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The Groke

The Groke from the Japanese–European television-animation Tanoshii Moomin Ikka (Delightful Moomin Family).

The Groke (original Swedish name Mårran) is a fictional character in the Moomin world created by Tove Jansson. She appears as a ghostlike hill-shaped body with two cold staring eyes and a wide row of white shiny teeth. In the book Who Will Comfort Toffle?, it is mentioned that she has a tail, but it has never been seen. Wherever she stands, the ground below her freezes and plants and grass die. She leaves a trace of ice and snow when she walks the ground. Anything she touches will freeze and on one instance she froze a camp fire by sitting down on it. She seeks friendship and warmth, but she is declined by everyone and everything, leaving her in her cold cavern on top of the Lonely Mountains. On one occasion in a comic, however, she was hailed as a hero when she, in her constant search for warmth, extinguished a forest wildfire by sitting on it. The Groke is both a live representation of loneliness and a psychological depiction of very lonely people who have a hard time accepting and expressing love in the right way, making them seem cold and scary to others, which, in turn, only leads to more loneliness.

Books she appears in

  • 3. Finn Family Moomintroll - This is the first appearance of the Groke, (except a very brief one in the Ny Tid moomin comic from 1947) and she is generally played as a frightening villain, though Sniff expresses a bit of sympathy for her, at one point moving himself to tears with a speech on how awful it must be to be so alone (in all fairness, his main goal is probably to put Thingumy and Bob in a bad light, after learning that they have stolen the King's Ruby from the Groke).
  • 4. The Exploits of Moominpappa - Here, several characters refer to the Groke eating people: The Joxter claims to have a cousin who was eaten by the Groke, and the young Moominpappa saves the Hemulen's Aunt from being eaten by the Groke. She is never actually seen to eat anyone, though, and since the book is written as Moominpappa's memoirs, it's quite possible (and quite in his character) that he exaggerated things a little in order to make himself look more heroic.
  • 6. Moominland Midwinter - The Groke makes a couple of cameo appearances, though she comes across as far less villainous and more to be pitied than feared. Too-Ticky even expresses sympathy for her when she wants to warm herself by the fire at the celebration for the sun, and ends up not only scaring everyone away but inadvertedly putting out the fire with her own coldness.
  • 8. Moominpappa at Sea - In this work, the Groke keeps on going to Moominpappa's island to beg Moomintroll to show her his lantern flame. This story builds on the new angle of the Groke that Too-Ticky offered in Moominland Midwinter, and is generally seen as the most sympathetic portrayal of her in the books, even containing short passages written from her point of view; constantly craving warmth and light but unable to get either.
  • Who Will Comfort Toffle? - Toffle bites her as he is saving Miffle, however it is not known whether she was holding Miffle hostage or not.

Adaptations

There have been various adaptations of the Moomin books on TV. The Groke appears in many of these.

Moomin (1990 Japan)

The Japanese anime series Moomin has her as a recurring character. Apart from her intimidating appearance the loud growling sounds she utters contributed to this effect as well as her malevolent theme music, which begins to play every time she appears. The Groke's primary introductions were in episode 6 and 20 of the series. Especially in her first episode, the dark image and her growling spooky voice gave some children goosebumpsTemplate:Fact) which might be why already in the next episode, she's drawn with brighter colours and her facial expression is less manic. It was not until episode 37 that children could start seeing the Groke more sympathetically.

Episodes

  • Episode 6, Tiny Guests: Thingumy and Bob hide from The Groke in Moominhouse and she appears at night.
  • Episode 7, The Suitcase: The episode starts with Moomin having a nightmare where he's chased by The Groke. The next night, right after her previous appearance, Groke comes back to Moominhouse, freezing flowers, rivers, and ground on her way. When there, Groke confirms that she's there for the suitcase Thingumy and Bob brought. Moominmamma trades Moomin's heart-shaped shell for her to leave them alone.
  • Episode 22, Moomin and Little My's Adventure: Moomin hears The Gorke's voice in winter. Him and Little My encounter her from afar. Later, she a wants to ride a snow horse made for The Lady of the Cold but decides not to. Her chilling presence helps freeze the horse solid.
  • Episode 37, The Midwinter Bonfire: She comes up to Moomin and The Snork Maiden, seemingly trying to be social, but Moomin and Snork Maiden leaves because the cold would hurt them. Later, she's getting dangerously close to Alice after a near-accident. Moomin stops Groke and she leaves. Alice says Groke got mad when she mentioned Moomin, and it's implied she's got a crush on him.

In the end of the episode, she comes to the bonfire, chasing away all the shrews. When she tries to warm herself by sitting on the fire it extinguishes.

Different visualizations

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