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Grandma (George's Marvellous Medicine)

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I know places where dark things crawl and squirm and slither over each other...
~ Grandma's horrible quote

Grandma is the repulsive, vile, rotten old crone who is the main antagonist of Roald Dahl's story George's Marvellous Medicine. She is described as the worst grandmother imaginable.

Dahl says most grandmothers take delight in their  grandchildren, but George's seems to hate him with a vengeance. She is implied to be a possible witch - she cackles about potions and dark magic she knows, and she eats disgusting things such as insects.

Grandma is a control freak, not letting George out of her sight even for five minutes. She complains about the tea George kindly makes her, even when it is exactly right. The Grandma also says that George should "stop growing", possibly indicating a death wish she has for him.

Grandma is shown to be the same size as George, if not smaller, and she never walks anywhere, she just sits in her armchair all day and shouts at George to do chores for her. But when his parents are around she puts in a charming personality.

Her daughter, George's mother, knows she is evil but does have some affection for her, whereas her husband simply hates the Grandma.

Therefore, when George gets sick of making Grandma's medicine each day and decides to punish her by making his own medicine for her, out of these products: all the shampoos, cooking oils, engine oils, gin, farm animal medicine and food, anti-freeze and horseradish. George mixes these all together, and makes the potion brown by adding brown paint to it.

Giving it to Grandma does cheer her up no end, she actually grows into a giant, which is a relief to George because he was worried he might kill her. Instead of killing her, Grandma gets twenty foot high. Stuck in the house, she boasts about having dark magic in her blood. But George tells her of the new medicine he made and what it does, proving it by feeding a chicken some to make the chicken a giant.

Of course, his father soon returns and sees a business opportunity, and wants to remake the medicine. But they don't do it correctly and shrink things instead of growing them. When wondering what to do, Grandma wakes up having been lifted out of the house and having the night in the barn, and Grandma shouts for her breakfast and medicine, but then she sees the Marvellous Medicine. Thinking its for her, and ignoring the protests that its George's, which she says she is getting sick of, she drinks the Medicine, but shrinks into nothing and is never seen again.


  • Roald Dahl based many of his villains on people he actually knew, for instance Agatha Trunchbull is based on his cruel teacher Captain Hardcastle. Its unknown who the Grandma was based on, because Roald Dahl's grandmother was lovely and he had a good relationship with her.


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