Girl Genius
Girl Genius

Doctor Hadrian Rakethorn is an English scientist and self-described minor Spark who is assigned by Queen Albia to be Agatha's laboratory assistant while the latter woman is living and working in Albia's submerged kingdom. However, while he's probably fully capable of serving in this capacity; his true purpose is to help lure Agatha and Co. into becoming permanent inhabitants in Albia's metaphorical Garden. He is chosen for this duty because he is officially categorized as Clever, Dashing, Competent and Patient.

And so, as seen in the page image, when he first meets Agatha, Zeetha and Violetta in the undersea dome of the Queen's Society, he is dressed to (successfully) impress in a soaked shirt, tight pants and of course toolbelt. He claims that his waterlogged state is the result of a plumbing mishap in another lab. This may be technically true, but he eventually reveals in a conversation with his associate Ardsley Wooster that he is very aware of his "distract Agatha" mission, greatly enhancing the possibility that it was deliberate on his part. When Rakethorn dismisses the possibility of either Tarvek or Gil being a serious impediment to this campaign, Wooster makes at best a token effort to correct this misapprehension.

And so.. when Agatha gets hungry in the midst of various and extended Mad Science projects, he is ready with a large "Scoundrel's Tea." And later on, when Agatha and Co. descend into the temple-complex under the dome and run afoul of a swarm of burrowing insectoid constructs, he is.. conveniently.. on hand to literally swing into action and rescue Agatha. This time around he is missing his shirt entirely. However, Agatha very conspicuously and unsurprisingly fails to fall swooning into Her Hero's arms, and that lack of a shirt causes him some physical grief.

Still, whatever else may be said against him, Rakethorn does not appear to be a member of the "Grey Hoods" conspiracy, and works with Our Heroes to corral the resulting Extradimensional Horrors that get summoned up, And after that, he also assists in dealing with the arrival of forces loyal to Lucrezia, and sets out to make sure that some surviving non-Hood minions are evacuated from the dome when the place's self-destruct mechanism is activated.

To that end, Rakethorn, Dimo and Maxim[1], finally manage to herd said kitchen staff onto an escape submarine, along the meal they had prepared (“Lady Heterowine and dine” ). The sub undocks from the dome but does not have enough clear running to escape the worst effects of the shockwave created as the structure Destructs Itself. Digging out of the rubble of the wrecked sub, the group finds themselves surprisingly still alive: They have been taken inside the body of a Great Cetacean. The Cetacean's head spokesguy is technically more interested in pummeling the narfarious drylander Rakethorn over the head with his staff of office than speaking, but it's eventually established the GC is indeed interested in talking to.. Lady Agatha Heterodyne the Mermaid. (It's a long story.) And so Rakethorn quickly tracks down Agatha's very close personal associate Honoria Shammington, and passes along this bit of news.

The meeting goes off without the world ending, and everyone returns to Londinium, where there is both dancing and more scientific research, meaning that Rakethorn continues plugging away at both of his Agatha-related assignments. He also gives Tweedle some lab-space to work on his own projects; what Rakethorne hopes to gain from this is never revealed, to Tweedle's annoyance.

With Wooster now deceased, when Agatha goes off to investigate the mysterious Big Rat Island, Rakethorn unsurprisingly accompanies her as her new British liaison. He remains competently if unspectacularly helpful throughout the visit, at one point getting caught in the time-stopping power of Prende's Chronometric Lantern as wielded by Madwa Korvel, fortunately, before she can get around to murdering him, she gets backstabbed by Violetta. He is eventually among the survivors who frantically cram themselves onboard the escape airship as the island collapses around them.

Then Agatha is sent back to the Continent to deal with the ongoing Polar Ice Lord invasion, and he once again is assigned to her entourage. En route, he discovers that Princess Neena is onboard, and only allows her to stay after she no-so-subtly blackmails him by threatening to reveal some secret of his she has ferreted out. (She soon after shares A secret with Agatha and Co: Rakethorn "wants to be Agatha's boyfriend!")

His History[]

Before being pointed towards Agatha, Rakethorn was assigned to work in "the Central Armory" in the aftermath of an unfortunate incident involving misplaced alchemical engines.

He claims to have attended both Cambridge and Oxford universities. Like Wooster, he holds the naval rank of Commander.[2]

Possibly Useful Information[]

Over in our reality, Hadrian was Emperor of Rome from 117 to 138 AD, and is perhaps most famous for the wall he ordered built to mark the northern border of Roman power in England. In the GG universe, we've already met one guy who was named after him.

Like Wooster, Rakethorn shares the rank of Commander with another dashing Brit.

As for the good doctor's last name, "rake" is a somewhat outdated term for "charismatic womanizer", while "thorn" is often used as a poetic reference to a certain portion of the male anatomy.


  1. Who at one point refers to him as "Mr. Blackthorn" whether this is a Jagerish or authorish lack of concern about exact names is unknown.
  2. "I'm Commander Hadrian Rakethorn of Her Majesty's Navy."