Girl Genius

Agatha Heterodyne/Mad

< Agatha Heterodyne

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Character Analysis Edit

As the story opens, Agatha is a student of no particular promise, somewhat scatterbrained and, in her own later estimation, "stupid ". This is due primarily to the effects of the Locket, which prevents her from concentrating, and secondarily to the lack of self-esteem that results from repeated failure. Even before her spark breaks through, she is far from weak. She defends herself forcefully against a mugging by the brothers von Zinzer and cleans Dr. Beetle's entire lab with dispatch.[1]

With the Locket removed, her spark begins to assert itself and she becomes more confident and formidable with every challenge she faces. As a Spark and the last known heir of House Heterodyne, Agatha faces more than her share of challenges. Her initial naïveté is replaced by toughness with mentoring from Krosp in the subjects of politics and scheming and from Zeetha in the subjects of martial arts and men.

Mode 2

Losing "a certain sense of perspective", not without cause.

Agatha is a world-class spark and, like most sparks, has a tendency to lose a certain sense of perspective when she gets going.[2] Like her father, she has the "true heroic impulse," which leads her to head towards danger[3] in an effort to help[4]. She has been learning that thinking and planning are important, as is having a position of strength so that one cannot be used as a pawn.

Agatha's life during the few months of the Girl Genius story is traumatic. She witnesses the deaths of her teacher, her foster parents, an acquaintance, and her first boyfriend. With one exception, all die to protect her. She goes from being considered incapable of independence to being considered so valuable and dangerous that she must not be allowed independence.[5] Othar wants to lock her into another 'lab assistant' role, Gil wants to get her into wedlock, and Klaus wants her in the lockup. Instead, she chooses a path of independence and self-reliance, but it entails a rather steep learning curve.[6] These early entanglements seem comparatively benign after she is caught between the machinations of at least three parties in Sturmhalten, where she is possessed by the mind of The Other. As her latest piece of situational analysis shows, she is rapidly learning how to assert herself.

One can speculate that due to how much Lucrezia has "gotten around" in the last few plotlines, there are quite a few disturbing "your momma" jokes that Agatha will have to endure before the end of the story.


The name Agatha is from Ancient Greek Ἀγαθή, meaning "good" in many of the same senses as English "good". From Liddell & Scott's Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon:

I. of persons,
1. in early times, good, gentle, noble, in reference to birth: with this early sense was associated that of wealth and power
2. good, brave, since these qualities were attributed to the Chiefs [in the Iliad]
3. good, in moral sense, Plato, etc.


  1. See her fight and clean .
  2. See her work on the Battle Circus and get enthusiastic below Castle Heterodyne.
  3. "You ran straight at danger without even thinking.
  4. As she did when rescuing Othar, in ZumZum , and wanted to do for Passholdt
  5. Compare Klaus's attitude here and here .
  6. She gets key lectures from Krosp , Zeetha , and Master Payne .

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