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'WandaVision': What's the deal with Agatha Harkness?

Kathryn Hahn as Agnes in 'WandaVision'
(Image credit: Disney+)

This post contains spoilers for WandaVision

Alright — if you watched last night's WandaVision, you probably have quite a few questions. Before we hop in, yes, Tyler Hayward is still a suspicious creep. But "Breaking the Fourth Wall" introduced a new villain into the series ecosystem: Agatha Harkness. "Introduced" might be the wrong word there, as the witch has been working in plain sight throughout the series as Agnes and most of the internet saw it coming, but bear with us! 

A quick peak into the witch's basement indicates that we're going with a pretty standard depiction of a witch, right down to the creeping vines and the shining grimoire on the mantle. She also fits right into the "old hag" trope, cause the girl's old. Like, she's been chilling out since 500 years before Atlantis fell, old. So, let's talk about the witchy witch and why she matters in the context of WandaVision.

Is Agatha really that bad? 

That answer is complicated! Girl supported the Salem Witch trials because she thought it would make the remaining witches stronger. She literally sent members of her coven to prey on what she viewed as "weaker" witches to help the trials along. A mutant named Firestar (unlikely to come into play in WandaVision) ultimately convinced her to end her part in the genocide, but let's not pretend that earns her many brownie points in the context of the situation. 

She did help daughters of the Revolutionary War fight for justice in the new world. Even helped the "mortals" learn some aspects of the mystical arts. There's also a series where the witch becomes the permanent caregiver to young Franklin Richards (son of Reed Richards and Sue Storm). Agatha isn't without her decency, it's just largely outweighed by her more nefarious choices. More on that in tick! 

Does that matter in the context of WandaVision?

Hugely.

There's a long explanation tied into The Fantastic Four, the Salem Seven, and the fact that old covens don't take kindly to the idea that their secrets could be revealed. But, to keep it in the context of WandaVision, we'll try to keep everything in within the realm of Scarlet Witch and Agatha Harkness' relationship. 

When the Salem Seven take over New Salem, they manage to capture Agatha and burn her at the stake, resulting in an intervention from the Scarlet Witch. The battle conjures up more power than either side had expected, which Wanda then re-directs in way that results in her pregnancy with Billy and Tommy. Agatha is dead, but the Salem Seven are bested and she and Vision make out with a couple of extremely cute kids. But, like in the series, Agatha has other plans for the twins. 

The witch returns after a short time, providing no context on how she bested death or what her intentions may be. In her mind, young Billy and Tommy are fragments of Mephisto (he's basically Marvel's Satan, that's a different piece). So, Agatha wipes Wanda's memory of her children and helps the demon absorb the twins. She would then go on to become Wanda's teacher, ultimately helping her resurrect the lost Avenger, Wonder Man.

Wanda eventually remembers and kills the witch in her own home for what she did to her family

That all means the following:   

  • Billy and Tommy are in grave danger, despite the fact that Agatha is directly (and this time willingly) involved in their birth.
  • Wanda is going to have a bad time if Pietro manages to stop Monica — now equipped with her Photon powers — from getting in that basement.
  • Ostensibly, there is precedence for Wanda bringing someone back from the dead. The question is, will Wanda use that to save Vision (a complicated event, given his reliance on the mind stone), or will she be forced to choose Billy and Tommy over her husband?

What powers can we expect from Agatha?

Basically, Agatha Harkness is your run of the mill witch. Y'know, the kind with huge mystical powers that she's had thousands of years to perfect. So long as she has her magic, she will very likely ruin the day of anyone who attempts to come for her. But an important thing to note is that the witch is useless in combat. Meaning, Monica Rambeau's involvement in this narrative is going to pose a huge problem for her.