Goblins in modern fiction

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Two major branches of goblins exist in popular fiction, including fantasy settings. Alongside J. R. R. Tolkien's descriptions of 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, capricious, 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.


Main Articles: Green Goblin, Hobgoblin (comics), Harry Osborn, Normie Osborn, Spider-Man (2002 film) & Spider-Man 3

There are many villains in the Spider-Man notably Green Goblin, Hobgoblin, New Goblin, etc. Green Goblin and New Goblin already appeared in two films.

Artemis Fowl Book Series[edit]

Goblins are fairies that are considered very stupid by other races. They are able to conjure fireballs (as Foaly points out, giving this power to such unintelligent creatures amounts to one of evolution's nasty tricks) and their skin is fireproof. Goblins are lucky if they can make friends, as they cannot cooperate with others. A group of them create the B'wa Kell, a triad group that smuggles batteries for weaponry and started a rebellion that nearly destroyed Haven, the capital of the fairy people.

Final Fantasy[edit]

In the "Final Fantasy" series of RPGs, goblins are synonymous with imps. In the earlier episodes of the series, they typically appear 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 a Scottish redcap than a Tolkien-style goblin. They also occasionally appear as a low level summoned creature. In "Final Fantasy XI", they appear as one of the more intelligent species of "Beastmen", occasionally living as merchants in cities and interacting with the people there. The more hostile Goblins are also known as some of the most annoying enemies in the game, frequently appearing at high levels in popular leveling zones, much to the chagrin of campers who must constantly avoid them.


In the MMORPG "Everquest 2", goblins are portrayed as largely mischievous, primitive, fairly foolish creatures. Small and green, with large pointy ears and yellow eyes, they tend to look and sound as silly as they act. "Gigglegibber" Goblins run a series of gambling games throughout "Norrath". Upon visiting their hideout during the 'Frostfell' season (Christmas 2005 special quest) it is revealed that in addition to this gambling game they are also attempting to - unsuccessfully - forge gold coins, and yet they have no intention spending any of this money, they simply wish to 'have' it. Most of their schemes are harmless, though often illegal. Not all goblins of "Norrath" are so benign, however, with some being evil, and even falling under the control of external dark magic.

Harry Potter[edit]

Main article: Goblin (Harry Potter)

Goblins in Harry Potter are short, ugly creatures. Unlike many other depictions of goblins, they do not seem to be stupid, but rather sly. Goblins tend to like money, and in fact run Gringotts, the Wizard bank. They are also known to be very good at making magical objects, similar to dwarves in other traditions, and can recognise true goblin made items. The morality of goblins has not been explored in detail; while they do not seem evil in nature, they are often sly, cruel and troublesome, and have staged numerous rebellions throughout Wizarding history, often as a result of persecution, like other non-human creatures they are banned from carrying a wand. They believe the true owner of an item is the maker, not the buyer, and are dangerous to cross.


In the MMORPG Mabinogi, there is a non-playable (except in events) race known as goblins. They are not an evil race by nature, but most seen in the course of the story and game are controlled by the evil magic of the Fomors. There are a small few that are communicable, though.

Magic: The Gathering[edit]

In the collectible trading card game, Magic: The Gathering, goblins are a very popular and potent creature type. They tend to be red aligned creatures that come in large numbers, love rocks and have little to no sense of self-preservation. Most have low power and toughness. They are often a source of humour within the game (for example, the flavour text of the spell Shock reads "I love lightning! It’s my best invention since the rock", attributed to the goblin weaponsmith Toggo). Their popularity and effectiveness is such that they have received more attention at the cost of other red flavoured creatures, such as dwarves and orcs.

Though there is one generally accepted form of Goblin (see above) there have been many other breeds featured in the game; examples include the brutish Mogg, intelligent Kyren, mischievous Akki, mechanically inclined Krark-Clan, and sensationalist Boggart goblins of Magic: The Gathering. In Shards of Alara, goblins are ratlike creatures so frequently devoured by the dragons and other monsters of their homeland of Jund that they consider it their religious duty to be eaten. In the Zendikar expansion, the goblins, like many of the other races, are treasure hunters. In Ravnica: City of Guilds and Return to Ravnica, goblins are a significant minority of the population of the city-plane, and are found in a wide range of jobs and settings, including itinerant warriors and muscle for the chaotic Gruul and Rakdos clans and low-level wizards and wizards' assistants for the Izzet League.


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.

Ragnarok Online[edit]

In the Ragnarok Online world, goblins wield different masks and have different elemental alignments among them (but they retain their Demi-Human race condition). Each mask can be dropped by a different one when they are killed, but Archer, Panzer and Steamrider Goblins do not drop any.


In the MMORPG RuneScape, most of the goblins that the humans of RuneScape are familiar with are those goblins that cover the surface of the world. They worship a war god named Bandos but goblins call him "Big High War God". There are few places goblins cannot be found, but there are also few goblins that could not be described as stupid. The Dorgeshuun tribe of goblins are the notable exception to this, as they have been separated from the main goblin race since the times of the God wars. The Dorgeshuun have since then been hiding themselves away in their underground city, Dorgesh-Kaan. Were it not for their remarkable stupidity, the common goblins of the surface could cause extreme problems for the human civilisations. The Dorgeshuun, who are nowhere close to as stupid or inclined to bickering as normal goblins, are opposed to violence of all forms. They do not trust humans, though, and it is a rare human that has seen their mines or had anything approaching a decent conversation with them. The H.A.M (Humans Against Monsters) cult seem to target the goblins more than others. However, one plan to flood the underground city beneath Lumbridge castle failed, and the leader, Sigmund, is later on killed.

The Elder Scrolls[edit]

Throughout the franchise, including the 2006 "Oblivion", goblins have been used as an NPC class of monsters. The goblins featured in Oblivion are semisentient, diminutive pale greenskined barbarians. They range in power from the weak and cowardly "peon" goblins to the mighty goblin warlords. Also found in game are several goblin "tribes." Each tribe has a totem, and will go to war with other tribes to take their totem, or to reclaim their own. Goblins who are members of a tribe will attack goblins of other tribes, but will ignore non-tribal goblins.

In the "Tribunal" expansion for "The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind," it was revealed that High Elves used goblins to build slave armies. The Neravarine fought one such army in the sewers of Mournhold.

The Grey Griffin books[edit]

In The Revenge of the Shadow King, the first book in The Grey Griffin books, goblins are dark faeries who make up the Shadow Kings Armies. They are divided into sub-species, the most dangerous being the Slayer Goblin.


In the Warcraft Universe, goblins are a green-skinned, diminutive, crafty race; known for their occasionally explosive, but usually effective engineering. They also tend to be a neutral party between the Alliance and Horde factions of Azeroth. Motivated almost entirely by greed, it is very likely that the only reason goblins remain neutral in the ongoing conflict is that if they chose a side, they would be unable to profit from the other. In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, a faction of goblins independent from the ones already present in the game will become a playable race on the Horde. Goblins are usually merchants, but there were two playable neutral goblin heroes in The Frozen Throne, the expansion to Warcraft III.

Other computer games[edit]