Holda speaks in metaphors and riddles much of the time, even telling Gretel at one point that she is tempted to turn her tongue into a flower, so she can understand how “pretty and dumb and temporary you’ve chosen to be.” She tells Gretel to “think less, and know more.” When she first meets Gretel attempting to start a fire, she tells her “Careful with that, dear, I’d hate for you to start something you can’t stop.” When she sacrificed her children for satanic powers, she said she “hardly even chewed,” because she was so hungry to realize her own powers. She sees in Gretel a similar sense of natural witchcraft, and tries to warn her about the road ahead and urge her to take up a path similar to her own (“we are made from the same matter, the same filth… I envy you, standing at the precipice of your own experience, with everything ahead of you”). She has a swift knack for reading Gretel and sensing her potential (“I very much doubt that a convent is a place for a girl with action in her bones”). She takes in children and makes them feel welcome all for a cannibalistic purpose, to fulfill her own desire to consume them and absorb her powers, to “eat” her feelings. Holda has spent years ignoring what happened with her own child and how that led her down a dark path, but sees it as inevitable that Gretel should follow the same route. She shows her what to do, and who she can be, and is incredulous that she would not choose the way of knowledge and power and solitude, by forsaking a boy that is only “holding her back.” She sees the good sense in keeping the boy and girl around for useful purposes (chores and as helpers) rather than killing them right away, in her belief that a “trade” (work for food) is a good one. Holda built her own house and designed it herself. She also disguises herself as an old woman for the specific purpose of making people trust her. Holda relates to Gretel and tries to enlighten her, but also points out that she is too emotionally attached to other people and needs to let them go. She does very little in her world, reducing her Se merely to her delight in creating an aesthetic experience for herself, in how she transforms her cannibalistic feasts into visual masterpieces. She is not aware of her environment or able to react quickly in it.

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Holda at all times is aware of her power over other people, and wants to subtly prove it to them, including intimidating and testing Gretel by eating a sausage and pulling a girl’s long braid out of her mouth and laying it on the table, to see if it provokes a reaction. She calmly asserts herself over Gretel by always managing to maintain the upper hand, and considers emotional attachments a “weakness” that must be overcome if one is to find their true potential. She threatens her on a couple of occasions when Gretel says something she does not want to hear or that shows her “weakness” in her affection for her brother, and thinks that attachments drag someone down rather than embolden them. She has numbed herself to the horrific actions in her past, ignoring them and burying them under the mundane existence of her life. She says Gretel should think less, and trust her instincts more.