The protagonist and narrator of the story.Annie's childhood was quite unusual. Most of it was spent in Good Hope hospital, where her mother was bedridden and her father worked as a surgeon. When she wasn't being taught by her mum, Annie would spend hours exploring the hospital or cheerfully conversing with the Guides who walked the halls, unseen by the hospital staff. At a young age, she proved herself very good at mediating the Guides' disputes and helping lost souls come to term with their death.She enrolls at Gunnerkrigg halfway through the school year, and begins as an unflappable Emotionless Girl, reacting to Shadow-people, Minotaurs, and ghosts with a preternatural calmness bordering on indifference. In fact, when Annie first mentions her mother's death to her friend Kat, she's less visibly shaken-up than Kat is. It takes a bout of cherry-induced tipsiness under The World Tree to crack Annie's facade: she breaks down crying and admits to Kat how much she misses her mum. This, and Kat's consolation, cements the two girls' friendship. Since then, Annie has grownmore cheerful and open about her feelings and her past.The aforementioned upbringings had several important effects on her. First, this is the reason why she initially has such difficulty interacting with others (in fact, she only meets Kat when Kat takes the initiative of introducing herself.)Second, the combination of Annie's childhood solitude, her everyday experience of things the hospital staff couldn't see, and The Guides' failure to help her at one crucial moment, all seem to have led her to the belief that Adults Are Useless and a life of self-reliance. This is most likely the reason why she's so reluctant to seek or accept help from her teachers. The consequences of this are nearly disastrous.Third, Annie's childhood familiarity with ghosts and Etheric beings insures that very little of the Court's supernatural weirdness fazes her.Good thing, too. As it turns out, Annie possesses "a special Empathy with etheric beings". In other words, she's a Magnetic Medium, which is a Spirit Medium who is also a literal Weirdness Magnet. This extra-normal ability makes her a promising candidate for the position of the Court's Medium — the mediator between The Court and Gillitie Wood.Her interactions with those members of the Court outside her circle of friends are complicated. She's respectful towards the teachers, even when she disagrees with them, but she doesn't hesitate to disobey them if she thinks it necessary. She also seems to dislike and distrust Mr. Eglamore, far in excess of anything he's done. For their part, her parents' old friends like Annie, partly because she reminds them of her mother, both in actions and appearance. Aside from Kat, Annie's interactions with her classmates are limited, so these classmates tend to view her as an aloofweirdo.Over the first two years she seems to fall into neutrality, not by choice, but by virtue of being young and confused. She'll steal from her best friend's parents, and then she'll put herself in danger to help another friend, within the course of a single day. She'll copy answers from Kat, but also trust her with her most intimate secrets. She'll bear misfortune or mockery with a stiff upper lip, but lash out with surprising cruelty at someone who successfully pushes her Berserk Button. Her moral compass has yet to stabilize.By the time of the third year, after six weeks spent in Gillitie Forest, and her growing contempt, most of her previous characterization changed.
Adults Are Useless: Prior to the comic's start, and until Chapter 31, she merely didn't seek out adult assistance. From Chapter 32 onwards, she also completely ignored punishments. At least until she messed up badly with Jack's possession because of this and Jones demonstratively let Antimony try and finish the case on her own to solidify this lesson. It doesn't help that about the only available adult Annie does trust in regards of both competence and intentions is Jones herself.
Ambadassador: She was in training to become the Court's Medium. After getting passed over, Coyote announces he'd like Annie to be his medium, replacing Ysengrin. The Headmaster objects but Smitty, Parley, and Ysengrin back her up.
Coyote: And so Fire Head Girl told Coyote lovely stories about how amazing he is. But what was this dark secret he promised to tell her? Now we shall find out... Antimony: Who are you even talking to? Coyote: HAHAHA!
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue originally, red after her Character Development. Though given how she interacted with Jack, one may suspect that she is only open around Kat and still a bit icy to most.
Body Motifs: She rarely appears in public without wearing eye-shadow.
Bond One-Liner: When forced by her classmates to give one after defeating the Enigmarons, it turns out she's not very good at them.
Bully Hunter: She performs a rather elegant throw on Winsbury when he's bullying Kat.
Cannot Keep a Secret: In Chapter 31, Annie is told to keep the fact that Surma tricked Renard into coming to the court by pretending she loved him a secret. She tells this to him within seconds after she next sees him. Not even by accident, but because they're fighting and she figures out that this will be a bad enough revelation to shut him up.
Coyote seems to be fully aware of this tendency. When Annie chose to stay in the forest over the summer, he placed a binding on her wrist that would slice off her hand if she told anyone in the Wood about the Tooth he gave her. Once she returned to the Court, it disappeared.
Chaste Hero: She has no romantic experience and her extremely reserved personality makes it very difficult for her to respond to anyone's interest. Given the revelations of Chapter 31, this may be extremely fortunate for her.
Tom: This is back when Annie still knew how to act like a kid.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Since roughly age six. She'll go far out of her way and ignore any boundary or consequence to help anyone in serious trouble, no matter who, whether or not they want her to.
Cloudcuckoolander: There are times where Annie seems to operate on a completely different frequency from her classmates. This may be due to her lack of social skills from being raised in hospital most of her early life. It may also have to do with her status as a Half-Human Hybrid, and her interactions with Coyote. Either way Annie is not exactly normal.
Delinquent: Her Adults Are Useless attitude has evolved into outright contempt for authority. She was already reluctant to entrust adults with her problems, and despite this getting her into innumerable problems, from third year onwards, she started to ignore school punishments. Both Eglamore and Jones have called her out on this attitude.
Earthy Barefoot Character: In Chapter 39, right after she's finished crossing the bridge to Gillitie Wood, she decides to kick off her shoes, abandons them, and runs into the woods barefoot.
Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: She has no qualms about striking Coyote when she thinks he's out of line, to which he reacts with amusement (the first time) and rage (the second) which turns out to be him putting on a show and not mad at all. Jones sees this as quite remarkable.
Facial Markings / Marked Change: Has two that only show up under certain circumstances Jeanne's sword cut, which appears when she's in the aether, and a line down her face when she goes full (half?) fire-elemental. She also has a little "Mignola-esqe" "fire-spike" crown that appears near her head whenever she unleashes her fire powers.
Going Native: When Annie is rejected as Court Medium (presumably because of this trope) she is chosen by Coyote as representative of the Forest.
Heroic BSOD: In Chapter 31, upon discovering the true cause of her mother's death and the fact that darn near everyone has been hiding it from her.
Interacting with Shadow: The first page of the comic ends with Annie explaining that she obtained a second shadow. Subsequent pages have her manage to establish communication with it. Over the time, Shadow became a character of his own.
I See Dead People: Annie, as a child, helped the Guides usher souls into the afterworld.
Loose Lips: She never thinks about consequences when angry. Since the relations between the Court and the Wood is one big old minefield, this endangers not just herself. Trickster gods generally don't hold back much, so Annie was given a lesson of silence the hard way.
See Surma's entry. Additionally, antimony was known as "a killer of doctors' wives" - it's a convenient poison and was also used as a reusable laxative that was passed from from parent to child.
Antimony was historically used for cosmetics (Antimony has almost always been shown wearing makeup) and a flame retardant. It's also in the same period as Bismuth, being directly above it, and thus has similar properties to it.
In alchemy it's known as the Gray Wolf (Reynardine's current form is a white wolf... close enough) and is the penultimate step in making a Philosopher's Stone.
Moment Killer: While Smitty and Parley are finally being sweet with each other, her focus on needing to gather more information about Jeanne ends up butting into that, to the annoyance of everyone. Possibly intentional, since she referred to their antics as "unbearable" before that.
Nice Hat: She gets an awesome baseball cap with the bismuth symbol on it when she pulls off her Batman Gambit to let the kids take over Bob and Marcia's house.
No Social Skills: Initially, her interactions with the other kids are lacking a certain something due to her isolated upbringing. When she had to interact with people, keen instincts usually compensated for this.
This is a weird one. Kat and Annie are genuine friends, but due to Annie's, er, let's say unique upbringing, she could copy off of Kat's homework without her permission without a shred of guilt, but a passing comment about her father triggers her Berserk Button. Her Emotionless Girl status does not help at all.
Nostalgic Narrator: Annie's narration is being delivered from at least two years after the fact.
Not So Stoic: Annie's defense mechanism for emotionally stressful situations is to freeze up emotionally and put on a stoic mask. Some examples:
Chapter 6, under the influence of special cherries.
Chapter 31, where she explodes on one page and breaks down sobbing the next. In this case there were too many stresses in too short a time that the mask broke and she suffered a breakdown.
The beginning of Chapter 37 shows her trying to hold on to the pieces of the mask even as it's coming apart in her hands. The rest of the chapter suggests that she takes after her father in this, very much so.
Chapter 38 makes this mask literal (in a figurative way).
Omniglot: She gained knowledge of many languages from her conversations with the psychopomps of numerous cultures.
Playing Hard to Get: The REAL reason for her behavior towards Jack in "Faraway Morning". She was told about that technique in "Annie in the Forest Part Two" — and also that it wouldn't work if the target already liked someone else. There's also the fact that playing-hard-to-get probably doesn't include straight-up telling the "prey" you don't like them.
Wreathed in Flames: She learned the trick with torch-hand when she experimented with Blinker stone. Much more so in her winged etheric form — she produces great flames merged with herself. The pinnacle example being, perhaps, her fire elemental form, seen in pages 1258 and 1259.
Power Nullifier: Has a similar effect on Zimmy that Gamma does, though Annie is much less effective at it.
Strong Family Resemblance: She has straight hair. Her mum had curly hair. That is the only difference in their appearances. Absorbing her mother's life-force might have something to do with that (Annie so strongly resembles her mother that both Reynard and Coyote initially think that she is Surma). Personality-wise she's a double for her father, right down to clenching her fists tightly when upset or nervous, although it's implied she was more open and carefree before her mother's death.
Survivor Guilt: The revelation that her existence is the direct cause of her mom's death is clearly the emotional equivalent of a nuclear bomb.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: The girly girl to Kat's tomboy. In fact, one of the alchemical symbols for the element antimony (though not used in-comic) is just like the female symbol (aka the astrological symbol for Venus), inverted.
Tranquil Fury: Though sometimes she gets explosively angry and emotional, when push comes to shove, and she gets pissed, there's no screaming, no berserk aggression, just rage and fire.
Weirdness Magnet: Annie's curiosity and desire to help constantly puts her in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's implied to be a typical property of a natural medium.
The Headmaster: Tell me, do you find strange things seem to happen around you?
Wound That Will Not Heal: Got it from Jeanne after falling into the ravine. Present for the ethereal vision and serves as the main indicator of this — at least, normally.
Katerina Maria "Kat" Donlan
Annie's best friend. She's energetic, outgoing, and usually cheerful. She's a natural at maths and science, and a Gadgeteer Genius capable of building anti-gravity generators and robots in her spare time.Kat's friendship with Annie is a major source of Character Development for both of them. Like Annie, she has a natural inclination to help those in need.Compared with Annie, she's lived a sheltered life. However, when tragedy does befall her, she is able to keep her head: When Annie falls off the bridge (to her apparent death), Kat pulls herself together to build a hovercraft and go rescue her. When her boyfriend leaves forever, instead of being angry or self-pitying, she chooses to be thankful for the time she had with him.Kat was shaken by the revelation that the Court's founders have blood on their hands, but she managed to pull through this.Also, unlike Annie, Kat is well-versed in pop-culture and geek-culture, and is a big fan of video games, comic books, and dance music.Kat seems to have few friends in the Court, which is odd in light of her personality. Apparently, prior to meeting Annie, she'd been ostracized by the other students because both her parents are teachers, and because of the ease with which she gets high grades. Because of this, Annie worries that her own unpopularity is one of the reasons Kat does not have many friends.She's somewhere between an Arbitrary Skeptic and a Flat Earth Metaphysical Naturalist — she has no difficulty accepting the existence of supernatural beings like fairies, psychopomps, ghosts, or the Minotaur, yet she's dumbstruck by the thought of a robot running without a visible power source, and when asked if she believes in magic, she replies, “Of course not!” In her mind, magic is just a term for something science hasn't explained... yet.
A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 29: A Bad Start focuses on her. To some extent, this is also true for Chapter 13: A Week For Kat and Chapter 25: Sky Watcher And The Angel.
Arbitrary Skepticism: In spite of magic being so well-documented that it's alternately referred to as the "etheric sciences", and her own parents specializing in its research, Kat is unwilling to take it seriously, and often hates even acknowledging it entirely.
Fangirl / Otaku Surrogate: Obsessed with robots, dance music (especially Orbital and The Prodigy), video games, comic books, and The X-Files... it's nearly impossible to predict who or what may elicit the next "Squee!". The last time, it was a clawed robot praying mantis' turn to be cuddled on sight.
Gadgeteer Genius: To the point that the Court's robots hold her in near-religious awe (and for at least one, it's not "near-" at all).
Gayngst: She gets Mistaken for Gay by Paz, and thinks it's because she's such a tomboy, leading to a long story arc when she tries to dress more feminine. She feels absolutely terrible about the whole thing, but never properly addresses it until Zimmy and Gamma confront her (and even then it's largely unspoken). Eventually, Paz reveals that she's got feelings for Kat, Kat realises that she's fine with it, and they start going out together just to see where things lead.
In "Thread" Kat worries that she's confused friendship for love with Paz (it's love, definitely love) and whether Annie would still accept her after runs away after she caught them kissing. Annie does, because Kat said she'd be willing to date a hot girl (as a joke, two years ago); Annie's problem is that she's worried Kat would abandon her, which Kat assures her she will never ever do.
Magnetic Hero: For robots. From S13 to Sky Watcher, they tend to view her as an "angel" from the first meeting on, or at least be very friendly and helpful. The contrast between her own enthusiasm and the Court's general policy doesn't hurt, of course.
Chapter 46 takes this up a notch: Kat is apparently considered an afterlife guide by the Realm of the Dead.
Misapplied Phlebotinum: Kat invented anti-gravity for the sole purpose of containing a simple science project concerning the growth rate of protein crystals and is annoyed when the judges pay more attention to it instead of her project.
In Chapter 5: Two Strange Girls, she invented an antigravity device in her first year of high school. Out of a thermos and coat hangers, no less. She got frustrated when people were too distracted by it to focus on the real point of her science project. Later, she used said device to create a hovercraft in order torescue Annie at the end of Chapter 8: Broken Glass And Other Things.
In Chapter 41: Changes it's revealed she's "growing a robot" — not quite artificial life (it's going to be Robot's next body) but close enough that the other Seraphs accept Robot calling her an Angel and give her "the mark of the Creator", which just so happens to be the light bulb-looking glyph she's associated with.
Wrench Wench: The outfit she's most comfortable in seems to be a mechanic's boilersuit. Sometimes holds a literal wrench.
Annie's Inner Circle
A very young Glass-Eyed Man — a Living Shadow — from Gillitie Wood, and the first person at the Court to make Annie's acquaintance. He kicks off the plot of the comic by asking for Annie's help returning to his home, as the only way between the Court and the Woods is brightly lit to prevent Shadow-Men like himself from crossing. After a few months in the Woods, he meets Annie again, and jumps at the chance to go back to the Court with her.It's explained in Chapter 35: Parley And Smitty Are In This One that he refused to hate the humans in the Court, which estranged him from his fellows in the forest and led to his family forcing him out.
Ambiguous Gender: Mentioned early on. Because he learned how to speak by copying Annie, he sounded like her for some time, but eventually developed his own male identity that he continues when he becomes three dimensional
Bizarre Alien Biology: The Glass-Eyed Men were originally human shaped, but since they've become living shadows, they don't seem to need food or other necessities. Since becoming three-dimensional, Shadow has developed human needs, including eating without a mouth.
Cuddle Bug: As part of being a living shadow, he hangs on people a lot. Even after becoming three dimensional, he's shown clinging to Robot a lot.
Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being made of living shadow, he's one of the nicest members of the cast.
Defector from Decadence: Shadow apparently did not share the envy and hatred that the rest of his species had for humans, which is why he was forced out of his home after returning.
Living Shadow: Although Kat figures out that he's actually made of a very thin layer of matter. Thanks to Coyote's Tooth, he has become....detached from his two-dimensional form and turned three dimensional.
The Quiet One: The only moment he talks after he learns how to is in company of Robot, and even then, he doesn't speak much. Even when he does talk to other characters, it's mostly about Robot.
Satellite Character: He's mostly around to be one of Annie's friends and Robot's best friend / boyfriend, unlike how Robot is tied into the central plot about Jeanne as well as being a major player in Kat's story. Even since becoming three dimensional and attending classes, he hasn't been super involved in the story.
Tagalong Kid: Despite presumably being older than Annie or Kat, he still ends up acting like this to them.
Token Heroic Orc: Most Glass-Eyed Men hate humans because Coyote loves them more. However, Shadow 2 was trapped in the Court for several decades and grew up not hating them. When he finally returned home in an early chapter, he was ostracized because he didn't hate humans.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: He displayed the ability to change shape while stuck to a flat surface like a regular shadowman; he evidently retained that power after being cut off the floor by Coyote's Tooth, only with far more utility.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: His true name is S13 (the "S" standing for "Seraph"). But everyone usually just calls him "Robot". Antimony manages to attract a stare when she mentions him by this name while talking to another robot.
Gossipy Hens: This is what his fellow seraph models dismantled him for. He has a bad tendency to spread disinformation and rumours. This is also how the seraphs manage to find him again when he is installed in a new body; he has been spreading rumours that Kat is an angel and been forming a Robot Religion.
Messianic Archetype: The story actually chronicles his path from rejection by the other robots to eventual widespread acceptance. By the end of Chapter 41, even the extremely dogmatic Seraphs have been persuaded by him.
Thirteen Is Unlucky: Other robots say that he tends to cause a lot of trouble and they have condemned him to serve as scrap at least twice. His name is fittingly S13.
A young ghost haunting Gunnerkrigg. In spite of being a ShapeshiftingMaster of Illusion, Mort is rather poor at his job of scaring people. His choosing to appear as a Bedsheet Ghost doesn't help. After Annie gives him a few pointers (#1: Be subtle, #2: No one likes clowns), he gets better.He's infatuated with Annie, and he doesn't do a very good job of hiding it.
Go Into the Light: "The Realm of the Dead" chapter ends with him being willing to go into the ether to make up for Annie not giving her mother a "final record" (basically one's last words after death).
Hidden Depths: He's considered by Jones as an important ethereal being. This means that, behind his "Bedsheet Ghost" appearance and shapeshifting powers, there's more to him.
Mysterious Past: All that is known about his death is that he apparently died for his country. The hint about that is also a Bilingual Bonus. The tombstone often in the background of his scenes reads "Dolce et decorum [est pro patria mori]" note Sweet and fitting [it is to die for one's country].
As of March 2014, we get to have a look at how he died. He was a kid around the 2nd world war and during an air raid on his town he ran off to rescue a certain stoic blonde woman walking AWAY from the shelter. It's actually Jones ofcourse, in the middle of wishing to experience "the might of their bombs". She tries to shoo him away but then notices a bomb careening to the ground beside them and just before it lands tells him "it's already too late for you". More details incoming
A fox-demon under Antimony's thrall. He's capable of possessinganything witheyes, and can Body Surf from host to host. He's also a killer: every time he takes a new body, his old host dies.Formerly, he was the trickster-fox Renard. Though hailing from Gillitie wood, he was a friend of humans. He changed his name to Reynardine because of his love towards a human, and Coyote gave him his body-snatching powers. Though unhappy with the cost of his body-snatching, he proceeded with his plan anyway — killing a young man from the Court, and subsequently getting imprisoned there.When Annie first meets Rey, he's in the body of a Rogat Orjak named Sivo, attempting to escape his imprisonment in the Court. He mistakes Annie for her mother, and is naturally grieved to learn of Surma's death. Despite this, he shows no remorse when, on the next day, he attempts to possess Annie in a bid to escape. This fails, due to Eglamore's timely intervention, and Rey instead possesses Annie's wolf doll.Once in the doll, Rey discovers he has new powers and new limitations. He has limited Shapeshifting (particularly the ability to assume the form of a full-sized wolf), and a built-in set of lockpicks (which Annie had hidden in the toy at the time he took possession). But, as the body is Annie's toy, Reynardine himself is now Annie's possession, as indicated by the alchemical antimony symbol that is sometimes visible on his forehead. He's unable to take a new body without her permission and unable to disobey her commands. Thus prevented from doing any real harm, Rey settles for being surly and antisocial toward the girl who could make his life miserable if she wanted.Though initially presented as a sympathetic figure, and then as a deceitful antagonist, it's become increasingly unclear whose side (if any) Reynardine is on. He's become more helpful to Annie over time (going so far as to put himself between Annie and Ysengrin's blades), and seems to have taken a fatherly interest in her. In fact, according to Coyote, Rey's love for Annie is the only reason he remains in the Court.Reynardine's names derive two sources. Renard is a reference to Reynard the Fox, trickster hero of a cycle of medieval French folktales opposite one Isengrim (see Ysengrin, below). Reynardine is from the folk-song of the same name, about a highwayman (and in some versions of the song, a were-fox) who seduces a maiden — much as Rey attempted when he first met Annie.
Chivalrous Pervert: He's obviously become quite fond of Annie's friends, and helps Kat through a really difficult moment in her life when she discovers she's not quite straight, but he can't resist teasing her a bit over choosing Paz as her first girlfriend
Cutting the Knot: Antimony's lock picks were stowed away into the toy body Reynardine came to occupy. When she first tells him to use them to open something, Reynardine uses them to smash through it instead of picking it properly since he doesn't know how to pick locks.
The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Invoked and inverted. Reynardine actually describes his situation as "Well, the mind is nothing but a plaything of the body, correct?" Word of Tom is that he's being sarcastic, and that it's actually Reynardine's mood and mental state that affects which form he takes. Thus, when he's in a crude or ashamed mindset, he's likely to be a plushy, but when he's feeling protective or otherwise more noble he's more likely to be a wolf.
Not So Different: Jones calls him out on constantly referring to Zimmy as a "demon", stating that it is merely a label for something that is feared and misunderstood, and one which has been applied to himself as well.
Out of Focus: Has gone from being as important as Annie and Kat to being relatively minor in Year 3.
A Dayinthe Limelight: Chapter 43: Quicksilver focuses on on him, his reflections and regrets on his past decisions and actions, and his interactions with Hetty.
Parental Substitute: Sometimes he's like this, though not always. And sometimes it looked like he had the same problem as James Eglamore, but solved it much quicker.
Progressively Prettier: Somewhat. As he becomes a more serious character, he seems to stay more time in his wolf form.
Restraining Bolt: It seems that he is not pleased by this, though he springs to Annie's defense on his own initiative.
Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: Due to possessing an object that someone (Annie) owned, he has to obey the owner's orders and can't take a new body without her express permission.
Subordinate Excuse: An unusual form. He always was fascinated with humans and became Annie's Parental Substitute, so he prefers to remain as a shapeshifting doll on a leash, but in the Court and refuses a straightforward proposal to return him into the original body.
Trickster: His status as a trickster was what drew Coyote's attention to him and Ysengrin in the first place.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: Renard can control the form his body takes, but only in non-living bodies such as Annie's toy, according to Tom.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: He explains to Hetty how he's come to feel about Antimony, how he deeply regrets trying to kill her, and how every time she smiles at him, he feels deep shame for trying to take her body. Then he adds that when he wears his alchemical symbol in full-sized wolf form, he wears it with pride, right as he sets Hetty on fire and tears her krill form from her host body.
Parents and Court Staff
Surma Carver (née Stibnite)
Annie's late mother; she passed on two weeks prior to the start of the story.Like her daughter, she was educated at Gunnerkrigg Court. In her first year, she was placed in Chester House — unofficially the house for Etheric beings and other “weirdos” — where she befriended classmates Anja and Brinnie. The Court then revised its opinion and moved Surma to Queslett House for her second year and the remainder of her career at the Court.Surma's friendship with Anja paralleled the one that their daughters would eventually have; through Anja, Surma met and befriended Donald Donlan, James Eglamore, and Anthony Carver.Young Surma was a free spirit, with the personality to match her hair and the savvy to break rules without getting caught. She also had etheric talents: Annie's ability to see psychopomps was inherited from her mum, and presumably Annie's other psychic abilities were as well. Surma maneuvered these talents into a position as the Court's Medium, and built up particularly good rapport with the people of Gillitie Wood.Surma and James Eglamore dated for a time, but she eventually married Anthony Carver instead. Some time not long after, the Carvers left the Court. In her absence, the Court didn't train any new Medium to replace her for over twelve years, and no more humans were invited to visit Gillitie during this time.She remained bedridden at Good Hope Hospital after Annie's birth, and as her daughter grew older, Surma grew weaker. Mother and daughter were very close — in fact, a promise from Surma to “never send you into danger” was enough to convince young Annie to face down a spectral inferno.During the time they had together, Surma gave Annie as much of an education — in topics both mundane and etheric — as she could. Before passing, she made arrangements for her daughter to continue her education at the Court.
Lovable Alpha Bitch: She was beautiful and was quite popular at some point — "All people in the Forest" loved her and people in the Court remember her with admiration and/or awe. She actively used her charisma, at least in the Honey Trap gambit with Renard, but was generally nice to people, excluding one jerk.
The Matchmaker: Pushed together Anja and Donald who liked each others, but were shy about it. "Those two ended up married, you know."
Meaningful Name: The name Surma Stibnite is probably the single most symbolically-dense name in the whole comic. Stibnite is an ore containing the element antimony. Surma's meaning depends on the language: in Russian and several other slavic tongues, it's another name for antimony; in Punjabi, it's another name for kohl, an eye-shadow containing antimony (used in some cultures to protect infants from The Evil Eye); in Finnish, it's a word for death.
Mysterious Parent: Surma's powers are more mysterious to the readers than to Annie, but Annie had no idea of her mum's career at the Court, or of her true nature.
Posthumous Character: She died just before Annie was sent off to the Court (so right before the story begins).
Strong Family Resemblance: Again, she looks almost identical to Annie — the two even wear identical shades of eye-shadow — no doubt due to the spark she passed down.
Annie's father; like Surma, notable for his absence. In a story full of mysteries, he's one of the biggest ones.What is known about Tony: He attended the Court, and was in Queslett House, the same year as Surma. He and Surma married and left the Court, and did not maintain contact with their friends/acquaintances who remained. He worked as a surgeon at Good Hope hospital, the same hospital where his daughter was born and his wife was bedridden. For twelve years, he searched in vain for a way to save Surma from impending death. Shortly after his daughter's enrollment at the Court, he quit his job at Good Hope and completely dropped off the map.What others have said about him has not been positive: Donald Donlan says that his disappearance has precedent — that he had a habit of taking off on his own for months at a time without telling anyone. James Eglamore (who admittedly may not be completely impartial) claims that he had always been selfish. Jones (another possibly unreliable source, as she admitted to deliberately trying to provoke Annie with this information) claimed that he was completely devoid of emotion and that he rejected anything — such as his wife's skills as a Medium — that wouldn't permit a scientific explanation. Reynardine (incapable of lying, but not necessarily a good judge of character) stated that Tony was incapable of love, or of experiencing anything besides disdain. It's painfully (mostly, for Annie) evident that he's very bad at communicating with people.Prior to Chapter 37, he only appeared in-comic twice, both in flashbacks. In the first, he was present for a group photo alongside Surma, Anja, Brinnie, Donald, and James. He declined to join James and Donald for lunch immediately afterwards, claiming he had “matters to attend to.” In the second, he was crying at his wife's bedside; he composed himself and silently left the room upon realizing that his daughter was watching. The chapter proper has Donald, apparently his closest friend, reveal the personality hidden beneath his usual stoic mask.Annie's relationship with her dad is similarly a big question mark, one that Tom has yet to answer any questions about. For what it's worth, Annie said that he must have a good reason for having disappeared, and fully expected him to return for her at the end of the first school year, which he failed to do. Annie's narration states that it will be over two years from that point in time before Tony contacts her.
Ambiguous Disorder: He legitimately has extreme difficulty understanding people. When he was younger a potential romantic situation threw him into extreme emotional turmoil for weeks, and even as an adult he still is by and large stoic.
The Atoner: For agreeing to have a child with Surma, which he knew inevitably caused her death. Even moreso if he knew this prior to doing so. On the other hand, he may blame Annie as well.
He comes off as cold and arrogant to most people, though his closest friend swears he has a Heart of Gold and just isn't good with people.
In the recent present, he abandoned his daughter soon after his wife's death and only briefly spoke to her after two years. We don't yet know why, but he's not going to win any awards for great parenting from Kat for how much this has hurt Annie.
Maternal Death? Blame the Child: He is implied to have felt anger towards his daughter, since her birth resulted in her mother's life force gradually transferring to her.
Mysterious Parent: For over 36 chapters, the available info about him could be written in about a line or two.
No Social Skills: He had no idea how to react when Brinnie came on to him, and when Surma and the rest of the gang ask him to join them on a night out with Brinnie, he stared at them blankly before saying that he had work to do. It turns out he was so conflicted about answering them that he had clenched his fists tightly enough to leave nail marks in his palms.
Not So Stoic: Apparently, he did have a sensitive side, but Surma and Donny may very well have been the only people who ever saw it.
Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Good enough with etheric sciences to teleport himself, competent enough in electronics and physics to have created a satellite in high school, and a medical doctor on top of that.
Present Absence: It takes a long time before he speaks a single word in the present timeline, but he is often mentioned, and his absence is the reason Annie was sent to the Court in the first place.
Sugar and Ice Personality: To most people Tony is so quiet and reserved that he comes off as rather cold. Around his best friend Donald, however, he has no problem dropping the stoic mask (see above).
Donald and Anja Donlan
Kat's parents. Both of them are science teachers and magicians.When they were younger, both attended school at the Court. Like Surma, Anja spent her first year in Chester and was subsequently transferred to Queslett. She was close friends with Surma, a friendship that mirrored the one her daughter would eventually have with Surma's daughter. Donald was a Queslett student from the start, and a friend of James and Anthony. Upon becoming classmates, Anja and Donald hit off almost immediately, dated steadily through school, eventually wed, and have remained Happily Married since.Anja possesses etheric powers — she's demonstrated subtle clairvoyance and the ability to project barriers — but does not like to use them in public, due to having been on the receiving end of anti-etheric prejudice in the past. She and Donald did, however, collaborate on building a Magitek computer, capable of projecting shields and binding Reynardine. Kat was completely unaware that they had these talents.So far, Anja and Donald have been supportive of all of their daughter's adventuring that they know about. They've also tried to help Annie upon learning of her Parental Abandonment; Annie has so far turned them down.
Inelegant Blubbering: When Anja got news of Surma's death — her eyes were quite red when she tried to hide it from Kat.
Mysterious Parent: They have odd tricks up their sleeves. Kat never believed in “magic” nor saw her mother using a computer, so Anja offhandedly mentioning developing a Magitek-server before her birth was sort of disconcerting. The Power Tattoo issue just finished her off.
Power Tattoo: Donald, of the eye symbol on the pens where Reynardine was being held at the start of the comic. Anja herself got an amulet of the same symbol.
Games teacher, Dragon Slayer, and valiant Knight in Shining Armor. Eglamore was a childhood friend of Anthony, Donald, and Anja; he and Surma were more than friends. Kat has a huge crush on him.It's possible that his desire to befriend Annie is interfering with his duty as a teacher; it's certain that his past with Surma is coloring how he treats Annie now. He'll lecture her or give her detention for breaking the rules, then in the next breath, encourage her to try harder to not get caught in the future. He dislikes Anthony Carver, mostly because he ended up marrying Surma.In spite of this, he's yet to do anything to earn the ire that Annie feels towards him... at least as far as he's concerned. Annie seems to think he went over-the-top in his treatment of Reynardine, as the then-"dragon" showed up in front of her half dead and in pain, and she later saw Eglamore putting him back in captivity with his wounds still bleeding and untreated. For Eglamore's part, he hated Reynardine for killing his old friend, Sivo (said “dragon.”) The fact that Rey once competed for Surma's heart probably doesn't help, either. Antimony thought he has something going on with Jones, he also stated in the flashback that he wanted Jones in their group picture but she couldn't participate since Surma couldn't stand her.He has at least two BFSes. One of them glows. His armour is blazoned with an alchemical symbol for lead.
Unbalanced By Rival's Kid: Antimony made him fall out of his armor time and again just by being around. Up to the Wrong Name Outburst. It seems that by now less than gentle efforts of Annie and Jones more or less managed to stuff him back in, though.
A highly enigmatic and emotionless lady who teaches mediation to future Mediums, “currently, amongst other things.” She's knowledgeable about the Court, the Wood, their history, and other unusual subjects. She has a keen eye for observing crucial details, and she isn't above provoking people to reveal their character. And calmly confirms it when caught. She's not interested in speculation, and tells Annie to only inform her of events regarding the court's history when enough information has been gathered.While she is employed by the Court, she is deliberately neutral when speaking of the conflict between the Court and the Wood. Her role is, in the words of Coyote, that of a "Wandering Eye".She has a long, ambiguous history with both the Court and the Wood. She knew Annie and Kat's parents when they were students at the Court (Eglamore wished that Jones could have been in their group photo, but Surma apparently couldn't stand her). She's one of the few people able to walk into Gillitie uninvited without getting killed.Though more of a diplomat than a warrior, Jones can beat men twice her size in single combat, and with style. Because of this, and because of her personality and physical density (she can punch through a stone wall and sinks in water like a rock), Annie suspected Jones of being a robot, until Reynardine, Kat, Tom, and Jones herself shot this particular notion down. She remains Ambiguously Human.There's a very strong bond between her and Eglamore, whom she's known for a few very long time. She's also been on at least one date with Randy Disaster.Almost constantly wears a seemingly bored Seen It All face (when she once confessed she'd "seen... nothing quite like that", this was treated as disturbing in and of itself). She's also quite beautiful: note that her face is penciled more elaborately than the protagonist's, so it's a deliberate point.
The Ace: She's both medium (Annie's vocation) instructor "among other things" and embodiment of some sort of perfection with "Seen It All" undercurrent. The only two limitations mentioned are her inability to use a blinker stone and her abnormal density preventing her from swimming.
Alien Non-Interference Clause: Not exactly an alien, but she does try to make as few changes as possible to human society, preferring to observe.
Ambiguously Brown: This along with the fact that she's a Dark-Skinned Blond make determining her ethnicity difficult. justified since she predates life on the planet, and by extension humanity, by billions of years.
Badass Boast: Jones proves that one doesn't need to be long-winded, eloquent, or loud to deliver one of these when she tells Coyote (a god) that she could take Annie back to the Court against his wishes, inside his own domain.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Unkempt Beauty is pretty much the extent of it since she's submerged herself in lava, tackled rampaging mega-fauna unarmed and almost uncovered, walked barefoot across a desert, caught fire, been stabbed with a spear, parried a sword with her face, sunk into a lake, sunk in lava with no problem. The worst she's ever been shown to be hurt? Her eyes froze while she stood naked in a blizzard.
Chekhov's Gunman: The first reference to Jones (her office door, with her name on it, is shown in Chapter 9) was so subtle that none of the readers noticed it until after Jones herself appeared in-comic.
Emotionless Girl: She claims she has no emotions whatsoever, and therefore has more in common with a stone than a human being. Readers have noted a few discrepancies in that statement, but until we get more detail it's hard to say for sure.
Figure It Out Yourself: In her very long life, she has witnessed all sorts of events that occurred long before humanity, like the dinosaurs. But she won't share any information humanity in general hasn't already figured out for itself and interferes as little as possible, preferring an observer role.
Frozen Face: Her expression never changes. When it does, something seriously wrong has happened.
Gorgeous Period Dress: Worn by Jones throughout "The Stone" until thousands of years ago when the only thing anyone wore was loincloths.
I Have Many Names: Coyote knows her as "Wandering Eye", and asks if Jones is the latest name she's “stolen.” Chapter 40 highlights several points in her past spanning a very long time, during which time she used different names, typically at the insistence of the previous owner. On the other hand, most everyone else just refers to her as "Jones".
Immortality Begins at Twenty: Is probably the oldest being in the Gunnerkrigg Universe, especially if Coyote's theory is true. Throughout all this time her appearance has never changed.
Older than They Look: As revealed in ch. 40, Jones is old, immensely so (see Time Abyss below), but her appearance hasn't changed, only her clothes and hair to keep up with the times...and her name. She took the name "Jones" during one of the World Wars. Which one isn't clear.
Photographic Memory: Jones has stated that she can recall every moment of her existence with perfect clarity.
Robot Girl: Speculated by Annie (and by fans), but ultimately denied and disproven, repeatedly, by everybody up to and including Tom himself (and Jones herself), to the point of becoming a Running Gag in the writer commentary.
Tom: If Jones keeps beeping like that, people are going to get the wrong idea.
Super Strength: She breaks through a stone wall with no difficulty in Spring Heeled.
She has stated that the measuring equipment available to the Court, which is a place of superscience, can't determine her strength, and that the only material on this planet she can't destroy is... her own flesh.
Chapter 40: The Stone has Jones being stabbed by a Knight Templar with a spear without any visible harm, other than a ripped dress. A few pages later/earlier she ignored her toga catching fire while Rome burned, walked barefoot across the Gobi desert, helped Cro-Magnon hunters by tackling a giant stampeding bison bare-handed, crossed a glacier in the nude, and let herself be engulfed by magma. The last is notable because she wasn't visibly harmed in the least. Not even her hair was damaged.
She qualifies as Nigh Invulnerable at this point. She predates all organic life and the Earth's oxygen atmosphere, so it seems unlikely that she even needs to eat or breathe.
She compares herself to a stone, but the metaphor isn't perfect since stones can break.
She's also either opaque to x-rays, or entirely homogenous inside. On x-ray film, her body is a solid white shape, right down to her hair.
Tom: Her x-rays are actually pretty boring, once you get past the initial surprise.
Team Mom: A quiet version, but she does go out of her way to protect Annie.
Time Abyss: She's been around at least since the Hadean eon, making her almost as old as the Earth itself, and she spent at least 3 billion years of that embedded in the Earth's crust.
Tin Man: Possibly; she claims to have no desires or dreams (she certainly doesn't have any needs like food, water, air, or sleep) but if that were true she wouldn't be working with the Court, gravitate towards men, or sound (to us) to be a little sad that humans aren't the same creatures she is.
Lampshaded in Tom's comment on this strip, which quoted Jones two strips earlier saying that she has "no capacity for emotional connection", while in the strip itself she's declaring she will be a friend to Eglamore for the rest of his life.
The Unreveal: Zig-zagged. Ysengrin explained to Annie what Jones was over the summer break she stayed in the Woods, but the details aren't revealed to the reader. Reynardine comments that she's "interesting company." Chapter 40 is a long reveal of what Jones is...until Jones says that she doesn't know what she is.
Walk, Don't Swim: She prefers to walk across the lake bottom rather than trust her weight to a rickety pier. She can't swim because her body is too dense.
Headmaster Jonathan Llanwellyn
The rarely-seen-in-story head of the school. He presided over a meeting with ambassadors from Gillitie—the first such meeting in over a decade—acting visibly bored and irritated all the while. Physically, he appeared weak and unwell, with an unnaturally pallid, sunken complexion.He has a daughter in Annie's class, named Janet.
Ass in Ambassador: His usual attitude when dealing with official functions is to slouch, yawn, and do his best to act like it's all a massively boring waste of his time.
Deadpan Snarker: If he's smiling while talking, it's probably because he's being this.
Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: His hair is black, and his skin is less "pale" and more light grey. Much more noticeable in his second appearance. Coyote even calls him a "leathery bag of bones."
One Judge to Rule Them All: While Jones said Annie was the best candidate for the position of medium between the Court and the Woods, the Headmaster says that the Court decided to go with Smith. The shocked reaction of the Court members in attendance suggests that the Headmaster himself was the only one to come to that decision.
Overprotective Dad: Bud hints he's one, which is why Bud's glad when he thinks Janet and Winsbury are only joking about being involved with each other.
A fine lady in glasses working in the Court (security, operating "ether stations"). Accompanied by a humanoid robot friend. When idle, they amuse themselves by playing amateur theater without viewers.
Odd Friendship: She likes playing amateur theatre with her robot friend.
Bob and Marcia
The keepers of Young's Park. Bob is also the one in charge of the Decontamination Habitats.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Bud acts like a real chum and pal hanging out with students, but he's really a powerful psychic who keeps an eye on them and is apparently capable of preventing any possible trouble.
Out of Focus: Aside from a few cameos, they haven't played a large role since their introduction.
A classmate of Annie and Kat's.In Year 7, he was loud-mouthed, and enjoyed drawing attention to himself by bullying or belittling others, targeting new students and those without anyone to defend them. Annie judo-flipped him once to defend Kat; he left them alone afterwards.In Year 8, he has cooled down, and gets along with his classmates without incident. Except for Janet (see below), who he makes a big show of disagreeing with — to hide the fact that they're dating.In Year 9, he really has mellowed out.He does recognize (and praise) awesome moments when he sees them. He's evidently quite skilled at archery; in a competition, he and Janet were the two finalists, though she seems to have a slight edge on him.His name is a reference to the Scottish folk song "Willie O'Winsbury".
Out of Focus: He had some importance early on as a minor bully to Kat and Annie, but after that, his appearances are basically limited to appearing with Janet and having jokes about them being a couple.
Sarcastic Confession: He and Janet admit to their relationship at one point, but then they portray it so nonsensically that everyone just assumes the pair were screwing with them.
A girl who lapses into a strong Celtic accent when she gets angry, which seems to be her default reaction to distractions. She's the Headmaster's daughter, so it's possible she's had prior exposure to supernatural weirdness (which would explain her non-reaction to Mort). She is very good with bow and arrow, to the point of intercepting one of Winsbury's arrows in flight. For extra Hidden Depths points, she quotesWilliam Shakespeare, and not one of the best-known works, but Timon of Athens.As mentioned above, she's dating Winsbury; they've kept it a secret from the other students so far.Her first name, and relationship with Winsbury, are also a reference to the song "Willie O'Winsbury".Her last name is a reference to the Welsh folk song "The Maid of Llanwellyn".
Fiery Redhead: While often serious and mature, Janet has a temper (as demonstrated when Mort tried to scare her) and is something of a "romantic dork", as Word of God states that is part of the reason for keeping her relationship with Winsbury under wraps.
Secret Relationship: Revealed in Chapter 34: Faraway Morning (And Three Short Tales). One of the Court faculty heard but apparently disbelieved the revelation, and remarked that her father would go crazy if he thought it was true.
A girl from Galicia, Spain. She loves animals, and can even — per Word of God — talk to them. She works at a veterinary lab in the Court which, in addition to treating animals, performs animal research. Her explanation for this seeming disparity is that she works to make lives of the lab animals as comfortable as possible, and to ensure that all the ethical guidelines for animal testing are followed.Paz was the first student that Mort was able to scare (following Annie's advice). She doesn't like clowns (though, as Annie noted, nobody does.)Astute Spanish-speaking readers may notice that Paz's Spanish grammar is occasionally off; Tom Siddell has said this is intentional, as Paz is supposed to be “a Galician hick.”
Hidden Depths: Paz's level-headed little speech about working within the system to make the Court better took a lot of readers — who had previously thought of Paz simply as a Chew Toy — by surprise.
Internal Reformist: She is very strongly against the animal experiments that are going on, but realizes working within the system and making sure the Court follows ethical standards is more effective.
Paz: The Court isn't a big monster that does as it pleases. Es a collection of people. Working to do what they think is right. And, over time, other people see what is wrong, what mistakes were made, and work hard to fix them. I cry too, when I find this place. But I ask to help. To change things and make them better.
Playing Cyrano: She has Bobby the robot write a love letter to Kat, who at first thinks he wrote it on his own accord. No trouble ensues as Paz sets her straight soon.
Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Chapter 29 has Paz, of all people, setting straight Kat (who is at that moment quite disenchanted with the Court after stumbling upon some of its old secrets).
Smitten Teenage Girl: She gets a rather ferocious (unreciprocated) crush on Matt at the start of year 3. And then another one on Kat.
Two strange girls.Zimmy is human "for all intents and purposes", but her mind is in tune with the Ether. This is not a good fit. The resulting stress causes a number of physical and psychological effects: She never sleeps, and has some kind of black gunkperpetually covering herred eyes. At the best of times, she feels like there's static in her head; at worse times she sees terrifying hallucinations that, if left untreated, become real; and really bad flareups will mentally transport her and those around her to some other place resembling a nightmare city. If there is any way to control these powers, she is unaware of it. She has difficulty distinguishing memories from ongoing events, or real people from the faceless "Nobodies" of her nightmares; on occasion she'll forget who she is, and spontaneously assume the personality of someone else. In short, she is a walking, talking embodiment of Psychological Horror and Mind Screw.Understandably, these hardships have left Zimmy paranoid and perpetually on-edge. Underneath her outward hostility, she loves Gamma very much (and she lies to Gamma to make sure she doesn't leave). It's doubtful that Zimmy cares about anyone in the world besides Gamma, but she is capable of kindness and empathy, at least towards those who help her or Gamma.Her real first name is Zeta. Reynardine calls her a demon, and is afraid to go near her.Gamma Czarnecki is a slightly older Polish girl who is Zimmy's best (and only, apparently) friend. She's shy and weary due to sleep deprivation, but kind and friendly. Good thing, too, because she's the only thing keeping Zimmy alive and (relatively) sane: Her presence relieves the etheric stress on Zimmy's mind, nullifying Zimmy's powers and giving Zimmy a slightly better grasp of reality. But Gamma's stabilizing power doesn't work as well when she's asleep, so she wears herself thin trying to stay up with Zimmy. Lack of sleep is also the most likely explanation for those dark circles around her eyes.Zimmy and Gamma are telepathically linked; in fact, this is the only way they can communicate, as Gamma doesn't know English and Zimmy doesn't know Polish, meaning that Gamma also relies on Zimmy to translate for her at Gunnerkrigg.The girls are in Chester House, which is apparently stigmatized by many other Court students.
Zimmy's reality altering powers would be really cool if she could control them. And if she didn't suffer terrifying hallucinations that eventually become solid.
Jones says her powers are similar to those of gods. Too bad she's only mortal, and doesn't have the natural filters they do.
Contagious Powers: For some, as of yet unexplained reason, Zimmy and Annie's etheric selves get mixed up when they're close enough to one another, with Annie thinking she's Zimmy and Zimmy's hair turning red and gaining Annie's etheric wound.
No Social Skills: The fact that she often can't tell real people apart from illusions, and sees...things instead of their real faces and expressions, is probably a large part of the problem.
The Pigpen: Zimmy "looks like a pretty cruddy girl", in the words of Tom. She has tangled hair, grubby and rumpled clothing, and attracts bugs.
Poisonous Friend: Really, Zimmy making Gamma think that most people in the school hate her so Gamma won't ever leave is borderline abusive, even if Zimmy is overall very protective and devoted to Gamma. One hopes that this has stopped since Annie told Gamma the truth.
Power Incontinence: She can turn her powers on, more or less. She can simply never turn them off or have any control over what they do either.
Power Nullifier: Natural rain cancels out a lot of her craziness because of the trace amounts of Ether in it; artificial rain, like showers and the rain from the Ether station do not. Within a few hours however, she's back to normal.
Gamma acts as a lower grade one, that helps prevent Zimmy's powers from going completely haywire. Annie can do the same, though she's apparently even less effective than Gamma and is thus never used for this purpose unless Gamma is otherwise incapacitated or missing.
Two Regional Fairies who become humans. Word of God states that prior to entering the Court, they didn't even have names. Only Red has an actual name, and she didn't even have that for a long time until Annie accidentally gave it to her. The other is called "Blue" by the fans just for convenience and thematic sake.Annie first meets them on the Forest side of the Annan Waters; almost immediately they ask her to squish them with a rock. Dying is the last test they have to pass to gain human bodies and enroll at the Court, and they're not allowed to kill themselves. Annie dubs them Suicide Fairies (on the Cast Page) as a result.Annie meets them again, after their Metamorphosis, several months later. Red is distraught because her hair doesn't stand up anymore, and consequently, Blue will no longer be her friend. A visit to the barber sets things straight.As The Fair Folk, both girls are largely lacking in tact and empathy. Red has a mercurial personality, bordering on psychotic, while Blue's personality is more subdued, but no less capricious.Red and Blue are in Foley House, which is apparently reserved for Suicide Fairies and other Gillitie emigrants; according to Jones, this is to keep the emigrants from being "named" by accident by ordinary people, as emigrants are only supposed to receive a name once they graduate.
Ambiguously Brown: Blue. She's not human, of course, but her human form looks like someone of Indian ethnicity.
Tragic Keepsake: Kat keeps some of his stuff, and wears the shirt he's shown wearing above in the arc after his debut and departure.
A student from two years above Annie. He's quite mellow and laid-back, and easily takes ribbing in stride. It's fitting that his extra-normal talent is the ability to create order from chaos (He can throw a pack of cards into the air, and they fall into a perfectly squared unshuffled deck). Due to this power, Jones considers him a promising candidate to be the Court's next Medium — he's training under her to prepare for the job.Speaking of being laid-back, Smith is the object of much teasing from fellow Medium-in-training Parley. He bears it (mostly) silently because he thinks she's "hotter than hell" — but he's the last person in his class to figure out that that she's flirting, not mocking him.And those eyebrows: damn.
And Here He Comes Now: Here, Andrew demonstrates that he's the only person who can predict when Parley is going to arrive via teleportation. (Word of Tom is that Smitty is just guessing, but because of his order-causing powers, his guesses just happen to be right.)
Ascended Extra: Has gone from being one of many characters in the school to the Court's Medium, and is very central to the main plot arc.
Tom: This chapter is going to take twice as long to draw because I have to fill in Smith's eyebrows.
In Chapter 41 even Coyote comments on them, calling Smitty "Mighty Eyebrows Boy".
Chronic Hero Syndrome: A light case but still very much there. Andrew loves to help people, and it's his talent at doing so that made his first trip to Gillitie Wood a resounding success with the natives.
Darkhorse Victory: He's become the new medium between the Court and the Woods as of Chapter 41. This falls under the judge with veto power category, as the Headmaster seems to have come to this decision by himself since both Jones and the rest of the Court members in attendance are shocked that Annie wasn't the one chosen. Even Andrew himself thought Annie would get the position and doesn't think his being chosen is a good idea.
Dungeon Bypass and/or Cutting the Knot: He can do this unconsciously. The mechanics of his powers are still loosely defined, but this is the most straightforward manifestation of them.
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? —> Heart Is an Awesome Power: His power is to subconsciously create order, meaning he can do things like throw a deck of cards in the air and have it come out in a perfectly sorted pile. However, in Chapter 30 he starts discovering ways to apply his power to make near-impossible throws, help Parley in combat, and a pseudo-prediction ability.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Andrew's much more calm and laid back than Parley. He's not "girly" as in being effeminate, but as in being the more shy and laid-back personality of the two.
A student from three years above Annie. She's also a Medium candidate, and undergoing training. This is less because of any extra-normal talents she possesses (for her first few years, all she showed was "promise") than because her father — an acclaimed psychic — predicted that she would inherit his power. However, Parley Sr. also predicted that she'd be a boy — that's why her first name is George.Personality-wise, Miss Parley is loud and always trying to take charge of conversations. She harbors strong feelings for Smith, which she expresses by constantly in getting in Smith's hair, while simultaneously attaching herself to him at every possible opportunity. When Jones prods Smith into giving Parley a flower, Parley is so overcome with emotion that she spontaneously manifests her latent Etheric power of space manipulation... by teleporting the lot of them straight onto her bed. (It should be stated that her power mixed with Smith's organization ability and teleported them to her bed. For those trying to keep up with the math, here's a tip: High Emotion + Order + Teleportation = Her Bed.)
Annie figures it out about a day after meeting them.
Antimony: Andrew, she's all over you all the time. Reynardine: Ah, has a creature ever perfected the art of denial as finely as a human?
Later also her classmates, just by looking at her and then Smitty trying to pretend he's not there:
Cookie Monster: Ooh, saaay, Parley! Jan: Not bad, not bad.
First Name Basis: Calls Smith by his first name when she admits she's in love with him, which he lampshades by mentioning that it feels weird having her call him "Andrew."
Gratuitous German: Her apparent training in the German school of fencing has led to her peppering her speech with one or two German terms.
Hime Cut: Though like Annie and Kat, she changes her hairstyle regularly.
Large Ham: When she talks to Mort. Parley tend to go over the top in everything—her idea of "officially" admitting her relationship is to grab her boyfriend, teleport on her friends' path and proceed with kissing him... long enough to get concerned looks from observers.
This attitude is Deconstructed as well. At one point Annie gets completely fed up with Parley's antagonism towards Smitty, basically saying it's stupid to act like you hate the person you love. Shortly after that, Jeanne gets really frustrated. The latter incident spurred Parley to finally stop hiding her feelings.
Worthy Opponent: To Jeanne, whose defeat is one of Parley's biggest drives to improve her swordsmanship.
Go Mad from the Revelation / Sanity Slippage: His brief odyssey through Zimmy's mental hellscape seemed to have had serious effects on his mind. His appearance became progressively more ragged, and his behavior increasingly unnerving. The bulk of this was due to the spider's presence.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: To secure its control over Jack, the spider had to control all the pieces of his mind/soul/whatever. It failed.
Kick the Dog: Mitigated by this fact. In Chapter 27, he destroys a Guard Robot, who only seemed to want to do his job and learn to whistle, and used his home-made machines to immobilize Reynardine just so he could make a getaway. Granted, he expected Annie to thank him for the deed, so he at least thought he was doing her a favor.
No Sense of Personal Space: In the last few pages of Chapter 23, agitated by his experience with Zimmy, Jack invades Antimony's personal space until he's bearing down on her and she's pinned against the wall. Reynardine reacts poorly.
Powers via Possession: With whitelegs riding him, Jack grew powers faster than Annie, who trained and has an Amplifier Artifact. Began to see into the etherium all the time. And understand etheric sciences. And fly. And be able to work and run without sleep and food (this part was harmful).
Touched by Vorlons: Gamma thinks Jack may retain at least some degree of his abilities. A few chapters later, Jack thinks that the incident has made him smarter than he was before. And even then, he remembered being in Zimmingham, which probably means he had some sort of etheric ability back then — Zimmy, Gamma and Annie were the only other ones aware. Jack recovered by Faraway Morning enough to express interest, get an answer from Annie and try her Blinker stone (after Annie judged him to be unaware of the implications).
Geeky Turn-On: He takes a sudden interest in Kat when she tells him she hacked the security system in her dorm. In later chapters, however, that ship went the way of the Titanic.
The Insomniac: He went days without sleep while possessed by the Whitelegs. He regained his ability to sleep after he was freed, but Tom mentioned on Formspring that he now needs much less of it than most people do.
Mad Scientist: After hacking into the Court's network, he discovered the existence of Donlans' magitek server and reproduced its functions adapted to his own hardware quickly enough. But still fails to see why in the given circumstances it wasn't a bright idea to use this toy at all.
Oblivious to Love: Not to her overt romantic advances, but he apparently fails to recognize Annie's Playing Hard to Get moment for what it is and mostly accepts her at her word that she doesn't like him. It probably doesn't help that this gives him an excuse to pursue Zimmy instead.
Pet the Dog: Jack initially displayed good empathy and rapport with robots; he helped fix the joint of one of the Laser Cows and taught them a trick. That made his later Kick the Dog moment while possessed several chapters later far more shocking in contrast.
What the Hell, Hero?: Jack was willing to play along with Annie's allegedly fake romantic advances (though the extent to which he perceived them as fake is not entirely clear) to a point, but he lambasts her for purposely trying to get him interested in her only to bluntly shut him down. He even similarly brushes off her excuse of anger issues as another lie as well.
Lily Cooke and January
Parley's companions at Thornhill. They make an appearance in Chapter 35: Parley And Smitty Are In This One.
The "Very Nice Man" who is neither. Ysengrin is a wolf who was given a humanoid tree body by Coyote that he can shape into weapons. Along with these arms, he has complete control over the trees of Gillitie. He acts as Coyote's right-hand-man and until chapter 41 serves as the Medium for Gillitie Forest.He's a little antagonistic towards humans and The Court. How much of this is the result of his encroaching madness, and how much is due to his own wonderful personality, remains to be seen. Either way, he demonstrates "We against Them" approach and styles himself as a "general."Apparently, he's much smarter and more reasonable than he appears. His behavior at the parley between the Court and the Wood is that of a simple-minded brute; however, according to Jones, this is just the animal kingdom's version of diplomacy: posturing and baring teeth. Ysengrin also possesses enough cunning to plant evidence of Court interference in the Forest, then wait some months before "discovering" it and pressing charges against the Court. Then he flips out... but this turns out to be a ruse: his roaring attack covers a subtle sabotage attempt.Ysengrin's name derives from that of the wolf Isengrim (the more common spelling), the authoritarian villain of a cycle of medieval French folktales starring Reynard the Fox (see Reynardine, above).
Ambiguous Situation: Coyote tells Annie that she has now seen three sides of Ysengrin: A violent and barely controlled animal man, a beautiful spirit and a crippled old wolf. This is how others see him, how he sees himself and how he truly is. While the first represents how others see him, Coyote is intentionally vague about which of the other two sides Ysengrin fits.
Easily Forgiven: After he snaps and tries to kill Annie, the next time he meets Annie, he explains that not only does he have no memory of this, similar things have happened to him before. He then states he would never intentionally try to hurt her, and she instantly trusts him again, enough to ride on his shoulder like old times. Annie and the others do seem to determine that something is up with Ysengrin prior to this when he attends the Medium announcement ceremony, so it isn't completely out of the blue.
Hidden Depths: It's unclear whether due to Ysengrin's role, some personal issues, or deliberate Obfuscating Stupidity, but all the Court's people see is either a roaring bloodthirsty maniac or Coyote's quietly growling right hand lapdog. Once they are out of hearing range, he's keen, sensible, andverygood at concise motivational speeches — he pulls all the right levers at the right time so accurately that even the bewildered Antimony (far from a perfect social animal) can only look at him and heed.
The Unfavorite: Coyote constantly treats Ysengrin like dirt, clearly favoring fellow trickster, Renard. It didn't stop Coyote from purposefully allowing Renard to be trapped by the Court, though.
Unstoppable Rage: While he has his flares of temper, Chapter 39 shows Ysengrin when he absolutely loses it, and his rage is a truly unstoppable and terrifying sight to behold.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Ysengrin doesn't have much use for Renard, and the feeling is decidedly mutual, but he was clearly angered when he found out the Court had tricked Renard into being captured, and even more so when he learned that Coyote already knew and did nothing about it. It says a lot about how much Ysengrin cares about Renard that he actually calls out Coyote over leaving Renard trapped in the Court.
Yes-Man: He's perpetually kissing up to Coyote. Word of Tom confirms that this is because he loves Coyote very much — though Ysengrin isn't blind to his boss' shortcomings.
Zen Survivor: Barely survives without the armor and gives advice to only those he deems worthy.
The Coyote — the mythological trickstergod. Though hailing from America, he considers the entire world his home; he came to Britain to join Renard in spreading mischief. He's since become the ruler of Gillitie Wood, and Ysengrin's superior.Ysengrin's body and powers were gifts from Coyote, as are Renard's. The Glass-Eyed Men are also his creations. The common thread in all of these is that, though Coyote is very powerful, he's not omnipotent, and he's too scatter-brained to use that power well.Over twelve years ago, he took an interest in Surma; later, he took an interest in Antimony (who he initially mistakes for her mother), and offered her a standing invitation to Gillitie. He also wants to bring his cousin Reynardine back to Gillitie — by force if necessary. His ultimate goal — aside from the lulz — is a mystery.So far, he acts quite amicably towards the Court. Though not outright evil, he's vain, largely unconcerned with the consequences of his actions, and capable of unexpected acts of lewdness or violence when he wants to prove a point. He seems to enjoy nothing more than to talk about himself, or hear others talk about him.According to Jones, "Coyote is no liar. Therein lies the danger." His promise of safe passage can be trusted, but his advice must be handled carefully.
Art Shift: A walking one. Coyote rarely is drawn the same way twice, and his body often contorts and twists. He has been drawn in a realistic style, abstract, and cubist all within panels of each other.
Gods Need Prayer Badly: Coyote's abilities are powered by the ether, which in turn is fueled by the imagination of mankind. This is why he can barely be said to exist and would be a normal coyote at best without it. Mind you, this is explicitly stated to be only Coyote's theory, with as of yet no definitive proof of it being the actual truth of the world; Annie expresses disbelief towards it, and while Jones doesn't confirm nor deny it, she still speaks of it only as "Coyote's theory".
Coyote: He does not see an animal looking for a meal, he sees the power of a god behind it, a power that has bested him! This is the curse of man! He is forever deceived by his mind! it causes him to not see a stone when it is just a stone. Instead his diseased mind sees a weapon or a symbol. The shape of a woman. A spark of inspiration! Annie: You see human intellect as a disease? Coyote: How could it be anything else?!
It Amused Me: He seems to have little to no concerns in life, like when Renard was tricked by Surma; he knew it was happening, he just thought it'd be more FUN to see what happened. He's also incredibly blunt when he's telling you something — unless he thinks impenetrably enigmatic talk will be funnier.
Reader: Does Coyote only do things for his own amusement? Tom: Only.
Coyote: You see, this is an important matter! I am bored! You will tell me stories! (Beat) Antimony: Stories. Coyote: Yes! Stories about me! I'm ready now. You may begin!
Jerkass: Don't be fooled by Coyote's jolly attitude. He's still not above putting someone's life in danger for a prank and then laughing about it afterwards. Not surprising, given that he's one of the original Tricksters.
Chapter 39 showcases him in this role as one long Kick the Dog moment for him. His unrelenting emotional and mental abuse of Ysengrin, up to and including eating Ysengrin's memories, isn't funny at all.
Chapter 43 reveals that Coyote goaded Renard into stealing a human man's body and offered reassurances to Renard's concerns that the process could kill the man.
Manipulative Bastard: Loves toying with humans and forest creatures alike. He's also been routinely wiping Ysengrin's memory, slowly driving him mad in the process, either to keep his loyalty or just for giggles.
No Indoor Voice: He seems to shout everything, and only lowered his voice when he accidentally depressed Annie by bringing up her mother. Though it makes sense for him to have no indoor voice, since he's hardly ever indoors.
You know Coyote is displeased when he stops smiling.
Physical God: While it's hard to tell his limits, he's the one who cut the gorge between the Court and the Forest, and once he pulled the moon from the sky to show it to Annie.
Power at a Price: Not to himself, but the powers he gives away are often imperfect; Reynardine's body possession leaves the subject dead afterward while Ysengrin's power over the trees gradually weakened his actual body, both effects not present when Coyote used them himself.
Reality Warper: Never explicitly mentioned, but observe how the trees in the background of this page bend to match the contortions of his body, but remain straight when he's not in-frame.
The roots of the Court date back to an ancient union—older even than Coyote's presence in Gillitie—between a group of humans and the creatures of the Wood. Over the ages, much information about this first generation has been lost... and some has been deliberately hidden.
Formerly a swordswoman torn between the Court and the Wood; later, a ghost trapped between the Court and the Wood.In life, she was quite beautiful, with blonde hair and greeneyes. Her exact role in the Court is not yet clear.Jeanne died under unusual circumstances, leaving her outside the jurisdiction of any of the Guides. Her spirit remained trapped by the Annan — attacking anyone, from the Court or the Forest, who entered the Court's side of the gorge.And that's the situation when Annie fell into the gorge. Annie landed on the Forest side, and Jeanne crossed the Annan (an act that was believed impossible for her) to attack, giving Annie's face a nasty cut before being driven away by Kat's sudden arrival. (Incidentally, this event was Annie's and the readers' introduction to Jeanne — details about her past, including her name, were not forthcoming for many more chapters.)Subsequently, Annie and Kat have taken it upon themselves to uncover Jeanne's past and help the ghost find eternal rest. Even the Guides believe that Annie is the best hope of helping Jeanne.
There's an odd metaphysical effect of her sword: Way, way back in chapter 8, she cuts Annie on the cheek with her sword. Much, much later in ch 27, when Annie uses her blinker stone, the cut is still there. The significance of this has yet to be seen.
Word of God states that even Coyote would have trouble dealing with Jeanne. That's how powerful her hatred and pain made her.
Chapter 46 reveals she's even killed a number of psychopomps.
Death by Despair: Well, she died due to a combination of this, starvation, and being exposed to the elements, probably).
Dissonant Serenity: On the one hand she has no problems hacking innocent school children to bits; on the other hand she takes time to complement one on her combat skills.
Fling a Light into the Future: A (very) mild example. Though the Court founders tried to Unperson her, Diego kept the memories of her existence in several ways, such as a hidden room, and recordings in a Court's robot.
Jeanne: You come here to mock me with this gleaming heart of yours. Coddled child of that damned place. This luxury afforded by my death... it should be mine to take.
Lady of War: Renard notes in her portrait that she is more comfortable with her sword than her fine clothes.
Nightmare Face: She drops her expressionless look when she's had enough of Parley's secret love for Smitty, made possible by her unwilling sacrifice to protect the Court, mocking her doomed love for "that elf".
Unperson: After her death, the Court Founders tried to erase all evidence of her existence. They even went so far as to damage the records of The Realm of the Dead so that they can't access any files on her directly.
White Mask of Doom: Her face is mask-like and she spells doom to anyone or anything that enters the Annan waters.
Woman in White: Her dress on the night of her death, and thus her appearance as the ghost by the Annan Waters. If she turns red watch out.
That Elf (real name unknown)
One of the founders' lover from Gillitie Wood. Another founder referred to him as a "traitor", though the fan theory that he used to be human has been Jossed by Word of God.Following the separation of the Court and the Wood, he and his Love Interest kept in touch secretly (or so they thought) by letters. Upon learning that the Court wished her to go down to the Annan Waters for an unknown reason, they made plans to use this event to rendezvous and escape elsewhere together.That night, while he swam across the Annan, an arrow was fired from the Court, killing him. He was the lucky one.
An odd-looking inventor and technological genius, who clearly understood machines better than people. All the Court's robots (except possibly the Tic Tocs) are derived from his designs.He loved Jeanne unrequitedly (or was at least obsessed with the idea of her) and showered her with gifts of robots, which had little effect on her (in retrospect, giving robots to a girl who was pining for the forest was probably a bad idea).
Arc Words: "She died and I did nothing", part of his last words, which the robots repeat as 'She died and we did nothing'.
Black Eyes of Evil: Beneath his glasses, his eyes are solid black. It isn't clear if he suffered the same condition that Zimmy does.
Heel Realization: Of a sort. While he never acknowledged that he was in any way responsible for Jeanne's death, some of his last words were "She was all alone, waiting, when she died and I did nothing", which show that he regretted not doing something to save her.
Punny Name: Possible. While it may not be a Meaningful Name since "Steadman" means a farmhouse occupant, which doesn't fit the character, it may be a pun on the fact that he's a man who's a very steady shot.
The one who created Gunnerkrigg Court. Created by the forest people's magic, the human's technology, and nature itself, it was planted into the ground in the hopes of giving everyone a peaceful place to live together. However, the greed of the humans pushed Bismuth beyond its limits and subsequently began overtaking the forest.
The Dreaded Minotaur of Crete, who has a time sharing in a room inside of the Court. He makes his first appearance in Chapter 2, where Annie and Kat finds him while searching for information for their mythology class.
All Myths Are True: Well, true-ish. The way he tells the famous story, a jerk crashed his birthday party, and he somehow ended up as the bad guy.
Mechanical Lifeforms in the shape of strange ticking birds, only revealed to be robots upon autopsy. Mostly they just observe events, though they once intervened to save Antimony's life. Though they are constructed with Court technology, the Court staff profess ignorance of their origins and true nature. Robots identify them as "mythical ornithonic, said to be older than the Court itself". It is possible they aren't allied with the Court or the Wood.Gamma and Zimmy seem to know more than they're saying about them: "The Thousand Eyes" is the name Gamma gives for them, while everyone else just refers to them as "those birds". Zimmy can't stand them looking at her.The other Robots in the Court consider the Tic-Tocs mythical, created by a divine being (rather than Diego), and possibly older than the Court itself.
Big Damn Heroes: At the beginning of Chapter 8, they intervene to save Annie's life.
Mallt-y-Nos: "Matilda of the Night", a Welsh crone who joined The Wild Hunt. Annie's very first task as a supernatural mediator involved clearing up a dispute between Mallt-y-Nos and Moddey-Dhoo.
Ketrak: The Guide of insects. Much nicer to talk to than to look at. At least, for humans.
Ankou: The Breton psychopomp who was probably the inspiration for the Grim Reaper. Carries a scythe and wears an awesome hat.
Annie befriended many of them during her stay at Good Hope. However, by the start of the story, she's become angry with them for not guiding Surma to her final resting place, leaving Annie, still a child, to do so herself.
The valkyrie Brynhildr, sent to Earth as punishment for disobeying Odin. There, she attended Gunnerkrigg, and befriended two of her classmates, Surma and Anja. When they were transferred to Queslett house, Brinnie remained in Chester, so they rarely were able to spend time together. However, she was able to join them on picture day, and she appeared in a group photo — a copy of which would eventually end up in Annie's hands.Said photo was the first scrap of information revealed to the readers about Brinnie — and for 14 chapters, it was the only scrap of information, and the seed of many Epileptic Trees in the fandom.
An animated doll who's introduced as a close friend of Reynardine's, and who seems to share his status as a spirit possessing a human toy. Her apparently charming and capricious behavior is a (very thin) mask for a sinister personality bent on tormenting her unwitting owner, Adam (a student at the Court whose sister had previously owned the doll Hetty inhabits, before meeting with a "little accident").
Animalistic Abomination: When the spirit of Hetty is released from the doll, it most closely resembles a human-sized krill.
Creepy Doll: Good lord. At least she's a lot more eloquent than most talking dolls, and doesn't just communicate in giggles and "Play with me" chants. But then, her favorite subject is how much she despises and wishes harm upon Adam.
Demonic Possession: In much the same manner as Reynardine. She even has an alchemical symbol on her forehead, as he does (Hetty's represents "oil essence").
Disproportionate Retribution: Hetty loathes Adam for "the pain he has caused [her]" and for trapping her "in this cursed body". Adam... has no idea he was given ownership of Hetty and, to all evidence, had nothing to do with the events that trapped her inside that doll in the first place.
Evil Counterpart: Towards the end of Quicksilver, it becomes clear that she's like Reynardine used to be...except that, unlike him, she feels no regret for her sadistic actions. Recognizing that she will kill an innocent boy if not stopped, Reynardine burns her to death.
For the Evulz: Her primary purpose seems to be to commit random acts of malicious vandalism.
Game Face: The more evil she's feeling, the more her appearance changes, as here and here. Don't even get me started onthisone. Her porcelain "skin" goes corpse-gray and begins to crack, her pupils change from ovals to slits, the alchemical symbol shows up on her forehead, and her facial expression takes a turn for the nasty.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Part of the items Hetty has Reynard help her gather include matches and lighter fluid. Reynard uses them to burn her doll body.
Toward Adam. Reynardine's reaction is baffled and a little incredulous once he actually glimpses the boy. Hetty's campaign of inflicting suffering on Adam is made even more disturbing because Adam isn't remotely at fault and has no idea why he's going through this.
This is also another way in which she contrasts Reynard: he wanted to escape imprisonment for his past crimes by killing Annie and taking her body, a motivation which was sympathetic, if still evil (and which he eventually grew out of.) Hetty torments Adam solely for her own pleasure, and smiles gleefully when Reynard points out that one of her plans would result in Adam's death.
It gets rather depressing with this little note from Tom:
Tom: Adam noticed these problems started soon after his sister died.
It's All About Me: Has absolutely no consideration for anything beyond her own murderous rage.
Kill It with Fire: Reynard douses her doll body in flames, though she abandons it and assumes her true form, which he also promptly kills.
Killer Rabbit: She's adorable, if you can catch her in a non-murderous mood.
Meaningful Rename: Apparently "Hetty" is the doll's name, not the spirit's name, judging from the "Helpful Hetty" page ad at the end of her featured chapter. Consequently, the spirit's real name is unknown.
Not So Harmless: A coquettish doll whose "act of unspeakable evil" is to sneak itchy material into her owner's sheets? Cute... until she starts planning to poison Adam with arsenic, tells Reynardine that he should kill Antimony as well, and is implied to have killed Adam's sister. Yikes.
And then Fridge Horror on the itchiness, when we see Adam and he's covered in a deeply painful looking rash.
A baby pigeon that fell out of the nest and was presumably abandoned by its parents. Kat found him outside her workshop and, with Paz's help, nursed him back to health.Some time later, the adult City Face starred as himself in City Face, a summer blockbuster in which he woos an attractive female pigeon, thereby saving the world from destruction. He reprised the role in City Face 2 the following year, much to Hollywood's delight.