In Adventure Time, it has been slowly revealed over the seasons that the Ice King's crown corrupted him into his present personality. During one of the flashbacks that fleshed out his backstory, he referred to someone as Gunther, which wasn't their real name. This would indicate that the crown originated his overuse of the name Gunther on the penguins. The penguins have shown several times that they seem to be more intelligent than present-day penguins, and possibly sentient (like so many other creatures in Adventure Time's era), which would indicate to me they might have their own language and names.

Are the penguins actually named Gunther or do they have their own names that Ice King doesn't acknowledge?


4 Answers 4


The episode "Evergreen" revealed why the Ice King's crown led him to call all the penguins some variation on the name "Gunther" (other names mentioned in the penguins article on the Adventure Time wiki are ""Goonter," "Gunter," and "Goonther"). "Evergreen" took place in the distant past, at the tail end of the dinosaur age, and featured a magical wizard named Evergreen who had a dinosaur named Gunther as an assistant (perhaps he used magic to give the dinosaur the ability to speak, since all the other dinosaurs seen in the episode seemed to have normal animal intelligence). Evergreen was one of a group of four wizards with the powers of the four elements, which in Adventure Time's world are ice, candy, fire, and slime; Evergreen is the one with ice powers. The four wizards discuss a giant meteor that is approaching the Earth, and Evergreen wants to stop it by creating a magical crown which will grant the wearer his innermost wish, which in Evergreen's case is to stop the meteor. Evergreen then goes around collecting things he needs to create the crown, using Gunther as an errand boy. Although he promises to eventually teach Gunther the secrets of magic, he puts this off, and in the meantime is domineering and harsh towards Gunther, who idolizes Evergreen. At the end of the episode, he creates the crown but is unable to get to it after being pinned down during a fight with a magical lava dog, so he tells Gunther to put on the crown and concentrate on the wish to deflect the meteor. Unfortunately Gunther has not been taught the magical skills needed to control his mind, and his deepest wish turns out to be like his master, so when he puts on the crown he develops ice powers, a long beard, and is heard shouting "Gunther, no!" over and over again, just like Evergreen has done to him.

So, this appears to be why the crown drives its wearer to develop ice powers, a beard, and why it leads the wearer to identify anyone who might be a potential minion as "Gunther" or some variation on that name. From this, I think we can conclude that the Ice King was responsible for giving the penguins these names, although it's possible the penguins adopted the names among themselves if the sounds they make are a form of speech that we in the audience can't understand.

Evergreen and Gunther

Evergreen and Gunther

Gunther transformed by the crown

Gunther transformed by the crown

Meanwhile, the penguin who tends to feature most prominently in storylines is Gunter, and the episode "Orgalorg" revealed that this was not his original name. Originally he was a horrible alien monster named Orgalorg who ruled over the solar system, and as described in the wiki's summary:

When an incarnation of the Catalyst Comet appeared in Orgalorg's time, Orgalorg sought to absorb it and gain its power. Abraham Lincoln did not want this to happen and sent Grob Gob Glob Grod to strike him down. Grob Gob Glob Grod incapacitated Orgalorg with his sword, and Orgalorg fell to Earth where he was "compressed into a more powerless form." As the grandmother is telling the last line of the story, Orgalorg can be seen gradually transforming into Gunter as he falls to Earth. A few moments later, an image of Gunter is projected into the sky above the unknown planet.


According to Ice King voice actor Tom Kenny, the penguins are named Gunther in the script: http://herocomplex.latimes.com/tv/adventure-time-actor-tom-kenny-on-ice-kings-loneliness-tragic-past/#/0 so that could be considered a yes. If they have their own names, we wouldn't know because they don't speak English (or whatever human language they're speaking in AT).

  • are you implying that all the penguins are named Gunther, and that's not a specific penguin?
    – Andrey
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 0:17
  • @Andrey - There is only one Gunter, but the Ice King calls all the penguins different variations on the name, like "Goonter," "Gunther," "Günter," and "Goonther".
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 17:16

We constantly see throughout the show that Gunther is somehow evil.

Gunther preventing Abadeer stealing his soul Gunter preventing Abadeer stealing his soul

Gunther's transformation after stealing the amulet. Gunter's transformation

Even in the flashback episode Evergreen the Gunter at the time is a single individual.

I think that I've never seen the Ice King refer to one of the penguin's at a time as gunter, so I do think that Gunter is an individual, and not the name the ice king give all of the penguins.


I think this ambiguity or question is embraced by the writers of the show. There doesn't seem to be an explicit answer. We are constantly reminded that the Ice King is addled and although his desires and memories hint at a past (Like his pursuit of Marceline and desire to write songs for her). Yet we're never given all the detail about he intervening time.

The fact that the script refers to the penguin as Gunther is not persuasive to me. The names used in the script are for the purpose of guiding the process of creating the episodes, not a part of the "text" or source itself.

  • I don't see why you'd ignore the script. Is there any indication that there's anything else that they merely used for "guiding" the show's creation?
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 18:27
  • I guess I am probably unfamiliar with the presuppositions, this was my first answer on scifi. I only mean that the script wouldn't necessarily be considered authoritative because there can be pragmatic considerations that would influence "Gunther" being used as the name for the penguin's actions. I simply mean it's not persuasive to me, not that it should be ignored.
    – Leaper
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 19:00
  • 1
    I'm not saying that you're wrong, just that if we're going to disregard/diminish a canon source of info, we need a good reason to do so. Showing that they've ignored other elements of the script would be an excellent way to prove that the script is merely a guide.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 19:08

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