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Zola Malfeazium

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Zola, "La Sirène d'Orée"
Zolaportrait

Also, she's very, very pink.


Name Zola Anya Talinka Venia Zeblinkya Malfeazium (and that's just her maiden name)

stage name: Zola, "La Sirène d'Orée"

Occupation Pretender
Residence Vienna, currently Castle Heterodyne, formerly Paris
First Appearance with trumpets and fanfares
Parents Demonica (Mongfish) Malfeazium
Relatives Lucrezia, Serpentina (aunts) , Agatha,Theo (cousins)
Marital Status single
"She was a dancer."
"A dancer, huh?"
"That's what it said on her card."
Gil and Zeetha[1]

As Agatha arrived in Mechanicsburg to enter Castle Heterodyne, she was shocked to witness the arrival of a mysterious woman in a pink dress, descending from a pink airship, who proclaimed herself the Heterodyne heir that everyone was awaiting from the top of the Mechanicsburg Heterodyne Memorial Statue.

After this mysterious woman entered the Castle with her henchmen, we learned that her name was Zola, and much later we learned that she was the public face of the Storm King conspiracy, a plot to seize power over large parts of Europa from Baron Klaus Wulfenbach. The plotters hope to gain public support by convincing the world that Zola is the heiress to House Heterodyne and by marrying her to the heir of House Valois, thus staging a new fourth act to the story of the Storm King, this time with a happy ending (for them). Zola's goal was to take over Castle Heterodyne.

Of course, both we and Agatha know that she is not really a Heterodyne at all. Even so, as we did not know until recently her surname, the cast list for Girl Genius refers to her as "Zola 'Heterodyne'". More recently, it has apparently been revealed that her stage name was Zola, "La Sirène d'Orée" or Zola, "The Golden Siren". (Note, incidentally, that d'Orée is a less common spelling of Dorée, the usual feminine form of the French adjective for "golden" in color.) She gives her full name as "Zola Anya Talinka Venia Zeblikya Malfeazium ", niece of Lucrezia. This, of course, makes her Agatha's cousin (as well as Theo's). A noteworthy but brief messup was when the 20100628 comic page was first posted, the name Lucrezia shouts in the first panel was "Serpentina!" but was quickly changed to "Demonica!"

Character AnalysisEdit

The part Zola plays in the conspiracy is very much the anti-Agatha: she's flashy, where Agatha is subdued; she's overdressed, where Agatha dresses practically; she plays to the crowd, where Agatha causes the crowd to play to her. And, above all, Zola is living a lie, where Agatha is trying to find her true self. That by itself would justify labeling her as a villain, but there's more. Zola has no problem killing or maiming when she thinks it's necessary (or simply expedient)[2][3][4], where Agatha is (on her better days) kind-hearted and heroic. Agatha has trained in martial arts with Zeetha, and Zola knows some arcane mental disciplines. Further, Zola is in league with some very bad people who want to seize power for its own sake, where Agatha is struggling to survive and to protect the world from the Other.

Story Edit

Zola's later, adept, machinations raise the possibility that any or all of her previous, inept, interactions (detailed below) may have been a ruse.

We'll Always Have Paris Edit

Prior to the opening of our story, Zola knew Gil when he was a university student in Paris, where her chosen occupation often brought her into contact with the local Sparks and their insane devices. Gil played swashbuckling adventurer to Zola's damsel in distress, but romantic sparks apparently never caught fire between them, perhaps because she couldn't hold up her end in a Sparky conversation. Because Gil was living incognito in Paris, Zola was unaware that her friend was the son of Baron Klaus Wulfenbach.[5] Gil knew her as a foolish pawn, though not - to his knowledge - a malicious one. However Zola always believed that her roles in the kidnappings were an integral part of the sparks plan. Their acquaintance ended when Zola abruptly left Paris. Oddly, all her bills had been paid off, though she had had financial trouble before.

Arriving at Mechanicsburg in Style Edit

Zola makes her first appearance in Mechanicsburg by way of Vienna, probably having spoken to the conspirators' Council there. After descending from a pink, very pink airship festooned with Heterodyne trilobite sigils[6], she catches the eye of the crowd in a matching flamboyant pink outfit. She delivers a bombastic oration (nauseating Agatha and Krosp), summarily banishes the Black Squad that tries to stop her (with the help of her only named minion, one Herr Vikel), and begins a grandiose procession to Castle Heterodyne. Where Agatha refuses to subject her friends to the danger of entering Castle Heterodyne, Zola insists that all her minions accompany her, resulting in at least one death.

Zola's pageant is financed and managed by House Strinbeck and House Oublenmach, among others. They are moving years earlier than planned to take advantage of the Baron's injuries and to secure the legitimacy conferred by controlling Castle Heterodyne before the other Heterodyne heir recently announced in Sturmhalten can undo all their years of preparation.

Taking Castle Heterodyne Edit

Inside the Castle, Zola links up with Professor Tiktoffen, a conspiracy member who has been studying the Castle for years. Though the Mechanicsburg crowds , Tiktoffen , and Oublenmach and Strinbeck believe she plans to take control of the Castle, Zola begins issuing orders to kill its mind, using a device smuggled in piece by piece over some time. Zola promises freedom and gold to any prisoner who manages to kill Agatha and blows away the Woman With the Veil Hat pour encourager les autres when the latter sensibly objects to chasing Agatha into unexplored parts of the castle.

When Zola encounters Gil in the Castle, she accepts his story that he is actually a pirate who entered the castle in search for treasure. Although Zeetha is suspicious of Gil's reasons for playing along with Zola, Gil reveals that he's never known the Pink Fake to be malicious . Agatha soon catches up with Zola and Gil and crushes Zola with ease, revealing Gil's ruse along the way.

However, true to the ability of the Professors to spin a tale, this formerly reviled character becomes more sympathetic when it's revealed that she really does care for Gil, even willing to plead with the scary Heterodyne when she thinks his life is threatened and tend to him when he's down .

We have also learned that Tarvek was acquainted with Gil in Paris, and was sometimes discomfited by some of the adventures and scrapes that Gil got into, which are likely to have included some of the ones related to Gil rescuing Zola. Tarvek was originally unaware that it was Zola who was selected for this plot, but when he learns it's her , he suggests that she's far more dangerous than we had previously believed.

Zola temporarily outmaneuvered most of the sparks residing in the castle (Agatha, Gil, Tarvek and Lucrezia) and managed to imprison a copy of 'The Other' in her mind, whose memories she could peruse at will. Although things went bad for her later, she managed to escape from the castle alive. Pretending to be a normal copy of 'The Other', Zola has hooked up with the copy of 'The Other' who is masquerading as Anevka.

Considering the number of shots Agatha let loose from her magnificent death-ray, which as been proved to be able to blast through the outer walls and vaporize part of a mountain, the people of Mechanicsburg should be very convinced that there is a true Heterodyne inside. And since most only saw Zola, they will be convinced it is her.

Cousin Pinky

Aliases Edit

Between fan discussion and Agatha's temper, Zola has accumulated a considerable number of nicknames. In the comic, starting from her first appearance in Mechanicsburg, she has been called:

Page Alias Who
2007-04-27 (Friday) The Lady Heterodyne Zola "Heterodyne"
2007-05-02 (Wednesday) Miss Perfect Agatha Heterodyne
2008-02-15 (Friday) A Heterodyne girl Agatha Heterodyne
2008-04-04 (Friday) Cow Veilhat
2008-06-25 (Wednesday) That crazy pink person Agatha Heterodyne
2008-06-25 (Wednesday) A false Heterodyne Agatha Heterodyne
2008-08-18 (Monday) Pinky Agatha Heterodyne
2008-08-22 (Friday) The usurper Castle Heterodyne entity clank
2009-03-18 (Wednesday) Pinkie Zeetha, Daughter of Chump
2009-04-15 (Wednesday) Our impostor Castle Heterodyne entity clank
2009-04-15 (Wednesday) That pink fake Agatha Heterodyne
2009-04-17 (Friday) Sugarplum airship princess Agatha Heterodyne
2009-04-17 (Friday) Miss Pinkie Psycho Pants Agatha Heterodyne
2009-05-04 (Monday) Princess Psycho Agatha Heterodyne

As well as a variety of descriptive phrases such as "the girl they groomed to be the Heterodyne" and "Your fake Heterodyne " and "that idiot from the Island of the--", as well as a "Parisian Tart."

Possibly relevant outside informationEdit

Zola declaims, "Yonder lies the castle of my father," a line attributed to Tony Curtis from "Son of Ali Baba", in which he played a thief. The line had become a cheesy legend in its own right because Curtis's native (Bronx) accent rendered it as "Yonder lies da castle of my fodda." Curtis denies saying exactly those words; he has never denied the accent.

Malfeasance refers to a wrongful act, specifically something one had previously sworn or contracted not to do. On the other hand, Venia is the Latin word for "forgiveness" -- a venial sin is one that is easily forgiven. (It may be that venal -- capable of being bought/corrupted -- was intended.)

Questions and TheoriesEdit

  • If not Oublenmach and Strinbeck , then who has orchestrated smuggling in the device to kill the Castle?
  • How long has Zola been groomed for her role? Was she discovered in Paris, discovered some earlier time, or actually the product of Mongfish breeding?
    • partially answered; Zola is a Mongfish, Lucrecia's niece. As to when the role was taken on, we do not yet know.


References

  1. Gil explains Zola to Zeetha.
  2. Zola blows away Woman With the Veil Hat.
  3. Zola summarily kneecaps Cucaracha.
  4. Zola loses a minion entering the Castle.
  5. Agatha reveals it abruptly.
  6. The pink airship was built in Stockholm and can turn "any color they want."

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