Reading: The Land of Oz

8 05 2010

We finished this quite a while ago, but I see I never blogged about it. It’s one of those stories that I suspect you couldn’t tell today. Instead of Dorothy, the human hero is a boy named Tip, who is enslaved by an evil witch. He rescues himself by stealing his tormentor’s magical life-giving powder and shaking it over a series of inanimate objects: a pumpkin-headed manikin he made to scare the witch, who immediate starts calling him “Father!”; a saw horse who becomes their steed, and a cobbled-together contraption made out of a sofa, tree branches, and a trophy head that serves as an indignant, undignified winged transport. So far so good. In the end, it is revealed that Tip is actually a beautiful princess, Ozma, whose identity and gender have been disguised even from herself by the witch’s evil magic. It works perfectly well within the story, but considering the brouhaha that ensued when J.K. Rowling said that Dumbledore was gay, I would bet money that a children’s fantasy with a transgender hero/ine couldn’t be published in the 21st century.  So much for progress.

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