|“||Once upon a time, long ago, there was a little girl who was different from the other people in her village. She could see and do things that no one could understand! And that made them scared of her! She turned away from everyone and became sad and lonely, and had no one to turn to! The more she turned away from people, the more scared they were of her. And they did something terrible! They became so scared that they took her away and they killed her! And even though she was dead, something in her came back! And this part of her, wouldn't go away even after 300 years! And the longer it stayed, the less there was of the little girl.||„|
|~ Norman telling Aggie her story.|
Agatha "Aggie" Prenderghast, often referred to by her shorthand name Aggie, is the main antagonist of Laika's 2nd full-length animated feature film ParaNorman. She is Norman Babcock's distant relative and closest friend. She is not really evil or cruel, but she does seek revenge on the town of Blithe Hollow, and the seven Puritans led by Judge Hopkins, who wrongfully sentenced her to death for the alleged crime of witchcraft.
As a Human
Agatha Prenderghast was an 11-year-old girl who lived with her mother in Blithe Hollow, Massachusetts. Similar to her distant relative Norman Babcock, she had the ability to speak to the dead. Her abilities however caused fear among the superstitious townsfolk, who began to believe she was practicing witchcraft. It was reasonable that during the old times, Blithe Hollow fear the strange, non-understandable, and difference of other beings, including at this age, the supernatural: A fact which made the Blithe Hollow citizens, except Aggie's mother, believed that how she can speak to the dead was due to a deal with the Devil she has made to gain powers. Eventually, Agatha was brought on trial and testified against by six witnesses. The town judge, Hopkins, found Agatha guilty and sentenced her to execution. During the trial as what Aggie herself shows Norman as well as disturbing visions that Norman had in the middle of a rehearsal of his school play, it was implied that Agatha is also usually said to be playing in the woods, alone physically. Before she was hanged, Agatha threatened vengeance upon her accusers. It is unknown if her mother knew of her daughter being held in court, and what more unknown if her mother knew of Agatha's death, since she is buried in an unmarked grave under an old tree, where Aggie states, during her resolution is the tree where her mother used to tell her happy stories when she was alive.
After her execution, Agatha's ghost cursed her accusers to rise from the grave as the living dead so as to experience the same prejudice they had put her through. After death, her accusers felt remorse over their actions. Aggie's story was told over the generations, except with Aggie represented as an evil witch rather than an innocent victim. Eventually, the story became a tradition for the town.
As a Ghost
After her execution, a person bearing the same powers as hers visits her grave before sunset and tells a storybook so that the curse will delay into another year. Mr. Prenderghast, Norman's uncle, before the events of the movie, met Aggie and is forced to continue putting her to sleep to prevent the curse, while others think that he is crazy.
Years pass by and on the 300th anniversary, Mr. Prenderghast confronts his nephew, only needed him to be his successor. After Norman fails to visit her grave before sunset, she starts the curse and brought back from the dead the people who have offended her. Norman then tries to stop her by trying to tell the story atop the town hall but she just electrocutes him to see her backstory. After Norman told that the zombies are not evil people, Aggie went berserk and madly destroys Blithe Hollow, especially the statue of her as a witch. Norman then visits her grave and tries to talk her by telling the story of Sleeping Beauty.
She then grew tired of the story and says she wanted to destroy Blithe Hollow. Norman continues to confront her by telling a new story which is none other than the backstory that portrays her negatively (the truth behind her myth), which drove her angrier and tries to get Norman away from her but then realizes that he is right. He told her that although they did something awful, it does not mean that she should, too. And she has to remember. Not just the bad people, but also the good ones that she'd forgotten.
Aggie reminiscence to Norman that, before she died, her mother took her to a tree, the same one that she was buried under. There, her mother told her stories that always had happy endings. Aggie was able to find the peace that allowed her to finally lift the curse and move on to the afterlife, along with the seven who had wrongfully accused her of witchcraft.
Aggie has two sides to her personality. At the start of the film, her personality depicted as a stereotypical witch's. However, those depictions are wrong, as (in truth) she is timid, honest, cowardly, empathetic and sweet, as well as sensitive due to her powers. After her death at hands of Judge Hopkins and other judges, she became a violent, impatient, obstreperous, uncontrollable and hot-tempered girl whose powers became destructive due to her rage. However, she didn't lose her humanity yet, as when Norman calmed her down and she reveals her former nature, she regains her composure.
Despite her childlike mindset, Agatha is actually able to show impressive intelligence and is capable of subterfuge and long-term planning. She is able to successfully manipulate the judges, Norman's friends and the townsfolk by pitting them against each other, and is seen laughing smugly when the townspeople surround Norman and the judges and begin to riot, and later mentions how she wanted everyone to see how "rotten" the judges were, implying she consciously set up the events of the night. However, when her plan ultimately fails, she becomes enraged and takes out her anger by destroying all the offensive witch imagery in town, showing that even though she's capable of intelligent, long-term evil planning, she isn't good at controlling her temper or creating backup plans, owing to the fact that she's only a child.
While still human, Aggie is obviously a little girl no older than Norman, with long blackish brown hair, pale blue eyes, pale skin, quite thick eyebrows (traits which inherited by her distant relative Norman), and wears a dark grey dress with a white collar and red shoes. Sadly, in her myth, she was depicted as the stereotypical old witch with a pointy hat, a long nose (with a noticeable wart on it) and a long chin. Her so-called witch statue was depicted with that appearance, which she later destroyed due to being an insult to her tragic past.
Due to the years of hatred, loneliness, and hurt she felt after her death, Aggie's spirit manifests in a form that more demonic compared with those whom Norman encountered. Her ghost forms are not due to tortured in hell nor result of pact with the devil like everyone believed, but rather due to being trapped in the mortal world for too long and none of her family did something better to ease her spirit (this is arguable, considering the Prenderghast family believed so by reading stories for Aggie at her grave would ease her spirit, but also made her remained trapped in and unable to cross over as Norman pointed out). Aggie has two forms as a ghost:
- Witch Form: This form depicted as a mass of dark cloud with green lightning that centered on a colossal tornado that stood on the remains of the tree where she was buried at. The mass of dark clouds repeatedly taking the form of a giant witch face with jagged teeth and eyes and mouth that glows in green. In this form, she can project arm tendrils out of the fog.
- True Ghost Form: Aggie's actual ghost form is literally a floating, ethereal being that glows neon yellow and green with lightning/static for hair and tattered clothes.
|“||Leave me alone or I'll make you sorry! I'll make all of you sorry!||„|
|~ Aggie Prenderghast condemns her persecutors to their fate.|
|“||I don't want to go to sleep. And you can't make me.||„|
|~ Aggie rebukes Norman when he tried to stop her breakdowns.|
|“||I wanted everyone to see how rotten they were!||„|
|~ Aggie tells Norman why she put the curse on the seven judges.|
|“||I burnt the book into ashes, now I don't have to hear that story ever again!||„|
|~ Aggie to Norman.|
|“||I don't like this story!||„|
|~ Aggie to Norman.|
|“||Aggie...My name was Aggie...||„|
|~ Aggie, finally remembering who she is.|
|“||My mommy brought me here once. We sat under the tree and she told me stories, they all had happy endings, and then those horrible men came and took me away and I never saw her again!||„|
|~ Aggie, recalling her memories involving her tree.|
|“||I just want my mommy...||„|
|~ Aggie, admitting her true desire.|
|“||...That story you were telling...how does it end?||„|
|~ Aggie's last words to Norman before she passes on to the afterlife.|
Powers and Abilities
As seen in the film, Aggie possesses vast supernatural powers which whether she possessed them all when still alive and retained it or gained more as a ghost (with exception of mediumship which confirmed to possessed when still alive) is unclear, albeit having them either empowered or gained after she becomes a ghost is much more likely:
- Mediumship: Much like her distant relative Norman, Aggie can speak to and see ghosts and spirits around her.
- Reality Warping: Aggie can bend and twist reality at will, ranging from causing roots to sprout from the ground to the most extreme level, shift the entire world into spirit dimension.
- Atmokinesis: Aggie can manipulate storm clouds and winds, where she used to create a warped image of a stereotypical witch's face with glowing eyes and mouth.
- Electrokinesis: Aggie can manipulate electrical blasts at will.
- Replication: As a wraith, Aggie can split into multiple Aggies at once.
- Possession: Aggie can also possess anyone or anything, though the only times she did so was when she possessed what was left of the tree where she spent her time with her mother to torture Norman.
- Intangibility: Since she is a ghost, she can pass through a solid object as she pleases.
- Pyrokinesis: Aggie can cause any object bursts into flames by thought. The extent of this ability is unknown, as she only displayed it once when expressed her anger about the circumstances of her death to Norman where she unintentionally set a butterfly ablaze.
- Geokinesis: Aggie can cause the ground to shake and crack, and can cause large rooms and spikes to shoot upward from the ground.
- Aggie Prenderghast is the first main antagonist of a Laika and Focus Features movie who redeems herself, before Raiden the Moon King in Kubo and the Two Strings.
- Aggie is one of the Laika's tragic villains, alongside the Other Father.
- Her proper name, Agatha, is a given name derived from the Ancient Greek word ἀγαθός (agathos), meaning good, which is what she used to be.
- Aggie acts as a dark counterpart to Norman. Both are discriminated against by the townspeople because of having the ability to speak to the dead. However, while Norman seeks to save them and learns to value the people who care about him, Aggie sought to make them suffer and she completely forgot about the people who loved her in the process.
- Aggie was born in 1701 and died in 1712, meaning she may have died at age 10 or 11, depending on her birth date and death date.
- Given to circumstances that surround the event where she was accused of witchcraft, it's obvious that Aggie and her mother were living in a Puritan village that would become Blithe Hollow at the time. Puritan villages were hot-spots for witch-hunts during the Witch trial frenzy. This connection is confirmed in the Paranorman novelization, and a post-story chapter explains the history of Blithe Hollow and how it was effected by The Salem Witch Trials.
- It is possible that aside unfortunate victims of witch trials (be either in Salem of other Puritan villages), Aggie was also inspired by the film incarnation of Alessa Gillespie, who also previously portrayed by Jodelle Ferland. As aside portrayed by the same actress, the similarities between Alessa and Aggie extend to their ability to warp reality into a nightmarish state, wrongly accused as a witch, and even similar striking resemblance and similar clothing (though compared to Alessa's, Aggie's clothing was actually a Puritan style instead of a school uniform).
- It is possible that Carrie White was another inspiration for Aggie as much as Alessa Gillespie: both were mistreated, both being outcasts, both having parents that didn't appear in the story (Carrie had no father while Aggie had a mother who is mentioned but her father is not) and both using their powers to take their vengeance on those who have offended them (though in terms of the result of the damage that they caused, Aggie is inferior to Carrie's).
- During her rampage, Aggie destroyed her supposed witch statue and other witch-related props since all of them were insults for her tragic past. Ironically in her witch form, Aggie's face in the cloud was looked like the mock-up storybook witch's face and if one looked closely when she screamed in anger in her true ghost form, her distorting face would sometimes morph into more witch-like. This was likely done to show that her lust for revenge turned her into the very thing the 18th-century Blithe Hollow residents thought they were protecting themselves against in the first place.
- She also suffers an ongoing breakdown during her rampage.
- A leaked storyboard image implies that, were there a sequel, Aggie would most likely return. Most likely as an ally rather than an antagonist.
- It is implied that Norman and Agatha are very distantly related, most likely eleventh cousins. They share similar physical traits such as thick eyebrows and similar eye shape. However, any blood relation between them would be extremely sparse, virtually non-existent.
- Although Agatha's mother isn't seen or named in the film, concept art for the movie shows Agatha being carried happily in her mother's arms. Her mother is named "Mildred."
- Early concept art for the film had Aggie's hair in many tendrils, looking similar to the snakes of Medusa's head. It was stated these would be used for combat, as well as grabbing and binding things. This idea was dropped, and instead Aggie's hair was made to stand upright in her rage form, similar to Frankenstein's Bride.
- Agatha's wraith form was portrayed with a mix of stop-motion, CGI and traditional animation in order to create the visual effects of her powers.