Girl Genius
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Girl Genius

Not to be confused with the Citadel of Silver Light. Probably.


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"Welcome, travelers, to Paris—gem of Europa, and loveliest of all the glories in this beautiful world!"[1]

The city of Paris in the Girl Genius universe is, at the start of our story at least, similar to the one in our world, renowned as an open haven of art, music, and learning. It has been, and continues to be, a (relative) respite from the chaos that troubles the rest of Europa, which has in turn led to a swelling of its population. Just as the Paris of our universe has a nickname, The City of Light, the Paris of the Girl Genius universe is nicknamed The City of Lightning.[2]

History[]

Paris has never been part of the Wulfenbach Empire, likely because it hasn't required the imposition of order from the Baron. Instead, Paris falls under the demesne of the Master of Paris, Simon Voltaire, a particularly powerful and long-lived Spark whose ambitions are limited to keeping the city of Paris pleasant, beautiful, and safe.

In fact, Gil's overprotective father considered Paris safe enough for his own son, allowing him to live there on his own while he attended a university. (Although no one knew he was the Baron's son at that point.) Gil has fond memories of Paris -- it's where he found inspiration for the music played by his Mechanical Orchestra.[3] It's also where he found the Heterodyne Device in a second-hand store, developed some sort of reputation with women[4], made an enemy out of Othar Tryggvassen (but how hard is that?)[5] had further unhelpful encounters with Tarvek, and met Ardsley Wooster.

Large sections of the city are underground, and some of these areas, such as the The Incorruptible Republic of the Immortal Library of the Grand Architect, are not under the Master's political control.

A majority of the Paris population as so far depicted has been dark-skinned, including the Master himself. The cause of this is yet to be revealed. It may be that the majority of Parisians are descended from the very long-lived Master, directly or not. A Father Of His Country, taken more literally. Or Liberty, Equality and very definitely Fraternity, taken very literally. And the Foglios are pretty darn literal.

In the Comic[]

As Agatha and her friends arrive in Paris following the Timeskip, a craze for the very unauthorized use of her name and likeness has swept the city's commercial districts, while the Paris Opera is staging a production which theoretically details her and Gil's adventures.

Her visit also coincides with a plot by Madame Velix, a cadre of her fellow Geisterdamen and Drusus Beausoleil, all working for The Queen of the Dawn, to smuggle in miniature Hive Engines and wasp the entire city's population, along with killing the Master and subverting control of the city's systems. In the end, with the help of Agatha, Tarvek, and Tweedle, this plot is foiled, at the cost of the Master's death, and his daughter and successor Colette ordering the city sealed as long as the threat of the Other looms over Europa.

Internal peacekeeping[]

According to Othar's Twitter, the Master of Paris has an elite (and very mannerly[6]) police force keeping Paris' peace - they are called Serpents and one is, in fact, depicted on their badges[7]. They have the enforcement power to shoot to kill, only answering to their Master for their actions. Othar calls them "Dangerous people".[8]

Truancy and juvenile delinquency are dealt with by Child Apprehension Units, also known as Child Wagons or Child Collectors.[9]

Other security forces the Master has been known to deploy (in the comic) include the Gens D'Armes, Monsieur Machines, and Dadaist Doomknights. Tweedle and Zola also use the term Gendarmy[10].

Civic services[]

Again, according to Othar, the Parisian Fire Department uses brass water dragons which attach to hydrants for firefighting. Whether dragon handler is the colloquial name of the firefighters is unclear. The equipment name and design suggests the Master may have a reptile theme going on in his civic divisions.

Geography[]

Notable locations associated with Paris include:

For people living in or near (mostly under) Paris, see Characters from Paris and vicinity.


References

  1. Opening of the orientation for travelers waiting to enter Paris, which is presented as a marionette performance.
  2. Although the nickname The City of Lightning is never used in the comic proper, the fact that the title of the second volume of The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne, in which Agatha arrives in Paris, where much of the actions takes place, is The City of Lightning is strong evidence that it is indeed a sobriquet for Paris. One can only speculate as to the reason Paris has been given this cognomen. It may be because Simon Voltaire is such a powerful Spark, or because Paris is inhabited by many Sparks.
  3. Vol 3, p.20 Gil reminisces about Paris
  4. Vol 5, p.96 "Yes, I'll never hear the end of that."
  5. Vol 3, p.30 "You know -- I really hate you."
  6. "...the Master of Paris has the politest lawmen I've ever encountered."
  7. "It's a badge. I see the snake..."
  8. "...answer only to the Master himself."
  9. "Child Apprehension Unit 148-Silver' , "Child wagons" , "Child collectors" .
  10. Tweedle: "Eek! Monsieur Machines! It's the Gendarmy!" Zola: "It's like the Gendarmy is just driving them toward us!" Whether this is another name for Gens D'Armes isn't established, but it seems likely. Tweedle's statement also seems to imply that the Monsieur Machines are the Gendarmy, (or are part of or at least closely associated with it), but again this isn't definitely established in the comic.
  11. Franz mentions Notre Dame during the siege of Mechanicsburg, although Paris is not mentioned explicitly. "Notre Dame's maybe got openings in the gargoyle squad?"
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