|Gruntilda in Banjo-Kazooie|
— Gruntilda, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Gruntilda Winkybunion is the main antagonist of the Banjo-Kazooie series. A grumpy witch who lives in a twisting lair carved into the side of the cliffs surrounding Spiral Mountain. Though she appeared to live in her lair for a fair amount of time prior to the events of Banjo-Kazooie, her first major encounter with the bear and bird that lived there came once she kidnapped the young Tooty with the intent of stealing her beauty.
After her initial defeat, and the subsequent rescue of Banjo's sister, Gruntilda was trapped beneath a boulder near Spiral Mountain, where her body slowly decayed over the course of two years, leaving behind a skeletal frame still full of life. A few months after her initial defeat however, her ghost possessed a mechanical body built by her then-henchman Klungo, and uses her spiritual form to travel twenty years into the past to prevent Banjo and Kazooie from ever meeting. While this would technically mark the first time Gruntilda had met her future-rivals, it is unknown if this created a timeline separate to that which Banjo-Kazooie and the later games take place and Gruntilda had not met these two originally.
Two years after her first defeat, Gruntilda reappeared once more. With the help of her two younger sisters Blobbelda and Mingella, Gruntilda plotted to use her sisters' invention, the Big-O-Blaster, to restore herself to her original fleshy form, only to once again be defeated by Banjo and Kazooie. This second defeat caused her skeletal body to be destroyed, reducing her to a skull. Due to her lack of a body, it then took her eight more years to make her way back to Spiral Mountain, where she was forced to participate in the Lord of Games' vehicular challenge.
Gruntilda's physical appearance remains very much the same throughout all of her appearances, with the sole difference being that her skin decays after her first defeat. Gruntilda has a long crooked nose and long chin, both covered with warts, and eyes containing orange irises. Prior to her first defeat, she also appears to possess short black hair as well.
In Banjo-Kazooie, Gruntilda is a woman with a large frame who wears a black long-sleeved shirt and skirt, with the former appearing to be a dark red colour on the inside. She also wears a large pointed hat, a common in depictions of witches. She also wears a scarf and socks, both patterned with pink and purple horizontal stripes, and black shoes with red straps. While Banjo-Pilot also includes characters from Banjo-Tooie, Gruntilda's physical appearance in this game is the same as in Banjo-Kazooie.
In the two years she was trapped under a boulder, her body decayed and left only a skeletal frame of her original self. During the events of Banjo-Tooie Gruntilda wears a dirtied and tattered version of her original clothing, although her hat and shirt are now blue in colour. The front of her shirt is torn open to reveal her ribcage as well.
In Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge her appearance is similar to her form from Tooie, albeit she appears to be entirely pink, the bottom half of her body is instead a ghastly tail, and she lacks the tattered scarf she later wears. The metallic body she also uses throughout Grunty's Revenge is similar in appearance to her original design, though as it is metallic it is also entirely grey in colour. With a down-turned pipe for a nose, Mecha-Grunty possesses large green lights for eyes, and various pipes that connect the different parts of her torso to her limbs, as well as an exhaust pipe on its back. On its chest, this mechanical body has a panel that contains a dial (presumably to measure internal heat) and two buttons placed vertical to one another - the top one red and the bottom one blue. A plate on the bottom of her torso also reads "HAG".
In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Gruntilda's original body had been reduced to only her skull following her many defeats. The Lord of Games gifts her a new mechanical body to allow her to compete in challenges against Banjo and Kazooie. This body is similar in appearance to her original design, with a black dress (apparently makeshift in design, as it possesses purple stitching) covering her mechanical torso; this dress also has a white trim on the bottom, a new addition to her original design. While she does wear a new version of her original purple and pink scarf, her socks have been changed to be solid purple, and her black shoes now possess a new hooked design. She now wears a metallic witch hat on the glass cylinder in which her skull floats, which is attached to her body by two pipes. Though the actual appearance of her new body is unknown, she does possess two green arms, slightly lighter and paler in colour to her original skin tone.
In the scene that plays whenever the player loses all of their lives (thus earning a Game Over), or when they quit the game, Gruntilda goes through with her original plan of stealing Tooty's beauty. The results of this causes her appearance to change drastically, with her facial features becoming much kinder. She possesses longer hair and seems to also wear black or purple eye shadow. Her frame becomes much thinner as well, with her bust growing considerably, which is framed in the small black dress she wears. In addition to this dress, Gruntilda also wears high-heeled shoes of a similarly-black colour. It is unknown what happens to the scarf and hat she wore prior to entering the Beauty Transfer Machine that accomplishes her transformation.
Like most of the other characters within the Banjo-Kazooie series, Gruntilda is a fairly comical character and often makes references that break the fourth wall, aware that she is within a video game. Perhaps her most notable trait is that Gruntilda tends to speak exclusively in rhymes; the only exception to this rule is during Banjo-Tooie, as her sisters forbid her from doing so in exchange for their help.
Gruntilda herself is a very arrogant and overconfident woman, who despite her comical ways is also incredibly intelligent - she is perhaps the most intelligent character in the Banjo-Kazooie series barring the Lord of Games. Her intelligence is frequently displayed in the creation of various mechanical marvels, the most prominent of which may be the Gruntbot enemies Banjo and Kazooie come across within Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. In addition to the Gruntbots, Gruntilda has also developed the aforementioned Beauty Transfer Machine and Gruntbots, as well as a number of vehicles she and Piddles use in Nuts & Bolts. She also displays great skill at using gadgets she may not have developed, as evidenced by her piloting the HAG 1 during her Banjo-Tooie boss fight and activate the Big-O-Blaster with little difficulty.
In addition to Gruntilda being incredibly self-centred, she always seeks to increase her wealth and power. During the events of Nuts & Bolts, Gruntilda fights Banjo and Kazooie as she wishes to transform their home, Spiral Mountain, into a development known as Grunty Acres. Her self-centred nature and willingness to do anything to enhance her selfish goals also manifests in her desires to make herself beautiful in Banjo-Kazooie and later, in Banjo-Tooie, drain the Isle O' Hags of life simply to revive her original body. Gruntilda also has a habit of beating her minions should they have failed her. While Klungo is the one most commonly seen affected by her rage, she had also torn out the pages of her spellbook Cheato upon finding out that he had aided Banjo in Banjo-Kazooie, apparent-often misuse and mistreatment of her magic cauldron Dingpot, and the physical abuse of Piddles simply due to the cat's "cute" appearance clashing with her evil outlook.
Gruntilda appears as a playable character within Jake's Super Smash Bros. Grunty's moveset in the game makes use of her magical abilities and greatly reference her boss fight from Banjo-Kazooie, reusing her fireball spells and the ability to create a forcefield to protect herself with. Her Final Smash is a reference to King K. Rool's, another antagonist created by Rare, as it is nearly identical in execution: Gruntilda uses the Big-O-Blaster to fire a beam at King Jingaling's golden palace, destroying it in the process and damaging all those she had hit previously with a dash attack.
Gruntilda appears as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Galactic Battle.
- After her defeat in Banjo-Kazooie, Grunty fires a magic blast up at Banjo and Kazooie as she is falling off the tower. Originally this blast was to hit Banjo and transform him into a frog, and the player would have needed to return to previous worlds as Tooty in order to reverse the spell.
- Gruntilda appears to love game shows as she hosts three throughout the series, at the end of Banjo-Kazooie (Grunty's Furnace Fun), Banjo-Tooie (Tower of Tragedy), and an unnamed quiz in Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge.
- As rhyming is difficult in Japanese, that region's localization of Banjo-Kazooie instead gives her the stereotypical dialect of an old woman, albeit highly exaggerated.
- Gruntilda appears to be a glutton, as she taunts Banjo and Kazooie with "When I'm nice and slim once more, burgers, fries, and chips galore!" in Banjo-Kazooie.
- Oddly, as Rare is a British company, the "fries" and "chips" Gruntilda mentions would be one and the same, as french fries are often called the latter in that region.