- "It is not magic—and, for Heaven's sake, don't call it that in front of Albia. Everything she does is subject to the laws of nature. Hers is a science so advanced it merely seems like—"
Appearance and Abilities
Despite numerous mentions of Albia in the strip, for many years, the only visual depiction released into the wild was a rough portrait which Phil Foglio sketched for a fan. When she finally in person, she is a giantess with long, pale green hair and dressed in practical gardening attire who bears almost zero resemblance to the scowling, flame-haired, scantily-clad figure in the sketch. Aside from her enormous size, the only odd thing about her is a floating halo of stars surrounding her head.
She then immediately shows, however, that she can "compress" herself and her garments down to human size, though it is later Queen Luheia of Skifander, is now deceased, and then the bright green hair and (scanty) costume of a queen of Skifander as a tribute to her sister Queen. When talking to Agatha about her (the traces of which Albia can see in Agatha's mind), Albia's general appearance changes to resembles Agatha's after she drank the Dyne water, back in Castle Heterodyne, and When she further becomes Sparkily excited, up as in the sketch. Her throne, in her garden at least, is giant-sized, and she adjusts her dimensions accordingly to use it.she is more comfortable remaining in "giant mode." The compression process, if done too quickly, produces a great deal of heat as a byproduct. She can also casually morph her garments, jewelry, and hair and so they reflect the current topic of discussion. (Her mismatched earrings and her halo are the only things she has retained with all of her ensembles, along with something or other displaying the British flag.) She adopts "widow's weeds" when learning a former colleague,
As indicated by one of her titles, she is evidently also immortal and unaging; a Master of Paris (who is least two hundred years old himself at the time) reveals that she is the only (relatively human) person in Europa he is aware of who is older than he, and even he does not know the source of her longevity; it certainly isn't via a wearying mass of cybernetics like himself. It is eventually by Albia that it has been nearly 5,000 years since she saw the Mirror network go dark. (Mention is also made of "The Channel" being ; if the geology of the GGverse runs the same as ours, this pushes her origin-era back at least two thousand more years.)by the
Around the same time, it's also revealed that she is in fact what might be called a "second stage" Spark, having broken through twice at different points in her life. This second stage led to the creation of her Henge, and is what elevated her to her current status. Her radically extended lifespan does come with one drawback: She is unable to retain all of her memories in her mind, and so has created an external site for storage of them.
The nature of her sparky abilities implies that she is a spark specializing in psychology. She Witch Queen Lozz ended due to her reading of the body language of Lozz's "servants", who were actually God-Queens who did not serve Lozz at all. Two of her more notable creations are the Queen's Henge and the Queen's Memory, which "maze" and store memories, respectively. She has repeatedly implied that she can perceive abstract qualities of a person's mind simply by briefly meeting them. And her to the madness place was inspired by the idea of "rummaging around" in the minds of Agatha Heterodyne and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach (though she also appears to have had the restraint to avoid roping Agatha into the experiment right then and there).that her early contest with
In the distant past, Albia was a member of a world-wide society of similar God-Queens who interacted via the aforementioned Mirrors; this golden age was in a murderous rampage by Lucrezia Mongfish; how that worthy accomplished this assault (or was even in a position to launch it in the first place) remains a very large unanswered question.
It is likely that 300 years ago Albia successfully weathered anby a cabal of rebellious nobles aimed at unseating her, though the description of this event refers to "the throne" of England being targeted rather than Albia specifically.
When the story begins, she is not beholden to Baron Wulfenbach, and is powerful enough to resist him. While the issue is yet to be discussed in the comic, according to the Girl Genius print novels, when the newly-reappeared Baron was securing Europa against the Revenants and various battling Sparks, he was often assisted by Britain and Queen Albia, but as his empire grew, his and Albia's commercial and imperial interests began to butt heads (not to mention the strong Sparkish tendency to seek hierarchical control), leading eventually to an estrangement. Knowing how devastating a war between the two empires would be, the diplomatic corps of both countries are reported to have strained mightily to keep relations from deteriorating into open conflict. When Gil assumes control of the Wulfenbach empire, she is among many who notice him behaving erratically due to the mental implant Klaus stuck in his head.
When Agatha and her retinue arrive in England (and Londinium specifically), Albia is quick to meet with Agatha and Zeetha; and find out all the information they have on subjects of interest, and share some information as well. She also Agatha the chance to stay in England as long as she wants and work on her research in regards to freeing Mechanicsburg from Klaus's time-bubble, assigning her laboratory space with the Queen's Society of Sparks and carefully choosing Hadrian Rakethorn as her assistant. However, as soon as Agatha is out of earshot, Albia that she intends to lure Agatha and Zeetha into becoming technically-willing and permanent residents in her "garden"; this is thought to mean something of vaster scale than the literal greenspace where Albia is first introduced, but nevertheless a defined area where Her Majesty collects and cultivates interesting specimens. Gil and Tarvek (also visitors to her kingdom at the time) are specifically not included in this plan, and when a convenient Polar Ice Lord invasion erupts, she is quick to dispatch both men back to the Continent with a fleet of British airships.
When Krosp follows Agatha to England with his liberated creator Dimitri Vapnoople, Albia is at first adamant that, due his past Sparky crimes involving animal constructs (which led to open warfare between her and the Great Cetaceans), the man will not be granted sanctuary in her country, but relents upon seeing his current diminished mental state.
Friends and Relations
As noted, Albia is aware of the existence of Skifander, but because she only communicated with Luheia via a long-dormant Mirror, she does not know its location. (Or so she claims to prospective garden-inhabitant Zeetha...)
Ardsley Wooster and Hadrian Rakethorn are intelligence agents who may or may not directly report to her. Adventure-book heroine Trelawney Thorpe definitely does, and is trusted with some of her most important secrets. In particular, she has that she was not only assigned to distract Gil during his first visit to England, but ideally to seduce him and procure a permanent alliance with the Wulfenbach empire. Ms. Thorpe is also able to summon or channel Albia in some fashion, with Her Majesty taking over her body and displaying her (evidently) full range of powers; this connection is physically damaging to Trelawney, and cannot be maintained indefinitely.
Albia does have heirs endlessly hanging around waiting for her to die; we Neena" and an as-yet unnamed blonde gal, and then a short time later, princesses of varying ages. (It's likely one of the younger ones is Princess Urania.) Since Albia declares Agatha is also to be treated as a Princess of the Realm, it is possible they are not all literally related to her by blood.three very different looking young ladies who refer to Albia as their mother: red-haired "Rosie", dark-skinned "
And speaking of heir-production, along with everything already discussed above, it has beenthat Klaus visited England in his younger pre-Empire days and that he and Albia engaged in a Tragic Doomed Romance. Notably, with young Klaus's mind when he was in England, despite ample opportunity, and he claims to know this without a doubt.
Violetta says at one point that Albia gave "The Platonic Solid" to the Storm King, but the eyewitness Master of Paris later states that the master Spark Van Rijn constructed it. It is unknown if the mace was passed around in this fashion, or this is a mistake on the Foglios' part.
The Queen's Memory is an archive of Albia's older memories. When active, they appear as translucent versions of Albia as she appeared in the relevant historical period. The exact relation between Albia proper and her memories are unclear, but they appear to act with some independent agency.
As Albia'sMiss Thorpe is able to call upon Albia for her "wisdom and power", which apparently as well.
Possibly relevant outside information
- Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom celebrated the 60th anniversary of her accession to the British throne in 2012, while the ocean liner that shares her name was retired in 2008 after forty years of service. Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning British monarch in history. In January of 2020 her reign surpassed that of Franz Joseph I of Austria, and in May 2024 it will surpass that of Louis XIV of France—also known as the Sun King—the longest of any monarch of a major country in European history.
- Victoria of the United Kingdom, from whom term "Victorian" is derived, was famously the longest reigning monarch in English history (until recently when the length of her reign was surpassed by that of Elizabeth II), from 1837 to her death in 1901. Twenty-six of Queen Victoria's grandchildren became rulers in Europe; therefore. she became known as The Grandmother of Europe.
- May also be a Steampunk version of 'Gloriana' (Edmund Spenser's 'Faerie Queen' and a tribute to Elizabeth I) updated for Victoria.
- "Albion" (Greek: Ἀλβιών) is the oldest known name of the island of Great Britain. Today, it is still sometimes used poetically to refer to the island. It is the basis of the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba.
Gallo-Latin Albiōn (cf. Middle Irish Albbu) derives from the Proto-Celtic * Alb-i̯en-, sharing the same stem as Welsh elfydd "earth, world". Together with other toponyms such as Alpes it derives from a Proto-Indo-European root *albh- "white".
It is often hypothesised that the Romans took it as connected with albus (white), in reference to the white cliffs of Dover and Alfred Holder's Alt-Keltischer Sprachschatz (1896) unhesitatingly translates it Weissland ("white-land") .
- Albia's Boudicca or Boadicea. Her red hair matches the description of the Roman historian Cassius Dio (although he pointed out she wore a golden great Torc), and her spear is similar to that of the famous sculpture Boadicea and Her Daughters. bears a similar resemblance to depictions of the Celtic queen
- However, taking in mind her great age, animal skin clothing, curly hair, and shape, she may be based on the statues such as the Venus of Willendorf Venus of Willendorf from that era when the British Isles were still connected to the mainland.
- Given that Lady Astarte claims that Albia's memory of the Queens' Mirrors dates back to a time, "...before the [English] channel," we can deduce that Albia has been the Queen of England for at least 8,200 years and was part of a hunter gatherer culture that spanned northern Europe at the end of the last ice age. The English Channel only came into being with the submergence of Doggerland 6,200 - 6,500 years BCE as sea levels rose after the end of the Pleistocene glaciations. This means that Albia would significantly predate Boudica -- although Boudica might have inherited her spear from Albia. The present day island of Great Britain has only been continuously occupied since the end of the Younger Dryas cold period 11,500 ybp, so if Albia predates then, she must have been among the first permanent settlers there, having been born elsewhere. Of course an English monarch born outside of England is par for the course.