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Azkadellia the Sorceress is a character in the 2007 television miniseries Tin Man, played by Kathleen Robertson and Alexia Fast (as Young Azkadellia). The series is a re-imagining of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and includes characters that are loosely based on counterparts in Baum's original book.

HistoryEdit

As central villain of the series, Azkadellia lives bonded to an analogue of the Wicked Witch of the West in the original book and its film adaptation(though she could also be an allusion to the Wicked Witch of the East, as she is beautiful and the Munchkins that imprison DG and Glitch refer to Azkadellia's regime as "The Eastern Guild"). A powerful enchantress who usurped the throne of her mother, Lavender Eyes, she rules the Outer Zone (O.Z.) with an iron fist. Her totalitarian rule is enforced by her Longcoat troops, who are sent to murder those who oppose her. In Tin Man, she is seeking the Emerald of the Eclipse, a magical gem whose powers she plans to harness to consolidate her rule. When she learns of the existence of DG, a girl on the "other side" (Earth) who is prophesied to stand in her way, she sends her general and a contingent of Longcoats to go there via a "travel storm" (magical tornado) and kill her. Instead DG is brought to the O.Z. by the storm and begins to seek her adoptive parents.

Azkadellia reveals that she is the older sister of DG, and tells her that they were dear friends as children. Both gifted in magic, they believed that nothing could hurt them if they stayed together. In flashbacks, it is revealed that Az went spelunking with DG in the Lake Country and was possessed by an old witch (played by Karin Konoval) who had been magically imprisoned in a cave for many years, and first posed as a young girl to attract "Az" and DG to her. Later, she attacked DG and attempted to kill her; Lavender Eyes had to exhaust her magical power in order to revive DG.

At the conclusion of the miniseries, Azkadellia is redeemed by DG's intervention. DG is able to break her free of the influence of the Wicked Witch who has possessed her since childhood, as her companions reverse the device that Azkadellia has been using in her attempt to bring permanent darkness to the O.Z. The witch is melted, leaving Az free.

AbilitiesEdit

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Eight markings adorn Azkadellia's upper chest and shoulders, one for each of her surviving mobats (winged monkeys) after Zora is killed.

As an adult, Azkadellia bears several markings on her upper chest and shoulders, similar to the one that appeared on her back after her possession. She is able to animate them as mobats (meter-tall winged monkeys that are computer-animated in the series) and send them on errands. While Azkadellia's familiars are abroad, their images on her body disappear. She is seen to have eight such markings left across her chest, with the center one missing, after the leader, Zora, is shot by Cain (the "Tin Man", one of DG's companions).

Among her other formidable powers of dark sorcery are the ability to drain life force mouth-to-mouth, which she employs against General Lonot when DG escapes him and enters the O.Z., and later against the Mystic Man, a former leader of Central City, for his resistance.

Azkadellia exhibits great magical power which her mother identifies as hereditary, although the Mystic Man claims that DG is more powerful. She is able to teleport herself at will to and from the islet where her mother is imprisoned, and once shrinks her father to fit in the palm of her hand. She uses many mystical artifacts, from a globe containing a simulacrum of her mother's prison to discs that record sound and images. Some of these artifacts, particularly the Sun Seeder machine built by the inventor Ambrose (Glitch) and the apparatus used to connect his brain to it, are depicted as quasi-technological in the steampunk visual style.

Az enjoyed a special magical rapport with her little sister DG. As a pre-teen girl, she was able to help DG control a spinning doll and calm a wild bear who charges them. This rapport endures through their adulthood.

RelationshipsEdit

In addition to her Longcoat army, Azkadellia has many henchmen, who address her as Sorceress. She is able to command and converse with her mobats, at least one of which is named: the leader, Zora[1]. She has also enslaved several members of the race of Viewers, to which DG's companion Raw belongs. Viewers are anthropomorphic empaths that Azkadellia employs as seers. She has similarly victimized characters such as Ambrose (later known as "Glitch", the Scarecrow analogue of the story), an inventor and advisor to her mother, whose brain she had removed and uses as a wetware controller.

Azkadellia keeps her underlings under constant threat of reprisal. General Lonot, referred to by Lavender Eyes as the "most loyal friend" of the royal family, is shown in a flashback to have defected to Azkadellia during her takeover. Early in the series, Azkadellia shows no compunction about killing Lonot for his incompetence, promoting another henchman named Zero to replace him. She recruits DG's tutor, the shapeshifting magician "Toto", by keeping him imprisoned for 15 years and offering him freedom in exchange for his defection. She controls the Mystic Man by means of his addiction to the inhalants she provides him with.

As usurper of the O.Z. from her mother, its former queen, Azkadellia has assumed dominion over it. Fugitives from her tyrannical rule, including her own father, have gone underground, seeking refuge in places such as the Realm of the Unwanted. Her mother is kept permanently imprisoned and allowed to nurse a glimmer of hope, so that, as Azkadellia vows, one day she can watch that hope die. She views her father Ahamo, and initially her sister, with contempt.

As children, Azkadellia and her sister were inseparable.[2] Even when D.G. charged headlong into danger, Az would follow, merely complaining that "your adventures have a way of getting me into trouble." In the third and final part of the miniseries, DG is revealed to be a descendant of Dorothy Gale, of whom Azkadellia is thus also apparently a distant descendant.

The spectre of the evil witch who possesses Azkadellia is depicted as a wholly separate personality, as she converses with Az at the beginning of the third and final part of the miniseries and is physically separated from Az at its conclusion.

Portrayal and Critical ReceptionEdit

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Azkadellia is possessed by the spirit of an evil witch (Karin Konoval).

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Young Azkadellia (Alexia Fast), about to be overtaken by the witch.

Azkadellia's character fills a role in the Tin Man miniseries that is roughly analogous to that of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz[3]. However, she is shown to be possessed by a separate character called "the Evil Witch of the Dark" in Tin Man, which is implied to have occurred many years after Dorothy Gale first came to Oz. The original Wicked Witch was portrayed by Margaret Hamilton in the 1939 film. It is not specified whether the evil witch who possesses Azkadellia is related to that witch, but the inscription in the cave and the old woman's words indicate that she has been trapped there for many years, and there is a visual resemblance between the witches.

Robertson herself has said that she deliberately portrayed Azkadellia as a quiet menace, self-restrained rather than gregarious.[4] "It's a very daunting prospect when you're asked to play one of the most iconic film villainesses in history," the actress said. "As opposed to playing Azkadellia archetypal and loud, I played her internal and psychological. She's narcissistic. She has every personality disorder that you can figure."[5] Robertson explains that conceptually, she treated Azkadellia as a character with multiple personality disorder. "Our Wicked Witch is a little bit different than that in the book, but we think she's a touch more evil and diabolical," said Michael O'Connor, the producer of Tin Man.[6]

According to Robertson, Michael Joy, the production designer of Tin Man, and Neal McDonough, who plays the titular "Tin Man" character, the personality of Azkadellia informs the scenic design of her dominion, which extends throughout the O.Z., and the look and feel of her minions, from the costuming of Longcoats to Azkadellia's own costumes and the appearance of the mobats. "Azkadellia is in love with power - drugged by power. Everything is in the image of that power," said Joy, who describes the costumes of the Longcoats as "stormtrooper-meets-leather bar" (though the coats' design more closely resembles the Nazi SS uniform) and the interior decor of Azkadellia's palace as "`futuristic for 1930's' fascist realist".[7]

Some critics have praised Robertson's portrayal of Azkadellia as "delightfully campy"[8].

ReferencesEdit


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