YMMV / Gunnerkrigg Court

  • Arc Fatigue:
    • Chapter 40 ("The Stone") drew just as many "we get it already, she's OLD" comments from the reader base as "oh wow, shiny". They mostly died down post-flashback sequence, though.
    • Chapter 51 ("The Tree") seems to be heading this way as well, not because it's boring (although it does quickly descend into that) but because it's absolutely excruciating to watch Annie suffer so much at the hands of her father, who seems to be pulling her life apart piece by piece with each new page adding a new hit.
    • Subsequently Chapter 52 ("Sneak") is continuing the trend, still with no hint of why Tony is doing all of this, not even when directly confronted by the Donlans, brushing off their questions with claims about not being able to discuss it openly, and then the very last page of the chapter showing Annie is up to something with her fire elemental form.
    • Annie's plan to team up with Kat, Parley and Smitty in order to release Jeanne's ghost from the Annan Waters and help her pass over, which might all be part of an Evil Plan by Coyote. At one point it seemed to be the comic's overarching Myth Arc, but what with Kat's coming out and her relationship with Paz, Robot's cult worship of Kat growing ever more sinister and Annie dealing with the return of her father, this plot was last left dangling in Chapter 35 and didn't resurface until chapter 59.
      • Lampshaded by Kat on page 5 of chapter 56: they "had to put a lot of stuff on hold" thanks to Anthony's return.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Attempts to decipher Anthony Carver's motivations have yielded this, ranging anywhere between attempting to do right by Annie in the worst possible way to deliberately tormenting her for fun and/or plotting to kill her.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Anthony is proving to be a highly divisive character, as his stoic demeanor betrays little of his intentions or motives, causing some fans to try to find some kind of logic in his actions while others unconditionally condemn him.
  • Broken Base: Coyote and Jones' accounts of the original conflict between Gunnerkrigg Court and the Gillitie Wood has proven divisive, with some fans interpreting both parties' vague statements as "Freethinkers vs luddites" while others suggest it's a case of "For Science! vs their victims". Considering these two accounts are the only information we have on it in the first place, there's lots of room for interpretation.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • Anthony Carver has drawn comparisons with several characters: Severus Snape for being a Sadist Teacher working at a supernatural school who singles out the child of the woman they loved, Greg Universe for having to watch his wife die because due to non-human biology, she and their child couldn't both exist, and Gendo Ikari due to similar parental abandonment, enigmatic motives, and memetic-level failure as a parent.
    • There's also Detective Monk: Brilliant but neurotic to the point of (perceived) rudeness or coldness, their symptoms were calmed by their loving wives (sometimes drastically so — a flashback late in the series of how cheerful and friendly Monk used to be was jarring, especially since he's a homicide detective); unfortunately their wives died and the current number of people they feel that comfortable around with is very low (Monk has no one; Tony is only comfortable around Donny and only when they're alone), although they might get a second chance with their daughters, who are very similar to their wives — Anthony has Annie and Monk meets his wife's daughter who she gave up for adoption.
    • Stephen Strange: Brilliant, arrogant, logic-loving, magic-eschewing surgeons who live in an Urban Fantasy world loses the use of their hand/s, resorts to spiritual/magical means, and journeys to a strange spirit world Anthony does the two second-to-the-last out of order; while Strange eventually embraces magic to the point he becomes Sorcerer Supreme, magic does not embrace Anthony (well it did, if only to stab him in the back). Other interesting coincidences from the movie: antimony gets mentioned while Strange is still a surgeon (as a component of a bullet lodged in a patient's skull); Strange is picky about who he operates on (Anthony is only really interested in one patient, his wife); after losing the use of his hands he lashes out at the only person who cares for him, one of the dimensions Strange gets transported to looks like the misty cave where Anthony convened with the psychopomps (at least until all those hands start popping out; it may have been a psychological place instead), Strange later gets dumped on the side of Mt. Everest as part of his training, and Strange's teacher the Ancient One says spells can be called "programs" if that's what one prefers. Interesting differences: Strange apologizes for his freak out (in fact he's been writing for months, she just didn't want to reply) and decides to help the entire world/dimension instead of a (relatively) few people (by the time we see him Anthony's only priority is his daughter).
    • Ironically since Tom isn't a fan of Doctor Who:
      • Hetty and Missy: Perky, psychotic pale-skinned brunette non-humans with an "evil Mary Poppins" look (hair bun and blue period dress), find pleasure in killing, have terribly misplaced feelings for another person Hetty wants to kill a boy who doesn't even know she exists because his sister (who she may have also killed) trapped her in a doll; Missy thinks she and the Doctor are best friends and their deadly interactions are "flirting" (well, he did give his "will" to her and she is the person who's known him the longest)); also their first appearance was also their last... at least for Hetty, Missy is a little bit cleverer.
      • Jones and Ashildr: They're similar but very, very different: There's looks (Jones is tanned, blond, and average height while Ashilder is pale, brunette, and short), there's also being Immortal (though Ashildr was once a normal human girl while Jones doesn't know what she is; Ashildr's subsequent ~1,200 years (she eventually gets to a billion) is chickenfeed compared to Jones, who was on earth when it was still a lifeless ball of lava; Ashildr could still die by, for example, decapitation while Jones isn't alive (she doesn't need to breathe or eat) and there isn't a blade yet invented that could cut Jones' hair, and Ashildr's memory isn't perfect like Jones'), a penchant for changing names, nice clothes, and claiming to be emotionless (Jones seems to have cultivated some semblance of emotions and sentimentality after humans developed (she keeps a photo album in spite of her perfect memory; then again Gunnerkrigg is the only place where she doesn't have to worry about someone finding proof that she doesn't age); Ashildr grew out of it after centuries of painful experiences only to discover she does indeed still care about people (The Doctor: "Annoying, isn't it!") when she accidentally triggers an alien invasion), they also find a safe place where they don't stand out (Jones is an administrator, but not the leader, in Gunnerkrigg while Ashilder AKA Me becomes the mayor of a "pocket dimension" where various creatures live side by side) and likes companionship (Jones has had many lifelong "friends" (all male as far as we've seen, though it might have something to do with the fact that it's only been "normal" for the last few decades for a young woman to live by herself); Ashilder has had a few husbands and even gave birth but her children died young during a plague which put her off making a family forever; she eventually gets a companion who can stay for a while).
  • Creator Worship: Reached its most visible height when Tom opened a Tumblr account for GKC artwork and drawings he made. The first post was full of worshiping from other Tumblr users.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: When Annie cut off her hair to separate from her emotions, she didn't do a very good job, and had to get it cut by a robot designed for the task. While this was being done, she could see the flames of her elemental spirit engulfing her, and everything else, she wore a completely unfazed expression. Jones has never been so funny.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: The instant canon showed that Anthony feels guilty over Surma's death, fans started claiming that this guilt note  justifies his abandonment of Annie and utter disregard for her feelings.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Zimmy and Gamma, and Red and Blue, are all well liked characters- expect forums to explode in squees anytime they show up.
    • Jack was very popular with fans until his Kick the Dog moment. And now that it's been revealed that it wasn't really him doing the kicking, he's starting to regain said popularity. And judging from a lot of fan reactions, some fans were pretty much cheering Jack on after glibly and handily he told off Annie for trying to set him up just to shoot him down.
    • Parley started as a minor character, one of Annie's classmates in Jones' medium training class, but she's since gained prominence as a part of Annie's plan to save Jeanne.
    • For all of his terribleness, Boxbot has a noticeable following. He even got an entry in the GKC wiki before Tom himself!
    • Shadow and Robot are pretty popular for being Those Two Guys and being an apparently Straight Gay couple.
    • Paz was already a pretty popular character but no more than Kat and Annie's other classmates. Catalyst shot her popularity through the roof for being Kat's Closet Key.
    • Ironically despite being a new character and in direct opposition of a popular ship, Jenny the teenage witch (Jack's new girlfriend) has become very popular.
  • Epileptic Trees: Half the reason for posting on the forum. So common that Tom occasionally calls them out in The Rant.
    Tom: In my mind I am picturing a dart board with every available space riddled with darts.

    Tom: Those guys in panel 4 are not Aly, and they are not Annie's dad in disguise, nor are they the girl from the photo, or transgendred clones of Annie's mom sent back in time to act as spies.
  • Genius Bonus: The name of one of the faeries in City Face #4 is named Mustard Seed. One of fairy queen Titania's servants is also named Mustardseed. Coincidence?
    • These details are everywhere in this comic. Apart from the myriad alchemical symbols and Meaningful Names around the story, several times there have been cameos of mythological characters who briefly drop in, but are never formally introduced. The fanbase has invariably managed to discover their identities from tiny hints of their appearance and behaviour.
  • Growing the Beard: Somewhere around Chapter 24 the quality of the dialogue and story get much better.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Any mention of just how much Annie resembles her mother seems a bit more tragic given The Reveal in Chapter 31.
    • This adorable page- has been becoming aggressively harsher with the increasingly alarming robot cult that's sprung up as a result of Robot's preaching through the chapters since, most recently resulting in Robot and the Seraphs being responsible for the terror and violence in The Torn Sea, and declaring it 'worth it'.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Depending on your view of Reynardine's reaction on page 111, considering Kat's relationship with Paz thirty-nine chapters later.
  • Ho Yay: Oh the volumes and volumes of Les Yay between Annie and Kat.
    • "Super hot! You'll knock 'em dead!"
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the Year 9 chapters thus far, which have had Kat acting like a scorned lover, getting concerned about a potential boyfriend for Annie, and being Mistaken for Gay by Paz and Renard both.
    • Chapter 38 takes it even further by not just teasing Kat and Annie a lot (thats Annies hand at the top) but also Zimmy and Gamma.
    • Taken to new heights in Catalyst when Paz reveals that she was the one that sent the love letter to Kat, having apparently changed her mind since Chapter 34. See here. And in the same chapter we find out Kat has changed her mind too as well.
    • Then there's this page of "Annie in the Forest" side story.
    • Jenny's constant use of the British euphemism "My love" when referring to Annie.
    • And going in the other direction, Shadow and Robot end up being a Beta Couple by Chapter 41.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Coyote. He never loses control of the situation no matter what it is, and he's definitely been manipulating Ysengrin, Reynardine, and Antimony for quite some time, which could easily be a sign of a hidden agenda. His seeming dislike of the Court and the fact that he's a Trickster God don't help his case.
    • Possibly Robot. At the end of Ch. 49 "The Torn Sea" it's revealed he's the one who A) organized the Seraph-bots to take over the ship B) convinced the ship's AI that Kat could make it a flesh body so it could be with Lindsey (completely futile since she already has a loving mate and she's a crab while the ship's body resembled a whale/dolphin) C) risked the students' lives (including Kat) by forcing Zimmy to alter reality so Kat could create the flesh body D) got revenge on the Seraphs for turning him into paperclips when Kat banished them from her sight forever (to be fair Robot warned them this could happen) E) eliminated the ship's AI when Kat turned it off F) did all this just to get Kat working on her biologic experiments again G) and it worked — by Ch. 56 Robot has a biologic arm and four chapters later both arms and torso are fleshy and sturdy enough to fight Jeanne (for a few seconds).
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The chickcharney from Chapter 42 has been reinvisioned as a colossal Troll on the comic forums and photoplasties of his antics have been dubbed as "charndickery".
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Diego (and the rest of the Court) crossed it in Chapter 25 with the revelation of what was done to Jeanne.
    • Some felt that Jack crossed the line somewhere in Ch 27. Not Himself applies, however. In fact it may be more accurate to say the Whitelegs possessing him was the one who crossed the line.
    • The revelation that Coyote has been inflicting Laser-Guided Amnesia on Ysengrin for an unspecified amount of time can be considered this. And if this wasn't enough, the revelation that he also convinced Reynardine to possess Daniel in his bid to court Surma despite his (wholly accurate) concerns that this might kill Daniel, leading to the chain of events that would leave Reynardine a prisoner of the Court thoroughly confirms that Coyote is not anyone's friend.
  • Narm:
    • The events of Chapters 51 and 52. Anthony returns and just starts tearing Antimony's life apart for no readily apparent reason, with every new page just piling it on and piling it on. At first one might call it a compelling example of emotional abuse, but after a certain point it stops having any real meaning and just becomes a joke.
    • Lots of scenes throughout the comic often have characters use simplistic Art Shifted facial expressions. When the tone is light, it can be forgivable, but if you're supposed to actually care about the effects of what's happening on the characters, it kills the mood.
    • In Chapter 54, Antimony attempts to explain why she's upset to Ysengrin. Okay, sure, but the things she chooses to focus on are that her father made her take off her makeup and that he punished her for cheating and she makes no attempt to provide context for them, merely insists that Ysengrin just doesn't "get it" when he fails to understand why these things would motivate her to cut out her anger. A number of fans have humorously compared the scene to typical teenage wangst.
  • Never Live It Down: There are readers who will never seem to be able to live down not recognizing Eglamore when he showed up in Chapter 17. Now, almost every time he shows up, Tom feels the need to specifically explain who he is.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Hetty only appears in one chapter, but she makes quite an impression.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Chapter 53 seems to have started to redeem Anthony in the eyes of some readers, as he blames himself for Surma dying, and maims himself to try and bring her back, almost killing Antimony in the process as the psychopomps were "economical with the truth", as Tom puts it. Some people think that this makes him worse, however, as this seems to remove any justification for the fact that he treats Antimony with a cruel, borderline contemptuous attitude.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Due to how divisive a Base-Breaking Character the character is, Anthony has also been subject to this despite also being a Draco in Leather Pants to some. There are even contentions to how he is worse and more evil than Coyote despite the fact that Coyote subjected Rey and Ysengrin—two people he claims to "love"—to harmful manipulation that even caused the premeditated death of an innocent on Rey's part, literally for amusement. And continues to do so unrepentantly. As bad as Tony is (and, yes, what he did was still exceptionally bad), he is clearly not doing it with the intent to purposely harm anyone and feels terrible about everything.
  • The Scrappy: Anthony Carver, not starting with, but most prominently following, Chapter 51, Page 2. He may be possibly the most hated character in the comic. Even the Gunnerkrigg Court Wiki temporarily put him under the "terrible" character tab alongside Boxbot.
    KatPaz: You.... I will.... burn his face off. Now. Immediately. Kat. Go. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    Ayana: I want to strike him so viciously at the moment... so very viciously. I don't think I've ever felt this sort of very real anger at a comic character before. Well done Tom. I also enjoy the expression on Williams face.
    spiritdragon: Christ on a cracker, that guy needs another punch to the face!
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Some of the debates between Kat/Annie and Annie/Jack shippers have gotten pretty nasty, never mind that only very opaque hints have been given for either possibility in the comic itself, and romantic relationships have never been a significant focus of the story.
    • Kat/Paz vs. Kat/Annie is in full swing now and getting pretty vicious.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Anthony (actually the Court manipulating Anthony's love for Annie and vice-versa) is portrayed as an abusive asshole for (among other things) barring Antimony from going to the forest because it's dangerous. While one may argue that that doesn't mean he's not an abusive asshole, this decision in particular gets reversed as soon as Coyote shows up and starts destroying stuff because he doesn't get his way, and this is portrayed as a righting of wrongs even though it just proves Anthony right. Moral of the story: Given the choice between a Psychopathic Manchild who destroys buildings if he doesn't get what he wants and a father who acts like a jerk when making unilateral decisions, the father is the one in the wrong.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: See the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming page. The same scenes that make some readers go "awwww" make others go "ewwww."
  • Tear Jerker: Has its own page.
  • Ugly Cute: Zimmy with her "many, many fine sharp fangs", gunk-covered red eyes and so on, can be adorable to an absurd degree. Tom even made a wallpaper with Zimmy and a male avatar for him self in the same style.
    • She's especially adorable here and here.
    • Mind you, this only counts for her with the dark matter in her eyes. Zimmy with her normal red eyes is not Ugly Cute, it is just Cute.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Anthony Carver. His face is far more detailed than any of the other characters in the comic, which gives him a distinctly off-putting appearance. His face in the second-to-last panel on this page is borderline Nightmare Fuel material. This is likely intentional, meant to alienate the reader from his character and distrust him.
    • Dear lord, Winsbury! What the hell is wrong with your face?! The fact that the texture of the sweat makes it look like it's painted on doesn't help.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Jokingly brought up in Something Awful's Gunnerkrigg thread:
    Regy Rusty: It's easy to forget that Shadow is a secret and that shadow men are normally malicious.
    Splicer: Yeah, Shadow's one of the good ones hashtag unfortunate implications
    Boogaleeboo: What's wrong with the authorities worked up and following a black youth in a hoodie? Nothing bad has ever happened there.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: The Court may be this (and by extension, the Forest the opposite trope) depending on how you interpret the conflict between it and the Forest. It began when the humans wanted to try to understand and control the Etheric, while the creatures of the Forest were content to leave it to A Wizard Did It, which essentially means their war could be seen as one between freethinkers on one side and luddites on the other.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Shell from this page is so androgynous that some readers only noticed she was female from the (very) slight curves of her body and from the female cut (right lapel over left) of her suit.
  • What an Idiot:
    • In response to her father's return and his increasingly Jerk Ass-ish behavior, Annie, rather than at least try to deal with her anger and sadness, or perhaps seek consolation and advice from a sympathetic party, instead chooses to follow the advice of Ysengrin, whose sanity is questionable at the best of times, and uses her etheric powers to remove her negative emotions entirely and manifest them into a separate entity.
      • Even Ysengrin, the person who gave her the advice, thought she made a poor decision and destroyed her blinker stone to force her to deal with her anger and sadness.
    • She gets trumped by Anthony himself, who doesn't have her excuses of youth and abandonment issues. You would think that years at the Court in the company of powerful supernatural beings, surrounded by the presence of Magitek and living through logically inexplicable events would have given a person a heads-up about the dangers of hubris and tampering with forces that you don't understand. So what does Mr. Carver do? Hunts down magical beings that they have no experience with (and, in fact has previously scorned if Jones is to be believed), putting himself through hell to do so — all in order to defy death, which he should know is a ludicrous and dangerous goal. He then takes said supernatural beings them absolutely at their word without pausing to think for a moment that this could be a trap. The result? He amputates his own arm and subsequently nearly murders his daughter by sheer accident! And just to add the finishing touches to this exercise in ignorance, it doesn't seem to have occurred to him that Annie just might know a thing or two about those supernatural beings her father was looking for, and all of this could have been prevented if Anthony had bothered to talk to her before dumping her in his old school without explanation for three years. Even worse: He was married to the person who taught Annie about the supernatural in the first place! He could've asked Surma about the psychopomps or any other aspect of the aethereal world at any point before her death and he didn't.
  • The Woobie:
    • Antimony has pretty much qualified from the whole series. Her mother died when she was young, her father is away for unspecified reasons while she's at the Court. Then we find out that the reason her mother died is because of Annie - owing to a distant ancestor being a fire spirit, when a woman in her family has a child some sort of "inner fire" that keeps them alive in passed from mother to daughter. Chapter 51 has gotten Annie a lot of Woobie points in the eyes of many fans, as her father's return and his installment as a teacher has him hit a 9.9 on the Jerk Ass scale by being unnecessarily cold and asshole-ish in dispensing punishments.
    • Jeanne. First she was separated from her lover, then she was imprisoned in some manner in the Court, then her first bit of hope was crushed by seeing her lover die, and, when the story begins, she's trapped in an afterlife of nothing but stewing in her own rage and despair.
    • Ysengrin, especially in light of the events in Chapter 39, where we find out that his diminishing sanity is at least partially the result of Coyote forcibly extracting his memories for some unknown reason.
    • Jones, in light of Chapter 40. She's as old as the Earth itself and remembers nothing before that. She considers herself neither dead nor alive. She's spent billions of years either swallowed by magma, encased in rock, and then forced to watch as everything and everyone around her dies, and never being allowed to stay in one place too long until she found the Court. And to top that, even she has no idea why she is like that.
    • Adam, the young boy who was Hetty's owner before she was destroyed in chapter 43. Adam's sister was Hetty's previous owner, and she secretly dictated that if anything happened to her, Adam would become Hetty's new owner. With the blatant implications that Hetty killed Adam's sister in order to free herself, Hetty did everything she could to avenge herself on her "terrible new master." This included all sorts of twisted pranks and torture, including putting fiberglass in Adam's bedsheets, with future plans of poisoning him with arsenic and doing anything else she could before finally killing him. And for all his trouble, Adam had no idea Hetty even existed. He had no idea why any of these things were happening to him, but he did notice that his bad luck began a little bit after his sister died. One has to really hope things got better for this kid after 43 ended.
    • Boxbot can come across as this, given how terrible everyone thinks he is.
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