is an ongoing story with a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
, so expect this page to be revised continuously as more information is revealed.If you haven't read the comic first, you really should do so
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Antimony "Annie" Carver
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 grown more 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 aloof weirdo
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.
- 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.
- Cheerful Child: When young.
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 fire elemental descendant, and her interactions with Coyote. Either way Annie is not exactly normal.
- Creepy Child: She's perceived as such by her classmates.
- Deadpan Snarker: Emphasis on the deadpan. She isn't yet very good with one-liners.
- 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.
- Dissonant Serenity: She tend to be smooth, calm and dismissive while in quiet rage or struggling to hold back a thermal lance. At least, until the explosion.
- Does Not Like Shoes: She just prefers to get her feet dirty from time to time.
- 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.
- 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.
- Emotionless Girl/Defrosting Ice Queen/Sugar and Ice Personality: She turns the stoicness down when there aren't any people around. With Kat's help, she has also become more open about her feelings, but she's still remarkably calm in the face of the Court's supernatural weirdness. When her father calls, though, she becomes a Tin Man, convinced that she is calm until Mr. Donlan points out she should give her hands a rest.
- Facial Markings / Marked Change: Has two that only show up under certain circumstances: Jeanne's sword cut, which appears when she's in the ether, and a line down her face when she shows her fire-elemental form. She also has a little "Mignola-esque" "fire-spike" crown that appears near her head whenever she unleashes her fire powers.
- Fire of Comfort: Just about any Etheric creature needs only a little excuse to seek her company. Coyote said Surma was just as popular. She later implied that Fire Elementals have the same reputation. More directly, when she demonstrated her phoenix-like form to Foley House kids, they enjoyed pretty fires very much.
- Flaming Hair: In a few Art Shifted pieces. She does this for real (using her blinker stone) when she accepts the job as the Forest's Medium.
Kat: Whoa, you set your hair on fire?!
Annie: I thought it might look impressive...
- 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.
- Hot Wings: She only needed to learn how to spread them, raising on the new height of fiery awesomeness.
- Ice Queen: Jack accuses her of being one.
- 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.
- Jerkass With A Heart Of Gold: While Annie is nice to Kat, she can be an absolute bitch to people if they get on her bad side. She could either go straight for the throat or be creepy as hell. (last panel) This is often exacerbated by her lack of social skills.
- Kid with the Leash: Towards Reynardine, to the extent of leaving instructions to not mess up when she's absent. If Annie dies, the ownership passes on to someone else she decides. Kat and Jones (the latter during Annie's time in Gillitie Forest) also took care of him for her at times.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Concerning just about EVERYTHING. Including her very nature and the issues of life-and-death importance to her. After all, it would be awkward.
- 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.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Her ownership of Reynardine gets nullified if Annie orders him to take a new body which isn't controlled by her or if Annie steals a body for him to take, which isn't of her own property.
- Magic Pants: Her clothes don't get burned at all when she's using that spirit fire thingamabobber. The flame isn't just imagery either, it's hot enough to burn.
- Magnetic Medium: She is actually described by Mort (a ghost) as "attractive... like a magnet", and not just with ghosts: psychopomps and various other "etheric" creatures think she's pretty neat too.
- Meaningful Name:
- Antimony was known as "a killer of doctors' wives" - it's a convenient poison and was also used as a reusable laxative which was passed from parent to child.
- Also, 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, Antimony is 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.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe. She's become this to the denizens of the forest, with her exploits being incredibly exaggerated. Helped Red and the blue fairy become friends again? She settled a dispute between two warring moons that had been fighting since the beginning of time. Stayed with a family of elves for the summer and had a very minor Ship Tease with their son? She trained with their greatest warriors for a hundred years, learning their secrets and breaking their prince's heart by rejecting his love out of duty to the forest. Lampshaded in The Stinger for Chapter 48. She mentions she slapped Coyote's rump once.
Tom: She beat up Coyote single-handed?!
- Mind over Matter: Coyote taught Annie to pluck flowers and suchlike. We saw her pushing a boat and opening a door from the other side. And then Zimmy insulted Anthony to stir Annie awake and got hurled across the room for her trouble.
- 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.
- New Transfer Student: At the very start of the story, showing up halfway into the school year.
- 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 19, page 27. "Is that some kind of face, Carver?"
- 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).
- In Chapter 47, Kat comments on Annie's calm and composure after she takes Mort into the ether, only for Annie to promptly break down into her friend's arms.
- Omniglot: She gained knowledge of many languages from her conversations with the psychopomps of numerous cultures.
- Orphan's Ordeal: Annie's mum is dead and her dad is nowhere to be seen.
- 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.
- Playing with Fire: When Rey and Coyote described Annie as having a fire inside her, it wasn't a bad attempt at being poetic — they really meant that. It's a part of her nature. Once a Blinker stone let this off the leash in a reasonably safe way, she became quite imaginative in finding applications for magical pyrotechnics.
- Power Nullifier: Has a similar effect on Zimmy that Gamma does, though Annie is much less effective at it.
- Psychoactive Powers: Her ability to manipulate fire seems to be tied to her inner passion.
- Psychopomp: For her mother and Mort.
- Rage Breaking Point: Happens to her twice.
- Red-Headed Hero / Fiery Red Head: Literally. Tom even says that it isn't a common hair color.
- Seen It All: In regards to the afterlife.
- The Shadow Knows: In a twist on the usual effect: it reveals to her that she is in a strange location, not her strangeness to others.
- Ship Tease: With Kat and zig zagged with Jack.
- Snooping Little Kid: A little girl with some lockpicks in her teddy bear.
- Socially-Awkward Hero: Dealing with the supernatural? Easy. Her classmates, on the other hand...
- Spock Speak: A mild case. Appears to have been left behind in the Woods.
- The Stoic: At first, and to a lesser extent, still.
- 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.
- It also happened in Chapter 47: See ya! after releasing Mort into the ether.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Happens in Chapter 31 when Coyote informs her of her fire elemental heritage.
- 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.
- Tsundere: Where Jack is concerned.
- Uneven Hybrid: She's descended from a fire elemental.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: At first Annie seemed indifferent to Jack's attempt to flirt with her in Chapter 31. Then, by the end of Chapter 34, things change.
- 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.
- 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.
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 and Chapter 45: Threads. 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.
- Berserk Button: Insult Annie and she will chew you out, and maybe kick you out of wherever you are—even if you're a Grim Reaper. Even if you're a Grim Reaper affiliate and she's kicking you out of your own office.
- Bi the Way: Was pretty into Alistair, and after a long arc full of Gayngst, also finally seems pretty cool with going out with Paz. As of Chapter 45: Thread, they're officially "not just friends".
- Big Sister Instinct: Punched more or less a Grim Reaper for making Annie sad. Clearly wants to do the same for Anthony, if she ever catches him.
- Brainy Brunette: She has black or nearly black hair like her mom, and has amazing skills with robotics.
- Cat Smile: A slight one in older panels; it eventually disappears in later panels.
- Closet Key: For Paz.
- Coordinated Clothes: Wears a naval dress outfit (minus jacket) to compliment Paz's nautical-themed dress to the "Ocean-style Dance" in Chapter 49.
- Deuteragonist: Been shaping up to be one for some time: her robot angel storyline has received nearly as much attention as Annie's travails.
- Eldritch Abomination: Her etheric form, first seen in Zimmy's vision.
- 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.
- Flat Earth Atheist: Despite magic being somewhat common, so much as to even having a branch of science dedicated to it, Kat insists that all "magic" is really just ill-understood technology.
- 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).
- In Chapter 34: Faraway Morning, 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 in Chapter 38: Divine (and even then it's largely unspoken). Eventually, in Chapter 42: Catalyst, 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 Chapter 45: Thread, Kat worries that she's confused friendship for love with Paz, and whether Annie would still accept her after runs away after she caught them kissing. Annie does, because Kat joked she'd be willing to date a hot girl; Annie's problem is that she's worried Kat would abandon her, which Kat assures her she will never ever do.
- Glamour Failure: She sees everything in the Realm of the Dead as a cheap haunted house with paper bats hanging from strings and VCRs. Annie and Mort are flabbergasted by her insistence that they keep going around into one room and that it's the same weird guy standing in the corner. (We later see what it looks like to the others—the VCR is some kind of eyeball thing with too many claw feet.)
- God Needs Prayers Badly: It's implied that the robots' belief in her as an angel may be turning her into a god, something we may have already caught a glimpse of through Zimmy's perspective.
- Head Pet: Played with. When one of Zimmy's illusions is in play, a pigeon is visible on her head, echoing her thoughts.
- Hot for Teacher: Had a mild crush on Eglamore for awhile.
- Love Revelation Epiphany: Struggles with her sexuality for a while until Paz sends her a love letter, which is when Kat realizes she's fine with it and agrees to go out with Paz.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mistaken for Gay: By Paz. Unlike most other examples of this trope being used for comedy, this serves the purpose of setting up a sub-plot of Kat becoming unconfident with her sexuality, later attempting to present herself as more girly by wearing a generic flower hairpin and Annie's clothes. According to Zimmy, rumors about her are circulating among the "rats," and other characters have commented as if she really was gay and it was just something that has always been. She's clearly more comfortable with being herself when nobody is around in her own environment, without trying to present herself as girly. Eventually, Paz directly confronts her, the two of them realize that they might really like each other as more than friends, and they agree to go out together.
- Muggle Best Friend: Well, as mugglish as a gadgeteer genius can be. Inverted when it comes to robotics, where Antimony has no clue what's going on.
- Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: "One does not 'get bored' in double physics!"
- Oh, Crap: In reaction to Annie's Oh, Crap when she realizes the giant crab is, indeed, real.
- 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.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: "Shadow 2"; there are many Glass Eyed Men who resemble him, but it's not known if he even has a name.
- 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.
- Official Couple: After Chapter 35 when Shadow becomes three dimensional, Robot realizes he loves Shadow and they begin acting more like a couple in background shots. Chapter 41 even begins with them cuddling. They're still Those Two Guys however.
- 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.
- Those Two Guys: With Robot.
- 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.
S 13 / "Robot"
A Robot that Annie built from spare parts to escort Shadow2 into Gillitie. Life has not been kind to him since
: His attempt to find a replacement for his missing arm
leads to him being possessed by a Shadow
and eventually losing everything
except his CPU. He maintains a very bright outlook on life
in spite of this, while waiting for Kat to build him a new body.
He regards Annie as his "mommy"
, and the thought of her coming to harm is the only thing that distresses him. He also greatly appreciates that Annie was the first person to offer him a free choice, even though the consequences of his choice were so disastrous.
At one point, his Heart Drive
was placed in the body of the prototype robot S1, and he acted very strangely
; what came over him is not precisely explained, but it seems to have been out of his control.
Kat built a new body for him, so he can do some mad Le Parkour
- 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.
- Le Parkour: In his temporary body. Pretty impressive.
- Meaningful Name: The "S" in his name stands for Seraph. Both the body Annie built for him and his original body (which Kat found in Chapter 18) had the shape of an angel.
- 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.
- The Missionary:
- Official Couple: After Chapter 35 when Shadow becomes three dimensional, Robot realizes he loves Shadow and they begin acting more like a couple in background shots. Chapter 41 even begins with them cuddling. They're still Those Two Guys however.
- Parental Substitute: He calls Annie "Mommy" for a long time, since she put him back together in Chapter 1. She eventually gets him to stop, but he clearly still sees her that way.
- Poisonous Friend: In recent chapters has become willing to endanger the lives of others in order to speed along Kat's work.
- The Pollyanna: His old body is a bag of paperclips now? "Well, it's good to be useful!"
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In his more advanced humanoid body, the normally-green lights turn red when he is attacking a threat with apparent intent to damage (as opposed to when he is attacking with intent to restrain, where his lights remain green).
- Robot Religion: Seems to have formed one around Kat.
- 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.
- Those Two Guys: With Shadow 2.
- Wrestler in All of Us: It seems that even a robot can pull out a single leg Boston crab.
A young ghost haunting Gunnerkrigg. In spite of being a Shapeshifting Master 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.
- A Death in the Limelight: He gets a lot of screentime in chapter 47 which finally reveals the circumstances surrounding his death. It's the same chapter where his spirit willingly "dies" by departing into the ether.
- Bedsheet Ghost: His default form. Makes sense when you realize he was a child when he died and that's how he thought ghosts looked.
- Blitz Evacuees: Part of his backstory, when he was alive.
- Crush Blush: When Antimony thanks him for his gift, and later when he reverts to his human form before going into the ether.
- Ghost Amnesia / Victory Guided Amnesia: Mort starts to lose his memories as he goes into the ether; this apparently happens to everyone.
Annie: We will never forget you. Mort: Thank you... miss.
- 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).
- Heroic Sacrifice / Senseless Sacrifice: He died trying to save Jones from a bombing raid.
- Master of Illusion: Though he isn't very good at it until Annie gives him some tips.
- Meaningful Name: "Mortis" meaning "death", and "Mort" itself also meaning "death", in French. His full name is Mortimer.
- Metaphoric Metamorphosis: Uh... Oh geez... <tombstone>
- Monster Clown: How he was able to scare Paz in Chapter 4.
- 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 .
- 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 of course, 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". He "wakes up" and is about to be "reaped" by Ankou when Jones intervenes. The ROTD shows up and agrees with Jones ("seniority" and you can't get much more senior than Jones), allowing Mort to stay on earth.
- Think Nothing of It: When he gives Annie the blinker stone.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Of the illusionary variety.
Reynardine / Renard
under Antimony's thrall. He's capable of possessing anything with eyes
, 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
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.
- Character Development:
- The impish anthro-wolf doll slowly fades into a good-natured but troubled fox spirit.
- He and Annie eventually become dear friends. Look.
- Although he does retain a bit of impishness. He is a trickster after all.
- 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.
- 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: Emphasis on the snark.
- 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?" He's actually being sarcastic. 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.
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.
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Implied to be the reason why she married Anthony instead of Eglamore after Breaking the Fellowship.
- British Accents: From Barnsley, Yorkshire, according to Tom.
- Deader Than Dead: Annie drained Surma's power and lifeforce as she grew up. Annie had to take her to the other side herself because the psychopomps couldn't work with what was left.
- Death by Childbirth: An unusually protracted example.
- Dude Magnet: Three different guys fell for her, one of them not even human.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Coyote mentions that, just like Annie, Surma too wasn't fond of shoes in the forest.
- Heroes Want Redheads: And yet, the most traditionally heroic of her three suitors doesn't marry her.
- Honey Trap: She lured Renard into the court by making him think she loved him.
- Important Haircut (well, it might be important): She had long, curly hair her whole life except on these pages, when James was gone for dragon slayer training.
- 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.
- The Tease: Gone Horribly Wrong. When she led the lovestruck Reynardine on, people died.
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.
- Disappeared Dad: After one thousand pages and two in-story years, he finally contacts Annie ...to pass a message to Donnie ...and to hear his daughter's voice again.
- Emotionless Boy: To all but a few. This doesn't include his friend the Valkyrie who had a crush on him and his own daughter.
- 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.
- Meaningful Name: Carver. He's a surgeon.
- 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.
- Spock Speak: If his first line in-comic is an accurate representation... "who talks like that?"
- Straw Vulcan / Tin Man: Passionately talking about passions not making sense to him.
- Strong Family Resemblance: His young self looks almost absurdly like his daughter
- 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
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
Sir James Eglamore
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.
- All Love Is Unrequited: He and Surma.
- Ascended Fanboy: He respected the school dragon slayer, and eventually grew up to be the school dragon slayer.
- Badass Teacher: Teaching is his side job. His main job is dragon slayer.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- The Cameo: Makes an appearance in Sandra and Woo.
- Catch Phrase: Every time he just sort of appears he gives a curt "Ladies."
- Chick Magnet: At the beginning, Kat has a crush on him. Later on, Parley shows "admiration" towards him as well. He also dated Surma for over a long time.
- Double Jump: Combined with Not Quite Flight and he may well drop the Not Quite part.
- Dragon Rider: Before he got possessed by Reynardine, he rode Sivo.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Jimmy Jims" according to Donald.
- Failure Knight: Hints of it, naturally related to Surma and Sivo.
- Heavenly Blue: He appears in a burst of blue to rescue Antimony in the Forest.
- In a Single Bound: See Not Quite Flight below.
- Irony: Couldn't fathom why Surma chose the seemingly emotionless Anthony, yet has been friends with the actually emotionless Jones since he was a kid.
- Knight in Shining Armor: If Eglamore's not a straight example, he at least gets credit for trying.
- Mayfly-December Romance: With Jones; he was still a child when she first took him to the Court, and she is older than life on Earth.
- Not Quite Flight: Like Sir Thorn before him Jimmy Jims can jump like a boss.
- Odd Friendship: Now that he's got to actually know Reynardine as a person, they apparently have a movie night.
- Parental Substitute: Due to the fact that he used to date Annie's mother, and that her father is nowhere to be found, he has shades of this. And then there are the times when he apparently forgets that Annie is not his daughter.
- Power Tattoo: His is the same as Donald's; both were done by Anja.
- Running Gag: Every time he shows up in the comic, Tom reintroduces him by name (As opposed to "hey its these guys") in the Alt Text/Rant.
- Ship Tease: With Jones.
- Super Strength: He's strong enough to leap across buildings, and can crack concrete with his feet while swinging his sword.
- Tragic Keepsake: A folding knife that's engraved "James, with love, Surma". The author's note says that "A knife is a good gift. Handy and practical" but at least in the West knives aren't supposed to be given as gifts unless you want to risk cutting ties with the receiver.
- 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.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Actually dated Surma for a time but didn't end up marrying her.
Dr. Randy Disaster
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 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.
- Ambiguously Human: While she may not be a robot, speculation abounds as to what her actual nature is. Being really, really, really, really old, predating anything else on Earth apart from lava, means she has no idea what she is.
- 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.
- British Accents: Pointedly averted by Tom — to the point of her being devoid of an accent — to emphasize her enigmatic nature. This was subtle Foreshadowing that she predates Britain.
- 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.
- The Comically Serious:
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."
- Minor Major Character: Despite being the head of the school, he's only had two brief appearances so far.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: It is theorized that he merely acts bored because it's the only way to get Coyote to get down to business. If you're not interested in Coyote, he can't manipulate you.
- 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.
Lindsey & Bud
Two married creatures that watch over the Year 9 dormitories (Lindsey watches the girls, Bud the boys).
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
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 quotes William Shakespeare
, and not one of the best-known works, but Timon of Athens
As mentioned above, she's dating Winsbury; they kept it a secret from the other students
, but eventually came clean.
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"; this is part of the reason for keeping her relationship with Winsbury under wraps.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: She once shot her boyfriend's arrow out of the air.
- Official Couple: With William Winsbury.
- 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 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
- Ascended Extra: She started out as a minor character who is scared by Mort, then became a Recurring Extra. Recently, she ascended into Kat's primary love interest.
- All Love Is Unrequited: She and Matt, or so it seems.
- Bi the Way: She had a crush on Matt at one point, but she's also got a crush on Kat.
- The Chew Toy: First, she was chosen as Mort's scare test subject, later she was so happy to see those cows, then she's been abducted by dark hands, and her love towards Matt ends up being one-sided.
- Closet Key: Mutually with Kat.
- Coordinated Clothes: Wears a nautical-themed dress to match with Kat's naval dress outfit (minus jacket) to the "Ocean-style Dance" in Chapter 49.
- Friend to All Living Things: She can outright speak to animals as well.
- Go Through Me: Just before the speech cited in Hidden Depths and Internal Reformist, she had this:
Kat: Self-regulated?! That just means they can do what they want!
Paz: No! You see, to do that, they would have to get through me first.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany: How she discovered she had a crush on Kat.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Her only etheric power is to communicate with animals, so the sapient cruise liner considers her to be no threat. However, said power includes the ability to explain the situation to Lindsey, a building-sized crustacean Eldritch Abomination...
- 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.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Hinted around a bit, and eventually confirmed in Chapter 49. It appears that being able to talk to animals doesn't necessarily mean that they have too much to say.
Zimmy and Gamma
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 gunk perpetually covering her red 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.
Tropes associated with both of them:
- Foil: The two of them to Annie and Kat.
- Meaningful Name: According to Jones, they're not students but case studies.
- Out of Focus: Haven't recieved as much focus in Year 3 after their greater involvement in Year 1 and 2.
- Psychic Link: They don't share a language, but their telepathy lets them communicate fine regardless.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship/Ship Tease: Mentioned in-universe:
Antimony: I- I'm fairly certain [Zimmy] and Gamma are...an item.
Jack: Haha! Oh wow! That doesn't even begin to describe those two!
- Shadow Archetype: A shadow pair to Annie and Kat.
- Theme Naming: Zeta ("Zimmy") and Gamma.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Hardass Zimmy and demure Gamma.
- Translation with an Agenda: Zimmy tends to translate what other people say as insults, in order to keep Gamma from making new friends (and thus spending less time with her).
Tropes associated with Zimmy:
- Black Eyes of Evil: She's significantly happier when all the gunk is washed away by the rain, though it's the rain, not the lack of gunk, that makes her happy.
- Blessed with Suck:
- 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.
- Dark Is Not Evil: It's just that she dislikes the etheric powers she's got.
- Do Not Call Me Paul/Only Known by Their Nickname: Zimmy doesn't like her real name.
- Face Framed in Shadow: Weird lighting in the last panel of strip #1029 makes her look very angry at something.
- Hades Shaded: Zimmy's skin is an ashy greyish-brown colour. It's hard to tell if it's meant to be within the range of what's normal for the Gunnerverse.
- Happy Rain / Redemption in the Rain: Played a bit more literally than usual with Zimmy.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Except Gamma, and she tolerates Annie.
- Hidden Eyes: Her eyes aren't actually black, just hidden by gunk.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zimmy is an obnoxious jerk—though partly out of jealous devotion to Gamma, and knowing that her condition is a danger for anyone whom she won't scare off in time. She truly cares about Gamma. And she also warms up to Annie, going so far as to deliver a pointed message for her to her father.
- Liminal Being: There are human characters, and inhuman characters, but only Zimmy seems only partly human and partly — something else.
- Love Makes You Crazy: She would kill everyone in the world and then herself if Gamma wished for it.
- Messy Hair: Zimmy's hair is tangled and scraggly.
- 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.
- Reality Warper: The strongest one shown in the Court yet, albeit with massive Power Incontinence.
- Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: And how. Without Gamma, it would quickly kill Zimmy and those around her in gruesome ways.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Subverted, the only time you see her red eyes are when she's happy and emotionally stable, when the rain washes away the black gunk.
- The Sleepless: Zimmy is incapable of sleep.
- Talking in Your Dreams: She goes into Antimony's after Antimony passed out.
- Telepathy: Though like everything else it works in a rather strange manner.
Tropes associated with Gamma:
Red and Blue
Two Regional Fairies who become humans
. 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.
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
- 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. (Smitty is actually 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.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows:
- 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.
- Nice Guy: VERY polite and friendly with everyone he meets.
- Official Couple: With Parley, after a Relationship Upgrade.
- One Head Taller: The usual gender roles are inverted as it's Parley who's much taller than he is.
- Opposites Attract: He and Parley could not be more dissimilar, but they have great chemistry and share a mutual attraction.
- Power Incontinence: A more harmless variety than most; see Cutting the Knot. He seems to be able to predict what using his power will do, but not how it will happen.
- Reality Warper: It's started to be applied for more things than just making order out of chaos, and working with Parley it becomes very potent.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: He basically has the power to subconsciously create order by manipulating chance.
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
- Action Girl: Apparently an excellent fencer, and possibly good with a gun. Even Jeanne, despite being a spirit composed only of hate and rage, compliments her on her skills.
- Action Girlfriend: Since Andrew's a Non-Action Guy, she's the physical side of their duo.
- Ascended Extra: Has gone from being one of many characters in the school to the next in line for the Court's Dragonslayer, and is very central to the main plot arc.
- Big "NO!": When Smith accidentally uses his ability to automatically beat a sim before it even starts.
- Embarrassing First Name / Gender-Blender Name: George. Not hard to figure out why she goes by her last name.
- Everyone Can See It:
- 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.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Parley only finally started acting girly when the Relationship Upgrade occurred, and she's still MUCH more action-driven and loud than Andrew.
- Meaningful Name:
- "Parley" meaning a conference between opposing sides and Parley being a medium, whose job it is to... mediate.
- Also, her name is George. She's to be the next Dragonslayer... that's right, she's (Saint) George the Dragonslayer.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Mostly while embracing/tormenting Smithy. It finally led to "interesting" consequences when she grabbed by a shoulder Annie who used a magical artifact at this time.
- Official Couple: With Andrew after a Relationship Upgrade; Her experience with the ghost of Jeanne leads her to admitting her feelings for Andrew.
- One Head Taller: As mentioned in Smitty's folder, the gender roles here are reversed, as it's Parley who is taller.
- Opposites Attract: She and Smitty could not be more dissimilar, but they have great chemistry and share a mutual attraction.
- Power Incontinence: On this page she teleports against her will — the third time that week. The next page implies that it may be activated whenever she thinks about Smith.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Her first ability. There seems to be more to her.
- Teleport Spam: has been teaching herself to incorporate this with her already formidable fencing skills
- Tsundere: When she crushes on Smitty, but then again, she has a pretty abrasive attitude in general. Smitty "doesn't mind too much". Sometimes it works out pretty well for him in fact.
- 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.
A student from Queslett South who is easily Annie and Kat's equal in curiosity
. He's made a hobby of hacking
the security system's motion detectors and exploring the Court after curfew. He also has an impish streak, and a Cheshire Cat Grin
and very expressive eyebrows
to match.He's the son of
a student who was on very bad terms with Surma, Anja, and their friends
, which he is either unaware of or dishonest about to Annie
- Animal Motifs: Jack's astral body has a spider image on his face after the events in Chapter 19. And during Chapter 27 and Chapter 34, the bangs near his forehead look like spider fangs.
- Animal Theme Naming: Possibly accidental and hopefully not going into Animal Stereotypes: male asses are called jacks and females are called jennies (or jennets).
- All Love Is Unrequited: Zimmy, at first. Annie, after the incidents of Chapters 27 & 28: Spring Heeled.
- Badass Longcoat: Quite a bit of his appearances show him wearing a trenchoat, to the point of being iconic for the fandom.
- Breaking Speech: He pulls one of these on Kat and Annie in this state.
- Creepy Child: Even before we know the reason, it is clear there is something wrong with him.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: About the Court tracking people through their food.
- Demonic Possession: By an ethereal spider in Chapters 27 & 28: Spring Heeled.
- Fighting from the Inside: Until a calmed Zimmy destroys the spider.
Zimmy: But he put up a fight.
- Foil: To both Kat and Annie.
- Gadgeteer Genius/Teen Genius: Not quite as good as Kat, though. Interest in and ability to make more arcane gadgets were a side effect of the possession.
- 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.
- I Got Bigger / One Head Taller / Younger Than They Look: Jack had a growth spurt and grew some facial hair in the months between "Faraway Morning" and "The Torn Sea", making him look more like a college freshman than a high schooler.
- The Insomniac: He went days without sleep while possessed by the Whitelegs. He regained his ability to sleep after he was freed, though he now needs much less of it than most people do.
- 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.
- Looks Like Cesare: To increasing degrees since his possession.
- Luminescent Blush: He has one after talking with Annie in this strip. Whether or not she noticed it isn't clear.
- 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.
- Meaningful Name: Chapter 27 was the first chapter where Jack was the main focus of attention. It's titled "Spring Heeled."
- Messy Hair: His hair's been getting steadily messier since Zimmingham, although it doesn't look unusually messy except by comparison to his old self.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Possibly, considering he has a crush on Zimmy.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Properly Paranoid: Jack goes for long periods without eating or drinking, because he thinks there are tracking devices in the food and water. According to Jones, they're actually in their clothes
- Starts freaking out when Zimmy stows away on the cruise at the end of Year 9 and has to be dragged away from her. Turns out he was exactly right to worry. Interestingly he seems perfectly fine once he's actually in Zimmy's world.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives Annie one in chapter 34, although it ended amicably enough.
- Replacement Love Interest: Goth/punk Jenny, who seems saner and less dangerous than Zimmy, more emotionally open than Annie, and is has magic/etheric powers as an "apprentice witch".
- He's All Grown Up: A male version; he fills out a lot more in his later teenage years
- Shadow Archetype: In Zimmingham, in Chapter 28.
- Slasher Smile: He starts grinning creepily a lot after his appearance in Power Station.
- Tears of Blood: Just like Zimmy, only it hadn't become Hidden Eyes.
- Theme Naming: Jack and Jenny; Annie, Zimmy.
- 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).
- What Does He See in Her?: What Annie (and presumably other people if they find out) thinks of his crush on Zimmy.
- 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
A girl who appears in chapter 49 as Jack's girlfriend. Initially mistaken (both in-universe and out) for Zimmy, it's later revealed that she is an apprentice witch. She uses Westcountry slang, such as referring to Annie as "my love."
- Cute Witch: Though when asked she insists she is just an apprentice.
- Hermetic Magic: She uses a spelling circle to help guide Jack's robot, carrying Annie's blinker stone, to Renard.
- Nice Girl: The second she showed up, the fandom went wild, theorizing all sorts of dark motivations for her, from the crazier ones like her being an insane and evil Chessmaster to relatively mundane ones like simply being used by Jack as an alternative to Zimmy. It quickly becomes apparent that none of this is true; she's friendly and helpful, and even knows about and is accepting of her boyfriend's obsession with Zimmy.
- Nightmare Fetishist: She finds the dark twisted world of Zimmy's alternate reality to be "Wonderful" and "Beautiful"
- Perky Goth: She dresses in black and finds being trapped in a horrific Dark World exciting, but she's a bright and cheerful girl..
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: She looks a lot like Zimmy, but their personalities could not be more different.
- To the point where she's able to lure the robots into a trap, fooling them into thinking she's Zimmy.
- Verbal Tic: She uses "My Love" a lot when addressing Annie. While it is normal mannerism in Westcountry, it's normally used by people much older then Jenny.
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.
- Amulet of Dependency: He has spent so much time in his Powered Armor that he's practically crippled without it.
- Ax-Crazy: At least partly due to Coyote's influence
- Berserk Button: Anything that could even vaguely be interpreted as human disdain for ethereal beings.
- The Berserker: In the traditional sense; when Ysengrin gets pissed off, he gets really friggin' pissed off. To the point that he can't even really remember what he precisely did, even before Coyote eats the memory of it.
- Blood Knight: He seems to enjoy scrapping, a huge grin on his face all the while.
- Destructive Romance: Well, not really a romance per se, but it is confirmed by the author that Ysengrin loves Coyote and he has not fared better for it.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: In case you wondered why.
- Driven to Madness: Something Coyote has been doing to him as a hobby.
- 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, and very good 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.
- Incendiary Exponent: Ysengrin by himself is scary. Ysengrin while on fire? Badass.
- I Owe You My Life: Towards Coyote.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He and Annie become much closer through her visits and eventually summer in the forest. He's not such a bad guy when he isn't angry.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Coyote has apparently been erasing things from Ysengrin's mind for some time now. Which might be part of the reason for his weakening sanity.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: Ysengrin and the “Spankies!” (though it turns out to be a ruse).
- My God, What Have I Done?: Has this sort of reaction when he calms down and realizes he tried to kill Annie.
- Odd Friendship: He eventually warms up to Annie, after she spent a summer in Gillitie.
- Oh, Crap: When Ysengrin looks like he's about to crap his Powered Armor, you know the fecal matter is flying toward the rotational cooling device at terminal velocities.
- Pet the Dog: Shown in chapters 26 and 31.
- Pride: Ysengrin is a very prideful being, according to Coyote. Which is why it galls him to know that human belief is the only reason beings such as Coyote and himself even exist.
- Shape Shifter Weapon: "SHING!"
- Undying Loyalty: To Coyote, despite the way his boss treats him.
- 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. Coyote himself notes that Ysengrin loves him very much, though Ysengrin isn't blind to Coyote's shortcomings.
- Zen Survivor: Barely survives without the armor and gives advice to only those he deems worthy.
Coyote — the mythological trickster god
. 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.
- Affably Evil: Coyote is most definitely this. He's willing to hurt and betray his friends and colleagues, even with moon-poking power and dictatorship over the entire woods. Examples include manipulating Ysengrin into trying to murder Annie, and then eating Ysengrin's memory of the event (he's done this hundreds of times to keep said forest god loyal). On the other hand, he's very generous with sharing information, constantly laughs and jokes at what should be Berserk Buttons to any other dictator, and his reaction to a farce of an official meeting between ambassadors?
Coyote: ...Party. Party. Party! Par-tay! Par-Tay! PARTY-AY!
- Animalistic Abomination: Even when not in the Ether, he looks very off.
- 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.
- Beware the Silly Ones: His threat to Antimony here and, much earlier in the story, his treatment of Ysengrin here.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Constantly.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Coyote enjoys defiance, but keep in mind that he is a god.
- Eldritch Abomination: Coyote's etheric form looks like a mass of technicolor tentacles with teeth. His true form is essentially a living fractal.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There / Extra Eyes: Coyote has an eye on his chest and on each of his shoulders and thighs, which are occasionally seen to turn to look at people. His etheric form is also seen to be partly made up of an infinite number of glowing eyes; the rest of it is rows upon rows of endless, glittering teeth.
- Feel No Pain: Coyote only feels pain if he chooses to. On the other hand, he often chooses to, simply because he thinks it's funny.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He was apparently an ordinary coyote before human imagination made him a god.
- 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".
- Humanity Is Insane: As part of his explanation on why he doesn't exist.
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?!
- Humans Are Flawed: He loves humans, but he's not above cracking jokes at their expense.
Annie: Let's hope we teach you responsibility, too.
Coyote: HAHAHA! Responsibility! A fine word and one of the last you'll learn as a human!
- Humans Are Special: Coyote loves humans so much because they are responsible for his existence and could be considered the strongest race of all since their imagination powers the ether. Or so he thinks, at least; it remains to be seen if he is indeed correct about this.
- The Hyena: One of the more literal examples. He laughs loudly at everything—at himself, at others, he doesn't really discriminate.
- Immortal Immaturity: Coyote does whatever he wants to whoever he wants, regardless of how they're going to feel about it, and most of the time without their permission. He also has No Sense of Personal Space, often wrapping himself around someone or pressing his head right onto theirs (to say nothing of the nose). The permanent grin he has plastered on his face doesn't help his case much.
- 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?
- It's All About Me: Coyote enjoys hearing stories about himself, also loves telling stories about himself, and on one occasion calls Antimony to the forest for this very reason:
Coyote: You see, this is an important matter! I am bored! You will tell me 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 body and offered reassurances to Renard's concerns that the process could kill the man.
- Large Ham:
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Right here.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Among other things, when he gives away powers to others, he literally gives them away; unable to use them until he decides to take them back. See also Power at a Price below.
- The Mad Hatter: Being a god and all, he has an excuse.
- 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.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Coyote will always be uncomfortably close while you speak with him. Always. Even in your dreams.
- Perpetual Smiler
- 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.
- Time Stands Still: One of his many powers, complete with deliberate monochrome.
- Trickster: One of The Tricksters from ancient mythology.
- Trickster Mentor: He has become this to Antimony.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: In every form and shape you can imagine.
- Was Once a Man: Coyote claims that he only exists because a delirious human saw a hungry coyote as a deity instead of just an animal looking for a meal.
- Wham Line / Mind Screw: "My secret... is this... I. DO NOT. EXIST!"
- Will Not Tell a Lie: According to Jones, he doesn't lie. That doesn't necessarily mean he'll tell the truth though, as he's prone to leaving out information, or phrasing his answer in such a way as to be completely meaningless. (Reference, his answer to the question of "What is Gunnerkrigg Court?").
Jones: Coyote is no liar, therein lies the danger.
The Founders of the Court
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 green eyes
. 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.
That Elf (real name unknown)
One of the founders' lover from Gillitie Wood. Another founder referred to him as a "traitor".
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.
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.
- Gadgeteer Genius: This guy created self-aware robots.
- 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.
- If I Can't Have You: Strongly hinted to be his motivation for having Jeanne sacrificed.
- Jerkass: This was the guy who condemned the one he 'loved' to a slow and miserable death by exposure essentially, because she liked someone else. And which coincidentally killed the other man as well.
- Never My Fault: Even on his deathbed, he was unwilling to accept that his choices led directly to Jeanne's death, choosing instead to insist that he had been forced into it by Young.
- Small Role, Big Impact: He only appears in an old video clip and a telepathy-induced flashback, courtesy of Jeanne. Despite this, the vast majority of the main plot is either directly or indirectly a result of his choices and creations.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Jeanne.
The Court's first Dragon Slayer. He is interred in a park at the Court which bears his name — Annie's class took a camping trip there.
The Archer of the Founders, and apparently a close friend of the Artilleryman (who has not appeared on screen). He had an important part in the plan to fortify the Annan Waters.
The Seed Bismuth/The Illusionary Wisp
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.
Other / Minor characters
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.
- Gentle Giant: Despite what the myths claim.
- Out of Focus: It took 30 chapters to see him again.
The Tic-Tocs / The Thousand Eyes
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.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite being one of the biggest mysteries of the Court, they haven't made any appearances for quite a long time.
- Meaningful Name: The only sound they make is "Tic-Toc."
- Mechanical Lifeforms: At first glance, they appear alive, but the feathers are fake.
- Mysterious Watcher: For the entire Court. While they appear to be Court technology, none of the current generation know where they come from, including the robots.
A wide variety of mythological persons and creatures who escort the souls of the dead]] into the Aether. Some manner of rules forbid them from interfering in the lives of the living, and for this reason they are usually invisible to living humans. However, some people, such as Annie and Surma, can naturally see and communicate with the Guides. In spite of their fearsome appearances, they are friendly.
Plot-wise, the important Guides so far are:
- Muut: An owl-headed man from Cahuilla Native American myth. He seems to care about Annie, but he's not above manipulating her or bending the rules for the right ends. Does not wear a shirt.
- Moddey-Dhoo: A Black Dog from Manx folklore.
- 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.
- Crossover Cosmology: None of them hail from any one belief system.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite their often sinister appearances, they are largely benign entities, only looking to bring the dead to what awaits.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: They're actually quite personable when you get to know them.
- Invisible to Normals: Most people can't see them under normal circumstances.
- Psychopomp: They guide the souls of the dead to the afterlife (afterlives?).
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.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Nothing subtle here. But Tony just couldn't decide how to react on this. And ended up with Surma, as we already know.
- All There in the Manual: Brinnie's backstory has only been lightly hinted at in the comic itself—when she uses her powers, a blue valknut appears, and she makes an offhand reference to "the old man" (Odin.) The revelation that she was an exiled Valkyrie was made on the forums.
- Valkyries: She was still not on active duty, obviously. On the other hand, she can't shirk any studies since Odin personally checks her diligence.
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").
Nobody likes Boxbot
. Not even Tom himself
. He's terrible to the point that he doesn't deserve a proper description. Not that you can say much about a box-shaped thing with arms...
Everyone loves Robox
. A complete description cannot even sum up the awesomeness that is Robox. "Box on legs" doesn't even begin to cover it.
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.
- A Day in the Limelight: City Face and City Face 2.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Before appearing in the comic proper (Chapter 29: A Bad Start) he debuted in City Face, published right after Chapter 22: Ties.