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This article is about the circus actor. For other uses, see Thundering Engine Woman (disambiguation).


This Thundering Engine Woman (TEW for short) is a character played by an actor in Master Payne's Circus of Adventure. Note that we don't get a lot of info about her in the actual comic, and much of the following comes from outside sources, including the print novels and the Girl Genius Complete List of Absolutely Everybody.

The original Thundering Engine Woman was one of the Heterodyne Boys' traveling companions, a very strong Spark from the Americas who proved so popular in Europa that traveling Heterodyne shows found it useful to include her in their casts. However, the actress playing this role for Master Payne is not Native American at all, just a "nice Italian girl"GGCLAE named Sofia with a convincing complexion and useful theatrical skills. She is helped in her portrayal by the fact that her grandfather had traveled the Americas, and she is a keen sharpshooter. As all of the performers do, she has other duties in Master Payne's Circus of Adventure, but her primary job is to be exotically foreign.


We first see her as a more or less random member of the circus cast, rejoicing in the fact that Bangladesh DuPree and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach didn't kill them all when they came calling to find out what was going on with Agatha Heterodyne. Her comments in the aftermath of the meeting with the Monster Horse Beastie imply that she is a spark who does.. something.. with dead bodies (though it's possible she's just joking.) She shows up in the important sequence in Zumzum where Agatha first encounters Da Boyz and TEW helps explain to Agatha why Jägermonsters aren't as well received (to put it mildly) on the ground as they are aboard Castle Wulfenbach. In the novels, she also sets up "Madame Olga's" portable fortune-telling tent, unlike Yeti doing it in the comic, and gives Agatha tips on being Olga. Also, when Agatha reacts to a "callous" comment on her part, TEW says matter-of-factly that she shoots things for a living, and if you want sensitivity, go talk to Andre the troop music master.

Later still, TEW's sharpshooting skills do indeed come in handy during the unpleasantness at Passholdt.

She migrates to England along with the rest of the Circus, but by the time Agatha catches up with them, she has married a baronet she met out hunting, and retired .

See also[]

Thundering Engine Woman (historical), for info on the character on whom the circus performer is based.

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