Looking for some weird, lovely, and badass fairy tale characters? You’ll find all the named characters from Grimm fairy tales here (now 42% complete).
I went through the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales list, noting down all the named fairy tale characters. For each character, I have added a short description and a link to the fairy tale(s) where the character is featured.
Benjamin is the youngest of The Twelve Brothers of a princess. The brothers have fled from their father, who wanted to kill them. When the princess finds them in the forest, she meets Benjamin first. She stays with them and prepares the food together with Benjamin each day.
Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty)
Briar Rose, better known as Sleeping Beauty, is a princess cursed by a jealous wise woman. When she pricks herself on a spindle, she falls asleep. The whole palace gets covered with a hedge of thorns. Finally, after 100 years, a prince rescues her with a kiss, and everybody awakes again.
Catherine is a well-meaning but not very well-reasoning woman married to Frederick. She loses a sausage, their beer, their supply of flour, and all their gold through foolish thinking. While they get the gold back, the tale ends with Frederick alone and Catherine going bonkers.
Cinderella is a young orphan woman mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters. She goes to a festival and wins the prince’s heart. He captures her golden slipper. The slipper does not fit the stepsisters, but it fits Cinderella, and they live happily ever after.
Elsie, nicknamed Clever Elsie, is a young woman with a big imagination. Hans wants to marry her. She imagines a great tragedy when she gets into the cellar to fetch some beer. Soon everybody ends up crying with her. Hans marries her but ends up tricking her, and Clever Elsie leaves him.
Frederick is a reasonable man who is married to Catherine. She means well, but she loses a sausage, their beer, their supply of flour, and all their gold through foolish thinking. While they get the gold back, the tale ends with Frederick alone and Catherine going bonkers.
Fundevogel is a boy found at the top of a tree. He becomes best friends with a girl called Lina. The cook, however, wants to boil him. So they flee and change into several things to escape the cook. In the end, they kill her and live happily ever after.
Gretel is a young girl who gets left behind by her parents in the forest together with her brother Hansel. They find their way back the first time, but a witch captures them the second time. Hansel is locked up, but Gretel manages to kill the witch, and Hansel and Gretel return home with riches.
Gretel is also a young woman who is betrothed to a young man nicknamed Clever Hans. He visits her daily, and she loves to give him presents. However, every time he manages to break the gifts. So, in the end, Gretel breaks up with him.
Hans (Clever Hans)
Hans is a young man who is not clever despite his nickname Clever Hans. He daily visits his bride-to-be Gretel. She gives him gifts, but he struggles every time with carrying the gifts back home, trying to apply his mother’s old advice to new gifts. In the end, Gretel gives up on him.
Hans is also a young man who wants to marry a girl with a big imagination, nicknamed Clever Elsie. She imagines a great tragedy when she gets into the cellar to fetch some beer. Soon everybody ends up crying with her. Hans marries her but ends up tricking her, and Clever Elsie leaves him.
Hansel is a young boy who gets left behind by his parents in the forest together with his sister Gretel. They find their way back the first time, but a witch captures them the second time. Hansel is locked up, but Gretel manages to kill the witch, and Hansel and Gretel return home with riches.
Henry (Faithful Henry)
Faithful Henry faithfully served his master, the prince, even when the prince got turned into a frog in The Frog Prince. It made him extremely sad. So sad that three iron bands were needed around his heart to prevent it from bursting. When his master was free once again, they burst from happiness.
Holle (Mother Holle)
Mother Holle lives in a world that is only accessible in magical ways. She is old, ugly, but just. When she shakes up her pillows, it snows on earth. She treats a stepdaughter who is kind, well, and a daughter who is unkind, badly.
John (Faithful John)
Faithful John is a trusty servant who promises his dying king to care for his son. When the prince opens the forbidden door, he helps to find his princess. Overhearing three ravens, he saves their lives at the cost of his own life. A gruesome sacrifice brings him back.
Korbes (Herr Korbes)
Herr Korbes is the innocent victim of a crime. One day he gets a visit from a rooster, a hen, a cat, a millstone, an egg, a duck, a pin, and a needle, who travel together. They invade his home, and when he arrives, they start hurting him until he dies.
Lina is a girl who befriends Fundevogel, a boy found at the top of a tree. One day, she learns the cook wants to boil him. She tells him, and together they flee, changing into several things to escape the cook. In the end, they kill her and live happily ever after.
Little Red Riding Hood (Little Red Cap)
Little Red Riding Hood is a girl with a red hood. Her mother sends her to her grandmother with wine and cake. On the way, she meets a wolf and stops to pick flowers. Unfortunately, the wolf first eats grandmother and later also eats her. A hunter rescues them, and they kill the wolf.
Marlinchen has a brother whom she thinks she incidentally has killed. Her mother cooks him; her father eats him. She buries his bones beneath The Juniper Tree. He turns into a beautiful bird, sings about his fate, gathers gifts, and returns to Marlinchen and his parents.
Mary (The Blessed Virgin Mary)
The Blessed Virgin Mary rescues a child from hunger in Mary’s Child. However, when the child does something forbidden and refuses to confess, she casts the child down to earth. She takes away her voice, health, and children. Only when she finally admits Mary gives her everything back.
Peter (Saint Peter)
Saint Peter keeps guard in heaven, deciding who to let in and who to keep out. One day, as told in The Tailor in Heaven, a tailor knocks on the door. Peter allows him in, but the Lord tells Peter to kick him out again when he ends up hurting somebody on earth.
Rapunzel is a young woman named after a vegetable her parents stole. As punishment, she is acquired by a sorceress who locks her in a tower. A prince climbs up her lengthy hair, and they fall in love. The sorceress attacks them. Years later, they find happiness together again.
Roland (Sweetheart Roland)
Sweetheart Roland is the lover of a fairy tale girl. Together they escape a witch who wants to kill her. However, when Roland leaves her to prepare for the wedding, he forgets her. A shepherd rescues her. At Roland’s wedding, she sings for him, memory returns, and they live happily ever after.
Rumpelstiltskin is a little man who lives in a house in the forest. He helps the miller’s daughter to spin straw into gold in exchange for her future child. When he comes to collect, he offers her one way out: guessing his name, Rumpelstiltskin. She finds out, and he ends himself.
Snow White is a princess white as snow, red as blood, and black as ebony wood. Jealous of her beauty, her stepmother tries to kill her. She ends up living with seven dwarfs. After being poisoned and dying, a prince appears, she revives, and they live happily ever after.
Sultan (Old Sultan)
Old Sultan is a dog too old to be of any use. His friend, the wolf, devises a plan in which the dog rescues the farmer’s child, proving his value. When Old Sultan refuses to return the favor, the wolf challenges him to a fight. In the end, they become friends again.
Thrushbeard (King Thrushbeard)
King Thrushbeard is a king who asks a beautiful princess to marry him. She mocks all men, and her father decides to give her away to the next visitor. King Thrushbeard disguises himself as a beggar and gets the princess. After being poor together, he reveals himself, and they marry.
Thumbling is a boy the size of a thumb. He sits in a horse’s ear and tells it how to find his father, is sold for exposition, escapes, tricks two thieves, and is eaten by a cow and a wolf. Finally, his parents free him, and he gets safely home again.
Thumbling is also the name of a tiny young tailor, according to Thumbling’s Travels. He travels the world, jokes around with his mistress, robs the king with a band of robbers, is eaten by a cow, and ends up in a black pudding. Then, finally, a fox brings him safely home again.
Trudy (Mother Trudy)
Mother Trudy is a real witch. She gets a visit one day from a girl who is too curious for her good. When she discovers that the girl has seen her proper form, including devil’s horns, she turns her into a wood block for the fire.
Who is the most famous fairy tale character?
Cinderella is the most famous fairy tale character. There are thousands of variants of her story known throughout the whole world.
Did you like this list of Brothers Grimm fairy tale characters?
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