Roald Dahl’s most creative character descriptions

Posted by
Roald Dahl HQ
Posted on
4:00pm, 16th February

Roald Dahl’s stories are packed full of daring and delightful descriptions. Some are brilliantly beautiful, and some are downright revolting. This World Book Day, let’s take a look at some of the best Roald Dahl character descriptions out there…

"She was a gigantic holy terror, a fierce tyrannical monster who frightened the life out of the pupils and teachers alike. There was an aura of menace about her even at a distance, and when she came up close you could almost feel the dangerous heat radiating from her as from a red-hot rod of metal."

Miss Trunchbull is no ordinary headteacher. In this wicked description she seems inhumanly terrifying. We don’t know about you, but it seems like we can feel the “dangerous heat” of The Trunchbull coming right off the page. 

"Some curious warmth that was almost tangible shone out of Miss Honey’s face when she spoke to a confused and homesick newcomer to the class."

Miss Honey is a wonderful teacher and one of the only adults that Matilda can rely on. Unlike the menacing heat from The Trunchbull, Miss Honey’s warmth is comforting and uplifting, a lovely symbol for her role in the rest of the story.

"And his eyes – his eyes were most marvellously bright. They seemed to be sparkling and twinkling at you all the time. The whole face, in fact, was alight with fun and laughter."

Up to this point in the story, we have heard a lot about the magnificent Willy Wonka but haven’t seen him yet! We love this sentence from his first appearance. Instead of a grand and glorious description, Roald Dahl focuses on the subtle twinkle in his eye. We think this makes our master chocolatier even more mysterious. 

"Boggis and Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean.
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were none the less equally mean."

Sometimes the only way to describe something truly beastly is with a limerick! We love this rhyme for the three vile farmers who hunt Fantastic Mr Fox. It’s simple, witty, and brilliantly sums up their pure nastiness.

"She was like a great white soggy overboiled cabbage."

Simple and effective. This description may not be long or complicated, but we think there’s no better way to describe the gruesome and cabbage-y Aunt Sponge.

"If you peered deep into the moustachy bristles sticking out over his upper lip, you would probably see much larger objects that had escaped the wipe of his hand, things that had been there for months and months, like a piece of maggoty green cheese or a mouldy old cornflake or even the slimy tail of a tinned sardine."

This one is truly revolting. Those bits of horrible, rotting food in Mr Twit’s beard is enough to make even the bravest person’s stomach churn. If you ask us, Roald Dahl’s gruesome details are what makes his stories so unique and splendiferous.