Literature Study GuidesWickedBook 3 Section 1 Fiyero And Elphabas Affair Summary

Wicked | Study Guide

Gregory Maguire

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Wicked | Book 3, Section 1 (Fiyero and Elphaba's Affair) : City of Emeralds | Summary

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Summary

Book 3 has no chapter divisions, but analysis is divided into two sections, based on the divide marked by asterisks halfway through the book.

While visiting the Emerald City on business, Fiyero stops at a unionist chapel and recognizes the figure praying before a portrait of St. Glinda as his college friend Elphaba, although she denies knowing him at first. She agrees to meet him outside, all the while planning to avoid him, but he predicts her escape path and follows her through the city. He calls out to her just before she enters an abandoned corn exchange building. Knowing she is caught, she begs him to leave her alone. When he won't leave, she reluctantly invites him upstairs to the room where she lives with her cat, Malky. The room is sparse, but a pile of books rests next to the bed, and a chipped looking glass hangs on the wall.

He tells her about his wife and children and their fortress home at Kiamo Ko. She asks about his business in the city. He does not answer her question and tells her he has heard the Wizard has become a recluse. She gives him few details about her life, saying only that she was fed up with Shiz after Dr. Dillamond's murder, and she is "underground" now. She tells him she can't meet him again because it is too dangerous.

They do meet again, and Fiyero tells Elphaba what he knows about their old classmates. They do not talk about his family or her underground activities.

They meet regularly and commence an affair through the autumn. Fiyero realizes he is falling in love with Elphaba. He tells her about more violence in Quadling Country, and she tells him about her family's time there, watching the militias brutalize the Quadlings to get at the rubies. She believes her father used her to convert the Quadlings, which made them passive in the face of the Wizard's men. She assumes Nessarose will be the next Eminent Thropp in Munchkinland, when their great-grandfather dies, and will successfully rule over the east.

Analysis

In the first section of Book 3, Elphaba begins an affair with Fiyero reluctantly. Since her time at Shiz, she's become accustomed to an isolated lifestyle with few social contacts. She claims to be involved with a resistance network in the Emerald City, but it's possible the network is a ruse. Elphaba's style is to work alone. Even though neither Elphaba nor Fiyero is in a position to share many details about their separate lives, they fall in love. In some ways Fiyero's life in the Vinkus is as lonely as Elphaba's in the city. His arranged marriage is based on tribal alliance rather than genuine connection with his wife.

The dangers Elphaba fears are real under the power of the Wizard's regime. Because the Emerald City is a seat for political and military activity—as opposed to banking—she does not know what kind of business brings Fiyero there. She worries Fiyero will expose her to the Wizard's Gale Force, a private army typical of the secret police forces used by despots throughout history. She describes how they come for people in the night and take them from their homes, holding "mock trials for treason at midnight and executions at dawn." Elphaba does not know if she can trust Fiyero because the people dragged from their homes by night have been turned in by people they also trusted. She does not want to be one of them. Under the Wizard's rule, due process is a fiction and anyone can disappear at any time. The Wizard preserves his power through intimidation and elimination of anyone who dares oppose him.

Outside the Emerald City, conditions are similarly bleak. The brutality visited upon the Quadlings remains ongoing. These actions are driven by the Wizard's desire to consolidate his power and to access the natural resources present under the southern swamps. Elphaba's reserve in telling Fiyero about the horrors she witnessed as a missionary child in Quadling Country is typical of her cautious nature, but these experiences also demonstrate why she feels the need to be cautious. For her entire life she has seen the evil the Wizard is capable of visiting upon his subjects, and she feels she has been complicit in that evil when her father used her to convert the Quadlings to unionism.

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