What is the deeper meaning behind the Good Witch of the North not telling Dorothy of the power that the ruby slippers held all along?

  • 1
    The story has to happen...can‘t have Dorthy just teleporting everywhere. May 8, 2020 at 7:59
  • 3
    I think while there might not be a good in-universe answer methodologically-speaking (without looking closer at the books), the obvious reason is because Dorothy was meant to discover or give them power herself. This is a coming of age story and the shoes themselves are metaphorical to realizing that you need to be put in another person's shoes or be placed in a new role (alternate reality or dream) to learn how much you actually take for granted and love your life/family/home. May 8, 2020 at 17:49
  • @morbo I don't think they allow "teleporting everywhere". They allow Dorothy to go So, likely how Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean can't just think of a place and have the compass point there, Dorothy can't just think of a place and teleport there. Oct 31, 2020 at 15:47
  • @Acccumulation you need to think of my statement in the similar fashion to the eagles of LotR...having ex-machina level (magic) items at the very beginning of your story, when its clear what their power is, (Dorthy is quite literally told, to just think and click her heels) or you can just FLY across the planet, when the inherent problem of the the story or to overcome great distances, is tribulations/metaphorical growing up, whatever is simply bad and it won‘t allow the story to happen. Oct 31, 2020 at 15:53

2 Answers 2


Given that the entire adventure was a dream, the magic of the shoes was merely a subconscious exit from the dream.

Remember, Glenda did not know the power of the slippers. She merely said they must be powerful if the Wicked Witch of the West wanted them so badly. Even the WWotW didn't know their full power, it wasn't until she got shocked by them that she realized they couldn't be removed until the wearer was dead.

It's possible Glenda later learned of their ability to teleport the user, although the reality is that it really didn't matter. Essentially, this is a case of "Why not just fly the eagles into Mordor?"; There'd be no point to the story if that happened.

  • 1
    A rabbit in a waistcoat ran past, muttering about being late. "Meh!" said Alice & went in for tea. The End.
    – Tetsujin
    May 8, 2020 at 13:44
  • @Johnny Bones. In the case of the eagles in LOTR, 1), they could be corrupted by the ring on the journey and take it just as much as anyone could. 2) They couldn't fly that far without resting several times where they might be attacked 3) most volcanoes don't have an open tunnel down to the magma chamber except while they are erupting too dangerously to approach. And 4) Sauron would likely detect the eagles coming with THE RING and send the Nazgul to intercept, realize that the plan was to destroy THE RING, and start guarding Mount Doom, thus becoming undefeatable. May 8, 2020 at 17:27
  • @M.A.Golding - But, like, surely they could have gotten them most of the way there. As for corrupting a Great Eagle, what do they care about such trivial matters? May 8, 2020 at 19:55
  • @Johnny_Bones: The notion that Glinda was initially unaware of the power of the slippers, and that she learned of their powers of teleportation only later, is flatly contradicted by the film's dialogue. See my answer for further details.
    – Psychonaut
    Oct 29, 2020 at 9:32
  • @Johnny_Bones Incidentally, you're also mistaken about the Wicked Witch of the West. She also knew all along that the slippers couldn't be removed while Dorothy was still alive, but after getting shocked admits to Dorothy that she had temporarily forgotten about this.
    – Psychonaut
    Oct 29, 2020 at 9:32

There is no need to look for a "deeper meaning" to Glinda waiting to tell Dorothy about the ruby slippers' power, because she explains the meaning herself, explicitly and repeatedly, at the end of the movie (bolding mine):

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?

Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.

Dorothy: I have?

Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?

Glinda: Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

Tin Man: What have you learned, Dorothy?

Dorothy: Well, I think that it—that it wasn't enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em. And it's that if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with. Is that right?

Glinda: That's all it is.

Scarecrow: But that's so easy! I should've thought of it for you.

Tin Man: I should've felt it in my heart.

Glinda: No, she had to find it out for herself.

So it's clear that Glinda knew about the slippers' power all along, but first wanted to Dorothy to understand why she wanted to go home, not just how to go home. Glinda clearly felt that the best way of bringing Dorothy to such an understanding was to allow her to experience the trials, tribulations, and friendships of a sojourn in Oz.

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