Barley is the child of the Scarecrow from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels.
Barley is rather excited about his destiny, the knowledge that he'd potentially acquire, and the adventure that will come with it. Due to not in fact reading the very first book, however (as he wants it to be a "surprise"), he lacks a complete understanding as to what his destiny entails... well, outside of the whole "go on a journey in exchange for some brains" bit. Gun-ho for his story despite being open to change, Barley currently identifies as a Roybel.
Currently, Barley takes college science courses at a well-renown research university in Ever After. The rest of his classes are at Ever After High, making him a part-time student.
On first impression, one may notice that Barley express a set of three defined traits: curiosity, optimism, and a dollop of naivety. As an extroverted social butterfly who's (ironically) ignorant when it comes to social conventions, his excitability can be pretty overwhelming to his peers. He's not the most acute in reading the emotions of others, and woe behold passive-aggressive people are easily annoyed by cheery, talkative scarecrows from Oz.
Barley's lack of reserve and his limited life experience can be something of a setback despite his outgoing nature. In particular, he's prone to being literal-minded – he once assumed that Sigmund Freud's childhood wet-nurse was an actual mermaid, among other things – with awkward (and hilarious) results that come with his social blunders.
Despite this, the next Scarecrow has a quick wit and an eagerness to learn that goes tragically underestimated by the brain-having populace. On a social level, Barley can be brainless and, to put it frankly, a bit of a ditzs. Yet when it comes to book-smarts and the rest of his insights, he's as sharp and adept as a Tin Man's ax, even if he isn't the most organized student. Even outside of classes he'll be seen researching for fun by himself, but his true specialty is his interest in the science behind how various minds – be they organic or brought-to-life – seem to work.
Despite being prone to social faux passes, or because of his intrigue when it comes to the way people think, Barley is surprisingly perceptive of the fact that he's impressionable to a fault. He might appear oblivious, and seems clueless to the way he's being treated – shrugging off insensitive comments, being passive to an extent when others prod his stuffing, and other personal space invasions – but Barley is, in fact, painfully aware of how people see his physical brain-lacking as a measure of his intelligence, and is observant to how people in Ever After see his nonhuman-ness as an anomaly.
Initially, this made him all the more determined to receive the brains that play a key role in the Scarecrow's story arc – especially before he escaped the custody of the farmer who (unintentionally) discovered he had come to life. Before becoming a Roybel, the young scarecrow would have rather fulfilled his destiny than live under the consistent, lonely cycle of being a Munchkin man's 24/7 bird-scarer. Now that he's out of the crop-tender's grasp, Barley is growing confident in his abilities despite perceptions of those around him, and has become increasingly assertive about being respected as a person rather than being treated as an object. He's adamant about the rights of synthetic, brought-to-life peoples such as himself and others, and proving that he is just as deserving as organic, biological beings.
That said, his former sheltered farm life still makes him hesitant. After all, who wouldn't want to have a guaranteed Happily Ever After surrounded by friends, helping to settle disturbances in the land he calls home? Barley can be exceptionally heedless, and while Wonderland's restoration made him realize that his future isn't bound to his story as a whole, he wasn't always mindful of why his story-mates didn't want their written Happily Ever Afters. He cares deeply for his story-mates, though, and nonetheless has his mind set for a future of adventure and exploring the Land of Oz – whether or not he goes by the book.
Fortunately, Barley has been slowly yet surely amassing well-meaning friends who see him for the bright, retentive prodigy of a scarecrow that he is. He remains upbeat and candidly fascinated by the customs, culture, and the natural world around him.
Barley has stick-like calves and forearms sculpted from wooden stakes, with the rest of his legs, arms, and torso made from worn, Munchkin blue farm clothes (trousers and a long-sleeved blouse) fastened to the plank and are generously stuffed with straw. While taller than your average Munchkin, he's relatively short in height for a student his "age" at 5'2. When he isn't wearing any outer accessories, one can easily see the rope that is bound and tied around the joints of his arms, legs, waist, gloves, and the knot that keeps his head attached to the rest of his body.
His medium brown, earth-toned sack of a head is also stuffed and is stitched atop with coarse, straw blonde-brown hair styled into twists, and his face is painted on with a triangular brown nose and a lopsided smile with stitches serving as dimples. His button, navy blue eyes, while both the same size, are slightly mismatched, as while one of the blue buttons is bulbous and threaded through its back, the other is flat with notable outer stitching. Barley's hands and feet can be attached, detached, and replaced easily with straw to suit different styles, with wads of cotton to fill in small gaps such fingers, and rope to keep them from falling off.
Abilities, Hobbies, and Interests
The next Scarecrow likes to collects pins. He's especially fond of safety pins, although pin-able earrings, brooches, necklace hooks, and sewing pins are also nice. Don't as why, Barley just likes pins.
He fastens them onto his clothes, accessories, and himself when they're not piled up in a wooden jewelry box in his room. Barley loves to add beads, wrapped strings, and other handicraft materials to the "pins" he buys/finds on the floor, often incorporating them in his...
Macramé Creations, Hemp Jewelry, Friendship Bracelets, and Other Handicrafts
Along with amassing the various "shinies" that he finds (read: anything pin-like, sparkly, and/or broken), Barley likes to make homemade jewelry in his spare time and incorporates his finds into the crafts that me makes. Especially anything with braids and knots, using macramé techniques he's come across while flipping through craft books found inside the sheds owned by Munchkin farmers.
And through the Mirror Net, of course. He prefers making gifts over buying them for people (often incorporating found objects, of the DIY variety), and likes to add tin charms made by the Tin Woodman's daughter to his creations.
Speaking of reading up on handicrafts...
Barley is an adamant bibliophile, especially for nonfiction books of any sort. He's constantly flipping through pages at nighttime under the bedcovers (as so not to wake up his rather grumpy roommate with 2 AM conversations; because Barley's an object, he doesn't need sleep), and when not socializing
and accidentally bothering friends/acquaintances and playing/working outside, he's either reading inside farmer sheds in Oz or spending time inside the campus lifairy.
Most of the time, he's flipping through the following book types: Guinness world records, encyclopedias, random fact compilations, craft books/catalogues, science reads (especially those with bio and psych as subjects), and biographies on famous people (usually those featured in the books he likes to read about). His interest in the sciences in particular has lead to him having a deep passion for...
Biology and Psychology
Both out of his own curiosity and due to time spent with Death's godchild, Barley is very, very interested about how, whether mortal or magic, people and living creatures work – both physically and on a psychological level.
He heavily believes in the synthesis of magic and science in both fields, especially as someone brought to life via magic himself. Because of this, Barley has more than a few questions about brought-to-life people such as scarecrows, patchworks, and living puppets, including but not limited to:
- What are the components of life-giving spells and brews that give synthetic non-humans sentience in the first place?
Fantasy-based racism aside,why do so many stories featuring enchanted beings focus on their apparent lack of a conscience, logical thought, and capacity for emotions? Even when he and other living objects have most if not all of these "human" aspects?
- What are the diagnostic differences between organic and synthetic-made beings when it comes to learning disabilities, mental illness, and other neurodivergencies? Especially when the latter, unlike humans, aren't born as infants with specific time requirements for neurotypical development?
- What is it about the phrases weaugh, teaugh, and peaugh that causes the Powder of Life to work?
Studies on (in)animate object-persons are a relatively new, even by Ozian scientists more familiar with such people. As oblivious as he might seem, Barley strives to be the driving force that helps to a.) answer these questions for himself and others, and b.) dismantle prejudice and stereotypes that doubt the sentience of people who've been synthetically brought to life.
Fairy Tale: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (and succeeding books)
We all know the tale, or at least so it seems: A little girl from Kansas gets swept away to a magical land and goes to seek the titular Wizard, meeting three quirky companions while defeating not one, but two Wicked Witches all by accident. Of course, including plenty of differences between the books and a certain renown film, there is plenty more to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz than Jade Encrusted Bugs cares to describe.
Because the creator of Barley assumes that the readers care more about gangly stuffed teenagers than being infodumped, the Scarecrow's character shall be summed up in a rudimentary nutshell:
after getting his
fake brains, he's temporarily crowned as the ruler of the Emerald City and Oz near the end of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, as mentioned at the beginning of the article. In The Marvelous Land of Oz, General Jinjur and her Army of Revolt kicks his straw butt off the throne because she's a strong, independent Ozian who's sick and tired of all these male rulers, insert-stuff-here, yada-yada, more filler, and as also mentioned, he becomes Princess Ozma's third in command, among many more details that would take a whole page and more if Bug were ever to accurately sum everything up.
For everyone else's convenience, it's better to read the original Scarecrow's wikipedia page for those interested.
How Barley Ties Into It
While one would think that the Scarecrow of Oz would build his own child, he for a time was quite skeptical of the idea of passed-down legacies – after all, it's easy to be critical about fate and destiny when someone like him has one of the brightest minds in Oz. But he was expected to create a heir, and not wanting to make a deal with the Pipt family (understandably, as Margolotte wouldn't have been pleased with someone using the Powder on someone who wasn't going to be used a servant) began the painstaking process of gathering the ingredients to create The Powder of Life.
The process was tedious, and before long Ozian legacies began attending high school in both Oz and in the land of Ever After. Fed up with Scarecrow taking his sweet time, a rich Munchkin farmer decided to take things into his own hands. After bartering with Dr. Pipt to obtain the Power of Life, the farmer used it on a scarecrow that he’d helped to construct with the crop-tender who owned the cornfield nearby.
Said cornfield-owner meant for the aforementioned scarecrow to be used to scare the crows targeting the field in question, but it wasn’t until a week later that the crop-tender noticed the (presumed inanimate) life-form struggling to slip out of the post that ‘it’ was tied to.
Of course, the now living scarecrow wasn't too fond of being called an ‘it’, and that was exactly how Barley came to be.
Opinion On Destiny
For background context, Barley went from being tied against a post to attending his first year of high school in the span of three weeks. Being alive for nearly a month, Barley didn't have time to prepare for the change.
Elective slots were filled with rigorous tutors and study-halls. The rest of his courses were the "dumb kid classes", housing students who hadn't caught up from last year. Even then his grades were mostly C's (with some D's here and there). While the work he handed in was phenomenal once he understood the subject, Barley struggled with time management and executive functioning, handing in late (and often unfinished) work. It didn't help that "the cows ate my homework" was a legitimate excuse between breaks, as the crop-tender only ever let him study in the barn and spare sheds.
By the time he started summer school, Barley felt brainless. For the longest time, the scarecrow thought that acquiring brains would A.) make him "smarter" academically, B.) bolster his self-worth, and C.) ensure that maybe, just maybe he was meant to do more than scaring crows and laborious farm work. Since he's never had a strong opinion on destinies that weren't tied to his, his initial Royal stance was more personal than anything.
But as another school year comes and goes, Barley has been starting to learn that he's always had the potential to be a bright kid; the Destiny system simply made him doubt himself. Though they had already gotten better at the start of second year, Barley's grades have skyrocketed ever since Scarecrow had took away the maize-farmer's custody of him. Because of the closure with Cora and the epiphany that came after, this is the reason why he's current a Roybel.
Barley wears a plaid, blue and brown dress-tunic with draping sleeves. It ties in the front with pastel turquoise lace and a matching ruffled trimming borders the ensemble. The sleeves are also lined with a yellow brick road motif, which fittingly matches the cornfield designs that line up horizontally above the the trimming of his 'skirt'. To cover the knot of his neck, he wraps it around with a bright green scarf.
His dark viridian gloves match the length of his forearms, and his pointed gray-green boots reach up to his spindly mid-calves. Gloves and legs both are tied down and secured with deep blue ribbons.
Though Barley doesn't wear it a whole lot, he also has a Munchkin blue hat that matches the base of his stuffed body, a dark green ribbon tied just above the brim. When he isn't wearing any head-covers (which is most of the time), one will notice a set of beads strung along in the twists of his asymmetrically parted hair. While the ones to his left are black, the five beads strung to the right are intentionally colored; light blue for Munchkinland, red for Quadling Country, purple for Gillikin Country, yellow for Winkie Country, and emerald green for the Emerald City.
Fanfics, Journal Entrees and Other Appearances
Pinterest aesthetic: ayyyyyyyyyy
Notes and Trivia
- Barley is agender, and is chill with all pronouns except for "it/it's" and "she/her". That said, the young scarecrow tends to lean towards "he/him" the most.
- Like the Scarecrow before him, Barley doesn't tire physically as humans would and cannot feel physical pain. Although he doesn't realize it, being a magically reincarnated scarecrow and having non-human immunity is his actual magic touch.
- Also similar to him, he can see fairly well in at night, or at least better better than the average human. That said, due to the crow's on the farmer's land having a strong bias against scarecrows, they would often scare him by making noises at night, causing the poor scarecrow to have a fear of the dark (or at the very least, what lurks within it).
- Jade Encrusted Bugs wasn't exactly sure at first whether to make him look like an EAH-styled human with cloth-like skin or make him cartoonishly humanoid, so she may or may not have had Hoodude from Monster High in mind as one of Barley's inspirations.