Princess Ozma

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Princess Ozma of Oz
Oz character
Princess Ozma by John R. Neill.gif
Princess Ozma--illustration from The Lost Princess of Oz by John R. Neill (1917)
First appearance The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)
Created by L. Frank Baum
Aliases Tippetarius or Tip
Species Half human/half fairy
Gender Female (as Ozma)
Male (as Tip)
Occupation Child Queen and rightful ruler of Oz
Title Queen of Oz (officially)
Princess of Oz (more commonly)
Family Pastoria (father)
Lurline (mother)
Ozana (first cousin)
Ozga (cousin)
Mist Maidens (cousins)
Children Jack Pumpkinhead (non-biological son)
Relatives Queen Lurline's fairy band; L. Frank Baum said she descends from a long line of fairy Queens

Princess Ozma is a fictional character from the Land of Oz, created by American author L. Frank Baum. She appears in every book of Baum's original Oz series except the first, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).

Ozma is the child Queen and Oz's rightful ruler, supposedly being established upon the throne a few years after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz takes place. Ozma resides in the Emerald City's royal palace which is the imperial capital of the entire continent, and where she rules over her court and subjects kindly and wisely. Throughout the series, Glinda the Good Witch becomes Ozma's motherly and benevolent protector. Baum indicated that she would reign in the fairyland forever, thus being immortal.

Baum described Ozma's breathtaking and ethereal physical appearance in detail, in The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) — "Her eyes sparkled as two diamonds, and her lips were tinted like a tourmaline. All adown her back floated tresses of ruddy gold, with a slender jeweled circlet confining them at the brow."

As originally illustrated by John R. Neill, she fit this description; yet in most subsequent Oz books Ozma's hair appears to be shades darker.

The Classic Oz Books[edit]

Beginning with The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)[edit]

When she was still just an innocent infant, Ozma, the daughter and only child of the former mortal King Pastoria of Oz, mysteriously vanished shortly after her father's long reign ended and the royal family's dynasty fell. She was secretly given to the Wicked Witch Mombi who lived in Oz's northern quadrant called Gillikin Country. During this time is also when the Wizard of Oz had arrived to the land and took Pastoria's throne, proclaiming himself as the new dominant ruler. Upon receiving Ozma, Mombi immediately transformed her into a boy and nicknamed him "Tip" (short for Tippetarius) in order to prevent the king's child from being recognized by anyone and eventually ascending to the throne. As time passed, Tip spent his entire childhood with Mombi, living in her shadow in the position of a servant boy, (and with no memory of ever having been a girl). Mombi had always mistreated Tip, to the point of being physically abusive, so in rebellion and retaliation, he would play pranks on the woman for his own amusement. One day Mombi finally caught on to Tip and threatened to punish him for his mischief by turning the boy into a marble statue. In fear, Tip decided that night to run away. Shortly afrer, Tip had managed to create his companions Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse, both being brought to life by Mombi's magic "Powder of Life" potion. In the end of the book, Glinda the Good Witch of the South finally discovers the long lost princess's whereabouts and what has happened to her after several decades of searching. Mombi confessed that Tip was indeed Ozma and that after she transformed her, she cast an anti-aging spell to slow down the child's aging process. Glinda then forced Mombi to undo this curse and turn the boy back into the female heir —"The vapor floated away; the atmosphere became, clear again; a whiff of fresh air filled the tent, and the pink curtains of the couch trembled slightly, as if stirred from Glinda walked to the canopy and parted the silken hangings. Then she bent over the cushions, reached out her hand, and from the couch arose the form of a young girl, fresh and beautiful as a May morning." Ozma's transformation fulfilled Oz's nearly forgotten prophecy, thus allowing the land to become politically whole once more. Ever since then, Ozma has possessed the royal throne within the Emerald City in the position of Oz's rightful ruler instead of a servant boy. (although many small civilizations within Oz remained unaware of her authority).

In some of Baum's last Oz books, namely The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918) and Glinda of Oz (1920), he indicated that in appearance, Ozma seems to look no older than that of a sixteen-year-old girl and is therefore older than Dorothy Gale, who is suggested to be no older than twelve. By that point in time, Baum had also established that the inhabitants of Oz ceased to age, suggesting that Ozma would always appear to be a beautiful young girl.

Baum was not inclined to worry about strict continuity in his series, however, and so there were discrepancies in the origins and very nature of Ozma. In her initial appearances, she was portrayed as no more than a human princess, born shortly before the Wizard's unexpected arrival in Oz. Later in the series, Baum revealed that Ozma is actually a fairy, descending from "a long line of fairy queens" as per The Scarecrow of Oz (1914) The Magic of Oz (1919), Glinda the Good tells Dorothy that no one knows how old Ozma really is. And in Baum's final book, Ozma herself explains that she was in fact a member of the Fairy Queen Lurline's band when Lurline enchanted Oz and turned it into a fairyland thousands of years prior, thus she is a magical figure who's true age can never be determined.

Jack Snow attempted to reconcile Baum's disparate accounts in The Shaggy Man of Oz, which explains that the Fairy Queen Lurline had left the infant Ozma in the care of King Pastoria, making the Princess the adopted daughter of the last King of Oz. This does not gel with the version of Ozma's story which says she is an ageless fairy who has ruled Oz for centuries.

Ozma frequently encounters difficulties while ruling her kingdom. In The Lost Princess of Oz (1917), for instance, the Fairy Princess is kidnapped, although her dearest friend Dorothy Gale comes to her rescue with a search party. Both Dorothy and Ozma are captured by the wicked Queen Coo-ee-oh in Glinda of Oz, while trying to stop a war between two races, but Glinda the Good Witch manages to save them with the help of the Three Adepts at Sorcery. In order to circumvent trouble, Ozma prohibits anyone other than the Wizard of Oz and Glinda from practicing magic in Oz unless they have a permit.

L. Frank Baum portrayed Ozma as an exceedingly benevolent and compassionate ruler, who never resorts to violence and who does not believe in destroying even her worst enemies. In Ozma of Oz (1907), she even left Oz in order to rescue the Royal Family of Ev from the clutches of the Nome King, demonstrating that her kindness and concern extends far beyond her own kingdom. When the evil Nome King tried to conquer and destroy Oz in revenge, Ozma insisted on maintaining a pacifist disposition, which led to the Scarecrow's suggestion that Ozma's enemies be made to forget about their wicked intentions by drinking from the Fountain of Oblivion.

Furthermore, Ozma discontinued the use of money in Oz, and took systematic measures to ensure that all the citizens of Oz receive the land's resources in equal measure, without having to work harder than necessary.

Ozma invited several people from the outside world to come live in the Land of Oz, most notably Dorothy Gale, The Wizard, Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, Betsy Bobbin, Trot, Button Bright and Cap'n Bill.

  • According to the timeline of The Road to Oz (1909), Princess Ozma's birthday falls on the 21st day of the month of August.

Relationship with Dorothy Gale[edit]

When Ozma was rightfully established on the throne as Oz's true ruler in The Marvelous Land of Oz, not much later she met Dorothy Gale in Baum's third Oz book Ozma of Oz, and immediately adored Oz's greatest adolescent heroine. When Dorothy, her cousin Zeb Hugson and the Wizard return to the Land of Oz in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, the two girls disappear for a time together, leaving their guests to fend for themselves. By the sixth book The Emerald City of Oz, Ozma and Dorothy have proclaimed their friendly love for one another and Ozma arranges, at Dorothy's request, for Dorothy and her guardians; Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, to move into the royal palace of Oz where the two girls spend a lot of time together walking hand in hand within the palace courtyards and in Ozma's private gardens. In The Lost Princess of Oz, the first page mentions that Ozma loves Dorothy very much and by page two says that Dorothy is the only one allowed unbidden into Ozma's chambers at any time, day or night.


In a 1914 film created by Baum's film company, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Ozma, played by Jessie May Walsh, appears briefly to preside over Ojo's trial. At the beginning of this film, as well as Baum's His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz, Ozma's smiling countenance (being the face of Vivian Reed) appears.

Annette Funicello played her in a 1957 pilot segment for the proposed Walt Disney production, Rainbow Road to Oz.

Shirley Temple, having reportedly been considered for the role of Dorothy Gale in the 1939 movie musical The Wizard of Oz but passed over in favor of Judy Garland, eventually went Garland one better. She portrayed Princess Ozma in a 1960 television production of The Marvelous Land of Oz, in which she also portrayed Tip.

Ozma appears briefly in Barry Mahon's 1969 The Wonderful Land of Oz, portrayed by Joy Webb.

Christopher Passi cameoed as Ozma after portraying Tip for the duration of a filmed stage version of The Marvelous Land of Oz by Thomas W. Olson, Gary Briggle, and Richard Dworsky in 1981 by The Children's Theatre Company and School of Minneapolis.

Joan Gerber voiced Ozma in 1980's Thanksgiving special Dorothy in the Land of Oz.

In the direct-to-video animated short Dorothy meets Ozma of Oz, an abridged but faithful adaptation of the book Ozma of Oz, Ozma's lovely voice is provided by either Nancy Chance or Sandra J. Butcher (the credits do not specify).

Princess Ozma was portrayed by Emma Ridley in Disney's 1985 live action fantasy film Return to Oz (which was a blending of elements from the books Ozma of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz). Ridley perfectly fit Baum's original physical description of Ozma.

In the Japanese animated series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Ozma's transformation into Tip was so thorough that, despite bearing almost no physical resemblance whatever to Tip, she is a tomboy for a long while and only well into the last story arc of the series comes into her own as a princess.

In The Oz Kids, Andrea (Shay Astar), Glinda's ambivalent daughter, bases her fashion, but little else, on Ozma, who never appeared in the series.

Ozma also appears in the Russian animated Adventures of the Emerald City: Princess Ozma (2000) based on The Marvelous Land of Oz as well as in the 1987 Canadian Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz based on Ozma of Oz and a 2005 direct to video CGI version of The Patchwork Girl of Oz where she is voiced by Lisa Rosenstock.

In Lost in Oz, an unaired 2002 pilot for a WB drama show, Ozma appeared as a young, helpless girl kept eternally young by the Wicked Witch of the West. The main characters of that show rescued her and returned her to the good witch. However, throughout the show, she does not have any lines.

Ozma and Tip[edit]

In Windham Classics' adaptation of the Oz books, Tip is made monarch of Oz and no reference at all is made to Ozma.

Jack Snow, Melody Grandy, and Scott Andrew Hutchins have all made divergent attempts to bring Tip back alongside Ozma. Snow's device, which Hutchins followed as if canon, was that Tip seized his life from Ozma, but that Glinda and the Wizard were able to restore them both and make them siblings. Grandy made the characters totally unrelated through the use of a "Switcheroo Spell", with Ozma unrelated to Tippetarius and therefore suitable as a possible love interest. Snow's story, "A Murder in Oz" (1956) was rejected by Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and published in The Baum Bugle. Grandy's The Disenchanted Princess of Oz has been published by Tails of the Cowardly Lion and Friends. Hutchins's Tip of Oz, heavily mulling over ideas such as Pastoria-as-tailor and the execution of Mombi in The Lost King of Oz and similar material in The Giant Horse of Oz, received a one-paragraph citation in Eldred v. Ashcroft, and remains unpublished under the Copyright Term Extension Act.[1]

In other works[edit]

In the Vertigo comic book series Fables, Ozma appears as one of the magicians and witches led by Frau Totenkinder. She first appears as an unnamed blonde girl, but in a one-page comic handed out at the 2009 Comic-Con she is seen to be wearing a belt resembling the Magic Belt from the Oz books and mentions she is "not so young." She is also wearing large flowers in her hair, similar to the depiction of Ozma in the books. Later, in issue #87 (October 2009) Frau Totenkinder actually addresses her as "sweet little Ozma." Later on, she is proven to be Ozma, and to be a powerful enough witch to lead the Fable community's magic-users, after Frau Totenkinder leaves unexpectedly.

Tip makes a cameo appearance In Son of a Witch, the second volume of "The Wicked Years", Gregory Maguire's revisionist take on Oz. Liir (son of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West) briefly encounters Tip and Mombi (the latter unnamed, but with a description matching Baum's and leading the four-horned cow mentioned on the first page of The Marvelous Land of Oz). Tip suggests to Mombi that she sell him to Liir, but Liir replies, "I don't buy children.... I can't save anyone. You have to save yourself."[2]

Tip and Mombi (respelled "Mombey" by Maguire) play a larger role In Out of Oz, the fourth and final volume of "The Wicked Years". In Out of Oz, Tip first appears as a runaway in the city of Shiz and is befriended by Rain (daughter of Liir and granddaughter of Elphaba), and flees the city with her. Later, when Liir is abducted by thugs in Mombey's employ (and transformed into an Elephant), Tip returns to Mombey hoping to secure Liir's release. Near the novel's conclusion, Tip and Rain are reunited and have just finished making love while Mombey performs a spell called "To Call the Lost Forward", in order to return Liir to his proper form; the spell inadvertently also returns Tip to his true form (Ozma) and restores Rain's natural green skin. Although the circumstances of the spell are quite different from those in The Marvelous Land of Oz, details of it closely resemble Baum's description and the illustration of Mombi's spell by John R. Neill. In Maguire's version of Oz, Mombey has kept Ozma in the form of the boy Tip for almost a century.[3]

See also[edit]

Project Ozma


Preceded by
Monarch of Oz Succeeded by