Girl Genius

Eotain and Shurdlu

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Eotain and Shurdlu are the names of a couple of Geisterdamen who make repeated appearances in the story. Since they always appear together and are difficult to tell apart (in fact, it's not even clear which is which), they're treated jointly in this article.

They make their first appearance as they patrol the boonies of Europa aboard their trusty giant spiders, when they encounter the unsuspecting Agatha and Lars. They don't think much about this encounter at the time, dismissing the two as "actors," which in fact they are. (Not until much later do they get a hint that there may be more to Agatha than they realized at the time.) This episode gives us our first exposure to Geisterspeak, which they use in all subsequent encounters as well.

The next time they appear, they're sacked out somewhere in the bowels of Castle Sturmvoraus, to be awakened when Tarvek Sturmvoraus and Anevka Sturmvoraus imprison Agatha and Lady Vrin until they can figure out what to do with them all. (Why Eotain and Shurdlu are being treated as captives remains unclear.) When Agatha puts on her glasses, which she'd been hiding, the Geisterladies recognize her as one of the "actors" they'd encountered earlier. They're left behind with Vrin when Tinka shows up to conduct Agatha to a tete-a-tete with Tarvek, only to reappear when they and Vrin crash the party shortly afterward. In the craziness that follows, as Agatha is implanted with the mind of The Other, it's fair to say that Eotain's and Shurdlu's attitude toward her undergoes a certain ... change .

Eotain and Shurdlu 2

Greeting their goddess

Beyond this point, things get messy, as more Geisterdamen seem to proliferate out of the woodwork, and since we can't tell them apart, we can't figure out which ones are Eotain and Shurdlu, if any. Their final fate remains accordingly unclear. Did they ever wake up after being rendered comatose by the new and improved Anevka? Did they escape with the other Geisterdamen when they fled the Deepdown for wherever they were going to? Or were they wiped out some time during the Battle of Sturmhalten? Time alone will tell -- maybe.

Possibly Relevant Outside Information Edit

Doubtlessly the names have as their orginal root source "ETAOIN SHRDLU" — which were the characters, in order, on the first two columns of keys of the Linotype hot-type slug setting machines. Wikipedia has an interesting read on this subject.

Perhaps more pertinently, however, Etaoin Shrdlu is a classic science fiction short story written by Fredric Brown concerning a Linotype machine that attains sentience - a story that the Foglios are surely familiar with, and one that has appeared in several science fiction collections, making it quite likely that this was a stop on the etymological route from slug writing to bug riding .

In addition, the cartoonist Walt Kelly, creator of the political comic strip Pogo, had a character named Mr Etaoin Shrdlu, depicted as a bookworm. The Foglios, being cartoonists, may have intended this as a tribute to Kelly, whose work was greatly respected.

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