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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

For other uses, see Goblin (disambiguation).
A goblin is an evil or mischievous creature of folklore, often described as a grotesquely disfigured or elf-like phantom.
Goblins are grotesque faeries of about dwarf height. They can also appear as animals. They are said to count the dead among their companions. They can weave nightmares out of gossamer and insert them into the ear of a sleeping human. Goblins borrow horses from stables and ride them all night. This explained why horses were tired in the morning. They steal human women and children and hide them away underground. Goblin women steal human babies, replacing them with ugly goblin babies or changelings.

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According to some traditions, goblin comes from Gob or Ghob, the king of the gnomes, whose inferiors were obviously called Ghob-lings. However, according to "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English" the name is probably derived from the Anglo-French gobelin (medieval Latin gobelinus), which is probably a diminutive of Gobel, a name related to the word kobold. Goblin is also related to the French lubin.[edit]

Goblins in art and literature

Mythological: The Benevolent Goblin, by Gesta Romanorum, and The Goblin of Adachigahara (Japanese) are just a few fairy tales depicting goblins. Also see Brothers Grimm.

Poetry: Christina Rossetti in her poem Goblin Market, used goblins as symbols of earthly desires who tantalize and nearly destroy a girl who falls under their spell.

Books: Author George MacDonald, in The Princess and the Goblin, portrayed goblins as malevolent, subterranean creatures. The book is said to have been a childhood favorite of J. R. R. Tolkien, who populated his Middle-earth with goblins, but later preferred to call them Orcs in order to distance them from fairy tale characters. In The Lord of the Rings, the term "Goblins" is usually used in reference to the smaller breeds of Orcs that live in the northern mountains.


  • Labyrinth - Goblins figure prominently in this Jim Henson film in which a powerful sorcerer (Jareth the Goblin King portrayed by David Bowie), commands a legion of foul, diminutive, largely incompetent creatures. The goblins initially do the bidding of a young girl (played by Jennifer Connelly), who must ultimately overcome her fear of them and resist seduction by their king.

  • The Black Cauldron (1985) - Disney

See also Goblins (Harry Potter).[edit]

Goblins in modern games

Two major branches of goblins exist in popular game properties. Owing much to J. R. R. Tolkien's descriptions of small Orcs, the older branch is inherently evil and malicious, with varying coloring and generally matted and filthy hair. This type of goblin appears in Dungeons & Dragons. The distinctive green-skinned, hairless, and generally amoral (rather than absolutely evil) goblins created for Warhammer are direct progenitors of goblins in more modern games, such as those in the Warcraft Universe or Magic: The Gathering.
Goblins are a very common and fairly weak race of monsters in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. Goblins and kobolds are often the first type of non-human monsters that low-level player characters will face. In D&D, unlike in many other fantasy role playing games, goblins aren't smaller cousins of Orcs, but are a part of the related species collectively referred to as goblinoids. Other such races include hobgoblins and bugbears.
Like Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer's goblins tend to associate with Orcs. Goblins are among the smallest greenskins and survive through cunning and intelligence rather that brute force. Many different subcultures of goblins exist, with varying degrees of autonomy from their Orcish cousins, including the bizarre night goblins and primitive forest goblins. All varieties of goblins are violent and malicious, but consider warfare to be a pastime or hobby, genuinely not understanding that killing a foe and eating it might not be appreciated by the victim.
In the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game, goblins are a race of faeries who have lost much of their native magic. Only a few, known as Cobblers, retain any magic. The vast majority of goblins are stupid, cruel, and lazy thieves.
In Warcraft Universe, goblins are a green-skinned, diminutive, crafty race. They're allied with the Orcs during the First and Second War, but then in Third War, the goblins split from the Horde and set up their own business enterprises remaining neutral in conflicts between the Alliance and Horde. However, some have been hired by Thrall as diggers for the kingdom of Durotar. Goblins are obsessed with money, steam technology and explosives and generally things that make much noise. The goblins are ruled by the Trade Princes from the mysterious continent of Undermine who control their own private fleets and armies, the two largest goblin settlements in Azeroth are Ratchet in Kalimdor and Booty Bay in the Eastern Kingdoms. They have rivalry with the gnomes of this universe as the best engineers. The difference seems to be that goblin devices almost always work, but may be hazardous to their owner's health (i.e. exploding frequently), while gnomish contraptions may produce an effect different from that intended.
In the Final Fantasy series of RPG's goblins are synonomous with imps. In the earlier episodes of the series they traditionally appeared as the weakest enemy in the game. They are depicted as being small and skinny with browinish skin and pointy ears and nearly always wearing a stocking cap, owing more in appearance to the scottish redcap than the traditional Tolkien goblin. They also occasionally appear as a low level summoned creature.
Other computer games featuring goblins include Goblin Commandos, Dungeon Keeper 2, and the Gobliiins! series, in addition to games based on other works featuring goblins.
In the collectible trading card game, Magic: The Gathering, goblins are a very popular creature type. They tend to be red aligned creatures that come in large numbers, love rocks and have little to no sense of self presevation. They are often a source of humour within the game (for example, the flavour text of one spell reads "I love lightning! It’s my best invention since the rock"). their popularity is such that they have received more attention at the cost of other red flavoured creatures, such as dwarves and orcs.[edit]

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