What the Heck is a Goblin?

by John Morgan
Halloween Symbols

 GOBLINS

As a lifetime Halloween enthusiast, I have to come clean: I have never understood what the heck a goblin is. Oh sure, I have faked the funk enough: “Goblins,  I know all there is about goblins! They love hanging out with ghosts and you don’t even want to get me started on their subspecies, the Hobgoblin!”

It is time to stop faking it until I make it. Today, I have decided to finally ferret out the little (they are little, aren’t they?) rascals.   Let me do a quick Google search. Ah yes, here we go…”the term goblin is a collective noun for evil spirits like redcaps and bugbears.”  Well, mystery solved then – this will be my shortest post to date.

(Note to self: If anyone asks me to explain redcaps or bugbears, I will just shake my head in pity, boldly state that they are goblins, put on a facial expression that conveys “what else could they possibly be?”, then turn and walk away in mild disgust).

As someone who currently is not much of a gamer, unless you count the occasional Spider Solitaire game while I am waiting for something to upload, I am guessing that I might be in the minority in my goblin quandary. Especially since we are now living in a post “Dungeons and Dragons” and World of Warcraft” age.

Maybe I am suffering from a mild form of amnesia.  I have always admired the Lord of the Rings, it’s quite possible that goblins were thoroughly described and chronicled throughout Tolkien’s classic series. After all, just by reading the series and watching the trilogy, I have through osmosis acquired an understanding of trolls, elves, and ring-wraiths and the like. If pressed, I would hazard that the LOTR character Gollum is probably the most goblin-like. Yet, I would not be in the least surprised if someone admonished me by definitively declaring that Gollum was a redcap, bugbear, or hobgoblin – whatever the heck they are?

OK, so let me see if I can at least get a handle on Hobgoblins. Let’s just go to Wikipedia, here it is: “Hobgoblins –seem to be small, hairy little men who—like their close relative, brownies”…STOP! STOP right there! Is someone messing with me? How come every definition of a goblin or goblin relative is defined as something resembling an even a more obscure mythical creature?

Great, it goes on to state that Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream character Puck is a hobgoblin. Now I am even more confused, wasn’t Puck a half goat, half devil looking thing like Phil from Disney’s Hercules?

At this point, I no longer give a @#%& jack-o-lantern what they are! It is time for me to break this infinite vague definition chain and just proclaim that all I know about goblins and their evil spirited kin is that they are now my least favorite Halloween characters!

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  1. #1 by dogsmum on September 24, 2012 - 2:15 pm

    Hi there! Thanks for *liking* my Frankenstein’s Monster & Halloween Mummy Cupcakes 🙂

    • #2 by here2havefun on September 24, 2012 - 8:29 pm

      You’re welcome…they looked yummy!

  2. #3 by Jenn on September 24, 2012 - 2:55 pm

    I was always confused by Hobgoblins myself and I’m pretty sure that Puck was not a hobgoblin…he was half human/half goat.

    • #4 by here2havefun on September 24, 2012 - 3:15 pm

      Thanks for dropping by. Puck seems to have more personalities and job titles than Sybil. What is he a hobgoblin, trickster, wise knave, merry wanderer, mischievous sprite or elf? Next time central casting should just hire Mr. Tumness, call him Pan, and be done with it.

  3. #5 by loonyliterature on October 4, 2012 - 7:34 am

    These folks from elsewhere will never easy to pin down – one moment we think we know what they are, the next they’ve shapeshifted into something else.

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