“Oh! There is a terrible witch in that house who spewed her poison over me and scratched me with her long fingernails.”
Hexenbiest (HEK-sən-beest; pl: -biester Germ. Hexe “witch” + Biest “beast”) is a witch-like Wesen that resembles a zombie, with visibly rotting or disfigured flesh.
Hexenbiest is reserved for the female, while a male such as Sean Renard would instead be called a Zauberbiest (TSOW-bər-beest; Germ. Zauber “magic” or Zauberer “wizard” + Biest “beast”).
You can identify Hexenbiester when they woge primarily by their facial features; their skin decays so that it resembles a corpse, their teeth sharpen, and their hair turns silver. (According to the Grimm Wiki, Hexenbiester find this decayed look sexy.)
Woged or not, they can be identified by a dark U-shaped birthmark on the underside of their tongues.
Hexenbiester are physically strong, and are able to overpower a grown man and rip him apart. But they’re not as strong as Grimms – as we see in Love Sick when Hexenbiest Adalind Schade fights with Grimm Nick Burkhardt.
However, if a Hexenbiest ingests the blood of a Grimm their Wesen powers are destroyed and they become human. Most notably this occurs when Nick forces Adalind to bite his lip during the fight, thus rendering her powerless.
Even if they lose their powers, though, they retain their gift for concocting potions (“Zaubertränke”), which are used to many effects – for example when Adalind Schade sends Nick’s girlfriend Juliette into a coma with a potion administered by a cat’s scratch in Woman in Black.The only known way for a Hexenbiest to regain their lost powers is a complicated and gruesome procedure involving the death and mutilation of another Hexenbiest (see The Ungrateful Dead).
Think mean girl in any high school movie. Hexenbiester are vain, selfish and manipulative. They are primarily concerned with their appearance, combining their looks with a sly cunning to get what they want. They are also feared throughout the Wesen community, and not above bullying weaker Wesen.
It’s also important to cross them, as they can be venomous in their revenge (see earlier comment regarding Nick and Juliette.)
Our favourite Hexenbiest: Adalind Schade
Adalind is beautiful, smart and sexy. In fact, these are qualities she used just as much as any spell or potion to what she wants.
But Adalind is characterised by her scheming ways as much as her beauty. In the course of just two seasons Adalind attempts to kill Nick’s aunt Marie, seeks revenge for her loss of powers by putting Nick’s partner Hank under a love spell, and Juliette into a coma, ingratiates herself with the Royal family, seduces Captain Renard, and falls pregnant using the unborn royal baby as a bargaining chip to regain her powers.
As seen in
Adalind is actually the first Wesen Nick encounters in the Pilot, before he even realises his powers as a Grimm. However Nick soon turns out to be a big, sharp thorn in her side.
As much as she goes on to cement her position as one of Grimm’s true villains, Adalind is, at the same time, hugely entertaining to watch, and provides much needed colour to the proceedings. Her own suffering during the trial to regain her powers at the hands of Gypsy Queen Stefania was hilarious and gruesome at the same time.
Interestingly, it remains to be seen which side Adalind will come down on in the fight between the Royal cousins. Could we see a potential alliance with Renard?
Bring on the rest of season three.
Grimm season 3 currently airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on WATCH in the UK (Sky TV 109 & Virgin TV 124).
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