Traumafessions :: Reader Bjarke J. on the Groke from Moomin

First of all, let me just express how freaking awesome your site is – not only does it bring back a lot of horrifying memories, much to my never ending joy, but it also gives me tons of stuff to track down and watch for my own pleasure, what with me just loving everything remotely disturbing. You’re like a never ending database of awesome for me, and for that I simply have to thank everyone involved with the site and everyone submitting their Traumafessions.

Now, with my mad preaching and worshiping out of the way, I will finally submit my own Traumafession, and one I know that I share with many a fellow Danish (or generally Scandinavian) child who grew up in the early nineties. The show I talking about is THE MOOMINS – animated in Japan, but based upon children’s books from the 40s in Finland, this show generally revolved around the Moomins, white, almost hippo-like creatures (called “Mumitrolde” in Denmark, which literally means “Mumi Trolls”) living a happy life in Moomin Valley and going on adventures.

That sounds innocent and sweet, right?

Well, it was… for the most part.

But this show had many pretty scary aspects – there was always a dark feel around the adventures they would go on, and several antagonists were particularly frightening for a fragile little 5-year-old mind to take. The ghostly Hattifatteners who recharged themselves during thunderstorms was one thing… but the one thing that frightened all kids I know who watched this endlessly was the monster known only as the Groke.

The Groke was a horrifying creature indeed – large, ghostly-looking and a dark, pale shade of purple, it would slowly walk through the fogs and spread a chilling cold wherever it walked, creating nothing but a merciless winter around it. It didn’t exactly help that it had a downwards pointing mouth with very large teeth and completely expressionless eyes either. Everyone in this show was afraid of this thing, and for good reason – it froze every damn thing it touched!

And they had even foreshadowed its appearance, sometimes using it as a warning for people to behave nicely, or the Groke would get them… and then, when it finally shows up, it is indeed terrifying – every character’s reaction shows nothing but fear at the sight of it.

I vaguely remember that it was revealed during the show that the Groke was not really evil, but just very lonely – and that it was meant to be some sort of metaphor of how cold loneliness makes you feel, and how you only end up spreading it as you desperately search for warmth, so it was a very sympathetic character – but I sure didn’t have any sympathy as a child – it scared the pants off of me and many others every time it showed itself on screen!

I don’t know how popular this series was outside of Scandinavia, but it was definitely a hit in Denmark – I still love it to this day, and when I stumble upon a clip of the Groke, I still feel a chill – simply because of the memory of how much this damned thing frightened me.

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unkle lancifer
unkle lancifer (@unkle-lancifer)
12 years ago

Thanks for this great traumafession Bjarke! I am now completely fascinated with the Groke!

Blackwingrose (@blackwingrose)
12 years ago

Me too! I’m now jealous of Danish kids for having cartoons this cool!
I think aside from the expressionless face, that the creatures combination of being totally quiet then making really scary sounds is what makes it most frightening.

theresnomrpibb (@theresnomrpibb)
12 years ago

I read in a catalog from the Folio Society, which sells the books on which this series is based, that the books were written to provide hope for children growing up during WWII. This may explain the dark atmosphere around the Moomins adventures-it was something children from this time would identify with.

RATSAWGOD (@ratsawgod)
12 years ago

I love this. GREAT tramafession. The animation is extremely well done, too.

Penh (@penh)
12 years ago

I never saw the cartoons, but the Groke in the books freaked me way the hell out.  *shudder*

Saikkusukka (@saikkusukka)
12 years ago

I watched the Moomins all the time when I was a kid, and in Finland the show’s very popular. Altough the groke freaked everybody out ö__ö I have this weird thing going on that I must know more about her, and that’s why my friend gave me a groke towel for a birthday present~ I’ve been drawing her everywhere, and I’ve come to like her<3