Literature Study GuidesWickedBook 5 Parts 8 11 Summary

Wicked | Study Guide

Gregory Maguire

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Wicked | Book 5, Parts 8–11 : The Murder and Its Afterlife | Summary



Book 5, Part 8

With little moonlight to guide her and too much drink from dinner, Elphaba wanders to the park and finds the Clock of the Time Dragon. She meets the dwarf, who says he sometimes works with Yackle and claims to be the guardian of the Grimmerie. Annoyed, Elphaba threatens to kill him and says she already killed someone else today. The dwarf knows Elphaba didn't kill Madame Morrible; she was already dead. Then the clock shows Elphaba a play: a man visits Melena at home, gives her a drink from a green bottle, and then has sex with her before departing in a hot-air balloon. The last act of the play is a blank. A door opens in the clock and reveals Turtle Heart's looking glass, left behind in Elphaba's room in the Emerald City.

Book 5, Part 9

Elphaba returns to Boq's farm and tells him she has killed Madame Morrible. Boq and Milla make to defend themselves and advise her not to hurt Dorothy, as she is only a child and all alone. Elphaba promises nothing and moves on to track Dorothy's movements. She considers letting go of the pursuit—disappearing, leaving Nanny, Nor, and Liir to their own devices—but she wants her shoes.

Book 5, Part 10

Elphaba spies on Dorothy and her companions as they make their way along the Yellow Brick Road, unbeknownst to them. She considers abandoning the shoes, and she considers taking them right away. Her decision is delayed by an approaching storm that forces her to seek shelter.

Book 5, Part 11

When Elphaba finds Dorothy and her companions have made it to the Emerald City, she decides not to follow them and returns to Kiamo Ko. She remembers how Turtle Heart's family would not forgive Frex for Turtle Heart's death. She also takes the green glass bottle she found in Nanny's things and takes some of the liquid inside. She dreams of another land, filled with tall buildings. She sees the Wizard there, emerging dejected from a shop with a sign that reads "No Irish Need Apply." She sees the Wizard walk across sand and swim in the ocean, which terrifies her. Nanny tells her Melena also had nightmares but won't tell her the origin of the green bottle.


The Clock of the Time Dragon's final presentation reveals two uncomfortable truths about Elphaba's life: She is likely the Wizard's daughter and the product of his raping Melena while she was intoxicated or unconscious. While the Clock of the Time Dragon has never been the most reliable source of information, the presence of Turtle Heart's looking glass, last seen 14 or 15 years before in Elphaba's Emerald City loft adds credibility to the presentation. The Clock of the Time Dragon, the dwarf, Yackle, Madame Morrible, and the Wizard are all connected to Elphaba.

The clock's final performance, which remains incomplete, awaiting the final act to play out in Elphaba's life, shows that Yackle and the dwarf know every detail of Elphaba's life. Their influence or control over Elphaba is unclear, but they are always present, and they seem to know all things about everyone. The dwarf promises Yackle is alive, which implies she is not Madame Morrible in another form; Madame Morrible is dead. His words imply Yackle is some kind of everlasting universal entity; the dwarf sometimes works with her, sometimes with others. Yackle may be the original Kumbric Witch.

Elphaba returns to Kiamo Ko and remembers when she first learned forgiveness is not always possible. She has experienced the absence of absolution from Sarima, but she learned it in her early life when Turtle Heart's family refused to forgive Frex for Turtle Heart's death. In a similar sense, Elphaba cannot forgive Dorothy for taking her shoes. She cannot forgive the Wizard for being her biological father.

Elphaba's dreams about the Wizard under the influence of the potion in the green bottle provide the reader with a different perspective on the Wizard's own evil behavior. Elphaba does not understand what she sees in the dream and is too overwhelmed by the vision of the ocean to give the images deeper consideration, but the reader can understand the sign in the shop window, and thus can decipher the intention behind the man disappearing into the water: in our world the Wizard lived in a city filled with tall buildings and high winds. He is unable to find work because of his nationality. His walk into the ocean, described as "a kind of penance," hints at a suicide attempt in the Wizard's past or future.

These images paint the Wizard as a somewhat tragic figure. Rejected by his own world, he finds success and power in a new one. Drunk and corrupt with that power, he subjects weaker creatures—such as Animals and Quadlings—to the same indignities he faced in his own world.

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