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Nessarose: Wikis


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First appearance Wicked (1995)
Last appearance Wicked (1995)
Created by Gregory Maguire
Nickname(s) Nessa
Species human[Witch]
Gender female
Occupation ruler of Munchkinland
Title Eminent Thropp
Eminence of the East
Wicked Witch of the East
Family Melena Thropp (mother)
Elphaba (half-sister)
Shell (brother)
Frexspar (father)
Nationality Munchkinlander
possibly half Quadling
Michelle Federer as Nessarose in the musical Wicked, with Sean McCourt as Frex

Nessarose Thropp is the name of the woman who becomes the Wicked Witch of the East in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, as well as in the Broadway adaptation, Wicked. She is the spoiled younger sister of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. In both the play and the novel, Elphaba is considered a pale second to her beautiful but handicapped sister, and is often expected to put Nessarose's needs before her own. In the novel, Nessarose and Elphaba have a younger brother named Shell. In both the novel and the musical, she is called by the nickname Nessa.

Nessarose, during her rule of Munchkinland, is dubbed "The Wicked Witch of the East", for her cruel ways and use of sorcery to control her subjects. In both the musical and the novel, Nessarose meets her demise when Dorothy's house, carried by a cyclone, lands in Oz and crushes her.

In the Novel

In Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Nessarose is a very pious and religious character. At the very least, she is Elphaba's half-sister through their mother, Melena. Nessarose was born without arms, and there are two possible reasons why she has this condition: 1) Melena took medicine while she was pregnant with Nessarose in order to prevent the baby having green skin like Elphaba, and this medicine had its own adverse effect. 2) It is implied that, like Elphaba, Nessarose was born out of an extramarital affair on Melena's part. The novel does not explicitly state whether Nessarose's father is Frex (Melena's husband) or Turtle Heart (a visiting Quadling glassblower) -- but it does indicate that Melena's infidelities could in part be the cause of both sisters' "afflictions".

Despite her condition, Nessarose is a dainty and beautiful girl, and when attending Shiz University, she more easily gains friends than her sister. She is raised in Quadling Country, and is constantly aided by Nanny because, without arms, she lacks proper balance. Nessarose, having extreme pious religious convictions (linking absolutely everything she sees to religion and morality), is often close-minded and vain, in following with Maguire's cynicism throughout the novel towards religion in general. Her religious dedication is so extreme as to cause even her father, the intensely jealous Frexspar, to worry that she may be "too devout". Unlike in the musical version, Nessarose is not infatuated with Boq, the Munchkin boy, and lives a solitary life.

When Nanny is called to replace Ama Clutch as Elphaba and Glinda's chaperone at university, Nessarose joins her, and thus begins her college education a year earlier than she had originally planned. Along with Elphaba and Glinda, Nessarose is chosen by Madame Morrible to be an Adept – a trained sorceress, with political authority over a particular area, in Nessa's cases the South, Quadling Country. Like the other two girls, she rejects the position, but, again like her fellows, she eventually finds herself ruling a province of Oz, albeit a different one than Madame Morrible had suggested. When Elphaba drops out of college without a word to her, Nessa is both devastated and furious, and harbors resentment toward her sister for a long time. Glinda mentions that she helped Nessa through the aftermath of Elphaba's departure, and that the two became quite close.

With Elphaba missing and presumed dead, Nessarose inherits her great-grandfather's title of "Eminent Thropp", and as the Eminence of the East, she makes Munchkinland its own country. During her reign in Munchkinland, despite her religious conviction, Nessa allows more ancient practices to take place – including ritualistic sacrifice, rumoured to even include those of humans and Animals. In addition, despite originally having been opposed to magic on religious grounds, her reign as Eminence finds her practicing sorcery (though she still claims to be a devout Unionist, referring to her spells as "miracles in the honor of the Unnamed God"). Not all of her subjects are too afraid of her to ask for boons, however. In one scene, a woman asks her to prevent her daughter from marrying a local woodsman. Nessarose casts a spell on the woodsman's axe so that it will attack him and remove a limb. It is implied that this man is the Tin Woodman.

Nessarose is the original owner of the magical silver shoes (most commonly known as the ruby slippers from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz), given to her as a loving gift by her father, and later enchanted by Glinda (in the musical adaptation, the bewitched shoes are Elphaba's doing). These shoes allow Nessarose to walk and stand without assistance, and leave her overly confident and more proud, which only fuels her tyrannical reign over the Munchkins. In the novel, Elphaba sees the shoes as a lasting symbol of neglect and rejection from her father and from the world in general, as well as a sign of fear and later reverence from the citizens of Oz. It is Elphaba's quest to retrieve Nessarose's shoes from Dorothy that causes her demise, as she becomes obsessed with obtaining the objects that have always existed as a reminder to her unusualness.

The story reveals that Nessarose may be the child of Turtle Heart, the Quadling glassblower who resided with the Thropps. However, in A Lion Among Men, in the family trees it is confirmed that Frex is Nessa's father. Nessarose's father, Frex, confesses as much to Elphaba after Nessarose's death, adding that he and his wife Melena loved Turtle Heart equally. The implications of that statement are, however, never fully developed. It is because of the questionable parentage of Nessarose that Frex loves her more than Elphaba, as if she had been conceived more of the love between the trio. Nessarose dies not knowing the debate over her parentage, or that her perhaps-father Turtle Heart was viciously sacrificed in a ritual similar to the ones she allowed her people to conduct. (It should be noted that Turtle Heart is a Quadling, and in Baum's original novels, some Quadlings have no arms. This may be Maguire's way of affirming Nessarose's parentage for the readers without specifically stating it). Her death (which has been caused by another house landing on her own house) led several Ozians to come up with satirical slogans and witty catch phrases that strongly remind us of "There's no place like home." (Though not using the same words).

In the Musical

Like many other characters in the Broadway adaptation of Wicked, Nessarose is portrayed very differently from the novel. She was originally played by Michelle Federer. In the musical, Nessarose is not chosen as a sorceress by Madame Morrible, and while the character of the musical does have arms, she is instead bound to a wheelchair. As in the novel, she is seen as beautiful, but the adaptation presents her as a more tragic character, attending Shiz University with Elphaba, who often embarrasses her. In an effort to shoo away a persistent love-struck Munchkin named Boq so that her own relationship with Fiyero can develop, Glinda arranges a date between him and Nessarose. Thereafter, Boq unhappily dates and becomes a point of love obsession for Nessarose. Because her father was governor of Munchkinland, Nessarose takes control of the province following his death. She enslaves Boq to keep her with him, and in an attempt to use Elphaba's spells to make him love her, accidentally causes his heart to shrink. As Elphaba begins to save Boq by turning him into the Tin Woodsman, Nessarose declares herself 'The Wicked Witch of the East' calamitously.

As in the novel, Nessarose receives the magical slippers as a gift from her father, but they are enchanted by Elphaba, rather than Glinda, to give her the ability to walk. The musical does not refer to Turtle Heart or Shell, and thus it is implied that Nessarose was the legitimate child of Frex and Melena. The musical also shows that it was Madame Morrible who created the fateful cyclone, as a trap to draw Elphaba out of hiding.

Nessarose was originally played by Michelle Federer. Other actresses besides Federer to play the role include; Jenna Leigh Green, Deedee Magno Hall, Summer Naomi Smart, Amanda Rose, Brynn O'malley, Cristy Candler, Katie Rowley Jones, Caroline Keiff, Natalie Anderson and Marcie Dodd.

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