Monster Month: Gogmagog

Gogmagog

Unlike others I’m showcasing, this monster is a specifically named one.  Similar to Polyphemus from ‘The Odyssey’, Gogmagog is a giant from mythology.  He is found within Welsh and later English mythology.  So, who is he?

Gogmagog was one of the last giants who lived on the island of Albion.  He led the others against Brutus and the Trojans who were invading.  He was the strongest and most ferocious of his tribe, but was still captured.  A Trojan named Corineus wrestled Gogmagog and threw him off a cliff and into the sea.  The place has been named after the giant.  All of this is similar to Hercules defeating Antaeus, who he lifted off the ground to cut him off from his power source.  Of course, Gogmagog was simply lifted by this man and hurled into the ocean.

There are other versions, including one where Gogmagog isn’t one creature.  Instead, he’s two giants named Gog and Magog, which may be connected to the identically named figures in the Old Testament.  (Quickly, these were either Gog the man who came from Magog or two figures that the Messiah would have to defeat.)  Now, the Roman Emperor Diocletian had thirty-three wicked daughters who murdered their husbands and were sent out to sea.  They washed up on the island of Albion where they mated with demons to give birth a race of giants.  Gog and Magog were two of these descendants and are considered the guardians of London.

Oddly enough, Gogmagog does return after getting thrown into the sea.  William the Conqueror stopped at a hill now called Dinas Bran.  Ruins at the top were called Castle Bran.  In this tale, Gogmagog was struck in the foot and fell into the ocean where he died before being possessed by an evil spirit.  He prevented the Britons from settling the area and destroyed Castle Bran when it was built.  So, what happened next?

Payn Peveral, a knight of William, went to spend the night in the castle along with fifteen of his men.  A storm started and only Payn remained standing while everyone else was cowering.  As he prayed and held his cross, the darkness turned into Gogmagog and attacked with a club.  Payn got out of the way and attacked.  The cross symbol on his shield kept Gogmagog at bay while he was attacked.  Eventually, he told his story to the knight and said how he gave his soul over to Beelzebub.  The giant was defeated and his body was thrown into a pit, but his club was kept as evidence.

So, that’s a general overview of Gogmagog.  There was a lot to sift through, so feel free to add anything you may know in the comments.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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10 Responses to Monster Month: Gogmagog

  1. L. Marie says:

    I’ve see the name before but didn’t know the story behind it. I read The Odyssey, so I can picture what you mean.

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  2. Great reading about Gogmagog.

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  3. I remember the Old Testament names, but not much else.

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  4. Who would guess that one character reached back so far?

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  5. V.M.Sang says:

    Just outside of Cambridge, England is a range of small hills known as the Gogmagog hills (or locally, The Gogs.) I forget what the legend is there, as it was many decades since I lived there. However, I read a book once that said that there used to be two hill figures there. They were investigated and evidence of them were found. The book also said that in Sawston Church (a village just outside Cambridge, overlooking the Gogs) is a carving of a figure that is supposed to be one of these figures. Someone bored with the sermon must have done it !
    I doubt there is any mention of the pair being thrown into the sea, though, as Cambridge is nowhere near the sea.

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