Jennifer Rhodes as Grams
|First appearance||Is There A Woogy In The House?|
|Last appearance||Forever Charmed|
|Created by||Constance M. Burge|
|Portrayed by||Jennifer Rhodes
Kara Zediker[episodes 1]
|Family||Allen Halliwell (husband)
Patricia Halliwell (daughter)
Prue Halliwell, Piper Halliwell, Phoebe Halliwell & Paige Matthews (grandchildren)
Wyatt Halliwell, Chris Halliwell & Melinda Halliwell (great-grandchildren)
Penelope Halliwell,[episodes 2] also known most often as Penny and to her family, Grams) is a recurring, supporting fictional character from the WB television series Charmed that acts in our world from beyond death.
She was the grandmother of the "Charmed Ones" (Prue, Piper, Phoebe, Paige). She had primary responsibility for raising the three older Charmed Ones who were fathered by Victor after the death of her daughter Patty and also was the grandmother of (the half-sister) Paige Matthews, who was given up for adoption by her parents, the whitelighter Sam Wilder and Patty.
Within the multi-generational series, she is the great-grandmother of Wyatt and Chris as well as being a descendant of various witches (who sometimes appear as episode guest-stars) from the ancient and powerful Warren line that began in the 1640s in Virginia. She was played all eight seasons of the series by actress Jennifer Rhodes, and is credited usually as a special guest star.
Penelope Johnson was born June 23, 1931[episodes 2] in a hotel room in Boston, Massachusetts by breech birth.[episodes 3] Her parents were Gordon Johnson and P. Baxter (the past lives of Dan Gordon and Piper Halliwell) and had a brother named Jack.[episodes 2] She was a witch and a descendant of Melinda Warren. She was born with the power of telekinesis (which she passed on to her granddaughters Prue, Paige and great-grandchildren Wyatt and Chris).
Penny was once a peace lover until Allen was killed by her former best friend, Robyn, and Robyn's warlock boyfriend, Nigel. As a result, she became a fierce demon/warlock slayer.[episodes 1] She learned to focus her telekinetic power and created spells and potions on her very own. She was known to be a very skilled and powerful witch, like her ancestor, Melinda Warren. Later in life, she started her own coven with non-magical witches and her closest friends as members, including her former sorority sister Gail Altman (who died in the second season after trying to steal the girls' powers).[episodes 4] Penny and Gail had been friends since the 1950s. A picture of Penny and Gail was taken outside of the sorority house.[episodes 4]
As Penny became the matriarch of the Halliwell/Warren family, she fell in love with the Necromancer demon.[episodes 5] Affectionately calling him "Armand", she could not continue a relationship with him because, though they truly did love each other, he used her to get to the spirits of the Halliwell/Warren line. She later banished him to the spirit world in the 1970s and then vanquished him forever in 2003.[episodes 5]
Penny married a total of four times (including the first one with Allen), and had been engaged a total of six times, but none of her relationships had worked for her. As a matter of fact, Penny cursed her wedding ring so whenever she put it on, it would remind her of what a pain it is to be a housewife (later in the series, Cole Turner) gave Phoebe this ring so they'd marry with it, and she became a perfect housewife. In "Gone with the Witches", the same happens to Piper, but because a demon cast it on her to distract her for a while. When Patty married Victor Bennett, Penny didn't allow her to take his last name—thus starting a tradition of every female Halliwell keeping her maiden name.[episodes 3]
Penny witnessed the birth of her first three granddaughters Prue, Piper, and Phoebe Halliwell, later earning the nickname 'Grams'. Sometime between Prue's birth in 1970 and Piper's birth in 1973, Victor found out that Patty and Penny were both witches—and his daughters were witches as well. He had a hard time coping, and constantly sparred with Penny in a fashion similar to how Darrin Stephens constantly fought with Endora on Bewitched. They also fought over how to raise the girls. While Penny wanted to raise them as witches, Victor wanted to raise them as normal girls. Patty also wanted to raise them as witches, but wanted to wait to start their training; she seemed alarmed when Penny wanted to teach five-year-old Prue and three-year-old Piper how to make potions.
Not long after Patty conceived Phoebe, a warlock named Nicholas found out that Prue, Piper and Phoebe were destined to grow up to become the Charmed Ones. He forced Patty to bless a ring and give him immunity to her daughters' powers so he could take them for himself. When Grams found out about this, she had no choice but to bind the girls' powers until she died.[episodes 3]
Grams was forced to keep the secret about the birth of Patty's fourth daughter Paige, who was fathered by Patty's Whitelighter, Sam Wilder, from everyone, even Paige's half-sisters.[episodes 6] At the time, it was not only forbidden, but unthinkable, for witches and Whitelighters to be involved. While Patty wanted to keep Paige, Grams feared the Elders might strip Prue, Piper and Phoebe's powers as punishment. She thus convinced Patty and Sam to give the baby up for adoption.[episodes 6] After Patty's death,[episodes 7] Grams became surrogate mother to Patty's first three children, and would constantly argue with Victor about how the girls should be raised. Because of those arguments, the girls didn't see their father again for over 20 years.
While Grams tried to raise the girls, as normally as possible, she would occasionally drop hints about their Charmed destiny. She was also determined that nothing would get in the way of them fulfilling it. For instance, Prue long harbored dreams of going East to study photojournalism. However, when Prue was 20, she ran a red light and caused an accident, severely injuring Phoebe. Grams forced Prue to stay on the West Coast.
Years later, Grams developed a heart condition. Prue and Piper gave up their apartment and moved back in the manor to help Phoebe take care of her. However, they bickered almost constantly, much to Grams' frustration. Grams knew that the girls' powers were tied to their bond as sisters, and eventually concluded they'd never stop bickering long enough to fulfill their destiny. For this reason, despite Patty's efforts to talk her out of it, she created a potion to permanently strip them of their powers.[episodes 8] On March 5, 1998, she made the decision to give the sisters the potion, but before she could, she suffered a massive heart attack and fell down the attic stairs. She died in the hospital not long afterward.[episodes 8] She became a guardian spirit, keeping watch over her grandchildren. In the season two premiere, it is revealed that she was the one who turns pages in the Book of Shadows when they're in a jam.
As High Priestess, Grams performed the marriage ceremony uniting Leo Wyatt and Piper in spirit form.[episodes 9] Later, she appeared in both spirit form and corporeal form (with a body). When the first child of Piper and Leo turned out to be a boy, Grams was initially upset, as she believed the family line should only be female, but eventually she came to accept and love her new great-grandson Wyatt.[episodes 5] Ironically, Grams' belief that men couldn't be trusted with power, as it would ultimately corrupt them, turned out to be true in Wyatt's case (in a possible future). His brother Chris had to come back from the future to prevent Wyatt from turning evil and becoming a global tyrant.
When Grams learned about Gideon's death at Leo's hands (because Gideon had tried to kill Wyatt), she was unsure if she could trust Leo to be around the girls. She's since learned to trust her family to make the right decisions without her input, but still provides them with assistance when needed.
She returns in the series finale to help change the future. Piper travels through time to save Phoebe and Paige and after accidentally traveling to her mother's time Piper, Patty and Leo travel back to get Grams' help. They end up traveling to 1982, where they see Grams talking to a ten-year-old Piper. She faints when she sees Patty (Patty has been dead for four years by this time) and is overwhelmed by what they tell her (she comments that she "needs a drink"). But once she learns her granddaughters are the Charmed Ones, she immediately demands to know what to do. She, Piper and Patty cast a spell in Piper's past to drive the Hollow out of the past Charmed Ones and Billie and Christy Jenkins, and change the future. She stays until the end, helping the girls make a vanquishing potion to use on the Triad and Billie and Christy and at the end is saddened to learn from Future Chris that she can't keep her memory of the event.
Powers and abilities
Aside from the basic powers of a magical witch, such as spellcasting and scrying, Penny possesses the gift of:
- "Witchstock". Charmed. 2004-01-11. The WB.
- "Pardon My Past". Charmed. 2000-02-17. The WB.
- "That '70s Episode". Charmed. 1999-04-07. The WB.
- "How to Make a Quilt Out of Americans". Charmed. 2000-04-06. The WB.
- "Necromancing the Stone". Charmed. 2003-05-04. The WB.
- "Charmed Again (Part 1)". Charmed. 2001-10-04. The WB.
- "P3 H2O". Charmed. 1999-12-08. The WB.
- "PreWitched". Charmed. 2001-03-22. The WB.
- "Just Harried". Charmed. 2001-02-22. The WB.