November 7, 2013

Starry Bit #3: Wicked

It has been eight years or so since I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire, but I still remember exactly how it made me feel. It wasn’t the first time I’d read a re-telling, or even a re-telling in which the traditional villain is turned hero. (I read the The Mists of Avalon—Marion Zimmer Bradley’s re-spinning of Arthurian legend through the plight of Morgaine, aka Morgan le Fay—probably five years before I read Wicked.) But, it was a groundbreaking read for me. Wicked is dear to me—raw, wild, delightfully rare and so very sad—and I’m certain Elphaba will always stay near or at the top of my list of favorite fictional characters. (If only Elphaba and Granny Weatherwax could be my personal mentors, on call whenever I needed to tear free of some silly self-imposed box…)

Anyway… Here is the first paragraph of the prologue from Wicked.

A mile above Oz, the Witch balanced on the wind’s forward edge, as if she were a green fleck of the land itself, flung up and sent wheeling away by the turbulent air. White and purple summer thunderheads mounded around her. Below, the Yellow Brick Road looped back on itself, like a relaxed noose. Though winter storms and the crowbars of agitators had torn up the road, still it led, relentlessly, to the Emerald City. The Witch could see the companions trudging along, maneuvering around the buckled sections, skirting trenches, skipping when the way was clear. They seemed oblivious of their fate. But it was not up to the Witch to enlighten them.

And just because I love it so much, I’m gonna share the cover art too.Douglas_smith_wicked_cover