- "Evil Always Finds a Way."
- — Gnarl's catchphrase in Overlord.
Gnarl is the aged and much-feared Minion Master of the Minion horde, loyal servant of Darkness, advisor and personal right-claw of many Overlords throughout history. By his recurring appearances in all the Overlord games, it can be assumed that he is possibly the first minion ever spawned. The only other minion almost as old as him is Giblet, which he mentions when touring the fourth overlord. He is very wise and he seems to know many languages. This is demonstrated when he translates the gnome communication when they declare war on the Fourth Overlord, and also when he translates the mumbles of the Silent Order to the Third Overlord. He also has a greater vocabulary than most minions, as he is to be smarter than the minions and has the same intelligence, if not more, than the overlord himself. He has a glowing crystal hanging from a wooden stick, strapped to his back. He uses the crystal as a lantern/illumination device, and judging from the glow, it could be a soul or Life Force, but it is currently unknown what it actually is. It is also unknown how he became more aware than the rest of his fellow minions, but it's suspected that he could be an overlord trapped in the body of a minion, and this is what causes him to betray the overlords and cause their downfall.
Gnarl's Story before Dark Legend is unknown, it is certain that he was once a common brown, indicated by his appearance, and his comment on how many things put on his own head when he was young, and then at some point, he became the advisor to the overlord, coming to the battlefield until he was too old to fight.
Overlord: Dark Legend
Gnarl first encounters Lord Gromgard as an infant, telling him that he has great things in store. For sixteen years Gnarl hides out in an Iron Maiden within the room of the previous Overlord, awaiting the day that
Gromgard becomes old enough and his powers as an Overlord are unlocked, after which he assumes his role of advisor.
Gnarl is an aged minion who leads the minions between Overlords and acts as the narrator and advisor throughout the conquest. Even though being the frailest minion of the tower, he is the most experienced and knowledgeable, conducting various tasks like restoration of the tower while the Overlord is away and introduces new options and powers to him as they become available. He reflects the multiple paths of corruption the Overlord can take with his tone of voice and speech varying between light and black humour and always reminds the Overlord that "There are evil deeds that need doing." Upon arrival of the previous Overlord he is quick to betray but also appears less enthusiastic and reassures that if the current Overlord succeeds that he will "happily take him back". correcting himself later Serving him again, after the defeat of the second overlord,he narrates the destructive rampage of an evil overlord or evil becoming part of the life of the land.
Overlord: Raising Hell
After the Second Overlord was defeated, Gnarl communicated to the overlord that a hellish portal appeared in the Ruborian Desert, and after a while Gnarl remembers the Forgotten God,as his curse to be forgotten weakens when going near his chamber,and tells to the Overlord that the Forgotten God was once married to the Mother Goddess,but when she saw him cheating on her,she banished him in the Infernal Abyss and causing everyone that tries to remember him to quickly forget,commenting how brutal it was his punishment,even worse than death. After the Third Overlord defeated the Forgotten God,the abyss started to crumble and communication with the overlord was heavily disturbed, and was losing his bond with the tower heart, Gnarl shouted that if the overlord heard him,to quickly head to the tower portal. After the overlord is trapped in the Abyss by jester, Gnarl states that while many Overlords have come and gone, he had a "soft-spot" for him,with the other minions mourning his loss. But Gnarl believes he can find a way to escape the Abyss,then watches the pregnant mistress of the Overlord, indicating his new master coming.
Gnarl serves the same role as he always has. It is revealed in the end cutscene that he may be simply
pretending to obey the Overlord, and may even be setting him up to fail by his hand as hinted at by his stereotypical evil laugh at the end,with 'Evil Always Finds a Way',meaning that the fourth overlord will soon fall and probably by Gnarl's plan like he did with his predecessor,and that a new master must be found,as evidenced by the ending of Raising Hell.
Overlord: Fellowship of Evil
Gnarl is back again, heading once more Minions.
After the destruction of the Fourth Overlord and his empire, and facing the threat of the Shining Justice, and while the Golden threatens the existence of Minions, he managed to find the Great Book of Evil, and there is a ritual which will allow the evil to survive: it brings back to life four champions of evil which his servants have purchased the body and creates four "candidates" to take the place of the Overlord left vacant, and especially to cooperate together to bring Evil in the World.
- "Don't dilly dally, Sire, go smite something." — Overlord loitering in the Throne Room.
- "The Tower Heart ! The halflings are using it to grow pumpkins,these fools don't know about the true power of the Heart"
- "Always a pleasure to have you around, Lord, but don't you think you should be elsewhere, you know, doing your job?" — Gnarl on Overlord's work ethic.
- "Now, Sire, you won't get much smiting done with that weapon! Visit the Forge at once!" — Overlord carries a "weak" weapon.
- "I can't blame Sir William for his tastes. I knew a Succubus once, Lord, charming girl, charming. A little high maintenance, but you couldn't fault her enthusiasm!"
- "Sire, the Tower can only accommodate one Mistress, unfortunately." — Overlord having to choose one Mistress. In Overlord II this "issue" was resolved.
- "This tranquil wilderness... so rural and idyllic. Hideous is it not? Try not to inhale it, my Lord!" — Visiting Mellow Hills for the first time.
- "Minions will automatically equip any useful items they find... and often, oh, any useless items too! But do not fear, your weapons and armor are custom forged at the Tower. We wouldn't dream of giving you any old steal-me-downs, no no no..." — Banter in the Mellow Hills,referring to the higher status of the overlord granting him special rights as the right of using the ancient tower forge smelters.
- "One last thing, Sire... Killing innocents, and I use the term loosely, increases your Corruption level *evil laugh."
- "so it creates more evil energy that amplifies your power" Gnarl on Corruption
- "ah, what a fine specimen. Must have taken them years to grow. Don't you just want to smash it up!" Gnarl after seeing the giant pumpkin in Halfling Homes
- "You can now control 15 Minions! 15! That's double the number of brain cells in the average sheep!" — Minion Upgrade with comment.
- "Ha! Roasted in his own kitchen! There's something Evilly poetic about that!" — freed Reds fry the cooks in Melvin's kitchen.
- "A good Halfling is an on-fire-and-screaming Halfling!" — Melvin's Kitchen
- "Reds! Look after them, and they'll look after you. Just like one big Evil family." — Found the first Reds in Melvin's Kitchen.
- "More roast meat for Melvin!" — After burning the Halfling Cooks to death in Melvin's Kitchen
- "Still, we just can't just have Evil Abysses cropping up anywhere they like and threatening your Evil domination!" — Checking on one of the abysses.
- "Drowning your army is a waste. Sire, if only we had Minions that could swim, or float, or not drown quite so fast!" — Evernight Forest or the Mellow Hills Abyss, trying to traverse a water barrier..
- "That Mistress Velvet's a right catch. Wonder why Sir William cancelled the wedding..." — Musing, near Halfway to Heaven's inn.
- "But don't think you're coming up here without bringing us a present!"
"I think I have a few old eyeballs in my room, Lord, or I could get Gubbin to dig around in the dung pile?" — The parlour is pest-free in the Heaven's Peak Abyss, the run-off females are not mellowed though. Gnarl tries to be helpful.
- "We'll soon have them out of their evil ways and into something small and insubstantial."
"You are Master of the Heaven's Peak Abyss, Sire... now about those ladies and some insubstantial clothing!" — About the headstrong females in the Heaven's Peak Abyss.
- "One is enrapturing the Elves of Evernight, so we can only hope it leads to something horrible." — The Evernight Abyss emerges.
- "The slime, the stagnant odor, the festering corpses, it's all so homely..." — Visiting Heaven's Peak for the first time.
- "Hmmm, they're dead, the serious kind of dead, where you don't get up and start lurching around!" — Walking the sewers of Heaven's Peak Understreets observing the corpses of the Zombies.
- "Be glad of that chasm, Master. Rock giants don't take kindly to anything squashier than they are." — Rock Giant encounter in the Golden Hills.
- "Dwarves like anything that fires or burns and especially, explodes! Make that their downfall, Sire! Yes!" — Gnarl on Golden Hills dwarves.
- "Then you may spread your Evil Domain even further, Sire. Won't that be nice?" — Gnarl's cunning plan to trick Jewel to reveal her hiding place.
- "Without their females the Elven race would be wiped from the face of this land! No more Elves? Ah, be still my beating heart!" — The rescue of female elves in Goldo's Royal Halls, or not.
- "Seems there's something in there the Dwarves want... which probably means it's drinkable or valuable!" — Commenting on the spawned Golden Abyss gate.
- "Hmmm... it's really quite homely, for a damnation dimension." — Gnarl notes the 'playful' Wraith's "home".
- "I almost burst into flames once... actually let's not go there..." — Commenting on the Inferno spell.
- "Careful they don't throw up on you, Master... vomit stains are a devil to shift." — Slightly tipsy dwarves in the Golden Abyss passing by the Overlord.
- "Those roots don't seem to like the light. Ah, I know how they feel." — Spotlight placed on plant gates in the Evernight Abyss.
- "Oh dear, it's a Labyrinth! If you see any rosy-cheeked maidens whinging about 'Goblin Kings' or if anything starts singing... kill them!" — On entering the Labyrinth in the Infernal Abyss (A reference to the Jim Henson film Labyrinth)
- "It's so nice to see new places... meet new people... and kill them!" — Visiting the Ruborian Desert, Gnarl says something similar visiting Empire City in Overlord II.
- "Spirited creature, a few days in my Iron Maiden will sort that out!" —When Jewel was captured.
- "Ahh, it's nice to see the little gnashers back." - Commenting on the minion hives.
- "Are you alright, Sire, not feeling scared are you?" — When the Overlord hangs out in the Throne Room for too long.
- "Ahh, it's so nice to see the Minions back in the field fighting and dying alike the bad old days!" — In Throne Room.
- "I remember when I was a young Minion, out in the field! Oh the things I put on my head!" — In Throne Room.
- "That Juno makes my little black heart all fluttery!" — In Throne Room, once you have freed Juno.
- "That Juno looks like a demanding lady.*chuckle* I'm quite hoping she makes demands of me!"
- "Giblet! Don't chew THAT!"
- 'it was an hard choice to abandon the old tower,but couldn't have remained without a master" Gnarl commenting on the Minion Exodus
- "I don't trust that Empire, they're far too shiny!" — In Throne Room.
- "Look at all that oil, Sire; just spraying into the air waiting to be made into pretty fountains of pain and destruction!" — Nordhaven
- "Hoist the wossname... splice the mainthingie... climb the..., sorry Sire got a bit carried away there." — Leaving Nordhaven on ship.
- "This is why survival of the fluffiest has never caught on, Sire. They're just too stupid." — Sending baby seals into water mines.
- "And there's nothing that does my black heart more good than a retreating Elf! Especially if they're on fire!" — On the way to Everlight Reef.
- "Ah, this looming fortress was once the source of fear in this land." — First visit to the Wasteland seeing the ruined Dark Tower.
- "I'd rather cut my ears off rather than keep hearing them fight over who should be mistress" - When Juno, Dark Fay and Kelda fight over the First Mistress title and the Overlord takes too long to decide
- "Your health has been increased, Master. It's less likely I'll have to come and scrape you up now!" — Health Upgrade received.
- "There's more lovely health for your, Lord. You can never be too healthy!" — Another Health Upgrade received.
- "Your health has increased. That's good, Master. Dead Masters bring me out in a rash." — Another Health Upgrade.
- "Your horde size has increased, Lord. Who's a big powerful Overlord then? You are! Yes you are!" — Baby-talking a Command Upgrade.
- "I don't like the way that Fay ghost floats up behind you. I swear she pinched me on my... Gnarl's special place!"
- "A happy mistress, is a mistress who is not making Gnarl's ears bleed, Sire." — The Overlord is not spending gold on his mistresses.
- "Because in the end, Evil Always finds a way" - Gnarl Saying this at the end of each game, probably professing the downfall of the current overlord.
Gnarl is a very old minion, shown by his grayed skin and white beard, his true age is unknown. He's very evil. He encourages the overlord to do evil deeds such as massacring peasants and keeping things for himself and approves of the overlord should he be truly evil. He seems to have a deep hatred for elves, like all other minions share. He has crude dark humor and sometimes can appear crazy. His eyes in Overlord appear to not glow like the other minions do, just like jester, indicating his free will instead of being bound to the overlord. Probably, after a long time in service of the Overlord causes the minions to lose their bond to the Overlord.
It is unknown how he became the adviser of the overlord and how he managed to get smarter than all minions. His loyalty to the Overlord seems to be quite unstable, evidenced by him immediately betraying the Third Overlord after the Second Overlord's Arrival, and knowing that Jester did something when he disappeared in Raising Hell or even cooperated with him and said nothing to the overlord and professing the downfall of the Fourth Overlord.
His favorite line is 'Evil Finds a Way', but is not fully clear on what means. The most probable conclusion is it could mean getting a new master because of the current overlord outlived his role's usefulness or he simply doesn't like him, or he being dead as he says the same line when the Third Overlord assumes his mantle of Overlord in the ruined dark tower. It could also mean at the end,true evil finds a way to emerge to conquer the world or manifest itself and vanquish good. If the overlord is not evil incarnate and is not worthy of his role and title, this causes Gnarl to betray the overlord as he is only loyal to true evil. It could mean the return of the Second Overlord, suspected to have possessed Jester from the first game and is biding his time to possess a more powerful body and take on the role.
- In the intro to Overlord, Gnarl is shown with an eye patch of some sort, indicating that he is missing an eye, however after the intro and for the rest of the series, he have both of his eyes.
- Gnarl's face in both Overlord and in Overlord 2's intro, looks similar to the greens. In the second game intro, he is not presented with an eye patch, unlike the first game.
- Gnarl is an extremely intelligent for a normal minion, as he has really good grammar and fighting tips unlike the other minions.