Tolkien Gateway

Great Goblin

Great Goblin
John Howe - The Great Goblin.jpg
"The Great Goblin" by John Howe
Biographical Information
DeathT.A. 2941
Notable forCapturing Thorin and Company
Physical Description
GalleryImages of the Great Goblin

The Great Goblin was the chief of the Goblins who dwelt in Goblin-town beneath the High Pass in the Misty Mountains, and presumably was the leader of all the Orcs of the Misty Mountains.[2] He was described as "tremendous" and had a huge head.[1]


[edit] History

In T.A. 2941[3] Thorin and Company were captured by the Great Goblin's people after taking refuge in a cave while crossing the Misty Mountains. When the Dwarves and Bilbo were hauled before the Great Goblin he questioned them regarding their intentions, while accusing them of being spies, thieves, murderers, and friends of Elves. When one of his guards showed the Great Goblin Thorin's sword, Orcrist, he howled with rage and rushed at Thorin with open mouth. At that moment all of the lights in the cave were extinguished and a flashing sword stabbed the Great Goblin fatally. The company soon realized that it was Gandalf who had killed the Great Goblin with his blade Glamdring.[1]

[edit] Legacy

It was the death of the Great Goblin that tickled Beorn's fancy enough to gain the Company access to his hall and hospitality. Once Beorn confirmed their tale he warmed up to true friendship and provided the party with aid, advice, and mounts to ride to the border of Mirkwood.[4]

A further consequence of the Great Goblin's demise was a rekindling of the goblins' hatred towards Dwarves, which led to preparations for war to secure domination of the North. The goblins assembled at Mount Gundabad and were about to sweep southward when they learned of the death of Smaug. Altering their plans, the goblins marched by night through the mountains and appeared unexpectedly at Erebor, almost immediately after the arrival of Dáin Ironfoot, and participated the Battle of Five Armies.[5]

[edit] Portrayal in Adapatations

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

In the animated version of The Hobbit, the Great Goblin was voiced by John Stephenson.

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

In the console versions, the Great Goblin is mentioned but never seen, since Bilbo is separated from the Dwarves before they meet the Great Goblin. However, he's seen in the GBA version, his appearance closely matching his description in the novel. In the latter version, he immediately orders the execution of Thorin and the others after Thorin pleads his case, instead of after the revelation that he has Orcrist in his possession, before being killed by Gandalf.

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

The Great Goblin (referred to as the 'Goblin King') recognises Thorin immediately, and is greatly interested in him because of the bounty put on him by Azog. He is temporarily incapacitated by Gandalf, when he arrives. He emerges again after a chase, and is killed by Gandalf shortly before their escape from Goblin-town. The character was portrayed by Barry Humphries through voice acting and motion capture.[6]

[edit] See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  2. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Great Goblin"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"
  6. Peter Jackson, "The Hobbit Casting Update" dated 19 June 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)