of the Emerald City
In Alexander Melentyevich Volkov's The Wizard of the Emerald City, the ruby red shoes, as they are called in the manuscript, are the source of Elly's (his version of Dorothy) protection instead of the good Witch's kiss. She is therefore attacked once by an Ogre when removing them, and afterward wears them even when she sleeps. They are not taken from the Witch's body, but rather brought by Toto from her dwelling (a dark cave). This was possibly done to avert the problem of a person wearing the shoes to be impossible to harm, since in that book the hurricane was created by the Wicked Witch to destroy mankind, and redirected upon her by the Good Witch of the North, who suffered no ill effects for harming her. It is said the Witch only wore the shoes on very special occasions. They are lost just like in Baum's book.
Dorothy of Oz
An action-adventure/fantasy novel with a modern setting by Paul Miles Schneider, in which an eleven-year-old boy named Donald Gardner is driving across Kansas with his parents after a boring summer vacation. They pull off the road for a quick stop and encounter a mysterious woman offering a silver shoe for sale. Donald's mother collects antique silver and impulsively buys it. The shoe turns out to be one of the lost Silver Shoes worn by Dorothy when she was magically transported back to Kansas from Oz. A chase begins, involving supernatural creatures, secret agents, and mysterious parties from both worlds. All of them have been searching for the shoes ever since famed author L. Frank Baum first leaked confidential information about the existence of Oz to the public in the form of a children's book. Donald and his family join forces with George Clarke, a middle-aged man on the run since childhood. As a young boy himself, fifty-two years earlier, George discovered the other Silver Shoe on his family's farm in Missouri.
Appearances in film
Wizard of Oz (1925 film)
The shoes were absent from the 1925 movie.
The Wizard of Oz (1939 film)
In the 1939 movie the shoes serve the same purpose as in the book but are changed to red, and given a notably different appearance than in Denslow's illustrations. This movie proves that the shoes are magically protected. When the Wicked Witch of the West reaches for them, they shock and burn her hands and she cries out in pain.
In The Wiz, the shoes are silver high heels. This movie gives further insight into the shoe's magical protection. When Evillene (the witch of the west) tries to obtain them magically, her fingers are bent backwards and she exhibits signs of pain.
The Wizard of Oz (1982 film)
In the anime movie, the shoes are once again transformed into the ruby slippers, though they are never referred to by that name. They are heeled shoes with pointed, slightly curled toes, similar to their appearance in Denslow's illustrations. Unlike the book, the shoes are still on Dorothy's feet when she arrives in Kansas.
Return to Oz
In Return to Oz, the Ruby Slippers are used once again. In this movie, the slippers have more power than simply transporting people. They allow the Nome King to conquer Oz and turn every one in the Emerald City to stone. Dorothy later uses the shoes to reverse this process. This extra power is due to the fact the slippers replace the Nome King's Magic Belt. In the original draft of the script, the Nome King had refashioned the slippers into the actual Magic Belt from the novels. Upon his death, they reverted into the form of slippers. This was cut from the final filming of the movie.
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, the Silver Shoes are portrayed as sparkling, bejeweled, glittery Manolo Blahnik high-heels. The laws of ownership are again displayed in that the Witch of the West tries to cut off Dorothy's feet to obtain the shoes. Once again the shoes remain on Dorothy's feet when she arrives home.
Appearances in television
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1986 anime)
When first seen on the feet of the Witch of the East in the 1986 anime version, they are brown peasant's shoes. The Witch of the North then magically transfers them to Dorothy's feet, they take on the appearance of white slip-on shoes. When Dorothy is forced to give one of the shoes to the Witch of the West, it reverts to the peasant form. After the Witch is melted and Dorothy is shown wearing it again, it has returned to its white form.
The shoes are used twice after they initially send Dorothy home. The first time, she is holding them in her hands when she clicks the heels and drops them. Consequently, Dorothy is transported to Oz and the shoes are left in Kansas (Glinda sends her home). The second time occurs while Dorothy is sleeping. Tik-Tok is emitting a distress signal and the shoes activate, transporting Dorothy to the Land of Ev in a beam of light. Her clothes are changed in mid flight.
The Wizard of Oz (TV series)
In the 1990 The Wizard of Oz television series, the Ruby Slippers are used to transport Dorothy back to Oz. They are depicted to possess other powerful magical capabilities that Dorothy did not fully understand, and as such, often served as a form of deus ex machina against hopeless situations. They are no longer depicted as high heels.
A unique concept proposed by this series is that the Ruby Slippers' magic is linked to the glow of their red coloration. Their powers only function while a dim glow of red light emanates from them, initiated by Dorothy clicking her heels; and the effects of their magic immediately cease after the shoes cease to glow. Also, the Wicked Witch was once able to annul their abilities entirely, by capturing a red Luminary (teardrop-shaped creatures who control all color in Oz) and forcing him to drain the red color from the slippers themselves. However the slippers regained their powers after the Luminary escaped.
This series also proposes that the slippers do not necessarily have to be on the user's feet for their powers to work, as Dorothy once used them by tapping the heels together when she held the shoes in her hands (since the ground's sandy surface prevented her from clicking the heels together).
Also worth noting in a single episode, is that Truckle, the series' lead Flying Monkey, was once able to wear the Ruby Slippers and thus utilize their powerful magic for his own whims. Even with his generally dim wits and reckless disregard, the slippers gave him sufficient power to overwhelm the Wicked Witch of the West's magical attacks, and temporarily reduce her to his servant. This once again demonstrates that the shoes' users need not be a skilled/knowledgeable spellcaster, in order to gain great power. The Cowardly Lion also gets to wear them briefly.
Appearances in other media
Dorothy of Oz
The Dorothy of Oz series completely revamps the Silver Shoes. They are instead depicted as red boots created by Selluriah, the Witch of the East. When Mara (codename Dorothy) stomps the heels of said boots, she takes on the form and powers of a witch. This power is channeled (rather inexpertly) through the staff Thrysos. The transformation is rather embarrassing, as it involves Mara being momentarily nude and various men are always apt to spot her. It is yet to be revealed if these boots will help Mara return home.
The shoes are shown in the DC comics Vertigo series Fables. Dorothy, who's portrayed as a cold, merciless assassin, found that she enjoyed killing after being hired by the Wizard to kill the Witch of the West. However, she loses them on the way back to Kansas over the Deadly Desert, and goes to great lengths to get them back. She has several encounters with Fabletown spy Cinderella, which climaxes with them facing off in the mini-series Cinderella: Fables Are Forever. After deducing that they are actually too big to fit Dorothy, Cinderella takes them and pushes her out of an airship over the Deadly Desert to her apparent death, though her body is not seen. Cinderella then looks over the shoes and decides they're just the right size to fit her.