Sunday, September 27, 2015


In popular culture, goblins are now associated with suicidal tendencies and war. However, the original goblins of the european continent were much more mischievous, frightening, and potent. I would also posit that they were more competent! Goblins evolved out of various and sundry stories, but they have these common features: they are always a small daemon, ugly in physique, and said to range in size from no bigger than a shoe to a man's hip. They were also once associated with the elves, and the Erlking, a leading figure in goblin lore, was once said to be the king of faerie. He would ride out with his wife and steal small children, eating them alive.

I have heard many goblin stories in random moments and ways. I am curious, what is your favorite type of goblin? Who is your favorite single goblin character? How do they compare to Tolkien's goblins?


Manwë said...

I would say that my most favorite type of goblin would be not really a goblin at all but rather a kind of troll- a Box Troll. I know they are not actually called goblins but depending on one's definition I think that they could fall into at least a similar category. The trolls I'm talking about are from the movie The Boxtrolls- an awesome movie that recently came out and is available on Netflix (You all should totally watch it). Of all the trolls in the movie I think my favorite would be the one called Shoe, all of the trolls are adorable but I think Shoe is especially cute- none of the actual trolls speak but rather make odd sounds that still manage to express their thought. They are like the traditional European view of a goblin in that they are misunderstood and mischievous creatures but differ in that at the end of the movie everyone is happy and the trolls are integrated into society and prejudice is forgotten.

Oromë said...

I don't know that I would agree with your description of the "original" goblins. Goblins of European folklore were certainly mischievous, but I don't think I would say they are more frightening than Tolkien's. Most goblins were mischief-makers and tricksters rather than truly malevolent beings, and though there are certainly exceptions, they were often presented in an almost comic light.

My favorite goblins are the ones in Harry Potter who run Gringots. These goblins are much closer to traditional European goblins, although they do not play the same sinister games. They are much more reserved and snobby. Rowling's goblins are certainly no match for Tolkien's vicious creatures though.