Z is for . . . Zelena

You guys didn’t think I could go through an entire list of female monsters without talking about the Wicked Witch of the West, did you? Because there’s no way.

The Wicked Witch of the West has had many incarnations. She first appeared in L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series, and especially in recent years, her image as utterly wicked has been called into question. Gregory Maguire’s Wicked Years series creates a back story for the witch full of political intrigue and family secrets. The musical based on the first book has received high acclaim.

ZAnd even more recently, ABC introduced Zelena (Lost alum Rebecca Mader), the half-sister of the Evil Queen, Regina (Lana Parrilla). Unlike the Maguire books, in which Elphaba was green from birth due to a potion her mother drank during her affair with the wizard, Zelena’s green color comes from something else—she became so envious of her half-sister that she turned, quite literally, green with envy.

Zelena is a child born out of wedlock—her mother had an affair with a man she thought was a prince but who was actually a castle gardener, and her engagement to the prince is jeopardized when he finds out about the illegitimate child she is carrying. Cora leaves Zelena in the forest after she is born, and a cyclone carries her away to Oz. Her adoptive parents become fearful of her when she shows a propensity for magic.

Zelena then goes to see the Wizard, who shows her the past–her parentage, her half-sister, and her half-sister’s tutelage under Rumpelstiltskin, who is teaching Regina magic. She uses a pair of silver slippers given to her by the Wizard to transport herself to Regina’s home, and it is there that she meets Rumpelstiltskin, who begins to train her in the use of magic. But this isn’t enough for Zelena—she becomes so jealous of Regina that she begins to turn green and attempts to kill her sister, angering Rumpelstiltskin in the process.

After returning to the Wizard and finding him to be a fraud, she turns him into a flying monkey and begins to try to change the past, the moment when Cora left her in the woods.

She encounters Glinda, who attempts to loop her into a group of witches that protect Oz–and almost does so. But when Dorothy arrives and is well-treated by the witches, Zelena’s envy begins to resurface. She is, of course, melted by Dorothy, but in this story—she comes back. After Dorothy leaves Oz, Zelena returns to take over Oz and banishes Glinda.

When the first curse is broken and the characters return to their original homes, they discover that Zelena has taken over Regina’s Zelenapalace. She casts another curse, sending the group back to Storybrooke without their memories. She attempts to steal Snow White’s baby, but she is thwarted. Rumpelstiltskin stabs her, and Zelena crumbles.

But she isn’t dead, still—this is a witch with 9 lives, at least. Instead, we find out, she’s (SPOILER ALERT) masquerading as Maid Marion, who Emma thought she returned with after saving her from Regina when Hook and Emma go back into the past.

Where she goes next is anyone’s guess—but she’s a lot of fun to watch. And I look forward to even more incarnations of the witch, seeing what new stories she finds herself in, both on OUAT and in other media.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a wrap on A to Z 2015, Lady Monsters. But don’t worry! Tomorrow, I’ll be running an A to Z Challenge recap of the Lady Monsters theme. Regular features will return on Monday, and I’m cooking up something new, too!

Starting Monday, May 4, we’ll be having Monster Mondays! The first post will likely be a round-up of some monster-related A to Z themes. And in the coming weeks, look for guest posts from some fantastic bloggers, including Robin of Write On, Sisters!, Crystal of The Qwiet Muse, Melissa Barker-Simpson, Allison of Eclectic Alli, Urszula of Confessions of a Broccoli Addict and Alex Hurst. What an amazing group so far! And of course, those interested in guest posts are still welcome to contact me.

And finally, a few words of huge thanks: to Hannah of Things Matter, Lyn of Lazy Lady, David of Comparative Geeks, and Gene’O for their guest posts during A to Z; to all of you who have stopped by and who have commented during the challenge; to the A to Z organizers, and to Heather Gardner for allowing me to hop on board with her fantastic team and be involved with the challenge as minion this year!

Heather copy



Leave a Comment

  1. It is both fascinating reading and morally disturbing that more and more, everywhere you look, characters that have always been portrayed as evil are being re-created to show a “good” side or a sympathetic side.
    ~ We made it!!! ~
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps’ Troops
    Don’t forget to snag the Survivor Badge for your sidebar and to add your A to Z Reflections post link at A to Z Challenge! They’ll have the Linky List up on Monday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure that I’d agree that it’s morally disturbing to reimagine villains. I think that often what we see, especially with characters like the Wicked Witch, is a flat character who finally gets to be multi-dimensional. I like when they get their own stories and when there’s ambiguity instead of absolutism. 🙂


    You did it!
    Congratulations on finishing A to Z and for being such a great Sidekick!
    I really appreciate your support.
    Your posts were wonderful and informative.
    I really did enjoy each one. Except the spider one. Nope. Not that one. 🙂
    Great job!
    Enjoy the Road Trip. It’s worth it to spend an hour or two a week finding new blogs and their A to Z posts.
    Don’t be a stranger!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve only watched the first series on OUAT (which I really enjoyed) and half of the second (which was a bit disappointing, that’s why I dropped it), so I didn’t know anything about this witch.
    Sounds like fun… but also a bit messed up 😉

    Congrats on finishing the challange. It was a fantastic ride and I’m very happy I found your blog. I’ll sure be back in the future 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was also not fond of the second season. It’s picked up a bit, but it’s no longer a show that I just have to watch when it comes on—I can wait a few weeks and binge on the series instead.


    1. Thanks! I’ve got a lot of blogs that I need to get to—answering comments and getting the posts out for April was a lot of work! I’m planning to do the A to Z Roadtrip this year to catch up on some I missed. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations! This was such a fun theme. I’m glad you’re going to keep it going with Monday Monsters. And that you’re letting me take a turn as a guest. : ) I can’t wait to share one of my childhood nightmares with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That whirlwind recap of Zelena’s tale leaves me feeling a bit breathless and wondering if perhaps my life isn’t a bit too staid and boring. What a fabulous series of posts you crafted – thanks for all the fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An excellent choice to round up the challenge. I loved the portrayal in OUAT, and I’m so glad she didn’t perish. I just know there are more juicy stories to come. She’s a great character. I really enjoyed the symbolism – that she literally turned great with envy!

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the diverse selection of monsters you’ve shared with us, and I can’t wait to be involved in Monster Mondays!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks—and I’m so glad that you will be involved! Let’s talk soon about what you’re thinking about writing. 🙂

      And I really love Zelena, too. She had to grow on me—I was skeptical about the Wicked Witch making her way into the story–but she’s quite the antagonist.

      Liked by 1 person

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