Template:Infobox character Liir (pronounced "leer") is a supporting character in Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and the protagonist of its sequel, Son of a Witch. In the latter novel, he uses the names "Liir Thropp" and "Liir Ko."
The two novels contain revisionist portrayals of the Land of Oz created by L. Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels. Liir's paternity is in doubt throughout both novels, but it is strongly suggested that he is the son of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and her lover Fiyero (the narrator in Wicked refers to Liir as "Fiyero's bastard son" and to Fiyero's children as his half-siblings, apparently confirming at least that parentage). In Wicked, Elphaba claims not to know whether Liir is her son, and aside from occasional moments of warmth, does not treat him as such; however, it shoulg be noted that Elphaba was not a particularly affectionate person. In an interview, author Gregory Maguire describes Liir as "Elphaba's son".
In Wicked, Liir accompanies Elphaba from the mauntery (nunnery) where she hides after Fiyero's death. He is a silent and sullen child, and Elphaba appears largely indifferent to him, though she later realizes she has motherly love for him, which he never notices. Liir travels with Elphaba to Fiyero's family home, Kiamo Ko. There, he attempts to befriend Fiyero's children, Irji, Manek and Nor. Irji and Manek, the boys, torture Liir, but Nor befriends him, after a fashion. When the Wizard sends a garrison of soldiers to the neighboring town, Liir, seeking a male role model, becomes attached to their leader, Commander Cherrystone. He is shocked when Cherrystone carries out his orders to abduct Fiyero's children, wife, and sisters-in-law. When Dorothy and her party arrive from the Emerald City, Liir becomes infatuated with her. He is not present when Dorothy accidentally kills Elphaba.
In Son of a Witch
Son of a Witch tells of Liir's life after Elphaba's death. He accompanies Dorothy and her friends on their journey to the Emerald City. On the way, they encounter the semi-nomadic Scrow and their leader, Princess Nastoya, an ancient Elephant who asks for Liir's help in breaking the enchantment which disguises her as a human, in exchange for information about Nor. In the Emerald City, Liir is refused an audience with the Wizard. The Scarecrow advises Liir on how to survive the political turmoil after the Wizard's departure. Glinda assists him in gaining access to Southstairs, a political prison beneath the Emerald City where Liir believes Nor may be held; however, he discovers that Nor has already escaped. Eventually, Liir joins the Home Guard and is posted to the Quadling Country, until he is ordered to burn a native village. He carries out his orders, but then deserts in self-disgust and returns to Kiamo Ko.
At Kiamo Ko, Liir encounters a dying Swan on her way to a Conference of Birds. The Birds are being oppressed by dragons raised by Oz's pious new Emperor (in reality Elphaba's younger brother Shell, although this is not revealed until late in the novel). Liir decides to take the Swan's place at the conference, but while flying there on Elphaba's broom, he is attacked by dragons, knocked from the sky and left for dead; the dragons take the broom as a spoil. He is found by a party of travelers led by Oatsie Manglehand, who takes him to the mauntery of St. Glinda, where readers first met Liir in Wicked. At the mauntery, a Quadling novice named Candle, an accomplished musician, nurses Liir back to health. (She also sleeps with him while he is comatose, horrifying Liir when she announces later that she is pregnant.) On the advice of the ancient maunt Mother Yackle, Candle removes Liir to a farmhouse some distance away.
When he has fully recovered, Liir returns to the Emerald City, where he joins up with dragon trainer Trism bon Cavalish to destroy the dragons (reclaiming the broomstick while doing so). Liir and Trism flee the Emerald City, and while on the run the two become lovers, having sex in an inn whilst hiding from soldiers. They take refuge at the mauntery, where the maunts protect them from a pursuing Home Guard regiment. Liir escapes on Elphaba's broom, and Trism leaves disguised as Glinda's manservant. Liir rejoins the Conference of Birds, and leads them in a display of defiance against the Emperor. He returns to Candle, who is heavily pregnant, and resentful of Liir, the newly arrived Scrow, and of Trism, who reached the farm before Liir, but left apparently unable to convince Candle to flee for her safety. The Scrow have encamped near the farmhouse, and Liir convinces Candle to use her music to help the dying Princess Nastoya. Candle's music returns Nastoya to her true form, and she dies. Liir accompanies the Scrow on their return to the grasslands, and when he comes back Candle has gone, abandoning her newborn child; the baby girl is green, apparently confirming once and for all that Liir is indeed Elphaba's son.
In Son of a Witch, Liir searches for a sense of identity. Uncertain of his parentage, he drifts from place to place, following vague missions with little commitment. Eventually he does become an effective leader, although his sense of loneliness never truly abates. Unlike his mother, who valued solitude, Liir tries to find meaning for himself by interacting with other people — from following Dorothy, to curing Princess Nastoya, to rescuing Nor, even joining the army. He finds strength in both Candle and Trism, and although he hopes to make things work with either of them, the end finds both his lovers missing and Liir himself alone again.
- Merritt, Byron; Interview with Gregory Maguire (2004-11-01). An interview with wizard-like author Gregory Maguire. fwomp.com. Retrieved on 2007-01-15.