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Scholarly stuff about his characterEdit

The name "von Mekkhan" seems to imply that the hereditary office of Heterodyne seneschal may be one dating to the conquering of Mechanicsburg by the Ht'rok-din; one can imagine the lord of the city negotiating with the invading barbarian spark to the effect that he, the soon-to-be besieged lord, would be allowed to continue as master of the city and manage mundane administrative details, and in return provide the spark with a permanent settlement, supplies, and minions. And brides; don't forget brides.

While the foregoing is purely speculative, the perspicacity and acumen -- shrewdness, really -- not to mention fortitude, required to negotiate such a covenant with a rampaging mad genius still shows itself in the extremely cagey codger that is Carson von Mekkhan. Although we have not seen Carson actually face down a spark in the madness place, he has managed to hide the intimate workings of Mechanicsburg from Baron Klaus Wulfenbach.[1] Moreover, and to amplify on the term "intimate workings", the Heterodyne seneschal (presumably as part of the confirmation process) is cranially modified[2] to enable a direct mental connection with Castle Heterodyne, via a neuro-mechanical interface known as the Throne of Faustus Heterodyne. Making this link without sustaining permanent physical or psychological harm, as Carson claims to, appears to be a substantial demonstration of neurological fortitude and force of will.

Although he is ostensibly retired, he still wields considerable authority within the town, and can be seen as the penultimate authority on Heterodyne authenticity, after the Castle itself.

There is also the fact that "Mekkhan" sounds very similar to the "Mechan" syllables in the name "Mechanicsburg". Hmmm

Heliotrope Edit

The first paragraph mentions "Carson Heliotrope" as alternate name (and it is used elsewhere in this wiki as an alternate for "von Mekkhan"). Is the word ever used as a family name in the Canon? All I remember is the sobriquet "Master Heliotrope", and the building with a sign saying "Heliotrope Scribe and Book Works".

What could the word Heliotrope signify in Girl Genius?

  • An alternate name for the family.
  • A title.
  • A job.
  • A nickname.
Carson used the name Heliotrope for himself , at which point it was the only name we knew for him. It's probably easiest to think of it as a pseudonym; the von Mekkhan family was supposedly dead, so using that name in public would draw too much attention to himself. In this regard, it's very similar to the "Clay" surname, except that since the people of Mechanicsburg know him (and, presumably, are loyal to him), he is able to use "von Mekkhan" much freer than Punch or Judy could use "Heterodyne" - although he's still addressed as "Heliotrope" by a Mechanicsburg local in, it isn't until after the testing question that "von Mekkhan" is even uttered. (I suspect he asked Agatha a bait question - a false heir would have answered differently - and after she revealed enough information to pique his interest, he revealed his true name.) This is further supported given Wooster's reaction to the name, and (secondarily) by Vanamonde. (He isn't introduced with "von Mekkhan", and reveals who he is (coincidentally, one year to the day in updates from when Carson did the same to Agatha), he's greeted with the same skepticism Wooster showed. (As to why he reveals it to Gilgamesh Wulfenbach right off the bat, consider who he's with and why they were sent.))
There's still the matter of "Heliotrope"'s significance to be sorted out - the Foglios aren't known for pulling names randomly - but this is the simplest solution overall. 05:41, December 22, 2009 (UTC)

The word "Heliotrope" can refer to:

  • A flower.
  • The flower's color variously described as "grayish purple"[3] or "vivid lavender". (Note: that last article could use a Girl Genius entry in the "Heliotrope in popular culture" section.)
  • The above Wikipedia article on the color infers that in Russia in the late 19th century, heliotrope was associated with widows. Although Carson himself is likely a literal widower, inasmuch as the Seneschal represents the city itself to her lord, where the city is considered feminine in relation to the lord, with the passing of the Heterodynes, Mechanicsburg "herself" is a widow, and thus it is fitting that the Seneschal be clothed in heliotrope.
  • From the literal meaning, something that "turns toward the sun". (Could the Heterodynes be considered the Sun that the Heliotrope turns toward?)
  • (Anc. Astron.) An instrument or machine for showing when the sun arrived at the tropics and equinoctial line.[4]
  • (Geodesy & Signal Service) An instrument for making signals to an observer at a distance, by means of the sun's rays thrown from a mirror.[5]
  • Bloodstone, a green siliceous stone sprinkled with red jasper[6]

Note that when Carson is home he wears a robe with yellow trim (helianthus?), but when out and about I haven't noticed him wearing anything that wasn't trimmed in heliotrope .

Root Words Edit

The root 'Helio' refers to the sun. Helios was the Greek sun god whose son, Phaëton, famously attempted to drive his father's chariot but lost control and set the earth on fire, which would have some nice parallels to the attack on Castle Heterodyne and the Other War.

Another tale tells how all-seeing Helios caught Aphrodite (goddess of sex, etc.), the consort of Hephaestus (god of technology), secretly bedding Ares (god of war) and reported the lovers to Hephaestus. This, too, could have some interesting parallels, though nothing suggests that Bill ever knew that Lucrezia had bedded Klaus.

The root 'trope' is a very general term having to do with "to follow" and thus has several meanings, the most relevant of which are 'a word used for something other than its literal meaning' and 'a cliché in literature'. Trope also has some meanings in the music of the middle ages. Somewhat amazingly, a stock castle seneschal character whose true title was Doom Bell Ringer would touch on them all.

Posing as Arella's Father?Edit

Heliotrope may have been the maiden name of Van's mother. Posing as Arella's father would be the perfect cover identity for Carson. No one would question a young widow with an infant son moving in with her father. Vandamonde could still publicly refer to him as "Grandfather" without blowing the old man's cover and Carson could hide in plain sight.Werewolfboy 01:48, April 5, 2011 (UTC)

People who support this theory: {{{1}}}


  1. "I've always liked him, but..."
  2. "I'm the only one with the four holes pre-drilled in his head"
  3. GNU version of The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
  4. GCIDE
  5. GCIDE
  6. GCIDE

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