The Groke

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The Groke
Moomins character
The Groke from the Japanese–European television-animation Tanoshii Moomin Ikka (Delightful Moomin Family).
The Groke from the Japanese–European television animation Tanoshii Moomin Ikka.
First appearance Finn Family Moomintroll
Last appearance Moominpappa at Sea
Created by Tove Jansson
Information
Gender Female

The Groke (original Swedish name Mårran, Finnish: "Mörkö") is a fictional character in the Moomin stories created by Tove Jansson.[1] She appears as a ghost-like, 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 campfire 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 heroine when she, in her constant search for warmth, extinguished a forest wildfire by sitting on it.

Books she appears in[edit]

  • 3. Finn Family Moomintroll - This is the first appearance of the Groke, 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.
  • 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 inadvertently putting out the fire with her own coldness.[2]
  • 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. Here the Groke is depicted as a dark and abandoned Moominmamma.[3]
  • 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[edit]

There have been various adaptations of the Moomin books on television. The Groke appears in 1969 anime version of Moomins, where she is different from novels and is depicted as white and depressed. In Polish Moomin TV series she is more like the character in the novels, but darker and bestial.

The Japanese anime series Moomin includes her as a recurring character. She is distinctive from her first appearance in the series for her intimidating appearance and the loud growling sounds she utters. Dubs in other languages use different growls, as well as different malevolent theme music, which begins to play every time she appears. The Groke's primary introductions were in episode 6, 7 and 22 of the series. It was not until episode 37 that children could start seeing the Groke more sympathetically.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Jones, W. Glyn (1984). Vägen från Muminsalen (in Swedish). Hangö: Bonniers. p. 68. ISBN 91-0-046191-1. 
  • Rehal-Johansson, Agneta (2007). "Tove Jansson: The Trickster Children's Author". In McLoughlin, Kate; Brock, Malin Lidström. Tove Jansson Rediscovered. Cambridge Scolars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84718-269-2.