|“||What are you getting on his case about? He did the right thing! If this fucker killed Lily...||”|
— Grendel speaking up if Bigby killed the Crooked Man; also if Lawrence is dead, he will replace him then. (Determinant)
Grendel, often called Gren for short, is a main character, a former antagonist, and a Fable that appears in The Wolf Among Us as a friend of Holly and frequenter of the Trip Trap bar. Despite his harsh, cynical, and uncaring demenour, he is fiercely loyal to his few friends and will go to great lengths to protect and care for them.
|“||Aw, shut the FUCK up Woody! Shit ain't just about you; it's about this fuckin' lapdog. Only comes sniffing around this part of town when the rich fucks in the Woodlands need a shakedown. Ain't that right, Bigby? [...] Holly's sister goes missing and no one gives two shits about her. Paperwork, waiting rooms, and that bitch Snow White looking right past me, then ushering me out the fuckin' door!||”|
— Grendel expresses his disdain for Bigby and the Fabletown Government
Gren first appears standing in line outside of the Business Office. Upon seeing Bigby cut the line to get in, he angrily confronts him, saying that he's been waiting there a half hour. Even if Bigby calmly explains that he works in the Office, Gren reprimands him for doing his job poorly and tauntingly says how nice it must be to be the sheriff, considering how few consequences his actions have on his position.
He later appears sitting in the Trip Trap, having a drink. He again shows hostility toward the sheriff and doesn't answer his questions regarding Woody's whereabouts. When Woody appears, he tries to stop Bigby from talking to him, but relents when Woody gives him an okay. However, Gren soon has enough of Bigby and confronts the sheriff, shouting out his frustration with the rich folks in the Woodlands not caring about the less well-off Fables like him, and how Holly's sister has gone missing with the Business Office refusing to help locate her. The confrontation escalates when he insults Snow White, which either causes him to get punched, threatened, or insulted by Bigby.
Gren then transforms into his true form and begins a violent brawl with Bigby. At first, he has the upper hand in the fight, until Bigby transforms into his half-werewolf form and wins the fight. Bigby then either walks away or rips off Gren's right arm. Either way, Gren is left on the floor, wounded and crying.
|“||God fucking dammit! ...Of course the dear Princess Snow fucking White is safe and sound! Where were you when we reported this weeks ago, huh? Where are you when we ever fucking need you?! If you'd given one ounce of a shit about her, about any of us, she might've been saved! She might've been cared for! She might have been--||”|
— Gren to Bigby
Grendel is again seen at the Trip Trap when Bigby goes to tell Holly about her sister's death. His arm will be missing if Bigby ripped it off previously. Upon seeing Bigby, he becomes slightly fearful, and glances at Holly who puts away the drinks and glasses she had out. After assuring them that he isn't there to fight, Gren becomes reserved again. However, when Jack starts to rile up Bigby, he again gets nervous. Choosing to throw Jack out of the bar pleases Gren, prompting him to tell Jack to "go fuck on up a beanstalk." If Bigby allows Jack to stay, Gren loses his patience and threatens to throw Jack out himself if he does anything else annoying. When Bigby informs Holly about Lily, Gren flips out, claiming that he and Snow don't care about the Fables living outside of the Woodlands and that they are never there when they need them. He refuses to leave Holly with Bigby and Snow until asked directly by her, to which he begrudgingly agrees and walks out, accompanied by Jack if he was allowed to stay.
|“||Hey, whaddya know, we actually agree on something.||”|
— Gren agreeing on Bigby calling Crane a prick. (Determinant)
Grendel is in attendance at Lily's funeral and is upset when Bigby interrupts. He asks the true reason for his being there, believing Bigby has no interest in Lily's death. If Bigby tells him that Ichabod Crane might be the killer, Gren shows absolute shock at the idea of Crane going this low, along with the others in attendance. Later, when Bigby is being held at gunpoint by the Tweedles, he is furious at their interrupting her funeral service. He abandons his glamour along with Holly and after Dee insults Lily by calling her a dead whore, he viciously screams that he'll kill him. When Holly is shot after charging at Dee, Grendel knocks Dum's gun away and pins him to the ground. However, Dum is able to quickly retrieve his gun when Grendel is distracted and shoots him.
All parties injured in the attack are then brought to the Business Office, where they are cared for by Dr. Swineheart. Later, when Bigby asks the doctor about Gren and Holly's condition, Swineheart tells him that they both will recover and that Grendel escorted Holly to the Trip Trap so she could rest.
When Bigby goes to the Trip Trap hoping to look through Lily's belongings for a lead on Crane's whereabouts, Grendel is there to answer the door, accompanied by the Woodsman. He is in a unusually good mood and happily invites him inside. Woody informs Bigby that Swineheart gave the two injured parties barmecidal ambrosia to help cope with the pain, and Gren smugly remarks that the medicine has given him a pleasant high due to his refusal to sleep. The Woodsman constantly warns Gren not to drink any alcohol and that he should rest, but he insists on having a round of drinks before he helps Bigby with the investigation. After the Woodsman again tells him to not drink, Grendel lashes out and the two engage in a brief struggle. Grendel then tells Bigby that Holly discovered that Woody was paying Lily to have sex with him and kept it hidden from them, knowing she would object. After the Woodsman storms out, Bigby again tries to ask Grendel for help, but all he does is recommend that he check Holly's room before passing out from the medication.
|“||It's about time you showed up. Now throw this asshole down the fuckin' well! You killed Lily! Where the fuck do you get off!? You think you have the right to just do this to people? You're a fuckin' crook! Fuckin' shit....||”|
— Gren expressing his outright anger and disgust to the Crooked Man along with the others. (Determinant)
Grendel is present at the Crooked Man's trial, and argues for him to be thrown down the Witching Well after he is found guilty. If the Crooked Man was killed, he defends Bigby since the Crooked Man killed Lily, but still seems surprised of how Bigby killed him, calmly saying "holy shit". If the Crooked Man was brought back for the trial and Bigby choose to execute him by ripping off his head, he's visibly seen disgusted muttering "ugh", while turning his head away.
He is later seen complaining that the line outside of the Business Office is too long, and even smiles as Bigby walks past him and Tiny Tim.
|“||Oh come on Holly. You know that's not going to stop the sheriff from pulling the same shit he always has. I mean this I get, but I didn't do shit wrong, and I got my fucking arm ripped off!||”|
— Gren blaming Bigby for losing his arm and also stating his hatred for the government. (Determinant)
Grendel is violent, snide, crude, opprobrious, arrogant, hateful, sarcastic, brutal, temperamental, argumentative, impatient, always profane, and somewhat egotistical. He tends to keep to himself quietly, and as such, hates it when he is disturbed. He is shown to be an alcoholic, which would partially explain his violent temper. He spends most of his on-screen time in his glamour, and his Book of Fables entry expresses him as working in the mundy world to afford it. He was also amongst the only people who would openly approve of the Crooked Man's execution if Bigby returned to the Business Office with his corpse. He also becomes vicious, aggressive, vengeful, hostile, and even homicidal when provoked, as seen when he engaged Bigby in a fight, enraged at how he only investigated Faith's murder but not Lily's disappearance (and he did not initiate this fight in self-defense). He later states that "he didn't do shit wrong" (if Bigby returns with the Crooked Man's corpse), even though he initiated the brawl. He also became massively infuriated at the Tweedles' interruption of the funeral. Grendel, in each scene he appears in, will fly off into an enraged demeanor when bothered with the slightest provocation.
He also has a bold sense of morality, as he angrily insults and yells at the Crooked Man, along with the other people in the trial, and also asks if he thinks if he has the right to do what he does to other people. He also speaks up for Bigby (if Lawrence is dead) if he killed the Crooked Man in the same scenario, and says that he deserved to die, until Bigby reveals Georgie Porgie killed Faith and Lily. However, in spite of his violent tendencies, he is not sadistic, and can be horrified at sudden violence, as shown when he turns his head in disgust when Bigby rips off the Crooked Man's head, or showing surprise at Bigby choking the Crooked Man and then bringing his body to the trial.
However, Grendel (even though he turns violent in aggression at times) is fiercely loyal to his friends, as seen by when he defended Lily's funeral. He seems to be more concerned for Lily, more so than Holly, as he spoke up for her more often than Holly herself did.
Powers and Abilities
Whilst Gren isn't seen fighting in his human glamour (with the exception of his brief struggle with the Woodsman in "A Crooked Mile"), his true form is a tall, massive, extremely bulky white monster with a curved mouth. Although it walks slowly with something of a limp, it is shown to be quite powerful, as seen by when he was able to toss around and overpower the human form of Bigby Wolf with ease. However, it was countered brutally by Bigby's half-werewolf form, wherein he rips off Grendel's right arm at the player's choice, despite the strength that he displays while in his true form, as in his original poem. This choice also removes his right arm while in his glamour form for the rest of the game. He is also shown to be somewhat intolerant of pain as he goes down when clawed and kicked by Bigby, screams and starts whimpering in agony when he loses his arm, and grunts in pain when he gets shot by one of the Tweedles, later complaining about it as of if it was a traumatic experience.
Book of Fables Entry
"Grendel just wants to be left alone. In the old days he terrorized Norse mead halls, but lately he can be found occupying a stool in various quiet, dumpy bars around New York. He hates the noise of the city, but must work there to afford his glamour. Despite his gruff bearing, he's fiercely loyal to those who've learned to offer him the space and silence he deserves. Talking to him is like watching a time bomb tick down, it's only a matter of time."
- Gren is Grendel from the mythical tale of Beowulf. In the original tale, Grendel is a human man with a monstrous nature and attitude due to being descended from Cain of the Bible, and having a monster for a mother, who's named "Hag". In later renditions of the Beowulf tale, Grendel is described as not just acting like a monster and having monstrous strength and abilities, but looking like a monster too. But Grendel is not a troll nor a titan in the original tale, but something else, like a demonic ogre.
- Bigby is given the option to tear Grendel's arm off which will show him (both glamoured and in his true form) without an arm for the rest of the game. This is a symbolic reference to how Grendel is defeated in his story of origin, "Beowulf" in which the epic hero Beowulf dismembers Grendel's arm during combat.
- If Bigby tries to avoid telling Holly about her sister, Gren will figure it out from what has been said so far and inform her anyways.
- Gren's voice actor, Andrew Chaikin, also plays Roman and Carlos in The Walking Dead, another popular Telltale game. He also voices the character Bugeye and De Cava from the Telltale Game, Tales of Monkey Island.
- When Gren passes out after the Woodsman leaves in "A Crooked Mile", the in-game message will humorously state "Gren won't remember this".
- When Bigby first sees Gren at the Woodlands, both of his eyes are normal. However, for the rest of the game, his right eye is clouded, similar to how his eyes normally look in his natural form. This could indicate that Gren uses an imperfect (illegal) glamour, or it could be an oversight from the developers.
- In the Wolf Among Us comics, Gren has been restricted to only work with Fables and is not allowed to work with Mundies due to his "violent tendencies".
- Gren seems to hate Georgie Porgie a lot, probably because he knows of his abusive and misogynistic treatment towards his girls, and calls him "that shithead" when the Crooked Man reveals that he killed Faith and Lily. However, because the two never met, their exact relationship is unknown.