Who Is Agatha Harkness?
The end of WandaVision’s seventh episode, Breaking The Fourth Wall, revealed that Westview resident Agnes is actually classic Marvel character Agatha Harkness. But who exactly is Agatha Harkness, and what might she be up to? We took a look at what the comics can tell us about the dark sorceress, what hints they might offer about what her plans might be, and whether Kathryn Hahn is a good fit for the character.
WandaVision – Who Is Agatha Harkness?
As a brief rundown, Agatha Harkness is a dark witch and long time associate of Scarlet Witch herself, AKA Wanda Maximoff. She has incredibly powerful magic and is particularly noted for her teleportation abilities. While WandaVision is positioning her as a villain, she has worked for the heroes in the comics, but has fewer morals than most heroes and often acts selfishly. That’s a very quick overview of who Agatha Harkness is, but below we go into a much deeper dive on the character and her motivations.
One key thing about Agatha Harkness is that she’s old. I mean sure, she looks like a little old lady and she’s clearly been aged down for WandaVision, but that’s not what we mean. Harkness was alive around 500 years before Atlantis sunk into the ocean, which means she was born in about 10,500 BC. In the comics, she typically looks around 80 years old, but considering that’s already chopping over 10,000 years off her actual age, WandaVision chopping another 30 to 40 years off doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.
Despite her incredibly long life, not much is known about her prior to the 17th Century, when she was heavily involved in the Salem Witch Trials. Despite being a witch herself, Agatha Harkness was in favour of the Trials, and even sent some of the weakest witches to be burned at the stake to make the surviving members of her own coven grow stronger. During this time, she became the Grande Dame of New Salem, which basically means she was the head witch in all of middle America.
However, by the 18th Century she revealed more of a heroic side, training the Daughters Of Liberty in the art of magic in the midst of the Revolutionary War. Centuries later, Peggy Carter would become the leader of the Daughters Of Liberty.
Agatha Harkness and the Fantastic Four
From then on, little is known of Agatha Harkness until after World War 2, when she became a nanny for Franklin Richards, son of Reed Richards and Sue Storm, AKA Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. During her time as Franklin’s Nanny, she single handedly took on the Frightful Four after the Fantastic Four had already been defeated, highlighting her impressive power. This was chronologically her debut, with the revelations of her age and roles in the Salem Witch Trials coming later.
But how does Scarlet Witch factor into all this? Well, in the comics, Wanda’s origin is drastically different to how it has been presented in the MCU. In fact, Agatha Harkness is actually Scarlet Witch’s mentor, although she is far more sinister and self serving than Wanda herself. As far as WandaVision itself goes, several of the show’s plots can be tied back to Agatha Harkness and Scarlet Witch’s relationship in the comics.
Agatha Harkness and Mephisto
As for her abilities, she is highly adept at energy projection, meaning she can conjure up objects using just her thoughts, and is well versed in most spells and magic in the Marvel universe. Her best trick however is teleportation. While many characters can teleport in the comics, few are as talented at it as Agatha. She has no fatal flaw in terms of weaknesses, but is often depicted as very frail and elderly, something which is not true of the version of her in WandaVision. She also has a powerful Familiar in the form of a black cat named Ebony, though it appears a bunny has taken its place in WandaVision.
Is Agatha Harkness a villain in the comics?
You’d think so, with how she is being presented in WandaVision, but no, not really. She isn’t the nicest person in the world, and often acts out of self interest. Plus there was that bit about allowing the weakest members of her own coven to be burned, which is hardly heroic. But she isn’t an out and out villain.
The closest thing the MCU has to Agatha Harkness right now would probably be the version of Loki we see in Thor: Ragnarok. She isn’t aligned with any evil force in the comics, and while she is the mother of the villainous Nicholas Scratch and the grandmother of the Salem Seven, she fights against them, not with them.
Is Agatha Harkness stronger than Wanda?
In the comics, she is not. Wanda Maximoff is a genuine contender for one of the strongest characters in the whole Marvel canon, although because her powers are mental rather than physical, they can be less reliable than say, Hulk’s strength. Agatha Harkness is an incredibly powerful witch, but she’s not on Wanda’s level.
In the MCU, it’s unclear how well matched they are. Wanda was able to take on Thanos single handedly, but that’s the only time she’s ever shown her abilities to their full capacity. If she can call on that power at will, then it’s unlikely Agatha is a match for her. However, this Wanda is clearly exhausted. She has used her powers once or twice in the show, but Agatha seems to have been constantly getting the better of her. With Wanda off her game and this Agatha much more spry and energetic, they seem like a close match.
Did Agatha Harkness eat the twins?
Probably not literally, no. When Wanda visits Agatha Harkness at the end of episode seven, the kids are nowhere to be seen, but it’s unlikely that Agatha literally feasted on them. However, we know that Agatha did create the children in the comics, and wipes Wanda’s memory after they are gone.
If WandaVision wanted to reverse this, Agatha might have harvested the energy of the boys, but that too seems too dark. It’s more likely that they’re hidden off screen, possibly in the dark cavern in the basement, although the memory wipe storyline may still play out in future episodes.
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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey
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