"An Invasion?! Blast it, Klaus, this is My City-!"
"Wrong. This became My city years ago. I merely let you administer it."
"But... But why?"
"Withholding a Hive Engine isn't enough?"
Beetle and the Baron [1]

The late Doctor Tarsus Beetle is the Tyrant of Beetleburg and Master of Transylvania Polygnostic University until the day that the narrative of Girl Genius begins. He is a strong spark in his own right and an acknowledged authority on the works of Van Rijn. Beetle is an older man and is as unusually short as Klaus Wulfenbach is unusually tall.



Dr. Beetle's badge, a scarab beetle

Prior to the Other War, Dr. Beetle had been a teacher and friend to, among others, the budding young sparks William and Barry of House Heterodyne, Klaus of House Wulfenbach, and Lucrezia (scary but true ) of House Mongfish. Nothing is known about Beetle's actions during the war, but when Klaus returned as Baron to begin his pacification of Europa, he trusted his former professor to rule Beetleburg and the university for the Empire, after coming to the city's aid after a disastrous winter ruined the food supply as discussed in Agatha H and the Airship City. Beetle gave every appearance of being an obedient and competent administrator. He had a reputation for condemning criminals to bell jars to serve as experimental subjects.

Beetle at bay

Unknown to Klaus, however, Beetle had also received a trust from Barry Heterodyne. Beetle is one of the few to whom Barry revealed his return to Europa from wherever the brothers had disappeared to. According to Beetle's posthumously-decrypted notes[2], Barry had given Beetle reason[3] not to trust Klaus. When Barry left young Agatha in the care of Adam and Lilith Clay (some eleven years prior to the start of the narrative), Beetle agreed to help shelter and hide her from everyone, including Klaus. At TPU, Agatha "Clay" was fond of Beetle as her loving mentor, but remained unaware of her Heterodyne connections to him.
Octavia Beetle

Octavia Beetle, determined

In secret defiance of the Baron's Peace, Beetle acquires forbidden technology, perhaps as a defense against future Wulfenbach aggression.[4] In a standoff with the Baron over these artifacts, Beetle throws a flying bomb which Gilgamesh Wulfenbach swats back at him in defense (not that that's an excuse), causing Beetle's near-complete disintegration. Though Gil initially believes that the bomb was aimed at him, by the time he meets Agatha again, he has concluded that Beetle was trying to kill Agatha. For her part, she blames Gil for Beetle's death and considers him monstrous. But when he takes her advice about his flyer, and invites her to work with him, she doesn't let her feelings about Beetle get in the way.

Beetle is survived by his daughter, Octavia.[5][6]

The WorksEdit

Dr. Beetle

Don't touch the control group.

Dr. Beetle is depicted in The Works with a stern visage, looking straight out of the bottom of a frame for which he is too short. Three of the infamous bell jars loom in the background, a dead or asphyxiating prisoner in each. The doctor is described as Hero and Spark. However, the instructions on the card constrain the player's actions (as is typical of Villain cards) rather than benefiting the player (as most Hero cards do). Thus, both the Art and the Instructions suggest Dr. Beetle is an ambiguous hero at best.

See alsoEdit

Secret Blueprints: Dr. Tarsus Beetle & Transylvania Polygnostic, which puts a positive spin on Beetle's description, as would reflect Agatha's perception at the start of the story, even as it add facts of which she was unaware.

Possibly relevant outside information Edit

Golden Jewel Scarab

The non-explosive variety.

A sketch[citation needed] appeared with Beetle's coat of arms and the motto "Beloved by God". This appears to be a reference to the famous quip attributed to the early 20th Century evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane (who can safely be assumed to have been an atheist): when asked what biology teaches about the mind of the Creator, he replied, "I'm not sure, but He seems to be inordinately fond of beetles."

The Golden Jewel Scarab is a highly sought after beetle with collectors and found from the southwestern edge of the United States as far south as Ecuador. Over 100 Jewel Scarab species are known, and not all are, as yet, named by science.

Questions and TheoriesEdit

  • Why was Beetle so distrustful of Klaus? Apparently Beetle had been told by Barry not to trust Klaus because Barry though Klaus was a servant of the Other (said in the novelization), making the hiding of the discovered hive engine at TPU less sinister and more prudent. The information appears to be mystifyingly inaccurate to Klaus after he reads Beetle's notes, so one has to wonder about the source. Was it Lucrezia trying to smear Klaus' name after packing him off to Skiffander, making sure he wouldn't be believed by the Heterodyne brothers if he ever made it back and told the tale of her kidnapping him? Or some other source that had its own agenda at work? Did Barry come from a future where Klaus had already been wasped?
  • Where is the current location of his daughter, Octavia? Although not mentioned fully yet in the stories, she is hinted at (see below).
  • Why did Beetle believe that Agatha would be capable of controlling the slaver wasps?[7] Could he have believed that Agatha was the Other? Supposing that Barry told Beetle about Agatha's true parentage, did Beetle believe that one of Agatha's parents was the Other?
    • Alternatively, could Beetle have known a great deal more about the Other, the Other's devices, and the phenomenon known as Command voice than has currently been revealed to the reader?


  1. The fall of Dr Beetle
  2. While Silas Merlot claims to have burned the notes, Klaus had seen at least some of the decrypts.
  3. A reason, which, according to Klaus, made no sense .
  4. "Against . . . myself, probably. "
  5. Word of God: Octavia is Tarsus's daughter and will show up in the story at some point. (Note, however, that the mystery person in this thread is actually Arella.)
  6. sketch.
  7. Klaus cracks Beetle's notes
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