A culturally archetypal witch, the moment the Wicked Witch of the West appeared in The Wizard of Oz, she became an instant icon of movie history. With a name that says it all, she is an unashamedly cruel, oppressive and tyrannical leader, having conquered the Winkies and enslaved them. She spends the film hunting down the innocent, wide-eyed Dorothy so that she can nab those magical ruby slippers and conquer all of Oz once and for all.
Look, you have to give it to her, she’s not afraid to be who she is.
She doesn’t go around pretending to be anything but evil, fully embracing all the best bits of being a villain, what with her appearing and disappearing in a plume of mysterious, red smoke; that fiendish, surprisingly-hard-to-nail cackle she revels in as she calls Dorothy, “my pretty”; and, of course, her casual army of winged monkeys ready to do her bidding.
And any chance of redemption or earning our sympathy is completely scuppered when she threatens Dorothy’s adorable little dog, Toto.
The fact of the matter is, she’s a witch we love to hate, and were it not for her all-consuming greed and unabashed ambition, I’m not sure, quite frankly, this classic film would be quite so classic. That magnificent cackle is a scene-stealer, what can I say?
Her influence on both cinema and fictional witches today is undeniable, and no list of all-time great movie villains would be complete without her. The Wicked Witch of the West is truly as wicked as they come.
And we wouldn’t have her any other way.
Thanks so much for sharing one of your favourite witches Sophie! If I had to choose a favourite witch, I'd have to go with Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's smart, hilarious and goes through such an interesting character arc.
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