Girl Genius: Tropes K to O

aka: Tropes K-O
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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  • Lady and Knight: spoofed with Tarvek and Violetta.
    Violetta: I'm responsible for this slug's continued existence.
    Tarvek: This useless nitwit is my loyal servant. Ow! Quitit!
  • Lampshade Hanging: Many. Using a book titled Using Found Objects as Weapons as a bludgeon is probably the best example.
  • Large and In Charge:
    • Jäger generals.
    • Sergeant Nok ("Big Green Hairy Guy" gorilla-like construct).
    • Klaus himself is a quite impressive bruiser too.
  • Large Ham:
  • Laser-Guided Karma: An officer in one of the many armies that invade Mechanicsburg tells his soldiers not to take their eyes off the captured civilians, to treat them with respect, and to execute them all. Right before the Doom bell knocks all the soldiers out.
    Civilian man: And what about the one giving orders?
    Civilian woman: (holding a rolling pin) Oh, him we treat with respect.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall / Title Drop: After Agatha fools Gilgamesh once again, DuPree points out that he should have seen it coming.
    DuPree: I mean, if they ever write this down, they ain't gonna be calling it "Boy Genius".
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Gil gives Moloch von Zinzer a poison pill upon his departure to Castle Heterodyne, underestimating the degree of von Zinzer's Action Survivor skills and Genre Savvy.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: With a somewhat unexpected pair of lovebirds in this strip.
  • Leitmotif / Theme Music Powerup: Agatha discovers that if she hums a certain series of notes, she can improve her focus while working on various projects. This tune pops up throughout the series, in various forms. Unknown if anyone has actually tabulated and played her song in real life, though.
  • Leonine Contract
  • Let's Get Dangerous: The Unstoppable Airman Higgs is, in fact, unstoppable.
  • Let Them Die Happy: These plants are trying to do this.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Gilgamesh orders that his Nice Hat should be hidden in a safe place — and never spoken about again.
    (seconds later)
    DuPree: I heard there was a hat!
    Gil: You're delusional.
  • Licked by the Dog: The wasp weasels seem to really like Tarvek, much to his chagrin.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Airman Higgs.
    • After the Time Skip, Gil's new rather tall and imposing female-figure bodyguard clank "Bohrlaika", is quite nimble, packs an electo-sword that can cleanly cut off an arm off an enemy Humongous Mecha war clank, and was no worse for wear after missing the fact that the arm was about to fall on her when she was reiterating her surrender demand.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: The writers love this trope.
  • Lightning Reveal: The Baron's real forces are revealed.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Von Zinzer comments on it about Violetta and Tarvek bickering. "Are you sure you're not married?" To which Violetta responds by almost puking.
  • Lingerie Scene: The creators admit the work contains "lots of running around in Victorian underwear". Most of the time, Agatha is the offender. Not that surprising, when one of the creators is a big fan of such underthings, and the other is her husband.
  • Literal Genie: A mild case in the form of Castle Heterodyne.
  • Literal Metaphor: When he was young, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach built a clank for "picking up girls".
    Gil: Well, when I was a kid, we heard some of the older guys talking, but we were kind of... um... unclear on the concept, and, well...
    Zoing: Itworkz! itworkz!
    DuPree: That is so just like you... soooo pathetic.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: The entire comic is postulated as a course on the life of Agatha Heterodyne, as taught by the Professors Foglio at Transylvania Polygnostic University ("Know enough to be afraid.") They stick mostly to the truth — though this very admittance means that it's possible that, in the "real" universe where this story takes place, not every woman has large breasts.

    That is, the first print collection, "Agatha Heterodyne & The Beetleburg Clank", and the original printed comics, are presented as an unauthorized but accurate record published by TPU, Phil Foglio having witnessed Agatha's "Battle Circus" himself; later, he is indeed in town when the Battle Circus episode occurs. However, Phil Foglio is also shown telling the tale as fiction in the street right on page one. (An alternative tryout sketch released online seems to have Agatha herself telling the story to her grandchildren.) Maybe that's after he was accidentally sent back in time or something. But also, in the "radio play" episodes of the webcomic, Studio Foglio are repeatedly shown escaping as they perform the last seconds of the episode just as the real and angry Agatha Heterodyne and her friends are about to catch them and stop the show.
  • Little "No":
  • Living Battery: Agatha drinks water from the Dyne and is super-charged as a temporary power source.
  • Living Crashpad: Jägers are polite about this.
  • Living Labyrinth: Castle Heterodyne
  • Living Legend: Quite a few.
    • Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER, very well known and generally viewed as a hero. Except by the main protagonists.
    • Klaus Wulfenbach is fine with having a reputation as a terribly villainous evil emperor if it keeps the peace.
    • The Heterodyne Boys had a wonderfully heroic reputation, beloved in no small degree because their family very much did not.
    • Agatha, Gil, and Tarvek are all rapidly building themselves reputation, what with being stuck in the middle of the most epic story since the Heterodyne Boys defeated the Other.
  • Living Motion Detector: The Tigerclank in Castle Heterodyne.
  • Living Structure Monster: Heterodyne Castle is alive, and is one giant death trap for anyone who is not The Heterodyne. Before Agatha arrives to repair it, convict work crews are sent in to attempt repairs, or die trying. Usually the latter.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There really are a lot of regular characters in this comic, to the point where it can get difficult to keep track of everyone.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Maxim, the beautiful male Jägermonster. See the Cinderella breather episode, where Maxim is supposed to be one of the "ugly" stepsisters, but it doesn't quite turn out as planned.
  • Look Behind You: Von Zinzer: "Uh... hey, check it out." — though in this case not only does the target look, but there's actually something to see.
  • Loophole Abuse: Not a weapon. That's a chair!
    • The Corbettites are about to be ordered by their leader to give up Agatha to Martellus, but are conflicted because they promised her sanctuary as a passenger on their railway. They decided they can't hand her over if they can't find her and have one brother lead her party down to the catacombs to get nice and lost.
  • Losing Your Head: Tinka Also here, with Castle Heterodyne in the body of a mechanical Muse. Also an example of Arc Words.
  • Love Bubbles: Bubbles and roses.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Agatha, Gil, and Tarvek. The existence of the triangle has now been openly stated, and Agatha's subjects are taking bets over who's going to win (Or if she'll choose both). There was also a low-grade one involving Lars, but Death of the Hypotenuse made sure that only Gil and Tarvek remained to vie for her affection.
    • Possible Minion Love Triangle in Moloch, Violetta, and Snaug. Although, Violetta denies romantic interest in Moloch, and he's smitten by Sanaa Wilhelm. Suuuure she isn't interested... which turns the one centered on Moloch into a low-grade Love Dodecahedron. Confirmed by Moloch himself:
      Moloch: So, Sanaa? Yeah, she's smart and tough and I like being around her — but since I feel the same way about you, [Snaug,] I obviously don't know anything about romance. Stupid, huh?
    • Backstory one with Lucrezia, Klaus and Bill; Lucrezia dealt with the hypotenuse in a way that seems to have backfired.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Practically everything that the Heterodynes made.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The reason Othar doesn't turn his enemies inside out anymore.

  • MacGyvering: A minor but prevalent Spark trait at the best of times, this runs on Rule of Funny and so gets more and more extreme the further the story is from canon.
  • Mad Artist: The tailor clank in the "Revenge of the Weasel Queen" fillers.
  • Made of Iron: Most of the cast for comedic effect, although there are a couple of outstanding examples:
    • Airman Third Class Axel Higgs. To the point it's fairly clear that he is something more than human.
    • Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER
    • Old Man Death took multiple Jägerpunches to the face and was still able to outfight the Jäger who provided them.
  • The Madness Place: The trope namer, for good reason. All Sparks can be pretty crazy when they're in a "Spark-induced fugue state," as one character puts it delicately. They vary in their ability to control it, some being manically sociopathic and some retaining their ability to reason (to some degree). The most dangerous Sparks are by far the latter kind, since they can bend their madness to practical goals. It's not for no reason that Klaus, Gil, Agatha, and Tarvek, are among the most potent sparks in the setting.
  • Mad Scientist: "Sparks", whose erratic genius has literally reshaped the world.
    • Practically half the cast are mad scientists of one sort or another, though the ones that come closest to the classic villain type are probably Prince Wilhelm Aaronev and the late Lucrezia Mongfish.
    • There's even a mad social scientist, who complains that the mad "hard" scientists get all of the funding and attention.
      "I told the baron, give me a thousand orphans, a hedge maze and enough cheese and I can—"
    • Agatha awakening to her mad science is what starts and drives the entire story forward, and raises the question ...or will her newfound mad science DESTROY THEM ALL!
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Several, most notably those belonging to Baron Wulfenbach and Prince Aaronev. And all of the ones in Castle Heterodyne.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter:
    • Agatha herself qualifies. And she's a mad scientist herself. Her mother Lucrezia was one as well, and a mad scientist herself too.
    • For a Spear Counterpart flip, Tarvek and Gil qualify as "Mad Scientists' Handsome Sons"... and are also Mad Scientists in their own right.
    • Dr. Mongfish had at least two other daughters besides Lucrezia; Serpentina (Theo's mother), and Demonica (Zola's mom).
    • Othar Tryggvassen (GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!) actually asks Agatha if she's one of these.
    • If you haven't noticed, offspring of mad scientists are often mad scientists themselves. Sparkiness is genetic, it seems.
  • Magitek: Referenced in a (non-canon) Breather Episode. "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!"
  • Magnetic Hero: Any and all Sparks; their manic vision pulls normal people into their service.
  • Make My Index Live!: This mythos is a major part of the premise.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Castle Heterodyne. It was designed by an Ax-Crazy Spark, and it shows.
    Zola: Avoid any floorstone marked in white. It is a trap that will kill you. Do not stand under any part of the ceiling marked in white. It is a trap that will kill you. Duck under any opening taller than one meter. It is a trap that will kill you. Do not touch any metal surface. It is a trap that will kill you.

    Zola: This place is dangerous, twisted, and worst of all— [...] It likes to think it has a sense of humor.

  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Practically half the cast.
    • Klaus and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach;
    • Lucrezia and her sisters Serpentina and Demonica;
    • Master Payne;
    • Von Pinn;
    • Possibly subverted with Moloch.
    • Also basically all of the Heterodynes (prior to Bill and Barry) have these.
    • If these things are any indication, all strong Spark families tend to be this way.
    • The Queen of England is only mentioned in hushed tones, even though the only British member of the cast is Wooster. It's implied that she is immortal and that she exercises mind control over the entirety of the English Isles.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: After a blow to the foot, Agatha cuts loose with a string of Symbol Swearing, followed by a small asterisk. The accompanying caption:
    "* Oooh, what naughty little devices, to turn upon your creator! Oh! Indeed, my foot is in such excruciating pain! I shall construct a device that will give you such a whack, see if I don't!"
  • Necessarily Evil: Any Spark who wants to be a good guy sometimes has to turn into a raging madboy just to keep the million separate interests from coming apart. Klaus, Gilgamesh, and Agatha have all found this out. Tarvek, who considers himself an Anti-Villain, even took part in an unwitting demonstration:
    Tarvek: (smashing two feuding Dingbots together furiously) I am not enjoying this — but I can keep it up all day if necessary!
    Gil: Hee hee!... That's a really good impression of my father!
  • Neck Lift:
    • Merlot finds out this way that Baron Wulfenbach despises traitors.
    • Von Pinn introduces herself to Agatha by giving her a personal demonstration of this trope.
    • Mamma Gkika also explains through this method (with "slammed-into-a-wall" bonus) to Oublenmach why it's a bad idea to wake her up too early in the morning.
    • Vole reminds Tarvek and Gil that you should never, ever take a Jäger lightly, by catching the two of them in a strangling neck lift — one in each arm.

  • Occam's Razor: Invoked as Agatha and crew were wondering why the Baron was invading instead of his old plan of flattening the city.
    General Zog: Occam's Razor!
    Agatha: Yes, you're right of course—
    General Zog: Hit vas forged by Old Occam Heterodyne!
    Agatha: Ah... What?
    General Zog: Seriously — who vouldn't vant it? Hoo— dot ting ken cut through anyting!
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A lot of people.
    • Most especially Zola.
      Tarvek: What? No! That was that idiot from the Island of th... (makes a face) She is good.
    • Some of the Jägerkin are considerably smarter than they appear.
    • The circus pretends to be simple performers when in truth they're mostly Sparks.
    • Astonishingly enough, Tarvek seems to be in this category. Considering that he's an Insufferable Genius with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder who's spent an inordinately long time on the Face side of the Heel-Face Revolving Door, it's shocking that it took this long.
    • Agatha began the comic with an item that forced her to Obfuscate Stupidity. It's a locket given to her by her Uncle Barry to suppress her Spark, so that The Heterodyne Boys' numerous enemies wouldn't try to kill/manipulate/etc. her.
    • Gil appears to have spent most of his life doing this. As a child he hid his Spark, and in Paris he pretended to be a much worse student than he really was. It was only after returning from school that he was finally able to stop doing it and fully be himself.
    • Although we haven't seen the details yet, the apparent Badass Bystander Higgs has been spotted chatting with Castle Heterodyne about Heterodynes from centuries ago, and it sure sounds like first-hand accounts.
    • Wooster apparently tried this, or at least Obfuscating Normal, on Gil, to infiltrate Castle Wulfenbach. Gil was onto him, but played along until he could make more use of Wooster as a British secret agent.
  • Odd-Shaped Panel: Quite common.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Usually on Agatha.
  • Offhand Backhand:
  • Offing the Offspring: What Lucrezia purportedly did to her own son, and now plans for her daughter.
  • Off Model:
    • After Martellus is first shown to have replaced his left hand with a mechanical prosthetic, the next page, when originally posted, depicted him opening a bottle with both hands clearly visible, both flesh and blood. This was fixed when it was brought to the Foglios' attention.
    • At another point they also had to go back and correct a strip which showed post-poisoning Dimo with two arms.
    • Agatha was accidentally drawn with two right hands on a very early page in the first (ink and paper) edition. The error was corrected when the comic moved online and for later reprints.
  • Oh, Crap:
  • Oh My Gods!: Here, in the second panel.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: When Agatha's trying to snap Gil out of a stupor:
    Agatha: Hey, Gil! All of Paris is about to go up in flames, and Zola has her head caught in a bucket! Up and at 'em, Hero Boy!
    Gil: Hm? A bucket? Again? Okay, I'm comin'.
    Agatha: (shooting a sideways glance at Zola) Yeeeess. I suspected as much.
  • Old Master: Dr. Sun, quite capable of singlehandedly disassembling any number of clanks — and who taught Klaus and Gil quite a lot about martial arts.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Castle Wulfenbach certainly qualifies.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: At one point a flipped-out Agatha directs a small army of clanks (including Transforming Mecha and Luggage) with a high-falutin calliope. Doubles as a visual Crowning Music of Awesome. And perhaps a literal version of Autobots, Rock Out!.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • While all Heterodynes were maniacs, some weren't picky about who to kill, as evidenced by this exchange:
      "Two minutes and she hasn't killed anyone!"
      "A new record!"
    • And Bang seems to tend this way, although she can control herself. Usually. When she wants to.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Though Sparks do specialize, it appears that most of the really strong ones can stitch a living being out of spare body parts as easily as they can build a mechanical AI... or design an electric death ray or a giant airship. Only minor Sparks appear to be restricted to a discipline, as opposed to simply being best at one
  • One True Threesome: Phil and Kaja Foglio, thanks to their unabashed Bleached Underpants history, may be deliberately dangling this in front of the audience. Lampshaded and teased in the strip itself.invoked
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    Gil: Seven broken ribs. Severe fracture, right leg. Fractured clavicle. Some crush injuries, but the kidneys appear unharmed. First and second degree burns on upper back and lower legs, third degree on the lower back. Four broken fingers, three broken toes, sprained and bruised muscles throughout — major and minor lacerations, and a concussion.
    Klaus: I've had worse.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Von Zinzer. Good news is, he has a lot of experience dealing with Sparks, which also gives him lots of Genre Savvy, though he's also somewhat fatalistic — he's resigned to the fact that having to work for Sparks means he could be blown up, eaten, ripped apart or otherwise brutally killed at any time. No wonder he can be so snarky. Given the large number of Sparks and Spark minions he has recently been hanging around with, he is sometimes literally the only person in the room who is not crazy. He regularly hangs lampshades on it, too.
    • Krosp has also been this at times. Just not when the string is going to escape.
    • Agatha spends some time in the role, although she's not actually very sane, and (ahem) certainly not a man.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • Bangladesh DuPree not choosing at once the "let's blow everything up" option gets her second-in-command worried. She was just fooling around, however.
    • On a much more serious note, later on when Agatha is trying to power up the Castle, Gilgamesh's behaviour is extremely off, and even Franz notices it despite having never met him. Turns out that he's been brainwashed by Klaus.
    • When it is revealed that Klaus's mucking about with the space-time continuum has attracted the attention of an Eldritch Abomination, Castle Heterodyne freaks out. The Castle is worried.
  • Orifice Invasion: The means that Slaver Wasps enter the body and enthrall someone is through the mouth.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Agatha's locket.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: And buried, complete with digging up the body and cloning a replica to make sure it's really her. The corpse was doctored to make it look like Agatha, but the cloning gave the deception away, as the cloned body was not hers.
  • Our Founder: In "Jägermonsters to the Rescue", it turns out that in Agatha's two-year absence, Gil has topped Mechanicsburg's city walls with towering statues of Agatha. Dimo describes them as being over 150 meters tall. For the non-metrically inclined, that's 500 feet. The ones at the entrance of the valley are said to be even taller. Agatha is... less than pleased.
    Agatha: I... I am going to kill him.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: To begin with, since this is (at least nominally) Earth, they're all products of mad science, not a 'species'. Thus far we've seen the draconic stylings of three different Sparks: Franz, the Great Dragon of Mechanicsburg; a rather Smug Snake (sorry) who was part of the Wulfenbach forces attacking Mechanicsburg; and a 'great sky wyrm' that Gil kept after defeating the Polar Lords (during the time-skip). Franz and 'Pretty Boy' are capable of speech (and snarkiness), while the wyrm seemed to have a more bestial intelligence.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Just to be clear, no Spark would ever profane the very nature of life and death by fashioning a terrible creature of the night, a nosferatu craving the blood of the living. That would be wrong! Very, very wrong. Vampires are obviously, completely, totally mythical and do not exist in any real, concrete sense that might abruptly pop up and devour you. No matter what Dame Aedith or Carson von Mekkhan say.
    Wooster: Um... we're not going to meet some ancient undead Heterodyne vampire or something, are we?
    Carson: Oh, and wouldn't that be the perfect capper to my day.
    Wooster: Um, actually, that wasn't a "Ho ho, don't be silly old chap."
    Carson: I ain't being paid to lie to you, Brit.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Several different types. Besides "traditional" zombies of the Type F or Type V variety, they also have Jaegermonsters and Constructs, which are essentially Type A creations, and Revenants, which despite the name are more a cross of Type T and Type P, Parasite than Type R zombies: infected by a slaver wasp, they are like sleeper agents, going about their business and not even realizing they are infected until triggered to fight on the behalf of "the Other".
  • Out-Gambitted: The Knights Of Jove swept in to rescue Agatha for their own nefarious purposes, at which point Klaus revealed virtually his entire army had been waiting in hiding for them to show up. And they weren't even the real reason he did it.
  • Out of Focus: Lots of characters have done this.
    • Most notably, Gil dropped out of the story early in Volume 4, reappeared briefly at the end of Volume 5, and finally reentered the story for real in Volume 7.
    • Lots of other characters from the first arc disappeared after it was over and have either not returned or only showed up again in the third arc. The end of the second arc also sent a large number of supporting characters offstage. It also happens within arcs: Klaus has done this more than once. Given the webcomic format, the size of the cast, and the demands of the story, it's inevitable that it will keep happening.
    • This gets a non-canon lampshade in a bonus picture.
      Gil: AAARGH! I haven't had any lines in months! Am I even still a main character?!
  • Outscare the Enemy: Veilchen does something like this.
  • Overcomplicated Menu Order: From the Twitter of Othar Trigvassen:
    We can't just walk out, and I'll bet the garbage and mortuary wagons are routinely inspected. This calls for desperate, unsavory measures.
    Chez Leon, one of the best restaurants in the city. The Master dines here frequently. Oslaka is puzzled. Didn't we just eat? Indeed we did.
    The waiter and I spend twenty minutes discussing our meal choices. I demand only the freshest and most exacting dishes. He almost smiles.
    The meal is brought. It' a masterpiece of presentation. The chef himself appears and compliments me on the suggestions I made. He weeps.
    He waits for me to eat. I hesitate, and then ask for a bottle of ketchup. We are tossed out the city gates less that 3 minutes later.
  • Overly Long Name:

Alternative Title(s):

Tropes K-O