Tolkien Gateway

Great Goblin

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Great Goblin
John Howe - The Great Goblin.jpg
Biographical Information
DeathT.A. 2941
Physical Description

The Great Goblin was the chief of the Goblins who dwelt in Goblin-town beneath the High Pass in the Misty Mountains. He was described as “tremendous” and had a huge head.[1]

In T.A. 2941[2] his warriors captured Thorin and Company when they were crossing the Misty Mountains and took refuge in a cave. 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 right through the Gobins' leader. Soon the company learned that it was Gandalf who killed the Great Goblin with his blade Glamdring.[1]

It was the death of the Great Goblin that tickled Beorn's fancy enough to gain the Company access to his hall and dinner. 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.[3]

A further consequence of the Great Goblin's demise was a rekindling of the goblins' fury 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 precipitated the Battle of Five Armies.[4]

Portrayal in Adapatations

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

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

2012-3: The Hobbit films:

Barry Humphries has been cast as the "Goblin King".[5]

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"
  5. Peter Jackson, "The Hobbit Casting Update" dated 19 June 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)