Jinnicky the Red Jinn
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|First appearance||Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz (1929)|
|Last appearance||Yankee in Oz (1972)|
|Created by||Ruth Plumly Thompson|
|Occupation||Wizard of Ev|
The Red Jinn, later known as Jinnicky, is one of Ruth Plumly Thompson's most frequently occurring characters in her Oz books. He was first introduced in Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz as a mysterious figure who educates Jack Pumpkinhead on the use of the Pirate Sack. Although a detailed description is included in the text, Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz includes no illustrations of the Red Jinn aside from a gruesome color plate that did not appear outside the first edition, in which he has massive piercings. He was reintroduced, drawn, and given the name Jinnicky in The Purple Prince of Oz; he also appeared in the follow-up, The Silver Princess in Oz. (He makes a cameo appearance in The Wishing Horse of Oz, and he is the principal pre-existing character in Thompson's sub-canonical penultimate Oz book, Yankee in Oz). Jack Snow apparently thought the Red Jinn was a separate character, for he considered The Purple Prince of Oz Jinnicky's first appearance in Who's Who in Oz, though he did not include a separate Red Jinn entry.
Jinnicky's body is housed inside a large red ginger jar, complete with lid. He speaks in a deep voice. Neill's art originally depicted him with massive piercings, but these were later omitted and are not referred to in the text. His disposition is generally jolly and friendly, and in spite of what modern readers may consider serious character faults, he is popular and well-liked and treated very sympathetically by his author. His preferred mode of transportation is a flying jinrikisha pulled only by magic. He lives in a red glass palace in the northeast of the Land of Ev, attended by his Advizier, Alibabble, and Addie the Adding Adder.
In addition to these, Jinnicky has a large number of slaves. This was apparently intended to be a joke on Thompson's part. Thompson was wont to derive material from the Arabian Nights, in which jinns are usually slaves, such as in Aladdin's lamp, so she played a simple turnaround and made the Jinn the slaveholder. All of the slaves that are described are explicitly black people. The best known of the slaves is Ginger, whose service to a magic dinner bell is an important literary device. Jinnicky's slaveholding tends to cause the most frustration for contemporary fans in The Silver Princess in Oz, because the Oz characters help him to quell a slave revolt, leaving two of his slaves transformed to stone. At the end of that book, Jinnicky's successful attempt to heal Planetty, the title character, causes her to become human, losing the silver luster to her skin. Taken together, many[who?] see Jinnicky, and by extent, his author, as racist.
He also makes smaller appearances in Ojo in Oz, The Wishing Horse of Oz, and Yankee in Oz (in which Jinnicky is instrumental in freeing Ozma and the other residents of the Emerald City palace from the giant Badmannah). Because all of his appearances except The Silver Princess in Oz are protected under U.S. copyright, he does not figure in books by post-Thompson authors, with the notable exception of Lin Carter, whose estate was able to pay to use the character in his novel, The Tired Tailor of Oz (published posthumously in 2001).
Thompson refers to Jinnicky as "The Wizard of Ev" in The Silver Princess in Oz and Yankee in Oz.
- Jack Snow, Who's Who in Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1954; New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1988; p. 110.
- Thompson placed it in northwestern Ev, but she was using a reversed map. Baum was also self-contradictory on which side of Oz Ev was on.