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|Function(s) / Belongings|
|Rank / Occupation||
Priest / Citizen
Gold cross necklace
Balding / black
|Chronological and political information|
None / Rebel (not Resistance)
- "A shepherd must tend to his flock, especially when they have grown… unruly."
- ― Father Grigori[src]
Father Grigori is the only known surviving occupant of Ravenholm during the events of Half-Life 2. He appears to be mentally unstable, but is generally friendly. In Half-Life 2, he helps Gordon Freeman survive his trip through Ravenholm and escorts him to the mines on the far side of the Zombie-infested town.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Objects
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Trivia
- 5 Gallery
- 6 List of appearances
- 7 References
Although not much about Father Grigori's background is revealed in-game, it is known that he is not a native of Ravenholm, but that he sought it out and became the pastor of its church during the Combine invasion and occupation of Earth. After the Combine bombarded Ravenholm with Headcrab Shells, releasing Headcrabs that turned most of the town's population into Zombies, Grigori descended into madness. As the only rumored survivor of the attack, Grigori decided to remain in the town and construct a variety of deadly traps so that he could liberate his 'congregation' from their zombified states through death.
The presence of a survivor in Ravenholm is revealed when Gordon Freeman hears Grigori reciting ominous biblical-sounding phrases near the first propeller trap that he encounters in Ravenholm. After Gordon battles through several groups of Zombies and Headcrabs, he sees Grigori for the first time when Grigori emerges from a door above a flaming mound of Zombie corpses. Grigori jovially addresses Gordon as "another life to save", promising to "keep an eye" on him before returning into the building.
Grigori next appears in a hole in the roof of a building opposite Gordon. He congratulates Gordon on his perseverance against the Zombie hordes and tells him to make free use of his traps, but warns him to be careful not to fall into them himself. Grigori then shoots a Fast Headcrab that was about to attack Gordon from behind, warning him to be vigilant in Ravenholm.
After Gordon uses one of Grigori's car traps to lift himself up to a scaffold, Grigori appears on a nearby rooftop and introduces himself, adding "You have already met my congregation!". Next, Grigori shoots a Zombie in front of a window that Gordon is behind, breaking the glass. Grigori apologizes to Gordon, but tells him that his bullets are the least of Gordon's concerns.
Later, Grigori throws Gordon a shotgun, advises him to "aim for the head", and tells him to proceed to the town church so that he can meet him there. Next, Grigori reappears on a rooftop further across the Zombie-infested town to remind Gordon to head to the church, using Annabelle to shoot any Headcrabs or Zombies nearby until Gordon enters the window of a nearby building. When Gordon emerges from the roof of the building opposite the church, Grigori greets him from the churchyard and announces that he will be sending a motorized lift cart over to Gordon that can carry him across to the church. Gordon is left to defend himself from attacking Fast Zombies until the cart arrives, at which point he climbs into the cart and releases its handbrake to be carried across to the church.
Once Gordon exits the cart, coming face to face with Grigori for the first time, Grigori offers to take him to the mines so that he can leave Ravenholm through them. However, Grigori makes it clear that he intends to stay in Ravenholm, saying "a shepherd must attend to his flock". Grigori then accompanies Gordon through a graveyard on the path to the mines, helping him to fight off hordes of attacking Zombies on the way. When Grigori and Gordon reach the gate to the mines, Grigori pulls down a switch that holds the gate open long enough for Gordon to crawl under it. Once Gordon is on the other side, Grigori bids him farewell and tells him to "look to [his] own salvation".
Father Grigori's eventual fate is left ambiguous; if Gordon remains at the gate after having been "escorted" to the mine entrance, he will see Grigori turn back to continue to fight against the Zombies. Eventually, Grigori will detonate some nearby fuel tanks as Zombies break out of a crypt; he runs through the flames laughing and firing before taking cover near the crypt entrance. He continues killing Zombies for some time before disappearing inside. In Raising the Bar, it is stated that his eventual fate was left up to the players to decide, and that there were no plans to re-use the character in the series.
Father Grigori is a middle-aged man with a shaven head. He wears traditional embroidered clothing and red Converse sneakers covered with Headcrab ooze. He also wears a crucifix around his neck, signifying his religious position and outlook, which seems to have taken a turn for the extreme as he tries hard to liberate his "congregation" from their zombified states. A cross is carved into the skin of one of his hands.
Personality and skills
Father Grigori is mentally unhinged and can be heard uttering disjointed biblical-sounding rants and laughing manically while hunting Zombies in Ravenholm. The Half-Life 2 Prima Guide describes him as "tough" and states that "there is not a scrap of fear in him".
Grigori appears at various points in Ravenholm, generally standing at a high vantage point from which he proceeds to kill the various Zombies in the areas below. Zombies seem to prefer to attack Gordon when given the choice, except during the final sequence leading up to the mine entrance. Grigori has to reload frequently due to the limitations of his weapon, leaving him vulnerable to the Zombies that can quickly reach his position, such as Fast Zombies, in significant numbers or when operating at ground level.
Like Alyx Vance, Father Grigori seems to have rapidly regenerating health, making him very hard to kill, so players shouldn't generally need to concern themselves if he is attacked, unless the numbers get too large or explosives are set off. He will cry out in anguish when he is overwhelmed and requests Gordon's support.
Grigori tends to only fire at enemies at short to mid-range because his weapon does not have a scope, so he will often fire while retreating back from a zombie if they come to close. Additionally, while Annabelle is very powerful and is capable of killing a Zombie in a single shot, it must be reloaded every two shots, thus hindering its usefulness against large groups.
Father Grigori has also rigged a great number of traps throughout Ravenholm, ranging from spinning blades to flaming pits. These traps are able to be used by Gordon throughout the town to kill Zombies to great effect without expending ammunition.
Father Grigori is the only character in the Half-Life series who uses Annabelle. He fires Annabelle with great accuracy, almost always hitting the targeted zombie's head. He also advises Gordon to aim for zombies' heads. He seems to have large reserves of ammunition, and provides Gordon with a shotgun before directing him to the town church.
Behind the scenes
"Grigori" is a variant of Grigoriy, the Russian form of "Gregory", coming from "Gregorius", from late Greek name "Gregorios", derived from "gregoros", meaning "watchful, alert". This name was popular among early Christians, being borne by a number of important saints. It may also be a reference to the Grigori, the "Watchers", a group of fallen angels from the biblical apocrypha who were originally dispatched by God to watch over mankind and ended up mating with mortal women. Grigori's name, nationality, religion, and somewhat eccentric personality could also be a reference to Grigori Rasputin, a Russian mystic who was known as the "Mad Monk". Rasputin was also famous for his ability to survive, the circumstances in which he supposedly died becoming legendary (consuming food and wine laced with enormous amounts of cyanide, being shot in the back four times, being clubbed, and in some reports castrated, before finally drowning after being bound in a carpet and thrown into the Neva River). This reference is even more supported by the fact that Grigori's name in the game files is
As part of the 2016-2017 Half-Life 2 leak, what was said to be an early prototype of Father Grigori's model was released, with the same body as that of the final version, but with a different, more cartoonish head, and a scarf. It was also stated that the development team had been debating whether to replace the head until they decided to separate the head from the body and replace it with the current head. The model assets still remain unreleased, and its backstory remains unproven.
Father Grigori's appearance was modeled on Daniel Dociu, a Romanian video game art director and conceptual artist who also worked on the Guild Wars video game series, among others. His son Horia is also a video game artist who was involved in Half-Life 2, for which he drew concept art for the Ravenholm traps.
Father Grigori is voiced by Jim French, who also voiced the Fisherman in Half-Life 2: Lost Coast and Bill in Left 4 Dead. Valve had first met him during the recording session for the GoldSrc game Gunman Chronicles. Half-Life series writer Marc Laidlaw, who was present during the session, liked French's voice and performance so much that he wished to bring him back for a role in a Valve title, keeping him in mind years later when Valve needed to cast an actor for Grigori. Laidlaw himself would later provide temporary voice lines for Grigori in Arkane Studios' cancelled Half-Life 2 spinoff Return to Ravenholm.
Several unused voice files indicate that Grigori was once able to give out health and ammo to the player.
Return to Ravenholm
Father Grigori played a key role in the cancelled spin-off Return to Ravenholm, which was being developed by Arkane Studios in 2009. The documentary "The Untold History of Arkane: Dishonored / Prey / Ravenholm / LMNO / The Crossing", released on May 26, 2020, revealed that the game's story revolved around Grigori accompanying the protagonist Adrian Shephard on a return trip to Ravenholm after the events of Half-Life 2. How and why Grigori escaped Ravenholm, as well as why he wants to return, remains unknown.
Likely in an attempt to increase his mobility, Grigori has abandoned all of his priestly garb apart from his cross necklace. He now sports a dark brown tee over a long sleeved white shirt, and a brown leather glove over his left hand that he eventually abandons. He still carries and uses his rifle Annabelle, which he now keeps on his back in a holster.
Grigori has taken up shelter in a classroom in a large abandoned medical asylum somewhere in an abandoned city, similar to how he took shelter in Ravenholm's church. He finds the unconscious body of Shephard, left by The G-Man, which he drags to and lays on a hospital bed in the class. Shephard eventually regains consciousness, and Grigori begins talking to him and cooking before zombies swarm the room, forcing both of them to evacuate.
Grigori's fondness for building mechanisms to kill zombies is still present, as evidenced by the traps found by the player throughout the game, but he has also developed a fascination for experimenting with zombies, Headcrabs, and animals. This experimentation results in the creation of nocturnal "zombie monkeys" that are afraid of light, which the player has to fight. Grigori is seen surviving off of the meat of Headcrabs, much like the Vortigaunts in Black Mesa East, commenting: "If one is sufficiently famished, the white meat is tolerable. I will make no comparisons to poultry". He has also built machines to harvest their blood, which he injects into the right side of his neck in an attempt to build immunity to their bite.
Grigori's injection of the Headcrab blood causes the right side of his neck and head to mutate, something he initially tries to hide from the player by wearing a hooded jacket. Once the mutation reaches a peak, Grigori "explodes" and appears as a monster.
- Grigori seems to have a quite unique A.I., as if he is given rapid-fire weapons by means of mods, console or other, he will stand still, only falling back after enemies get too close. He also will fire continuously and at enemies' heads. He has animations for many weapons, but only has one reload animation, which belongs to Annabelle.
- Upon entering the mines at the end of Ravenholm, if Gordon runs through the door and immediately runs back out again, he will be able to see Father Grigori in the flames, continuously laughing and fighting Zombies.
- There are crucifixes visible on the back of Father Grigori's hands. The crosses appear to be burnt or cut into his skin.
- If Grigori dies, Gordon can briefly use his weapon, Annabelle, before the game over message is displayed. However, it does not have its own viewmodel or HUD icon and is too incomplete to be of any use.
- If the player causes Grigori to die after passing the gate at the end of the graveyard (such as by placing cinder blocks underneath the gate before it closes), it is possible to acquire and use the Annabelle for the rest of the game.
- In the description for the Half-Life 2 achievement "Hallowed Ground", Grigori's name is misspelled "Gregori".
Return to Ravenholm
A render of Father Grigori's model from the unreleased Episode Return to Ravenholm.
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance)