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Evil minions also known as goblins are creatures who steal or raise children of humans to be their leaders and to guide them on evil deeds. Humans raised by goblins are intelligent and good in the art of war and they have the loyalty of hordes of goblins to their sides. A human leader is an inspiring figure for goblins and goblins are kindred to the human.

The goal of the goblins is to grow, reproduce, gain new land and most importantly destroy the human species. Human leaders are grown to recognize goblins as their family and see the people outside goblin colonies as foes. Goblins live in colonies with castes, they have a few queen who's job is to produce new members of the colony. They are related to primates, but shorter, just as intelligent as humans and have a greenish skin, some darker than others.

The image below shows what goblins looks like.

enter image description here

This behaviour of evil minions is not recent, but it's a thing evil minions have always done during their evolution. Ancient primitive goblins used to steal children of human ancestors and this behaviour was kept through years of evolution up to this day.

Why would a creature steal the offsprings of a closely related animal to raise them as leaders?

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    $\begingroup$ Twist: goblin lay egg inside host which hatch into parasitic worm that takes over host, after many years host will undergoes metamorphosis into full fledged goblin but the brain is wasted! $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jun 16 '20 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ Why would they want to destroy the race that produces great leaders for them? $\endgroup$
    – Mast
    Jun 17 '20 at 5:44
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    $\begingroup$ when writing this, mind that "you can't be what you can't see": future leaders need to understand how to lead, and they can't learn it from a magical race that is unable to do it. $\endgroup$
    – carlo
    Jun 17 '20 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ I always go with supernormal stimulus, like cookoo eggs and things. Goblins find our babies incredibly cute, their cries more heartrending than the cries of their own children. And the voice and stature of adult human incredibly commanding. That's why they lose battles: face adult humans, they shout commands at goblin horde, it dissolves into chaos. Thus, you need a human on your side to keep the order. And they don't steal a single child, they steal all children from the village. Not all survive childhood, though en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernormal_stimulus#In_biology $\endgroup$
    – jo1storm
    Jun 18 '20 at 9:02
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    $\begingroup$ It could be instinctual. Normally, the largest goblin is the leader. And humans have larger stature than even the tallest and largest goblin. Their first instinct is to cover in fear and obey the order given by such a person. Imagine fighting against dozens tall, strong, The Mountain That Rides warriors every time you go to battle. But if you have a Mountain of your own, then it is much different story. They get trained out of that instinctual reaction and fear by constant exposure to it. $\endgroup$
    – jo1storm
    Jun 18 '20 at 9:09

14 Answers 14

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Goblins have a stereotyped view of humans.

A Ukrainian woman once told me "if he is not a Jew, he is not a dentist". It was said in the context of a discussion about finding a good dentist. A stereotype: the best dentists are Jewish. It did not surprise me to hear it, although it took a Ukrainian to say it out loud. That stereotype is in the U.S. too.

A google turned up this

Southern Dental Journal and Luminary, Volume 7, 1888

…but to a very recent time dentistry in Holland was in the hands of the Jews. A lady came to a friend of mine for some operation, or for some artificial teeth and she asked him “Are you a Jew?” He said, “No, I am a Christian”. She said, “I am sorry; I thought the Jews were the only real dentists.”. So you see that in Holland a dentist and a Jew are synonymous.

It is an interesting thing, this stereotype. In the wikipedia article on Stereotypes of Jews the stereotypes are uniformly negative. And there is no question that in Ukraine and Holland and pretty much everywhere else, jewish people suffered from these stereotypes, and at the same time jews served the population as dentists.

Why would persons from a negatively stereotyped population be trusted to be dentists - which I consider an extremely intimate and delicate profession. A very interesting matter and if someone reading this can link up additional reading I would appreciate it.

In any case - so too the goblins. They hate humans as a group and would not be sorry for them all to vanish from the earth. Yet when they need a leader, they cultivate one from this same population because "if he is not a Human, he is not a good Boss".

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    $\begingroup$ I see your point but I'm not fond of how you make it. The "stereotype" argument can be made with out referencing antisemitism. Even bringing in other stereotypes "The Irish are great singers but they're also drunks" wouldn't help this answer. Mostly I'm really uncomfortable with the loose equating of Jewish people to "evil minions", Jewish people have suffered enough down the ages and this comparison runs far too close to older justifications for antisemitism for comfort. P.S. I'm Irish and I'm not touching Asian, African, East European etc stereotypes with a 10 foot bog pole $\endgroup$ Jun 17 '20 at 11:55
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    $\begingroup$ @BinaryWorrier I agree with your concerns, but just to clarify the comparison was between Jews and humans, and not between Jews and goblins. The goblins are the ones doing the stereotyping in the example $\endgroup$ Jun 17 '20 at 13:06
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    $\begingroup$ @BinaryWorrier Is comparing antisemitists to evil goblins really antisemitism? While you might find the specific example he chose offensive, I think he focused on the dentist one since it was intended to be a positive stereotype. Positive stereotyping is particularly relevant to the context of the discussion as an analogy for the kind of stereotyping the goblins are doing in this case. Calling Irish drunks on the other hand would not have been relevant. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jun 17 '20 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ I once heard a story about it that I dont know if its true. It went like this: Jews were facing heavy bias and were being barred from being employed or entering many shops and establishments. This forced them to find their own employment, many starting their own businesses. Basically the one's that were successful in their businesses had the best chance to get partners and children. Jews has two customers: other jews and people who set aside their bias for the quality of their work. So you had to be good, and with jew communities tight nit they taught each other and became good $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Jun 22 '20 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ As they became better the new ways to discriminate against jews were started: the rich jews had to be thieves and charlatans. Their good trading sense was just the jews preying on the gullible or outright theft in broad daylight. Similar in structure to the good old "foreigners stealing our jobs" this was as good as any excuse to blame the jews for. Food, economic or political crisis? Jews did it. This spiraled out of control in WWII (or more out of control). Some of that bias remained: they are good dentists. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Jun 22 '20 at 21:00
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Because they’re better at it than the goblins are.

Goblins aren't necessarily dumb, but they are panicky and prone to squabbles. In large groups, with nothing to rally behind, they scatter easily and lack co-ordination due to internal fighting. Even smart goblin sages and witch doctors can’t bring a horde together in pursuit of one goal.

But they’re smart enough to recognise potential in others.

Humans, especially human children, can be raised to be incredibly resilient, even without role models to teach them set behaviours. They are naturally more inquisitive, more brave and more likely to charge headfirst into things than any goblin, as well as being larger and stronger. This also means they are more likely to simply overawe any given goblin into following their plans. As such, humans can coordinate the mob relatively easily, and provide a much needed figurehead for the goblin hordes to rally behind.

So a goblin sage instructs one or two goblins to steal a child. They then spend a decade grooming that child to be a leader Of goblins and to hate all that is human. When it’s time to assemble a warband the human leader can easily rally goblins to the cause and (more importantly) keep them both under control and suitably motivated during the execution of their campaign.

Essentially: no goblin can serve as an inspirational enough leader, so they steal them instead. As a bonus this also deprives the enemy of soldiers, and if a human child dies in training? Eh. Steal another.

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  • $\begingroup$ It's like people wanting things to be governed by an AI. Not Skynet though. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jun 22 '20 at 20:51
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From the Forest Comes the Handle for the Axe

There's an old fable about woodcutters and trees, which essentially boils down as thus: the handle to the axe to cut down the forest came from the forest itself. If no tree in the forest ever became an axe, then the forest could not be cut down. Similarly, the best way to destroy something is by using it's own strength against it.

Goblins are a different species than humans and thus they are hardwired to think differently and have different innate responses or emphasis on various character traits. There are things humans do that goblins don't understand, be it military strategy or political intrigue. And if goblins don't understand humans, than it makes it very tricky for them to deal with humans because human keep acting in weird and unpredictable ways.

The goblin solution is simple - kidnap humans. They kidnap raise humans within the goblin nations to serve as advisors and leaders. With a goblin upbringing and innate human biology, plus some human teachers that goblins have kidnapped as well, the goblins now have the ultimate weapon against humanity - a goblin-raised yet human-trained human, perfectly capable of understanding human behavior, yet sympathetic towards goblin ideals. The perfect handle for the axe, as it were.

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    $\begingroup$ I am wondering if you could make an axe handle out of compressed hair. Like some sort of bezoar wood... $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jun 16 '20 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk With the right design of blade, you could probably make an axe with a rope handle - it would just take a wide swing to stretch it out $\endgroup$ Jun 17 '20 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ I always thought goblin femurs made the best axe handles. $\endgroup$
    – TonyK
    Jun 17 '20 at 11:56
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Humans have a longer lifespan

There are several reasons why this is advantageous:

  • You don't have to raise a new leader every few years
  • With age comes respect, so with more age comes more respect
  • A long-lived human can accumulate experience and wisdom a Goblin couldn't hope to achieve
  • A longer lifespan means a longer childhood means more time to properly groom the leader
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Perhaps Goblins look at leadership differently than humans. If leadership was a terrible burden, with no tangible rewards other than serving the population he/she leads. Then it would be logical to steal humans to fill the role that no Goblin would ever want.

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Goblins have too much infighting between the different clans/families/groups. They realize they will never find a Goblin that all other Goblins would find acceptable as a leader. The different groups hate/distrust each other so much they could not accept a leader form another Goblin family.

So they kidnap a human and make them the leader, because their not a Goblin no Globin-family feels like its at a disadvantage because its Goblins weren't selected as the leader.

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Humans have good organisational skills and It's the way it's always been done

You seem to cover most of the answer in your question, but in many "fantasy" works, humans are the ones who build the towns, villages and communities, while the elves keep hidden away in the trees, the dwarves underground, etc. Goblins are an ambitious but disorganised race, and while they may be scrappy and resilient, they just don't have that organiser's brain.

Humans do. (at least from the goblin's POV)

Therefore they are the best choice as leader. No goblin leader has ever shown the charisma, organisational, inspirational and leadership skills that a human has and therefore has always failed.

Furthermore, you could add in that the human leader herself also believes this and therefore demands she be succeeded by another human. She then mentors her successor (after all, the goblins couldn't really teach a human to be a great organiser by themselves) into becoming the next big leader.

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Humans have, at various times, used poison gasses, germ warfare, impalement, starvation, burning alive at the stake, flaying, hanging, boiling in oil, electrocution, napalm, and atomic bombs to kill each other. Women and children are not spared. Enemies have been blinded, maimed, broken, humiliated, crippled, robbed, enslaved, and raped, their houses, farm, towns, and cities burned, their crops destroyed.

If you're going up against an enemy that inventively and ruthlessly vicious, you really need to recruit one of them to your side to lead the way.

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    $\begingroup$ A goblin raiding party approaches a human town with crucified and impaled goblins on the ramparts to serve as a warning. The goblin's response: "Damn that's a good idea! Why didn't we ever think to do that?" $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jun 17 '20 at 20:16
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I always thought it was because humans were generally taller than goblins. That's where the phrase, "Head and shoulders above the rest" came from. They are much more ready to carry out the orders of a leader they can see, and in turn when the leader can see them. If they can't see the leader they revert to doing selfish activities and therefor is bad for the colony.

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Natural Selection

You can certainly speculate on why. Maybe humans are innately better at long term planning. Maybe humans lead better because they can empathize with the enemy (other humans) better. Maybe having an 'other' as the leader reduces the tendency for goblins to fight within the group, struggling for control of the tribe. It's entirely possible that no one really knows for sure.

But the bottom line is that a goblin tribe with a human leader is more successful than one without a human leader. It controls more resources, produces more babies, and has longer-lived members. Any goblin tribe without a human leader is weaker, less productive, and quickly dissolves or is exiled to less productive areas, like deserts or desolate wastes.

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Because humans can be kind, but goblins can't.

Imagine a stereotypicall "always evil" race. Now think about it a bit: what would keep them focused on killing humans, instead of killing each other? If goblins are truly full-on evil sociopaths, they won't care for each other, they would cut each other down just as much as they cut down humans. Heck, if humans are more dangerous, then most goblins would rather risk killing a brother for food than hunting down a human.

While such darwinistic society would weed out all but the strongest/smartest/nastiest, it doesn't really work well for K-reproductive species. Even for a genocidal war machine, some caring about each other would greatly increase efficiency. Killing your best soldier because of a moment of weakness is wasteful. Providing no healthcare to your soldiers and blacksmiths alike is wasteful. Slaughtering your peasants right before the harvest is wasteful.

And some of the smarter goblins figured it out. At first they tried to be kind themselves, but it failed miserably and with a lot of bloody bits. So they turned to humans, who are much better at it. They even steal a few human books now and then, maybe even some adult humans to teach the child, to ensure the human doesn't grow a sociopath like they all are, but a good leader. And it works, the human sees goblins as a family, even if they don't see her as such. She cares for them, provides justice where there would be none, keeps goblin society from imploding.

Ironically, it's not that goblins really want to kill all humans specifically, it's just when they are stopped from killing fellow goblins, there is none else to kill but humans.

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  • $\begingroup$ The evil minion thing was more of a trope thing, most of my questions are about trope talk.. Like the darkest hour question of the Mcguffin question.... But still +1 $\endgroup$
    – user76488
    Jun 18 '20 at 20:01
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They don't steal the children as leaders, they steal them as training tools. It just happens that some, like Conan or John Carter (pulling references without verifying that I actually remember those references correctly), graduate and make their own name for themselves and become leaders. It's a win-win. The ones that don't survive teach the goblins how to deal with humans. The ones that survive help them do it.

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Goblins are a twisted version of humanity and are envious of humans

Orcs/goblins in fiction are to humans as devils are to angels: they are made of the same stuff and had all the same potential but are corrupted by an original sin or evil to be a worse form of themselves. What they want is to get back the things they have lost: happiness, beauty, power, etc. But they don't want to give up their characteristic evil, which is the cause of their distress.

If you want to remain consistent with the literary idea of a goblin, it follows that humans are somewhat more enlightened than goblins (although not quite as enlightened as the angels or elves), and goblins are envious of us. They want to be tall, handsome, happy, and able to come out in the daylight or whatever, but they don't want to (or can't) change their evil ways. Key point here: they're looking for a shortcut.

Stealing human babies seems to them to be a way to get a piece of what they admire, without having to do any actual hard work to improve themselves. Inevitably it fails to make them any happier, just makes things worse for the rest of the world. The moral of the story is: evil is lazy, and taking shortcuts always backfires.

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It's very simple: goblins are an ambitious, pragmatic, ruthless, militaristic species. When humans consistently repelled, conquered, or outsmarted goblins they inadvertently made goblins not envious but admiring of them. This was a species that had everything the goblins valued and desired, a species that did everything the goblins focused on and did it better than they did.

Simply put, the humans weren't just bigger, better organized, or more disciplined; they were more ingenious, quicker-thinking, more adaptive, and so on. The goblins realized the humans were superior and that the best way to survive was to ensure they had that superiority on their side.

This is why they take human children and raise them as leaders, but there is another reason; breeding, to ensure that goblins would gain superior human traits. The result of this breeding program was a new subspecies of goblins, a species feared by the humans for their ruthlessness, ingenuity, and sheer military prowess: Hobgoblins!

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