Never Mess with Granny

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
This page needs some cleaning up to be presentable.

Far too many examples in the "Real Life" section are a decade or more old and are written as if they're the latest news. These need to be cleaned up and "de-recentified".

Clearly someone who isn't heading for a retirement home any time soon.

"Ted, dear, I think you'd better leave. I'm gonna tear this little fella apart from the inside out."

Gran'ma Ben (shortly after Ted introduces her to Phoney Bone), Bone

Little old lady is attacked. Little old lady kicks ass. Moral of the story: Never Mess with Granny. If you think that a Mama Bear is bad, this is her Mama Bear. Maternal instinct to the power of two; you're pretty much screwed.

The Distaff Counterpart to "Badass Grandpa". Commonly we hear her say that "I Was Quite a Looker". She may also be a Retired Badass or the matriarch of a Badass Family. Older Iron Ladies will generally be this. Might overlap with Good Is Not Dumb; always a Cool Old Lady.

See also: When Elders Attack, My Grandma Can Do Better Than You! For elderly female villains you should never mess with, see Evil Old Folks.

Examples of Never Mess with Granny include:


Anime and Manga

  • Sister Yolanda (seen above) from Black Lagoon. In the Greenback Jane arc, she walks in to see her church being attacked... and what does she do? Calmly takes out a gold-plated Desert Eagle and blows up a car in one shot. While holding the gun with one hand. Wow.
  • Ranma ½
  • Genkai from Yu Yu Hakusho. She wins half a round of the Dark Tournament pretty much single-handedly... after giving most of her power to Yusuke.
    • Later in the series, she takes under her wing six C-class fighters (Chuu, Rinku, Jin, Touya, Shishiwakamaru, and Suzuki) and in months, trains them into upper A-class fighters. To put into perspective, even Rinku, the youngest of the group, is magnitudes more powerful than Younger Toguro, an earlier Big Bad. And her star pupil, Yusuke? Her training pushed Yusuke to the power level required to resurrect himself as an S-class demon. Much like Roshi, Genkai breeds badass in spades.
  • "Axis Powers Hetalia" has a parody in Grandmano, and how.
  • Naruto
    • Chiyo: a war veteran, a specialist in poisons and a skilled puppeteer, she is more or less 70-ish years old and, with the help of Sakura, managed to beat Sasori, her grandson, and his army of puppets.
    • Tsunade as well. She's pretty up (in her 50s) there and only keeps herself looking young via a special type of transformation Jutsu. The Jutsu will start failing during times of combat. And please don't call her "grandma" unless you're Naruto, okay?
  • Megabaa of Dennou Coil is the most capable hacker in the entire town of Daikoku, head of the Coil Detective Agency and more than capable of taking on any sort of digital anomaly single-handedly (at least, until her back gives out). Oh, and she shoots lasers.
  • One Piece
    • Vice-Admiral Tsuru of proves herself more than capable of dishing out punishment, despite her epithet being "Strategist".
    • There's also Dr. Kureha who doesn't hesitate to further injure her patients if they don't listen to her treatment plans. 139 years old and still going strong.
      • Young. She is 139 years young. Refer to any way she might be old and she will hurt you.
  • Oryou Sonozaki of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is shown to be a very, VERY scary old granny (whom is even called Oni-Baba [Demon Granny] by her granddaughters!). Not only does she sit in watch as her granddaughter has her fingernails ripped off, she encourages the punishment. At one point she even threatens to kill Keiichi Maebara with a katana and dump his body in the family well. She gets what is coming to her though, when she is killed during during an interrogation in Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen. Apparently, "I Was Quite a Looker" can apply too, as seen in one of the anime-only omakes. And if you can make her like you, you've got one hell of an ally as shown in the second-to-last arc when Keiichi manages to win her favor and get her and the entire village to help rescue Satoko from her uncle. And when the official at the DCF equivalent threatens to call in her son-in-law to kick everybody out...well, let's just say he doesn't actually know the man. Too bad that wasn't the good world Rika and Hanyuu were looking for.
  • Grandma Hina from Love Hina is known as the Demon of Hinata. No-one ever questions her orders. Not Action Girl Motoko, not rebellious Kitsune, nor Genki Girl Su—no-one. Keitaro's place at the Inn is secured by her word alone, even when the She-Woman Man-Hater's Club early on can't stand him. Even at the end, when it is learned by Naru and Keitaro that she may have majorly set them up, it is just accepted without even mental comment.
  • Elda Marker from Karin, or Chibi Vampire. Grandmother of the main character Karin, she is approximately a 250 year old vampire. Physically, she is still a young adult, possibly even an older teenager, despite the fact that she's had one kid before named Henry, the father of Karin. To make things even more awkward, she is a near identical twin of Karin, her own granddaughter. She has an eagerness to fight and attitude befitting a teenager, which is somewhat appropriate. Still this makes things weird with her son Henry, who looks far older then she does. She is a perfect Badass, fighting with insane physical strength and skill even among vampires, she is even said to be the most powerful vampire in all of Japan. While indoors, she sometimes wears clothes befitting her matriarch status, but when she travels outside she sometimes wears a simple black shirt, shorts and sneakers, usually when she wants to kick someone's ass.
  • The Russian assassin from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is over 80 years old, but like many other characters is really a brain in a cybernetic body that doesn't look a day older than 30. And with 60 years of experience, she's extremely dangerous.
  • Sakae Jinnouchi in Summer Wars.
  • Yohko's grandmother Madoka from Devil Hunter Yohko is a prime example of a Badass Grandma, including (when we see what she looked like when she was a Devil Hunter) having been quite a looker.
  • Sophie isn't actually an old woman, but she spends the vast majority of Howl's Moving Castle as one, and even goes by Granny. As a ninety-ish-year-old woman, she flies an open-air plane, talks back to a powerful sorcerer, saves Howl's bacon, and much else. And even though she's got a big nose and wrinkles all over, she's still pretty and badass.

Comic Books

  • May Parker from Spider-Man is actually Peter's aunt, but she's old enough to be his grandmother, and on at least one occasion has scared the bejeezus out of a villain who was after Petey.
    • In her Ultimate incarnation, after Jameson fired Peter, she had a chat with him on the phone. Jameson's response to Peter was basically, "You can have your job back, and please never make me talk to your aunt again."
    • She also drugged the Chameleon after seeing through his disguise of Peter, making that two women of the Parker family who've abused him.
    • Behold - Aunt May vs. Eddie Brock!
    • She's also taught [dead link] Wolverine, of all people to respect her. Then there is this...
    • Aunt May, herald of Galactus! (Completely non-canon, mind.)
    • Also, "What if the Radioactive Spider had Bitten Aunt May?" This alternate look at the origin story (from What If...? #27 is a heartwarming story where May becomes a pretty effective female version of Spider-Man, but without the angst and guilt Peter feels as Spider-Man, seeing as Ben does not die in this reality.
  • A particularly dark variation can be found in one of the X-Men's most dangerous foes, Cassandra Nova, a "little old lady" whose telepathic powers rival that of Charles Xavier himself but whose intentions and goals are far from honourable.
  • Gran'ma Ben of Bone. Also a Retired Badass.

"I fought th' rats in th' big war!"

  • Dennis' Gran in the UK Dennis the Menace comic strip. She rides a motorbike, and causes at least as much trouble as her grandson (possibly more, since Dennis's Dad can't do anything about it).
    • As seen in one comic:

Dennis: I'm off to help my nan.
Walter the softy: Oh, is she ill? The poor lady!
Dennis: Nah, she just needs a hand training the SAS today.

  • Madam Fatal (despite technically being a younger man) invokes this trope, dressing up as an old lady to fight crime.
  • There is a comic of Tales from the Crypt in which a con man romances a young woman who he believes is heiress to a fortune, only to find out she was trailer trash and dumps her. He discovers that he died in his sleep and the girl's grandmother had cursed him so that he remains alive after dying, but in a zombie-like state with all of post-death symptoms. So while he goes to find the grandmother to have the curse removed, the con man puts up with liver spots, loss of muscle control, loss of bladder control, rigor mortis, and flesh decomposition. When he reaches the grandmother's house, she catches him in a bear trap and reveals that she did all of it for revenge as her granddaughter committed suicide out of grief while pregnant. The story wraps up with the grandmother (and the rest of the family) forcing the con man to marry the girl, who is now a zombie herself.
  • The title character from French comic book series Soeur Marie-Thérèse des Batignolles.
  • The title character's grandmother in Bamse. She normally only stands in the sidelines, cooking up the thing that makes Bamse strong... but when he's otherwise incapacitated, she enters the fray herself. Awesomeness always ensues.
  • From Lucky Luke, Ma Dalton can certainly be scarier than her four desperado sons. She was a fearsome bandit herself and still carries a loaded gun in her handbag.
  • Fables: Frau Totenkinder is a kindly old lady, always knitting and smiling. She's also one of the oldest and mightiest witches on earth, and has been sacrificing babies to grow her power since the Stone Age.
  • In The Piranha Club, Enos mother-in-law is a frail little old lady... who just happens to have superpowers such as invulnerability and superhuman strength along with a really mean personality. She swept the floor with Mike Tyson once.
  • In Promethea, the protagonist's predecessor is somewhere between failing at this trope and failing at averting it. She never wanted to be a hero in the first place.

Fan Works


  • In the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty, the fairy grandmothers are very old and very round. But with their powers of flight and offensive spellcasting, they actually get more action that the prince.
  • Nana, the old woman from Madagascar. She only has a couple of scenes in the first movie, where she kicks Alex in the crotch while shouting "Bad kitty!" She proved so popular that she gets a bigger part in the Spin-Off short Christmas Caper, and on the sequel Escape 2 Africa displays serious skills as a survivalist.
  • Although she is short, old, and her hands shake, the nanny from The Thief and the Cobbler is probably the most formidable good guy in the movie. As seen by the part, left in most cuts, where she restrains the thief from stealing her golden-yellow bananas... with a pair of huge, muscular arms... and then beats him like an old carpet.
  • Hoodwinked: With all this Matrix dancing, haz-mat fun and "Granny wins by a landslide!"...
    • Granny is a champion cage wrestler, amongst other things.
  • They may not have grandkids, but The Triplets of Belleville definitely get a place here. The main character, Madame Souza, is a grandmother, and earns Never Mess With Granny status by being a Determinator who takes on The Mafia (with the help of the eponymous triplets) to rescue her kidnapped grandson Champion.
  • Ratatouille‍'‍s old lady. See rat, grab shotgun, shoot up own home in disastrous yet badass attempt to kill it.
  • Arthur. The Trope Codifier. Martha even stops an Axe Crazy Bert Johnson with just a slap.

Martha: Don't screw with me, Bert.

  • The old lady working as a guard to Goldfinger's facility carries an MP 40 and shoots at Bond's car.
  • The Night of the Hunter. Rachel Cooper faces off Knife Nut Sinister Minister Harry Powell, cradling a shotgun in her lap, singing "Lean on Jesus".
  • Mable Simmons. Better known as Madea. If she reaches for her purse, the best thing for you to do is... RUN.
  • The Mist has one of these, a little old schoolteacher who stops one of the crazy fundamentalist's rants by conking her on the head with a thrown can of peas (and asserting that there are plenty more where that came from), and not only goes along on the expedition out into the eponymous mist but kills one of the mist's monstrous bugs with a flamethrower improvised from a can of hair spray and a lighter. The character's pretty tough in the original Stephen King novella as well.
  • Antonia in Antonia's Line decides to deal with the man who raped her granddaughter her own way—so she heads to the local tavern with a shotgun. When she gets there, she decides instead to put a curse on him instead of killing him (which apparently works). Whether you think he got off easy or not it was definitely a Badass grandma moment when she has him on his knees terrified.
  • The old lady with whom Max and Jess stay in the middle part of Mad Max. She threatens the Toecutter's biker gang with a pretty hefty gun (by real life standards, not More Dakka), and they listen.
  • Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot featuring Sly Stallone as a cop who is troubled by his pistol-packing elderly mother. The film was universally reviled.
  • Alice, the Ministry agent in the 1998 film of the Avengers TV show.
  • The Penguin from The Blues Brothers. Maybe a little young, but she fits the badass by whipping the piss out of Jake and Elwood.
  • Zombieland. Sister Cynthia Knickerbocker, winner of the Zombie Kill of the Week, who walks quietly away from a zombie so she can drop a fucking piano on him! This is her only appearance in the film and she has absolutely no connection to the rest of the plot or characters... but does she need to?
  • Every Which Way But Loose: When the Black Widows motorcycle gang try leaning on Ma, she blows up their bikes with a shotgun, then walks off complaining about Clint Eastwood leaving a helpless old lady alone with no-one to protect her.
  • In the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, Evelyn (who, although not particularly old, is certainly middle-aged) is looking for a parking space and spots someone coming out. She waits for the space to be vacant, but as soon as it is, two Jerkass teenaged girls swoop in and steal it. They laugh at her, saying, "Face it, lady, we're younger and faster!" Evelyn retaliates by ramming their car with hers, extensively damaging both of them (and it's clear that the car Evelyn is driving can take a lot more punishment). The girls freak out, and she laughs in their faces. "Face it, girls, I'm older and I have more insurance!"
    • Sipsey won't let anyone take her beloved Ruth's kid. Frank Bennet gets that lesson drummed into his head so hard he doesn't survive.
  • While her exact age is somewhat ambiguous, BB from Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django is definitely a grandmother and past her prime when she picks up her guns again and shoots a crossbow bolt out of the air!
  • Lucy Bobby, mother of Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, tamed his sack-o-hell sons Walker and Texas Ranger.
  • The Big Momma's House series embodies this trope. Sure, its a guy disguised as a elderly woman, but the real Big Momma showed herself to be one of these in her own right.
  • In The Birth of a Nation, we have an overweight elderly housekeeper leap into action and save her employer, knocking down at least one ruffian and two soldiers in the process. Interesting for a white supremacist racist work, the heroine is black and the man she's saving is white.
  • Helen Mirren's character in RED. She's a sweet British lady (although not quite that old) who's in the flowering business. She's also an ex-spy who keeps a submachinegun under the flowers and is a crackshot with a sniper rifle. Of course, the entire movie is about retired spies showing they can still outdo the younger generation.
  • Nemesis: a little old lady is harassed by one of the cyborg assassins searching for the protagonist. When he walks away, she pulls out a large pistol out of her purse and shoots him in the back several times, and then shoots him half a dozen times more when he's down for good measure.

Old woman: Fucking cyborgs. Streets aren't safe anymore. Can't even go to the market without meeting some punk...


Eda: Some grandchildren need more raising than others, and I provide it.

    • Action Mom Alanna, who is reaching her forties in Tricker's Choice and still beats Kel, who is much younger than her, in a practice fight.
  • Harry Potter
    • Neville's grandmother Augusta Longbottom in Deathly Hallows. A couple of Death Eater-controlled ministry thugs came to take her to try and threaten Neville into behaving himself at school. Her grandson put it best: "Dawlish is still in St. Mungo's and Gran's on the run." And she still showed up for the final battle.
    • Professor Minerva McGonagall, who Rowling describes as a 'sprightly' 70-year-old. She holds her own against Death Eaters during the final battle, whether she's fighting them in person or bringing statues to life to attack them. She also lived through being hit with four Stunning Spells to the chest, which is apparently quite a feat for someone in her seventies.
    • Molly Weasley may be a bit too young to qualify, but her oldest son is nearly thirty when she takes down Bellatrix so she's probably pretty close.
      • She's a grandmother in less than a year after that event happens, so, close enough.
  • In Daniel Pennac's novel La Fée Carabine, a group of old ladies had been taught to use guns, which is somewhat unusual in Paris. And then there were the accidents....
  • In the first of the Stephanie Plum books, Grandma's response to being kidnapped (and having her own and her granddaughter's life threatened) involves bullets. Quite a few bullets. She doesn't actually shoot anyone (her aim isn't the greatest), but she starts a fire that burns down the funeral home (she apparently didn't know that the crates stacked along the walls contained ammunition, explosives, etc., or if she knew, she didn't care).
    • Granma Plum was based on a real person that author Janet Evanovich met while researching bounty hunters. She was still skip-tracing in her seventies.
  • Discworld
    • Any witch that fits the Mother or... other one slot. Granny Weatherwax isn't a grandmother from the technical viewpoint of not having children of her own, but she's still the little old lady known as Granny by a good deal of the main characters, and she Will Take You Down. Her name in Trollish—that's the thumping great creatures made of rock—is "She Who Must Be Avoided". Her name in Dwarfish—as in short people who shove rock all day and carry battle axes on principle—is "Go Round the Other Side of the Mountain". Nanny Ogg is a grandmother, and has a face like an old apple and a pleasantly sunny personality, but also enough pure magical power to make anyone sit up and pay attention.
      • Nanny Ogg is not afraid of Granny Weatherwax. That should be a hint.
      • Miss Treason isn't either. Granny is Mistress Weatherwax to other people and witches who have not earned the right to call her Granny yet. Miss Treason refers to her as "the girl Weatherwax". Possibly because she's 113 years old.
    • In The Last Hero, also Vena the Raven-Haired, a well-past-retirement-age barbarian heroine who joins the Silver Horde.
    • Mrs. Cake. Even the Post Office (who are only scared of the worst things) are scared of her.
      • In Reaper Man, Hughnon Ridcully, the Chief Priest of Blind Io, attempts to describe to his brother Mustrum what she represents to the clerical community in Wizardly terms:

Hughnon: You have... ghastly Things from the Dungeon Dimensions and things, yes? Terrible hazards of your ungodly profession?
Ridcully: Yes.
Hughnon: We have someone called Mrs. Cake.

        • Later in the same book, Mrs Cake goes for a walk to deliver information about the uncanny events going on to Mustrum. She occasionally pauses or inexplicably steps aside, and terrible things happen where she would have been had she not done so. (That means for anyone who tries to lay an unwelcome hand on her.)
        • Near the end of book, Death raids one of Offler's more remote temples to steal the largest diamond in existence. As he's about to break through the last defenses before the innermost shrine, the priests there scream in horror: "Mrs Cake!"
    • And no one wants to mess with the Agony Aunts, who protect the seamstresses of Ankh-Morpork. They took Vimes down with absolutely no trouble, and he's killed werewolves with his bare hands.
    • Granny Aching, despite being dead before Tiffany's stories begin, was the best shepherd on the Chalk and had the respect of all her neighbors. And might have been the greatest witch ever in terms of keeping it low-key and getting others to solve their own problems. When Tiffany described her to the aforementioned Granny Weatherwax, the latter expressed admiration.
  • Another Terry Pratchett example is Granny Morkie from The Bromeliad.
  • Good Omens: The title inspiring Agnes Nutter from The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, who knew she was going to be burned at the stake, packed her skirts with gunpowder and roofing nails (and pretty much controlled the plot of the whole book from a few hundred years ago).
  • The Dresden Files has a few.
    • Mother Summer and Mother Winter, one of whom casually makes an enchantment that can break any spell, and Harry notes they could both destroy him with a stray thought.
    • Mama Murphy, matriarch of the large and sprawling Murphy clan. She has yet to get any combat Crowning Moment of Awesome, but this is the woman who raised Karrin Murphy, and is content to let her daughter think that she is protecting her by not telling her about what SI is dealing with. She knows exactly what they deal with and what her daughter goes through every day, and is perfectly matter fact about the issue of her husband committing suicide due to the stresses of his job.
    • Charity Carpenter is getting into this age bracket about now, and is very Badass.
    • Ancient Mai. She scares the shit out of Harry and senior wardens carry her umbrella.
    • Martha Liberty as well, as both are on the Senior council, the oldest and most powerful wizards.
    • Anastasia Luccio, despite the fact that she (literally) currently has the body of a 25 year old and has lost most of her power, Harry, who has faced Fallen Angels and Physical Gods without hesitation, would not want to mess with her.
    • Lartessa, the second most powerful of the Denarians, and over 2000 years old, and her second, Rosanna, who has even the Knights of the Cross semi fooled about her 'good girl in a bad situation' act. Harry is not fooled, but that's because he had Lasciel in his head for several years. Neither is a Cool Old Lady.
  • The Wheel of Time
    • Cadsuane Meladhrin is implied to be the oldest living Aes Sedai. Aes Sedai give non-channelers nightmares. Cadsuane gives other Aes Sedai nightmares.
    • Not to mention Sorelia, who is even older and gives Cadsuane nightmares. With less channeling ability than most novices. That is how friggin' scary this woman is.
    • Being technically over three thousand years old, all of the female Forsaken definitely qualify. But Cadsuane still can turn a Forsaken over her knee and spank her.
  • Granny Cane of Bigtime.
  • Animorphs had an old lady in "The Diversion" who actually gets dubbed Granny-Controller. She keeps shooting at the group and flies a helicopter after them, finally crashing with it.
  • Supergran, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin—an old granny who just happened to be a crime-fighting Flying Brick.
  • Mother Superior Mary Francis in James Byron Huggins' novel Cain. Frail, aged nun vs. demon-possessed assassin/cyborg/vampire??

Cain: Holy water, Mother?
MSMF: No. Gasoline.

    • Somewhat later, she goes out with a literal bang, taking out an army of minions with a bandolier of grenades. (No, she's not the protagonist.)
  • In The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, after Adrian's grandma learns he's being tormented by local bully Barry Kent, she goes out, returning a little while later with the money Barry took from Adrian, and assurances that he won't be bothering Adrian again. Next day, Adrian writes, "It is all over school that a seventy-six-year-old woman frightened Barry Kent and his dad into giving back my menaces money," although precise details of what happened are never given.
  • Olenna Tyrell, aka "The Queen of Thorns" in A Song of Ice and Fire. While she only properly featured in one book thus far, by all accounts she's a vicious piece of work if she thinks you're a threat to her or her family. Just ask Joffrey.
  • Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Emily Pollifax, wife of the late Virgil Pollifax. Prim, kind, innocuous, charming, genteel Badass. And yes, she would manage to avoid any asterisks in that without violating the "prim and genteel" clause. Joined the CIA when she was already a grandmother because she felt that she had outlived her usefulness. Promptly proved herself astonishingly practical and resourceful. Incidentally she was unleashed upon the world in 1966.
  • Grandma Dowdell from Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. She lives by herself in a sleepy Illinois town, always manages to have enough to eat during the Depression, and engages in a number of fantastic escapades that leave her grandchildren (who grew up in Chicago) stunned. She owns a Winchester rifle which once belonged to her husband and is not afraid to use it, keeps a large snake in her attic to eat mice, and once expressed a desire to see the alleged body of a Chicago mobster who was killed and put on display. And lord help any idiot who tries to get the best of her. When some brothers blow up her mailbox, she tricks them into breaking into her house then throws a cherry bomb at them and holds them down with the Winchester Rifle, finishing it off by getting their milkman father to beat them after pretending they put a dead mouse in her milk. When the principal's son tries to vandalize her house on Halloween, she waits in the shed and trips him with wire before throwing a pan of hot glue at his head. She then takes the knife that he dropped and uses it to cut him a slice of pie at the school's Halloween party, adding insult to injury (the kid was still pretty much bald from the glue attack). Upon learning what his son did, the principal just said "Boy, you picked the wrong house".
  • Rosa Klebb, the head of SMERSH in the James Bond novel From Russia with Love is a late middle-aged Big Bad who can dish out serious hurt and fights dirty.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. Willig, a member of The Squad in "A Season for Slaughter". She actually enjoys the war, as she's given more responsibility and respect than ever before.

If you got between her and the result she was committed to, you'd discover the single most deadliest human being on the planet was a ninja grandmother.

  • In Kurt Saxon's non-fiction book Wheels of Rage, the Iron Cross motorcycle gang decide to punish an initiate who's been using them as a cover for committing burglaries (without even sharing the proceeds). They decide to use a psychotic relative whose temper and ferocity is feared even by the outlaw bikers. They encourage him to burgle the business where she's working as a cleaning lady, "And if you see an old lady up there, just knock her out of the way." It ends with the police turning up to rescue the terrified burglar, whom she's beaten up and thrown down an elevator shaft.
  • Mother Lenka demonstrates this in Unto the Breach, leading the women Keldara in a suicidal blitz of a group of Chechens blocking the way for their men to return home... and then cuts out and eats the heart of one of the Chechens, while the guy was dying.
  • Evelyn from the Nadia Stafford books by Kelley Armstrong is a retired hitwoman, who entertains herself by mentoring new contract killers and brokering information. Her idea of testing a newcomer is to abandon her in a parking lot with the man trying to kill her. And then a mafioso takes a contract out on the little old lady, and she demonstrates that "retired" does not mean "unable to kill quickly and ruthlessly".
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • Lobelia Sackville-Baggins wasn't very successful against Sharkey's "ruffians", but in spite of her age she "showed more spirit than most."
    • Technically, Galadriel qualifies, as she is Arwen's grandma. Also, not someone to be messed with.
  • Fablehaven
    • Elderly groundskeeper Ruth Sorenson is strong, fierce, and rarely seen without a crossbow. She's even more Badass than her husband Stan! When it comes to evil, you might even say she's... ruthless.
    • The fifth and final book also reveals that the heroes' supposedly dead maternal grandmother, Grandma Larsen, is also alive and also all out of gum.
  • In Maggie Furey's Shadowleague trilogy, Toulac (a career soldier who was kicked out of the army when the Hierarch decided women weren't fit to fight) is this.
  • Technically, at this point in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Leia is a grandmother. She doesn't officially know about it until Legacy of the Force, but that hardly stops her from being very much involved in the continuous war that is the Star Wars EU.
  • A Thread of Grace: Lidia Leoni is not going to leave her home just because the Nazis say so. She not only manages to save a young child from stepping on an unexploded bomb, but she also blows up a prison so that she could break out her son and the local rabbi who've been instrumental in taking care of the Jewish refugees.
  • Stephen King has done this trope a few times. Take a minor example from Cell, where at one point the main character observes multiple zombies, most of them young, or big, or strong, fighting. The winner is a little gray haired woman who looks like she was a librarian before the world went to hell. The protagonist is unsurprised by this, and observes that those types of little old ladies are often as tough as leather.
  • As Claire Fraser's grandson said of her in one of the later Outlander novels, "Grannie shot the bad man."
  • Relda Grimm from The Sisters Grimm series.
  • Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy features Madeleine, the elderly mindcaster who sold out her fellow midnighters for popularity, then hid in a crepuscular contortion for decades to stay away from the darklings and create a whole new generation of midnighters to back up natural-born Seer Rex. By manipulating the vulnerable minds of women in labour. And that's when she had relatively good intentions. You don't want to know what Madeleine will do to you if you get on her bad side.
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora has Dona Vorchenza, an elderly noblewoman with no heirs and a penchant as acting as a sort of "foster mother" for various other noblewomen, calling them up to midnight tea to discuss their issues. She's also the Spider, head of Duke Nicovante's secret police force, who often uses these midnight teas as a way of both keeping up on noble doings and finding possible violators of the Secret Peace between the nobles and the criminal element.
  • Leia Solo, in the latest[when?] books of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
  • Pearl Bright in Jane Lindskold's Breaking the Wall trilogy. When your first on-page action in one of the books is beheading an attacker who took you completely by surprise, you are this trope.
  • In Maria Semyonova's book series The Wolfhound, we learn that it was an old lady known as Mother Kendarat who has taught the protagonist (big, Badass barbarian warrior) his martial arts prowess. A few years later the hero regularly beats seven kinds of shit out of his numerous opponents, and still Mother Kendarat can wipe the floor with him. This series also has an old Norse lady, grandmother of another prominent character, who had spent 20 years on a cold barren desert of an island alone, then, when 70 Badass Vikings came to her island, she took leadership over them and sailed away to the other side of the world to find her lost grandson.

Live-Action TV

Stand back Superman, Iceman, Spider-Man. Batman and Robin too.
Don't wanna cause a ruckus, but B.A. Baracus, have I got a match for you.
She makes them look like a bunch of fairies.
She's got more bottle than United Dairies.
Hang about -- Look out! For Super Gran.

  • Granny Clampet of The Beverly Hillbillies. None of them were wimps, but Granny was one of the toughest scrappers in the whole family. And you don't want her shooting at you.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: Hell's Grannies.
  • iCarly
    • Spencer and Socko were taking Socko's grandmother on their camping trip because there might be bears.
    • Sam and Carly once gave away a survival knife that used to belong to Sam's grandmother. Given Sam's known family except for her twin sister, are all fittingly Badass, this seems extremely fitting.
  • Mama Winslow in Family Matters; she even gets a Pool Shark episode.
  • Penny Halliwell (Grams) from Charmed.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Admiral Kathryn Janeway is one bad future mo-fo.
  • Edith Bunker from All in The Family. One episode in particular: alone at home, she is about to be raped when smoke starts coming out of her kitchen. She gets away from the rapist to go take her baking out of the oven... and shoves the burning hot cake into the would-be rapists face (and the audience goes absolutely wild cheering her).
  • Maddie "Mama Bear" Westen in Burn Notice. She manages to successfully interrogate a terrorist into near-pants-wetting fear when Sam and Fi couldn't break him, hides weaponry in her house, and successfully stalls and distracts a pair of government agents in order to help Michael escape, fully aware that they'll arrest her once they inevitably figure out she's protecting him. When the normal standard of badass is made by ex-spies and bounty hunters and you're still considered badass, you deserve to be on this page.
  • Gemma in Sons of Anarchy. She only recently became a grandmother but she definitely fits.
  • V: The old Jewish lady in a wheelchair... with an Ingram MAC-10 under her blanket.
  • T'Pau in the original Star Trek series, thanks to Celia Lovsky's amazing presence.
  • The 2004 Battlestar Galactica. Grandma Ruth, Bill Adama's grandma in Caprica. Initially she just appears as a Tauron traditionalist who wants her grandson to know the family roots and having a (somewhat justified) dislike towards Graystones. Then you see her Ha'la'tha tattoos just as she is talking about "blood for blood" and you just know that she killed people. She's also somewhat terrifying. She claims that the dead never truly rest until they're avenged, for example. There's a reason that Joseph initially believed her when she said "Tauron children play jacks with the fingerbones of children who lose at jacks." Made explicit in episode 17. Meat cleaver to the back, and she's a retired hitman.
  • 1000 Ways to Die. A mugger attempts to steal an old lady's purse, but the old lady turns out to be a black belt in tae kwon do. A Curb Stomp Battle ensues that ends when the would-be mugger has his throat crushed via karate chop.
  • Chuck has Mrs Winterbottom who when her home is invaded by mercenaries, fires her double-barrel shotgun at them and then proceeds to take a machine gun she has hidden in her coffee table and fire it from her living room window. When she is out of ammo, she 'scuttles' her house using C4, a handgranade and her knitting supplies. Supreme Badass Casey is perfectly happy to just follow her lead and reload for her.
  • In Community episode Basic Genealogy Britta learns the hard way not to get on Troy's grandmother's bad side.
    • Professor June Bauer in Anthropology 101 seems like a kindly old anthropology teacher - until you give an answer she doesn't like for the first project. Then she shoots at you, knocks you down, and strangles you with a prehistoric superweapon, even if you're Joel McHale (two heads taller than her and ripped). She showed signs of this earlier, as well, when Starburns makes a sexist remark - turns out the starburns make great targets for a blowgun.
  • Company Boss Jang Sook Ja, who basically kicks her daughter-in-law and grandchildren out into the real world, allowing only room, board, and $10 a day for them to live on in the Korean Drama Shining Inheritance.
  • In MacGyver season fives Christmas episode, "The Madonna", an elderly bag lady whom Mac and Peter Thornton are helping turns out to be not only a fount of wisdom, but also turns around a troubled youth by hustling him at pool.
  • Hetty Lange from NCIS: Los Angeles. Just...Hetty. Whole communities of intelligence agencies out there are both in awe of her and terrified of her - and with reason, because she can Out Gambit anyone she pleases and out-shoot them at the same time.
  • Quantum Leap once had Sam leap into the body of Dr. Ruth and kick the ass of a man that that was taking advantage of his employee. Even better since we get to see the ass kicking in a mirror's reflection we see it as Dr. Ruth performing a pile driver on the creep. Considering the real Dr. Ruth's history (look in the Real Life section below) we can see why they chose her.
  • In Power Rangers in Space, Ashley's grandma attacked a monster with her car.
  • Kelsy's grandmother in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue overlaps this Trope with Mama Bear, as in, threaten her granddaughter, even if you are a demon with a squad of Batlings backing you up, and she'll come crashing into your headquarters with a forklift and beat you senseless with a hockey stick.
  • Red Riding Hood's Granny in Once Upon a Time. Her Establishing Character Moment in the Fairy-tale world? Keeping vigil at her door with a crossbow loaded and cocked. It Gets Worse when you find out the truth about the wolf she was the Big Bad Wolf at one point, and passed the lycanthropy to her daughter and granddaughter. She and Red also join Snow White in a daring raid on King George's castle to rescue Prince Charming, and Granny takes down a few guards.
    • Technically, Snow White and Regina are Older Than They Look, being Henry's grandma and great-step-grandma.


Party Games

  • In Mafia, "Granny" is shorthand for a role that kills anyone who visits them for any reason. If this also prevents the action from working, it makes her impossible to nightkill.

Pro Wrestling

  • The Fabulous Moolah won her first Women's World Championship in 1959, which was recognized as the NWA Women's World Title in 1964. Her seventh, and final, Women's World Title reign, with the WWE, was in October 1999, 40 years after her first championship, when she was 76 years old.
  • Mae Young, whose wrestling career began in the early 1940s, is actively involved in the WWE as of 2008, having competed in several matches since reappearing in the WWE in 1999. Among her exploits, she was powerbombed off the stage through a table by Buh-Buh-Ray Dudley, appearing the next week on the program none the worse for wear.
    • A funny note is that before the show, Bubba was hesitant to actually go through with the stunt, so Mae started smacking him around and demanding he put her through the table "like a man." You see that he went through with it...
      • Then gave Bubba's hand a quick squeeze to let him know she wasn't hurt.
  • In the mid 2000's wrestler Shelton Benjamin was given an on screen mother simply named "Momma Benjamin", portrayed on screen by comedian and actress Thea Vidale. She would interfere and challenge other wrestlers on her son's behalf. The character was written out when Vidle had a medical condition and could not continue performing the role.
  • During the late 1990's wrestling boom, a TV special "Exposing the secrets" of pro-wrestling was produced and shown on NBC networks. In the show, they explain how crowd plants work by showing a character they named "Stunt Granny", an older woman.


  • Peggy Woolley from BBC Radio 4's The Archers might count. She has a scene where, confronting her son, Brian Aldridge, over his extra-marital affair with Sioban, she tells him "I ought to have you horse-whipped". She's more of a quiet badass really, as the fact she looked after her Alzheimer's-ridden husband for many years, over the protests of her family that she wasn't capable.

Tabletop Games

  • Erin Tarn of the Rifts role-playing series. She's in her 60s and is the Coalition State's Public Enemy #1, simply because she spreads knowledge. She's one of the few people in that world that is known around the world (and across dimensions) to be both respected and feared.
    • However, while she is entirely fearless and has dominated intense situations by sheer force of personality or charm, she's never actually been in a fight in her life and unlike some other entries on this page (such as Granny Weatherwax), she shows no signs of being able to fight. She does, however, employ some of the most formidable bodyguards available anywhere.
  • Difficult, but possible in Dungeons & Dragons, where being in the Venerable age category gives you -6 to all physical abilities and +3 to all mental abilities. This can be an attractive prospect to Min-Maxing players of mentally-oriented characters, or there are workarounds that grant the bonuses but not the penalties. Never Mess with Granny if she's a Kobold, a Monk, a Druid, or any other form of high-level spellcaster.
    • There are several class features that entirely eliminate age penalties while still letting you keep age bonuses. One of them is being a high-level monk. So yeah.
    • The crone statue in 4E's "Tomb of Horrors" qualifies.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has Morathi, the Hag Queen. She is over five thousand years old, maintains her attractiveness through regular blood sacrifices, seduced the first Phoenix King, masterminded her son's attempt on the Phoenix Throne that led to the great schism in the Elven people, and is a capable warrior and a powerful sorceress. Who beat up a Daemon Prince that shredded her entire bodyguard and tried to capture her because he was jealous of her beauty. Also Ms. Fanservice, a wielder of Black Magic, and one of the setting's foremost Big Bads.
  • Magic: The Gathering, in one of its comedy sets, has a card named "Granny's Payback" whose art depicts an old lady slaughtering her way through a horde of people. The card's Flavor Text:
    • A more recent (and tournament legal!) example from the new Dark Ascension set is the kindly old Lambholt Elder. The flavor text says it all:

"Be wary of the seemingly gentle souls. The weak here were slaughtered long ago."

Video Games

  • in Max Payne 2, the eponymous protagonist is assaulted in his tenement house. His elderly neighbour blasts one of the assassins through her front entrance with a shotgun, and then gladly gives Payne her other one. Plus some ammo.
  • Big Mama, also known as EVA, from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In her seventies, and she's still doing things on a motorbike that people half her age wouldn't dare attempt without Plot Armor. Look what it takes to KILL her!
  • Samara of Mass Effect 2 is an Asari Matriarch, nearly a thousand years old, and unquestionably Badass.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 4, when two members of the Mafia try to beat up the old leader and take over, the screen goes dark, there are some sounds of fighting, and when the screen lights up again, the two Mafia members are K.O.'d.
    • This was actually a parody and a shout-out to Akuma/Gouki's Shun Goku Satsu because when the screen goes dark the Ashura Warp sound effect plays, then when when it lights up again it plays the sound usually heard when you KO someone with the move in Street Fighter.
  • Niime the Hermit from Fire Emblem 6.
  • Oume, Otane, and Oshima Gouketsuji from the Power Instinct series.
  • Referenced in Kingdom of Loathing: A little old lady is part of a list of scary tough guys. The game points out that any little old lady who's so calm in such a rough neighborhood is someone you really don't want to mess with.
  • Speed Buster of No More Heroes, is 76 years old, but still manages to be ranked 3rd by the UAA. Her Weapon of Choice is a shopping cart that turns into a Wave Motion Gun.
  • In Final Fantasy X-2, you encounter a trio of old NPC women in Zanarkand who claim to be a Sphere Hunter team named the "Grannies". Regarding the monsters in Zanarkand, one of the Grannies quips "I've coughed up scarier things." Another says she was a guardian.
  • Gaia Online's Agatha, while bereft of grandchildren, probably counts, considering the cutscene in zOMG! where she talks about the Animated as though they're more nuisance than they are danger to life and limb. Olivia, also not quite a granny yet, might count if only for the fact that she eats her own cooking.
  • In Grand Theft Auto Vice City, my brother jacked a car to get away from a gang that had shot him up pretty badly. He pulled the driver out and got in, and she yelled 'I'm an old lady!' yanked him out and beat him to death.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Wynne is a very kind old lady who appoints herself grandmother to the party. She is also an extremely formidable mage who can be given the Arcane Warrior specialization later on, turning her into a devastating Magic Knight at the cost of her normal role of being the premiere healer. In the novel Asunder, set seven years after the Blight, Wynne holds the honorary title of "archmage", which means that she is pretty much up there with the First Enchanters in terms of magical power (and it shows) but not interested in politics.
    • On the Evil side: Flemeth is the legendary Witch of the Wilds and is more a mythical being than she is an old lady. She can also transform herself into a Dragon in an Bonus Boss battle if the player chooses to help save Morrigan from being potentially Body Snatched from her, and even then she'll survive that with hardly any problems.
    • Flemeth not only survives it in Dragon Age II, she ends up looking better than she did in the first game while baking some darkspawn cookies!
  • The Judge Dredd pinball game, of all places. Mega-City One is a crime-riddled hellhole, and to illustrate this, the display shows an animation of a little old lady knitting on her porch when a car drives by and the wall behind her is riddled with bullets. What does she do? Flips off her lap-blanket, whips out Old Painless and returns fire.
  • The Super Granny franchise. Not only does Granny plonk her enemies with frying pans and run at super speed, she loves to sing Michael Jackson's "Bad" as she does.
  • Lokomo sage Anjean from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks happens to be this in a pure form. The lavender-haired, steam-powered Segway-riding old maiden releases the Spirit Train from its sleep at the least. She also conjures the Lokomo Sword and a custom Phantom for Zelda, despite injuries sustained from fighting Byrne to a stalemate while you were out at the Fire Temple. Mock her now. She spends most of the game holding the Spirit Tower together to keep Malladus from entering the world completely. And she did it by herself.
  • Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic II. It doesn't exactly come as a shock to discover that under that she used to be a Sith, and hasn't exactly "seen the error of her ways".... That's putting it mildly—she all but slaps the player-character upside the head if they didn't think she was playing them all along.
  • Mrs. Crumplebottom from the first two Sims games. She is a mean old lady who does not approve of public displays of affection. Kissing in public will invoke the unpredictable wrath of her ginormous handbag, unless you have the foresight to distract her with frothy mugs of fruit juice, or take your date to a bowling alley.
  • It's been suggested on a modder forum that made mods for the Pirates of the Caribbean game, that carrying cash should increase the chance that a player gets attacked on the streets, which in turn would lead to a big fight involving muggers, pirates, guards, and old ladies with broomsticks, who don't want to miss the fun. How serious this suggestion was, is anyone's guess.
  • An odd one in House of the Dead: Overkill, where the final boss is Clement's elderly mother... after her brain had been transplanted into Varla Guns, and the mutagen overloaded her and made her giant.
  • In the webgame Epic Mafia, one of the roles a player can get is "Granny". If anyone tries to visit Granny during the night phase, Granny shoots them instead.
  • Fallout: New Vegas
    • Lily Bowen was a kindly old grandmother before becoming a Nightkin. She's still like this somewhat when not completely Ax Crazy.
    • You, yourself, if you moved the age meter all the way to the right and gave yourself grey hair and be female, can play as a badass grandma. "I may not have kids, I may be 70+ years old, but I'm quite capable of taking a rocket launcher to your face."
    • Why stop there? You can easily be one in Oblivion. "I may literally be old enough to be the mother of Martin Septim himself, but I can handle Dagon and his minions easily."
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can make your Dragonborn an old woman.
  • Saints Row 3. You can turn yourself into an old woman through plastic surgery. It's...awkward if your guy was previously a bulky dude, but badass nevertheless.
  • There was a small Shockwave game called Egg Drop that involved the player standing at the top of a tall building dropping things like eggs, water balloons, etc., on passersby. If a payload falls on a passing granny (who walks rather slowly), she gets enraged and calls the police, which ends the level immediately.
  • World of Warcraft
    • Grandma Wahl in the Worgen starting zone initially seems a senile old lady who makes you fetch her favorite book, clothes, and cat before she'll obey with orders to evacuate. When you're attacked on retrieving the cat however, Grandma Wahl proves she's a senile old Worgen lady and helps take out the enemy with a yell of "You do not mess with my kitty, you son of a mongrel!"
      • This is even more remarkable when you realize, at this point of the game's lore, the player is the only Worgan known to regain their human intelligence and personality; all others up to now have succumbed to their beast side.
    • Ethel Waterwise, a very old Tauren in Legion. She has poor eyesight and hearing, but her voice is as good as ever, proven when she scares away a demon - three times larger than herself - by yelling at it.
    • Katherine Proudmore from the Battle for Azeroth expansion. She may lack the wizardry and elementalist abilities of her daughter, but her Rogue skills are still as sharp as they ever were, letting her kick ass with the best of them.
    • Dorian Atwater, a shipwright you have to recruit to unlock Kul Tiras Humans as a playable race. Let's put it bluntly, during the quest chain involving her, there's an Escort Mission where the roles are reversed, and she protects you from attackers. Not to mention the fact that she managed to learn shamanic magic without even knowing what a Shaman is.
  • Golden Sun
    • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, the player follows the escaped pirate Briggs back to his homeland, where he's begging his grandma Obaba for protection from the player characters. She obliges by summoning a giant firebreathing salamander. Once she realizes the player characters are too tough for that, she lets them say their piece, and then she realizes they're telling the truth about Briggs's shenanigans and goes off on him for lying to her and endangering her baby great-grandson. She later helps reforge the pieces of an ancient trident that can be used to defeat the sea monster Poseidon.
    • Obaba returns in Dark Dawn thirty years older and upset she's outlived her grandson, but willing to do Item Crafting for you.
  • The Stroller Grandma spirit in Fatal Frame 3. She goes down in about one or two shots, but she can also one-hit kill you!
  • Halak of Vanguard Bandits, the little old lady with a case of Yoda-speak who's a giant mech pilot in order to be a bodyguard to her Princess Granddaughter. She willingly faces off against the strongest ATACs to ensure her job is done.
  • Both Class I and Class M from Tales of the Abyss are full of Badass Grandpas. They show this capability when Sheridan is attacked by the Oracle Knights, and Tamara, one of the two women on the teams, pulls out a fricking flamethrower on the Knights. Commence asskicking. Unfortunately, just before almost everyone on the teams pulls a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Raja from Suikoden V. A former navy admiral who later defeated her student who defected to the enemy Godwin faction.

Web Comics

  • Mrs. Abigail Primrose from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob A lovable little roly-poly old woman who secretly works for alien dragons, swipes ancient, primordial artifacts from the government, and owns her own suit of Bubblegum Crisis-style Powered Armor. And likes to attend bake sales.
  • Stella "tough-as-an-iron-battleship" Wincott from Thunderstruck, found here.
  • In Digger, there is Boneclaw Mother. "Frankly, I'm a lot more scared of Boneclaw Mother than the Gods. She-Is-Fiercer [the hyena goddess] isn't known for her left hook.
  • Albeit more of a Mama Bear, Miranda Deegan (mother of Dominic Deegan) deserves a mention here. She doesn't have any grandchildren yet, but is an elderly badass lady just the same. As an archmage, it comes with the territory.
  • San: Three Kingdoms Comic. Lu Bu learns this the hard way: it doesn't matter if you're the Memetic Badass of the Three Kingdoms, you simply don't mess with Mother Dong.
  • Rose from A Girl and Her Fed. She's a little old grey-haired lady who walks with a cane. She's also the retired Federal agent who used to run "the post office", a black ops team. When she retired, she opened a daycare for the children of mercenaries and Special Forces members. It has snipers with live ammo watching to make sure no-one messes with the kids.
  • Drive: Captain Taneel of the Machito hasn't even touched a weapon (yet), but managed to mouth off to the emperor and get away with it. The same emperor who killed his uncle for the position.
  • Nannasprite from Homestuck is a ghostly but kindly old lady in a clown suit who loves pranking and baking. She looks harmless, but try stealing her cookies...
    • Alpha Jade qualifies as this. She died fighting Her Imperious Condescension.
  • Grandmano.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. The eponymous Doc is at stated to be about thirty-five. Mitzi McNinja, his mom, has to be in her mid-to-late fifties, and she can just about out-ninja him. Achievements include blowing up a pirate ship so precisely that the treasure landed in her family's hands on the shore, fighting Doc to a draw in the cave, and (in an alternate future) destroying the only Horrorsaurus.
  • Chuckle-A-Duck reminds: keep away from her petunias.

Web Original

  • Grandma killing Zombies!! Need I say more?
  • Neighbors.
  • There's this gem from BinkieMcFartnugget.
  • Whateley Universe. Mrs. Carson is in at least her 70s with grandchildren. She scares the crap out of the entire student population of Whateley Academy at one point. Students are seen wondering who had the balls to prank her. On Halloween, she beat the crap out of and nearly killed a nearly-invincible cyborg without help. It helps that she is Lady Astarte, a big-name superheroine.
  • EAT WELL: Grandma vs. Robber. The moral of the story is eat your vegetables.

Western Animation

  • The Pink Panther episode "Pink Pistons" had the Pink Panther blow past an old woman at an intersection with his new sports car. Turns out that old lady was Granny Flash, senior citizens drag race champion. She proceeds to blow the doors off the Pink Panther.
  • Futurama. Mom, on spades. Although she is by no means a Cool Old Lady, being firmy in Evil Matriarch camp.
  • In some cases, Granny from the Looney Tunes franchise, and in the Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries.
  • Animaniacs: Slappy Squirrel.
  • Willy's grandmother is a biker mama in My Dad the Rock Star.
  • Mrs. Van Houen from The Boondocks. She personally sent two Iraq war veterans-turned-criminals running with the help of her shotgun (granted, they were Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy), and even used the phrase former NRA president, the late Charlton Heston is infamous for saying: "[I'll give you my gun] From my cold, dead hands!"
  • Jon's grandma in Garfield, who can punch the wind out of him in the Christmas special, and rides a motorcycle in the comic strip.
  • Kim Possible
    • Nana Possible. She's introduced as a, well, well-meaning granny, until we are told that she does know Kung Fu. And when her brainwash machine malfunctions, well, you wouldn't want to be in Drakken's shoes.
    • First woman to complete the Navy's Underwater Demolitions Training? Richard Marcinko would be spitting chips.
  • Doug's motorcycle-riding, sushi-eating grandma.
  • Gargoyles
    • The elder princess pinned down Demona with a laser gun. "Nobody messes with my eggs!" (Gargoyle eggs by the way, she wasn't defending breakfast.)
    • Heck, Demona herself when we see her in flashbacks as an old gargoyle in City of Stone, before she is granted immortality and eternal youth.
  • DuckTales (1987)
    • Ma Beagle is certainly the smartest and craftiest of her family of thieves, crooks and robbers. No wonder they loved her so much.
    • Glittering Goldie counts, too. Because if you don't count her, she'll come after you with a shotgun.
    • Mrs. Beakley has her moments. Especially when in Mama Bear mode.
  • One episode of Static Shock opens with a gang of meta-humans sticking up a mall. One of them gets a faceful of pepper spray from a little old lady.
  • Hey Arnold!! Arnold's Grandma Gertie.
  • Suga Mama of The Proud Family.
  • Niko's mentor Ariel from Galaxy Rangers. You can definitely see where Niko developed her Action Girl tendencies. The wicked sense of humor and her Moment of Awesome versus the episode's Cosmic Horror have made her a One-Scene Wonder.
  • Even though she has no kids of her own, Hama of Avatar: The Last Airbender definitely counts as someone who could kick your ass without even striking you. She's also one of the scariest characters in the series. Note that she wouldn't kick your ass. As long as there's a full moon, she'd make you kick your own ass.
  • From the Sam and Max Freelance Police animated series, Sam's Granny Ruth, who works at a maximum security prison on Blood Island. The duo visit her on Christmas Eve just as the prisoners attempt a jailbreak. True to this trope, Granny kicks seventeen types of ass to get the rapscallions back into place.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants. Mr. Krabs' mother may seem like a sweet old lady at first, but when she finds out that Plankton was just using her to get the Krabby Patty formula, she flexes her bicep, revealing it to be huge and accompanied by an image of battleship cannons going off inside it. Cue Oh Crap from Plankton followed by him being punched clean out of the Krusty Krab and back into the Chum Bucket. Never Mess with Granny indeed...
  • It's revealed in Ben 10: Alien Force that Ben and Gwen's grandmother is an extremely powerful Energy Being that was able to take them all on at once... and she was playing!
  • Robot Chicken had one extremely short segment of a little old lady rolling down the street in a tank.

Granny: Come and get some!

  • Winx Club. Make Faragonda fight you all-out. I dare you!
  • Wakfu season 2 introduces Ruel's grandmother in one episode. Note that Ruel is already the Cool Old Guy and Old Master of the heroes' group, so there's no telling how old exactly is his grandmother. When a group of air pirates attacks her Clock Punk cable-car, you get the feeling that she wouldn't even need the help of the heroes to drive them off... considering she welcomes them with a cannon. And by fusioning with her drheller Familiar for a tougher combat form.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: If you think Juniper Lee is badass, you don't want her grandmother to be angry at you.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Granny Smith might be considered one of these. She's old, she's feeble, and she can beat you silly with her purse if you interfere with her street-crossing.
  • Mallory Archer mostly spends her time complaining about things, and being wasted, but as she demonstrated, she's still a dead shot with her 44. Magnum. A fact she demonstrated on a mind controlled Archer.

Mallory: All six shots, right in the 10 ring.

Real Life

  • Perhaps your own grandmother. She may have participated in WWII either as a first line combatant (USSR, several La Résistance movements), a second line combatant (the Lotta Corps of Finland), auxiliary (like WASP Corps), medic or perhaps she has been the original Rosie The Riveter, making B-17s.
  • A news story in the 1980s reported that an elderly British woman single-handedly beat up a much younger man who tried to steal her purse. She told the press that she'd survived The Blitz and therefore wasn't going to put up with that sort of thing.
  • Bernie Garcia, 83, fought off two muggers with a gas pump until help came.
  • A 77-year-old woman used a car as a weapon to rescue a postal worker from an attacking dog.
  • 77-year-old Avis Blakeslee was attacked by a rabid fox. She caught it and held it down until help arrived.
  • An old Texas grandmother and her granddaughter were at home one night when a robber broke in. The granddaughter rushed to the phone and called 911. Granny pulled out a revolver and opened fire. When interviewed later on the news, she apologized... for swearing at the robber.
  • Burglar breaks into a house in Rouchester, NY, and gets his ass handed to him by the owner, 82 year old (and award-winning bodybuilder) Willie Murphy.
  • An 88-year-old Oregon woman returned from picking up logs for her stove to find a nude intruder in her home. When he tried to push her face first into a chair, she reached back and yanked his testicles. He fled, injured, and was apprehended.
  • A 72-year-old former sprinter outpaced the teenager trying to steal her handbag.
  • 72-year-old (as of this writing) Lynn Conway is this to much of the Transgender community. Conway transitioned from male to female despite losing her job at IBM in the late 1960s, and went on to revolutionize computer design several times. And that's just what she did before retirement. Since 2000 she has become one of the most outspoken advocates for the de-pathologization of transsexuality; a vocal critic of junk pop culture science portraying the impetus to transition as being related to the male sex drive (particularly as forwarded by J. Michael Bailey's infamous work The Man Who Would Be Queen), and has become a mentor and legend to a generation of trans women. Bad. Ass.
  • 86-year-old pensioner beats a burglar into submission with her crutch. Then makes him sit in the naughty chair until the police arrive.
  • She warned. Should some poor sod mess with this granny, she'll shoot him in his toodles.
  • Helen McAdam confronted an armed robber who was holding a security guard at gunpoint. She then proceeded to beat him with her handbag and he fled.
  • Azrael at Gaijin Smash blogged frequently about the terror that is the obaasan (Japanese grandmother). School policies tended to be made with deference to them, and discipline couldn't be carried out for fear of facing their wrath; the obaasan were feared as much as yakuza parents. Az also describes a field trip in which he was driven from half-way up Mount Fuji by a typhoon, and on retreat was passed up by a group of marching obaasan who had already been to the top.
  • Actress Natalie Schafer was in her late 60s when she played Mrs. Howell on Gilligan's Island, yet she insisted on doing all her own stunt work.
  • The Sisters of Mercy might count as an entire sect of badass grandmas—even though their vows prevent them from even becoming mothers. Fed up with the cloistered lifestyle that Catholic nuns were forced into, they browbeat their way into making the Pope himself agree to the formation of a non-cloistered order. These women also went into warzones on a regular basis to treat the wounded—they braved artillery fire in the Crimea on more than one occasion!
  • Australian Olympic gold medalist Dawn Fraser, 71, grabs a would-be crook by the ear and kicks him in the groin. He threatens her, she's annoyed, grabs him again by the ear and his hair.
  • Four grandmas in an Impala get hit by a young man at an intersection and the man is yelling at him like it's their fault even though it was him who ran the red light. One rolls down the window, gets the guy with pepper spray and the four old ladies proceed to get out of the car and beat the guy senseless with two umbrellas, a purse, and a black luggage bag until he gets so scared he runs back into his car and takes off. Listen to it here.
  • An elderly couple were walking in the woods when the husband was attacked by a cougar. His wife beat the hell out of this mountain lion with a branch about as big as she was and stabbed it in the eye with a pen, causing it to leave her husband alone and flee. Investigators later found the cougar's battered carcass.
  • Mugger pulls a knife on a little old lady in a wheelchair. Little old lady reaches into her purse, pulls out gun, and shoots him. Turns out, little old lady was a highly competitive shooter, and was on her way home from the range. Unfortunately, she intentionally did not shoot to kill, and is now being sued by the mugger.
  • Everyone on Raging Grannies. They invoke the trope by being over sixty, marching in protests, and singing mildly raunchy songs on street corners to call attention to government and corporate corruption.
  • Sydney news: grandmother punches shark.
  • According to Albions Seed by David Hackett Fischer, a number of Scotch-Irish Apron Matrons were like this. They had intimidating personalities, were experts on all the traditions of The Clan, and would scare the fierce frontiersmen about them, especially if they were their sons. And when was needed they could be right handy with a gun.
  • A criminal, attempting to hide from the police, broke into a house he knew to be owned by an old widow, thinking he'd be safe. After he heard the distinctive sound of a pump-action shotgun and received a polite warning that he might have a better chance with the police, he chose to surrender.
  • As mentioned before, an older Iron Lady will generally be some form of this.
    • As an example, Nancy Pelosi once managed to intimidate Rahm Emmanuel. She has seven grandkids.
    • The Other Wiki calls Golda Meir the "strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people."
  • Super Grandma Stops Robbery: A gang are robbing a shop in broad daylight. No-one tries to stop them; one person is taping it on their phone. Then, Super Grandma comes charging in from across the street to save the day, chasing off the robbers by beating them with her handbag.
  • The lady used as the first example here.
  • There's a story that supposedly a great-grandmother hunted down two rapists and shot them both in the genitals to avenge the gang rape of her teenaged great-granddaughter. She's even picked up the nickname "Grambo". Sadly, the story appears to be just an urban legend.
  • Asshole in a fancy car is rude to an old lady, old lady sets off his airbag with her shopping and keeps on walking.
  • Ruth Westheimer. Yes, that Dr. Ruth. She was born in 1928. She fought as a sniper in the War of Israeli Independence. She is still very much active.
    • She was born in 1928 in Germany, and pretty much got out in the nick of time in 1939. Her parents didn't make it. She came by her quite noticeable limp the hard way, being badly wounded by shellfire during the Israeli War Of Independence in 1948. Any of the things listed here on their own would qualify her as a Badass.
  • This old lady.
  • Sensei Keiko Fukuda just became the fourth person in history (and the first woman, and first person living outside Japan) to be made a 10th dan judoka. She's 98 and still teaches judo in San Francisco. Do not mess with her.
  • Ernestine Shepherd, who at 74 years old, is in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest female bodybuilder. To top it off, she didn't even start working out until she was 56.
  • Julia Child was as OSS agent.
  • In some Native American tribes, if you piss off Granny you will have all of the young men gunning for you.
  • Jane Elliott, the teacher responsible for the "brown eyed/blue eyed" exercise, is a non-combat example of this trope. She reaches Sadist Teacher levels in this reenactment of the experiment, but does an excellent job of conveying how it feels having to deal with racism every day.
  • Dorli Rainey of Seattle, who is 84 years old, got pepper-sprayed to fight against the noxious influence of the 1% with an inordinate influence on government. Her response to all the idiots who haven't even read the First Amendment to the United States Constitution? "I'm feeling great. I feel so energized. It's amazing what a little pepper spray will do for you."
  • Every single old person who willingly line up to clean radiation in Japan [dead link] qualify as a Badass Grandma or Grandpa for exposing themselves to radiation so younger people won't have to.
    • Not so surprising, considering Japanese culture. Still Badass.
  • Annie Oakley. She was nearly seventy when she passed away; she'd been shooting with perfect accuracy right up until then.
  • There's a group of women living in the exclusion zone, due to the Chernobyl Disaster of 1986. Most of them are elderly, between their 70s and 80s. There are often called "babushka", which means "grandmother" in Ukrainian.
  • In 2014, two burglars tried to break into a home in Florida, only to be confronted by an armed 80-year-old grandmother.