Villain Overview

Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not.
~ Dr. Seuss (about the Grinch).

The Grinch is the titular protagonist villain/anti-hero of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and its following adaptations. He is a green hermit who is used to hate the Whos and the season of Christmas even more, so he planned to "steal" Christmas by sneaking out in the disguise of Santa Claus and stealing all of the Whos' presents. In the end, after seeing the Whos sing (even without their presents), the Grinch's heart softens and he becomes a much nicer person.

The Grinch later appeared in Halloween Is Grinch Night (where he tried to terrorize the Whos into bringing his Paraphernalia Wagon on his way) and The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat as the main antagonist.

In the original Christmas special, he was voiced by the late legendary horror actor, Boris Karloff, who was best known for portraying Frankenstein's Monster. In Halloween is Grinch Night, he was voiced by the late legendary actor, Hans Conried, who also played Captain James Hook in Disney's Peter Pan. In The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, he was voiced by the late Bob Holt. In the live action film, he was portrayed by the legendary actor, Jim Carrey


It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right. It could be perhaps that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
~ Dr. Seuss

The Grinch is described as hating any sort of happiness. He is very selfish, sly, cunning, and manipulative, so he especially hates children, feasts, and singing. He is also shown to be very cold, grumpy, hateful, uncaring, hostile, callous, heartless, aggressive, and opprobrious (otherwise outright abusive) to his dog named Max, who he forces to wear a reindeer horn and pull his sled, even using a whip to drive him on.

In the live action film, the reason for his hatred of Christmas was because of him being bullied by other kids for his appearance. As a child, he was an outcast at school and was bullied by his classmates, especially by Augustus Maywho. The only student to show the Grinch any compassion was Martha May, whom the Grinch had a crush on. Around Christmastime, the Grinch felt very appreciative and excited about Christmas for once and made a gift for Martha, but attempted to shave his beard, accidentally cutting himself all over his face. When the school saw the Grinch's face covered with shaving tape the next morning, they laughed at him. At this point, the Grinch finally snapped and destroyed everything in the classroom (including the very gift that he made for Martha) and threw the Christmas tree at the kids, sending them into panic. Declaring that he now hated Christmas, the Grinch left Whoville and ran away to live in on Mt. Crumpit.

This makes the Grinch much more tragic in the live action film.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

The Grinch appeared as the protagonist of the story as he stares down at Whoville, being so disgusted and hateful towards the Whos for their Christmas celebrations. His heart is also described to be three sizes too small due to his grumpy nature. Deciding that it was time to put an end to it, the Grinch plotted to steal Christmas. To that end, he created his own Santa attire and sleigh while having Max to serve as his sole reindeer.

Riding the sleigh down into Whoville where everyone is sleeping, the Grinch took the opportunity to steal away the decorations, gifts and food from every house in Whoville. However, he is nearly caught by a little girl named Cindy Lou while attempting to stealing her family tree, but cons his way out by fooling her into going back into bed under the ruse of fixing a broken light on the tree. After loading all the stuff into large bags on his sleigh, the Grinch gets Max to pull the sleigh up to the top of Mount Crumpit. With the burglary finished, the Grinch hopes of hearing imminent cries of sorrow, but unexpectedly, he instead hears everyone in Whoville singing in cheer, even without their presents and food.

Realizing now that he didn't stop Christmas from coming, the annoyed Grinch starts to become very puzzled until he realized that Christmas isn't about getting presents or having feasts, but by hanging out with family and friends. This allows his heart to grow three times bigger, which motivated the Grinch to lift up the sleigh with ease to keep it from falling over the cliff. With a change of heart, the Grinch rides his sleigh along with Max back to Whoville, returning all the stolen gifts and food to the Whos before joining them in a feast, even giving Max the first slice of the roasted turkey.

Halloween is Grinch Night

I'm sure gonna miss that Grinch Night ball. But that wind will be coming back someday... I'LL be coming back... someday...
~ The Grinch

The Grinch appeared as a true villain in Halloween is Grinch Night. In this short film, the Whos live in fear that on certain nights when the "sour-sweet wind" blows, the Grinch will come down from Mount Crumpit with his Paraphernalia wagon to terrorize Whoville. The Grinch sets out to do so, forcing Max to pull the wagon by himself. On his way he amuses himself by chasing small animals and running over flowers.

He is stopped by a young Who boy named Eukariah, and becoming annoyed with him, opens the wagon and releases all his spooks and frightening visions on the boy. Eukariah stands his ground, until he realizes the wind has changed, which means the Grinch must return home. Max (tired of being the Grinch's slave) leaves to go with Eukariah, forcing the Grinch to drag the wagon up the mountain by himself. But he reminds himself the wind will change again, and he will come back someday.

The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat

I've snurgled his sound, no I'll even do more. Take this up to my shop on the 39th floor - that Cat's gonna suffer like never before! Ha ha HA!
~ The Grinch, to Max

In this TV film, the Grinch faces off against the Cat in the Hat. At the beginning he wakes up cheerful, feeling happy about the world, until his reflection (his 'anti-conscience') reminds him that a Grinch is supposed to be evil, and orders him to prove he is a Grinch.

On this challenge, he sets out in his car to terrorize animals and people. He meets the Cat in the Hat having a picnic, and instantly dislikes him for his cheeriness and politeness. When the Cat calls him "Mr. Green-face", the Grinch chases him in his car, and decides to make the Cat his new victim. He starts subjecting the cat to his new inventions, including one that garbles any pleasant noise when the Cat tries to sing, and his Dark house, which makes the Cat unable to see in front of him.

After subjecting the Cat and a local restaurant to his machines, the Cat tries to figure out what the Grinch's weak spot is. On a sudden inspiration, the Cat, followed by a crowd of people, sings a song outside the Grinch's window telling him to remember his mother. Unable to shut the song out, the Grinch sees his mother's reflection in a puddle comforting him, and telling him "Be a good boy and clean up your room.". The Grinch takes his machines apart and feels cheerful again. When his reflection starts to reprimand him again, Max stops him using his sound sweeper to shut him up.

Video game appearance

The Grinch video game appearance
The Grinch appears as the playable character in the 2000 video game tie-in of the movie (which is very loosely based off the film as well as the book). The Grinch decides to destroy the Whos Christmas, however when he loses his blue prints to his gadgets which end up scattering around the place he is forced to go on a journey to collect them.

The player is given tasks to do, such as smashing presents and other mischievous things to torment the Whos. Max the Dog is also a playable character which the Grinch can use to gain access to areas to help him progress further. Along the way the player collects parts for the Grinch's sleigh, and once completed they are involved in a boss mission in which they chase down Santa Claus in his sleigh and shoot him down.

But like the film and book, the Grinch realises the Whos are still happy. Once his heart grows he returns to Whoville and apologizes for his actions.

Powers and Abilities

Several versions of the Grinch (The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, the live action film) portray him as an inventor. In the former film, he invents several machines designed to spread evil and misery, including his vacu-sound-sweeper, a machine that sucks out pleasant noises and makes them sound garbled, or projects them out of the wrong mouth, and his dark-house, a tower that sends a beam of darkness anywhere he projects it. He can also change the beams to turn things different colors or patterns, and presumably make objects move on their own.

In Halloween is Grinch Night, the Grinch appears as more of an evil magician. In this film, he drives a paraphernalia wagon, a large cart holding a variety of monstrous creatures he uses to terrify people. In this film, he also has the power to detach his eyebrows, make them grow to an enormous size, and make them fly around on their own.


  • In the film, the Grinch's younger self was portrayed by the late Josh Ryan Evans in his final film role.
  • The Grinch is constantly believed to be the main villain of the book, 1966 cartoon, and film. However, this is never true as the Grinch is simply a traitorous, isolated, and grumpy anti-hero. However, in the later cartoons, he is played as a true villain.
  • Dr. Seuss admitted in interviews that he based the Grinch on himself when he felt ambivalence towards Christmas. As a hint, the Grinch mentions he has put up with Christmas "for 53 years"; Seuss was 53 years old when the book was published.
  • Though he is almost always described as green, it is only in the 1966 cartoon that he became that color, on the suggestion of the late director, Chuck Jones. Dr. Seuss thought he should be gray, as he was drawn in the book.
  • Unlike the book or 1966 cartoon where the Grinch is a smart, scheming, and manipulative individual, the film shows him to be an entertaining, whimsical, comical, and insane person with the scheming qualities.
  • In some ways, the film shows that the mayor is just as much a villain as the Grinch, maybe even worse. It is because of the Mayor's bullying, that caused the Grinch to become cold-hearted, unforgiving, and diabolical.
  • The story The Hoobub and the Grinch that is included in Horton and the Kwuggerbug and more Lost Stories implies that there is more than one Grinch suggesting that The Grinch may actually be a species.
  • The Grinch will be appearing in the movie remake in 2018 (eighteen years since the film by Jim Carrey); however, it will be computer-animated rather than live action. The Grinch in this movie version will be voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

See Also