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' 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 Boris Karloff, who was best known for portraying Frankenstein's Monster in Frankenstein. In Halloween is Grinch Night, he was voiced by the late 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 Jim Carrey. In the upcoming animated film, he will be voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.


The Grinch hated Christmas, the whole Christmas season! Now please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason. 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 mean, selfish, sly, cunning, and manipulative, so he especially hates children, feasts, and singing. He is also shown to be very nasty, uncaring, aggressive, and 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.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

The Grinch arrived in Whoville by mistake when he was a baby and was adopted by two elderly sisters. Although he showed some sadistic tendencies as a child, he was not the cruel, cynical person who he became.

He was an outcast at school and was bullied by classmates (mainly by Augustus May Who) because of his green and hairy appearance. The only classmate to show him any compassion was Martha May Whovier, whom he had a crush on.

One Christmas season when he was eight, the Grinch made a gift for Martha, but he attempted to shave his face after remembering what all the kids said, cutting himself in the process.

When everyone saw The Grinch's face covered with shaving tape the next morning, they laughed at him. He lost his temper, went on a rampage and ran away to live on Mt. Crumpit. Over the years, The Grinch remained in hiding in a huge cave and became a urban legend due to brief sightings.

All the Whos down in Whoville enjoy celebrating Christmas with much happiness and joy except the Grinch who resents Christmas and the Whos with great wrath and occasionally pulls dangerous and harmful practical jokes on them.

As a result, no one likes or cares for him. Meanwhile, a six-year-old girl name Cindy Lou Who believes that everyone is missing the point about Christmas by being more concerned about the gifts and festivities.

After having a face-to-face encounter with the Grinch at the Post office which he saves her life, Cindy Lou becomes interested in his history. The next day, she asks everyone what they know about him and soon discovers that he has a tragic past.

Cindy Lou, touched by this story, decides to make the Grinch the main participant of the Whobilation, to the great displeasure of May Who (who is now the Mayor of Whoville) who reluctantly agrees after pressure from the townspeople who have been warmed by Cindy Lou's generous spirit.

When Cindy Lou goes to Mount Crumpit and offers an invitation to the Grinch, he turns her down. He gradually changes his mind, however, due to the promise of an award, the presence of Martha at the celebration and the chance to upset the Mayor.

Just as the Grinch is enjoying himself and almost won over, The Mayor gives him an electric shaver as a present, reminding him of his awful humiliation at school.

Later, May Who asks Martha to marry him, promising her a new car in return. This causes the Grinch to berate the Whos for thinking that Christmas is about gifts that they'll just dispose of later in the hopes of making them too ashamed to celebrate the holiday.

He then goes on to ruin the party by burning the Christmas tree with a makeshift flamethrower (although his actions prove fruitless as the Who's have a spare tree, which the Grinch sees them erect before he leaves).

When he discovers that his attack has not removed the Whos' Christmas spirit, the Grinch instead concocts a plan to steal all of their presents while they are sleeping.

Creating a Santa suit and sleigh with his own dog, Max as a "deer", the Grinch flies around Whoville, stealing all of the Whos' Christmas gifts. He is almost discovered by Cindy Lou, but lies to her in order to get away.

The next day, the Whos discover the Grinch's scheme and May Who denounces Cindy Lou as the root of this catastrophic disaster.

However, Lou Lou Who (the Whoville postmaster) finally stands up to him and reminds everyone that they still have Christmas spirit and that the true meaning of Christmas is to spend time with your family and friends.

The people accept his speech and begin to sing. Hoping that the change of mood would inspire the Grinch, Cindy Lou goes to Mount Crumpit to find him.

The Grinch reveals that he intends to push the stolen gifts off the top of the mountain after he hears the Whos crying.

However, instead of crying, he hears the joyful singing of the Whos. Infuriated over the failure of his plan, the Grinch has an epiphany about what Christmas is really about: not material gifts, but spending time with your loved ones, an insight that profoundly touches him and causes his heart to grow to three times its original size.

When the sleigh full of stolen gifts begins to go over the edge of the cliff, the Grinch desperately tries to save them to no avail.

However, when he realizes Cindy Lou has come to wish him a merry Christmas and is in danger of falling off the cliff with the sleigh, the Grinch finds enough strength to lift the sleigh, the gifts and Cindy Lou to safety.

After a long descent down Mount Crumpit, the Grinch returns to Whoville with Cindy and the gifts. He confesses to the burglary and apologizes for his actions towards the Whos.

He owns up his crimes to the police as they arrive, but the Whos reconcile with him, much to May Who's dismay. Then, Martha turns down May Who's proposal and decides that she would rather stay with the Grinch instead which it make the Grinch very happy.

The redeemed Grinch starts a new life with the Whos, commemorating the Christmas feast with them in his cave.

He was played by Jim Carrey as adult while while Josh Ryan Evans (in his final theatrical role) play as an 8-year-old Grinch when he was a child.

The Grinch (2018)

"Academy Award® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to the infamous Grinch, who lives a solitary life inside a cave on Mt. Crumpet with only his loyal dog, Max for company.

With a cave rigged with inventions and contraptions for his day-to-day needs, the Grinch only sees his neighbors in Who-ville when he runs out of food.

Each year at Christmas they disrupt his tranquil solitude with their increasingly bigger, brighter and louder celebrations.

When the Whos declare that they're going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, the Grinch realizes there is only one way for him to gain some peace and quiet: he must steal Christmas.

To do so, he decides that he'll pose as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, even going so far as to trap a lackadaisical misfit reindeer to pull his sleigh.

Meanwhile, down in Whoville, Cindy Lou Who, a young girl overflowing with holiday cheer, plots with her gang of friends to trap Santa Claus as he makes his Christmas Eve rounds so that she can thank him for help for her overworked single mother.

As Christmas approaches, however, her good-natured scheme threatens to collide with the Grinch’s more nefarious one. Will Cindy-Lou achieve her goal of finally meeting Santa Claus? Will the Grinch succeed in silencing the Whos’ holiday cheer once and for all?"

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