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- "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 eccentric and possibly mentally unstable presumedly Eastern Orthodox Priest, but is generally friendly. In Half-Life 2, he helps Gordon Freeman survive his trip through Ravenholm, granting Freeman permission to use the various traps he has rigged throughout the town, giving Gordon the SPAS-12, and escorting him to the mines on the far side of the zombie-infested town.
The presence of a survivor in Ravenholm is first revealed with ominous phrases heard quietly near the first propeller trap encountered by Gordon. These phrases sound Biblical, and Gordon finally sees the face of Father Grigori well after he has battled through several groups of zombies and headcrabs. Above a flaming mound of zombie corpses, Grigori greets Gordon, telling him that he is free to use his traps but to be careful not to fall into them himself. He later shoots a Fast Headcrab that was about to attack Gordon from behind and advises him to be vigilant in Ravenholm. Later, he also throws Gordon a SPAS-12 shotgun, giving him the advice to "Aim for the head".
When Gordon finally meets Grigori on-foot, it is near the church mentioned earlier by Grigori. From atop a roof, Grigori can be seen below, telling Gordon that he is moving a tram to the rooftop to allow him to come down. After Gordon has gotten into the tram and is face to face with Grigori, he informs him that they will have to travel through the graveyard to reach the mines. He tells Gordon to "tread lightly", as the graveyard is "hallowed ground." Grigori then accompanies Gordon through the graveyard, helping him to fight off the zombies before allowing him to escape into the mines.
Grigori's eventual fate is left ambiguous; once he has opened up the gate at the graveyard, Gordon is free to go, with Grigori telling him to "look to his own salvation" before then laughing in a crazed manner. If the player remains at the gate after having been "escorted" to the mines, Grigori continues shooting at zombies, and tells Freeman to "Get going," and that "No one wants to stay in Ravenholm." 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 in the crypt entrance and continues killing zombies for some time, then disappears inside.
Given the circumstances of his last encounter, even if he survived the large zombie horde that he and Gordon stirred up, the destruction of the Citadel could have obliterated Ravenholm. The time and distances involved are sketchy, but as Gordon manages to reach Black Mesa East in about 2 to 3 hours or so, and Ravenholm is just outside Black Mesa East, it can be judged that Ravenholm is around 20–40 km from City 17. Seeing as the forests outside City 17 are relatively untouched, it can be reasoned that Grigori escaped the Citadel explosion. It is not impossible that he escaped by waiting out the fire and running away, but being slightly insane, he may have fought to the end anyway. In Raising the Bar, they say his eventual fate was left up to the players to decide and that they did not plan to re-use the character in the series (although he was originally going to appear in Arkane's Half-Life 2: Episode Four before production was halted and cancelled).
Father Grigori is a middle-aged man with a bald head and portly build; he dresses in traditional embroidered clothing and red Converse sneakers covered with Headcrab ooze.
Around his neck, he wears a crucifix, signifying his religious position and outlook, which seems to have taken a turn for the extreme as he tries hard to bring his "congregation" to salvation by killing them - in doing so, "exorcising" them from their parasitic headcrabs. He has a cross pierced into the skin of one of his hands.
His ability to move around Ravenholm quickly and inconspicuously suggests he is fast on his feet and agile despite his portly build, or that he has set up many escape routes that the player never uses.
Personality and skills
Grigori is quite possibly religiously insane and can be heard ranting, uttering various disjointed biblical references and laughing maniacally while hunting zombies in Ravenholm. It is unknown if his laughter and religious references are symptoms of insanity or merely aspects of a dark sense of humor; most likely, they are both. Grigori probably has a form of chronic reactive psychosis, which is not a mental disorder in itself, but psychosis brought on by the experience of a severely traumatic or stressful event.
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 the player when given the choice, except during the final sequence leading up to the mine entrance. Because of the limitations of his weapon, he has to reload frequently, so he is vulnerable to the zombies that can reach his position, such as Fast Zombies, in significant numbers or when operating at ground level.
Like Alyx Vance, 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 explosive weapons are used. He will cry out in anguish when he is overwhelmed and requests the support of the player.
He tends only to fire at enemies short to mid-range since his weapon, Annabelle, does not have a scope, so he will often fire while retreating back from a zombie if they reach him. 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.
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 the player throughout the town to kill zombies to great effect without expending somewhat rare ammunition.
- Iniquity’s snares are cunning, but by the light of lights; mine are greater still.
- Woe to all, for our dwelling place, is distant, and we wander through the domiciles of Chaos!
- My power was lost in places which were not mine. Affliction besought me, and the merciless ones attacked me without cause.
- Although they call me crazy, I care not, for thou art my helper, my strength, and my savior.
- Thy will be done oh light of lights, I bless the glory of thy greatness through the day and through the darkness of this night.
- I pray do never turn away thy light, give heed to me, and spring thy traps upon mine enemies, when I cry out to thee!
- For it was said, they had become like those peculiar demons, which dwell in matter but in whom no light may be found.
- Turn not thy face away from me; incline thy ear and hear me! When I shall cry to thee in my affliction.
- For the days of my life have vanished like smoke, and my bones are parched like ash, and let all my impurities be as… fuel for that fire! Until nothing remains, but the Light alone.
- From the voice of my groaning my bone has cleaved to my flesh.
- For my soul is filled with evil, and like this place, must be purged.
- For the dead know no sleep in their graves, nor dost thou remember them, until they are destroyed through thy hands.
- I have been laid down in a pit of darknesses and the shadow of death. And thy anger has pressed down upon me; and all thy cares have come down upon me. And from this bed I cry out for the kindling of thy Light!
- And what terrible wonders are these those hast done among the dead. What shades rise to confess thee, and what specters shall know thee by thy name?
- Oh, the light may thy name be spoken in the graves and spelled in bones and ashes.
- Thy rages have come down upon me, and thy pains have agitated me.
- Judge those who do injustice to me, fight with those who fight with me!
- Take hold of a weapon, a shield, and rise to help me!
- Draw for the sword, and sheath it in those who afflict me, say to my soul, I am thy salvation.
- May they become like dust before the wind; may the angel of the Lord pursue them.
- May their paths become dark and slippery; and may the angel of the Lord afflict them.
- May the snare that they do not know come to them, and may the net they have hidden for me catch them in my place.
Grigori wields a powerful lever-action rifle known as Annabelle. "Annabelle" is based on the real-life Winchester Model 1886 rifle, and Grigori is the only character in the Half-Life series to use it. He fires the gun with great accuracy, almost always hitting the head of the zombie that he targets. He seems to have large supplies of ammunition and provides Gordon with his first shotgun before directing him to head to the town church. He also advises the player to aim for the zombie's head to kill them quickly. Players may either use a glitch or the developer console to obtain Annabelle. When used by a player, the rifle deals fairly low damage when the target is shot anywhere on the body other than the head but does great damage when a player scores a headshot. Annabelle fires a "clip" of 2 shots, and has a pause in-between shots.
Behind the scenes
- "Grigori" is a variant of Grigoriy, the Russian form of "Gregory", coming from "Gregorius", from the late Greek name "Gregorios", derived from "gregoros", meaning "watchful, alert", which fits him well. 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.
- Zoey from Left 4 Dead also wears black Converse sneakers.
- Grigori was originally going to appear in the Arkane Studios game Half-Life 2: Episode Four before it was cancelled. The game would have taken place at some point between Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode Two, in which Grigori is holed up in an abandoned children's hospital in Ravenholm. At this point he meets Adrian Shephard, the protagonist from Half-Life: Opposing Force and the player character in the game, and gives him supplies to help him escape the town. During the game it would emerge that Grigori himself is infected and trying to stave off the infection as he helps Shepard along, until the end of the game when he mutates and Shepard would presumably have to fight him.
- Upon first seeing Gordon he says "What is this, another life to save?" indicating that he might have helped some of the residents of Ravenholm escape when the headcrabs first entered.
- 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 even if the enemy is not a zombie. He also will fire continuously and usually goes for the headshot. He has animations for many weapons, but only has one reload animation that belongs to Annabelle if he wields any gun, other than the pistol and RPG. Compared to most other NPCs, Grigori appears to be the most powerful human NPC in-game since he will shoot his rapid-fire weapon in full-auto rather than in short bursts. However, to compensate for this he is slightly less accurate than other Resistance NPCs, but still effective to take most enemies out at long range. Also, unlike other Resistance NPCs, should the player touch him, he will not move out the player's way due of fact the player should follow him instead of him following the player during the events of Ravenholm. Also, when he wields the RPG, he can fire many rockets without reloading until the target dies. However, he will only fire the rocket at medium range and there is sometimes delay before he actually starts to shoot. Also, he will only engage and chase the enemy if they are in his weapon range instead of his visual range (for example: if a Combine Soldier shoots Grigori with an AR2 while Grigori is armed with Annabelle or a Shotgun, he will simply stand there until the Soldier reaches a close range or Grigori is killed.), however he will be aware of the enemy if they are in the visual range, but he will not start shooting at the target until the target reaches the weapon's range. However, if an enemy reaches Grigori's weapon range but the enemy is behind a wall, he will try to find a way to reach the enemy and kill the target. Unlike Alyx and Barney, his health is 100 instead of 80. Also, he is the only NPC who is immune to the Poison Headcrab and its venom, this Headcrab being unable to damage Grigori.
- Furthermore, due to his unique firing method, most 'custom' (mostly in Garry's mod) weapons will not able to be fired unless he's moving. Which his shots will be harmless and silent.
- Upon entering the mines at the end of Ravenholm, running through the door, then running back out again, will show Father Grigori in the flames, infinitely laughing and fighting off zombies.
- It is implied that Grigori misses the human inhabitation of Ravenholm. This is indicated when the player dies, as he will say "Yet again, I am alone..." in a saddened tone, and during their trek through the Ravenholm cemetery when they encounter zombies, he will say "I still remember your true face."
- Grigori's name, nationality, religion (Eastern Orthodoxy), 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 finally did die 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 in the game files his name is npc_monk.
- There are crucifixes visible on the back of Father Grigori's hands. The crosses appear to be burnt or cut into his skin and are likely inflicted by Grigori himself.
- Despite what many believe, Grigori's weapon is not a shotgun. It is a lever-action Winchester 1886 carbine, depicted as using .357 caliber rounds, which explains its accuracy and deadly firepower. A shotgun would be ineffective at the ranges Grigori fires at from the rooftops.
- If Grigori dies, the player can use his weapon, Annabelle, briefly before the "game over" message comes up. Unfortunately, it has too many glitches to be of any use and does not even have its own view model or icon.
- Grigori's line about his traps being "the work of a man who once had too much time on his hands and now only finds time for the work of salvation" hints to the possibility that Grigori may have crowned himself as a priest after the shelling of the town rather than already having been a priest beforehand. He may be referring to his work trying to help the population escape as his "work of salvation," however.
- Jim French, who voices Grigori, also voiced the Scientist from Gunman Chronicles, Bill from Left 4 Dead, and the Fisherman from Half-Life 2: Lost Coast.
- If the player does not catch the shotgun Grigori throws to him, Grigori will not speak again until the player picks up the shotgun. If the player goes on in the level, then comes back for the shotgun, Grigori will have left and will never finish speaking. This results in some notable dialog being left out, such as the player being instructed to go to the church. When the player meets Grigori again later in the level, he will still say, "Did I not tell you to seek the church?" even though that conversation never took place.
- Grigori will only speak to zombies (except the Zombine), if other enemies are spawned through a console command, he will only shoot it.