AppearanceThe Groke's body seems to be covered in large cloak. The original color of the cloak was white, but in later years it has changed to brown, black or purple-grey. Her body is almost hill-shaped and at least a head taller than the average human. Her arms are thick, short and end in long pointy fingers, and her face consists of two small eyes, a wide nose and constantly visible front-teeth. It was revealed in Who will comfort the Toffle that she has a tail, and her footprints show that she has five toes. But she always hides her feet and tail under her cloak.
Even though it's been said that she's capable of speech, she always expresses herself through growls or moans, while confronting other characters. Her face is usually completely expressionless, adding to her intimidating nature. However, she has spoken sometimes, and in one scene of Anime series while extinguishing the forest she opened her mouth.The Groke is known and feared as a terrifying force not to be reckoned with. While it is true that she is prone to anger and fiercely determined, her cause is often justified, like if someone steals her precious King's ruby. An exception would be in Who will comfort the Toffle, where she threatens another character called the Miffle for unknown reasons. It was also stated that she stole her ruby from a wizard, however, this might have been made up by the characters Thingumy and Bob, trying to justify their own theft of the ruby.
But her behavior is also somewhat similar to that of a child. She is easily angered, greedy and was fully willing to exchange her ruby for a seashell, simply because she found the shell more beautiful. She can also be playful, as shown when she wanted to ride a snow-horse that Too-Ticky had built. But when she learned that the horse was meant for the Lady of the Cold, she quickly backed off in fear. This is understandable, since the Lady is quite ruthless.
Since she tends to oppose and threaten the main characters, she could be considered an occasional villain. But as mentioned before, her cause is often justified, and whenever she encounters the other characters she usually leaves them alone, unless she has a reason not to. The main reason people avoid her is because the touch of her skin can freeze a person solid, an ability she has no control over. When Moominpappa was young, she had a tendency to chase people in desperate need of company. In present day, she seems to have outgrown this quirk.
The Groke is often considered one of the most sympathetic and misunderstood villains in fiction, not only by Moomins franchise fans. She seeks friendship and warmth, but she is declined by everyone and everything because of her appearance, chilling presence and potentially lethal consequences of her touch, leaving her in cold cavern on top of the Lonely Mountains. She is both a live representation of loneliness and a psychological depiction of very lonely people who have a hard time accepting and expressing love in the right way, making them seem cold and scary to others, which, in turn, only leads to more loneliness.
Abilities and powers
A cold blizzard follows her around wherever she goes, freezing the ground beneath her and killing the plants around her. Her mere touch is also said to be able to freeze a person to death, thus scaring away any potential company. Since she has no control over it, it is much more of a curse than a power.
Her tail seems to be vulnerable to pain, as the Toffle managed to scare her away by biting it. Also, the only creature she fears – as far as is known – is the Lady of the Cold.
Tove Jansson, the creator of The Groke, was a Swedish-speaking Finnish who is best known as the author of the Moomin books for children. Originally the Moomin was published in Swedish. The first book appeared in 1945. Since the book series, there has been adaptations in the form of television series, comics and movies.
The Groke's original Swedish name is Mårran. In Finnish she is called Mörkö (which means Bogeyman in Finnish).
Of Jansson's series, the Groke has appeared in the following books: Finn Family Moomintroll, The Exploits of Moominpappa, Moominland Midwinter, Moominpappa at Sea and Who Will Comfort Toffle?.
Of television series, the Groke has appeared in Moomin anime series (lesser-known 1969 one, and the well-known 1990 versions) and Polish stop motion series (1977–1982). She appeared in some of anime-based books too.
Although Tove Jansson presented the Groke as a female in Swedish, many have confused the character as a male in other languages. This may be partly because in the most known adaptation, the 1990 Finnish-Japanese anime, the Finnish version of the Groke was dubbed by a man. The mistake is no problem in other dubbed versions, where the name is clearly feminine-sounding such as polish "Buka".
In the 1990s anime, the Groke communicates only through loud growling sounds. There is only one exception to this rule: at the end of her debut episode, she bellows from the direction of Lonely Mountains at the occupants of Moominhouse: I'll be back! I'll be back! She is not shown in this scene. Dubs in other languages use different growls, as well as different malevolent theme music, which begins to play every time the Groke appears.