Sunday, September 18, 2011


I'm sure many fellow Witches are interested to see if the new Wizard of Oz prequel will be any good. It'll be called Oz: The Great and Powerful. James Franco is playing Oz, and the two wicked witches will be played by Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz, so there's that. The film makers gave the two witches new names, Theodora and Evanora. And as I read that I thought, "Um...okay. Was that really the best they could come up with?"

Don't get me wrong, they're both perfectly lovely names. They're just rather ordinary. After the imaginative names of the Wicked world, Theodora and Evanora are kind of a let down. And, I'm sorry, but my favorite green girl will always be Elphaba. But seeing as they're going to have some Witchy cred really soon, I decided to profile Theodora.

Theodora (pronounced "thee-oh-DOOR-ah" or "thee-oh-DAWR-ah") is the feminine form of Theodore, a Greek name meaning "gift of God." The name doesn't necessarily refer to the Christian God, it could mean any god. However, this name does have a slight Christian aftertaste because of it's association with many Byzantine Empresses. The most famous is Empress Theodora, wife to Emperor Justinian I, who is a saint in the Orthodox Church. She is arguably the most influential woman in the history of the Roman Empire.

Theodora was the daughter of a bear trainer and an actress in Greece. When her father died, she was forced to help support the family as an actress as well (being an actress at the time meant that you had to preform the services of a prostitute as well). After traveling through North Africa she eventually gave up this lifestyle to become a wool spinner. Her beauty and wit attracted Justinian, so he repealed the law forbidding government officials from marrying actresses so that he could be with her. So she did pretty well for herself, and she was able to secure good marriages for her sister and niece as well. They were both crowned, and Theodora took an active part in government affairs. She saved Justinian's reign during the Nika Riots, and both rebuilt Constantinople into the most beautiful city the world had seen for ages.

In America, Theodora has a bit of an antique vibe. It peaked in the 1920s at #574 and slipped out of the charts in the 1950s. It's presidential masculine variant Theodore has received far more attention. It has always appeared in the Top 1,000. It peaked the 1900s at #38, and now hangs out at #263. Surprisingly, Theodora is the name of Keith Richard's daughter. Maybe he's ahead of the curb.

Theodora is a good, strong Wicca-lite name. It would be nice to see this more on the playground. I like it way more for real witchlets than for fictional Ozian witches.


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