She looked, in short, more like a rather eccentric and bloodthirsty follower of the stag-hounds than the headmistress of a nice school for children
"Looking at her, you got the feeling that this was someone who could bend iron bars and tear telephone directories in half." - Matilda
Miss Trunchbull is the "formidable female" headmistress of Crunchem Hall Primary School, attended by Matilda Wormwood and her friends. A former Olympic hammer-thrower with a hatred of children, Roald Dahl describes her as "a gigantic holy terror, a fierce tyranical monster who frightened the life out of pupils and teachers alike."
She's certainly not the sort of woman you'd expect to find as headmistress of a school. Her behaviour to her pupils - from force-feeding them cake to throwing them across the playground by their pigtails - is outrageous. According to Matilda, it's for this very reason that she gets away with it. "No parent is going to believe this pigtail story, not in a million years," she tells her friend Lavender.
The Trunchbull is certainly not afraid of going the whole hog. And it's not just her pupils that suffer - Miss Honey also has to deal with the outrageous demands of this bullying headmistress. With a little help from Matilda, though, Miss Trunchbull does get her compeuppance...
In 1996, a film version of Matilda was released, with Pam Ferris playing Miss Trunchbull. In the RSC's musical adaptation of the story, the Trunchbull is played by a man. Actor Bertie Carvel originated the role both in London and on Broadway.
What a bunch of nauseating little warts you are.
Miss Trunchbull 1
Roald Dahl's Matilda