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Wicked Witch of the West

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I'll get you, my pretty- and your little dog too! HAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA!
~ The Wicked Witch of the West's infamous catchphrase (threatening Dorothy Gale and Toto).

The Wicked Witch of the West is the main antagonist in The Wizard of Oz, the first novel of the famous Oz series, and its classic 1939 film adaptation. She is Dorothy's arch-nemesis. Although, the Wicked Witch only appears in the first book, and that the Nome King is the primary antagonist of the series, she was so memorable (mostly thanks to the film) that most adaptations and nearly all re-telling of the story are centered about her.

In the film, she was portrayed by Margaret Hamilton who also played her Kansas counterpart, Miss Almira Gulch.


In the original book, she is described as a hideous form, and a notable feature being an enchanted eye that can see vast distances beyond her castle walls. In the classic movie, the Wicked Witch was stooped, green-skinned, and dressed entirely in black. In many people's minds, this representation of The Wicked Witch has become an archetype for human wickedness, as well as an icon for the "witch" character in popular culture.


While this relationship is not mentioned in Baum's books, in the movie, the Witch is the sister of the Wicked Witch of the East, who is killed when Dorothy arrives in Oz. The Witch asks aloud, "Who killed my sister?" (except with more calculation than sorrow). As a result, The Wicked Witch of the West's role is made more prominent as she seeks revenge against Dorothy for killing her sister. When Dorothy claims the death was an accident, the Witch of the West replies, "Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents too."

It is from this movie that popular culture gets the oft-quoted phrase, "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!".

Her other motivation is to get the powerful Ruby Slippers (changed from the Silver Shoes of the book). She often, but not always, flies on a broomstick, and has a crystal ball through which she can see happenings elsewhere.

Her lackeys are Nikko, the Flying Monkeys and the Winkie Guards. The Flying Monkeys kidnapped Dorothy and Toto, taking them to the Wicked Witch's castle. The Wicked Witch of the West locked Dorothy in a room of the hourglass, but Toto escaped, barking for help to the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. The three friends disguised themselves as Winkie Guards and rescued Dorothy. But just as the four friends were about to escape, The Wicked Witch of the West sent her Winkie Guards to chase after the heroes. When Dorothy and her friends were surrounded by guards, The Wicked Witch of the West set the Scarecrow on fire. Then Dorothy noticed a bucket of water, and tossed it to extinguish the fire on Scarecrow, but also splashed some on the Wicked Witch. As a result, the Wicked Witch met her end when she melted to death. Just like the Munchkins, the Winkies cheered because the Witch was too dangerous to left alive. Dorothy and her friends took the Witch's broom and proceeded to the Wizard's domain.

Powers and Abilities

  • Pyrokinesis: The Witch is able to make fireballs using her hands.
  • Flight/Teleportation: She is seen able to teleport, creating huge fog-like red smoke, while she can fly with her Broomstick if she wants.
  • Magic Ball: She was able to spy her on enemies using her Magic Ball to see where they were, and used it to see what was happening next.
  • Black Smoke: The Wicked Witch of the West was able to create the Black Smoke, which she uses to Scare off people away.
  • Flying Monkeys and Winkie Guards: The Wicked Witch has minions, which she uses to kidnap Dorothy, and protect her Dark Castle.

Appearances In other media

The Wicked Witch of the West is also famously featured in the book and theatrical production Wicked, which explores her past and portrays her as a tragic character and the protagonist, while the Wizard is the true villain. Here, she is given the name "Elphaba", a pun on the name L. Frank Baum. The role was originated by Idina Menzel.

The Wicked Witch of the West (Muppets)

The Wicked Witch of the West (portrayed by Miss Piggy) in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.

In the 2005 TV-movie The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is the main antagonist. She is the sister of the Wicked Witch of the East, Tattypoo, and Glinda, who once performed as a pop music group, Four Little Pigs. The Witch pursues Dorothy Gale for the silver slippers, which she felt by familial inheritance rights should have gone to her.

As in the original The Wizard of Oz novel, but not the 1939 film portrayal by Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch wears an eyepatch. Beneath the patch lies a glass eye which gives her telescopic vision. She also sports an enchanted biker cap with which she commands her Flying Monkeys. She receives her comeuppance when tap water is used in her bath.

The Wicked Witch of the West also appeared on Sesame Street in 1976 (Episode 0847), with Margaret Hamilton reprising her role from the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz.

In the episode, the Witch flies over Sesame Street and loses her broom. The magical cleaning tool falls into the hands of David; afraid of what the witch might do with it, he refuses to give the broom up. The Wicked Witch responds by making it rain inside Hooper's Store, and even threatens to turn Big Bird into a feather duster and David into a basketball. Oscar the Grouch is the only one who takes to her, even to the point of having a crush on her. Big Bird eventually warms to the witch, and is saddened when she leaves she tells him that one day she will return (only to drop her broom yet again). The episode was considered very scary for many viewers. To this day, no footage of the episode has surfaced, and therefore, it is considered lost.

In the 1976 Paul Lynde Halloween Special, Hamilton again reprised her role as the Witch, this time teaming up to torment the hapless Lynde (who himself played a Warlock on Bewitched) with Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo from HR Pufnstuff.

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Main article: Theodora

Once Upon a Time

Main article: Zelena




  • The Sentai/Power Rangers villainess Bandora/Rita Repulsa was partly inspired by the Wicked Witch, including her cackle, riding a bike through the sky like Miss Gulch, and having a (sometimes) Flying Monkey servant, Grifforzer/Goldar. Her scheme for destroying the Dragon/Green Ranger with a cursed candle also bears similarities to how the Witch intended to kill Dorothy.
  • In the original RSC production of The Wizard of Oz, the role of The Wicked Witch of the West was portrayed by male actor Billie Brown similar to how a male actor portrayed Principal Agatha Trunchbull in the original London production of Matilda.
  • Margaret Hamilton later became known to a new generation from a series of commercials for Maxwell House Coffee, playing Cora The Storekeeper. Reportedly, during the 1939 filming, the cast had a hard time acting scared of Hamilton, who was widely known as a kind and giving person.

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