- "We are talking about a different breed of being. Dealings between wizards and goblins have been fraught for centuries ... There has been fault on both sides, I would never claim that wizards have been innocent. However, there is a belief among some goblins, and those at Gringotts are perhaps most prone to it, that wizards cannot be trusted in matters of gold and treasure, that they have no respect for goblin ownership."
- —A goblins' mindset[src]
Goblins are a highly intelligent race of small humanoids with long fingers and feet that coexist with the wizard world. Their diet consists of meat, roots, and fungi. Goblins converse in a language known as Gobbledegook, and are adept metalsmiths notable for their silverwork; they even mint coins for wizarding currency. Due to their skills with money and finances, they control the wizarding economy to a large extent and run Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
Goblins have their own type of magic and can do magic without a wand. They are represented by the Goblin Liaison Office of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures in the Ministry of Magic. Goblins are considered to be inferior by many wizards, who foolishly believe that the goblins are comfortable with that arrangement.
Goblins are short and fair-skinned, as they spend very little time outside. They have very long fingers and feet, dome shaped heads and are slightly larger than house-elves. Griphook, one of the hundreds of goblins working at Gringotts, has a bald head, pointed nose, and pointed ears. Some have dark, slanted eyes, and some goblins even wear pointed hats.
- Harry Potter: "Hagrid, what exactly are these things?"
- Rubeus Hagrid: "They're goblins, Harry. Clever as they come, goblins, but not the most friendly of beasts."
- — Harry Potter's first experience of goblins[src]
Goblins are extremely clever and over the years have dealt with wizard-kind effectively. They are still subservient in the minds of most wizards, but they have established themselves as a vital part of wizarding society. The goblins run Gringotts, the wizarding bank. Therefore, they control the wizarding economy to a large extent. It is unknown if Gringotts is the only bank in the wizarding world. Goblins are extremely clever and more than able to stand up to wizards. The fact that the wizarding population treats them poorly is evidence of the severe injustice built into wizard culture. Ironically, the Fountain of Magical Brethren in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic shows a goblin, along with a house-elf and a centaur, gazing admiringly at a witch and wizard.
Apart from their cleverness with money and finances, goblins are also very capable metalsmiths. Their silverwork is well known and prized (Sirius Black's wealthy family had dishes which were 'finest fifteenth-century goblin-wrought silver, embossed with the Black family crest'). When Rubeus Hagrid visited the Giants, one of the presents he brought was a goblin-wrought helmet which was described as "indestructible". Goblins actually mint the Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts used in the Wizarding world; each coin is stamped with a serial number identifying the goblin who cast it. They are also able to tell the difference between genuine and counterfeit, as Griphook easily discerned the Sword of Gryffindor, while Leprechaun gold cannot fool them.
It is possible that part-goblin Filius Flitwick has inherited such cleverness since he is in Ravenclaw. He has also demonstrated such intelligence in many occasions, such as during the Battle of Hogwarts, with his successful charmswork.
Ragnuk the First was the king of the goblins during the lifetime of Godric Gryffindor. As the king of the goblins was also their finest silversmith, he was commissioned by Gryffindor to forge a sword of pure goblin's silver, with rubies set into the hilt. By the time Ragnuk had finished the sword, he liked it so much that he sought to steal it back from Gryffindor. He sent a group of his subjects to retrieve the sword, but they were all fought off by Gryffindor. A legend persisted in the goblin community that Gryffindor had stolen the sword.
Gringotts Wizarding Bank
- "Gringotts is the safest place in the world fer anything yeh want ter keep safe — 'cept maybe Hogwarts."
- —Gringotts' top notch security[src]
Part way down Diagon Alley, near its intersection with Knockturn Alley, stands an imposing snow-white marble building: Gringotts Wizarding Bank. "Towering over the other shops", it is the place where British witches and wizards store their money and other valuables, in vaults miles below ground. The vaults are heavily guarded.
The centuries-old bank is run by goblins, and they alone know the secrets of the twisting underground passages and the enchantments (and creatures) in place to defend against intruders. The goblins have a code that forbids them to speak of the bank's secrets, and would consider it "base treachery" to break any part of that code. Dragons guard the bank's high-security vaults — a rumour that was later confirmed as true.
These rebellions were most prevalent in the 17th and 18th centuries. One rebellion, in 1612, took place in the vicinity of Hogsmeade; an unidentified inn was used as headquarters for the rebellion. The rebellions have been described as "bloody and vicious". The names of the rebels tend to run along the lines of "Bodrod the Bearded" and "Urg the Unclean", according to Ron Weasley.
According to the Daily Prophet, even today there are subversive goblin groups who work in secret against the Ministry, although the validity of these claims is uncertain.
The reasons for starting some of the varied Goblin Rebellions include all but one of the following (according to the 3rd W.O.M.B.A.T. test, all but one of the following are true): an allegation by Ragnuk the First that Godric Gryffindor stole his sword; the pursuit and imprisonment of Ug the Unreliable, who was peddling leprechaun gold; the accidental death of Nagnok, Gringotts Wizarding Bank goblin, at the hands of an untrained Security troll sent by the Ministry of Magic; imprisonment of the notoriously violent Hodrod the Horny-Handed, who attempted to kill three wizards; the public ducking in the village pond by a gang of young wizards of goblin activist Urg the Unclean; and the Ministry of Magic decree of 1631 preventing magical beings other than wizards and witches from carrying a wand.
The goblins suffered their share of losses during the first rise of Lord Voldemort in the 1970s. A family living near Nottingham had been murdered by Voldemort. Bill Weasley has been approaching the goblins, appealing to their sense of belonging to the Wizarding community. This proved problematic, however, because a Ministry official, Ludo Bagman, swindled a group of goblins out of a large amount of gold at the Quidditch World Cup in the summer of 1994, leading the goblins to distrust both sides and became neutral during the war. When the trio broke into the Lestrange Vault in 1998, Voldemort personally murdered many goblins present in the bank in fury and to eliminate witnesses of those who knew of his cup horcrux.
Despite this troubled history, they have established themselves as a vital part of wizarding society. Being in charge of Gringotts, they control the wizarding economy to a large extent. Apart from their cleverness with money and finances, goblins are also very capable metalsmiths. Their silverwork is well known and prized. Sirius Black's wealthy family had dishes which were 'finest fifteenth-century goblin-wrought silver, embossed with the Black family crest'. When Hagrid visited the giants, one of the presents he brought was a goblin-wrought helmet which was described as "indestructible". At her wedding to Bill, Fleur Delacour wore a goblin-made tiara owned by the Weasley's Auntie Muriel.
Goblins actually mint the Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts used in the wizarding world; each coin is stamped with a serial number identifying the goblin who cast it. Perhaps the most famous goblin-made artefact was the Sword of Gryffindor.
There were rumours, almost certainly unfounded, that Cornelius Fudge was plotting ways to wrestle control of the money supply and the economy from the goblins while in office. Ludo Bagman, got on the wrong side of a group of goblins when he swindled them out of a large amount of gold at the Quidditch World Cup in the summer of 1995. This exacerbated the anti-Ministry feeling, which made it difficult for Bill Weasley who was tasked with the job of trying to persuade the goblins to side with wizards against Voldemort.
Goblins can use magic without the aid of a wand, although they are insulted by the refusal of wizards to allow them to use wands. In turn, goblins conceal the secrets of their own magic from wizards. Their weaponry and armour are nearly indestructible when created and have their own kinds of magical properties.
Wizard jobs at Gringotts
There seem to be a number of jobs available at Gringotts for wizards, in addition to those positions held by goblins, though they are largely behind-the-scenes. Bill Weasley took a job as a Curse-Breaker , hunting treasure in Egypt after his graduation from Hogwarts. The job was described in a pamphlet available to Hogwarts students.
When he wanted to do work for the Order of the Phoenix, Bill transferred to a desk job in England to be near home. That same year, Fleur Delacour took a job at Gringotts as well, to improve her English, though she only works part-time. There also seems to be a full-time security force that is comprised of wizards, and that rushes to the scene when the Lestranges vault is broken into. They also employ Dragon Feeders, a job with a high mortality rate, at 7 Galleons per week.
- "To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is the maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs."
- —Explanation of goblin notions of payment and ownership[src]
Overall, goblins' idea of payment and repayment are not the same as humans. Goblins dislike theft, but use a different definition of the word. By goblin standards, the maker of an item, not the purchaser is the rightful owner; the item is required to be returned to it's maker after the death of the purchaser. Goblins believe that the wizard paying for a goblin-made artefact is merely renting it, not owning it. Goblins consider the passing of an item from one wizard or witch to another without further payment to its maker "little more than theft", as Bill Weasley puts it.
Goblins also hold debt to extremes, as they hunted down Ludo Bagman after he lost a bet with them, and even though they took everything of value from him after he cheated them with Leprechaun gold, they still hounded him due to it being not enough to cover his debt. When Bagman ran out on his final loss against the goblins, they refused to side with the humans due to this cheat.
|Alguff the Awful||a commercialist.|
|Bogrod||employee at Gringotts.|
|Brodrig the Boss-Eyed||spokesgoblin at the Brotherhood of Goblins.|
|Clever goblin||employee at Gringotts.|
|Eargit the Ugly||a spokes-goblin.|
|Filius Flitwick's goblin ancestor||distant ancestor of Filius Flitwick.|
|Gnarlak||American goblin, owner of the speakeasy, The Blind Pig.|
|Gornuk||employee at Gringotts.|
|Gringott||Founder of Gringotts Wizarding Bank.|
|Gringotts Head Goblin||employee and head at Gringotts.|
|Griphook||employee at Gringotts.|
|Ludovic Bagman's goblin creditors||some goblins that put Bagman under pressure because he could not pay the money.|
|Magic goblin||employee at Gringotts.|
|Nagnok||employee at Gringotts.|
|Goblin who had himself pictured in portraits||a famous goblin.|
|Ragnok||an associate of Bill Weasley.|
|Ragnok the Pigeon-Toed||an author and activist.|
|Ragnuk the First||maker of Godric Gryffindor's Sword.|
|Tall goblin||employee at Gringotts.|
|Unidentified goblin associate of Oswald Beamish||a goblin that was an associate of Beamish.|
|Unidentified goblin killed by Voldemort||former employee at Gringotts.|
|Unidentified goblin philosopher||a philosopher goblin.|
|Unidentified Gringotts Bank goblin guard||a goblin that guarded the silver doors at Gringotts.|
|Unidentified Gringotts Bank teller||a goblin that was counting the cash-money.|
|Unidentified Gringotts spokesgoblin||a goblin that tells about serious events.|
|Unidentified goblin stockbroker||a goblin that works at the Ministry of Magic.|
|Ug the Unreliable||a con-artist.|
|Urg the Unclean||an activist.|
|Goblin jazz singer|
Behind the scenes
- The goblin is an evil, mischievous creature from European mythology. Though they are described inconsistently in the myths of various different countries, common traits include short stature, magical ability of some form, and a love of money.
- The Goblins being good metalsmiths seems to be based on the dwarves of Nordic mythology.
- According to W.O.M.B.A.T., it is possible that goblins fear sunlight, which may explain why Humans guarded the outside doors of Gringotts.
- At Gringotts, goblins appear to have a lounge, where they can relax and dance. It is located in Vault 712.
- Goblins are known to have not agreed with the Statute of Secrecy summit decisions of 1692.
- Former Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge was nicknamed "Goblin-Crusher" by the tabloid magazine The Quibbler due to debatable claims that Fudge kills goblins in ways that may seem ridiculous, such as cooking them in pies.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 the goblin that asked Hagrid for Harry's keys appeared to have been taking notes. However, when the goblin went to fetch Griphook, Hagrid caught a glimpse of the paper, revealing it to have simply been a child's drawing of a house.
- Oddly only one female goblin, a goblin jazz singer has ever appeared in any Harry Potter media; they seem to be the inverse of Veela, with one gender being more visible to the magical world.
- Goblin ideas of ownership are similar to the theory of Georgism.
- Rowling perhaps used the fact that the goblins were a vital part of Wizarding life, controlling their only bank, no matter how wizards see goblins as an inferior race, inspired by the prejudice of Nazis against Jews (hitherto anti-Semitism) and Adolf Hitler's theory of Jews coveting world domination by controlling banks all over the world. This is supported by the fact that some wizards, like Hermione Granger, see this prejudice in a negative way.
- Goblins have the power to do magic. However, in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, they only come with a key.
- In the second part of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, many of the Gringotts goblins were portrayed by members of Willow Management, an agency founded in part by Warwick Davis, specialising in representing actors under 5 feet tall.
- Goblin culture seems to not include surnames.
- In the first film, Rubeus Hagrid refered to Goblins as beasts, although they are classified as beings. However, he may simply have been speaking metaphorically.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Notes and references