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Griselda the Witch

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Griselda the Witch is the main antagonist of the 1987 film adaptation of Hansel and Gretel. Unlike the original version of the character, this version is given a name and a slightly more villainous role, having abducted many other children before Hansel and Gretel and baking them into gingerbread cookies, with the children fully conscious during this. 

She is played by Cloris Leachman.

Prior to meeting Hansel and Gretel, Griselda had lured lost boys and girls into her candy house, abducting them and trapping them within giant gingerbread cookies. The area around her house was lined with several of the transformed children, who longed to be freed from Griselda's household.

When Hansel and Gretel became lost in the forest, they arrived at Griselda's household. Initially welcoming them inside, Griselda enticed the two children with a bedtime story and goaded Hansel to eat her sweets. However, at night, Gretel wandered out of her bed and discovered that Griselda was actually a witch, leading her to warn Hansel. However, Griselda binded Hansel and hypnoticed the two children, trapping Hansel in a cage and forcing Gretel to become her servant. She proceeded to force-feed Hansel candy in an attempt to fatten him to eat him. When Hansel refused, Griselda threatened to kill Gretel in order to force him to comply.

While Griselda was asleep, the children formed a plan to escape. Gretel tricked Griselda into destroying her eye-glass, rendering her incapable of seeing well. Griselda sent Gretel off to fetch a bucket of water to fill her cauldron, during which Gretel met the other captured children, who pleaded for Gretel to free them. Hansel later on used a thin bone to trick Griselda into thinking it was his finger and that he wasn't fat enough to eat. Griselda contented with simply eating both children, with Gretel overhearing. Griselda then turned a duck into a gingerbread animal in front of the children.

As Griselda prepared to kill bake Hansel, Gretel made an attempt to escape, but Griselda hypnotized her into opening Hansel's cage. Griselda held Hansel above the cauldron, but Gretel, freed of her hypnotism, stole Griselda's staff and used it to transport Griselda into Hansel's place above the cauldron. Griselda was then baked into, in Gretel's words, a "gingerbread witch", and then lowered into the oven, where she was burned to death. Hansel and Gretel escaped as the gingerbread house was destroyed. After Griselda's death, the other children were freed and were allowed to return to their parents.


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