Literature Study GuidesWickedBook 5 Parts 1 2 Summary

Wicked | Study Guide

Gregory Maguire

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Wicked | Book 5, Parts 1–2 : The Murder and Its Afterlife | Summary



Book 5, Part 1

The Munchkinlanders tell stories about the tornado, each religion offering an interpretation of what it was, ranging from an unspooling of clockworks to the wrath of the Unnamed God. The tornado kills many Munchkinlanders and drops a house from the sky; it falls on Nessarose as she emerges from a chapel. Some hail Dorothy, the girl inside the house, as a savior for killing the Wicked Witch of the East.

Book 5, Part 2

Elphaba receives word of the incident via carrier pigeon while she stitches wings on a snow monkey, one of Chistery's descendants. She decides not to tell Nanny Nessarose is dead, but Liir, who escaped capture by the Wizard's men and returned shortly after the rest of Fiyero's family disappeared, delivers the bad news. Elphaba has been unable to find Sarima, her sisters, or her children. Elphaba insists on going to the funeral alone, assuring Nanny and Liir they are safe in Kiamo Ko.


As the poetic description of the tornado in Part 1 indicates, Book 5 focuses on the parts of Elphaba's story that are most familiar to readers of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, those told from Dorothy's perspective. Nessarose is killed by the falling house, having managed to rule over a free Munchkinland for seven years, but the celebrations of her death attest to her unpopularity.

The most important revelation in Parts 1 and 2 in Book 5 is Liir's survival of the military raid on Kiamo Ko seven years prior. Liir is left behind when the Wizard's men take Fiyero's family captive. Even though Liir longs for a father, his lack of a father probably saves his life. His desire for a father figure moves him to ingratiate himself with Commander Cherrystone sufficiently to earn the commander's goodwill. Furthermore, no one knows Liir is Fiyero's son. While Sarima's other children are taken because the Wizard views them as a possible threat to his authority, pudgy fatherless Liir could not be suspected to be the son of a prince.

Even Elphaba's indifference keeps Liir safe, as the Wizard does not view Liir as viable leverage to use against her mounting power in the Vinkus region. This time Elphaba's assurances of Nanny and Liir's safety in Kiamo Ko ring true, because if the Wizard's men wanted Nanny and Liir, they would have been taken with the others seven years ago.

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