Of Dorothy’s three companions in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz the Cowardly Lion is my favorite. I suspect that this has more to do with my affinity for underdogs and neglected characters than because he’s necessarily more interesting than the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman. It seems like Baum, the author of the Oz books, didn’t know what to do with the Lion. After Wizard the Lion gets very little page time. I don’t think he’s even mentioned in Land of Oz, the first Oz sequel. He shows up again, along with the Hungry Tiger, in Ozma of Oz, the third Oz book, but mostly he’s around to pull Ozma’s chariot. In most of the subsequent novels that his primary function. The only Baum written book that I remember him having a significant part in, post-Wizard, is The Lost Princess of Oz. And in Princess he’s one of many characters searching for the kidnapped Ozma.
I have to admit that the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman are more unusual than the Lion. One is a living scarecrow. The other is a tin simulacrum of a man named Nick Chopper. The two are good friends and hang out together. Baum obviously enjoyed writing about them. Once they fulfilled their quests for brains and a heart they were still unique characters. Once the Lion got his courage? Then he was basically just a talking lion. You’d think that would make him interesting enough, wouldn’t you?