Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire



Son of a Witch Son of a WitchMaguire, Gregory; Harper-Collins Publishers 2008WorldCat

As a group travels through the dangerous lands toward the Emerald City, Oatsie Manglehand discovers a naked young man laying on the ground. He has been injured and appears to be in a coma. Her group reluctantly takes him with them until they reach the mauntery (cloister). There they leave the man with the maunts. After the maunts do everything they can for him medically, they put him in a side room in a bed. They assign one of the novices, Candle, to sit and watch over him. She plays her unusual instrument to keep him company.

Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West, was the guardian of a boy from the time he was an infant. He knew the rumors say that he is her son. But she never said so. He doesn’t know his real parents. Now that she is dead, Liir has no reason to stay at the castle. He joins Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Lion on their return to the Emerald City. Dorothy has the broom. Liir takes Elphaba’s cloak to protect him.

Liir is now off on his own adventures. He knows he is not a hero or strong like Elphaba. He knows he’s not anybody special. When Dorothy doesn’t return for him as promised, he finds himself scrabbling in the slums of the Emerald City. His main goal is to find his childhood friend, the Princess Nor. He also has promised to help Princess Nostoya, a dying elephant in human form. When both goals look hopeless, he joins the military. Liir’s adventures will seem like nothing to him – but to those around him, it’s a different story.

Son of a Witch is a great piece of imagination. After Wicked, Gregory Maguire has written an Oz story that is a deserving sequel. Liir is very self-effacing, yet willing to go into the depths of the deepest of Oz’s prisons, fly on a broom, and fight dragons. When he wakes from his coma, he hides away with Candle while he regains his strength. His thoughts about his own beginnings recur throughout the book – is he Elphaba’s son? Even if not, she raised him as much as anyone had and he wants to live up to her morals and strengths.

This Oz is not Frank L. Baum‘s land to please children, but a land to perturb adults. The Great Wizard had become a despot. But his departure leaves a political hole in Oz. Saint Glinda takes on ruling for a short time, but soon returns to her country home. Maguire’s Son of a Witch is beguiling, pulling the reader right through as Liir matures and finds some of his own strengths.

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