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Hobgoblin is a term typically applied in folktales to a friendly or amusing goblin.

Hobgoblin Hall, William Wordsworth's House, Rydal Mount, 1904.


The word seems to derive from 'Robin Goblin', abbreviated to 'hobgoblin', 'hob', or 'lob'. The name originally referred to a specific folkloric character Robin Goodfellow but has grown to be defined as a different species of goblin or fairy. In French folklore, hobgoblins are called Lutin.

The name is often interchangeable with "bugbear", "boogeyman", "bugaboo" or "bogie", and the term "hobgoblin" has grown to mean a superficial object that is a source of often imagined fear or trouble; probably the most well-known example of this usage is Ralph Waldo Emerson's line, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," from the essay Self-Reliance.


Lord of the Rings

In The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, Hobgoblins are a menacing, larger and stronger form of goblins. Tolkien later remarked in a letter that through further study of folklore he had subsequently learned that "the statement that hobgoblins were 'a larger kind' (of goblins) is the reverse of the original truth". This mistaken reversal in size on Tolkien's part has generally been followed in other fictional 'hobgoblins'.

Role-playing games

  • The creature commonly appears in the bestiaries of fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer, where it is portrayed as a larger, stronger, smarter and more menacing cousin of the goblin, but not as high up on the goblinoid hierarchy as bugbears.
  • In Mage: The Ascension a hobgoblin is a physical manefestation of a hallucination suffered by a Mage's avatar.

Computer and video games

  • In the MMORPG RuneScape, hobgoblins are an evolved form of goblins that are stronger and attack weak players. They commonly drop Limpwurt roots, an ingredient in making strength potions.
  • In the Fable game series they are small, fat and disfigured. they are called hobbes and are described as trouble, stupid and greedy. They eat flesh and sleep in rivers they shoot magical orbs from a staff or use weapons like hammers or axes. They can range from the size of a child to the size of a big man. The smaller weaker one can be summoned by wood nymphs and they also work for them. They usually live in hobbe cave. Also they are the guardians of a demon door guarding the dark will users suit.
  • In the Heroes of Might and Magic Series, hobgoblins are upgraded forms of goblins, and are aligned with the barbarian/might towns.

Comic Books

Spider-Man comics feature a villain named Hobgoblin, first appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #238 written by Roger Stern.

Another hobgoblin is in Monster in My Pocket #23. In the comic book series, he is a prankster who serves as comic relief among the good monsters. He makes fire come out from his fingers.


Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.