"Perhaps we better make a deal."
-The Beast tempting Wirt
The Beast is the main antagonist of Over the Garden Wall. He is the monster of The Unknown and is feared throughout it. His goal is to catch the brothers, Wirt and Gregory, and turn them into Edelwood trees in order to fuel his lantern.
The Beast is voiced by Samuel Ramey.
When in the darkness of the forest, the beast is always shown in silhouette. He appears to have a humanoid shape with a head and cloak-covered body. He also appears to have antlers. His eyes usually glow bright white, but they can also appear with red pupils and sclera colored yellow, light yellow, and light blue.
In the light
His body is made out of what looks like Edelwood, with twisted faces and holes covering him entirely. His antlers resemble tree branches. His face is also revealed to have a mouth and a nose, but no ears. He has two arms with long-fingered hands.
The Beast is a manipulative and mysterious being. He is solely motivated by his own self-preservation and is indifferent to the pain and suffering caused by his actions. The Beast is very well-spoken and speaks matter-of-factly, traits he uses to lull his victims into a false sense of security. To accomplish this he may also feign concern. He is a master of deception, knowing exactly what to say to get people under his power. He typically has an even temperament, but threatening the lantern or defying him for too long can cause him to lose some composure.
The Beast has a tendency to sing. He has a song for chopping the Edelwood and another song directed to his intended victims.
He has the power to possess other creatures, such as Beatrice's dog shown in the very first episode, and "haunts" the inhabitants of The Unknown, like Adelaide who claimed to be following "the dark voices of the Beast." He is the self-proclaimed owner of the woods through which Wirt and Greg wander through, as he says to Wirt that Greg is going to be "a part of [his] forest."
The Beast bears an old lantern called the Dark Lantern. It is unknown when the Beast lost this lantern to the Woodsman, but from then on the Beast has haunted the man, eventually making a deal with him to become the lantern bearer. He deceived the Woodsman into believing that his daughter's soul was kept alive inside the lantern, and would keep on living as long as the flame was lit. It's assumed that the Beast stole the Woodsman's daughter's soul. The lantern is kept lit by the oil from Edelwood Trees, a type of tree that forms when the Beast captures the souls of children led astray. For many years the Woodsman has chopped the wood and collected the oil from it without knowing how the trees were created. In the finale, "The Unknown," the Beast finally overpowers the Woodsman in their fight over the lantern. But when Wirt picks it up first, the Beast tries to persuade him into becoming the new lantern bearer instead of fighting him for the lantern, promising him that Greg's soul will live on as the burning flame of the lantern. Wirt rejects his offer and casually notes that the Beast is so obsessed with the lantern as if it was his own soul captured inside it. When he threatens to blow out the light, the Beast yells "No!", revealing Wirt's suspicions to be true. Wirt leaves the lantern to the Woodsman, who finally caught on to the deception. The Beast tries to manipulate him into killing the boys and get more oil, but the Woodsman turns to face the Beast instead, spinning fast enough to catch a glimpse of his actual form. The Beast is made up of a multitude of faces, not unlike the ones seen on the Edelwood Trees. The Woodsman contemplates for a moment before he opens the lantern and blows out the light, ending the Beast for good. After his death, the Woodsman returned to his house and his daughter reappeared.
The Beast sings a song in an opera style while the Woodsman chops wood, as seen in "Songs of the Dark Lantern". Another song sung by the Beast can be heard in Babes in the Woods called "Come Wayward Souls".
- The Beast is considered to be one of the evilest and serious Cartoon Network villains.
- The Beast appears in only four of the episodes in the entire series.
- The origins of The Beast is unknown or to how his own soul gets in the Dark lantern.
- The beast may have a connection with the pitch-black turtles seen throughout the series, as in the final episode his eye color momentarily changes to reflect the turtle-infected dog seen in the first episode.
- This is also backed up by the fact that the beast and the turtles are both silhouettes, unaffected by light in any way whatsoever.
- The Beast sings in an operatic way.
- The Beast references, and might be inspired by many different deities and entities. Some of these entities include: Wendigo, Will-o'-the-Wisps, Stingy Jack, Herne the Hunter, Lovecraft's Aylith, Scandinavian Nøkken, Der Erlkönig (The Alder King), the villain with the same name of the movie "Krull" and Celtic Cernunnos.
- The Satan of Judeo-Christian lore has also been referred to as "The Beast".