She was one of four powerful witches who presided over the four countries of the Land of Oz. She specifically ruled the Munchkins in the east. She was more powerful than the Wicked Witch of the North, but not as powerful as Glinda the Good Witch of the South. She is the true quinary antagonist of "The Wizard of Oz"
HistoryThe Wicked Witch of the East conquered the Country of the Munchkins and tyrannically ruled them after the fall of King Pastoria, making them slave for her night and day. The Wizard of Oz was unable to subdue her.
Among her exceedingly cruel actions was the enchantment of Nick Chopper's axe which caused him to cut up his own body and eventually turn into the Tin Woodman.
She met her end when Dorothy Gale's house fell on her. Her dry withered body soon turned to dust and Dorothy obtained her magical Silver Shoes. Her death was cause for great celebration amongh the Munchkins (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz).
It was later revealed that the Wicked Witch lived in a hut, with her maid Nimee Amee, who was Nick Chopper's sweetheart. Determined to prevent Nimee Amee from getting married, the Wicked Witch of the East resolved to turn her into an old crone. It was while the Witch was out looking for herbs that would effect such a transformation that Dorothy's house landed on her (The Tin Woodman of Oz).
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
- The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)
The witch is much talked about in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (the first of many Oz books by L. Frank Baum) and later in Baum's The Tin Woodman of Oz. There is significant discrepancy between the two books with regard to the exact role played by the Wicked Witch of the East in relation to Nick Chopper and his fiancee, but what is clear in both books is that the Tin Woodman became the way he is because of the Wicked Witch's enchantments.
The 1939 movie
In the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the East is not verifiably seen except for her stockinged feet. In the movie, the shoes were changed to ruby slippers to look better for the Technicolor film. The film portrays the Witch as being the sister of the Wicked Witch of the West, a relationship neither stated nor implied in Baum's books. The famous sequence of the house dropping from the cyclone is actually a subjective point of view shot, showing the witch's view as Dorothy Gale's house crushes her to death for which her sister seeks revenge.
In Alexander Melentyevich Volkov's The Wizard of the Emerald City, The Witch's name is Gingema. Like in the 1939 movie, the two Wicked Witches are sisters. The book begins with her summoning a magical hurricane to destroy all humanity (since people, in her opinion, exterminate her food). However, Villina learns of her schemes, and changes the spell to only affect one house (her magic book told her it was always empty during storms) and drop it on Gingema's head. Unlike in Baum's books, while being the formal ruler of the Munchkins, she interfered little in their lives, and only demanded that people collect food for her. Since her food was snakes, leeches, spiders, and other similarly disgusting creatures which the Munchkins were afraid of, that was nevertheless a heavy burden for them.
In the Broadway musical The Wiz, The Wicked Witch of the East is named Evamene and terrorizes the Munchkins. In the more recent novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by author Gregory Maguire, The Wicked Witch of the East is known as Nessarose Thropp. She is the beautiful but physically handicapped sister of Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West). She gains the ability to walk unsupported thanks to the enchanted silver/ruby shoes. In both the book and musical, the character is portrayed in a less negative light than in the Baum books or earlier movie, although she becomes fanatical, so much so that she limits the rights of the Munchkins and ends up being referred to as a 'wicked witch'.
In Roger S. Baum's Lion of Oz and the Badge of Courage, the Wicked Witch of the East is the main antagonist. The book was adapted into the 2000 animated film Lion of Oz. She really hates it when she is referred to as her own sister (whom she thinks of as less despicable).
In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005), the Wicked Witch of the East is played by Miss Piggy (as are all of the other witches). She managed to lift the diner up long enough to threaten the Munchkins before it fell back on top of her, killing her this time. In 2007, Turner Entertainment collaborated with Madame Alexander to create a series of McDonald's Happy Meal toys centered on the main characters from the 1939 movie, one of which was the Wicked Witch of the East. She is depicted as having blonde hair, a red shirt with a green belt and a burgundy dress over her distinguishable striped stockings and ruby slippers. She also is wearing a hat similar to the Witch of the West's, although it is colored red.
Rachel Weisz portrays the Wicked Witch of the East who is named Evanora in the 2013 Disney film Oz the Great and Powerful. In this version, she is the older sister of Theodora, Wicked Witch of the West (Mila Kunis), and is at war with Glinda (Michelle Williams) for control of Oz.
- The Wizard of Oz (1939): Margaret Hamilton
- Wicked (2003): Michelle Federer as Nessarose
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005): Miss Piggy
- Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013) Rachel Weisz as Evanora