Girl Genius: Tropes F to J
aka: Tropes F-J
Tropes A to E | Tropes F to J | Tropes K to O | Tropes P to T | Tropes U to Z
Girl Genius provides examples of the following tropes:
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- Face Fault: The reactions to Gil "admitting" to Zola that he's really a pirate.
- Face Palm: Frequent. Smek!
- Failed a Spot Check: Inescapable Death Traps do not always remain so.Lucrezia!Agatha: That hole was not there when I last looked!
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Gil barges in the control bridge of Castle Wulfenbach while fighting an enemy clank, crushes it underneath him and cooly dust of his sleeve. And then he trips over a broken clank part, all under the eyes of his father.
- Faking the Dead: Having a casualty of roughly the same sex / race / age as Agatha, Master Payne's circus sees fit to give their rescuer a new lease on life. Olga lived for cons anyway.
- False Innocence Trick: Agatha mentions this trope when she first encounters Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER! who asks her to free him. She believes he's doing this and does not free him; however, he actually believes he's The Hero being held by the villain. He may not be wrong, even if he is a bit of a Cloud Cuckoolander.
- Famed In-Story: The Heterodyne Boys. And how!
- Famous-Named Foreigner: Zola is French. "Zola" is hardly a French first name — and Émile Zola's last name is in fact of Italian origin.
- So very, very much gratuitous Agatha-in-her-underwear. On the other hand, it is only Victorian underwear... Not that that especially matters.
- Later: The Really Nice View of Agatha's Signal, and this little gem, followed by this one.
- And let's not forget the rather lengthy section of Volume 8 where Gil was entirely naked save for a strategically placed bedsheet.
- And Gil is next wandering around shirtless. Nom.
- Another case. Not only are both Gil and Tarvek naked, but they keep changing colors.
- Like son, like father. There are many who are very grateful for that Naughty Flashback Scene.
- Also Tinka's metal but curvy body in a semi-transparent nightie.
- Zeetha and the Wacky Weave Destabilizer.Zeetha: What are you thinking, using Bunbury's trash? He's why every smart actress from here to Paris wears special underwear! Why do you even have one of those?
- Speaking of which, Zeetha spent a lot of time running around in that leather underwear...
- And now, we have "Revenge of the Weasel Queen", in which Agatha and Zeetha end up wearing BUNNY outfits. Although these "bunny outfits" are not quite what one might assume.
- Sleipnir O'Hara, one of the "hostages" of the Baron on Castle Wulfenbach, sports a halter-top that shows a bit of Sideboob once she arrives in Mechanicsburg later in the story.
- For more commentary on this important subject, see the entries for Bleached Underpants, Mr. Fanservice, Ms. Fanservice and World of Buxom.
- Fanservice Extra: Ferretina. She drips with fanservice. Quoting a bit from the wiki: "... her outfit isn't chosen for modesty." You can say that again.
- Fanservice with a Smile: Zeetha noted that they got their crowd after Gilgamesh accidently stripped her of her clothes.
- Fantastic Racism:
- There is much prejudice against Constructs of all 11 varieties, and also against the Jägers. In the case of the Jägers, the prejudice is understandable (they're Crazy Awesome Blood Knight troops of the most dangerous conquerors around, and without The Kid with the Leash they're bad news). But not in Mechanicsburg. There it's "by monsters, for monsters".
- Brother Ulm of the Corbettite Railway is deeply prejudiced against Krosp—not because he's a construct, but because he's a cat.Ulm: They're all filthy liars, you know.
Agatha: Oh, that's true...
- Fascinating Eyebrow: Baron Oublenmach should be afraid now... very afraid.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: Maxim, with a glove and a spiked shoulderpad on one side.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: If you construe sparkiness to be "magic" (which isn't too much of a stretch seeing that sparks regularly violate the laws of nature), Zeetha handily lines up herself, Agatha, and Violetta as such respectively.
- Filler Strip: Radio Theatre Breaks, Short Stories, Fairy Tale Theatre: Cinderella, and to a lesser extent, Heterodyne Boys Stories and "The Storm King Opera" synopsis, as the latter two contribute to the overall mythology.
- In-universe example; the character of Big Guy Punch in stories and stage-shows is reduced to comic buffoon and Butt Monkey. Among the secrets kept from Agatha her whole life was that the quiet, competent blacksmith she knew as her father was Punch. The Jägermonsters who knew Punch try to give an actor advice on how to play him authentically, but all of it requires casting out what makes his act so successful.
- Klaus' characterizations in many Heterodyne stories has undergone similar treatment, being rewritten as an excitable cowardly braggart. Although he's now the unquestioned conqueror of the entire continent, Klaus permits this impertinence for one simple reason: he thinks it's hilarious.
- Flashback Effects / Monochrome Past: Sepia tones.
- Flip Personality: Lucrezia and Agatha. Little outward signs of transition, save for the smile and the eyes, but obviously different personalities.
- Floorboard Failure: Happens to Zeetha's whole group in the sewers of Sturmhalten, shortly after escaping a rampaging monster. They land in an oubliette, so that 'weak floor' may actually have been a deliberate trap.
- Fluffy the Terrible:
- The Fun-sized Mobile Agony and Death Dispensers, a.k.a. the "devil dogs".note
- Countless other one-shot gags such as the name of the big happy fun ball of death which Gil has to rescue Zola from.
- Follow the Chaos:
- How Adam and Lilith locate Agatha aboard Castle Wulfenbach.
- How baron Wulfenbach knows Agatha is in Sturmhalten: how does a notoriously meticulous scientist die in a lab accident? Agatha must be involved.
- Foot Popping: Agatha with Tarvek. Yup, played straight.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: The aptly-named Doombell.
- Foreign Cuss Word: Ultimately a subtrope of all the Gratuitous Foreign Language entries.
- Foreshadowing: Several.
- One of the first ones is that the Jagers all think that Agatha smells "quite nice" - due to her actually being a Heterodyne.
- Agatha does a nice job of intimidating one of Klaus' scientists who turns out to be a revenant into calling her "mistress" here. Jump ahead several years...
- A more minor example:Gil: (to Agatha, about Othar) Trust me. When you get to know him better, you'll want to throw him out of the window yourself.
- The whole missing tale of the Storm King that Klaus told the Author Character is either Klaus foreshadowing things to come or sending a message to his son in a very cryptic manner, so that Lucrezia wouldn't realize what he was doing.
- Agatha being able to order Gil not to die on her foreshadows Klaus' discovery that Gil is a revenant. Although that likely was faked, since the wasp-detector was not reacting to Klaus, and we know he's got one!
- It's mentioned several times that the Storm King Conspiracy needs the Heterodyne heir alive for their plans. Guess who Tweedle tries to escape Mechanicsburg with once things go south.
- When Wooster tries to calm Margarella Selnikov, she briefly shoots him a suspicious glare, incredibly out of place amidst her constant panicking beforehand. It's the first hint of her actual, much more cold-blooded personality, before The Reveal.
- Forever War: The status quo in the days before the Heterodyne Boys due to constant infighting between rival Sparks. Then the Baron stopped it his way.
- Forgets to Eat: This can happen to Sparks if they stay in the Madness Place too long. Non-Spark can be used to remind them.
- Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Tarvek admits that he keeps forgetting Othar is a spark.
- Fork Fencing: Cranked Up to Eleven, as can be expected of Sparks, with Gil's ''Hand-cranked Runcible Gun.
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: How does Agatha even breathe in some of those outfits?
- For Science!: It is a world ruled by Mad Science! Girl Genius would not exist without this trope. Lampshaded.
- For the Lulz: Apparently, this is why Castle Heterodyne kills people. Because it "will be fun". All Heterodynes before Bill and Barry also seemed to have this as their primary motivation. Klaus even claims in his Storm King story that Clemethious Heterodyne always smiled, even while sleeping - because he constantly thought up new ways to torture, kill etc. people.
- Frame Break: Apparently, the Spark also conveys the power to break the fourth wall — quite literally. Or maybe that's just Gil.
- Freeze Ray: Used as firefighting gear. It is mentioned that, with a little tinkering on one, you could freeze a castle wall and then bash it in with a hammer.
- Freudian Excuse: There's an implied inversion with the Heterodyne Boys. Supplementary material has indicated they grew up to be good because they were raised by their kind and decent (and so far unnamed) mother who was forced into marrying Saturnus Heterodyne via threats to her family. The standard Heterodyne idea of a worthy mate and/or proper child caretaker is somewhat different.Gil: So this was the nursery?
Tarvek: It explains so much...
- Fridge Logic: In-Universe, when Moloch told Agatha that it was impossible to make it across town.Agatha: But... you say nobody can get through all that...
Moloch: There's just no way!
Agatha: And you've been doing work all over town?
Moloch: That's right! So I've seen it! It's hopeless!
- Friendly Enemies:
- Invoked with Gil and Tarvek's "friendly" banter.
- Played absolutely straight when Zeetha has her first social meeting with Bang. The two hit it off right away and get along just famously, even though they're both fully aware that they're going to have to fight each other eventually. Zeetha at least (and quite likely Bang as well) is looking forward to it.
- Friend Or Foe: The Jägers have an excellent way of solving the problems presented by this trope.
- From Bad to Worse: The entire Castle Heterodyne arc is stuffed to the gills with this trope. Just trust us on this one.
- Funetik Aksent: "De Jägers hall talk like dis, sveethot!" Even their clapping is accented. The novels explain that it's an ancient Mecanicsburg accent, carefully maintained as a point of pride. That's why a random mother Gil runs afoul of in Mecanicsburg shares the accent.
- Funny Background Event: The Foglios love this. In particular, it's worth reading any notices, signs, control labels, advertisements or scripts that appear.
- No clanks, cucumbers, clocks, or dancing.
- Do Not Drink. Look at panel 1, then panel 3. then look at the mug in the next page.
- Ether Bunny. In the same frame, what appears to be "Mummy Dust" and "Daddy Dust".
- No Alchemy (unless it works).
- Lab Full of Exploding Things #5. NUMBER FIVE.
- "Trade Entrance. Invade in front.". (The small signs in the bottom panel. You may need to squint.)
- This page on the last panel. Four arrows pointing, from the top: left, right, up and down. All of them say "DANGER".
- While Othar and Sanaa are talking, we see her fellow prisoners get out of the pit trap, run away from Othar, a sign signalling "Secondary pit trap activated" and a sign asking "Want a laugh?" with two buttons, "Yes" and "Hell Yes".
- There is a gumball machine in the background. The sign over it says "POISON! Illiteracy Reduction."
- More recently, look at Agatha's attempts to fix that machine in the background. She still has the hammer when she yells at Gil in the last panel.
- Read what's written on the steps.
- Down in the Heterodyne Crypt (bottom left panel)
- Gadgeteer Genius: Pretty much all Sparks, but the Heterodynes were notable even among Sparks.Von Mekkan: In my experience, a strong Heterodyne will take about two hours to truly warp the laws of nature.
- Gambit Pileup:
- Agatha's arrival in Sturmhalten caused everyone to set off their master plan at once.
- When Agatha and Zola reached Castle Heterodyne, everything just went nuts as Zola started revealing about half of the actors involved in her power play.
- After Agatha took the castle, she found herself at the center of a maelstrom as every two-bit power in Europa tried to seize Mechanicsburg (and her along with it); when the various factions started fighting over her, this took the trope virtually to the point of parody. To top it off, Klaus predicted the whole thing, and used it to get all the troublemakers in his realm in one place for easy disposal.
- Gargle Blaster: A few examples.
“You hoist a noggin of that stuff to the ‘Lady Heterodyne’- you’ll soon be skipping through the streets trying to catch flying pink mimmoths.”
- Theo's idea of a good home-brewed liquor can be expected to be at least 200 proof, and have other... interesting ingredients. Note that 200 proof is pure alcohol. Also note that under normal circumstances, opening a container of pure alcohol outside of laboratory conditions will cause it to be diluted by the moisture in the air. Maybe part of Theo's talent as a Spark makes him a Mad Moonshiner who can make impossible drinks?
- Double Fortified Lingonberry Snap:
- Gatling Good: The machine Merlot uses to try and kill Agatha in the Castle has two of these. They're capable of ripping a Mobile Fun-Sized Agony and Death Dispenser to shreds.
- Geeky Turn-On:
- Generation Xerox: Several of the characters apparently look almost exactly like younger versions of their parents, enough to confuse Lucrezia in the cases of Tarvek and Zola. Gil appears to resemble his father as well, but it doesn't get him recognized as the Baron's son.
- Genius Bruiser: Many Sparks, the Jägergenerals, and Da Boyz.
- Genre Savvy: Almost everyone. Othar is about the only exception (he's Wrong Genre Savvy instead.)
- "What? They're in all the stories."
- A special mention for the men carrying Anevka's squishy bits two pages later.Oggie: Who vants to be my friend?!
Geisterdamen: (draw swords)
Henchmen: (immediately raise their hands)
- Also Othar, especially in his Twitter updates, and Moloch.
- Also The Other.Tarvek: What! That's impossible! Isn't it?
The Other: Oh dear, I do so mistrust it when "impossible" is one's initial reaction to an idea.
- The leader of the war clanks attacking Mechanicsburg quickly realizes that the lone guy walking out to challenge his entire army is the most dangerous person on the battlefield.Selnikov: Son of— SHOOT HIM! QUICKLY!
- Selnikov again (well, what's left of him), on why a Lord like him shaves his own face:Selnikov: As if I'd trust anyone I know to hold a razor to my throat!
- "He's no threat —" (both look around the room in obvious terror) — "Do you WANT him to show up?!"
- Tarvek played the fool for years. He was paying attention.
- Also, this entire exchange between Gil and Tarvek.Tarvek: So, Wulfenbach — just checking — is this going to be some kind of macho exercise where you insist on battling a potentially superior opponent alone in some kind of misguided attempt to "prove" your intrinsic worth?
Gil: No, no! I'm only that stupid in front of Agatha!
- Moloch von Zinzer, oh so much.
- Gil has his moments, too. Like just before he throws Tarvek and Othar off an airship in an untested and entirely experimental flying machine.
- Agatha gets some savviness here and there.Agatha: Look, no offense, but I've been around labs most of my life. I'd rather NOT end up being the easily-duped minion who sets the insanely dangerous experiment free, OR the hostage who ensures the smooth-talking villain's escape.
- Gentle Giant: Punch, apparently, though most people who didn't know him assume he's just Dumb Muscle. Also possibly a Genius Bruiser, though the evidence for that comes from the Jägers who are... not the best at determining who's "schmott". Appears to be confirmed when we meet him again after the Time Skip.Belloptix: But... didn't he have a... lighter side?
Maxim: Oh yah! He build very amuzing toys for de orphan cheeldren!
- Gentleman Adventurer: Othar Tryggvassen is the Trope Namer.
- Get a Hold of Yourself Man: Most often done by using water. Or pies. Fists and bricks are fine too.
- Get It Over With: Boris
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Oh, fry me!
- Ghost Town: They are apparently quite common across Europe, which isn't so strange given how many monsters and rampaging experiments wander around in the Wastelands.
- Giant Spider:
- One of the many creepy albino monsters the Geisterdamen use for transportation.
- Also one in Castle Heterodyne. Not quite as big, but... "Nyar!"
- Giant Squid: A giant mechanical squid and a giant flying squid.
- Gilligan Cut:
- The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: Deconstructed during the Cinderella parody. Tarvek has Cinderella's slippers and wants to find the girl who fits them, but Gil argues that the shoes, size nine-and-a-half, would fit too many other women. Tarvek soon brings out a picture of Cinderella, but Gil says they no longer need the shoe.
- Giving Them the Strip:
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Averted. In Agatha's case, it is NOT so that "men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses."
- The Glomp: Zoing to Gil, with a "GLOMPH" sound effect.
- God Emperor: Gender Flipped for the Brits; their queen is known as "Her Undying Majesty".
- God Guise: Lucrezia Mongfish (a.k.a. The Other) is worshipped by the Geisterdamen.
- Godzilla Threshold:
- The Baron's approach to governance can be summed up thusly: "Don't make me come down there." So getting the Baron involved in a problem is perceived this way.
- Master Payne explains his decision to notify the baron about Passholdt being overrun by monsters, over Agatha's protest that they should help instead:Payne: Could you burn down people — women and children — even if you knew they had become monsters? The Baron can. The Baron has. I respect him for that but I don't want to be him.
- The Baron's own personal Godzilla Threshold involves plots having to do with Revenants or The Other. Unfortunately, this means Agatha is number one on his Most Wanted list because of her relation to and possession by Lucrezia. His response to Agatha gaining full control of the Castle and Mechanicsburg is to fly down himself with a "black level device" which turns out to be a city-wide stasis-field generator.
- Goggles Do Nothing: Dimo (green Jäger with 5 o'clock shadow, wearing an olive-drab cap with mustard trim and a yellow ostrich plume stuck in).
- Going to Give It More Energy: The "more Movit 11 to Zola" example falls more into Phlebotinum Overdose than this trope.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: What happens when the heroic Blood Knight Zeetha meets with her evil counterpart Bang? They sit down, enjoy some cake, and have some girl talk. Lampshaded when Zeetha even comments how much fun it's going to be when they wind up fighting each other.
- Gone Horribly Right: Same as below.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: This seems to occur with alarming frequency for Sparks. Generally with horrible results.
- Gonna Need More X: "I don't think I've got one big enough."
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Anyone and Bangladesh DuPree. It happens both intentionally and just because she acts as usual.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Everyone thinks that just because Gilgamesh Wulfenbach never built a Death Ray and almost never screams at people or beats them up to get them under control, they can push him around and act like he's nothing. When he's finally pushed over the edge, he shows the entire world that yes, he does know how to build a Death Ray, and yes, he's perfectly capable of kicking the crap out of Europa to protect his father and not-girlfriend.
- Good Is Not Nice: Gil; Agatha; Master Payne... Quite possibly Klaus.
- Go Out with a Smile: Lars.
- Grand Theft Me: Lucrezia attempts this on several occasions on different characters. How successful she is varies:
- Agatha is able to shrug it off, thanks to her locket, later by sheer force of will, though Lucrezia is noted to be Fighting from the Inside.
- She later succeeds at it fully with Anevka.
- Her try with Zola fails, because Zola's brain was prepared with a trap for exactly that occasion. Zola now has a replica of Lucrezia's psyche inside her mind and can sift through the thoughts and memories of it more or less at will. Due to Zola's injuries and her overdose on MoveIt, nobody knows who is in control now.
- It would appear that The Baron has done this to Gil as of the summer of 2014. Possibly to get out from under the control of the Other.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol:
- Gratuitous French:
- Gil once started speaking French while delirious. Translated: "Excuse me sir, but where is the catastrophe?" Gil spent a lot of time in France when he was younger — and he spent so much of that time coming to the rescue of danger-prone ditz Zola that it's just sort of reflex for him to keep an eye out for disasters when she's around.
- One exit door of Castle Heterodyne has the inscription "Fuyez les dangers de loisir" ("Flee the dangers of leisure") above the frame.
- There's a sub-trend for characters using French to invoke the inherent sophistication, and butchering it. ("Ve get heem fixed op toot sveety! Dot's French!")Guard: "Mighty generous" says I, but "no bless obli cheese," says he.
Master Payne: ...Does he?
Guard: All the time.
- Gratuitous German:
- Jägermonster = hunter-monster, Geisterdamen = ghost ladies, Sturmvoraus = storm ahead, Wulfenbach = "Wolf's stream" (not strictly correct, but German is dialectual and it's a place/family name). Of course, since this story is apparently set in a 19th century Central Europe not totally unlike our own, this is more of a Translation Convention, since German actually would be the lingua franca of the setting.
- Though according to the novels, the official language of the Wulfenbach Empire is actually Romanian.
- There is one straight-up bit of gratuitous German when a Jäger uses "Jägermonstern" as a pseudo-German plural for his own kind. The German plural is in fact "Jägermonster", which of course sounds rather odd in English.
- Note also the writing on a disactivated clank dial.
- Holzfäller, the fake surname Gil used in Paris, translates as "lumberjack".
- Sturmhalten, the home of the Sturmvoraus familiy (see above), literally means "to keep storm", a.k.a. Storm Keep. This matches with Mechanicsburg, burg being old germanic for "castle". Wulfenbach started as a smaller house, so their fortress is just Castle Wulfenbach.
- Gratuitous Spanish:
- Professor Diaz tends to throw it in. (His introductory page alone has two examples.)
- Tarvek believes Spanish is "muy sexy."
- Grave Robbing: In the best tradition of Frankenstein. There even are professionals. Furthermore, It Runs in the Family.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: WHAK! WHAK!
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: When Gilgamesh needs to get back onto Castle Wulfenbach to take control of the Wulfenbach armies around Mechanicsburg, he needs to get past a number of guards who have never dealt directly with him and thus don't know what the Baron's son looks like. Sleipnir tells him to wear the Nice Hat given to him by the Jägers. You know, the giant purple and red hat with "Gilgemesh Wulfenbash, Schmott Guy!" written on the front and the flame on top which flares up periodically. Each guard Gil approaches is initially unimpressed and unconvinced, until he fires up the flame. At that point, they believe he really is "Gilgemesh Wulfenbash" [sic] and let him pass. But eventually he gets to one who reacts differently.Guard: Oh come on. You expect me to believe you—
(Gil's hat goes FOOM!)
Guard: Just because of that ridiculous—
(Gil punches the guard in the face, knocking him out)
Gil: When this is all settled, you get a promotion.
- Groin Attack: Agatha delivers a solid one to Tweedle after he gets a little grabby with her.
- Hair-Raising Hare: The Weasel Queen's Lapinomorphs.
- Handicapped Badass: Dimo, after he loses an arm in the sewers beneath Sturmhalten. It doesn't slow him down much.
- Hand in the Hole: The castle challenges Agatha to stick her arm into a giant clank's mouth to prove her identity; unfortunately for her, it's a blood test....
- Happily Adopted: Agatha calls Punch and Judy her parents, in spite of knowing that they aren't her biological parents.
- Happily Married: Master Payne and the countess. Also Balthazar's parents. And Punch and Judy, though it may not be strictly official in their case.
- Happiness in Slavery: Fräulein Snaug is extremely devoted to Professor Mittelmind.
- Hard on Soft Science: Yes, there are mad social scientists. They constantly complain that all of the funding goes to flashy clanks and death rays instead of social research. What kind we don't know, but a thousand orphans, a hedge maze, and cheese is involved.
- The Hat Makes the Man:
- The helmet which allows Castle Heterodyne to possess the Seneschal.
- In a "Trelawney Thorpe" short story, the crown of King Arthur, which allows Arthur to possess its wearer.
- Hat of Authority: Hats might be the only thing Jaegers take seriously. You simply can't be a Jaeger in good standing without a Nice Hat, which makes the over-the-top monstrosity they present to Gil a gesture of magnanimity. Old Man Death also deserves mention.
- Haunted Technology: Castle Heterodyne is generally seen as this, and it suits Wulfenbach to let people believe it. The application of Clarke's Third Law effectively makes it so; even characters familiar with the machinery refer to the rooms as "alive".
- Head-Tiltingly Kinky: When Agatha is working in the traveling Heterodyne Circus as the psychic Madame Olga.
- Heart Symbol: Bangladesh DuPree, of all people, gets a huge one when she meets Vole, a Jägermonster of her taste. More specifically, from hearing his jubilant, bloodthirsty anticipation regarding a war that would devastate the continent.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend:
- Agatha about Gil. All the time. She even uses the actual phrase.
- A consequence of it can be seen with Violetta.
- They are her... er... her experimental subjects! Honest.
- Othar and... Gil!?
- Agatha and Moloch, in an odd subversion.Tarvek: You really are the best minion ever.
Moloch: I am not her minion! Tell him! Tell him I'm not your minion!
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Von Pinn, and how. Lampshaded.Von Pinn: I teach restraint.
DuPree: Oh, so your dressmaker's an A+ student then.
- Hellish Horse: The aptly-named Monster Horse Beastie.
- Her Boyfriend's Jacket: Zeetha wears Higgs' striped shirt when we see them after they had hitched up.
- Hero Antagonist: Othar, plus or minus a little serial murder.
- Heroic BSOD: SHOWTIME!
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath:
- Bangladesh DuPree
- Castle Heterodyne
- Most of the Jägers....
- Heroic Sacrifice: Hilariously defied while in Castle Heterodyne.
- Herr Doktor: A large portion of the Sparks.
- Hidden Badass: Higgs; Wooster; Tarvek (to Gil and Violetta); Zola, with Obfuscating Stupidity; and Sanaa.
- Hidden Depths:
- The Jägers, who at first appeared to be little more than comic relief and have since been revealed to have more layers than an onion. It's even been lampshaded in canon.
- Given what he will do for those he cares for, one wonders if Tarvek might have avoided the worst of his family heritage.
- Hidden Elf Village: The Lost Kingdom of Skifander, where Zeetha comes from. Notably, it's lost to her as well, as she has no idea how she got to Europa.
- His and Hers: Parodied on two pages in Castle Heterodyne.
- Hobbes Was Right: You can't uphold a democracy with power-hungry Mad Scientists running around.
- Holding Out for a Hero / Stay in the Kitchen: Othar tried to keep his sister "safe" at home. But it turns out that in this world the concept of "safety" is even more volatile.
- Homicide Machines: Virtually every piece of advanced technology can be used as a dangerous weapon no matter what it was meant for originally.Gil: What about this one? It looks like a toaster.
Agatha: Well, it is a toaster. Sort of.
Gil: Sort of?
Agatha: Oh, yes. It could toast the whole town.
- Honest Advisor:
- Baron Wulfenbach says early on that he would rather his men criticize him rather than fear him too much to tell him important information — in fact, the first time we see him, he's testing Gil to see if he'll tell him he's wrong. It's one of the many signs that he's not your average Evil Overlord.
- Gil and Agatha seem to prefer advisors like this as well.
- Horrifying the Horror:
- The mere mention of Barry Heterodyne's name is enough to make two separate incarnations of the Other shit a brick.
- Jägers are usually fearless and willing to fight anything — but when a creature called a "Dreen" shows up, one of the Jägergenerals panics and makes Agatha flee.General Zog: Dose tings iz unschtoppable!. Vorse — dey's scary!
- Hostage Situation: Gil volunteers for one. Agatha doesn't want it.
- Hot Scientist: Hot Mad Scientists. Many of them. And apparently the better they are, the hotter they get.
- How Dare You Die on Me!:
- Agatha's reaction when it looks like Gilgamesh is dying. It helps.
- Tarvek tried the same a bit earlier, in an even more amusing manner.Tarvek: Hang on! The system's damaged! If you die before we fix it, I'll... I'll kill you!
- Hulk Speak: Snoz, quite appropriately, has a mild case of this.
- Humongous Mecha: Walking Battleships (Moloch served on a walking gunboat) and War Stompers (one of the first armies to lay siege to Mechanicsburg use huge Spider Tanks with Coilgun cannons).
- Hunter of His Own Kind: Othar Tryggvassen (Gentleman Adventurer!) He's a spark, with a goal of killing every other spark, then killing himself when he's the last one left.
- Hyde Plays Jekyll; Lucrezia often tries to pass herself off as the girl whose body she has hijacked, to varying degrees of success.
- Hyperspace Mallet: Not actually a mallet, but just about every other gadget that a well-equipped Mad Scientist might require.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- Gil tells Agatha her bedside manner needs work. Turns out his isn't so great either.
- Zola makes a crack about Agatha's butt being big?
- Krosp complains that his role as a spy chief leading a group of unaugmented cats was bound to fail because normal cats are too easily distracted to follow orders for any length of time. Years later, when Krosp himself has the opportunity to gather information, he gets hungry...
- Violetta to Vole: "You give that back, you thief! I stole that gun off you fair and square!"
- I Am Who?: Agatha is quite shocked when her parentage is revealed.
- I Am X, Son of Y:
- "I am Zeetha, Daughter of Chump! Yes, I know what it means in your language."
- Gil uses the line to much greater effect.
- I Can Still Fight: Repeatedly.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each volume of the print collection is titled "Agatha Heterodyne and the Noun Phrase", where the noun phrase in question refers to some person, place, or thing that does indeed appear in that volume, but is never actually referred to by that name.
- Idiot Hair: It's obviously not reflective of her intelligence per se, but Agatha's got a bit of hair that won't stay down; as highlighted in this two-part Filler.
- I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You:
- Combined with "The Easy Way or the Hard Way" when Master Payne gives two Wulfenbach troopers the choice of his being a good magician (who doesn't reveal how a trick is done) or an evil one (who doesn't leave any evidence there was a trick in the first place).
- Castle Heterodyne declines to reveal information about Airman Higgs to Zeetha, as doing so would require Zeetha to be killed. Not that the Castle objects to killing anyone, but Zeetha is essential to Agatha in the Castle's opinion, so she must be spared.
- If I Had a Nickel: Violetta's done the math.
- Ignored Confession: Invoked. No, no, the stairway's just echo-y.
- The Igor:
- Basically the entire populace of Mechanicsburg.Carson von Mekhan: Sure, the Heterodynes were dangerous lunatics— but they became our dangerous lunatics!
- Moloch von Zinzer stands out because, like the natives of Mechanicsburg, he's a natural minion, but unlike the Mechanicsburgers, he has a certain amount of insight into Spark psychology, and can use this to get them back on target when they inevitably get sidetracked.
- Basically the entire populace of Mechanicsburg.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Said by Agatha, in the beginning. Othar thinks the entire idea is hilarious.
- I Kiss Your Hand: Franz, the giant dragon construct, kisses the hand of a Mini-Mecha manned by Agatha as a sign of respect. We kid you not.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Subverted with Lucrezia (in Agatha's body) calling forth a copy of her own mind to take over Zola — because the expected possession isn't working.
- I'm a Humanitarian: "Snapper" Boikov and "Jack A'Horned" — prisoners in the Castle Heterodyne.
- I Meant to Do That: Agatha, while improving the coffee blender, causes an incredibly large explosion, and quickly states this. Then she goes on to create several more. The people helping her take it in stride.
- Implacable Man:
- Higgs and Zola post-Movit #11.
- The Jägermonsters. When Maxim, Dimo and Oggie are introduced, they'd been hanging in nooses for days, casually observing and commenting on the town. It's implied that Othar conned them into getting into the nooses voluntarily. Dimo later, um, shrugs off his losing an arm. When we finally actually see a Jäger die, it takes an entire pack of Tweedle's Sparkhounds and then several gunshots point-blank to the face to finish the job.
- Impaled Palm:
- Von Pinn does this purposely to catch Bang's sword — and crushes the hilt despite the wound.Von Pinn: I live with pain. I use it. Cultivate it.
- In the "Maxim Buys a Hat" side story, Old Man Death spikes Jäger Maxim's hand to the table with a carving knife. Maxim's only reaction is to lick the blood off the wound.
- All Martellus von Blitzengaard gets from trying to strangle Bangladesh DuPree is an impaled palm.
- Von Pinn does this purposely to catch Bang's sword — and crushes the hilt despite the wound.
- Improvised Weapon:
- Wrenches seem to be used as cudgels a lot.
- Ol' Man Death using his butcher knife against a Jäger is no surprise, since he's a Chef of Iron. But then, he can just as well fight with a coffee cup, a huge sausage or a barrel of anchovies.
- And now, a book on the use of improvised weaponry has been used as an improvised weapon.
- Incessant Music Madness: In the (psychological) torture chamber.Othar: ...and that MUSIC! WHAT is that MUSIC?!
- Incendiary Exponent: The Torchmen, Mechanicsburg's air defense system. Imagine a semi-autonomous clank with flight wings that's on fire. Now imagine a whole lot of them, all perched atop lamp posts throughout the town when inactive. Now you understand why the old timer airman in the Pink Airship was so fretful.
- Indy Escape:
- Indy Ploy: Often. Klaus seems to be almost the only character who plans more than fifteen minutes ahead.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: 2007 April 18, Panel #7.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Diaz and Mittelmind use up all the good excuses.
- Infernal Retaliation:Krosp: Great. Now the crowd is trapped by the stalagmites while the flaming monster advances.
- In My Language That Sounds Like: Zeetha, daughter of Chump. And, yes, she knows what it means in our language. It's been pretty much established that "Chump" was/is Klaus, which makes it highly likely the name is not a coincidence.
- Insistent Terminology: By the fandom, often by the characters, and even by the website itself.
- "Othar Tryggvassen! GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!"
- In The Rant rather than the comic itself, hyperlinks are always "elegant and finely-crafted".
- It's a GASLAMP FANTASY, not Steam Punk.
- Gilgamesh is very insistent that the little Heterodyne generator is not a lamp. The novelisations state that it is in fact a lamp. It just happens to have other functions as well.
- Instant Sedation:
- C-Gas, D-Gas and Ichor of Somnia.
- Most shocking example is when Gil shot Franz with a sedative through the palm... and he's down for the count in mere seconds, despite being a freaking dragon. On the other hand, Franz only stays knocked out a minute or two.
- Instrument of Murder: Sleipnir O'Hara's "Hot Pipes".
- Interservice Rivalry: Jägerkin (as a part of being "perfect soldiers") got it straight — they deem themselves better than anyone else and eager to make a point, but shut up when a real action is in sight:General Zog: Sir — dere iz a time to twit nancy-boy feetsmen und a time to crush bogs.
- In the Blood: Sparkiness is usually hereditary. Spark styles of invention too.Agatha: I believe another forty-five point three seconds, and I would have exploded or something.
Castle Heterodyne: ... or something. Under the circir/circumstances I/I am forced to admit that yo/you are most most likely oneoneone of the family...
Agatha: Oh, yeah... I have got to try that again!
Castle Heterodyne: yesss... most likely, in/in/indeed.
- In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Agatha's self-replicating clanks.
- In the Hood: Subverted because the guards looking for Agatha recognize it for the obvious disguise that it is. Doubly subverted because the heroes expected as much.
- In the Name of the Moon:"SCHTOP! Hyu horr'ble monster-y ting of Evil!"
- Ironic Echo:
- Agatha quoting Moloch von Zinzer back at himself here demonstrating that the tables have indeed turned.
- Zola echoing Agatha's sarcastic party plans virtually word-for-word (albeit in a very different tone) as Obfuscating Stupidity.
- And Agatha describing Tarvek to Gil with the last three words being the same she used describing Gil to Tarvek.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Agatha's new set of advisers in Mechanicsburg have no objection to being called "bandits" by Vanamonde, but take umbrage at his prefixing this description with "old".
- It Makes Sense in Context:Agatha: We're just going to kill you, and then you'll be fine!
Gil: I've changed my mind! Let's just kill him!
Agatha: Stop it. We're going to kill him properly.
- It Was a Gift: Agatha's ring(s).
- I Want Grandkids:
- Oh, Castle Heterodyne.
- Also, Oggie to the storyteller (his great-great grandson).
- I Was Never Here: Lucrezia to Vrin.
- Jade-Colored Glasses: Some would say every Spark should get a pair.
- Jaw Drop: Numerous examples, including Agatha at one point.
- Jerkass: Several. Merlot is prominent among them, but there are others.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: And how! Chekhov's Guns that were put on the mantle in books 1, 2, and 3 are being taken off and fired years later. Gil and Tarvek also indulge in some Lampshade Hanging when they discuss a bunch of convoluted noodle incidents.
- Juggle Fu:
- Just the First Citizen: Klaus Wulfenbach, Ruler of Europa, is styled "Baron".