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Nome King

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The Nome King is a villain from The Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum.

The Nome King is the tyrannical ruler of the Nomes (sometimes spelled "Gnomes"). He is the only villain in the series to ever come close to being the main antagonist. He appeared in countless novels and the Disney movie Return to Oz. He also appears as the archnemesis to Dorothy Gale and the other heroes.

The Nomes hide jewels and precious metals in the earth and the Nome King, like his people, resent the "upstairs people", who dig down for those valuables.

The Nome King is also sometimes called the Metal Monarch, which is among his other names Roquat the Red (alias) and Ruggedo (original name).

History

The Nome King

The Nome King in the Wizard of OZ novels

Long ago, the Gnome King provided Santa Claus with steel runners for his sleigh and sleigh-bells for his reindeer. In return, he received a collection of toys for his children. He was part of the Council of Immortals, who bestowed upon Santa Claus the Mantle of Immortality and was the first to cast his vote. (The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus)

Roquat of the Rocks later purchased the Royal Family of Ev from King Evoldo in exchange for a long life, and turned them into pieces of bric-a-brac to decorate his home. Princess Ozma, Dorothy Gale and a party from the Emerald City freed the royal family from his enslavement and, for good measure, took away his Magic Belt. (Ozma of Oz)

Roquat became so angry that he plotted revenge. He had his subjects dig a tunnel under the Deadly Desert while his general, Guph, recruited a host of evil spirits to conquer Oz. Fortunately, at the moment of invasion, Roquat tasted the Water of Oblivion and forgot everything, including his enmity and his name. (The Emerald City of Oz)

He returned to the Nome Kingdom and took a new name, Ruggedo. Using some personal magic, he enslaved the Shaggy Man's Brother, a miner from Colorado. The Shaggy Man, with the help of Betsy Bobbin, the Oogaboo army and some of Dorothy's old friends, came to his rescue and Ruggedo dropped them down the Hollow Tube. Quox the dragon conquered Ruggedo using an enchanted ribbon to deprive Ruggedo of all his magic knowledge and power. Ruggedo was forced him into exile and his former chamberlain, Kaliko, was installed as the new king. (Tik-Tok of Oz)

Background

He is an enduring enemy of the characters of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. Although the Wicked Witch of the West is the most famous of Oz's villains (thanks to the popular 1939 film The Wizard of Oz), the Nome King is the closest the book series has to a main antagonist. He appears again and again to cause trouble for the Land of Oz.

In Rinkitink in Oz, the king of the Nomes is Kaliko, Ruggedo's chamberlain; he behaves much like his former master, at least in this book, which is a revision of a lost 1905 novel titled King Rinkitink, which, had it been published, would have been the original character's debut.

The character called the Nome King was originally named Roquat of the Rocks in Ozma of Oz, then Roquat the Red in The Emerald City of Oz. Later he took the name Ruggedo, which Baum first used in a stage adaptation. Even after Ruggedo lost his throne, he continued to think of himself as king and the Royal Historians politely refer to him that way. Authors Ruth Plumly Thompson and John R. Neill used the traditional spelling "gnome," so Ruggedo is the title character in Thompson's The Gnome King of Oz.

Book Appearances

  • Ozma of Oz (first appearance)
    Return to Oz, Nome King death02:01

    Return to Oz, Nome King death

    The Nome King's demise

  • The Emerald City of Oz
  • Little Wizard Stories of Oz
  • Tiktok and the Nome King
  • Tik-Tok of Oz
  • The Magic of Oz
  • Kabumpo in Oz
  • The Hungry Tiger of Oz
  • The Gnome King of Oz
  • Pirates in Oz
  • Handy Mandy in Oz

Appearances In other media

TV appearance

The Nome King appears as a gnome-like bearded monarch and he is one of the many villains in the 1986 cartoon series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Movie appearance

The Nome King was portrayed on film by Nicol Williamson in 1985's Return to Oz which was based loosely on the books Ozma of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz.

He found Dorothy's Ruby Slippers after they fall on his mountain. Using them, he conquered the Emerald City, turning its inhabitants into stone, with the exception of the Scarecrow, who he captured and took to his mountain. When Dorothy, Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead and the Gump arrived at his mountain, the Nome King transformed the Scarecrow into an ornament. He told Dorothy that the emeralds were originally his and that the Scarecrow stole them from him, but she knew he was lying because the emeralds were there before the Scarecrow became king. The Nome King decided to have them all play a guessing game with each of his ornaments to see which one the Scarecrow was; in which if they guessed right, the Scarecrow would be restored, but if they guessed wrong three times, they would be turned into ornaments themselves.

Royal Nome King

The Nome King in his royal and almost human-like form.

Whenever one was turned into an ornament, the Nome King became more human in appearance. If all of them were to guess wrong and become ornaments, the Nome King would be completely human. All of them were turned into ornaments except Dorothy, who was able to get the Scarecrow back and realized that people from Oz turned into green ornaments. Furious at this, the Nome King blamed Princess Mombi, who previously had Dorothy locked in her tower and was unable to prevent her escape, so he imprisoned her in a cage to punish her later and then turned into a giant form and attempted to eat them shortly after they found the Gump and Jack. He tried to eat the Gump, but only succeeded in eating the sofa part of him, as they were able to save his head. He then tried to eat Jack, but as he was holding him above his mouth, Billina, who was inside Jack's head since their arrival on the mountain, laid an egg, which fell down the Nome King's throat. As eggs are poisonous to Nomes, this killed him, leaving only a pile of rocks and the Ruby Slippers. His mountain was destroyed afterwards.

In his most human appearances, the Nome King has a ruby ring on his finger and smokes a pipe. This, along with some of his lines, makes him similar to Dr. Worley (also portrayed by Nicol Williamson), whose final fate is mirrored with that of the Nome King.

The Nome King appears as a mighty brute of a king leading an army of the Nomes, he is one of the villains in The Witches of Oz (originally known as Dorothy and the Witches of Oz) and was portrayed by Al Snow. He is among the villains that accompnies the Wicked Witch of the West in her attack on Earth. During the climax of the film, he fights the young man Allen who is the Tin Man and was defeated by him.

Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz

"My soft hearted father, the previous Nome King, gave away emeralds to make this city. And magical rubies to make the ruby slippers. I want those back!"
~ Nome King explaining his motivation to Butch and Droopy
"What's mine is mine, because I am the king!
~ Nome King singing
The Nome King later appears in the first Tom and Jerry sequel, Tom and Jerry Back to Oz, also playing as the main antagonist. He is very similar to the movie's character, Mr. Bibb, who are both played by Jason Alexander.

After Dorothy returned to Kansas, the Tin Man, Lion, and Scarecrow were throwing a celebration back in Oz, until the flying monkeys attacked, now under the rule of the Nome King. As the Nome King took over, he imprisoned Glinda in a magic bubble, and threw the Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow into the dungeons. With little magic left in her, Glinda used it to free the three of them. They then escaped through a tunnel that lead to Kansas. There, they find Dorothy, Tom, and Jerry, and they told all of them what happened. They decided to go to the State fair where the wizard is, in order to get back to Oz. Meanwhile, in the Emerald City, the Nome King's men return with Wicked Witch's relics. Droopy and Butch, who were part of his army, asks him why he wants the ruby slippers. The Nome King explained to them that his father gave away emeralds to build the city and rubies the made the ruby slippers. The Nome King wanted them back by using the ruby slippers to sink the city underground.

As Dorothy and her friends make it back to Oz, they befriended a Jitterbug, a magical bug that makes you dance. They were making their way towards Emerald City, until the Nome King's army appeared and separated them. The Tin Man and Jerry were rescue by the Mouse Queen, while Tom, Toto, and the Cowardly Lion came across the Hungry Tiger. Only Dorothy and Scarecrow made it back to the Emerald City. As they returned, however, the Nome King was waiting for them. He threatened to torture Scarecrow and Tuffy, the Munchkin mouse. So Dorothy had no choice but to give the Nome King her slippers. As the Nome King tries them on, they turned into boots. He then began to click his heels together that made the entire city sink to an underground emerald mine. Tom and Jerry noticed this and came to Dorothy's side. There, he planned to force everyone to mine emeralds for him and throw Dorothy into a giant hole in the ground. Fortunately, Dorothy unleashed the Jitterbug on him. The Jitterbug made him dance uncontrollably until he fell into the hole. Tom and Jerry manage to grab him by the feet, but his feet slipped out of the slippers and made him fall to his demise.

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