Goyle, along with fellow Slytherin Vincent Crabbe, seemed to already be best friends with Draco Malfoy before their first year at Hogwarts. Both wizards were shown to be more lackeys than friends, often following Malfoy around and doing his bidding.
Early life (1980-1991)
Gregory Goyle was born into a pure-blood magical family in 1980. His father, Mr. Goyle, was a Death Eater during the First Wizarding War and a loyal supporter of Lord Voldemort until his downfall in 1981, in which he likely claimed to have only been acting under the influence of the Imperius Curse so that he would avoid certain fate in Azkaban. It is likely that Goyle knew Draco Malfoy and Vincent Crabbe before going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, probably because of their fathers as both Lucius Malfoy and Mr. Crabbe were Death Eaters as well.
Hogwarts years (1991-1998)
Goyle started his education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1991, with his family being from a Death Eater background and being pure-bloods, he was quick to become a friend and sidekick to Draco Malfoy, the son of a wealthy Death Eater Lucius Malfoy. Goyle was already friends with Draco on the Hogwarts Express train journey and, along with Vincent Crabbe, the three met Harry Potter and offered him acceptance into their clan. However, Harry rejected this offer and left Draco Malfoy, the leader of the group, confused as to why he'd pick Ron Weasley to be friends with over himself. After being rejected, Goyle attempted to steal some of Harry and Ron's treats from the food trolley and he ended up getting bitten by Ron's pet rat, Scabbers.
When he arrived at Hogwarts, he was Sorted into the House of Slytherin with his friends Draco Malfoy and Vincent Crabbe. Throughout the year, Goyle was mean to Harry Potter and Ron Weasley and at the end of the year final exam results were to be given out and Harry Potter (who disliked Goyle) hoped that he was as stupid as he was mean and would fail his exams. However, Goyle just managed to scrape through them and passed his first year of education.
In his second year of education, the Chamber of Secrets was opened for the second time, having opened 50 years previously when Tom Riddle was in education. There was suspicion amongst the students as to who the Chamber was referring to when messages regarding an "Heir of Slytherin" were written on walls in blood. Some speculated that it was Harry Potter, others Draco Malfoy.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione wanted to get more information and decided to brew Polyjuice Potion so that they could take the forms of Goyle, Crabbe, and Millicent Bulstrode and question Draco. When attempting to steal items from Severus Snape's store room for the Polyjuice Potion, Hermione Granger needed a distraction and Harry threw a firecracker into Goyle's Swelling Solution. Over the Christmas holidays, the Polyjuice potion was finally completed and the three needed to get some of their designated pupils' DNA in order to make a transformation. Hermione had already gotten hairs from Millicent Bulstrode's robes during a violent Duelling Club practice; however she did not know that these hairs belonged to her cat. Harry and Ron still needed to get some hairs of Crabbe and Goyle and put Sleeping Draught into some cakes that Goyle and Crabbe would later eat and fall asleep. Once they fell asleep Ron and Harry managed to acquire their hair, Goyle's hair turned the polyjuice potion a khaki colour when it was added.
On the way to Hogwarts for his third year of education, Goyle, along with his friends, stepped into Harry Potter's compartment to bully him. However, they could not act on their wishes as new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor Remus Lupin was in the compartment sleeping. Early in the school year it was quite clear that the Dementors guarding Hogwarts from Sirius Black were feared by Harry and during a Quidditch match, Goyle and his friends put their cloaks up and pretended to be Dementors in an attempt to scare Harry, which it did and Harry cast a Patronus charm in response.
Goyle was later humiliated when Harry (under his invisibility cloak) defended his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley by throwing snowballs at him and pulling down his trousers. Goyle's attempts to scare Harry later in the year were foiled as he had too much protection from students and staff.
During the 1994–1995 school year, the Triwizard Tournament was held at Hogwarts School. After Harry Potter became a champion alongside Cedric Diggory, Goyle, Crabbe, and Malfoy passed out badges that could be made to read "Potter Stinks" and taunting Harry regularly, such as commenting that he was betting Harry wouldn't last more than a few minutes with the dragons. At the end of the year, Harry was almost murdered by Lord Voldemort, and saw that Goyle's father was a Death Eater.
After Harry caused the arrest of Crabbe and Malfoy's fathers, Goyle followed his vengeful friends on an attempt to ambush him on the Hogwarts Express, but were jinxed so thoroughly by members of the D.A. that they were transfigured into large slugs. A similar event occurred at the end of the previous year, when Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, and George all used different hexes on them on the train.
During the 1996-1997 school year, Malfoy had Goyle and Crabbe turn into girls via Polyjuice Potion to be able to guard the Room of Requirement while Malfoy was repairing the Vanishing Cabinet inside. Goyle was transformed into a little girl who held a pair of scales, which he was to drop noisily any time someone went past. During one of his watches, Harry frightened off Goyle, and waited unsuccessfully for Malfoy to exit.
At the end of the school year, Goyle and Crabbe were left looking lonely after Malfoy left the school just before the end of the term.
Seventh year and Battle of Hogwarts
In their seventh year, Goyle and Crabbe were among the favoured students of the new Death Eater professors Alecto and Amycus Carrow. For the first time, Goyle was able to excel at some of his school-work, as Neville Longbottom noted that he and Crabbe were proficient in the Dark Arts class.
During the Battle of Hogwarts, Goyle, Crabbe, and Malfoy did not flee with the other Slytherins; instead, they tried to ambush Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley in the Room of Requirement. In the ensuing fight, Goyle was less aggressive than Crabbe, who defied Draco's orders and tried multiple Dark curses. Goyle was Disarmed by Harry and then Stunned by Hermione. When Crabbe's cursed fire got out of control, Goyle was saved by Ron and Hermione, who flew him out on their broom while Harry saved Draco. Crabbe was engulfed by the flames and died.
Goyle was described as having large feet, small dull eyes, long gorilla arms, short, bristly hair low on his forehead, and broad shoulders. He and Crabbe were described as "silent, hulking bodyguards".
Personality and traits
- "Reading? I didn't know you could read."
- —Draco Malfoy to Harry Potter disguised as Goyle[src]
Goyle was generally less intelligent than Crabbe, always causing trouble and nearly failing his exams in his first year. He was unable to give Dolores Umbridge a simple answer after being questioned about Rubeus Hagrid's lessons, only being able to grin foolishly. In his fifth year Goyle (along with Crabbe) failed his Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L.. According to Draco Malfoy, he was also completely illiterate.
Goyle seemed to lack intelligence, magical talent, and independent thought, thus used only his size and strength to bully other students or scare off anyone who threatened Malfoy. Goyle was also sadistic and had no qualms about using the Cruciatus Curse on fellow students.
Magical abilities and skills
- Dark Arts: Goyle was able to perform the Unforgivable Curses and was particularly skilled in the use of the Cruciatus Curse. Neville Longbottom noted that because of his proficiency with the curse, it was probably the first time he'd been top in anything. It is quite possible that Goyle could also use the Killing Curse.
- Quidditch: Goyle was one of the Beaters for the Slytherin Quidditch team, alongside his friend Crabbe. Like Crabbe, he was chosen for his size and strength rather than skill.
Goyle often followed Malfoy around. Simply put, he was nothing more than his lackey. However, Draco showed concern for him sometimes; he immediately reported Goyle's injury to Snape in their fourth year. When Crabbe's Fiendfyre destroyed the Room of Requirement, Draco went out of his way to save Goyle from the flames, dragging him to safety.
Vincent Crabbe was another of Malfoy's lackeys, and as such Crabbe and Goyle were best friends, wandering around and doing just about everything together. However, Crabbe was more intelligent and favoured by Malfoy because of this.
Despite both being in Slytherin, Goyle and Blaise were not very close. When Blaise was knocked onto Goyle's lap, they snarled at each other and Goyle brutally flung Blaise off himself.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione disliked Goyle greatly. He was also one of their four most disliked people at Hogwarts, even going as far as expressing their hope that Goyle might fail his exams in his first year and be forced to leave the school. However, Ron and Hermione did assist Draco in saving Goyle's life during the Battle of Hogwarts.
- The name Gregory is derived from Greek meaning "watchful, alert". It is also associated with the Grigori, "the Watchers", a group of fallen angels who mated with mortal women to spawn a race of giants. This may allude to Goyle frequently acting like a bodyguard to Draco Malfoy and to his large frame.
- His last name is probably from "gargoyle," small monsters used to decorate buildings. The Gargouille also was a legendary water monster living in the River Seine in Paris, France. Gargoyles served as gutters/downspouts on gothic buildings. The word Gargoyle is derrived from the French gargouille and the Latin gargula which translate to throat in contemporary English. Related words include gargle and gurgle.
- Interestingly, gargoyles' supposed jobs are to watch over the building they are perched on. They are portrayed as grim and monstrous characters.
Behind the scenes
- Goyle is portrayed by Josh Herdman in the film adaptions of Harry Potter, making him one of fourteen characters to appear in all eight.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Goyle takes the place of Crabbe, who was written out due to drug charges against Jamie Waylett. Goyle dies in Crabbe's place; when Goyle (mirroring Crabbe in the book) tries to kill Hermione with the Killing Curse, Ron chases after him, and Goyle casts Fiendfyre in an attempt to kill him, after which (Goyle) attempts to climb to safety with Malfoy and Blaise Zabini (who plays roughly the same role as Goyle does in the book), but grabs onto a loose chair and falls into the fire. Also, at the beginning of the scene, when Harry asks Malfoy to turn back from Voldemort, Goyle insists that he stay on Voldemort's side. In addition, it is not Goyle who destroys the diadem, but Harry, who stabs it with a Basilisk Fang before Ron kicks it into the fire.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Goyle is portrayed as being more intelligent (and even supportive of Harry at times); when Malfoy and Crabbe confront Harry after Mrs Norris gets petrified, Goyle is disapproving of their behaviour, and at the end of the same school year, he cheers for Harry until Malfoy knocks him out. Something similar happens in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, where Malfoy simply pulls Vincent Crabbe back down when about to cheer for Hagrid.
- In the books, Goyle is generally portrayed as being less intelligent than Crabbe, but in the films it seems to be the other way around.
- In the film adaption of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Goyle was absent during the scene at Hogsmeade, being replaced by the original character Pike. This was due to Josh Herdman being incapable of performing such a scene due to a recent injury.
- Gregory Goyle's LEGO minifigure in set 4735 features Harry Potter's face on the flip side to show that it is actually Harry, disguised by Polyjuice Potion.
- 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 (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter LEGO Sets
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
Notes and references
Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Antonin Dolohov | Augustus Rookwood | Avery (I) | Avery (II) |
Barty Crouch Jr. | Bellatrix Lestrange | Crabbe | Evan Rosier | Gibbon | Goyle |
Jugson | Lestrange | Mulciber (I) | Mulciber (II) | Nott | Rabastan Lestrange | Rodolphus Lestrange | Rosier | Selwyn | Thorfinn Rowle | Travers | Walden Macnair | Wilkes | Yaxley
|Death Eaters who Defected:|
|Death Eaters' allies:|
Vincent Crabbe | Golgomath | Gregory Goyle | Fenrir Greyback | Narcissa Malfoy (defected) |
Quirinus Quirrell | Scabior | Dolores Umbridge
Dementors | Giants (Golgomath's control) | Muggle-Born Registration Commission | Snatchers | Werewolves