Dorothy Gale is an orphan child from Kansas who made several trips to the Land of Oz with her little black dog Toto and other animals. She eventually moved to Oz permanently and lives in the Emerald City with her best friend Princess Ozma who is the ruler of all the land and who made Dorothy a princess of Oz.
Dorothy first appeared in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900 by L. Frank Baum. Although she seems at first glance to be inspired by Alice in Lewis Carrol's books, Baum states otherwise; Dorothy is more likely based on Baum's niece Dorothy Louise Gage, who died in infancy, for Baum was very attached to her and used her name in the stories. Dorothy's full name is never mentioned in the first two books. It wasn't until Ozma of Oz (1907) we see Gale used as her last name. (Gale is, of course, a pun based off the tornado that brought her to Oz the first time.)
Dorothy is frequently described by scholars as the greatest mythic heroine in English-language storytelling, appearing in tales which focus on the life experiences and character development of heroic girls instead of heroic boys and from what might be called a female sensibility and ethics. She is often presented as the most well-known female equivalent to male mythic heroes of the modern day such as Luke Skywalker, and unlike other admirable female heroes such as Katniss in The Hunger Games, Dorothy never has to define herself by "girlfriend" tropes.
Dorothy's adventures both fit Maureen Murdock's description of the Heroine's Monomyth and pass the Bechdel Test admirably.
Dorothy's personality remains consistent for most but not all adaptations, but in other media beyond the original books, her age varies from child to young adult.
In the books, Dorothy actually ages. In the original book, Dorothy is depicted as a little girl, aged somewhat for the famous MGM film. In later books, she is depicted more as a older girl, but not yet a teenager. In modern interpretations and re-interpretations, she is usually presented as a teenager/young adult.
Major Story Arcs
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Dorothy lived with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on a farm in Kansas where her only companion was her little black dog, Toto. One day a powerful cyclone carried her house to the Land of Oz where it landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her. She was told by the Good Witch of the North that only the Wizard of Oz could help her return to Kansas. The Good Witch gave her the Silver Shoes with their great mysterious powers and kissed her on the forehead for protection. With that she set out along the Yellow Brick Road for the Emerald City. Along the way she met the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion.
The Wizard, appearing to Dorothy as a giant, floating head, commanded Dorothy to destroy the Wicked Witch of the West. After being captured by the witch, Dorothy finally did destroy her by throwing a bucket of water on her and melting her. Dorothy and her companions returned to the Emerald City, but there discovered that the Wizard was a humbug. The Wizard tried to take Dorothy home in a hot air balloon, but it floated away while Dorothy was looking for Toto.
Dorothy and her companions then traveled south to find Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. After several adventures, they arrived at her ruby red palace and she told Dorothy about the charm of the Silver Shoes she had been wearing since her arrival in the Land of Oz, which allowed her to return home to Kansas.
Ozma of Oz
Because of the cyclone damage and worry over Dorothy's extended disappearance, Uncle Henry decided to take a vacation and travel to Australia with Dorothy to accompany him. During the voyage a storm washed her overboard, and she soon found herself on the shores of the Land of Ev with a yellow hen named Billina. They found a mechanical man named Tik-Tok and, after a visit to the royal palace in Evna, joined Ozma of Oz and a group from the Emerald City (including her old friends the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion) on a journey to the Nome Kingdom to liberate the Royal Family of Ev from the Nome King. There she confiscated the Nome King's Magic Belt and after their mission was successfully completed, she returned with them to the Emerald City. She was made a Princess of Oz, but afterward returned to her Uncle Henry.
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
On their way home from Australia, Dorothy and her uncle stopped in San Francisco, California. Uncle Henry went right to Hugson's Ranch to visit his brother-in-law Bill Hugson. Dorothy stayed with friends in 'Frisco for a week, then traveled by train to Hugson's Siding, where she met her cousin Zeb. On their way from the siding to Hugson's Ranch, a great earthquake opened the ground in front of them and they fell in, carriage and all. After many adventures they found themselves in Oz where Dorothy and her friends were welcomed warmly. After a brief stay, Dorothy returned home to Kansas.
The Road to Oz
A Shaggy Man appeared at the Kansas farm and asked Dorothy for directions. While showing him the road they became inexplicably lost. After a long journey during which they met Button-Bright and Polychrome, they arrived in Oz just in time for Ozma's birthday party. When the celebration ended Dorothy returned once more to Kansas.
The Emerald City of Oz
When her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em were facing foreclosure on their farm, Dorothy went to Ozma who suggested that Dorothy move to Oz permanently, along with her aunt and uncle. She introduced her family to all her friends in Oz and took them on a tour of some of the unusual sights. Upon the party's return to the Emerald City, they learned of the Nome King's impending invasion, which the Scarecrow and Ozma managed to halt. Nevertheless, Glinda the Good decided to make Oz invisible to the rest of the world to prevent further invasions, and Dorothy wrote a final letter to L. Frank Baum to explain that he would never hear from Oz again.
The Patchwork Girl of Oz
After getting settled into her life as a Princess of Oz, Dorothy assisted in the search for ingredients that would contribute to a potion capable of reversing the spell of petrification on Unc Nunkie and Margolotte.
The Tik-Tok of Oz & The Scarecrow of Oz
Shortly after, two girls arrived from America who soon became fast friends with Dorothy: Betsy Bobbin and Mayre "Trot" Griffiths.
Rinkitink in Oz
Dorothy watched the adventures of Inga, Prince of Pingaree, in Ozma's Magic Picture, and along with the Wizard rescued Inga and his companions from Kaliko, the new Nome King.
The Lost Princess of Oz
When Ozma was stolen, Dorothy was part of a party that went out to find out what had happened to her. They searched various parts of Winkie Country before they found out that Ozma had been stolen by Ugu the Shoemaker. They ventured to the Shoemaker's new wicker castle, and after the Wizard helped them get past some magical resistance, they got inside. There, Ugu rendered most of the party powerless, except for Dorothy, who had the Magic Belt from the Nome King. She had a magic duel with Ugu, during which she turned him into a pigeon and he escaped.
The Tin Woodman of Oz
Dorothy went with Ozma to Jinjur's house, where the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, Woot the Wanderer, and Polychrome had been transformed into unnatural forms. Ozma transformed them back, and afterwards Dorothy hoped to join the Tin Man's party to go meet Nimmie Amee, and she hinted such; but the Tin Man didn't take the hint, so Dorothy returned to the Emerald City instead.
Glinda of Oz
One day, Dorothy and Ozma took the Red Wagon to visit Glinda in her palace in Quadling Country, where she learned from the Great Book of Records that the Flatheads had gone to war with the Skeezers. Ozma set out to go and resolve the war, and Dorothy asked to go with her. The two girls journeyed to the Flatheads' mountain, where they met the Supreme Dictator, who refused to submit to Ozma's rule. They escaped and met the Skeezers, where Queen Coo-ee-oh also refused Ozma and took the two girls prisoner. Dorothy was quite indignant at Coo-ee-oh's rude treatment of Ozma but could do nothing about it. When Coo-ee-oh submerged the city and left to attack the Flatheads, she was transformed into a swan, leaving Dorothy and Ozma stranded in the underwater city until Glinda and her party came to rescue them.
Powers & Abilities
Unlike most of her friends in the Land of Oz, Dorothy is human and has no powers except she is smart, brave, and beautiful. Most of her powers comes from special objects that various characters give her while visiting Oz. Some various adaptations have given Dorothy other powers.
Weaponry & Equipment
The magical shoes that were originally owned by the Wicked Witch of the East but passed to Dorothy Gale when her house landed on the Witch. As gathered from the clues throughout the various books and films, the Silver Shoes will only pass to a new owner if they have physically defeated the previous owner or the previous owner willingly hands them over.
The Golden Cap is a magical item that allows its owner to call upon the Winged Monkeys three times. It has a circle of diamonds and rubies running around it. Over time, the Golden Cap fell into the hands of the Wicked Witch of the West, who used it first to conquer the Winkie Country, then to fight off the Great Oz, and finally to capture Dorothy Gale and her companions. After the Witch was melted, Dorothy took the cap and used it to travel back to the Emerald City and then to the Quadling Country. Glinda took the cap and returned Dorothy's companions to their homes. Then she gave it to the Winged Monkeys, freeing them forever.
The Magic Belt originally belonged to the Nome King. When Ozma and Dorothy visited the Nome Kingdom and freed the enslaved Royal Family of the Land of Ev, Dorothy took the Magic Belt away from the Nome King. When she later returned home, she gave the belt to Ozma for safekeeping.
The Wizard of Oz
In the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy was played by Judy Garland. Garland received an Academy Juvenile Award for her performance. She was sixteen years old when she performed the role, with a brace on her chest to make her look more youthful. In contrast to Baum's novel, Dorothy is more of a damsel in distress figure. Since fantasy films generally were unsuccessful at that time, MGM portrayed Oz as potentially a head-trauma-induced delirium instead of a real place with a hint of doubt left in to satisfy the fantasy fans in the audience. It is not actually confirmed that Oz is merely Dorothy's dream; it is only implied, since she awakens in bed at the end, with Aunt Em telling her she had a dream, although Dorothy had dreamt it was real.
A window knocked Dorothy on the head when the tornado was approaching the farm. After that bad storm lifted the farmhouse, she and Toto saw flying by a chicken coop, an old lady knitting calmly in a rocking chair with a cat on her lap, a cow, and two men rowing a boat who doff their hats to her. Finally, Dorothy saw Miss Almira Gulch, who was going to abduct Toto to the sheriff, fly on her bicycle outside the window, becoming a witch on a broom. As one of the first movies to be filmed in Technicolor, the director had the color of the famous magic slippers changed from silver to red because the Ruby Slippers were more visually appealing on film.
She is reunited with Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, their three farm workers (Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion's alter egos), and Professor Marvel (The Wizard's alter ego) when she awakens from being unconscious at the end of this film.
Glinda the Good Witch is the only character without a parallel in the "real world" Kansas, which fits the theory that she is actually a manifestation of Dorothy's inner maturity, waiting for the moment that Dorothy is ready to acknowledge to herself the power of the ruby slippers and, by implication, the power of her own approaching adult autonomy and womanhood. Thus, at the end of the film, Dorothy declares that she has learned how to look inside for solutions and wisdom and will no longer try to find them externally in superficial changes of location or in an over dependence upon rescuers.
Return to Oz
In the 1985 movie Return to Oz, After her initial visit to Oz, Dorothy insists on the reality of her experience in that magical land. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry take her to a psychiatrist who intends to do electroshock therapy on her. Dorothy is kept overnight, where she escapes into the rainy forest, hits her head, and finds herself washing up on the shores of Oz. There, she finds that Oz has been ruined and its denizens turned to stone. She encounters the Wheelers before meeting Tik-Tok and later Jack Pumpkinhead. Along with Billina the chicken, they get trapped in Mombi's castle. There, they use the Gump to escape. Finally, they encounter the Nome King and defeat him, restoring Oz.
In the 1991 comic book Oz Squad, Dorothy, now an adult years after her childhood adventures, has returned to the United States with her friends the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. Unfortunately, some of their old enemies have returned as well, including the Wicked Witch of the East, now known as Rebecca Eastwitch.
During this era, Dorothy has a son with Ozma, who they name Ozzy.
Dorothy Gale was first seen in Jack of Fables, as one of the many Fable prisoners at the Golden Boughs Retirement Village. Dorothy's story is finally told in the Fables spin off Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, where it is revealed that the former innocent farm girl became a professional killer for hire, going by the code "Silverslipper". She went on to become Cinderella’s greatest nemesis.
It is revealed that Dorothy developed a taste for killing for hire after she, as seen in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, killed the Wicked Witch of the West in exchange for a trip back home. She had already killed the Wicked Witch of the East by accident when Dorothy's house landed on her, and was given a pair of magic silver slippers from the Good Witch of the North as a reward. When the Wizard heard that Dorothy had already taken care of one witch, he hired her to kill another. Dorothy took the job, and discovered that she liked it. After Glinda the Good Witch explained to her about the powers of the magic slippers, Dorothy used them to fly home to the Homelands version of Kansas. To her great despair, the slippers fell off over the Deadly Desert of Oz.
Dorothy and a few of her friends, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion and Toto made it into the mundy world in the year of 1943. They had fled from Oz years before, ahead of the invading armies of the Adversary, and had been on the run ever since. The Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion hid out on the Jersey pine barrens, while Dorothy sought out Fabletown to find them all a safe haven. However, Dorothy reacted strongly to the stated terms in the Fabletown compact that was presented to her, and stormed off in anger, refusing to let anyone "tie her hands like that". Meaning she didn't want to be a good person and enjoyed killing too much. She left her friends behind and walked off with Toto in her arms, feeling that the others were dead weight and never came back for them. Dorothy created a new life for herself as a killer for hire in the mundy world, and had no trouble finding work. She eventually crossed paths with Fabletown spy Cinderella, who ran into Dorothy during several of Cindy's secret missions for Fabletown, getting in the way for Dorothy's work. Dorothy pointed out every chance they had, that she and Cindy were exactly the same but that she was better than Cindy. Cindy, however, greatly denied that as she killed to protect Fables and humans as a patriotic act. She calls Dorothy a cold-blooded killer who did it for fun and was dangerous. Cindy was in her way, better than Dorothy due to Dorothy's ego and her constant want to prove she's better than Cindy. Cindy, honestly, didn't care nor did she feel she has to prove her worth to anyone.
It came down to a final confrontation, when Dorothy kidnapped Snow White and was planning to hold her hostage. The two had several violent encounters over the years, until Cindy almost finished Dorothy off in Switzerland in the year of 1986 by throwing Dorothy off a cliff. Dorothy, passed out, was found by Mr. Revise's people and was imprisoned at the Golden Boughs Retirement Village where she was thrown down Revise's memory hole. When she emerged, she had been stripped of most of her memories and was again the same innocent girl she had been so long ago.
The years passed, and Dorothy described them as living in a fog where she could not think straight. When the Golden Boughs was destroyed, the memory hole was destroyed with it, all of Dorothy's memories came back. As mentioned in a conversation between the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man during the final Jack of Fables story arc, Dorothy then struck off on her own. The Lions mentions that she got "all dark", and the Tin Man responds that Dorothy always was "kind of creepy".
As seen in Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, she began plotting her revenge on Cinderella, while also for the first time remembering where she actually lost the silver slippers. She returned to the Deadly Desert and managed to get the slippers back by hanging off an aircraft on a rope, careful not to touch the deadly sand. She recruited the Spoon Brigade from The Emerald City of Oz, Bungle, the Glass Cat and a Chiss to assist her in her plan for revenge.
When Mr. Kadabra is mysteriously killed by an unknown assailant, all signs points to Cinderella's archnemesis from the old. Cindy sets out to find her, aided by Ivan Durak of Shadow Fabletown, who claims that Dorothy has been hired to kill him. Eventually, both are abducted and taken to the Deadly Desert of Oz, where Dorothy is waiting. Before they reach their destination, both manage to escape in the middle of the desert. Cindy is feeling ready to face Dorothy, but Ivan drugs her, and she wakes up tied to a chair, Dorothy standing before her with Toto at her side. (Toto had previously been killed during the mass escape from the Golden Boughs, but, as Priscilla Page points out during the Jack of Fables story arc The (Nearly) Great Escape, "killed Fables often get magically replaced by new versions of the same Fables".)
In a surprising plot twist, it is revealed that Dorothy was Ivan all along (the real Ivan has been dead for a long time; most likely sometime between the 1980s or her escape from Mr. Revise), disguising herself using her magic silver slippers. Cindy manages to persuade Dorothy to untie her and fight her in a real battle, in which Cindy steals the silver slippers and defeats Dorothy by pushing her from a great height into the Deadly Desert, apparently killing her, though her body is not seen.
Dorothy has a brief appearance in the Fables story In Those Days, in a flashback that shows the death of Mr. Kadabra. As previously implied, it was Dorothy who killed him. Dorothy is also referred to in the story arc Cubs in Toyland.
In the 2004 comic book Dorothy, the title character is a jaded teenager who get swept with her car to the Land of Oz. There, she meets a robotic dog named Toto, as well as her other companions.
In Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls, Dorothy Gale is portrayed as a young woman in her late 20s. The comic depicts the sexually explicit adventures of three important female fictional characters of the late 19th and early 20th century: Alice Fairchild, Dorothy Gale, and Wendy Darling. They meet as adults in 1913 in and Austrian hotel describing and sharing with each other some of their erotic adventures.
While trapped in her house during a cyclone, she begins masturbating and experiences her first orgasm at the age of sixteen. She has sexual encounters with three farm hands whom she refers to as the Straw Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man. Throughout most of her stories, she refers to her aunt and uncle, whom she later admits were her step-mother and father, who discover her affairs. Her father takes her to New York City, under the pretense of seeking psychological help, but has sex with her repeatedly while they are in the city. Dorothy feels guilty of destroying her father's marriage, and leaves to travel the world.
In the 2007 Syfy miniseries Tin Man, a Dorothy Gale-type character (called "D.G.") was played by Zooey Deschanel, while Dorothy Gale herself (a separate character) makes a brief appearance, played by Grace Wheeler. D.G. travels to the land of "The Outer Zone" (or "O.Z." for short), where she finds out that she and her sister Azkadellia are descendants of Dorothy Gale through their mother, Queen Lavender Eyes. Ahamo, DG's father, tells DG that Dorothy Gale is her "greatest great grandmother." Dorothy Gale is legendary, and known as the first 'Slipper' (a title rather than an object) to slip to the Outer Zone. In the third episode of the miniseries, DG meets the original Dorothy Gale in a netherworld located within Gale's crypt, which is reminiscent of Gale's farm as depicted in the 1939 film.