Monday – August 15
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Next in my series on freakish mythological beings is Goblins. Goblins are far more conflicted in terms of description than Orcs are, but they have a much stronger basis in classical mythology. Typically trickster type creatures that are almost always evil.
Typically small, green, with pointed ears, these guys are almost universally evil with a heck of a mean streak. Goblins are by no means unique, many creatures from mythology and folklore fit their description, imps, trolls, kobolds, and numerous others. But what sets the goblins apart from all of their other small kin is the fact that Tolkien chose the name Goblin for his Orcs (it is confusing), it seemingly being the elven name for the race of monsters.
So goblins then earned their spot in modern fantasy fiction, but unlike their cousins the Orcs there hasn’t really been a revisionist view of these creatures. There have been scattered examples of kind goblins, but it is extremely rare that any writer give them a culture with any redeeming qualities.
Treated as animals at worst, and canon fodder at best for wandering adventurers in stories and tabletop games the goblins can never catch a break. And that is what a goblin is too people, just a small pathetic evil creature for people to hate, and that is an extremely sad thing in my opinion.
Often in fiction you will see Goblins being slaves even. And it is always awkward and horrible feeling, it feels like the writer is saying “its okay, its just a pathetic and lowly goblin” and that is just awful. At best Goblins will be used for comic relief, in World of Warcraft goblins are abused and hurt repeatedly all for the sake of jokes.
But that is okay right? Because they are just lowly Goblins? Goblins can be more, they don’t deserve to be just something for to be slaughtered and enslaved. My buddy ScottAhemi and me both took time to conceive of worlds where Goblins were something beyond being the worlds punching bags, you can see our images here, but if you want too read a cute story about how goblins are more than you expect I recommend “Nobody Likes a Goblin” by Ben Hatke, it is a short, cute, and well illustrated children’s book that honestly sums up the point I am trying to make here far better than I can.