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Mythical or magical creatures descriptions from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone compared to that of the Hobbit


There are certain mythical creatures that I am going to compare in this hub. I will also add in a traditional description for each of them because lots of authors deviate from this view somehow. You will see where these creatures have come from though and see a lot of similarities between the descriptions as well as a lot of differences.

The creatures I am going to compare are:

  • Goblins
  • Trolls
  • Dragons

There are obviously a lot of other creatures that find their way into the stories of both Harry Potter and the Hobbit but they are different in each book so no comparison can be made there.

A great interactive map for Middle Earth

The traditional look of a Goblin


What is the traditional Goblin?

Goblins are a mythical evil or mischievous creature.

Their characteristics tend to be:

  • nasty, cunning creatures that would stab you in the back in order to get a penny off you.
  • They tended to be small and skinny (usually as small as a dwarf)
  • They always seem to be in large numbers because of this - protection against their big bad cousins the orcs.
  • They were bullied a lot from other bigger bad guys.
  • As well as being small they also were usually green in colour.
  • Narrow eyes and pointy ears and noses were another common feature for these nasty creatures from worlds like the Hobbit.
  • They were usually the arch enemies of Dwarfs, this maybe because of their love of gold and the fact that they steal a lot from them.
  • They had to rely on their intelligence or cunning instead of brawn.
  • Living under mountains they were shunned the daylight.

The Goblins in Harry Potter and the Hobbit are very different. In Harry Potter they do exhibit some of these characteristics and yet they are very different. They seem more human! They do have a love of gold but they seem to come across more dwarvish than Goblin. That may be because they are somewhat on the good side in the story.

In the Hobbit Golblins are more of the traditional evil characters.

Take a look below for the descriptions taken from each book.


Goblin description from the Hobbit:

At that he woke with a horrible start, and found that part of his dream was true. A crack had opened at the back of the cave, and was already a wide passage! He was just in time to see the last ponie's tails disappearing into it. Of course he gave a very loud yell, as loud as a hobbit can give, which is surprising for their size.

Out jumped the Goblins, big Goblins, great ugly-looking goblins, lots of goblins, before you could say rocks and blocks. There were six to each dwarf, at least, and two even for Bilbo; and they were all grabbed and carried through the crack before you could say tinder and flint.

But not Gandolf. Bilbo's yell had done that much good. IT had wakened him up wide in a splintered second, and when goblins came to grab him, there was a terrible flash like lightning in the cave, a smell like gunpowder, and several of them fell dead.

The crack closed with a snap, and Bilbo and the dwarves were on the wrong side of it! Where was Gandalf? Of that neither they nor the goblins had any idea, and the goblins did not wait to find out.

It was deep, deep dark, such as only goblins that have taken to living in the heart of the mountains can see through. The passages there were crossed and tangled in all directions, but the goblins knew their way, as well as you do to the nearest post office; and the way went down and down, and it was most horribly stuffy. The goblins were very rough, and pinched unmercifully, and chuckled and laughed in their horrible stony voices; and Bilbo was more unhappy even than when the troll had picked him up by his toes.

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He wished again and again for his nice bright hobbit-hole. Not for the last time.

Now there came a glimmer of a red light before them. The goblins began to sing, or croak, keeping time with the flap of the flat feet on the stone, and shaking their prisoners as well.

Goblin description from Harry Potter:

This description is taken from P56 in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone:

They reached a snowy-white building which towered over the other little shops. Standing beside its burnished bronze doors, wearing a unifrom of scarlet and gold, was -

"Yeah, that's a goblin," said Hagrid quietly as they walked up the white stone steps towards him. The goblin was about a head shorter than Harry. He had a swarthy, clever face, a pointed beard and, Harry noticed, very long fingers and feet. He bowed as they walked inside. Now they were facing a second pair of doors, silve this time, with words engraved upon them:

Enter, stranger, but take heed

Of what awaits the sin of greed

For those who take, but do not earn,

Must pay most dearly in their turn,

So if you seek beneath our floors,

A treasure that was never yours,

Thief, you have been warned, beware

Of finding more than treasure there.

"Like I said, yeh'd be mad ter try an' rob it," said Hagrid.

A pair of goblins bowed them through the silver doors and they were in a vast marble hall. About a hundred more goblins were sitting on high stools behind a long counter, scribbling in large ledgers, weighing coins on brass scales, examining precious stones through eyeglasses. There were too many doors to count leading off the hall, and yet more goblins were showing people in and out of these. Hagrid and Harry made for the counter.

Goblins in Harry Potter

Goblins in the Hobbit


The troll from Beowolf


The traditional troll


The traditional troll:

A traditional troll originates from Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. They dwell in isolated mountains and caves and are considered very dangerous. They are considerably slow witted but act very much like uncultured humans. The story of Beowolf is a great example of the first type of troll.

This view of trolls has evolved over time making them more sinister and dangerous.

The Troll in the Harry Potter world does seem to fit into more of the tradition Troll I know from worlds like Middle Earth and Warhammer. They also crop up in a lot of other fantasy novels. It seems that most people think of a troll and they think:

  • Trolls are traditionally stupid creatures whose only basic nature is to eat and protect itself. So, if Trolls come across the odd lost man then they would have no worries about making lunch from them.
  • Their slow movements and reactions tend to suggest how slow witted they are.
  • They tend to live in mountainous places, usually a long way from cultured places because they can be very solitary creatures.
  • With bloated bodies they can stand twice as high as a fully grown man.
  • Their long limbs seem out of proportion to the rest of their body.
  • With these long limbs they possess massive strength that could rip a man in two.
  • Their beer belly is usually huge.
  • The weapon of choice is a tree trunk to smash their prey to smithereens.
  • They also smell really badly.

Trolls in the Hobbit:

As for Bilbo walking primly towards the red light, I don't suppose even a weasel would have stirred a whistker,at it. So, naturally, he got righ tup to the fire-for fire it was without disturbing anyone. And this is what he saw.

Three large persons sitting round a very large fire of beech logs. They were toasting mutton on long spits of wood, and licking the gravy off their fingers. There was a fine toothsome smell. Also there was a barrel of good drink at hand, and they were drinking out of jugs.

But they were trolls. Obviously trolls. Even Bilbo, in spite of his sheltered life, could see that: from the great heavy faces of them, and their size, and the shape of their legs, not to mention the language, which was not drawing-room fashion at all, at all.

"Mutton yesterday, mutton today and blimey, if it don't look like mutton again tomorrer," said one of the trolls.

"Never a blinking bit of manflesh have we had for long enough," said a second. "What the 'ell William was a thinkin' of to bring us into these parts at all, beats me - and the drink runnin' short, what more," he said jogging the elbow of William, who was taking a pull at his jug.

William choked, "Shut yer mouth!" he said as soon as he could. "Yer can't expect folk to stop here for ever just to be et by you and Bert. You've et a village and a half between yer, since we come down from the mountains. How much more d'yer want? And time's been up our way, when yer'd have said 'thank yer Bill' for a nice bit o' fat valley mutton like what this is." He took a big bite off a sheep's leg he was toasting and wiped his lips on his sleeve.

Yes, I am afraid trolls do behave like that, even those with only one head each.

The troll in Harry Potter:

This description is found on P128 of Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone:

"Can you smell something?"

Harry sniffed and a foul stench reached his nostrils, a mixture of old socks and the kind of public toilet no one seems to clean.

And then they heard it - a low drunting and shuffling footfalls of gigantic feet. Ron pointed: at the end of a passage to the left, something huge was moving towards them. They shrank into the shadows and watched as it emerged into a patch of moonlight.

It was a horrible sight. Twenty feet tall, its skin was a dull, granite grey, its great lumpy body like a boulder with its small balf head perched on top like a coconut. It had short legs thick as tree trunks with flat, horny feet. The smell coming from it was incredible. It was holding a huge wooden club, which dragged along the floor because its arms were so long.

The troll stopped next to a doorway and peered inside. It waggled its long ears, making up its tiny mind, then slouched slowly into the room.



Everyone knows what a traditional dragon should be like:

Dragons make a very short appearance in the first book but a very welcome one at that. We get to know what Hagrid is like as a character a lot more from this small scene which only endears us all more to this lovable individual.

So, dragons. we all know a dragon when we see one. They have been a part of mythical creations since before man learnt to write. They have a number of characteristics that most dragons possess:

  • Lizard type creatures that are huge when fully grown.
  • They have large strong wings like that of a bat and can fly really well.
  • They breath fire and can incinerate a person in seconds.
  • Their huge bodies are scaly and act like armour so they are hard to penetrate with a sword.
  • They are usually ancient creatures and love gold and all things shiny.
  • They are solitary creatures and you rarely hear of more than one together.



We really haven't met Smaug yet in the films ...


Dragon in the Hobbit

It was a red light steadily getting redder and redder. Also it was now undoubtedly hot in the tunnel.

Wisps of vapour floated up and past him and he began to sweat. A sound too, began to trob in his ears, a sort of bubbling like the noise of a large pot galloping on the fire, mixed with a rumble as of a gigantic tom-cat purring. This grew to the unmistakable gurgling noise of some vast animal snoring in its sleep down there in the red glow in front of him.

It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait. At any rate after a short halt go on he did; and you can picture him comign to the end of the tunnel, an opening of much the same size and shape as the door above.

Through it peeps the hobbit's little head. Before him lies the great bottommost cellar or dungeon-hall of the ancient dwarves right at the mountain's root. It is almost dark so that its vastness can only be dimly guessed, but rising from the near side of the rocky floor there is a great glow. The glow of Smaug!

There he lay, a vast red-golden dragon, fast asleep; thrumming came from his jaws and nostrils, and wisps of smoke, but his fires were low in slumber. Beneath him, under all his limbs and his huge coiled tail, and about him on all sides stretching away across the unseen floors, lay countless piles of precious things, gold wrought and unwrought, gems and jewls, and silver red-stained in the ruddy light.

Smaug lay, with wings folded like an immeasureable bat, turned partly on one side, so that the hobbit could see his underparts and his long pale belly crusted with gems and fragments of gold from his long lying on his costly bed.

Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback (Baby dragon)

This description of Norbet the Norwegian Ridgeback has been taken from P 171 in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone:

The egg was lying on the table. There were deep cracks in it. Something was moving inside; a funny clicking noise was coming from it.

They all drew their chairs up to the table and watched with bated breath.

All at once there was a scraping noise and the egg split open. The baby dragon flopped on to the table. It wasn't exactly pretty; Harry thought it looked like a crumpled, black umbrella. Its spiny wings were huge compared to its skinny jet body and it had a long snout with wide nostrils, stubs of horns and bulging, orange eyes.

It sneezed. A couple of sparks flew out of its snout.

"Isn't he beautiful?" Hagrid murmured. He reached out a hand to stroke the dragon's head. It snapped at this fingers, showing pointed fangs.

Comments on March 19, 2015:

Very interesting

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