The Differences Between Gnomes

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

When writing fantasy romance, like the Tales of the Black Court series, an author has to work within a familiar concept and yet make it her own. One of the ways I’ve done that is I have taken common fantasy creatures and not only used them within my books, but I’ve changed them up a little.

Take goblins. Most of the public is familiar with the goblins from Harry Potter, the bankers of the Wizarding World. But that’s JK Rowling’s interpretation of goblins. Not every writer has to utilize that, and in fact, it’s a very specific interpretation of goblins, so not every writer should utilize it. The idea of goblins as wearing suits and running businesses is a clever way to go, but it’s not classic.

George MacDonaldMy first introduction to goblins, and to fairy tales in general, was through my mother. She had a very large, very old, very much loved book called, The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald. For those of you who may not know, George MacDonald was an inspiration for authors like JR Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and CS Lewis. He wrote original tales where good triumphed over evil and who a person was underneath was what mattered most.

The goblins in MacDonald’s books live deep in the mines and are scary, creepy creatures, who don’t come out into the daylight and will GET YOU! if you are not careful. I loved that book and when it comes to goblin inspiration its one of my main resources. Because of that, my goblins are natural underground dwellers. And they are creepy. But I still needed to give them my own twist.

In my fantasy world of Underhill, there are goblins, brownies and three types of gnomes. Today I’m focusing on the gnomes because in my world there are several varieties. In The Dark Huntsman, Trina and Logan question a garden gnome, one of the wild gnomes you can find everywhere in Underhill living among the tiny flower fairies and conducting their own business of catching fish and living off of the land, or inhabiting the land near houses and working in their gardens for a bit of extra money.

Then there are the common grey cave dwellers, who are small, a little weak, and not as bright. You might think of them as the worker gnome. At around 3 feet tall they have flat faces and round bulbous eyes. They’re coloring is all the same, if you had a roomful of them it would be difficult to tell them apart. They most commonly live in small groups and tend to be pushed by the powers that be of Underhill.

Next, there are the Galentian gnomes. These are tall gnomes, five to five and a half feet. The Galentian gnomes have an entire society of their own. They live in large communal groups that reside underground in warrens. My book, Prince by Blood and Bone, takes place partially in an abandoned warren that was one of their largest, most complex palaces, Cairngloss. Located in what is nominally callled the North it was abandoned when the White Queen moved in and took over the area and brought the extreme cold with her. Galentian gnomes like more moderate climates.

The last type of gnome is the Scalian gnome. Reclusive and bookish, they run just under the height of the Galentian gnomes, with the occasional very tall one as tall as the tallest Galentian gnome. It is rumored that they are closely related. Not much is known about them, but they are extremely smart, and are occasionally used as consultants by the peerage of Underhill.

I’ve featured gnomes, especially Beezel, a common cave gnome, in Prince by Blood and Bone. It’s been fun to create my own version of gnomes, brownies, and elves, even though it takes time to make sure you have all your details correct. If it weren’t for my extensive fantasy reading over the years, I might be afraid to expand my universe and try new traits and features out for what are common terms, but thanks to creative authors over the years, I’m not. I’m happy to spin large tales with surprising characters and creative back-stories.

What sort of fantasy do you read? Are you familiar with other types of gnomes, trolls, and goblins? Are you willing to jump from author universe to author universe, or are you a rules-person-rigidly adhering to the one set of rules you were familiar with when growing up?

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Filed under Fantasy Romance, paranormal inspiration, Prince by Blood and Bone, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

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