Greg Heffley

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Greg Heffley
Diary of a Wimpy Kid character
Wimpy kid.jpg
Greg Heffley
First appearance Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Created by Jeff Kinney
Portrayed by Zachary Gordon
Full name Gregory Heffley
Nickname(s) Greg
Occupation Student
Family Frank Heffley (father)
Susan Heffley (mother)
Rodrick Heffley (brother)
Manny Heffley (brother)
Relatives Joe Heffley (paternal uncle)
Charlie Heffley (great-uncle)
Gary Heffley (paternal uncle)
Gretchen (maternal aunt)
Malvin and Malcolm (cousins)
Religion Christian
Nationality American

Gregory "Greg" Heffley is the hero/antihero protagonist of the realistic fiction book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid created by American cartoonist Jeff Kinney.


Greg is selfish, lazy, impudent, wimpy, mischievous, pretentious, arrogant, and sometimes even mean and dishonest. He hates taking any blame and likes to take for credit to any situation that might boost him up the popularity ladder. However, Greg does have his moments of kindness. Throughout the series, Greg's schemes to gain popularity in his middle school, attract girls, and acquire money always backfire, landing him in several dilemmas.

Greg's best friend is Rowley Jefferson, who takes part in Greg's schemes, and is sometimes a victim of Greg's manipulation and deception. The two have a very complicated relationship, as Greg sometimes takes advantage of Rowley's good nature, and his own schemes fail due to Rowley's foolishness, such as Rowley's "confession" to the vandalized wall "me and Greg Heffley painted the wall". Rowley's parents view Greg as a bad influence on their son, mostly the father, as his brashness and habit for getting himself and Rowley into trouble are irritating to them.

At school, Greg receives bad grades, gets bullied by jocks, deals with the hardships of middle school and is always trying to earn popularity points in order to gain attention and respect. At home, Greg has a mixed relationship with his family, especially with his bratty younger brother Manny, who is ridiculously pampered and protected by his parents (particularly his mother Susan). Susan tries to devise ways for Greg and Rodrick to get along that never work out. Greg's father, Frank, is annoyed by Greg's antics and laziness, and tries to make him more active. Greg is tormented and bullied by his older brother, Rodrick, and is also the victim of his pranks. Despite his love/hate relationship with his older brother, he has inherited many of his traits (such as laziness, large ego, disdain for sports, being a trickster etc.). In fact, many of Greg's teachers despise him because they originally had Rodrick as a student. Even though Greg's classroom behavior does not mirror Rodrick's, the teachers still see him as Rodrick.

Greg is a fan of video games and comic books and sees them as talents, which annoys his father Frank. His greatest gift is for cartooning and dry humor, evidenced by the many comic strips he has drawn.

Another negative character trait of Greg's is his paranoia, which seems to get the better of him. An example of this is notable in Cabin Fever, in which he is worried his old doll, Alfrendo, will come back to haunt him.

Greg rarely learns from his ill-fated mistakes and continues to scheme and plot for his various goals. Because of this and his impulsive nature, he usually puts himself and others in trouble, and will often try to find a scapegoat to take the blame.

Neighbouring Greg is his awkward, unpopular and eccentric schoolmate named Fregley, whose vast variety of oddities disgust and befuddle those around him, including Greg, who tries to distance himself from Fregley as much as possible. Though Greg detests the fact that he is next-door neighbours with Fregley, the only time he has ever showed interest in acquiring friendship with Fregley is in the eighth book Hard Luck, where he becomes friends with Fregley (though this was really to Greg's advantage to become popular).

Greg is also noted for having many attractions to girls throughout the series, most notably a girl named Holly Hills. His schemes usually fails in the hope of attracting a girl. One famous notable example is The Third Wheel, where Greg attempts to use Rowley as a wingman to get himself a date for the upcoming Valentine's Day dance. He succeeds in obtaining the chance to take a girl named Abigail Brown to the dance, but Rowley, who tags along as a third wheel, proves to be a better date than Greg at the dance. This ultimately leads to Rowley and Abigail becoming a couple, setting the stage for Hard Luck.

Despite his many flaws and the situations they have landed him in, Greg can be caring, intelligent, courageous, compassionate and thoughtful, and has done a number of good deeds to prove this, such as deceiving his classmates that he put the Cheese in the rubbish bin (to save Rowley's reputation), helping Rodrick complete his science project, etc.

Relationships with other characters[edit]

Rodrick Heffley[edit]

The relationship between Greg and Rodrick is one of the most important relationships in the series. He is a member of the band, "Löded Diper" and loves heavy metal music. They tend to fight and argue with each other. In Rodrick Rules, Greg had an embarrassing secret: he accidentally entered the ladies' restroom of Leisure Towers. Throughout the book, Rodrick constantly threatens Greg that he will reveal this secret to the world if he provokes or annoys him. Rodrick seemed to know that Greg had a crush on Holly Hills in The Last Straw because when they were staying in a hotel room, Rodrick deceived Greg by saying that the Hills family were staying in a room next to theirs. Greg believed this and Rodrick pushed him out of the door and locked it. Greg was also in his underwear, which made it worse for him. Rodrick tricks Greg into thinking that their father was going to sell Greg causing Greg to call the police and almost got Frank arrested and thus ruined Frank's surprise to the baseball game and ruined the father and son bonding that their mother attempted for them to set up.

This bond is the main focus of the movie adaption of Rodrick Rules. Unlike the book, in which Greg only works willingly with Rodrick once, Greg and Rodrick work together several times, including cleaning up after the party (After Rodrick points out that Greg will get busted along with him should their parents find out, whereas in the book, where Rodrick simply blackmails Greg), attempting to keep the party a secret (In the book, the party doesn't come up until the photo was printed out), Going to a convenience store and going crazy (did not happen in the book), putting fake vomit on people's cars (In the book, he does this with Ward), and running from an angry coach (did not happen in the book). Greg even sticks up for Rodrick during the Talent Show, when he convinces his mom to lift Rodrick's ban from performing.

In the movie adaption for Dog Days, Greg helps sneak Rodrick into the country club via a Dumpster. He expresses worry when he believes Rodrick is crushed by the truck and is extremely relieved that Rodrick is revealed to be unharmed. He also manages to get Löded Diper to perform in a "Sweet Sixteen" for Heather Hills, who Rodrick has a crush on.

Rowley Jefferson[edit]

Rowley Jefferson, as he appears in the books

Rowley is Greg's best friend whom he views an infantile and goofy yet charming boy who needs his guidance in learning to conform to middle school standards. Regardless, Greg decides to take him under his wing. However, Greg more frequently proves to negatively influence his friend than to set a positive example for him, which earns himself the distrust of Rowley's parents. Greg's self-absorption often leads him to prioritize his desires and needs before the needs of those around him, so Rowley is commonly affected by this and sometimes even left to receive the blame for Greg's own wrongdoings. However, the kinks in their relationship and the dilemmas they come across are not always caused by Greg; Rowley has displayed acts of selfishness of his own in the past, particularly in the first book, when he plagiarized a comic strip for the school newspaper that Greg created, "Zoo-Wee Mama!" and earns the admiration of his schoolmates and denied having stolen credit for the concept that Greg played a greater role in devising than he did. In the eighth book, Hard Luck, he betrays Greg for his girlfriend Abigail and is the major antagonist of the book along with Abigail until the end when they become friends again. Still, Rowley often bears the brunt of Greg's carelessness and has even been a victim of injury in the past due to Greg's behavior, although this was not intentional. Greg envies his friend for the exotic vacations that he often takes with his wealthy parents (such as Europe, Australia, and Central and South America) and the advantages of an only child that Rowley possesses over Greg.

Rowley also has a tendency to jump the bandwagon on popular acts and idols in other continents. The most prominent example of this is a European teen idol named Joshie, which he still holds to this day. However, there are other examples, as seen in Rodrick Rules: when he went to Australia, he mimicked the popular greeting, "G'day, mate!", and used it on Greg upon his return, much to the latter's annoyance and confusion.

He is also very naive and too trusting of other people, a prominent trait that is commonly exploited by Greg, as well as his former girlfriend, Abigail. In fact, it's this trait that leads Rowley to follow Abigail's manipulations blindly, constantly insisting that Greg is merely jealous whenever Greg brings this up.

However, in the movie, while Greg initially has his obnoxious personality (to a slightly lesser degree), he still becomes less self-absorbed and was much nicer to Rowley in later films. The turning point is in the end of the first film, where Greg goes and takes the blame for eating the Cheese.

Rowley's Parents[edit]

Greg has a distant and strained relationship with Rowley's parents, due to the fact that they think that he is a bad example to Rowley. Greg especially is disliked by Rowley's dad. In the books and movies, Greg does stuff that make Mr. Jefferson upset, such as making a secret language, and calling him names. Even though he doesn't try to make him mad, he manages to. Greg also always gets Rowley in trouble all the time, and this infuriates Rowley's parents.

Manny Heffley[edit]

Manny is Greg's ridiculously pampered younger brother who always gets away with anything he wants; he is a toddler and the object of his parents' favoritism, to Greg's jealousy and chagrin. A spoiled child with privileges left undistributed to his elder siblings during their own early childhoods, Manny is easily perceived as innocent and adorable by adults, whereas in reality some of his actions in the past appear to implicate a far more manipulative, spiteful, and selfish nature as opposed to childlike innocence, the most prominent being in Cabin Fever, where he shuts off the entire house's electricity (save for his own room), stores all the food in his room, and lets the family suffer the backlash all because no one told him how to tie his shoes. Through his journal entries, Greg regularly complains of the adults' obliviousness to Manny's true destructive tendencies, many of which have ended in suffering, embarrassment, or punishment for Greg.

Manny's relationship with his older brother is a strained one, as any moments of sincere playfulness or brotherly affection between the pair have unfairly ended in unintentional or undeserved consequences for Greg, which has been exemplified several times throughout the course of the series. It's for this reason that Greg seems to prefer to avoid spending time with his younger brother, and they seldom seem to hang around together alone voluntarily. Their relationship is strained further by the unfairness of the constant overindulgence with which Manny is privileged, such as the quality and quantity of Christmas presents that he receives, and how he is continuously spared from parental discipline. However, Manny has also displayed particular affection for Greg by calling him by the pet name "Bubby", making him a "gift" out of tin foil and toothpicks that Rowley accidentally sat on, etc.

Susan Heffley[edit]

Susan is Greg's mother who, throughout the series, often embarrasses her two elder sons. She is clueless, loving, and is very fond of her children, especially her youngest son, Manny, who she severely spoils. She loves her middle son Greg, though she unintentionally humiliates him at nearly every turn. She fails to see that her plans are always failing. She is always encouraging her children and tries to bring the family closer together. In Dog Days, she takes over Greg's summer vacation by doing activities to get him more active, ruining his plan to play video games all summer. In Cabin Fever, she lets Manny off scot-free, after he selfishly let the family almost freeze and starve to death by turning off all the electricity in everyone's rooms except his own and storing all the food in his room.

Frank Heffley[edit]

Frank is Greg's father. Frank is annoyed by Greg (and also Rodrick) for his ridiculous antics and unimportant interests. The two have nothing in common, and this has been displayed in the series numerous times. One major example is in The Last Straw, where Frank attempted to send Greg to a military academy named Spag Union, in the hope that it would reform Greg of his "wimpy" habits. But, after "saved" by Greg from embarrassing himself at a party, Frank reconsidered the thought. By almost sending him to Spag Union and Frank's unpredictably, Greg develops a fear that Frank might get rid of him and having trouble trusting his father. In Dog Days, Frank was going to take Greg out for a surprise; however, Greg believed that Frank was going to sell him and Greg called the police on him. Which later revealed that Frank was going to take him to a baseball game and ruined the father and son trip. Frank didn't speak to him for a while. Despite the fact that Frank is almost always strict on Greg, he still loves him, no matter how much his antics annoy him.

Holly Hills[edit]

Holly Hills is Greg's crush, who was introduced in The Last Straw. Greg stated that Holly was the "fourth prettiest" girl in his grade and is very attractive.

In The Last Straw, Greg tried to get Holly's attention by making jokes and random humor, however, it didn't seem to attract her at all. Greg's attempts to talk to Holly and make his move always end up in failure. Greg heard that Holly and her friends were going to the Roller Rink. At the Roller Rink, Greg had to wear his backup glasses because he lost his contact lenses, and when talking to Holly, she mistakenly called him Fregley, which upsets Greg and causes him to lose interest in her.

In the same book, when signing yearbooks in the end, Holly signed Greg's yearbook stating that he was "Okay" and to "K.I.T." (Keep in Touch) which makes Greg have a slight interest in Holly again, but this goes away completely once Greg sees what Holly wrote in Rowley's yearbook—stating that Rowley is "cute". Greg writes back, pretending to be Rowley, stating that he wants to be "just friends".

In the movies, things play out differently. In Rodrick Rules, Holly Hills moved to Greg's school and Greg did things to get her to notice him, making a fool of himself half the time. When Holly called him Fregley, Greg didn't lose interest and instead was simply upset. At Leisure Towers, Holly talked with Greg outside, saying that she was at her Grandfather's place at the retirement community building. Holly apologized to Greg about calling him Fregley, and Greg pretended that he didn't know anything about that. Greg and Holly become friends in the end.

In the Dog Days film adaption, Holly's role from the previous books had been expanded. Greg yearns to become more than just friends with Holly during the summer. Greg gets Holly to sign his yearbook and was able to get her to write her number, but misses the last two numbers before leaving due to interference from Heather Hills and Rodrick. At the country club, Greg meets up with Holly as she is volunteering to teach tennis to little kids. Greg accepts an invite to play tennis with her the next dayin order to impress her, but Holly soon figures out that neither he nor Rowley know how to play tennis and teaches Greg personally while Patty teaches Rowley personally.

Later in the movie, Holly didn't seem to have a problem when Greg sneaked in to the Country Club. When Greg says he wanted to hang out with her, and almost reveals his feelings for her, Heather Hills comes by and interrupts. Rodrick has a big crush on Heather, and Greg manages to get Loded Diper in for live music at Heather's Sweet 16. After Rodrick's band fails and ruins Heather's Sweet 16, Greg apologizes to Holly, but Holly didn't care due to her sister being mean. She felt her sister deserved what she got. Holly holds Greg's hand, showing that she has affection for him, and they get together, swimming at the Country Club pool with each other and Rowley.

Abigail Brown[edit]

In the Third Wheel book, while Greg tries to get a date the school dance, Rowley tells him that a girl from student council, Abigail Brown, has been "dumped" by her former date, Michael, because he needed to go to his family reunion, which was later revealed as an excuse to go out with another girl. Greg immediately jumps in, telling Rowley to tell Abigail that they could all go together as a "group of friends", and Greg hopes that after that night, Abigail will see how much of a "great guy he is", and get her to be his girlfriend. Greg does what he can to get Abigail to be his girlfriend, but is later rejected by her, so that she can go out with Rowley, Greg's best friend.

She has a more prominent role in the sequel, Hard Luck. Following the events of the previous book, Abigail begins to subtly dismantle the relationship between Rowley and Greg, including but not limited to moving Rowley to a different table, feeding him, and convincing Rowley to give up activities that he and Greg enjoy, like blowing bubbles in chocolate milk cartons. She also displays a manipulative side, as she takes advantage of Rowley's innocence and childlike behavior and subtly forces Rowley to think the same way SHE thinks, as well as being responsible for his change of appearance. Greg describes this as if Rowley doesn't own opinions anymore. This is an irritant for Greg throughout the book. She is also shallow, as she harshly dumps Rowley in favor of her former boyfriend, Michael. It is later revealed that she only went out with Rowley in order to make Michael jealous.


Fregley is a child who lives in Greg's neighborhood. Greg is not particularly fond of him because he acts strangely. In one of the books, Greg's mom tries to get him and Fregley together for a "playdate". Greg neglects to do anything with Fregley, but that does not bother Fregley. He thinks that Greg is cool and wants to hang out with him. Greg is unaware of this and remains so throughout the books, although in Hard Luck, it is shown that Greg tries to make Fregley his best friend. However, this attempt fails, and somehow Fregley becomes the most famous student at Westmore Middle School.

Allusions from other works[edit]

Greg Heffley appears on Poptropica's 18th island, Wimpy Wonderland, revolving around the Wimpy Kid series.[1] Greg has also appeared as a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2010. Greg returns in Wimpy Boardwalk on Poptropica.

In the films[edit]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a 2010 American comedy film directed by Thor Freudenthal and based on Jeff Kinney's book of the same name.[2][3][4] The film was released on March 19, 2010.[5] It was released on DVD, iTunes, and Blu-ray on August 3, 2010.[6] The movie stars Zachary Gordon as Greg, Robert Capron as Rowley, Steve Zahn as Greg's father, Rachael Harris as Greg's mother, Devon Bostick as Rodrick, Chloë Grace Moretz as a new character named Angie, and Connor and Owen Fielding as Manny.


Although the character was acclaimed by critics in the books[citation needed], the reception was not the same for the film; Rotten Tomatoes has said that Greg is an "unlikable protagonist".[7] Pomeranz disliked the character of Greg Heffley, saying "I really thought he was unpleasant. I did not want to spend time with him. I couldn't wait for the end of this film."[8] However, these were reviews for the first film and in her review of the Dog Days film, Abby West of Entertainment Weekly wrote that Greg is a likable kid.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Breznican, Anthony (September 29, 2009). "First Look: 'Wimpy Kid' actor embraces being 'a likable jerk'". USA Today. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (August 3, 2009). "Steve Zahn to star in 'Wimpy Kid'". Variety. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  4. ^ McCarron, Heather (October 12, 2009). "Nothing 'Wimpy' about local author's success". Milford Daily News. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 1, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie main page". 20th Century Fox. Jeff Kinney. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  8. ^ David Stratton, Margaret Pomeranz (September 29, 2010). "29 September 2010". At the Movies. 29 September 2010. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.