Tag Archives: gregory maguire

more “wicked” thoughts

i still haven’t finished reading it, now i’m about 75% done according to my goodreads calculator.  i’m nearing the end of the vinkus section.  i read something else over the weekend, that’s why i haven’t finished it yet.  anyway, she’s getting closer to the familiar character from ‘the wizard of oz.’  she’s still not an actual witch, but she’s ‘disguised’ as one.  that part, with the Elephant goddess/princess/Animal was kind of weird.  there have been a lot of weird parts, but i feel like the things that happen that direct her along towards the place she has to go in order to fit with the established story are the strangest.  they feel out of place and under-explained.  like, the Elephant just says, okay, you need to go into hiding, so, pretend you’re a witch.  and it did say that she “spoke more” or something, so, maybe we will get more of that in a flashback?  but it’s a rather important development and i didn’t feel like it was very organic to the rest of the story the way it had been developing.  i don’t know.

i just got to the bit where Nor discovered the broom could fly, and now elphaba has learned to master it too.  it’s just weird that these really iconic bits about herself are not even things she strove for, decided or discovered for herself.  i am beginning to really dislike Elphaba, partly because she is all ‘oh, i’m removing myself from the world’ and i feel like that is a very emo kid attitude, to want to wallow in your moroseness instead of having the strength and compassion to engage in the world around you, and i’m especially appalled at her lack of concern for Liir’s welfare.  even if she wasn’t his mother, she’s responsible for him and she doesn’t even care what happens to him or know where he sleeps.  it’s terrible!  i don’t think that’s excusable!  even if she was in a coma and doesn’t remember having birthed him, even if he wasn’t related to her at all, even if she had no feelings for him and didn’t actually care about him at all, she should still spend the energy to see to it that his needs are being met.  this, more than anything else about her, i see as evil.  it’s just selfish.  and i really thought that he had died when he was stuck in the fishwell, for pages and pages i was clutching my chest and crying out at the pages, ‘oh, he’s in the fishwell, Maneck you must remember, what if he is dead?!’

poor Fiyero is dead, by the way, i guess.  since they didn’t find a body it’s possible he could come back but i really don’t think so.  i think Sarima and her sisters are very interesting, the way they are bound by custom even though they hate it.  it’s so deeply ingrained in them they can’t actually defy it, i suppose.  and sarima’s willingness to turn a blind eye, or ear–she says she has a choice in what she hears, and doesn’t want Elphaba to tell her anything about her late husband or the circumstances of her death–reminds me of how so many women throughout history, and even today, seem to have done the same thing.  surely thomas jefferson’s wife knew about all the children her husband was fathering?  surely maria shriver wasn’t really completly clueless that her husband was sleeping with the housemaid? it’s like a code, isn’t it, to pretend that stuff doesn’t happen?  i know there is an episode of ‘friends’ where joey’s dad is having an affair and joey confronts him on it, and then joey’s mom comes to visit joey and is mad at him for ruining everything because she says she knew he was cheating but he felt so guilty he was bringing her gifts and being extra attentive and now she couldn’t pretend she didn’t know and continue the comfortable charade anymore.  and it seems like there is another book or movie that has a similar scenario, i just can’t remember what it is right now.  oh, well, for one, “the mistress’s revenge,” i just read that a few months ago.  and the wife at one point says something like, “did it ever occur to you that maybe i didn’t want to know?”  it seems like such a strange response.  i think if i found out my husband was having an affair i would think oh, i wish i didn’t have to deal with this, but i wouldn’t actually be able to lie to myself about it.  it would just be sickening.

the famous ruby slippers have not really come into play yet.  Nessarose has them, of course, and nanny has just now mentioned that they have been enchanted to help her get around by herself, and Elphaba is getting ready to fly out to Colwen Grounds to visit her, so i assume they will soon jump to a prominent spot in the narrative.  after all, in the prologue they were Elphaba’s goal, and she thought about how she had waited for them for “so long,” well, she had better start waiting, there isn’t much ‘long’ left in the book.




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thoughts on ‘Wicked’ so far

My book club is currently reading “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, by Gregory Maguire, after finally finishing Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”   I am enjoying Wicked ten times more than “the Bells”.  It’s a totally different style, much easier to read, and full of  a rich fantasy that is definitely my cup of tea.  It’s a good thing, too, because this was the book I suggested for us to read and I am in charge of leading the discussion on it when we finish.  And none of us have seen the Broadway musical, so maybe that would be something fun we could do together after we read it, if it tours nearby.

The blurbs at the beginning of the book and the author’s dedication that referenced the nature of evil as a theme really interested me.  I dunno really so far how that is going to play in, although the gossip at the beginning and the discussions the parents, midwives and Nanny have on why she is green are kinda like common things people say with regard to why some people turn out “bad.”  I will just have to read the whole thing first and then think back on how those themes were woven in, I think.  It’s hard to dissect in the middle because I don’t know how things are going to turn out.

The Animals/animals distinction reminds me of Narnia.  The ‘baptism by piss’ explanation for how the distinction arose was hilarious, and intriguing, and totally reminiscent of a part of one of the novels I might actually finish writing someday.  I just mean the idea of creating an entire religion and competing cosmologies for that imaginary universe, mine doesn’t involve any Fairy Queen urine.

I really don’t know how Elphaba is going to become a ‘wicked witch,’ since so far she isn’t a witch, and I wouldn’t classify her as wicked.  Maybe she’s not really going to be “wicked” in this book, and that label will just be a misperception that society forces upon her?  But of course in the prologue she really was a witch, on her broom…I’m only a little over halfway through, there’s plenty of time for new developments.

I just got to the Vinkus section.  And I am really confused as to what exactly happened, towards the end of that last bit.  I mean when she showed up at the nunnery (maunt-ery?) and had blood on her hands, but no cuts on her wrists or arms.  Did she miscarry?  I mean was she pregnant with Fiyero’s child?  I’m confused.   And I’m worried about Fiyero, I sure hope he isn’t dead.  I couldn’t fully love their affair since he is married, but I thought the line “blue diamonds on a green field” was fantastic imagery, talking about his tattoos and her skin when they embrace.

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