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Girl Genius provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • Face Fault: When Gil makes the (bogus) reveal to Zola that he's been a pirate all along, this is the reaction from DuMedd, Sleipnir, Zeetha and Krosp. Not from Higgs, though — Airman Third Class Axel Higgs has long since lost the capacity to be surprised by anything.
  • 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 coolly dusts off 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. They have a book series on them that is highly exaggerated while probably also being highly understated.
    • Othar is also very popular. Few realize how annoying/insane he can be, and many people don't even care when they DO find out that he is a CloudcuckooLander.
    • Trelawney Thorpe is another popular hero, who like the Heterodyne Boys has her own book series of debatable accuracy.
  • 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.
  • Fanservice:
  • 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:
  • Fantastic Vermin: Mimmoths are mouse-sized mammoths created by a Mad Scientist some time in the past, which escaped and bred in the wild to become ubiquitous microfauna in both the wilderness and in cities. They're mostly harmless, but can make machines malfunction by getting inside them and pushing components around with their tusks.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Baron Oublenmach should be afraid now... very afraid.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Maxim, with a glove and a spiked shoulderpad on one side.
  • Fashion Designer: In the "Revenge of the Weasel Queen" arc, Agatha builds the Fashion Clank, which has a French accent and a stereotypical fashion designer's attitude. It is horrified to learn that it was built for the sole purpose of turning mutant rabbit skins into mutant rabbit costumes. Later, it designs elaborate costumes for various characters, presented as paper doll cutouts. It eventually runs away with Ferretina to open a fashion shop in Paris (which is visible in the background of one panel in the Paris arc, as Agatha and her crew make their way through the night streets after returning from the underground civilizations).
  • 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.
    • Respectively, you can describe Gilgamesh, Agatha and Tarvek this way even though all the three of them Sparks and none of them is the Squishy Wizard. Gil tends to solve problems in a straightforward manner, despite knowing other means like politics, Tarvek is trained as Smoke Knight and is the most adept at politics and scheming among the three, and Agatha, who has least knowledge of politics and scheming (and also the least combat ready) but has the (relatively) strongest Spark between the three.
    • Also, try the Wulfenbachs, the Heterodynes and the Storm Lords. They all have Sparks, armies and tend to be the big player. Similar to Gilgamesh, Agatha and Tarvek as above, and fitting as they're the top members of the respective factions. Wulfenbach tends to deal with problems with sheer naked force, yet is adept at politics and scheming, the Heterodynes have a huge armory full of creations by a long line of Mad Scientists, but is the least politically fluent, and the Storm Lords deals with "The Game" as their breakfast and are very famous for having Smoke Knights, and they have a line of strong Sparks, but despite the Storm Lords' army's quantity and quality, they lack a centralized command structure.
  • 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.
  • Flanderization:
    • 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.
  • Flash Forward: The "Ivo Sharktooth, P.J." story takes place in the future, showing Agatha having restored Mechanicsburg from the Take Five bomb.
  • 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.
    • Also the Killer Bunny in a sidestory, whose names range from Flopsy to Nietzsche.
  • Follow the Chaos:
  • Footnote Fever: A great deal of the Adaptation Expansion in the novels comes in the form of footnotes that expand on little side-details about the world.
  • 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.
    • Klaus' "Götterdämmerung!"note 
    • Zola will mutter "Merde!"note  when riled up enough.
    • "Vot der dumboozle?"
  • Foreshadowing:
    • 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:
    • 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.
    • Around the same time, we hear a comment concerning Krosp the Moldovian Puff: "that breed'll turn on you." Much later, Krosp does exactly that towards his creator Vapnoople.
    • Possibly the most notable of them all is Theo's story about the Heterodyne Boys and the Dragon from Mars. While it was just a story Theo made up to calm down the kids on Castle Wulfenbach, events in the tale are near prophetic predictions to major plot points in the comic, such as Klaus getting wasped, Lucrezia having a secret lab in the basement of Castle Heterodyne, and that creatures only described as "others" have shown up in Mechanicsburg due to experimenting with time and they appear in portals similar to the Dragon's. In the novels, the Other also has the ability to collect asteroids through the portals, possibly while based on Mars.
    • Agatha finds some books about the adventures of "Trelawney Thorpe, Spark of the Realm" in Gil's library. Wooster insists that she's a real person. Agatha meets Trelawney Thorpe in England nearly fourteen years of comics later.
    • There's a lot of subtle foreshadowing about Higgs being the seventh jaeger general, such as here ( using the jaeger's favored term "smart guy" to reference sparks), and here ( when he gets angry and slips momentarily into the jaeger/Mechanicsburg accent). Not to mention how both the Castle and Ottila recognize him. The first hint, however, comes from his second appearance, as he's at Mamma Gkika's, which is already established as being the only place Jaegers can go for healing until the Heterodynes return.
    • While Agatha is reassuring Dr. Dimitri Vapnoople, on the last panel you can see a shelf full of his stuffed bears. Among them is a doll of a scowling cat. Given subsequent events, it's obvious that the stuffed cat is Krosp, whom we first met only a few pages prior, who is the leader of the Vapnoople's actual live bear constructs.
    • Several characters comment that Agatha can't be the Heterodyne heir because she's a girl, or express surprise that the child of Bill and Lucrezia is female. At the start of the Castle Heterodyne arc, it's shown that Bill and Lucrezia's only known child prior to their disappearance was their son, Klaus Barry Heterodyne.
  • Forever War: The status quo in the days before the Heterodyne Boys due to constant infighting between rival Sparks, referred to as "The Long War". When The Other appeared and the Heterodyne Boys disappeared, it came roaring back. Then the Baron stopped it his way. And then, after the Battle of Mechanicsburg, the Wulfenbach Empire weakened severely and the Long War came back again.
  • Forgets to Eat: This can happen to Sparks if they stay in the Madness Place too long. Non-Sparks 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.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • If Aaronev Sturmvoraus hadn't been interested in seeing a travelling Heterodyne show right as Master Payne's Circus of Adventure was passing through Balan's Gap, the entire story would have gone very differently.
    • Othar deciding to retire to an island with his Geister mate for 32 years leads to Gil dying in Castle Heterodyne, Mechanicsburg never being frozen, and Agatha's and Klaus getting married, presumably under the influence of Lucrezia's mind control, which leads to Paris being burned and every town in Europa being destroyed and almost every person killed on the continent, perhaps beyond. This leads to an aged and Tarvek sending him back in time which seems to explain why he looks so old compared to his sister. All of this is stated on his Twitter page which is technically canon.
  • 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 mother Theodora who was forced into marrying Saturnus Heterodyne via threats to her family (and was later beatified by five out of the seven popes for the miraculous feat of raising a Heterodyne to be a decent human being). 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...
    • Speaking of which, the same can be said of Tarvek and Gil: they have turned out better than they might otherwise have because they both spent time as children under the care of Von Pinn, who turns out to be the Muse of Protection. Ditto Agatha and her step-parents the Clays.
  • 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:
  • Friend or Foe: The Jägers have an excellent way of solving the problems presented by this trope.
  • Friends Are Chosen, Family Aren't:
    • Agatha definitely has this dynamic with her maternal side of family sans Theo, the other White Sheep. The paternal side is just as bad, but because her missing father and uncle are the last two Heterodynes before her generation, it's not mentioned much.
    • Brother Ulm later uses the religious side of the trope word for word in his intro pages.
  • 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. The girls in the bar dressed up as Monsters also fool every tourist (and some of the main cast), simply because they can speak the accent fluently, despite also being able to speak normal english.
  • Funny Background Event: The Foglios love this. In particular, it's worth reading any notices, signs, control labels, advertisements or scripts that appear.
  • 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:
    • At the best of times, Europa's nobility and Sparks could be counted on to have a dozen or so plans brewing to unseat Baron Wulfenbach. Agatha's Spanner in the Works nature has often prompted these conspirators to set off their coup attempts early....and all at once.
      • 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.
    • 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:
    “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.”
  • 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.
  • The Gay '90s: Paris' popular culture is very like that of our world's 1890s. The famous Moulin Rouge (home of can-can dancers) exists (being advertised prominently at the Paris train station), for instance, and many women, such as the customs agent Dimo tries to chat up, are dressed in the height of 1890s-1900s fashions, down to the high collars and the Merry Widow hats (one popular brand — not to mention a lot of other things, including a brand of pantalettes — is named after Agatha herself!)
  • 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:
    • On this page, the rescue party thinks that there's a secret passage in the castle because there's one in all the stories. They even accurately predict that it should be in the castle's sewer because that's where it is in stories.
    • Lucrezia and Lucrezianote  react in horror when they realize that Zola-Lucrezia is Tempting Fate when she offhandedly dismisses the possibility of Barry returning to cause them trouble. In this case the Genre Savvy kicks in after the accidental slip, but it's there nonetheless.
      Zola-Lucrezia: But he's been missing for years. He's no threat —
      [both look around in dread]
      Anevka-Lucrezia: Do you want him to show up?!
    • Even Dimo and Maxim have their moments:
      Maxim: Hoy! Knew it! Vorkopian Dicator Shpider in de ear! A classic!
  • 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.
  • Genuine Human Hide: A subterranean civilization under Paris turns any interlopers into gloves. Based on the number of eerily tan gloves in their introductory panel, they've been doing it for a while.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Glowing Flora: When Agatha's group is traveling the river beneath Paris they pass several groupings of giant bioluminescent toadstools on the riverbanks.
  • 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. They literally weep with joy when they get her back.
  • 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).
  • Go-Go Enslavement:
    • Agatha ends up in the Leia-style slave bikini for one gag panel in the opening of "Revenge of the Weasel Queen Part 2".
    • She's also stripped down to her corset here, though it's for different reasons than the usual (the villains want to analyse her voice when she angrily demands her clothes back).
    • The King of the Silver Lands seems to be big on this, as he has all of the captive heroes stripped down to attire akin to Slave Leia from Star Wars.
  • 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. Justified since they are in a sanctuary and forbidden to fight. Lampshaded when Zeetha even comments how much fun it's going to be when they wind up fighting each other.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The guy that wanted to steal the hammer for the Doom Bell? Mama gives it to him willingly.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: This seems to occur with alarming frequency for Sparks. Generally with horrible results. Though some cases also happen because of other instances.
  • 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.
  • Graceful Loser: Old Man Death takes the loss of his hat to Maxim quite cheerfully, if only because his wife always hated the thing.
  • 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 Movit, 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.
    • In the "Revenge of the Weasel Queen" side-story, the blueprint for the Giant Mini Mecha costume made by the tailor clank has its captions entirely in (surprisingly accurate) French.
  • 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 deactivated 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 or Storm Hold. 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!
  • Groin Attack: Agatha delivers a solid one to Tweedle after he gets a little grabby with her.
  • 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.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Deconstructed. Agatha's fellow Sparks wanting to bring hidden weapons to a diplomac meeting nearly brings about a total apocalypse. Fortunately, Agatha demands the weapons in her mermaid disguise were removed, which proves to be the right decision.

  • Hair-Raising Hare: The Weasel Queen's Lapinomorphs.
  • Hammerspace: Agatha has multiple pockets that hold just about every other gadget that a well-equipped Mad Scientist might require. Lampshaded on a paper doll page.
  • 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....
  • Handwave: An in-universe one. Higgs tells the group that he can guide them through Castle Heterodyne because he found a map. Sleipnir starts to say that doesn't make any sense before Theo shushes her. They need his help and if he needs to have "found a map" to provide it, then fine, he found a map.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The Lord High Conservator cuts one of the Smoke Knights that have infiltrated his ship in half.
  • 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.
  • Harmful Healing: Most attempts at Spark medicine follow this. One section follows the long story of Agatha curing another Spark of a disease. In the process she infects two other people, one of them being herself, everyone involved is electrocuted two or three times, all three of them have a rolling death lasting several minutes, and Agatha comes within forty-five seconds of exploding or melting. It works, but bear in mind that the three people involved are all very good Sparks, and fairly disciplined as they go. And of course, for all their knowledge and ability, none of the three are actually doctors.
  • 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. Hilariously, a lot of generals that are not Jägers also find the hat very impressive and simply believe it must be the son of the Baron since the hat says so. 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:
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • The entire Wulfenbach Vespiary Squad is targeted by the rest of the Wulfenbach forces after Herr Baron himself is infected by a slaver wasp and is compelled to destroy them. Thankfully, Tarvek and the Jägers salvage enough of the unit and their materials for them to scatter and try continue their mission outside the Wulfenbach empire; whether any of them succeeded or even survived is currently unknown..
    • According to Tarvek, the Master of Paris encourages clubs to look over the code he uses to control the city in order to look for weaknesses that he can fix. Between Gil and Tarvek, they belonged to over twenty such clubs. The problem is if they learned too much about the code, the Master would drop their entire headquarters into a bottomless pit.
      Tarvek: The trick was to always make it out the door just as they started celebrating.
  • 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.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": An interstitial series of strips has Mary tell her siblings a Heterodyne story, but she insists on inserting herself into it. The Stinger is that her mother used to do the same thing.
  • 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.
    • Defied by the Jägers.
    • Played straight by Lars, who intercepts a sword blow meant for Agatha. Even the Jägers are impressed; Maxim gives up his hat (presumably to be buried with Lars) out of respect.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Weapons: Violeta hides weapons in her sleeves even when wearing an obvious utility belt, and Bang is revealed to keep throwing knifes up her sleeves and in her boots.
  • High-Voltage Death: In the Death Montage of the traitor Beausoleil's bodies one is depicted as getting fatally zapped with electricity.
  • Hindenburg Incendiary Principle: Many, many Zeppelins from Another World. Some are destroyed in the course of the story, some survive, and even more were destroyed in various offscreen incidents ("And how do dose alvays end? De dirigible iz in flames...").
  • 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 widely regarded as objects of horror by Europa in general - something about being super-tough, super-violent and relishing every moment spent in destruction. Therefore, when one of them says, "Run," it's not wise to stop and argue. So far, the Dreen and an army of uplifted grizzly Super Soldiers (with An Axe to Grind) are the only two things to bring out this near-extinct fear response.
  • 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.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: Happens in a strip to Agatha (along with subtitled Symbol Swearing) after being attacked by a pair of her little clanks turning against their mistress.
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll; Lucrezia often tries to pass herself off as the girl whose body she has hijacked, to varying degrees of success.
  • 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?
    • Gil...
    • 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 Ball: Agatha's entire entourage repeatedly grabs it during the England plot-arc after Tarvek announces no more delays, he's going to remove the copy of Lucrezia from Agatha's mind. Instead of coming along during this vital mission, Zeetha, Oggie and Maxim all evidently decide to wander off somewhere. Then, after the Lu-copy kicks up a very noticable fuss as the procedure is prepared, everyone else lets Agatha leave the room. Alone. She promptly disappears. And when the disappearance is discovered, there's a debate about whether she maybe went to get a snack or take a bath. It turns out she was briefly kidnapped rather than Lu taking over. After that gets sorted out, the crew grabs the ball again, and rather than strapping her into a chair like they tried to do the first time around, lets her work unsupervised on the Lu-extraction machine. Sure enough, this time, Lu really does take over, and alters the machine to her own ends. This gets noticed before the machine is actually used, and Lucrezia gets mystically gagged and restrained by a projection of Queen Albia. Which leads to example number three, when Albia is forced to withdraw without further restraints being applied, letting the captive get free and for a third time left unwatched. Oggie and Zeetha are back by this point, so she grabs the latter's dropped swords, takes the former by "surprise" and skewers him through the chest. Violetta the Smoke Knight then tries to... grab her from behind or something... and gets stabbed in the hand. Plus during all this there's a clank-copy of Lu on the scene causing further damage and delays.
  • 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:
  • If I Had a Nickel: Violetta's done the math.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: In no way did Violetta assault Tweedle's royal personage with a blackjack in the presence of Father Gerät and several other Corbettites.
  • 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.
  • I Just Knew: Invoked: When Higgs's time-displaced friend tries to explain how he knows which books are relevant, he says it's because they emit temporal echoes which indicate that they will be leaving the shelf. Instead of relaying this, Higgs says "he 'just knows'".
  • 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'm Alive: When they wake up after the sub they're in gets caught in a blast wave that should have killed everyone on board, Dimo and Maxim have a little discussion as they realize they're not dead.
    Dimo: Huh. Howzabout dot. Hy is not dead. Dot is verra sooprizink. Hoy! hennyybody else not dead?
    Maxim: ... Hy is tinkking about it. Ho! Vitch means hy is alive!
    Hadrian: *urg...*
    Maxim: Ho Ho! Doctor Rakethorn! Hyu is also not dead!
    Hadrian: Why on earth not?
  • 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.
  • The Immune: For some unknown reason, the people of Mechanicsburg are immune to slaver wasp infestation. After a sweep by the Vespiary Squad and their wasp eater weasels, the only two revenants found were a couple of non-resident tourists. This in no way will be important later on.
  • 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. It gets even more extreme, seeing that Jägers can reach a extremely high age (some have been around for centuries), to the point where Gil decides that Vole is the best chance for them to get someone out of the time bubble despite every creature so far instantly aging at least a few hundred years. While he doesn't like it, he most certainly survives it.
  • Impaled Palm:
  • Impoverished Patrician: There are a number of nobles who have nothing but their titles to their name because their lands were conquered and/or rendered uninhabitable by Sparks. They tend to end up as retainers to nobles who still have wealth, as not providing these disenfranchised nobles shelter is considered bad form.
  • Improvised Weapon:
  • Improv Fu: Heroic Freestyle is a combat style used by both the Hetrodyne Boys and the Hoffmann brothers. It apparently involves a lot of chaotic improvisation and getting hit a lot. Given that the only practitioners we know of are two-person teams it may also be based around team combat.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: Discussing demon summoning while Higgs is impersonating an attendant results in this:
    Agatha: [smugly] I mean, you can't just say, "appear before me, all-powerful creature" and expect—
    Higgs: [appears out of Butler Space] Tea?
    Agatha: Oh! Yes, thank you!
  • 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.

  • Jaw Drop:
  • Jerkass: Several. Merlot is prominent as a cruel teacher who abuses his position to look down on students and then blames someone else for his getting in trouble after he murders a bunch of Empire employees and burns down a wing of the university.
  • 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". His son Gil carries on with the precedent set by his father when he inherites the Empire.


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