Girl Genius
Girl Genius

The Dyne river.

The Dyne is a river that flows through —or rather fromMechanicsburg. Unbeknownst to most of the world, its source is deep in the lower levels of Castle Heterodyne, apparently within the Great Movement Chamber. Additionally, the Dyne powers the Castle, a fact the Castle keeps highly secret. So secret, in fact, that it judged that even the Heterodyne Boys didn’t need to know about it, and never told them. It only gives Agatha and her attendants this information because it is at the time in urgent need of repairs to its main generator: an enormous waterwheel that was put out of commission during the attack on the Castle.

History in the Comic[]

According to the Castle, the Dyne is also more than just its power source, more than just water. It was originally a small spring sacred to the local battle goddess. When the first Heterodyne arrived he decided (in typical Heterodyne fashion) that even though immersion in the spring caused painful death (or, rarely, miraculous healing), and drinking wasn’t even considered by the locals, he’d go ahead and drink from it anyway. To everyone’s astonishment, instead of dying horribly, he became stronger than ever, and built his fortress on the site of the spring.

Generations later, when Vlad Heterodyne created the Jaegerdraught, he used the spring water as one of the key ingredients. The Dyne has apparently had a frighteningly similar effect on the local wildlife, such as snails, which became a major part of Mechanicsburg diet.[1]

The Dyne only became a river when Egregious Heterodyne decided that the flow was too small for his liking. The result of his meddling was the destruction of the first Castle, and the creation of the river.


Now I have no need to guess!

Faustus Heterodyne was able to capture the energy of the water through a process the Castle calls spinning. This occurs in The Great Movement Chamber, a huge room filled with large amounts of machinery including the aforementioned wheel, and a vast array of batteries which is what kept the Castle more-or-less running following the attack. It is lit with a blue light that seems to come from the waters of the Dyne itself.

Thanks to Faustus's elaborations, the Dyne becomes an ordinary river as it leaves the Castle, as the structure takes everything possible from the water. Or rather, to specifically quote the Castle "beyond this chamber the waters of the Dyne no longer produce any interesting effects at all."

Unprocessed water from the Dyne can in some cases apparently work like a mind enhancement drug and/or replicate the effects of a Queen's Wellspring, but you have to be careful that you don't blow yourself up as Igneous Heterodyne reportedly did.

Presumably, the Dyne flows into the Danube.

Possibly Relevant Outside Information[]

A dyne is the unit of force in the CGS system of units. (The unit of energy, an erg, is a dyne-cm.)

The Dniester[]

In the modern day, the (nominal) border between Moldova and Ukraine roughly follows the Dniester, and historically, Moldavia was (often[2]) separated from Parts East[3] by it. Moldova/Moldavia[4] are east of Transylvania. That is, the western part of historical Moldavia (sometimes called Moldova) is immediately east of Transylvania and is still part of Romania. The eastern part[5] is now roughly the state of Moldova.

The de facto modern border between Moldova and Ukraine[6] is to a great extent occupied instead by the breakaway state of Transnistria. Since the early 90s as the Soviet Union fell apart... anyway, Transnistria is a thing. The point here is that in Transnistria there is a particularly lawless[7] region near where Mechanicsburg is situated that sits on a river whose name begins with the same letters as "Dyne".

The actual headwaters of the Dniester are near Drohobych, which claims the world's oldest saltworks and was in the mid-19th Century Europe's largest oil extraction center. It lies in far western Ukraine, hence near Poland, as well as Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.

However, according to the map of the Mongol invasion of Europe (1220s-1230s), the town of Halych, further down the Dniester, was the hub of the invasion. Unlike Mechanicsburg and the Heterodynes, though, this started the decline of Halych and it seems the Mongol Empire itself not much later.

The Dniester empties directly into the Black Sea.

See also: Moldovian Puff


The above notwithstanding, the best most canonical map of Europa puts Mechanicsburg between the Olt and Târnava, near Mediaș. Mediaș is not near the headwaters of either of those major rivers —it sits on the Târnava— but the nearby area of Bazna boasts a number of healing springs (that may also release natural gas).

Theories and Questions[]

  • Is the blue glow of the Dyne have anything to do with the blue glow of Heterodyne devices?
  • Does the Castle's idea of "interesting" effects remotely match up with more human-ish definitions?
  • Does the Dyne and its water have anything to do with the noted lack of Revenants in Mechanicsburg? (In an August 2020 "Ask Me Anything" session on Discord, Kaja hinted that this is indeed the case.)
  • Can the Dyne turn any Spark into an "eternal goddess-queen" (or second-stage uberSpark) if they manage the energy properly, or are there other factors?


  1. Reddit Ask-Me-Anything, 30 May 2013:
    Lightningnettle: How did snails become such an important part of the Mechanicsburg diet?
    Kaja: They're delicious says Phil!
    Phil: The water of the Dyne caused the snails to grow huge and they had a choice, blow them up or eat them. Turns out, they are tasty!
  2. in particular the eastern part called Bessarabia
  3. Crimean Khanate, Lithuania, ...
  4. also called Bessarabia; is this related to the Girl Genius name game?
  5. I.e., Bessarabia, especially the landlocked parts of Bessarabia
  6. especially to the west (or northwest) of the Dniester; the Ukraine side, not the Bessarabian, but supposedly under Moldovan jurisdiction
  7. especially in the 90s when as Girl Genius was being plotted; it has a constitution now