Girl Genius
Girl Genius

The Dormitory is the particular section of the Castle Wulfenbach where the Baron keeps the royal and/or Sparky kiddies that he has collected from all over Europa. It is ruled with an iron hand (and not in a velvet glove, either) by the formidable Von Pinn, and all manner of interesting stuff happens there during the early phases of the story.

Incoming content from Agatha H and the Airship City


A long time ago, Klaus, who obviously knows his real-world history, figured something out that the Romans figured out even longer ago: sometimes it's handy to have hostages. He therefore did what he usually does when he sees something as useful: he skipped the negotiations and went out and got some. Kids from Europa's power families got imported to Castle Wulfenbach, under the pretense of helping them learn how to be better adult leaders who would get past the deplorable tendency of past nobles and Sparks to connive and fight each other, rather than do the things a leader is supposed to do. If their presence within the Baron's easy reach persuades their parents not to do things that might lead to them having ... accidents ... while on board, well, all the better.

At least that's the story that Sleipnir O'Hara, one of the dormitory residents, gives a bewildered Agatha Heterodyne when Agatha wakes up there following the unpleasantness in Beetleburg. She should know, as she's one of the older students there — old enough, in fact, to be not just marriageable but engaged (sort of). Sleipnir spends a brief stint as Agatha's roommate and helpfully shows her the ropes of dormitory life as she tries to adjust.

This approach to pacifying the warring Europan houses isn't perfect, but it works well enough that Klaus (who certainly isn't averse to tearing down an unsuccessful experiment and starting over) has stuck with it as his grip on Europa expands. The oldest students in the dormitory appear to be in their late teens or early twenties; Zulenna Luzhakna, Princess of Holfung-Borzoi, looks even older than that, although her timelessly condescending sneer toward her inferiors (and she believes herself to have a lot of inferiors) makes judging her true age difficult. At the same time, there are lots of small, mostly anonymous children around who could only have been added to the Baron's collection in the last five years or so, since some of them barely appear five years old.

Dormitory life[]

The dormitory appears to consist of a central common area surrounded by bedrooms, much as a real-world college dormitory might be laid out. The only actual living quarters we've seen are the ones shared by Agatha and Sleipnir, which seem basic yet comfortable enough. The common area is your basic space for kids to hang out in, with various little recreational props, kitchenware, tables where they eat and study, etc. Showers seem to be communal. There is also a shared kitchen where the kids prepare their own food (some of which is, well, interesting...).

Ruling over this mini-empire is the fearsome Von Pinn. She serves as nanny, teacher, disciplinarian, protector, chaperone, etc., all rolled into one bristling package. The kids are terrified of her and warn Agatha not to make her mad — which, of course, she does almost immediately upon arrival. Just invoking her name is enough to make the younger children fall into line. It is fair to say that she comes into her position with some baggage that explains much of this behavior, but it's unknown to the kids (who hear rumors that she's actually Lucrezia Mongfish... little do they know...), and even Agatha doesn't put the pieces together until much later, after she's left Castle Wulfenbach.

The kids live lives that are in many ways typical of a real-world boarding school: go to class (Von Pinn does at least some of the teaching), do homework, do chores, goof off when possible, and even better, go looking for things they're not supposed to see. Of course, the chores aren't exactly the same as one would do in most boarding schools. Apparently cleaning the grease traps for one of the Castle's huge kitchens is the punishment detail , so of course some of the Sparky kids (notably Agatha's cousin Theopholous DuMedd) try to find other ways to do it than by manual labor.

There is a definite social pecking order in the dormitory. Theo is "head boy," which puts him pretty close to the top of the order, although Zulenna would probably disagree with the notion that he's at the very top. In this role, Theo gets pressed into service helping the younger kids with various things, notably calming their nerves when they catch sight of Von Pinn in a rage. They flock around him to hear an oral Heterodyne story, The Dragon from Mars, much as children would around a much-loved grandparent, even though he's more nearly their own age than their grandparents'. And the bottom of the pecking order? The new kid on the block, i.e., Agatha ... but not for long.

Known Dormitory residents[]

There has been a big exodus from the dormitory[1] as the story has unfolded, and it's not clear that anyone lives there now at all. The following are the students named so far who did live there at some time. As far as can be told, all of the named ones have either fled, been sent home, or met an untimely end.

Whether Gil actually lived in the dormitory is not certain ("Z"'s comments here suggest that he did), but he certainly was subjected to the tender mercies of Von Pinn along with the other kids while growing up. Agatha and Krosp logged time in the dormitory, but whether to treat them as "residents" is a matter of semantics. At least 6 to 8 younger (maybe age 8-12 or so), unnamed children have been seen who are (or were) also part of the crowd, and even younger ones have been implied by some of the verbal sparring among the kids.

Whether the Dormitory also includes children of Castle staff-and-residents is unknowable at this time, but would not be inconsistent with the Baron's socialization plans.