|“||Down down to Goblin Town/Down down to Goblin Towm/Down down to Goblin Town/You go my lad/ Ho ho my lad!||„|
|~ chorus lyrics from the Goblins' theme song.|
The Goblins, also called Orcs of the Misty Mountains, are a grotesque race of Orcs living in the Misty Mountains, seen especially in The Hobbit. They are described as ugly and huge, and they lived deep under the Misty Mountains in many places like Goblin-town, Moria, Mount Gram and Mount Gundabad.
They are the secondary antagonists in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as in Peter Jackson's movie trilogy of the same name, with their leaders serving as main antagonists, along with Smaug, and Sauron as the Bigger Bad. They are also minor antagonists in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in Volume 1, The Fellowship of the Ring, as well as in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
The pale/green races of bald Orcs of northern Middle-earth who live in strongholds in the Misty Mountains are often referred as Goblins. The most prominent groups are the Gundabad Orcs and the Moria Orcs. Those who occupied Moria came from Mount Gundabad and they were led by the ruthless Azog, Lord of Moria and Mount Gundabad.
After the fall of the Kingdom of Erebor and the destruction of the city-kingdom of Dale by Smaug, the last Dragon of Middle-earth, King Thrór and his son Thráin led their army to the Misty Mountains to reclaim the lost kingdom of Khazad-dûm (Moria). They faced Azog's army in a large battle that would turn into a bloody massacre. Thrór was slain by Azog himself and Thorin fought the Pale Orc and killed him in the book, while in the film he survived the battle. Despite the courage of the Dwarves, reclaiming Moria was impossible and Thráin had become impatient and restless until he disappeared one day, as he was captured by the Orcs and later brought to Sauron in Dol Guldur.
During the quest of Thorin Oakenshield's Company to reclaim the Lonely Mounatin from Smaug, the Gundabad and Moria Goblins kept following the Dwarves as they travelled to the mountain. In the original written story they are led by the ferocious Bolg, while in the films they follow Azog and Bolg is his second-in-command. In both versions these Orcs have these goals in common: revenge for the death/defeat of Azog and prevent Thorin from taking back the Lonely Mountain. All Goblins from every town in the Misty Mountains were informed of a reward for everyone who would deliver Thorin to the Lord of Moria.
In An Unexpected Journey Thorin's Company met a group of Warg scouts of these Orcs who tried to kill the 13 Dwarves, the Grey Wizard Gandalf, and the Halfling Bilbo Baggins. They were saved by a mounted force of Elves from Rivendell. As they were travelling in the Misty Mountains, Thorin's group was captured by the Orcs of the High Pass. These Goblins imprisoned the Dwarves in Goblin-town and took them to their king. Bilbo managed to hide from them and found himself forced to play riddles with the creature Gollum deep into the Misty Mountains. The captivity of the Dwarves was short-lived as Gandalf came in Goblin-town to rescue them. A fight and escape ensued then and the Great Goblin was killed.
The Goblins of the High Pass kept chasing Gandalf, Bilbo, and the Dwarves even after they left the ground. They were joined by their allies Warg-riders from Gundabad and Moria, led by Bolg/Azog (depending on version). They fail to kill Thorin and his friends, who had been forced to seek refuge on trees, thanks to the support of the Eagles.
As Bilbo and the Dwarves marched through Mirkwood they gave up lighting fires at night because they attracted thousands of moths, followed by huge black bats from Dol Guldur (these evil bats being related to Morgoth's vampires). The Gundabad/Moria Orcs kept chasing Thorin's Company in Mirkwood and around Woodland Realm, yet they kept failing to kill them.
In the film version, Azog was also leading the Orc Army of Dol Guldur, that was mustered by Sauron with the purpose of destroying the North of Middle-earth. Although Azog is a servant of evil in Tolkien's version, he was already dead and Bolg's involvement with Dol Guldur's army is only implied (regardless he would have joined them as a commander if he lived to LOTR, as the Orcs of the Misty Mountains gave support to Dol Guldur during the War of the Ring). The written story of Dol Guldur has Gandalf entering the fortress and Saruman refusing to attack it years before Thorin's quest. In fact it is actually the dying Thráin who gives Gandalf the map with the secret entrance for the Lonely Mountain for his son Thorin. The films changed the times by adding the first two parts of the Dol Guldur plot in the first and second film of the trilogy. In both book and films the White Counsil fights against Sauron in Dol Guldur during the same time of Smaug's death.
In The Desolation of Smaug Bolg and his warriors went straight to Lake-town to find and kill the Dwarves, but when they broke into Bard's house they found only Bofur, Óin, Fili, and Kili and the other 9 Dwarves and Bilbo had already left the town for the Lonely Mountain. The Orcs were chased away by Legolas and Tauriel.
After the death of Smaug, Thorin declared himself King Under the Mountain and refused to give a small portion of the treasure to rebuild the destroyed Lake-town. The main trigger for the Orcs of the High Pass to attack the mountain was the death of the Great Goblin. Bolg used this to have them with his army and he also assembled his own force from Gundabad, with also the support of the Orcs from Dol Guldur. They meant to attack Erebor, kill Thorin, and take the entire treasure for themselves. In the films this attack was also promoted by Sauron himself and Azog led the Dol Guldur force, while Bolg commanded the Gundabad force. The Battle of Five Armies ensued: it was a battle waged between the Orcs and the Wargs of Dol Guldur and Gundabad against the Men of Dale, Elves, Dwarves, on and near the Lonely Mountain. The Bats, the Ogres, and the Were-worms also sided with the Orcs and Wargs. As a Wizard of the Istari, Gandalf acted as the main commander of the armies who opposed the Goblins while Thorin II Oakenshield led his 12 Dwarves of Erebor, Thranduil led the Elves of Woodland Realm, Bard the Bowman led the people of Lake-town, and Dáin II Ironfoot led the Dwarven army of the Iron Ills from Wilderland. The force of Goblins, Wargs, and bats was described as "innumerable". At late battle, Beorn joined against the Goblins as well as the Eagles, led by Gwaihir the Great Eagle. The casualties were heavy for both sides and Thorin, Fili, and Kili were among the dead.
In the book Bolg is killed by Beorn, while in the third film Azog is killed by Thorin and Bolg is killed by Legolas. The Goblins retreated back to their strongholds in the Misty Mountains, while the force in Dol Guldur remained active even after Sauron was forced to leave.
Years later, the Dwarf Balin led an expedition in an attempt to reclaim the ancient kingdom of Moria, hoping to regain both the wealth of Khazad-dûm and the last of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves, which conferred great wealth and a curse of greed on its owners. Balin was possibly encouraged by the events of the Lonely Mountain and Smaug's death and lost some of his caution for this reckless decision.
The Lord of the Rings
Unlike Thorin's, Balin's expedition turned into a failure. The search for the ring was in vain, as it had been recaptured from Thráin II by Sauron years ago. Gimli's uncle, Óin, who was also a member of Thorin's company, died an horryfying death from the Watcher in the Water. According to Ori's Book of Mazarbul, Balin did successfully chased the Goblins underground and became Lord of Moria for a time, recovering Durin's Axe, a helm and discovering Mithril. However things took a grim and dark course of events shortly after that. Balin was killed by an Orc archer in the Dimrill Dale in TA 2994, ambushed while going alone to look in Mirromere (Kheled-zâram). Soon afterward the dwarf colony - which was too small for a kingdom - was eventually overrun by Moria Orcs (led by a Balrog of Morgoth known as Durin's Bane) and wiped out.
Sauron returned to Mordor and prepared with Saruman a massive attack in Middle-earth: Mordor and Isengard with their allies were to destroy the west and the south, Dol Guldur to destroy the north and Rivendell, and the Easterlings the north and the east.
The very first opening battle of the War of the Ring started at June 20 3018, when the forces of Dol Guldur attacked Woodland Realm and were defeated by King Thranduil.
Saruman took his own men and started breeding them with Goblins. After that he crossed those Goblin-Men with other kinds of Orcs, resulting with the Uruk-hai, an extremely fierce, fearless, and reistent army of monsters who were capable to endure any kind of pain and were willing to commit suicide in order to serve their master. The Uruk-hai were also more disciplined and loyal than the other chaotic kinds of Orcs. The Half-Orcs who looked like Men were sent by Saruman to infiltrate in the Shire, Rohan, and other towns such as Bree, to serve the White Hand as spies along with other criminal Men of the places.
The fate of Balin's colony remained uncertain to all Middle-earth until the TA 3019 arrival in Moria of the Fellowship of the Ring, which included Balin's first cousin once removed Gimli. In order to reach Mordor without getting caught by the army of Isengard, the Fellowship was forced to go through the Misty Mountains and pass through the mines of Moria, hoping to find help from Balin's colony. Instead they found only decomposed corpses and thanks to the Watcher in the Water, they found themselves stuck in the darkness at the mercy of the Goblins.
The Fellowship followed its leader Gandalf in the undergrounds of Moria, hoping to find the way out. They found Balin's tomb and Ori's body at The Chamber of Mazarbul. From Ori's book, Gandalf learned the experience of the survivors of the colony before the got slaughtered by Durin's Bane and the Goblins in the darkness. It is at The Chamber of Mazarbul that the Moria Orcs found out their presence and they ambushed them at once. An unnamed Goblin captain led about 300-1000 Moria Orcs with a Cave Troll. They retreated from Balin's tomb, yet they kept attacking the Fellowship members as they made it for the bridge of Khazad-dûm. But the Demon Durin's Bane personally arrived to destroy them, but Gandalf held him back and fell from the bridge with the Balrog. The Goblins kept chasing the Fellowship, who had no time to stop or mourn because the Goblins were soon going to swarn the Misty Mountains. Gimli wanted to fight them to avenge Gandalf and Balin's colony, but being outnumbered, the Fellowahip fled to the woods of Lothlórien. Gandalf destroyed Durin's Bane on the Misty Mountains after an extremely long and exhausting fight that lasted for hours to the point that even Gandalf's mortal body died for the excessive effort, but he was sent back to Middle-earth by the Valar to supplant the traitor Saruman.
During the rest of the War of the Ring, the Goblins supported Sauron in his war campaign of conquest of Middle-earth. On the days 11 and 15 of March, two major battles took place at Lothlórien, as the forces of Dol Guldur, Mordor, and Moria attacked the realm of Galadriel and Celeborn with 100 of Trolls and thousands of Orcs from Mordor and Dol Guldur and 4,000 Goblins of Moria. Both attacks were repelled by the Galadhrim force of Lórien.
At March 15 the Battle under the Trees took place in Mirkwood and Dol Guldur, where Thranduil defeated the Nazgul and the forces of Mordor and Dol Guldur. That same day the largest battle of the war, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, ended with Sauron's defeat. The Orcs did not take part in the Battle of Dale during March 17, fought between the Easterlings and the forces of Dale and Erebor. On March 22 the Orcs attacked Lórien once more and were defeated again by Galadriel's superior power. Treebeard and a host of Ents set out to prevent them entering Rohan. The despairing Orcs fled eastward but were either killed by the tree-shepherds, drowned in the River Anduin or fled to Dol Guldur. Even after Sauron's defeat the Orcs, Wargs, and Giant Spiders in Dol Guldur kept causing troubles and invading Mirkwood, so the Battle of Dol Guldur started in March 28 and ended in April 6 with Galadriel destroying Dol Guldur once and for all, freeing Mirkwood.
After the fall of Sauron, the Orcs never regained their strength and retired on their own in tribes. The Goblins stayed in the Misty Mountains.
Eventually, Moria was reclaimed by the Dwarves of Durin's Folk under Durin VII who became King of Durin's Folk and of Khazad-dûm and lived there ever after. No race of Orcs would get powerful ever again, at least not until the prophecy claiming that Morgoth will find the way out of the Void and return to Middle-earth to create a new army of Evil to destroy Arda, if the prophecy comes true.