NBC TV series Grimm takes inspiration for its Wesen of the week from all over the world. Not only do we meet versions of fairy tale characters from Goldilocks and the Three Bears to The Pied Piper of Hamelin, but also legends from the Native Americans and Europe as well as those written to overlap with human history, undesirable or otherwise.
We take a closer look at the creatures in Grimm inspired by cultural legends, history and folklore. I can’t say I’m playing favorites.
The Wildermann Wesen is known by many names in human mythology. Miche, Sasquatch, Yeti, The Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot are all different names in one Wesen. When they transform or woge they become enormous, hirsute beasts with, you know it too well, big feet.
Grimm’s penultimate season one episode, Big Feet, introduced the Wildermann with a lightly ironic exploration of the world of Wesen therapeutic support groups. The lesson of that episode? Don’t deny your true nature.
All the way back to Aesop and before, wolves have appeared as the baddies of myths and fairy stories. The Black Forest-set Brothers Grimm tales are no different, with Red Riding Hood notably depicting a cunning wolf attempting to trick and eat our protagonist.
Grimm’s explanation for all things lupine in mythology is the Blutbad Wesen, a vicious wolf-like creature which hunts in packs and is responsible for the popular conception of werewolves in human mythology. These guys are bad news if you happen to be a little pig, or Bauerschwein.
The Blutbad is the Wesen we’re most familiar with on Grimm, thanks to Nick’s ally, Monroe, happening to be one. Specifically, Monroe is a Wieder, or reformed Blutbad who no longer hunts and eats humans and lives a quiet, vegan life suppressing his bestial impulses.
We have seen amazing movies and series where they have dragons, so it’s only fitting that Grimm should provide an alternative explanation for the origin of such stories. Enter the Dämonfeuer.
A rare fire-breathing Wesen who dwells in a cave, craves humans for supper and hoards a lot of treasure, it’s not hard to see the parallels between the Dämonfueur and mythological dragons. Season one’s Plumed Serpent provided a thorough explanation of exactly how the fire-breathing works, using a combination of vaporised fat (from all the people they eat) and gastric acid. Ewww, I know.
You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry. You’d better not pout, I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is really a Gefrierengeber! Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?
Monroe is the source of this suspicion in Grimm, which suggests that Santa Claus’ ability to live in the inauspicious conditions of the North Pole is down to his Wesen identity as a Gefrierengeber (from the German ‘Gerfrieren’, meaning to freeze). Well think about it? I mean who else could live up there?
These are nasty troll-like Wesens who believe that bridges are their natural property. Trolling on bridges, yes that’s what they do. The season one episode, Leave It To Beavers, is based on the story of the troll living under the bridge who threatened three seemingly harmless goats, or in this case, Eisbiber.
The Reinigen, a rat-like species of Wesen from which Grimm suggests we take the story of The Pied Piper Of Hamelin. A few Reinigen are known to be unusual musicians and able to hypnotise and control rats with their music, as seen in season one’s Danse Macabre.
You might not have seen an Alien, but mistaking the Gluhenvolk wesen for aliens would be an easy mistake to make with their hairless humanoid reptilian look and glowing skin.
That luminescent skin, which glows with a lunar beauty, is the source of no end of trouble for this particular Wesen, attracting as it does the attentions of hunters from throughout the Wesen world. So there we have it, just a few places where Grimm’s fictional world intersects with our own and existing stories.
On March 19, 2014, NBC announced that Grimm had been renewed for a fourth season.