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How dare you speak to us this way!
~ Aunt Spiker to James.

Aunt Spiker (also simply known as Spiker) is one of the two main antagonists of the 1996 Disney live action/stop-motion animated film James and the Giant Peach (which is based on the 1961 children's novel of the same name by the late Roald Dahl), the other being Aunt Sponge. She is one of James' two cruel aunts and Aunt Sponge's sister.

She was portrayed by Joanna Lumley, who also played Maudeline Everglot in Corpse Bride.

Background

After the death of James' parents, Spiker and Sponge had no choice but to take in James and "raise" him. Instead of caring for him, she and Sponge force him to do all the work around the house, they had a tendency to beat him when he disagrees with them or backtalk, and almost always make him go into his room without dinner. She and Sponge never call James by his name, but always refer to him with mean, insulting, and opprobrious names such as "you nasty little beast". Why they despise him no much is unknown.

Like her sister, Spiker also hates James to the point that she would kill him over money. She also appears to have little regard for life in general since she tried to eradicate the insect crew. Thus, she can be as irrational as her sister despite being smarter. Overall, Spiker shows no actual redeeming traits and is nothing more than a sadistic child abuser and eventfully, attempted child murderder.

Appearance

Aunt Spiker is a tall, thin, and ugly woman. She is probably the older aunt. Lke her younger sister Sponge, she claims that she is a very beautiful woman, but looks beg to differ. At first, it seems like she has red hair, but later on, it's revealed to be a wig, covering short gray hair on an almost balding head. To further illustrate her skinny appearance, her eyes are sunken into her head. She is mostly seen wearing a long green gown. She also seems to be the smarter one of the two as she is less reckless and sometimes, more reasonable.

History

Spiker and Sponge adopted James after his parents were eaten by a rhinoceros and are very abusive and treat him like a slave, forcing him to do hard labor and feeding him nothing but fish heads. Aunt Spiker is thin, quiet and cold. Both have a terrible hatred of insects and bugs and kill them in a variety of awful ways, and are thus hated by them as well. It is unknown if Spiker and Sponge are the sisters of James' father or mother. In the book, the illustrations show them to be elderly, so they could also be his great-aunts.

Sometime later, she and Sponge discover a peach on a withered old tree, and watch it grow to immense proportions in a matter of seconds. She and Sponge use the giant peach as an attraction, making lots of money as James watches from the house, not allowed to leave or play with the other children. That night, she and Sponge send James outside to pick up the garbage dropped by their customers.

Later, Spiker and Sponge go searching for James, annoyed at his lack of work at cleaning up the garbage. As they look for him, they tease about the rhino when Spiker hears a sound (Centipede gnawing at the peach's root). She and Sponge investigate where the noise is coming from, but then are thrown off balance by a sudden shaking of the ground. They turn around to see the peach about to roll in front of them and rush to their car in panic. After adjusting the seat and while grabbing the steering wheel, Spiker impatiently tries to start the car, but is unable to. As the peach rolls closer to them, Spiker keeps trying to start the car, unable to step on the accelerator.

Later, when James escapes on the giant peach, he is followed by her and Sponge all the way to New York, apparently somehow managing to drive their now crushed car under the ocean and reach New York covered in seaweed and crabs, where they try to convince the authorities that James is a liar and that he be released to them. One night, while navigating on the peach, James has a nightmare of him as a caterpillar being chased and attacked by Spiker, Sponge, and the rhino, eventually getting trapped in a blind alley before he awakens. However, James, now no longer afraid of her and Sponge, stands up to them and reveals the truth about their horrible treatment of him. Fed up with James daring to stand up to them, she and Sponge furiously attack him with firemen's axes until the sudden reappearance of the insects came to James' rescue. The aunts are frightened to see the bugs that turned their nephew against them. James and the bugs tie her and Sponge up with Miss Spider's thread, and the beat cop has them taken away on a crane. What happens with Spiker and Sponge afterwards is completely unknown, but most likely, the two sisters were arrested for child abuse after being taken away, paying for their crimes once and for all. Other possibility, however, could be that, with their faces clogged with spider web, they were not able to breathe and suffocated to death. However, it is plausible that James would have not allowed to get his aunts killed even though they tried to kill him.

After the credits, there is a scene showing an arcade-like game which consists of controlling a rhinoceros to attack replica models of her and Sponge.

Defeat

In the book, when the peach gets loose and rolls, it rolls over her and Sponge, killing them both, and they subsequently do not reappear at the end.

In the 1996 film, she and Sponge survive and pursue James to New York City in their beat-up car (in the Ice World, James and Miss Spider see a shipwreck with figureheads, having a terrible resemblance of her and Sponge). Upon arriving in New York, both are soaked as if they had been driving their car across the seabed. She and Sponge attempt to kill James but are tied up with Miss Spider's silk and arrested.

In the 2015 musical, which combines material from both the book and the film, James' aunts survive like in the film. However, the peach lands atop the Empire State Building, and eventually it falls off at the story's climax. As such, Spiker and Sponge are both crushed to death by the peach-pit like in the book.

Quotes

(James Henry Trotter: Father gave it to me. He said we could go there one day.)
~ James tells Spiker and Sponge how his father gave him the New York City travel book and how his father told him that he and his parents were going to New York City.
Stupid, foolish man!
~ Aunt Spiker insults James' father.
Look. The little maggot's stuffing his face with our peach! Get him, Sponge!
~ Spiker orders Sponge to get James with the Rhino during a nightmare that James is having.
The poor boy needs his medicine. So we'll just take him... [Aunt Sponge: and the peach...] back to our cozy little house on the hill. Come along. You're going home with us. (James Henry Trotter: No I'm not.) What did you say? (James Henry Trotter: I said: NO... I'M... NOT! I hate that house and that cold room and how I was always hungry!) Alright, that's enough! (James Henry Trotter: And how you beat me!) [Aunt Sponge: He's lying!] (James Henry Trotter: And told me I was nothing!) [Aunt Sponge: Shut up!] Shut up! Shut up! (James Henry Trotter, putting his foot down: NO! Not this time! I flew the giant peach across the ocean. I landed on top of the tallest building in the world. I made it! I'M NOT THE ONE WHO'S NOTHING, YOU ARE! AND I'M NEVER GOING BACK WITH YOU! NOT ME AND NOT THE PEACH!) HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO US THIS WAY!
~ Spiker and Sponge attempt to get James to come back to their house.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Both the novel and the film never specify whether Spiker and Sponge were the sisters of James' dad or James' mom. However, considering that in the film they insulted James' dad, it is possible that they were sisters of James' mom at least in the film canon, though they also mocked about her, albeit not so bad like they did with his father. Another explanation could be, also, that they are actually James' great-aunts, especially considering that they are depicted to be old in the book.
  • Aunt Spiker was portrayed by Joanna Lumley, who later went on to voice Maudeline Everglot in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.
  • When James and Miss Spider were searching for both Mr. Centipede and a compass, one of the sunken ships had both the aunts on the mast for unknown reasons. Interestingly, both Miss Spider nor James take note of this and such matter even doesn't go adressed later on.
  • When the aunts arrive on New York, it's implied that they drove their car underwater, which is really irrealistic, considering the distance between England and New York and how they would have been able to not breath during all that time. A possible explanation could be that when the peach rolled over the car, it could have given magic powers to the vehicle and her occupants, and thus the car was given the ability to be drivable underwarter and the aunts were given the ability to breathe underwater or hold the breath for days.
  • Although the aunts are the main antagonists, they had very little screen time.

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