1.  Liir Thropp – Son of a Witch

Son of a Witch novel

Gregory Maguire's second novel in the Wicked series: Son of a Witch

Perhaps one of the most interesting re-imaginings of a beloved story, the Wicked series takes a fresh look at the social and political climate of the Land of Oz that led up to the birth of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba Thropp, and the wake left behind after her death.  Whether from the books or the popular musical, we’ve come to see that perhaps this popular villainess wasn’t as evil as first conceived and that, just maybe, she was something of a hero.  But what about her son?

The sequel to Wicked came in the form of Son of a Witch, which picks up after Elphaba’s death by following the son she left behind at Kiamo Ko.  Young Liir, having no options left, follows Dorothy and Company back to the Emerald City simply hoping that someone will find a place for him.  The Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion, however, abandon Liir at the first opportunity to enjoy their own rewards.  Although Glinda shows him some kindness, Liir still finds himself homeless and despondent in Emerald City.

He eventually joins the Army and grows into a strong young man.  However, upon witnessing the brutality of the Emerald City’s forces, Liir deserts the military and gets reluctantly drawn into underground resistance forces who claim inspiration from his mother, Wicked Witch of the West. At one point, while performing a mission, Liir encounters a psychologically scarred soldier, Trism, who Liir once knew from his time in the military.  Taking pity on Trism, Liir kidnaps him from the Emerald City and on their flight, the two become lovers.  Liir continues to grow into the face of the resistance and his varied relationships become intertwined as well.  Not everything is explained by the end of Son of a Witch, which sets up a great deal of intrigue for the forthcoming fourth and final book in the series, Out of Oz.

So why does Liir deserve the top spot?  Being the son of the Witch certainly wasn’t easy for Liir.  People whom he’d never even met hated and vilified him, blaming him for any number of problems in the world.  At times, he wished that his identity wasn’t so.  He was abandoned early on and through only his own resilience, grew into a strong and independent person who cares for others, even if they are strangers.  Liir comes to stand up and fight for what is right for everyone at the threat of great personal sacrifice.

Liir not only overcame all oppression based on his existence, but he fully embraced who he was and ended up turning his very identity into one of his greatest strengths.

 

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