Rinkitink in Oz

Discuss the places, people and other Ozzy things in the Land of Oz itself. Look for info about Oz books, their authors, illustrators and contemporary successors.

Rinkitink in Oz

Joined: 03 Apr 2011, 21:11

09 Jun 2011, 12:41 #1

Well, I just finished re-reading "Rinkitink". This is only the second time I've read it; the first time was back in 1985 and, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't care for it at all back then. Perhaps it was because at that time I wasn't too interested in Baum's non-Oz books (and, let's face it, "Rinkitink" is really not an Oz book). My views on Baum's other works have changed dramatically in the past thirty years and so, I discovered, have my views on "Rinkitink".
     We all know the history of this book - that it began its life as a non-Oz book back in 1903 or so, was never published at that time and then was rather unconvincingly wedged into the Oz canon many years later (with some obviously hasty re-writing). However, this does not change the fact that "Rinkitink" is a very good book. It is as expertly plotted as any of Baum's early books ("Queen Zixi" certainly comes to mind) - in fact, it's a real page turner. Pingaree, another one of Baum's utopias, is, in my opinion, one of his most successful and the device of the three magic pearls a very happy idea indeed. Baum also created two excellent villains in Queen Cor and King Regos - in fact, I find Queen Cor to be one of Baum's more fascinating creations.
     Fastened beautifully into this tale is the delicately created subplot of Zella and her parents - a tale that reads like a finely crafted European fairy tale and one of the most charming sub-plots Baum ever created.
      But the book has flaws. The most glaring, of course, was the sudden and unconvincing introduction of Dorothy and The Wizard into the story during the book's final chapters. However, this was done out of necessity, although one wonders if Baum, had he not been so hasty, could have found a better way to integrate the Oz characters into the plot.  Secondly is the changed nature of Kaliko - a nome who comes off as a good guy in "Tik Tok" but in "Rinkitink" behaves just as badly as Ruggedo (and even, in Neill's illustrations, looks like him). Again this can be blamed on the book's complex history - Kaliko undoubtedly was Ruggedo in the original manuscript. The book's third flaw is simply, in my case, a matter of taste - I just don't care for Rinkitink as a character. Like Bilbil, I find his jokes and poems to be dull and unfunny. Baum seems to want the reader to find Rinkitink hopelessly endearing - as far as this reader is concerned, he failed.
I also wondered, as I read this, how much "Rinkitink" may have influenced Ruth Plumly Thompson. Like many of her books, the plot line introduces an independent principality in the vicinity of Oz, saves many familiar characters for the book's finale, and includes a comical grotesque (Bilbil) who eventually turns out to be an enchanted prince. Hmmmmm.....
It is one of the great tragedies of literature that Baum's original manuscript for "Rinkitink" is lost. I really would love to see how the plot was concluded before Baum decided to make it into an Oz book.
As ever, I am anxious to hear others' opinions on the book and also on my comments!
On to "Lost Princess"!

Joined: 20 Apr 2005, 23:03

11 Jun 2011, 03:46 #2

No surprise, I did write a blog: http://newwwoz.blogspot.c.../06/rinkitink-in-oz.html

I guess I'm more of a fan of Rinkitink than you are. Like the Woggle-Bug, he thinks highly of his own compositions, which are rarely good.

By the way, you may want to stay tuned, because Prince Bobo is going to be a major character in something soon. (And no, it's not my book, which is nearing completion.)

Bell Snickle
Joined: 06 Jul 2007, 03:40

11 Jun 2011, 16:04 #3

I can't say I'm a huge "Rinkitink" fan myself. I've actually been buying a few Oz books for one of my friend's children and just yesterday I was thinking I'd probably skip "Rinkitink" or possibly wait until they had all of the others. Especially for a young child who doesn't understand the whole back story about the book, I think it's pretty confusing and disapointing the way an obviously non-Oz book was roughly shoehorned into the series. As I recall, skipping "Rinkitink" doesn't affect any of the books after it does it? (Well until he makes a cameo in one of the Neill books.) I should probably go back and read it as an adult though, I think if I thought of it more as one of the Borderland books, I might like it more.