The Nome King has a pretty typical personality for an evil tyrant, being sophisticated, cruel, sadistic, and considerably dominating. His power is existent but honed through the Ruby Slippers. He hates chickens, as their eggs are poison to him.
Role in the film
- “Your majesty! She... has returned to Oz!"
"Good, good. Keep an eye on her. Well, what's the matter? What is it?"
"She has a... chicken with her!"
- ―An unidentified rock spy and the Nome King[src]
The Nome King found Dorothy's ruby slippers after they fell on his mountain. Using them, he conquered the Emerald City, turning its inhabitants into stone, with the exception of the Scarecrow, who he captured and took to his mountain. When Dorothy arrives in Oz, he is informed by one of his minions. He takes note of his cringing and asks him what is wrong, and he reports that a chicken is accompanying her, making the Nome King furious.
When Dorothy, Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, and the Gump arrive there, he transforms the Scarecrow into an ornament. He tells Dorothy that the emeralds are originally his and that the Scarecrow stole them from him, but she knows he is lying because the emeralds were there before the Scarecrow became king, and she breaks down in tears. In a rare show of heart, the Gnome King consoles her and promises to give her a chance to save the Scarecrow. He decides to have them all play a guessing game with each of his ornaments to see which one is the Scarecrow, in which if they guessed right, he would be restored, but if they guess wrong three times, they would turn into ornaments.
Whenever one is turned into an ornament, the Nome King becomes more human in appearance. If they're all to guess wrong and become ornaments, he'll be completely human. All are turned into ornaments except Dorothy, who's able to get the Scarecrow back and realizes that the Ozians were turned into green ornaments.
Furious at this, the Nome King blames Mombi, who previously had locked Dorothy up in her tower and was unable to prevent her from escaping, so he imprisons her in a cage to punish her later, turns into a giant form, and attempts to eat them shortly after they find the Gump and Jack. He tries to eat the former, but only succeeds in eating the sofa part of him, as they are able to save his head. He then tries to eat Jack, but as he's holding him above his mouth, Billina, who has been inside Jack's head since their arrival on the mountain, lays an egg, which falls down his throat. As eggs are poisonous to Nomes, it kills him, leaving only a pile of rocks and the ruby slippers. His mountain is destroyed afterward. This would undoubtedly explain why he was furious when he learned Dorothy had a chicken with her.
- Nicol Williamson also played Dr. Worley. Interestingly enough, they both have a ruby ring on their finger and are smoking a pipe. The Nome King's mountain collapsing, and him crumbling into a pile of rocks after being poisoned by an egg, mirrors the hospital burning down and Dr. Worley's subsequent death, much like Nurse Wilson and Mombi, who are both imprisoned at the end.