The Wizard of Oz Syndrome

(I’m bumping this up for those who just tuned in…)

Long before I ever wrote my book  — since I was a kid in fact — I have been mulling over the similarities of certain stories. As the chart below shows, a lot of books fit The Wizard of Oz template.

(Now that my book, The Qwikpick Adventure Society, is done … lo and behold it fits the Wizard of Oz outline, too! Of course, since my book is not an epic fantasy, but a “real-life” story, I had to stretch things a bit to make it fit. And, by the way, PLEASE don’t think I’m inviting comparision in the quality of my story compared to these classics!)

Wizard of Oz Lord of the Rings Star Wars Harry Potter Qwikpick
Humble Hero Dorothy Frodo Luke Harry Lyle
from humble background Kansas Shire moisture farm Muggle suburbs Crickenburg
joins trusted friends Scarecrow, Tinman Sam, Merry, Pippin Han, Leia Ron, Hermy Dave, Marilla
and furry pal Lion Gimli Chewbacca Hagrid Larry ?
for treacherous journey yellow brick road Moria, etc… space flight 1 per book cow-pie fields
from paradise Emerald City Rivendell ? Hogwarts Qwikpick
with help of good witch Glenda Gandalf Obi Wan Dumbledore Freddie
and trouble from bad witch Wicked Witch(es) Fiery Eye Darth Vader Voldemort Brenda
and flying baddies Winged Monkeys Ring Wraiths Tie Fighters bad Quidditchers poop drops
to take/find magic item broomstick The One Ring lightsaber/ blueprints wand, cloak, etc… camera
to epicenter of badness! Witch’s castle Mt. Doom Death Star 1 per book sludge fountain
—–

Lloyd Alexander’s INCREDIBLE Taran series (Book of Three, Black Cauldron, etc…) fits very well, too, but I didn’t have room for it on the graph. I’m certainly not criticizing any of the books for fitting this outline. Lots of books can be analyzed this way and I’m guessing it all started with Gilgamesh or cave paintings or maybe even the first story anybody ever told.

I’d love to hear from you if you find other books that fit. You know you’ve got a good one when you find the furry pal and the flying baddies.

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3 Responses

  1. Too fun!!

  2. Have you heard of the new Oz book — for Halloween? It is more like a Harry Potter book.

    Harry is gone — but Dorothy returns!

    Burbank, Calif. — Sept. 29, 2007 — Alpimar Books announces the publication of Halloween in Oz: Dorothy Returns, and the beginning of a new series set in a magical world that readers have heard of, but know so little about — the Land of Oz.

    Halloween in Oz is BOOK ONE of an Alpimar series of Oz stories. With 553 pages, the book follows the fuller style of twentieth-first century fantasy, yet it retains the spirit of L. Frank Baum’s classic: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. Its action takes place in that year as well.

    In this book, Oz is not simply a dream, as portrayed in the famous movie, but a real place — an alternate Earth where magic reigns. That’s how it was in the original book.

    Those who miss Harry Potter and grieve for Hermione will welcome Dorothy Gale back. And Dorothy is as feisty as Hermione ever was. Some of the boys at school in rural Kansas call her a spitfire when they try to tease her about her tale of Oz.

    It’s a few months after the tornado, and Dorothy wants to return to Oz for many reasons: to prove to herself that Oz does exist, to escape for a while the boredom of life in 1900 Kansas where only boys are expected to so many things, and to find an old tintype that she lost there — the only picture she had of her deceased parents. Then finally, the ghostly voices of her parents in a Halloween night dream summon her back.

    In Oz, Dorothy finds that during Halloween the opportunity for evil witchcraft is at its peak — and that the holiday lasts for a “witch-week” — thirteen days! Old friends like Scarecrow, Tin-man, Lion, and the Munchkins, as well as new friends like a mysterious boy with purple hair, a flight of bats, and her Kansas pumpkin magically brought to life – join Dorothy and Toto in what becomes a battle to save Oz.

    http://www.halloweeninoz.com

  3. […] be great to be able to ask George Lucas if he had read Lloyd Alexander. You are familiar with my Star Wars/LOTR/Prydain/OZ comparisons, […]

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