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Headscratchers: Gunnerkrigg Court
  • There should be a gate to prevent students from walking across the bridge to Gillitie Wood.
    • A bridge would cast a shadow, allowing the glass-eyed men to escape.
      • A guard would be better. You could argue that the protagonist used a brief window of time between switching of the guard. You might also argue that for some reason they either left no guard as a sign of trust or something like that. It's likely that the students simply do not go there for some reason. You can also argue for conspiracy theories about letting the protagonist do her thing.
      • There is a guard. Jeanne.
      • The bridge is presumably kept open to allow mediums and other communicators to cross when they wish, but there's an alarm that goes off when the students step onto the bridge to prevent unauthorised crossings.
      • The alarm only goes off when students cross the bridge. You'd think that the court knows of the animosity toward robots that certain Gillitie residents have.
      • The only robot that crossed the bridge was a new one built by a student out of spare parts. All of the other robots obey their orders and don't cross the bridge anyway. Judging by the way Ysengrin reacted to Robot's intrusion, they don't ever cross the bridge.
    • A drawbridge would be more effective than a bridge at preventing students from crossing, but an unguarded bridge is likely part of the same agreement that keeps the Court separate from the Woods.
      • Said agreement was authored by Coyote. He likely wants the bridge set up that way in order to keep everyone on their toes, and because it's funny.
  • During the power plant sequence where Antimony ends up in Zimmy's Dark World, the "Kat" they've found turns out to be a Doppelgänger when Gamma touches her and she vanishes, just like the other nobodies Antimony dismissed by touching them. The problem with this is that Antimony and "Kat" were embracing and holding hands almost the whole time, so why wasn't she dismissed?
    • My best guess is that Annie's ability to dispel the Nobodies only works when, on a subconscious level, she wants to get rid of them. (Conscious awareness doesn't seem to have anything to do with it, considering how Annie was able to dispel her first Nobody, even though she knew nothing beyond the fact that she was supposed to touch them. The Nobody going "GOP!" took her completely by surprise.)
    • Theory 2: It's a shared mindscape to a degree — note that small crap-free area around Gamma. "Kat" is created by Antimony, that's why she isn't a walking Nightmare Fuel and why Annie's touch won't undo her. And whether Zimmy could do it or not, she never touched "Kat", let alone actively tried to dismiss.
    • Theory 3: She was "real" telepathic avatar just like Antimony, that's why Zimmy said "as real as you allow it to be". Gamma thought there's only three of them, but she failed to notice Jack as well. Real people whose projections are zapped simply disconnect. The whole Crapmare session immediately terminates (for everyone) when Zimmy herself is zapped: it runs on her mind in such a way it can't exist without her inside. Antimony doesn't understand what's going on, even how she zaps "nobodies", and Zimmy isn't going to risk her path-clearer ability in experiment. If Jack does remember and Kat doesn't, it's due to mindset or lack of ability (just like she doesn't see psychopomps), or events, or the way she disconnected (Jack and Annie remained until the "server" was down)... or she accidentally "allowed it to be"... or it's much like a dream which simply may happen to be remembered or not.
    • Word Of God (via Formspring) says that Annie couldn't dispel the Kat doppelgänger because it was from her mind rather than Zimmy's.
    • More Word of God said that it was because Annie wasn't strong enough.

  • Speaking of that chapter, I really hope the Nobodies are not conscious beings. If they are, then Annie and Gamma have blood on their hands.
    • I'm pretty sure they're just hallucinations.
    • As I recall, Tom mentioned in his Formspring that they are echoes of Zimmy's memories, and she may lose those memories as the Nobodies are destroyed, but she doesn't find this a bad thing. Presumably those memories aren't very good.

  • When Annie was down by the river, why didn't she kill the fairies? I know at first she was probably weirded out by what they wanted her to do. But then they explained that they had to be killed in order to get new bodies and she still did nothing. It's not like it would have been wrong since she would have been helping them out. I don't really understand it.
    • She's just not like that. At least, as long as it's about something that talks and not just ants.
    • It's stated about then that she has a bit of an issue with people who throw their lives away; not sure if we'll see an explanation for that.
      • Her experience growing up with the psychopomps (and the fact that she needed to guide her mother into the afterlife) probably gives her a strong appreciation for life, such that she has a disdain for someone who would give it up in any manner or circumstance.
    • Even if you believe in an afterlife (like most religions do) where people will live on in a different way, would you feel comfortable doing assisted suicide? Especially if you are still a little girl? (Okay, the thing with her mother when no spirits showed up to guide her was something like that, but as already stated, such an experience would actually make Annie more reluctant.)
    • Having found out about the kill-us-and-we-turn-human thing all of five minutes ago, how could she be sure that it would work? For all she knows, the fairies have accidentally skipped a step, like they're supposed to say some magic word and then get killed. She's not just gonna kill someone when there's the smallest chance she'd be doing it wrong.
    • For all Annie knew at that point, passing the test could easily require *not* getting themselves killed just because they were told they had to. The faeries who take the rules at face value being the ones who *fail* the test...permanently.

  • I'm worried that the storyline is moving towards the idea that Annie should be the school's next medium just because her mother was one and she has the powers, even though she has shown no interest in getting the actual job.
    • Jones' Mediation course was completely optional. Annie chose to take it. That implies interest in the job.
    • I doubt anyone could make her take the job if she didn't want it.

  • Okay, Annie. I understand why you didn't want to answer Jack's questions when he was cornering you - he was freaking you out. But you know that he went into that terrifying Otherworld and is clearly disturbed. You also saw some weird spectral spider webs on his face. You also know, in general, that he's acting really weird. For god's sake girl, why won't you just tell him what happened!?
    • Annie's in Queslett North. Jack's in Queslett South. They don't get many chances to interact, and every time they do, Jack scares her away.
    • Much as her not even trying to help him out for so many chapters bothers me, I think this is instead an Adults Are Useless/There Are No Therapists situation. When there's a known Eldritch Abomination on campus and somebody gets clearly injured as a result, if Antimony doesn't feel comfortable or dedicated enough to deal with it, there should be some kind of authority to ask for assistance, since all she'd have to confess in a worst-case scenario is violating curfew to see something anybody could from a tall building.
      • As seen in the latest chapter, Jack clearly doesn't want any help from the court, and is trying to avoid it's staff at all costs. So even if Antimony talked to someone about it, it wouldn't have any effect, because they wouldn't be able to reach him (hell, they are already trying to get him, but are failing horribly at it). Also, Antimony doesn't seen to trust the court's staff that much either, and that little video she saw some chapters ago probably didn't improve her views on them.

  • Did Tom forget that Reynardine is a killer or something? I know he's not actually capable of doing much at the moment, but his original characterization seems to have undergone serious Villain Decay with not much explanation.
    • What changed? Sir Eglamore didn't suddenly began to love Renard or vice versa, so now he would give the same "original characterization". Anja bound him at once on their first meeting, last seen together they has something between armed-to-the-teeth neutrality and grudging respect. With those not involved in that incident, well, he's sort of trickster and he's supposed to be—after all, he got into this because he fell for Surma, and that happened because he sought the company of humans. Relationships are much the same, excluding Annie and maybe Kat.
      • Fair enough, but it seems to me that the "I kill people" part of him isn't brought up as much as it should be (we don't keep serial killers, even unintentional ones, as pets in real life after all). Though that may be because he doesn't interact with people much right now beyond Annie and Kat.
      • Reynard isn't a serial killer, though. He killed a couple of people as a side effect of his abilities, and he is kept imprisoned for those murders, and Annie isn't letting him out any time soon.
    • Annie actually reminds Kat of the fact that he's a murderer at least once and also mentions it to Coyote (in a very recent chapter). And Kat's mother and Eglamore both refer to it. Rey was never someone who would kill wantonly or randomly (as far as we know), so having him randomly kill or threaten to kill people wouldn't be in character either.
    • Annie didn't keep Rey as a pet. She kept him because she wanted to know how he knew her mother, and possibly because she felt that Eggers' imprisonment of Rey was excessive for someone who was no longer capable of hurting anyone. Annie only began warming up to Rey after he began sticking his neck out for her. Kat no doubt has difficulty thinking of Rey as a killer because she only knows of the attempted-possession incident second hand—Rey's always been a snarky stuffed toy to Kat.
      • No longer capable of hurting someone? He would've killed her if not for the wolf stuffy.
      • You're confusing "willing" and "capable". Rey is trapped in the wolf doll and magically incapable of disobeying or harming Annie. Regardless of his willingness to hurt Annie, Rey is incapable of posing a threat to her in his current condition—and his condition is not going to change until Annie wills it to. Yes, it is strange that Annie is keeping company with someone who tried to kill her, but physical danger is not the reason why it's strange.
    • Rey was never Ax-Crazy. Even before we knew his back story, we saw that he was willing to kill, but he clearly didn't adhere to Murder Is the Best Solution. Coyote's history lesson revealed that his powers basically involve murder as an inevitable by-product of operation and he's resigned to that, if not thrilled about it.
    • In a recent strip, Rey transformed into a full, terrifying wolf when Jack was dialling up the creepy around Antimony. Violence was certainly on the table, so to speak.
    • Coyote was apparently surprised by the idea that Reynardine would lethally possess Annie, suggesting that there may have been something more to his actions there. Also worth noting is that Reynardine isn't human, and Annie might think it slightly unreasonable to hold him to a human standard of morality (she doesn't exactly begrudge Ysengrin his behavior even when he outright threatens her, and her reaction to Coyote putting her in danger amounts to mild annoyance).
    • Word of god states that Rey regrets the deaths he has caused every minute of every day. He never wanted to kill anybody.
  • Why hasn't the Court taken action on Annie, Kat, and Renard after they discovered Diego's recordings? You would think such information would be too valuable to not be leaked to the rest of the Court. When recent chapters revealed that the Court was spying on the students and documenting everything they do, wouldn't they have been reported for knowing too much?
    • As far as I know, the Court doesn't even know that Annie and Kat know. Hard to punish someone for a crime that you didn't know was committed.
      • Given that Diego seems to have created that shrine and those robots as a way of preserving the memory of what happened to Jeanne even after the Court ordered all records of it destroyed, his workshop probably includes some means of resistance to Court surveillance.
      • Not to mention that if Jones is to be believed, the current members of the Court don't know about the origins. Presumably, if anything, they'd just want to grab the robot and watch the video for themselves.
      • There's a difference between "tracking" that can tell you where any given person is right now if you need to find them (and probably set off an alarm if they leave the Court) and Big Brother tracking. They probably don't even have the manpower to keep track of what the students are doing, rather less the inclination.
  • Does Tom Siddell come off as a bit of a dick to anyone else? I don't know if it's the 'emotionally detached' narration or what, but it seems that he could be a bit more genial towards the comic's readers.
    • You might come across as "a bit of a dick" if people kept asking you the same stupid questions day after day after day for 6 years.
    • On the one hand, yes, he can be fairly rude and often caustically sarcastic when he comes across something that annoys him. Which is pretty often, given that he's plagued with Fan Dumb. But between the fact that he doesn't act like that all the time (he doesn't have a problem being appreciative of people who don't get on his nerves, he just doesn't hold back his ire when something does) and the fact that he beats up on himself a lot too, I find it difficult to hold it against him.
    • Plus, y'know, there's the fact his "detached narration" is very obviously tongue-in-cheek.
    • Yes, being tongue in cheek is not being "a dick". He has maintained quite a bit of contact, his page posts are part of the charm of gunnerkrigg and he's only ever rough when it comes to people being disgusting or outright jerks and trolls (or bringing up tropes, he vehemently dislikes it and as artist that his right). I for one find it refreshing and he isnt like that with those who dont deserve it.
  • Chapter 31. Why is everyone acting like such a dick?
  • What the hell was with that freaking skull?
    • Seems to be a coyote skull. Ah, the reason? Probably an artifact image, accidentally caused by Coyote peeking into Annie's dream.
  • What is the symbol that appears near Kat's head on this page?
  • Why is Kat so resistant to the supernatural? You'd think after a year or so of hanging out with Annie she'd be more accepting of the etherical nature of the Court.
    • People can be extremely stubborn when it comes to things they believe in. Kat's behavior regarding etheric sciences is nothing strange, but she eventually grows out of it. By Chapter 32 she's applying her own knowledge of complex structures and machines to Diego's designs regarding golems and channeling etheric energies.
  • Also, why on earth would Kat show Princess Mononoke to Annie and Rey? It's be like showing a war movie to some people in the middle of the same kind of war, including some ominous foreshadowing that the white wolf will die and the nature-girl will be separated from the one(s) she loves.
    • It's not quite that extreme. There's no "war" going on between the Wood and the Court. Serious tension, yes, but no active efforts of violence by one side toward the other. And Princess Mononoke isn't even about the conflict between the Wood and the Court; it's a fictional story that touches on vaguely similar themes, but that's it.
  • Why is Annie called "fire headed girl" or the like? Her hair is a sort of magenta or fuschia, not red or orange, right?
    • Aside from it being reddish, there is that whole issue of being descended from fire elementals and possessing innate fire magic.
      • The actual answer is that Coyote is weird, and trying to figure out his reasons for doing anything is like trying to nail jello to a wall.
  • A fairly unimportant question, but how does one pronounce "Jeanne?" In English it'd probably be pronounced "Jean," but she's been shown speaking French, which would imply the French "Zhay-ON" pronunciation (a semi-educated guess, since I don't speak French).
    • I think a closer pronunciation would be "zhAHn" rather than "Zhay-On". There are a number of websites that will give you an audio recording of the pronunciation if you google "How to pronounce Jeanne".
  • I'm assuming that Tom has done the art since the first page (because I haven't been told differently), so I have to wonder where the Art Evolution came from. It's such a striking difference from how the comic was first drawn. Even weirder, there was hardly a "transition period" between the old style and the new style. How'd he change so quickly?
    • Tom is more talented at artwork than the art style immediately lets on. What you're seeing is not so much an improvement as it is Tom figuring out what art style he actually wanted for the comic. The Art Shift came once he became comfortable with the style he wanted and from there we see the incremental improvements.
  • Post 3D-fication, how does Shadow 2 talk? Previously, it was mentioned that he vibrates the surface that he is lying on. Now, without a surface, what does he vibrate? His hoodie? The air around him?
    • Considering people in real life talk by vibrating parts of themselves and the air inside them, why can't Shadow 2 do that?
      • True. I originally assumed that he was simply made of the same stuff as before, just dispersed in a humanoid cloud. If he was indeed full of air (he may be, I don't know), this would work.
  • Why is the headmaster/the authority of the Court so impotent? There's a lot of complaining about Antimony's Mary Sue-ish qualities, but I always gave it a pass because she's the main character and being a main character means you fit a lot of the criteria. But Annie has been giving the Court's rules the finger for most of the comic, and there's been basically no consequences for her, at all. Even when she might finally lose something because of her attitude, like her not being chosen as the Court medium, there's always someone there to bail her out. What's the headmaster even there for if his position has no power?
    • Headmasters are generally not all that powerful to begin with. It's an administrative position and its holder answers to the schools board of directors. We have no reason to assume that this isn't the case in the Court, like in any other school. But in any case, what do you expect the Headmaster to be able to do with Annie? Since her legal guardian is missing, she can't be expelled. She can't be dragged into detention by force. She can only be failed in her courses if she fails to attend or pass the tests. When you get down to it, there isn't that much that a school can do about a problem-student even under normal circumstances. And on top of that it's often implied that the Court actually approves of breaking the rules for constructive ends because it leads to novel solutions, as long as it's done discreetly. Finally, Annie's heritage is likely to play a part in the matters, since the Court wants to keep extranormal students within its sphere of influence even if they cause trouble, sometimes — see Zimmy, for example.
    • Also, there was a consequence. Recall that the Headmaster overruled Annie's appointment as the court medium — I always assumed that he did so because he knew Annie couldn't be trusted to work within the rules set by the court.
  • Gods need prayer badly. So how can Coyote be alive all this time? Nobody prays to him. And where are all the other gods. Do any of you pray to a footprint before you go to sleep, 'cause I don't.
    • It's not literally prayer, it's human imagination. That was Coyote's point about the coyote waiting for the man to die in the desert. The man didn't pray to the coyote, he just anthropomized it, decided it must be some god mocking him, and the power of this belief, mixed with the way the afterlife works, made it so. That's what he thinks, anyway. It hasn't been confirmed.
  • So Jones is completely indestructible, yet her past aliases seem to have different lengths of hair. Does she cut it and it grows after all, or should I just tell myself it's a wig?
    • It's just different hair styles, not actually different lengths of hair. Sometimes it's up, sometimes down.
      • No, Jones definitely has different lengths of hair going on: compare this to this. Her current haircut is very straight-edge and layered, something you can't do without a stylist's chair. We might have to invoke MST3K Mantra here.
      • Can she somehow 'retract' her hair into her scalp?
    • Her past selves are years, sometimes centuries apart. It probably grows normally, yes.
  • So, what was Surma lacking that other dead people apparently still have?
    • Her spirit/life force. That was gradually passed from Surma to Annie as Annie grew up. Correspondingly, Surma grew gradually weaker and weaker and eventually died when she had none of it left.
  • Does anyone know the extent of The Chasm that splits The Court and The Forest? Is the world pretty much split in two, or does The Chasm stop at some point? Basically what I'm wondering is, are there other places aside from The Court and The Forest, and if so how are they divided from them, if at all?
    • I think the chasm stops where the boundary of the Court and the Woods ends, and by that point it's too much of a hassle to go around. It's like Mirkwood in The Hobbit — if you really didn't want to use the bridge you could go around the chasm but it would take weeks just to get to the end. As for other Science Vs Magic places we won't know until Annie knows. Although... if the Chinese Moon Lady is real then other Asian etheric beings are real, and if Anime's taught me anything there's all sorts of secret struggles going on in the dark corners of cities and mountains.
  • Assuming Annie's makeup is actually her mother's (like literally the same ones she used when she was alive), and assuming she'll only use that/those brand/s and colors, what will she do if they're discontinued? It's been implied Annie needs to stuff to maintain her stoic appearance — after her mom died and dad disappeared she started wearing the makeup and acting stoic; she gets Jones to fetch it from the Court to the elf village despite knowing how "disappointed" Jones is about her behavior and the stares and mockery she gets from the makeup-free elves; in her coma dream it appears as her "mask of calmness" and when she wakes up she applies it at once. In short— if Annie can't have her make up is she gonna have a Freak Out?
  • What the heck is Kat's etheric form? I mean literally, what is it? It looks like some kind of armor, but does anyone know the inspiration behind it?
    • I think it's supposed to be a mechanical angel, and a fearsome–looking one at that.

Grim Tales from Down BelowHeadscratchers/WebcomicsHanna Is Not a Boy's Name

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