A young woman named Galinda is riding on a train for the first time. She's on her way to begin college in the city of Shiz.
And if Galinda sounds familiar, it's because at some point she's going to become Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. We're intrigued.
Galinda's nanny, called Ama Clutch, stepped on a nail (ouch) and couldn't accompany Galinda to Shiz, so Galinda is alone and is pretty nervous.
She tries to pass herself off as sophisticated and worldly, but she's really just a seventeen-year-old who has never been away from home.
Sitting in her train compartment is a goat, or a Goat rather. Animals (with a capital "A") can talk in Oz, which is a total shout-out to The Chronicles of Narnia. Perhaps Mr. Tumnus will make a cameo.
The Goat is a professor at Shiz University named Dr. Dillamond. He mispronounces Galinda's name, calling her Glinda.
The two begin discussing the Wizard's "Banns" on Animals. Galinda doesn't care, but Dr. Dillamond is, not surprisingly, upset about the attack on his civil rights.
History lesson time! Throughout this book we get a lot of references to how the Wizard restricts Animals' rights. These restrictions allude to the Nuremberg Laws that the Nazi regime passed against Jews in the 1930s. Just like in Nazi Germany, the laws targeting a minority group (Animals) become more and more restrictive. Want to read more about laws in Nazi Germany? Check out this article on the US Holocaust Memorial Museum's website.
Galinda finds politics dull. She finally escapes her Debbie Downer travel companion and makes her way to Crage Hall, which is the women's college at Shiz.
Just so you know, Shiz is modeled after British schools like Oxford and Cambridge, which are made up of a number of separate "colleges."
Fun fact about Galinda: "the appreciation of architecture was Galinda's private passion" (188.8.131.52). Good to know. Also, Galinda might be rather superficial.
The Headmistress of Hogwarts, er, Crage Hall, is named Madame Morrible. With a name like that, we're sure she'll turn out to be super friendly and sweet.
The other Amas, or nannies, are mingling and finding roommates for their charges. Crage Hall is clearly all about social standing.
Galinda, who is sans Ama Clutch, loses out in the roommate lottery.
A sneering and snotty Madame Morrible, who totally lives up to the connotations (implied meanings) of her name, nearly sticks Galinda in a "common" dormitory, but Galinda boldly refuses to go there:
"You strike me as impertinent, Miss Galinda," she said mildly.
"I have not yet struck you, Madame Morrible." Galinda delivered the daring line with her sweetest smile.
Madame Morrible chose to laugh, thank Lurline! (184.108.40.206-44)
So Morrible assigns Galinda to room with a nice young green woman named Elphaba.
Impressed with her spunk, Morrible asks Galinda to come by her office later to further discuss the roommate situation.