Girl Genius
Girl Genius

"That letter is a fraud! Othar Tryggvassen may do things that lesser men find objectionable or slightly illegal, but I never apologize!" [3]

Othar Tryggvassen (Gentleman Adventurer!) is a self-described hero determined to 'save' the world from Sparks by killing every single one of them, including, eventually, himself.[4] For whatever reason, he seems to consider Heterodynes exempt from the All Sparks Must Die rule, at least temporarily, possibly due to the exploits of the Heterodyne Boys. He is very hot on the idea of Agatha Heterodyne becoming his new spunky girl sidekick. She herself is rather less enthusiastic.

Reputation and Attributes[]

Although he is quite insane, neither this nor his views and goals are widely-known; most people know of him only as a hero. This reputation seems to actually be earned, both because shooting random Sparks generally will rid the world of some (other) dangerous madmen and because he has at least some genuine heroics under his belt.[5] Additionally, despite his obsession with killing Sparks, he makes it clear in his Twitter that he won't allow any innocent people (that is, innocent non-Sparks) to die in the process, even partially including Jaegers in this calculation.

He is, nonetheless, extremely unpopular among most of the Sparks who have met him, probably because he immediately attempts to murder them on discovering that they are Sparks. This is especially true for the Wulfenbachs, whom he regards as tyrants. The Baron wanted to drill into his brain[6] (but later had a job for him[7]); Gil, who has some as-yet-unelaborated history with him[8], regards Othar as dangerous, but merely wants him safely imprisoned for the sake those around him, though there does appear to be some genuine hatred between them. He is also, like many heroes, annoyingly hard to kill; when he falls out a window[9], off an airship[10], or from some other great distance[11], it can be automatically assumed he survives.

When Othar enters a room he often announces "Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer, has arrived!".[12]

It has been mentioned by the authors (outside of the comic itself, so far) that he was set on his current path by the destruction of Oslo.[13].

Othar is, in addition to being a gentleman, a Deist[14], similar to many of the real-world archetypes for his Renaissance-man persona.

As for that visor he always wears, while again the comic itself has never said anything about it, various other sources have indicated it is (inspired by) the snow-goggles worn in some arctic climes. Whether it offers any perks besides staving off snow-blindness remains unknown. For times when Othar's visor is removed, see below.

Othar and Agatha[]

While Agatha has previously heard tales of Othar's heroics, their paths first cross when they are both prisoners on board Castle Wulfenbach. At first she shows a marked reluctance towards helping him escape, not really believing that he is who he claims, but once convinced of his identity sleep-builds an Othar-rescuing clank which carries him away from the airship-city. Othar unsurprisingly quickly reappears on board, only to get thrown off once again by Gil. He re-reappears as Agatha and Krosp are escaping the ship, and invokes general sabotage and chaos to cover said escape. He and Agatha immediately fall into disagreement about his previously-mentioned Spark-eradication policy, leading to another abrupt involuntary departure on his part.

They next encounter each other in the town of Zumzum, while Agatha is performing with Master Payne's Circus of Adventure. Othar, having now learned Agatha's true identity from Theo, tries to recruit her as his spunky girl sidekick, to her obvious displeasure. It is also revealed that he was the one who led to Da Boyz being strung up (non-fatally) on the town gallows, by engaging them in a "game" of Hangman. When Jenka arrives to rescue her fellow Jagers, Othar saves Agatha from a rather painful lesson at Jenka's hands, and then in turn is saved from her wrath by the freed Boyz. After the Jagers leave Zumzum, Othar gives Agatha a chance to live a normal life, as she claims she wants, and departs peacefully as well.

He re-enters the story in Mechanicsburg, where he is dragged before the Baron by monster-hunter Grantz and assigned the job of forcibly extracting Gil from Castle Heterodyne. While inside the Castle, he unexpectedly meets up with his sister Sanaa, who is a prisoner-repairgal there; in keeping with a previously-made promise, he allows her to assist in his current assignment, but thanks to a case of mistaken identity, they bag Tarvek and bring him to Castle Wulfenbach instead . When Gil eventually makes it back on board under his own power, he once again ejects Othar from the ship, this time in the company of Tarvek and Captain Vole, on board Gil's experimental flying machine. They thus quickly return to Mechanicsburg, where Othar latches onto both Tarvek and Violetta as sidekick-candidates, much to their displeasure. Othar then assists Agatha in her on-the-fly improvement of Gil's zappy-stick; and witnesses her triumphant re-charging of Castle Heterodyne's power with said stick. At this point he notably drops out of sight, at least as as far as the reader is concerned; he later seems to claim that following the breaking of the Siege of Mechanicsburg, he joins Agatha's official procession to the Red Cathedral, and witnesses her subsequent kidnapping by Tweedle (whom he mistakes for a confederate of Gil's), but he does not appear "on screen" at any point during these events.

He finally resurfaces two and a half years later as a successful test-subject in now-Baron Gil's on-going experiments aimed at extracting people from the Mechanicsburg time-bubble. After the usual initial hostilities, he is willing to listen to Gil and get an update on current events. He then gives a Rousing Speech to some captured attackers, convincing them all to change sides and work with Gil and his rather beleaguered empire; he even almost convinces Oglavia Spüdna to stop spying on people.

After this, he again disappears from the comic for a long time, but his Twitter account (see below) details how he ends up investigating events in the embattled principality of Holfung-Borzoi in the company of Eotain the renegade Geister. He finally reappears in his usual dramatic fashion at a meeting of Gil, Tarvek and Colette Voltaire in Paris, bringing numerous Geisters with him. He accompanies the rest of Our Heroes to Mechanicsburg, where he works with Kjarl Thotep on an examination of the time-stop and the Abomination reaching for the center of it all.

The Future[]

In a side-story set after the events of the main comic, it is reported that Othar has yet again disappeared, leaving behind his Sparky chronometer. Vipsania Perrault the totally-not-a-thief somehow gets her hands on it and brings it to Franz Scortchmaw as a gift to get his attention and encourage him to come along her planned hoard-plundering expedition. Franz told Vipsania that Othar is gone and probably dead.

After said expedition is successfully completed, the two belatedly learn that the watch has a recorded message from Othar detailing his recent exploits, and revealing the location of another expedition-worthy hoard just waiting to be plundered, the Lightless College. While the message was originally meant for Viscount Olig Bertus, he was killed by his own army of squirrels during the Siege of Mechanicsburg. Vipsania and her friends decide to mount an expedition to find and recover the treasure.


Othar's sister Sanaa suspects[15], when the two reunite in the Castle Heterodyne, that Gil is Othar's boyfriend, citing as evidence for his sexual orientation his association with the "rich, smart and beautiful" Helga Gootergund--an association which ended badly, with threats of fishy cranial violence before Othar left Grimstad to keep away from her. Othar denies involvement with either individual; he is quite antagonistic toward Gil, and Helga has doubts about his sanity. According to the Radio Play "Deathwish DuPree," Othar's family wished him to marry Helga, who is the daughter of a wealthy codfishmonger. For whatever reason, she thinks that he is quite insane, and that's where the threatening violence with a marlin spike comes in.

According to his Twitter account, Othar spent several years being happily married (in all practical terms if not formally) to a Geister named Oslaka.

Othar's Eyes[]

When he does take his visor off (or it is removed by force), Othar is revealed to have blue eyes. This happens rarely, but Othar's eyes are visible in the scenes listed below:

Othar's Twitter[]

He also has a Twitter account[16]. It should be noted that just because he's insane doesn't mean he's stupid- though he can seem that way when his monomania leads him to edit reality[17], he is capable of surprising and even worrying insight[18] when reality runs reasonably parallel to what he thinks it should be. If the events depicted in the Twitter actually happened, much of them now appear to be relegated to an alternate/erased historical timeline.

Thanks to his long association with Oslaka the Geister, he is very familiar with the Ghost Ladies' culture, and is fluent in their language.

The Novels[]

According to Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess, Othar was used as an asset to kill sparks that the Empire could not legally touch even if evidence pointed towards them being responsible for various atrocities, and how he gained his reputation of a heroic figure. However he became more trouble than he was worth when he started killing dastardly murdering innocent sparks that were actually benefiting the people of the Empire. Agents were dispatched to deal with him and successfully captured him.

At the end of Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg, he confronts Agatha as she makes her triumphant progression to the Red Cathedral following the breaking of said siege, and after leading a chorus of cheers, icily informs her that while she has earned a chance to prove herself, if she shows any sign of working with The Other, he will destroy her, even if he has come through all of Mechanicsburg to get to her. In a lighter vein, it is also noted that he tends to go through Spunky Female Sidekicks pretty quickly not so much because they all die, but that he has a firm rule about not engaging in romantic hanky-panky with them.

The Works[]

According to The Works, Othar Tryggvassen is Mad, a Legend, and a Spark.

He is worth the maximum number of points allotted to a card, but if there is a Spark in play, he escapes back into the deck rather than being added to the player's Score Pile.

See also[]

Secret Blueprints: Othar Tryggvassen

Possibly relevant outside information[]

Othar Tryggvassen is probably named after Olaf Tryggvason, a real life king of Norway famous for his role in the conversion of the Vikings to Christianity, which, according to some accounts, he accomplished, in part, by having shamans executed. Olaf's reign ended with the Battle of Svolder, where he leapt overboard and presumably drowned. However, there were rumors that he survived; several reported seeing or being contacted by the king decades after the battle.

The original Scandinavian spelling of the name should be Ottar. While spelled 'Othar' it becomes more similar to the Georgian name Otar.

Othar bears some resemblance to Richard Branson , CEO of the Virgin group of corporations, including long pale hair, goatee and wide grin. Branson has been described as a gentleman and an adventurer . The authors were queried about this in November of 2011, and have denied any conscious connection in the design of the character.

Questions and Theories[]

  • Where did he get his conviction that all Sparks must die?
  • The world map has a conspicuous hole in southeastern Norway. What happened to Oslo, and what did Othar have to do with it?
  • What's his history with Gilgamesh Wulfenbach?
  • Is that white hair due Nordic genetics - or to age or some event?
  • What does a man with such lovely blue eyes need that visor for, anyway?
  • Will Othar meet Oslaka again? (He has tried and so far failed to do so in his Twitter adventures.)


  1. "Let me go, you cretin!" "Actually, I'm from Norway…"
  2. 2010-03-17 (Wednesday)
  3. Othar's Twitter 2 June 08
  4. "They're like mad dogs."
  5. Seen in Agatha's knowledge of him here -- his unwillingness to claim the one Agatha made up implies the other two actually happened.
  6. "I will destroy parts of your brain, until you no longer are a Spark."
  7. "Why do I think I'd prefer to be killed?"
  8. Enough for Gil to be annoyed that he still talks like that , and enough for him to know Gil's actual taste in women , in any case; also see here.
  9. Beamed by Gil: Oof! Foul!
  10. Disembarked by Agatha: Hey! Foul!
  11. Pitted by Castle Heterodyne: Foul!
  12. That's my thing!
  13. Mentioned here (Archive)
  14. The Ultimate Spark
  15. Sanaa speculates on her brother's love life
  16. Othar's Twitter
  17. A bad habit of his most evident on this page , but also to be seen when he expects Bangladesh DuPree to be at all helpful, or buys Agatha's line .
  18. insight ; also see the end of this