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Girl Genius

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Zeetha and Krosp

Mnenyver August 8, 2009 User blog:Mnenyver

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This is something that's been in the back of my mind for a while. I was prompted to put it down in words after happening across the Ferris Bueller = Tyler Durden theory. In short, the idea is that one can watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off as though Ferris himself were a figment of his straight-laced friend Cameron's imagination. Although this is not exactly what the filmmakers had in mind, I love that it really works as a new way to watch an old movie.

In a similar fashion, I'd like to suggest that one can read Girl Genius as though Zeetha and Krosp are just facets of Agatha's personality. Although it would be funny to read it as though Agatha has a split personality or that she's mad, I just mean that by viewing Zeetha and Krosp as imaginary friends, her interactions with them become an excellent way to listen in on her inner dialogue. Although Zeetha and Krosp can be roughly mapped to id and ego, I think the characters are more complex than that and each represents different sides of the issues that Agatha is forced to deal with. They also sometimes overlap their roles. Also, where Zeetha and Krosp are physically located at any given moment reveals a lot about Agatha.

Krosp

Krosp is her logical side, obviously. He's her tactician, her unemotional common sense, her defensiveness. He feels her fear and usually guides her responses to it. Although he's not always right, he's the highest parts of her intelligence and he keeps her alive. Krosp is notably both male and a snooty cat (ie. not even human), so he can safely speak without being subject to her needs for sex or love. Furthermore, he's her "king", and so Agatha is ultimately ruled by her intellect. When Krosp is present, it usually means that logical part of her brain has something urgent to say, or that she needs her cool logic to be out and in front.

Krosp first shows up on Castle Wulfenbach. After her locket is removed, that logical part of her brain wakes up. Prior to this, her parents, Adam and Lilith, made all the critical decisions for her. Now that she's on her own, she realizes she has to think for herself and so she gets Krosp. It's Krosp who advises her not to trust the Baron or Gil. Her fear of them and of being in a situation out of her control is what motivates her to escape and Krosp guides her out, even to piloting the airship.

One funny Krosp moment is when she expresses concern about kissing Lars on stage, who is playing her father. Agatha's concern could be read as her worries about "becoming her mother" (which is a whole 'nother essay) or having feelings for someone who will eventually disappear, like her father did (also another essay!). Her logical side responds, "Just pretend he's Gilgamesh Wulfenbach." While humorous, this is actually a pretty logical response. In other words, Agatha needs to learn that the men in her life are not necessarily anything like her father.[1]

Zeetha

Zeetha is Agatha's instinct, her gut feelings. She's also her impulsiveness, her sexuality, her strength, her potential, and her raw power. She has bright green hair, flashy swords, and is fearlessly bold. There is no ignoring Zeetha when she's in the room and more than a few people are wisely afraid of her. However, Zeetha is not just pure emotion -- she's extremely smart in her own right. She always instinctively knows the right thing to do. Whatever she says is always what Agatha wants. When Zeetha is present, Agatha is usually wrestling with things she hasn't quite come to terms with. For example, her conversation with Zeetha about Lars: "But what did he mean?" Zeetha's innuendo and sly grins are just Agatha's id teasing her.

She first meets Zeetha after her escape from Castle Wulfenbach. Once Agatha is away from the stressful and scary situation, she's able to deal with some of the emotions in the aftermath. Agatha is also, for the first time, completely unrestrained by anyone or anything. Zeetha is allowed to come out.

Notably, it's Zeetha who holds Agatha back and prevents her from running right back into Gil's arms. This should be Krosp's job, but Agatha's feminine power, her potential, will not allow her to be subject to anyone, even to someone she loves. Going back would have meant submitting completely. Instead, Gil has to meet Zeetha before he can meet Agatha. He has to accept and respect her as an equal and it's Zeetha task to be the guard at the gate, to judge Gil's trustworthiness. Later on, in Mechanicsburg, Agatha wisely asks Zeetha to do just this. Indirectly, of course.[2]

Zeetha and Krosp at Sturmhalten

Agatha is captured at Sturmhalten, forcibly separating her from both Zeetha and Krosp after they've already been released into the wild, so to speak. Agatha is in over her head, dealing with unknown and unexpected threats. She learns a terrible truth about her mother. She can't call upon logic to help her and she can't use her power. In other words, she is not herself. Zeetha and Krosp stay with Lars and the Jägers and work to help her escape so that she can become herself again.[3]

Zeetha and Krosp in the Castle

When we get to Castle Heterodyne, Agatha is now prepared to confront the challenges ahead. She's dealing with her family issues, facing up to her family's colorful past and continuing on in the absence of her parents (both pairs). Her task is to rebuild her home. She has to prove who she is to the entire world. She has to decide who she's going to be.

Agatha specifically tells Zeetha and Krosp to stay outside the Castle, but it's not like it was at Sturmhalten. This is a conscious decision. For the first time, she contains both of them inside her. She doesn't need them to go with her because their advice and lessons are mostly internalized. "Thank you, Zeetha!"

Her logic and emotion join with Gil to enter the Castle. Krosp's objections to him lasted no longer than one brief conversation. Zeetha has to test Gil first. She's seen Gil when he's completely "bare", stripped of any trappings of status or affiliation. She asks him all sorts of probing questions, she even meets him with physical challenges, but Zeetha develops an instant affinity for him. In the end, she's willing to carry Gil's message of love back to Agatha.


In reality, I'm pretty sure the characters were partly intended to function as narrative devices to which Agatha could respond, but it's still fun to think about them as just avatars representing parts of her psyche.

tl;dr version = My hobbies are strange.


References

  1. Is it a coincidence that the man in Agatha's life who is most like her father, both physically and in terms of personality (a self-sacrificing hero) is the one who dies?
  2. Klaus's own failure to maintain a successful longterm relationship with a female spark (for the purposes of this post, that's code for "a strong woman") causes him to warn Gil away. Although he respects them, in his view they are dangerous, unpredictable, headstrong, and any relationship is ultimately doomed to end in heartache. His idea of a proper bride for Gil is someone who would submit to an arranged marriage.
  3. What does help Agatha are her dingbots! The dingbots represent the little spark of genius at the very core of who she is.

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