Hello again fellow users. So I just rewatched this film that I personally really like and find to be a bit on the underrated side for the first time in a while, and honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t think to make a proposal for this character sooner. I hope you enjoy it.
What’s the work?
Oz the Great and Powerful is a fantasy adventure film from 2013 that was directed by Sam Raimi which acts as a spiritual prequel to the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, and is also based on the early 20th century Oz novels by L. Frank Baum. It tells an origin story about the wizard himself. Here, his real name is Oscar Diggs, but of course, he sometimes goes by the nickname Oz as an abbreviation. He works as a magician with a travelling circus, but also happens to be a conman with a very pronounced and somewhat troubling womanizing streak. However, deep down, Oscar aspires to be a great man who does revolutionary things that can change the world the way the likes of Thomas Edison and Harry Houdini did. One day, his womanizing lands him in deep trouble when the circus’ strongman becomes infuriated and tries to assault him for courting his wife, which leads him to using a hot air balloon to escape, but unfortunately, does this right as a tornado is passing through Kansas and gets sucked in. However, instead of perishing, it transports him to the magical Land of Oz where he is quickly told about a prophecy of a great wizard who would arrive there, have the power to defeat the Wicked Witch who murdered the previous king, save its people and take their place as their new ruler. Upon hearing he would be rewarded with more than enough gold to make him rich, Oscar goes along with the idea of being the wizard, but along the way, begins to get increasingly more invested in the land’s problems, starts to have second thoughts about keeping up his charade when he sees how dangerous it can be, and even starts reconsidering what he really wants.
Who is she and what does she do?
Glinda the Good Witch of the South is the daughter of the previous king of Oz. However, at some unspecified point, Evanora, a power-hungry and deceitful witch, poisoned him and framed Glinda for the crime, forcing her to go into exile. However, during this time, she still tried to protect the land’s citizens the best she could by putting up a magical bubble barrier in the southern territory to repel anyone with evil in their hearts, and often shared stories of the prophecy with them to keep their spirits up and their hope alive. When Oscar initially arrives, he is fooled by Evanora like everyone else into thinking Glinda is the wicked one, and agrees to go on a journey to destroy her wand, the source of her power, to liberate the land and earn the mountains of gold he’s promised as a reward for doing it. Along the way, he recruits Finley, a flying monkey who swears his loyalty to him for saving his life, and China Girl, the only survivor of a recent assault on China Town from Evanora’s army of flying baboons, whom he helps by fixing her legs. When they finally find Glinda at a graveyard deep in the Forbidden Forest, likely visiting her father’s grave, she reveals the truth to them before Oscar can destroy her wand. Seeing this through a crystal ball, Evanora angrily sends her guards and baboons to kill them, but Glinda gets them to safety by first summoning a thick fog to hide them in, then once they reach a cliff as they’re running away that’s both a dead end and has a seemingly endless drop, encourages them to jump and encases them all in giant, floating bubbles.
They then travel to her protected territory where she introduces Oscar to the different races that make up her subjects, namely the Quadlings, the Tinkerers and the Munchkins. Seeing how much faith they have in him, Oscar relents and decides to come clean about how he’s not a real wizard to her in a discreet manner, and she admits that she knows he isn’t a real one, as well as that he’s weak, selfish, slightly egotistical and a fibber. However, she still has faith that not only is he capable of being a good man, but that he can still help liberate her people from Evanora’s tyranny. Therefore, Oscar initially goes along with the notion he’s the prophesized wizard and agrees to help her lead them in their attempt to take back Emerald City, but he is quickly discouraged when he finds out that not only do they not have anyone who can really fight among them, but under Glinda’s decree, they are also all forbidden to kill. Shortly afterwards, they get paid a visit by Theodora, Evanora’s sister whom Oscar charmed when he first arrived, and thanks to a combination of Oscar’s superficial flirting and Evanora’s manipulation, has been corrupted into the Wicked Witch of the West. Having had her heart withered by a poisoned apple, tragically losing her capacity for good, and furious at Oscar, she makes violent threats about how their forces will massacre Glinda’s people and how he will be the first to die.
This temporarily makes Oscar feel like the situation is hopeless and he tries to leave, but Glinda still tries to implore him to help them keep their hope alive, as well as convince him that he’s more capable than he thinks. She then convinces him to tuck China Girl into bed, because it would give her comfort since her father used to do it. It’s while he doing this that, upon telling her about Thomas Edison, who he considers his personal role model, and being inspired by her essentially telling him he can be a great wizard in that sense, he comes up with an elaborate plan that really utilizes his talents and has the potential to defeat Evanora, Theodora and their forces. After all the necessary preparations, Glinda and Oscar lead their people to the Emerald City, and for the first phase of their plan, Glinda uses her magic to create a thick fog around a field of poppies that can induce heavy sleep to give cover for an army of pulley-rig scarecrow puppets they created. The witches fall for the fake attack and send the winged baboons to attack them, only for them to realize too late that they’re not real people, and the scent of the poppies knocks many of them out. Despite this success, Evanora has a couple of her baboons grab Glinda by the arms and uses her lightning magic to incapacitate her.
She then has her brought to the Emerald City where she plans to have her publicly executed to make an example of her to any who would defy her. Despite the citizens’ strong protesting due to word spreading that she’s really the one who poisoned the king to usurp the throne, they are held back by the guards as she tortures Glinda with her magic due to her envy and hatred for her. It is then that Oscar pretends that he’s abandoning them on a hot air balloon with all the gold he can take with him, but once Theodora shoots it down, he reveals to some of his closest allies it was just a ruse and interrupts the sister’s attempt to execute Glinda by projecting a giant image of his face from a caravan they snuck into the city using a hidden smoke machine and image projector. He then pretends that he’s been allowed to shed his mortal shell and take his true, all-powerful, immortal form. When the guards and Theodora’s attacks don’t work and he demonstrates his “power” by setting off fireworks, which are foreign to Oz’s inhabitants, he sends them on the run. Meanwhile, China Girl manages to bring Glinda her wand so she can free herself before Theodora can kill her, and she confronts Evanora in the throne room. When Evanora attacks her and makes it clear she’s not willing to stand down, they engage in a magic battle that culminates in Glinda destroying Evanora’s amulet, which significantly weakens her and reveals her true form as a grotesque old hag. Glinda proceeds to declare that she’s banished from the Emerald City, only for Evanora to try attacking her one more time by lunging at her, forcing Glinda to defend herself by blasting her out the window. She is then caught by a couple of her baboons and carried away.
In the aftermath of their victory, Glinda visits Oscar, who reveals that he plans to keep up the ruse that he’s dead so that he can sustain the belief that he is still protecting the city as “the great and powerful Oz”, with only a small number of individuals, like his closest companions, knowing the truth that he’s still alive. He then presents gifts to Master Tinker, Knuck, Finley, China Girl and her, to show his gratitude to them, which culminates in him thanking Glinda most of all for opening his eyes to what’s truly important and helping make him a better person. They then share a kiss to end the film.
None whatsoever. Honestly, there’s very little I can think of to say here; she’s an extremely kind and compassionate witch who loves all her people like they’re family, does everything in her power to protect them, and both believed in and encouraged Oscar to be the good person she knew he could be despite all of his less-than-admirable traits. Even towards her enemies, she’s merciful, unwilling to kill and only does what’s necessary to liberate Oz’s inhabitants from their tyranny. This is best shown when even upon confronting Evanora, who killed her father, she simply expressed sadness that she could never feel the comfort of his kindness again and was determined to settle for freeing his people, rather than shows any kind of anger or burning desire for revenge. Strictly speaking, she did blast her out of the window, but that was only in self-defense since she suddenly tried to attack her at close-range, and she was perfectly content with just banishing her from the city as punishment not only for her father’s murder, but for all her other crimes. Oh, and she even tried to convince Theodora that the way she was acting post-transformation was a result of her sister’s manipulations and wasn’t really her, even though it obviously failed to convince her to change. Finally, since witches are shown to have an equal capacity for good and evil, there’s absolutely nothing indicating her moral agency is an issue. In other words, she’s not “made of good”; she’s very much the kind, compassionate and all-loving person she is by choice.
Admirable Standard/Goodness Zone
Unlike her counterpart from the original Wizard of Oz, who also certainly had the personality and the lack of corrupting factors for the category, but didn’t actually do too much, to the point I’m not completely sure she passes the basic/general standard of heroism needed to qualify for the category, I think this version of Glinda passes both that and the in-story standard with little trouble. For an unspecified amount of time, she had been protecting her people, keeping their spirits up and their hope alive to the best of her ability. She’s also clearly a great role model and inspiration to her people since it’s because of her that they’re forbidden from killing, don’t show any desire to do so, and are able to generally retain fairly sunny dispositions in spite of their trying circumstances. In other words, while they’d probably still be pretty good people, it’s clearly because of her influence that her people are similarly pacifistic, but united, strong-willed and determined to do what’s necessary short of using lethal violence to free themselves and the rest of the Land of Oz.
In the present tense of the movie, there’s also the fact that she’s one of the characters who most influenced Oscar to become a better person and realize that goodness was better than greatness by seeing past his superficially selfish, dishonest and egotistical behavior. While China Girl, and to a lesser extent, Finley, also brought out his better nature, it was still her belief in him and encouragement that truly gave him the mental push he needed to believe that he was capable of it himself. And of course, this is what leads them to successfully defeating Evanora, Theodora and their forces, with her even defeating Evanora personally, so she played a big part in successfully liberating Emerald City, and by extension, the Land of Oz.
I think she’s a very easy character to officially approve as Pure Good; she’s not only quite decisively the most benevolent and influential character in her setting, but she manages to do it all without even coming off as naïve or overly idealistic. I look forward to knowing what you think though. Take care of yourselves and thanks for reading!