OZ: Adventures (Character Design: Dorothy)

Dear Insane Children, 

The story I’m writing for Oz: Adventures features an ensemble cast. Sorta like the TV show “Game of Thrones” – there’s not (at least initially) a “main” character. There are many characters each with their own unique backstories. And over time, we’ll explore each of them against the backdrop of challenges provided by the Land of Oz. 

So… Dorothy Hale is in Oz: Adventures and she’s one of the main characters but not THE Main Character. Omri sent over an updated sketch for her (main image, above). And she’s obviously not exactly the Dorothy you know from the books. 

And here are my character notes for her (a little discombobulated but you’ll get a general idea): 

Dorothy – The witch seen sprinkling Powder of Life on dead Munchkins. We eventually discover this is Dorothy. She returned to Oz after becoming disenchanted with the reality of life on Earth. Her experiences left her bitter about the notion of “progress” so that she wanted to return to the wilderness of Oz. She wants to escape from progress and exploration and change. She wants stasis – especially the part about never growing old and never dying. 

Back on Earth, she discovers that time has passed more quickly than in Oz. Her aunt and uncle have died of old age and everyone assumed she was killed in that tornado. The farm is now owned by a different family but Dorothy is welcome to stay if she’s got nowhere to go… Weeks pass then months but Dorothy finds she can’t get over the complete loss of her family. So she packs up a few of her most valuable things, wedges Toto lightly under her arm, and runs directly into the biggest tornado Kansas has ever seen.

When she comes out the other side… she’s in Oz. But she’s also in pieces. The twisted tore her and Toto into chunks of barely recognizable meat. But the Flying Monkeys collect the pieces and, with help from The Powder of Life, put them together again. Once she’s settled into her new role as Witch of the West… she opens up her bag of valuables and pulls out the shrunken, decayed heads of her aunt and uncle. Reanimates them with the Power of Life and never feels lonely again.

Is she wicked or is she good? She lets us know she can be a bit of both. 

who is it about – dorothy from the Oz books. she’s returned to Oz to escape progress and death. 

what do they want – she wants to maintain Oz in relative stasis, avoiding progress and fighting to return travelers to their homes as quickly as possible so they are unable to cause too much damage in Oz. she fights to protect Oz from their influence and predations. in most cases, she allows the people of Oz to deal with visitors on their own – as this is the natural way, the way it has always been. But when visitors threaten to upset the balance, she gets involved. and whenever there are injuries – she repairs them. over time, she even starts reanimating the dead. 

why can’t they get it – because a type of enemy she’s never confronted arrives, she is unable to defeat him on her own. They (first Richard Umbra, then Necahual) threaten to upset the balance with promises of progress abd modernization. and he’s extracting all the Powder of Life from Oz. 

what do they do about that? dorothy fights him – physically, with magic, and via politics. 

why doesn’t that work – the dark wizard is too powerful and defeats her. 

how does it end – she trains necahual to fight on her side; trains her in magic and the power politics of Oz. but necahual betrays her (kills her?) and steals dorothy’s power for herself. 

What is the thing she’s never done? The thing she does not want to do? Accepted the inevitability of aging, death, and change. 

Further notes: She is an immigrant to a strange land. And she’s decided to abandon her old ways (politics, philosophies, religion) to defend the Oz way of life. The Oz way of life is traditional, it’s communal, it’s based on ritual, natural law, conservation, equal portions and divisions, … ignorance is bliss vs. the wonders of science and progress 

Would you rather be poor and dumb and alive? Or rich and smart and dead? Oz is the place where they did not eat from the tree of knowledge. It’s Eden before the fall. 

So what does Dorothy NOT want to do? That she’ll be forced to do in order to save Oz (and/or Earth)?

Is she forced to decide between saving Oz OR Earth? If only one can survive – which should it be? Her original home? Or the place she now calls home? She doesn’t want to return to Earth. But she also doesn’t want to see it destroyed. 

When she went back home, she found her entire family had been wiped out by the tornado. She’d already seen her mother and father die as a result of (?) so the death of her aunt and uncle (and remaining family) hits her particularly hard. Now it’s just her and Toto. So she longs to return to Oz – at least she has friends there. And in Oz, no one dies. 

Dorothy becomes addicted to The Powder of Life. At first, she only uses it to heal people. But over time, she begins using it for more and more questionable purposes… reviving the dead. Eventually, we discover she even reanimated Toto. And she went back and recovered her aunt and uncle and reanimated them. She’s making zombies. 

Now… what I’ve not included in there and am still working on… is mention of Dorothy’s life prior to Oz on a plantation as a slave. And how when she returns to earth from Oz, she discovers that slavery is no longer legal but that the legacy of that dark era still looms heavily. 

That goes to a general theme I’m working to weave into the Oz narrative… and that is that I’m taking dark elements of the past from various nations around the world and using them as the backdrop for the characters we see pulled into this adventure. 

Since Oz is a distinctly American fairytale, a great resource for the darker side of American history is the Howard Zinn tome, “A People’s History of the United States”

I also plan to delve into geopolitical issues related to WW2. And to include a character from the future who can help illustrate some issues unique to our modern world. 

Let me know in the comments below what you think of Dorothy – her story, her art. 

PS: In about 15 minutes we’re driving out into the wastelands of Shanghai. The city is still under a full lockdown. But we have a special pass that will allow me to drive Yan to a hospital appointment 50km south of our home (in the center of the city). She’s got a baby check to do – and we’re only 4~3 weeks away from delivery! Woo. Wish us luck! And, yeah, I’ll try to record some pictures/video of the adventure. 

From Shanghai, 


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