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Could this be the dénouement?
vonzinzer huh
murgatroyd666

Hmmm. I think I may have stumbled upon a plausible resolution for several crises and mysteries. Tell me what you think of this scenario ...

After five years of stasis -- thirty months from now in story time -- Mechanicsburg un-freezes. Agatha and Violetta have been waiting for this, and as soon as the stasis field is gone, they race to the Cathedral to rescue Tarvek.

And they're too late. Tarvek is DEAD, and he's already decomposed far beyond any hope of revivification.

Some time later, Agatha gains access to the Time Window apparatus. (This may be when Bang saw her using it, or it might be on some other occasion.) Agatha has a plan -- perhaps suggested by Othar! -- that might allow her to save Tarvek after all. She can't rescue his body without creating a huge temporal paradox, but she can rescue his mind.

Seconds after Tarvek is hit by the poisoned dagger, Agatha zooms in and attempts to transfer his mind to a new body. But wait! There's a complication! The stasis field has altered the energy level of the Cathedral environment. She can't transfer his mind into another body in her own era.

But she can transfer it into a mind two centuries earlier. So Tarvek is downloaded into van Rijn's brain, allowing him to live a full life and to set up the various McGuffins (Otilia, Moxana's prophesies, van Rijn's notes, and so on) ... Perhaps Tarvek even meets a much younger Higgs and briefs him on what's going to happen. (UPDATE: Tarvek might even tell Higgs to be on a particular Wulfenbach airship so he'll be in a position to save Klaus' life.)

And one more wrinkle: Tarvek gets to marry Agatha after all! While observing Euphrosynia, it becomes clear to Agatha and others that she is Pure Evil. She's also doing things that are contrary to the legend, and unless she's stopped she will irreparably alter the timeline. So Agatha downloads a copy of herself into Euphrosynia's brain. Agatha-in-Euphrosynia goes into hiding right under Andronicus' nose -- with van Rijn! Eventually Andronicus wanders off to search the world for Euphrosynia, and Tarvek and Agatha live happily ever after.

And "meanwhile" two centuries later, Agatha and Gil finally get together.

UPDATE: There are two things I don't like about this scenario:

What happens to van Rijn's original personality? Do he and Tarvek cohabit? Merge? Time-share? Or does Tarvek overwrite van Rijn? Does van Rijn accept Tarvek's mind willingly, or is he so evil that obliterating his personality is actually a good thing?

If Tarvek is DEAD-dead and is too decomposed to be revived, then what was the point of the the long Si Vales Valeo sequence in Castle Heterodyne? The justification for that in storytelling terms was that Tarvek had died and been revivified, thus making him ineligible for the Lightning Throne in the eyes of the Fifty Families ... and since only Gil, Agatha, and a few others know that this happened, they can use their knowledge as leverage. If Tarvek dies from Tweedle's dagger wound, that entire segment of the story arc lacks any reason to exist.

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(Deleted comment)
Ah. I don't dislike repeat use of things like that, because I view them as the authors playing fair with the reader. If these things hadn't been introduced earlier in the story, they'd be deus ex machina solutions to the problems of the characters.

Edited at 2014-05-03 07:28 pm (UTC)

It's brilliant.

I don't think it's what'll happen.

I don't care, it's still brilliant.

Heh. The words every author loves to hear!

I'm not all that fond of it myself, for reasons that I mention in the update. I rather prefer the HMS Pinafore Gambit.

If Agatha feels the need to replace the minds of any of her ancestors who were pure evil, that would be a lot of them...

And it seems weird to need to erase someone to stop them damaging the timeline, because the timeline happened because they were erased, although I'll admit time loops are already a thing.

Personally I don't like it because I like Gil and Tarvek together -- either shipping or as friends, but definitely in the same century.

It also just seems totally unnecessary. The only thing having Tarvek alive in the past explains is the Muses' foresight, and even that would be weird. Sometimes Moxana seemed to know things Tarvek wouldn't have, and she 'definitely didn't know things he did or she wouldn't have reacted like that to losing Tinka.

Excellent points, except for the last one. Moxana would know what van Rijn/Tarvek told her -- no more, no less.

If Agatha feels the need to replace the minds of any of her ancestors who were pure evil, that would be a lot of them...
And it seems weird to need to erase someone to stop them damaging the timeline ...


Those were ad hoc justifications for Agatha overwriting Euphrosynia's personality. If Euphrosynis didn't deserve death, then Agatha would be a monster.

... I like Gil and Tarvek together -- either shipping or as friends, but definitely in the same century.

I do too.

Edited at 2014-05-03 08:29 pm (UTC)

But he'd have to tell her things he didn't know -- it's heavily implied that Moxana uses her chess game to track the future of the circus in small ways, for instance, but this was before Agatha joined and during a time period Tarvek would have little interest in finding out about later. He'd also have to deliberately not tell her things that he knew would cause her a great deal of distress, which...again comes back to people acting badly to preserve the timeline, rather than the timeline growing organically from how they naturally act.

Well, yes. But that seems like a reasonable argument against this theory. If the justifications are ad hoc and not very good, yet not having them would make Agatha act wildly out of character, then I think it's fair to say it won't ever happen.

I know you theorise things that you don't particularly like -- or even think likely -- and it's interesting. I may take too different a tack -- I do think the emotional arcs of a story are worth building into theorising as well as the facts, because sometimes you can guess where an author is going and where they won't go. I think the trio are being set up as a trio. I'm not sure how it will shake out, but I don't think we'll see things end in a way that ignores any of the three relationships involved.

If the justifications are ad hoc and not very good ...

They're ad hoc for me, because I'm trying to second-guess the Professors. If this scenario does come to pass, I'm sure there will be a good explanation and justification for Agatha's actions.

I know you theorise things that you don't particularly like -- or even think likely -- and it's interesting.

What prompted this particular speculation was thinking about the emotional impact that Agatha not saving Tarvek from the poisoned dagger would have ... and then figuring out a way to save him after all. It's comparable to the sequence in which we were misdirected into thinking that Agatha might really have been incinderated byt crab clank in the forest.

As I've said elsewhere, I think there's a good chance that the Professors explicitly told us the ending on the first page of "Cinderella."

Edited at 2014-05-03 09:03 pm (UTC)

I really don't see how there could be a good explanation. I suppose all things are possible for the professors, but as it stands your theory kind of has holes in it, and patching it up by saying they'd doubtless come up with something is not that convincing.

I see what you mean. It would be like them to set something like that up, and then have it turn out not to be as hopeless as it looked. I don't think the solution to it, though, would involve sending Tarvek two hundred years into the past. It's more likely that we'd get the first part of this and then there would be no problem with bringing Tarvek's mind forward in time, making it more of an unusual way to save him and not causing a bunch of other problems with history.

Edited at 2014-05-03 09:06 pm (UTC)

It's more likely that we'd get the first part of this and then there would be no problem with bringing Tarvek's mind forward in time, making it more of an unusual way to save him and not causing a bunch of other problems with history.

This is exactly how I got started thinking about trying to to solve the problem of Tarvek being dead and decomposed! The only available untenanted destination brain for Tarvek's personality that I'm aware of is ... Madame Olga's body!

They know how to make blank clank bodies, now. Wouldn't that be more likely? A bit odd for poor Tarvek certainly, but so would Madame Olga be.

(And you weren't proposing to throw him into an untenanted body in the past. If you assume Van Rijn would be willing to cohabit, why not someone in the present?)

They know how to make blank clank bodies, now. Wouldn't that be more likely? A bit odd for poor Tarvek certainly, but so would Madame Olga be.

Well ... Tarvek knew how to make a clank brain that could accommodate a human mind. Nobody else did. So that doesn't help Tarvek very much! Note that Otilia was never a human.

(And you weren't proposing to throw him into an untenanted body in the past. If you assume Van Rijn would be willing to cohabit, why not someone in the present?)

But I didn't assume that. I was trying to anticipate what the Professors' solution would be, and it was one of the less-plausible (to me) possibilities.

If Tarvek's mind doesn't go two centuries int othe past, then we're still left with the questions:

* Who gave Otilia instructions to keep Agatha safe, and why?

* Who set up the Storm King prophesies, and why?

* How did it come to pass that Moxana knew some of the things that were going to happen, but she didn't know others? (Example: "Don't try to go through Balan's Gap" would have been a useful bit of prophesy, no? But that wasn't in Moxana's repertoire ... possibly because Tarvek didn't know about those events of the story.)

* Why did Higgs just happen to be in the right place at the right time to save Klaus' life?

Here's a test of the hypothesis: Tarvek shouldn't know about any events that transpired after he was poisoned. So if Moxana makes new prophesies, or if Higgs seems a bit too well-informed in Act 2, then that'll be strong evidence that my scenario isn't accurate.

Edited at 2014-05-04 02:26 am (UTC)

Agatha also has Van Rijn's notes memorised, and Gil has Tarvek's (extremely detailed) ones on hand. They also have Lucrezia's labs and whatever notes she left there.

I think Otilia was genuinely confused. She had orders about The Heterodyne Girl, she had a Heterodyne Girl, she was suffering from a labelling error as her mind tried to apply its programming to someone not the original subject. A lot of the things she says to Agatha at that point really make much more sense if she's partially confusing her with Euphrosynia.

There aren't any Storm King prophesies. The ones about bringing peace to Europa by marrying the Heterodyne Girl never existed outside the Opera, it seems to be a romanticisation of a peace treaty intended to be sealed by marriage. I suspect the Order latched onto it rather than them actually producing the Opera for the purpose, but it could go either way.

I think Moxana has to have something to extrapolate from. Like a master chess player who can see to the end of the game. She mostly predicts the Circus while she's travelling with it, and only widens her game when Agatha joins. Until she met Tarvek she had no way to predict him.

Higgs may well have been hanging around Klaus for his own purposes. If he'd known the future I think he might have brought tranquillisers for Bang or something :P

Higgs may well have been hanging around Klaus for his own purposes. If he'd known the future I think he might have brought tranquillisers for Bang or something :P

"Or something." I would have suggested a slightly stronger medication. Chloral hydrate, perhaps, or even cyanide.

I guess we'll see, if we live long enough to get to the dénouement. Meanwhile, I'm still hoping for the HMS Pinafore Gambit.

(Deleted comment)
I should qualify my statement. I don't like the repeated use of time travel and mind transfer by Girl Genius fans. It just seems to me that it's the first solution offered to any problem that arises.

Yes. I don't want Girl Genius to turn into Primer.

We've seen time windows three times in thirteen years. they appear briefly then vanish. Phil has responded to a question about them with "that's end game stuff" implying we are not going to see them soon or frequently.

And I agree with you. I'm only speculating about end-game stuff ... well, mostly. I don't think we'll see anyone controlling time windows (or time travel, if that's possible) for another eight or ten volumes, though we may see an occasional window popping up and surprising the characters before then.

There has to be more mind transfer stuff coming up, and most of that probably will be saved for the end game, too. But I think we'll see more of it, sooner, because it's already been used four times with Agatha, Lunevka, Zola, and Otilia -- five times, if you accept Othar's tweets as real -- and because Agatha already knows how to make it work.


Edited at 2014-06-16 09:21 am (UTC)

As to mind transfer, while many thousands, maybe tens of thousnads of Lucrezias would be strategically ideal, it would muddy the story.

I wasn't the one who suggested that.

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