Is Agatha Harkness Good or Bad?

Once a relatively unknown Marvel comic character, now a proper household name – episode 8 of WandaVision has brought the limelight to Agatha Harkness, her powers, and her possible intentions. Amidst all this, we’ve all been searching within us (and comic book references) to figure out exactly whose side she’s on. A little research will reveal to anyone how deep this rabbit hole can go, and how difficult it is to ascribe an oversimplistic ‘hero’ or ‘villain’ tag to Agatha.

Here, we take a look at all things related to WandaVision‘s Agatha Harkness, her actions, her role in the comic books, and anything that will enable us to glean where her inner allegiances truly lie.

The Truly Terrible

Let’s start with the bad – being the only person in Westview not under Wanda’s control, in addition to being a witch herself, she has constantly been making life complicated and just a wee bit harder for Wanda to keep control of Westview. If we consider Wanda to be truly good (and her actions ethical), then yes, Agatha is bad.

Back in the day, Agatha was part of a coven where she learned magic but was tried for reaching above her station. Though she ended up taking her vengeance upon the witches gathered, in the comics, she actually approved of the Salem witch trials, reasoning that it left only the stronger witches alive. Now that’s badass, not to mention completely heartless.

In WandaVision, she brought Pietro from an alternate reality through crystalline possession to be her ears and nose and fooled Wanda into believing it.

She’s also kept Billy and Tommy hostage while she tries to piece together what enabled a mutant like Wanda to become the stuff of myths and legends.

In the comics, it was through her guidance and magic that Wanda became pregnant, only to reveal later that the children were formed out of pieces of Mephisto’s soul. For this, she had to face Wanda’s wrath that made her life more or less forfeit. And, for what it’s worth, she also killed Sparky.

The Possible Good

Given all the apparently terrible things that Agatha is responsible for, it’s hard to see the good in her. But there have been instances that negate the bad she’s done and reveal the possible good in her heart.

The opening sequence of episode 8 shows her trial where she insists to her coven mother that she can do good. She is accused of challenging the status quo, of stealing knowledge above her age and station, and of practicing the darkest magic. But just because someone’s natural abilities cannot stay confined within rules doesn’t mean that those rules were broken purposefully. As she put it, “they simply bent to my power.”

A little smug, but we’ll let her have this. Before she is assaulted, she literally begs the witches not to punish her as such, that she should have been taught to control her power. It is not a exactly crime then that she ended up snuffing the life out of the other witches in what was, arguably, self-defense.

Agatha also seems concerned with the terrible nightmare that Wanda could become. Once she understands how Wanda got the powers that allowed her to do magic on the scale of Westview, it is understandable to some degree that she would want to prevent her, even if it’s not solely out of magnanimity. She is definitely afraid of the Scarlet Witch and it is plain as day when she tells her that she has no idea how dangerous she is with all the Chaos Magic that she can ensue. No wonder she kept Tommy and Billy first imprisoned in her basement lair, and then on a leash, as leverage.

Besides, she’s an old witch who’s generally good with kids and wouldn’t take the route she took with Wanda’s kids unless it was necessary. In the comics, she’s been a great nanny for kids of superhero families (case in point, Franklin Richards of the Fantastic Four).

When considering the good with the terrible, it is quite hard to pigeonhole Agatha Harkness as either good or bad. No complex, fleshed-out character is either, and as we’re finding out with Agatha, she’s probably a bit of both.

However, as far as her role in WandaVision is concerned, it is safe to say that we might get a reasonable compromise, an in-between place where most of us lie. But what exactly the season finale has in store for us is anybody’s good guess.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.