The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

by

Norton Juster

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King Azaz the Unabridged Character Analysis

Azaz is the king of Dictionopolis and the Mathemagician’s brother. He’s a huge man with a long beard, and he wears robes embroidered with the alphabet. As the king of the kingdom of words, King Azaz fully believes that words and language are far more important than numbers. This forms the basis of his ongoing feud with his brother, the Mathemagician (who believes numbers are superior). Years before the novel begins, this feud led King Azaz to agree to imprison the princesses Rhyme and Reason in the Castle in the Air—though in the present, Azaz laments that he ever agreed to this and suggests it’d be better if the princesses return. He’s more than happy to let Milo lead the rescue mission, though he does send Milo with a gift: all the words Azaz knows, which Milo can use to ask and answer any question he needs to. King Azaz and the armies of Dictionopolis arrive to lead the final fight against the demons who live in the Mountains of Ignorance. He mostly makes up with the Mathemagician, though their argument appears likely to continue long after the novel’s close.

King Azaz the Unabridged Quotes in The Phantom Tollbooth

The The Phantom Tollbooth quotes below are all either spoken by King Azaz the Unabridged or refer to King Azaz the Unabridged. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bullseye Books edition of The Phantom Tollbooth published in 1988.
Chapter 3. Welcome to Dictionopolis Quotes

“When they began to count all the time that was available, (…) it seemed as if there was much more than could ever be used. ‘If there’s so much of it, it couldn’t be very valuable,’ was the general opinion, and it soon fell into disrepute. People wasted it and even gave it away. Then we were given the job of seeing that no one wasted time again,” he said, sitting up proudly. “It’s hard work but a noble calling. For you see”—and now he was standing on the seat, one foot on the windshield, shouting with his arms outstretched—“it is our most valuable possession, more precious than diamonds. It marches on, and tide wait for no man, and—”

Related Characters: Tock (speaker), Milo, King Azaz the Unabridged, The Mathemagician
Related Symbols: Time/Tock’s Alarm Clock
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5. Short Shrift Quotes

“That was all many years ago,” she continued; “but they never appointed a new Which, and that explains why today people use as many words as they can and think themselves very wise for doing so. For always remember that while it is wrong to use too few, it is often far worse to use too many.”

Related Characters: Faintly Macabre (speaker), Milo, Tock, King Azaz the Unabridged
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6. Faintly Macabre’s Story Quotes

“‘Words and numbers are of equal value for, in the cloak of knowledge, one is warp and the other woof. It is no more important to count the sands than it is to name the stars. Therefore, let both kingdoms live in peace.’”

“Everyone was pleased with the verdict. Everyone, that is, but the brothers, who were beside themselves with anger.

“‘What good are these girls if they cannot settle an argument in someone’s favor?’ they growled, since both were more interested in their own advantage than in the truth.”

Related Characters: Faintly Macabre (speaker), Princess of Pure Reason (speaker), Princess of Sweet Rhyme (speaker), King Azaz the Unabridged (speaker), The Mathemagician (speaker), Milo, Tock
Related Symbols: The Castle in the Air
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8. The Humbug Volunteers Quotes

“In this box are all the words I know,” he said. “Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is use them well and in the right places.”

Related Characters: King Azaz the Unabridged (speaker), Milo, Tock, The Humbug
Related Symbols: Gifts
Page Number: 98-99
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12. The Silent Valley Quotes

“It doesn’t make me happy to hold back the sounds,” she began softly, “for if we listen to them carefully they can sometimes tell us things far better than words.”

“But if that is so,” asked Milo—and he had no doubt that it was—“shouldn’t you release them?”

“NEVER!” she cried. “They just use them to make horrible noises which are ugly to see and worse to hear. I leave all that to Dr. Dischord and that awful, awful DYNNE.”

“But some noises are good sounds, aren’t they?” he insisted.

“That may be true,” she replied stubbornly, “but if they won’t make the sounds that I like, they won’t make any.”

Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13. Unfortunate Conclusions Quotes

“But it’s all my fault. For you can’t improve sound by having only silence. The problem is to use each at the proper time.”

Related Symbols: The Castle in the Air
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15. This Way to Infinity Quotes

“How did you do that?” gasped Milo.

“There’s nothing to it,” they all said in chorus, “if you have a magic staff.” Then six of them canceled themselves out and simply disappeared.

“But it’s only a big pencil,” the Humbug objected, tapping at it with his cane.

“True enough,” agreed the Mathemagician; “but once you learn to use it, there’s no end to what you can do.”

Related Characters: Milo (speaker), The Mathemagician (speaker), The Humbug (speaker), Tock, King Azaz the Unabridged
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18. Castle in the Air Quotes

“And it’s much the same thing with knowledge, for whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer.”

“And remember also,” added the Princess of Sweet Rhyme, “that many places you would like to see and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you’ll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”

“I think I understand,” Milo said, still full of questions and thoughts; “but which is the most important—”

Related Symbols: The Castle in the Air
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:

“But what about the Castle in the Air?” the bug objected, not very pleased with the arrangement.

“Let it drift away,” said Rhyme.

“And good riddance,” added Reason, for no matter how beautiful it seems, it’s still nothing but a prison.”

Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19. The Return of Rhyme and Reason Quotes

“That’s why, said Azaz, “there was one very important thing about your quest that we couldn’t discuss until you returned.”

“I remember,” said Milo eagerly. “Tell me now.”

“It was impossible,” said the king, looking at the Mathemagician.

“Completely impossible,” said the Mathemagician, looking at the king.

“Do you mean—” stammered the bug, who suddenly felt a bit faint.

“Yes, indeed,” they repeated together; “but if we’d told you then, you might not have gone—and, as you’ve discovered, so many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”

Related Characters: King Azaz the Unabridged (speaker), The Mathemagician (speaker), The Humbug (speaker), Milo (speaker), Princess of Sweet Rhyme, Princess of Pure Reason
Related Symbols: The Castle in the Air
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:
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King Azaz the Unabridged Character Timeline in The Phantom Tollbooth

The timeline below shows where the character King Azaz the Unabridged appears in The Phantom Tollbooth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3. Welcome to Dictionopolis
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...Milo and, speaking in turn, greet him and offer him the hospitality of Dictionopolis and Azaz the Unabridged. They each say the same thing, but use different words to say it.... (full context)
Chapter 6. Faintly Macabre’s Story
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...sons took over the kingdom and agreed to care for the princesses. One son became Azaz the Unabridged, the king of Dictionopolis. The other became the Mathemagician, king of Digitopolis—but they... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Azaz and the Mathemagician, Faintly Macabre says, would often call on Rhyme and Reason to settle... (full context)
Chapter 7. The Royal Banquet
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...must choose the menu. As Milo is thinking, trumpets blast and a page announces King Azaz the Unabridged’s arrival. The giant man settles in his throne. Milo studies the man’s long... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Milo offers that he can count to a thousand, but at this, King Azaz tells him to never mention numbers here. Then, King Azaz and the Humbug ask Milo... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Nobody likes the squares, so King Azaz says it’s time for speeches. He tells Milo to go first. Timidly, Milo starts a... (full context)
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...chokes—and when his fellows tease him, all five start a fistfight under the table. King Azaz threatens to banish all of them, so they stop and apologize. The rest of the... (full context)
Chapter 8. The Humbug Volunteers
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...suggests he should’ve eaten too little too slowly. He falls off his chair as King Azaz leaps up—and as everyone else aside from Milo, Tock, and the Humbug run out of... (full context)
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Milo wants to know how they can possibly eat dinner after a banquet. King Azaz shouts that indeed, that’s scandalous—people must eat dinner before the banquet in the future. Milo... (full context)
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Milo, though, suggests that King Azaz let Rhyme and Reason return. King Azaz says that would be nice, but it’s impossible... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
King Azaz says he had no idea it’d be so easy, but Milo says it sounds dangerous.... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
King Azaz walks Milo to his car and says that the Humbug will accompany Milo and Tock.... (full context)
Chapter 11. Dischord and Dynne
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
When Milo points out that according to King Azaz, words are the most valuable, Dr. Dischord points out that when people (or things) want... (full context)
Chapter 16. A Very Dirty Bird
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...it’s been like this since Rhyme and Reason were banished, which he shouts is all Azaz’s fault. The Mathemagician refuses to discuss the matter with his brother, since Azaz didn’t answer... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Tock asks for the Mathemagician’s permission to rescue Rhyme and Reason. When he hears that Azaz has already agreed to this, the Mathemagician refuses—he’ll never agree with his brother on anything.... (full context)
Chapter 17. Unwelcoming Committee
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...looks very ill; ideas are hard to digest. Milo holds up the gift from King Azaz—which sends the giant into fearful hysterics. He sets the travelers down and runs away. By... (full context)
Chapter 19. The Return of Rhyme and Reason
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...stop. Up ahead are Wisdom’s armies. A trumpet sounds, and then horsemen race forward. King Azaz and the Mathemagician lead the way, Dr. Dischord, the DYNNE, and Chroma behind. Everyone Milo... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
...kingdom as Milo and his friends join a parade. They sit in a carriage with Azaz, the Mathemagician, and the princesses. As people cheer, Rhyme tells Milo they’re cheering for him.... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...banquet every evening, followed by songs and poems praising Rhyme, Reason, and their rescuers. King Azaz and the Mathemagician vow to take armies to the Mountains of Ignorance yearly to drive... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...Tock to come with him, but they refuse. Milo thanks his friends, and then, King Azaz claps and Milo’s car appears. Milo hops in and waves goodbye to his friends. He... (full context)