Slytherin Greatness: A Character Profile on Galinda “Glinda” Arduenna Upland

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Go ahead, call me a slacker. The last time I did a post for this series was two months ago. And it was the only post I’ve done for this series. But today I’m here to rectify that. No non-Harry Potter character should go un-Sorted.


Character
Galinda “Glinda” Arduenna Upland

Glinda


Source
Wicked (Broadway show incarnation)

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Why Galinda “Glinda” Arduenna Upland is a Slytherin

Everyone and their mother has heard of Glinda the Good. She sends Dorothy on her way to the Wizard and remains entirely unhelpful the entire time. The Broadway hit’s version (I’m not even going to get into Maguire’s version— too much content) is a little more complex than that. She’s shrewd and knows just how to play to the crowd. She’s ambitious as hell and values her image. At her worst, she is remarkably ruthless. One thing’s for sure, though: you do not want to get on her bad side.

Glinda knows the value in being popular. As far as she’s concerned, popular people get shit done. She’s cultivated a very likable identity, bubbly and fashionable. However, this isn’t mere vanity; in the song “Popular,” she tells Elphaba that successful leaders are successful because they’re popular. She gets engaged to Fiyero in Act II because she knows a “happy ending” will distract people from Elphaba. She plays the martyr when she knows it’ll gain her sympathy over her rival. The way she refers to the masses as her “fellow Ozians” also creates the illusion that she is on the same level as them, rather than an important government figure. When Fiyero is impressed by Elphaba’s support of Dr. Dillamond and the Animals, Glinda declares she will now go by Glinda as opposed to Galinda (her birth name) in a show of support because that is what Dr. Dillamond called her. It’s a shallow gesture, but it makes her look good. This is why she becomes dubbed “Glinda the Good;” she’s so likable and non-confrontational (especially compared the Elphaba, the supposed Wicked Witch of the West) that she seems good by comparison.

Glinda has no qualms about sacrificing her morals to get ahead. While she is sympathetic to Elphaba’s cause, she chooses to make nice with the Wizard to get a good position in his Court. She either sells the party line that Elphaba is wicked or glosses over it and redirects the conversation. She also marches right up to Madame Morrible to demand she be added to her magic course. Glinda will not settle for less and doesn’t care who she steps on to get to the top.

Sometimes Glinda takes things too far. This is when her ruthless side comes out. After Fiyero decides to go with Elphaba, Glinda tells Moribble that the way to trap Elphaba would be to go after her sister. Glinda suggests faking something (though Morrible takes this a step farther, thus the house incident), so she’s not totally heartless. She also doesn’t realize they intend to kill Elphaba. Once she discovers that, she feels awful. She goes right to Elphaba to try and help her escape (thus showing a bit of that Slytherin brand of loyalty). She ultimately fails, but then she stiffens her upper lip to put on a show for the citizens of Oz. A real method actor.

While the original Glinda the Good was sugar sweet and not much more, the Glinda of Wicked is sharp-witted and clever. She knows how to get you on her side and never gives up. Though she loves with all her heart, she’s not afraid to cut a bitch. Glinda is one witch you don’t want to mess with.

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