"Though it moves like a living thing, anyone can tell it lacks a soul... not to mention mercy."
The Golem is a creature from Jewish folklore which was a clay figure animated by a holy man
. It was generally unable to speak, lacked a soul, and followed orders like an automaton. The original Hebrew word can mean an unshaped form or figuratively a stupid person.
The creature originated in the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah, which holds that those who study the holy books and are strong in the ways of the Lord may create imitations of His miracles, but only imperfect ones. As God made Adam from clay, so may a holy man create an imitation of a man, albeit one lacking a soul. Never mind that a piece of clay being able to move around on its own without bones, muscles or a nervous system of any kind is pretty damn miraculous compared to a human, whose body works based on principles grounded in the laws of nature and physics
. (Well, that's why it's an imitation.)
In some versions of the legend, the golem always obeyed its creator but could act as a Literal Genie
; the idea of the golem deliberately rebelling
was only introduced later. Note that even in the early versions, the Golem usually had to be destroyed for causing destruction or taking meaning from people's lives by making work too easy.
The most famous golem story is that of Rabbi Loew
, said to have created the Prague golem in the 16th century to protect the Jewish community. In German-speaking countries, the bestselling novel The Golem
(1915) by Gustav Meyrink brought it back to public consciousness and led to a series of silent films; the third film
, a prequel from 1920 which shows the origin of the golem (who has the worst case of helmet hair in existence), survives today.
In some versions the golem was animated by writing the Hebrew word for "truth" (אֱמֶת ʼĕméth
) on its forehead, and made inert again by erasing the first letter, converting it into the word for "dead" (מֵת mēth
). However, other versions included using a "Shem", literally meaning a name and referring to one of the secret names of God
. This could be put on its forehead or in the mouth.
in modern Hebrew. Both words are derived of the same linguistic root which means "holding a hidden meaning or potential". This is actually part of the original Kabbalistic aesop
behinde the Golem tale - the danger of creating a Golem is in it's unknown nature - A human could never control or understand another mortal being the way god can.
The entry of the golem into popular culture as a fantasy monster is probably Dungeons & Dragons
, which called the classic version a "clay golem", and included other types such as Stone, Iron, or the Frankenstein's Monster
-like "Flesh Golem
". Other fantasy worlds have expanded into substances such as Lead, Wood
, and even more unlikely substances, like Glass
, Paper, Wax, Junk and Maggots
. And don't even get us started on the ones made of dirty laundry
More loosely the term can be applied to any robot
that is explicitly run on magic
rather than technology. Talos, a mythical Greek
giant made out of forged bronze is a good example.
See Rock Monster
, Living Statue
, Frankenstein's Monster
and Artificial Human
. Usually a Perpetual-Motion Monster
Not to be confused with the other Golem
. Or Gollum
. Or even the game
of the same name.
See also Improvised Golems
, for when you don't have time to make a proper golem.
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Anime and Manga
- In Rune Soldier Louie, Louie summons a golem to guard Merrill's gold, with Merrill ordering it to "not let anyone touch my darling jar". The golem then acts as a Literal Genie and steals the jar.
- The "robot" Emeth from Shaman King is quite obviously a golem, even being created by an Ambiguously Jewish shaman. Hence the name (Emeth = emet.) He is based on the plan of traditional clay golem, but he was then modified by the above-mentioned Ambiguously Jewish shaman with mechanical parts.
- The golems in Slayers. Zelgadis is also considered part golem. This is a bit odd, since Naga (the Serpent) makes and discards golems with impunity. They are occasionally implied to have free will to a degree (one of them even falls in love with the magical construct it was supposed to be fighting), which only increases the oddness. Then again, this is Slayers.
- Plus Zelgadis was only cursed to be part golem. He was originally human.
- Rah Xephon from RahXephon is in fact one of these, as are the monsters it fights, the Dolems.
- Touran, a sand golem from Monster Soul. Actually she a half human hybrid due to having a human mother and a golem father.
- That sounds eye-wateringly painful whichever way it went...
- In the manga/anime Soul Eater, the protagonists Maka and Soul fight a golem wielding a chainsaw.
- And then the chainsaw turned back into his human form and started wielding himself...That Came Out Wrong.
- Corona, one of Vivio's two friends from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, has the ability to create these in an instant.
- A golem named Golem is one of the secondary characters in Shukufuku no Campanella. Even if he is made of stone, he's owned by the comic relief Tortilla sisters, and gets into as many hijinks as they do. Witness him fall prey to gravity, wear an apron and blush over Leicester.
- A villain named Shelley Cromwell appears in the last few episodes of the first season of A Certain Magical Index, and her magic allows her to summon a golem named "Ellis". The details of the golem reveal she converted the original Hebraic script into English and utilized Christian iconography, such as the symbol of the cross and names of archangels, to empower it.
- The title character of Anpanman is a golem made of bread (his head is made of bread, anyway . . . the rest of him is never explicitly explained).
- In a Fairy Tail filler saga, the villain Daphne uses Lizardman-like monsters which are stated to be some kind of Golem by Wendy.
- In Berserk, golems are figures made out of mud. They look cute, but they're very resilient and will regenerate any damage done to them until the little clay figurine within them is destroyed. They're used by the witch, Flora, to safeguard her home as well as to carry out domestic chores.
- The Golem girls in Deadline Summonner and 12 Beast share similar traits, in that they resemble little girls with massive robotic hands with built-in cannons, headphones, and facial piercings. In the latter, they can also pilot Humongous Mecha. They seem to be made of Magitek.
- The Digimon franchise has Golemon. Of course, whatever the theme of a Digimon is, all Digimon are living data, but the first Golemon we met was one of many artificial Monster of the Week mon created from control spires by Arukenimon, and a few seasons later more were created from dirt by Grumblemon. As such, the ones we met really were golems, though it needn't go for the whole species.
- In the DC Universe, the Monolith is a golem (though he breaks the rule by being able to speak). Additionally, the Thing from the Marvel Universe was inspired by the Golem (he's even Jewish).
- One appears in Grant Morrison's Epic Seven Soldiers of Victory, including the Hebrew letters.
- In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story "Kaddish", Donatello encounters one of these robbing stores in a Brooklyn neighborhood in order to support a boy in his care. The story makes mention of the main elements of the golem legend—Rabbi Lowe, "emet"/"met"—and subverts some of them.
- An iron golem under a permanent all-senses illusion (it looked like a sexy woman) was sent to attack the Elementals at one point.
- An old Jewish man creates a golem to attack his perceived persecutors (imagining skinheads as Nazis), and Batman has to force him to destroy it.
- In a really old issue of Archies Sonic The Hedgehog comic, Knuckles, on a quest to retrieve what basically amounts to an Expy of Excalibur, encounters an antagonistic sorceror who decides to ruin Knuckles' day, apparently just for fun (it actually turns out he's got the sword Knuckles is looking for). So he casts a few spells and "brings forth a golem made of metal". Knuckles bitches about how they should leave the robots to Robotnik.
- Traditionally, Wonder Woman is born when her mother, Hippolyta, crafts a baby out of clay and prays to the gods to give her life. This has been Ret Conned in the New 52, though, where she is the natural daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus.
- Thessaly from Thessaly: Witch for Hire (a spinoff from The Sandman) had a golem in her house that she used primarily as a coat-rack. When it comes alive to defend her, another character expresses surprise that she knows Jewish magic. She points out that when a magic user becomes as powerful as she is, magic loses all its cultural barriers.
- Speaking of The Sandman, The Endless creat their own golem, Eblis O'Shaunessey, to act as emissary at Dream's death.
- Atomic Robo is not a traditional golem. He is, however, Jewish. When Robo was granted U.S. citizenship and human rights, several religious groups protested the decision. Robo converted to Judaism because some New York rabbis supported him - in part because the golem legend had prepared them for something like Robo, and in part because they wanted to help a fellow New Yorker. Also Brian Clevinger thought the idea of a Jewish robot was hilarious.
- Technically Fantasia Faust in Ironwood, although she is a far from typical example.
- Doctor Who Magazine: the Doctor encounters the Golem of Prague in the comic strip "The Broken Man".
- In James Sturm's The Golem's Mighty Swing, a black player joins a barnstorming Jewish baseball team in pre-integration 1920s. In order to keep the Moral Guardians at bay, he conceals his ethnicity by dressing as the golem from Paul Wegner's 1920 film.
- Minder in DC's 80s Forgotten Realms comic was an unusual example even for the setting, being a clearly intelligent, speaking, and even heroic iron golem rather different from the usual (A)D&D automata. The golem body is eventually revealed to actually house the spirit of an old friend and fellow adventurer of the Realms Master's own captain (and high-level wizard), Dwalimor Omen; she even survives the destruction and reforging of her physical form near the end of the series' run.
- A golem in the form of a Rock Monster shows up in Aquila when Nero sends Aquila to kill Peter, priest of the carpenter god Jesus Christ. We know it's a golem because it was sent by Eleazar, priest of the desert god Jehovah.
- In The Cadanceverse, the protagonist ponies must battle and defeat a warrior golem in order to reach the Elements of Harmony. As it turns out, they already know another golem — Princess Cadance, who was created by Celestia and Luna to mediate between them.
- Featured in Dungeon Keeper Ami. Ami hates to put her minions, er, employees in danger. Thus her forces are composed mostly of Ice golems. Later, she adds the stronger and more imposeing (but also more costly) 'Reaperbots'. Basically remote-piloted mini-mecha that use magic. Ami uses a similar device in her duel with a horned reaper.
- In Moon Cats, The Further Adventures of Luna and Artemis, a Sailor Moon fanfic there is a girl that can make golems. The senshi end up fighting some of them at one point.
- One episode of Simpson Moon R, a The Simpsons / Sailor Moon crossover, features Origami Golems as mooks.
- A grimdark My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, Sunset, posits that Twilight Sparkle is actually an extremely lifelike golem created by Celestia specifically to defeat Nightmare Moon, and deals with Twilight's discovery and reaction to the truth of her origin.
- The Dresden Files fanfic Enemy Mine features an OC named Tam Veda. Like Harry, (s)he's a magic-user for hire. Unlike Harry, (s)he makes ultra-realistic golems for clued-in clients - No Questions Asked.
- The All Things Probabe Series story, "A Friend In Darkness", featured Maze and Monkey Fist creating an army of these creatures from statues and petrified people to take over the world.
- In Fantasy Of Utter Ridiculousness, Alice Margatroid and the residents of the Scarlet Devil Mansion initially mistake Megas for a gigantic puppet or a statue given life. Considering the low tech level of Gensokyo and Coop's control of Megas, it was a fair assumption to make on their part.
- The above-mentioned silent movie classic The Golem (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam), about the Golem of Prague, starring director Paul Wegener as the Golem, Albert Steinrück as Rabbi Loew and Ernst Deutsch as his helper.
- The protagonist from Jan Švankmajer's Faust briefly creates and then destroys a baby golem.
- Referred to in Inglourious Basterds where German soldiers are said to believe that Donny Donowitz "the Bear Jew" (Eli Roth) is really a vengeful golem.
- Harold Crick should have been happy to find out he was not a Golem.
- A quickly unhinged Roddy McDowall gains control of a nigh-invincible Golem in the lesser known 1966 horror film It! Containment attempts also quickly become unhinged.
- The Garthim from the film The Dark Crystal may have been golems or a local equivalent. They appear to be made of a dark metal and, upon death/deactivation, fall apart to reveal that they are merely shaped plates surrounding a hollow interior.
- Atlantis The Lost Empire: Atlantis' Deflector Shields are projected by several massive golems who stand at set spots around the border of the city.
- Famed reporter Egon Erwin Kisch, who came from a German-speaking Jewish Prague family that claimed descent from Rabbi Loew, started working at a German newspaper in Prague before World War 1. In the process of writing a series of articles on localities in Prague, he related how he tried to find the original golem in the rafters of the Altneuschul synagogue. This helped raise interest in the golem legend in Prague and, according to Kisch, led to Gustav Meyrink writing the novel Der Golem, which then led to a bit of a golem fashion in Germany as well as Austria.
- Hugo from the Fablehaven series.
- Golems in Xanth are made from various things. They do have different talents. Like the Discworld example, they can become real.
- Grundy Golem is rude and Silicia can alter a bit of reality. Also Grundy had a child, Surprise.
- In Percy Jackson: The Last Olympian, it is revealed that most of the statues in New York and quite a few elsewhere are actually golems built by Daedalus, requiring only a codephrase to turn them into an instant army.
- Golems on the Discworld are a bit like the classical golem from Hebrew folklore, and a bit more like Magitek versions of robots. Ancient priests would form a human-like figure out of clay, fire it, and then place a fragment of holy script, or chem, in their head, animating them. Golems can survive all manners of catastrophe and so the majority of modern-day golems are in fact surviving golems from destroyed civilizations that have been recovered from ruins. No "current" wizards or priests know how to make golems anymore, and most (unmodified) golems are unable to speak. They communicate by writing on slates (and in a nice bit of Painting the Medium, their writing is a Hebraic-looking script).
- In Interesting Times, Rincewind rediscovers the lost Red Army of the first ruler of the Agatean Empire. In reference to the terra cotta soldiers of his Real Life Chinese counterpart, it consists of thousands of lightning-powered golems.
- In Feet of Clay, the golem Dorfl gains full sentience, and becomes an atheist (in a world full of very active, lightning-happy gods, which is why he's lucky to be made out of clay).
- The method by which Dorfl is set free is worth a mention - Carrot bought him and amended his chem (the magic words in his head) with the sales receipt. It's implied that later golems have been doing something similar, as they save up and buy each other from their owners. They immediately go back to working for practically nothing, but on the other hand, golems do not sleep or rest, so as Dorfl notes, Vimes will have to pay them twice as much. Also, Golems know the secret of making more golems.
- Anhk-Morpork's economy was placed on the "golem" standard, each dollar's value being backed up by a fixed amount of work performed by the several thousand golems acquired by the city in Making Money. Much like the original myths, it became necessary to seal away the golems out of fear they would completely destroy the economy.
- The priests of Tsort apparently still construct golems, crafted in the image of their animal-headed gods, as tomb guardians for their royal pyramids (Mort).
- China Miéville's novel Iron Council from the Bas-Lag Cycle explores a magical discipline called "golemcrafting", wherein magicians channel power into anything that isn't living. Most of the Golems created are fairly standard (blade, flesh, metal, clay, wood), However the main character of Iron Council creates increasingly more fantastic golems some of the more memorable ones being: poison, light, dark, and TIME.
- In Book Two of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the Golem is a tool originally invented by Czech magicians as a counter to demon magic, and controlled by the book's Big Bad, Henry Duvall. In this book series, the Golem manifests as a 10-foot tall man of clay, immensely strong, anathema to normal magic, that wraps itself in a shroud of living darkness and freezing cold, is remotely controlled through a clay eye embedded in its forehead (making it really a giant remote-controlled war automaton), and can only be stopped by removing the scroll, placed in the Golem's mouth, that holds the spell that turned a quarry corner into a clay man. Nasty. Only a human can remove the scroll, as any proximity to a Golem completely saps all demons of their power, making golems the Achilles' heel of magicians who tend to rely completely on their demons. The safest way to deal with a golem is to find and kill its controller. Harking back to the golem's original roots, they are described as being originally created by Loew to protect Prague's Jewish community.
- The Wheel of Time series has the gholam, essentially vampiric T-1000s with invulnerability to magic and pretty much everything else. Yeah. They unnerved the Dark Side so much that only six were ever made, and only one is known to still exist in the present day.
- A golem is mentioned in passing as part of an army of gods and mythical beings in Neil Gaiman's American Gods. It's an original Jewish type golem, and is accompanied by a man implied to be Rabbi Loew.
- Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay features a theme of superheros as golems. The two Jewish protagonists attempt to make modern-day golems by creating comic book superheros who protect the innocent, as golems supposedly protected Jewish ghettos. Kavalier's first pitched superhero is a literal golem. (Before he came to America Kavalier helped his rabbi steal & secret away the genuine Golem of Prague (which is in storage in a big box), so it wouldn't be destroyed by the Nazis.)
- Magnus recalls once battling a golem that was the basis for the Frankenstein legend.
- In Simon R. Green's Nightside series, the local neo-Nazis quit putting on demonstrations after a gang of golems showed up at their last march and kicked their asses up and down the street.
- Foucaults Pendulum contains a story within the story in Belbo's diary, where John Dee encounters the Golem of Prague and destroys it in self-defense.
- Harry Turtledove wrote a short story about a traditional Golem which saves a Jewish family from the Holocaust during World War II. He/it is "killed" when a Nazi bullet strikes the first letter of the word carved on his forehead and erases it, changing it from 'emet' to 'met'.
- The late David Wisniewski authored a children's book, simply titled Golem, which tells the story of the creation of the Golem. Although the story is fairly straightforward, the book is especially notable for its stunning use of cut-paper illustrations; an excellent example can be found here.◊
- Two large stone golems guards the Tarephen Shrine in Chronicles of the Emerged World. Nihal must destroy the central letter on their foreheads in order to beat them down.
- Marge Piercy's He, She, and It has a cyberpunk update to the tale. A free Jewish enclave builds a Ridiculously Human Robot to help their small settlement defend itself against a Mega Corp.. The protagonist is a freshly-divorced programmer sent to teach it human mannerisms. The novel itself cuts between the tale of Prague golem of the 16th century and the Twenty Minutes into the Future version programmed by the threatened enclave.
- Rook from Fantasy Strike is a Golem made from stone. He is implied to be the only one in the world.
- Talus, the 'yron page' from The Faerie Queene. No points for guessing his names inspiration, though unlike that one, Talus is man sized, though still capable of pushing giants off cliffs and beating down an entire castle with his Epic Flail.
- In Keith Laumer's "Bolo" universe, Bolos are artificially intelligent tanks, often with their own personalities. A Bolo without its AI and under the control of human operators—essentially without a mind of its own—is called a Golem.
- In Neil Asher's The Polity books, "Golem" is the official designation of the setting's combat androids.
- In The Twelfth Enchantment, one character Ms Emmett is a golem of the 'truth on the forehead' type. She ends up erasing her own letters to 'dead' to prevent being used against Lucy
- In the Cory Doctorow story "Return to Pleasure Island" golems (although the actual word is never used) are a sentient race of clay giants who reproduce by breaking off parts of themselves, usually the thumb, that then grow. A right thunb child is strong, even for a golem. A left thumb child is smarter. A child of the tongue is...a mistake.
- One was included during the conclusion of Snow In August.
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Evil Willow trilogy had Willow make a Riley-golem that was possesed by Riley, who had died in that 'verse.
- In Soulless, the automaton used by the Hypocras Club operates in a similar way to a golem, with the Latin word for 'alive' (vixi- actually translates to 'I have lived') written on its forehead. In order to stop the automaton from working, the word needs to be rubbed off/erased.
- Referenced in the 1632 series novella The Wallenstein Gambit. A woman the protagonists meet is the granddaughter of Rabbi Loew, and she claims her grandfather, the great Talmudic scholar, would be turning in his grave if he knew that the legend of the Golem was his great legacy.
- The thunderclasts of The Stormlight Archive. Giant dog-like stone monsters, created by a Voidspren possessing part of the ground and just pulling itself out of the surrounding rock.
- In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, John Dee sends a golem after the Flamels and the twins.
- In Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy the Humongous Mecha that guard the Jewish ghetto in Istanbul are called Golems, while the Muslims call theirs Djinn, the Greeks Minotaurs, and the Romanians have werewolves.
- In the Ted Chiang short story, Seventy Two Letters, we have a world where the Kabbalah is Science and the industrial revolution came not from machines, but from harnessing the power to create and program Golems, or Automata, as most of the characters call them. The Seventy Two Letters of the title refer to the word that animates them and functions like some sort of programming language for the automata.
Live Action TV
- Used as an analogy in The Sarah Connor Chronicles where Sarah mentions the golem twice. The first time describes only the version of the story where it turns on its creator, as voice over for a scene where an evil Terminator is getting facial reconstruction. The second is at the end of the episode, describing other versions of the story and comparing the creator and golem to a parent and child (her and John).
- The X-Files:
- In episode "Kaddish", a golem is created that looks like a Hasidic Jew killed by neo-Nazis, to get revenge on the murderers.
- "Arcadia" has the agents undercover in a stepford-esque planned community, where a resident has created a golem of garbage (called The Übermensch) to keep the neighbors in line. The thing is called a tulpa, a Tibetan thoughtform which is pretty similar.
- The Mooks in Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger are Golem Soldiers, aka the Putty Patrol in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. These are actually good examples of Golems, as they're made from clay to none-too-brightly go about the makers' bidding (but then, the same goes for the Monster of the Week).
- Power Rangers Operation Overdrive's Chillers are ice-based but there's little difference to golems beyond that.
- In GoGo Sentai Boukenger:
- Gaja's Mooks are stone, created from small stones that grow when thrown, and are often compared to the Golems.
- An actual Jewish-style golem appears as a Monster of the Week. It's even defeated in the traditional way, by destroying the first letter on its forehead. Weirdly, the Miniskirt Santa that brought the golem apparently meant for it to be a Christmas present.
- An evil wizard from Charmed had a golem as his minion which looked like the wizard when he was young.
- The Artifact of the Week in a Warehouse 13 episode could turn people to golems.
- In the Supernatural episode "Everbody Hates Hiter" the rabbis of the Judah Initiative made one to fight the Thule Society during World War II. By the modern day it's been bequeathed to a non-observant Jewish guy who doesn't know what to do with it because he never paid attention to his grandfather's teachings. In fact, he used the pages of the instruction manual he was given as wrapping papers for his smokes. The golem is a little ticked off by this, since it is supposed to receive guidance from its rabbi, not the other way around. It looks like a human man who's taken a truckload of steroids, but is still made of clay that sometimes comes off at the touch.
- The Haven episode "Double Jeopardy" had a person's Trouble bring Lady Justice (the blindfolded lady with a sword and balance scales) to life as a golem, and she became a murderous vigilante. She looked human, but is still made of rock or clay, only visible if she breaks. She had Super Strength, could either teleport or use Super Speed, could conjure up objects like swords and balance scales, and could instantly rebuild herself if broken.
- An episode of The Adventures of Superboy had a golem constructed to protect the resident Jewish population from bigots. Unfortunately, his master's definition of "protect" started to move dangerously close to "avenge", but both were brought back from the edge before they made Face Heel Turns. This version of a golem was visually indistinguishable from a human, except for the Hebrew word for "life" inscribed on his skin somewhere; removing the word would end its life. The final scene revealed that the man who was advising Clark and Lana about dealing with golems had that same mark on him.
- In the Grimm episode "Dyin' on a Prayer" a Portland rabbi possesses the remains of the Golem of Prague and uses them to summon the golem to protect his nephew from violent in-laws. The golem goes beyond his control and has to be stopped by placing a Shem in its mouth.
- The above mentioned Talos may be the oldest example.
- One useful property of a golem was that it wasn't a Jew (or even human) and was therefore not subject to the laws of Shabbat. Golems could thus be used to light fires, etc. on days of rest. This isn't universal. In the most popular telling of the Golem of Prague, the Jews are distressed that the creature might end up killing all the Gentiles, leaving no one to light the Sabbath lamps. In the same story, there is some debate as to whether a golem counts toward a minyan, a quorum of ten Jewish men required to say prayers. The answer is "no", and is the basis for saying that a golem is not an actual person.
- A legend has the eleventh-century Rabbi Solomon ibn Gabirol of Spain create a woman "to serve him." When someone reports him to the authorities (presumably on suspicion of his engaging in hanky-panky with someone he wasn't married to) he shows them that the woman is made of wood, and disassembles it.
- In the tales of Rabbi Loew's golem, the creature has additional powers, namely invisibility (when given a special amulet) and the ability to heat up its body. Like the rule about a golem being unable to speak due to it not having a soul, these powers are often not used in adaptations.
- A WWII addendum to the tales of Rabbi Loew's golem says that after deporting the Jews of Prague, some Nazis were going trough the attic of the main Synagogue (where the remains had been placed according to some tellings) and encountered something that left them catatonic or dead from fright, depending in the version of the story.
- In a story retold by Jakob Grimm, a Jewish man creates a servant golem but neglects to deactivate him before he grows too big and potentially dangerous. Finally the man tells the golem to take off its boots. As it bends over to do so, the man erases the first letter of emet from its forehead, changing the word from "emet" to "met" which means dead in Hebrew, whereupon the now-shapeless clay falls over, crushing him to death.
- Golems don't have to be humanoid. One legend says that some rabbis were traveling in the desert without food, so they crafted a cow, made it real and slaughtered it.
- From the Prose Edda: To assist their champion Hrungnir in his appointed duel with Thor, the giants of Jotunheim form an artificial giant from clay and bring him to life by putting a mare's heart into his chest (as this is the largest heart they can find). Unfortunately, the titanic creature, which is called Mökkurkalfi, is also a coward, and is dispatched by Thor's servant Thjalfi with relative ease.
- Promethean: The Created has the Tammuz, nicknamed the Golems, who are based heavily on the stories of the golem. They're brought to life in the dirt, usually bear the word of life somewhere on their body, and were originally created for purposes of servitude.
- While the Tammuz are literally referred to as Golems, it's important to remember that basically all of the characters are a type of golem.
- Eldar Wraith-constructs in Warhammer 40,000 are made of psychically-sensitive wraithbone and animated by the souls of the dead. The setting being what it is, of course, they are armed with one of the more horrible BFG's ever devised.
- Warhammer has the Ushabti, living statues carved into the likeness of the gods the Tomb Kings used to worship.
- Anything within the Tomb King's army labeled as a "construct" falls into this. While it's implied they did use the bones of long-dead creatures, they're still largely constructed out of wood and stone. The Sphinxes are the extremes, impossibly tall animated statues, some of which are capable of flying on stone wings.
- In the GURPS Infinite Worlds RPG, one of the alternate worlds is code-named "Kaballah". It is currently in the 17th century and is undergoing an early Industrial Revolution powered by mass-produced Golems. Since only Rabbis can produce Golems, this has significantly altered the way Jews are treated in that world ...
- Magic: The Gathering numbers quite a few golems among its artifact creatures. (Which is a bit of Retcon for some of the older ones since artifact creatures originally didn't have creature types of their own.) Possibly the most famous of them is Karn, the pacifist silver golem who eventually became a planeswalker in his own right.
- Mortasheen has some very esoteric Bio Punk takes on this
- In addition to the golems listed in the description, Dungeons & Dragons had golem-like monsters such as the Stone Guardian and the Caryatid Column.
- Also the half-golem template, which is a fantasy version of Cybernetics Eat Your Soul.
- The old Basic/Expert/etc rules had even more of these than AD&D, with "living statues" as low-level golem equivalents, and juggernauts or iron gargoyles for when regular golems just aren't a challenge anymore.
- The Eberron setting introduced golem player characters, in the form of the warforged race.
- As of 4th Edition, they exist in every possible setting as an enemy/NPC/possible player species.
- In the spirit of Frankenstein, golems in the Ravenloft setting are often animated by the sheer power of their makers' obsessions, rather than by magic. Such "dread golems" have a nasty track-record for turning on their creators, to whom they have a psychic connection. There's even a direct expy of Frankenstein and his monster as a Darklord duo.
- The long and short of it is that D&D has had many golems and golem-type creatures ("Constructs") over the years, especially in 3.5.
- The urban fantasy game Underworld has Junkmen as golem PCs too, along with little bitty mini-golems that look like ambulatory soda cans.
- Exalted has the Alchemical Exalted, which are clay and magical material constructs, animated with the souls of repetitive (through reincarnation) heroes who are created to serve their people and Patropolis/Metropolis. As they advance in power they receive huge bodies, and ultimately become a living city themselves.
- Golems are the basic troops of AT-43's Therians, only here they are made out of Nanomachines (the sci-fi clay), and have creepy doll faces.
- Munchkin has the Stoned Golem, who has the munchies and thinks halflings look tasty.
- Champions: Enemies: The International File included a villain called Kabbalah; a Jewish mystic who commanded a traditional style golem.
- Deadlands allows Holy Men who happen to be rabbis of the Qabbala sect to attempt the creation of a golem. However, it is a horror-genre game, so the usual hazards apply.
- NetHack borrows the Dungeons & Dragons versions. Stoneing any other type of golem will turn it into a stone golem. Also, using a wand of cancellation on a clay golem erases the word of life on its forehead, destroying it. There's a gold golem which turns into a pile of gold coins when killed and a paper golem which turns into blank scrolls when killed. The Slash'EM variant additionally has a plastic golem which turns into credit cards when killed, a wax golem which turns into candles when killed, several gemstone golems which turn into their type of gem when killed, and a glass golem which turns into worthless fake gems when killed.
- Kingdom of Loathing plays with the idea of the golem, making them out of all sorts of unusual materials: candied yams, pencils, even one made out of a collapsed mineshaft.
- Don't forget that in the theoretically endless area (Fernswarthy's Basement?) one can encounter N Bottles of Beer on a Golem, which is about what it sounds like.
- BIONICLE: Maze of Shadows: the Energized Protodermis Entity animates some pillars in its lair to become Living Walls to attack the Toa Metru.
- Despite its name, the Pokémon Golem doesn't really count, as it is a Rock Monster that is formed naturally (well, if you count being mutated from a different rock monster by radiation from a teleportation machine "natural", anyway). The four Regis, however, do. The original trio were made of stone (Regirock), ice (Regice), and metal (Registeel) and possibly represent the three ages of humanity (Stone Age, Ice Age, and Iron/Metal/Modern Age). The jury's still out on what Regigigas is supposed to be.
- Pokemon Black And White introduces Golett and its evolution Golurk, which are clay golems possessed by a ghost. Physically their designs mainly harken back to early Humongous Mecha like Tetsujin28, but Golurk's design does contain a nifty Shout-Out to the Golem of Prague with the crack in his chest held shut by a piece of metal.
- The Golems from Wild ARMs, particularly 1/Alter Code F and 3. Most turn against their creators.
- Warcraft 3 had a range of golems much like Dungeons & Dragons. Mud Golems could slow enemies, while the other versions tend to be tougher and can throw rocks to damage and stun.
- Golems also appear in World of Warcraft. They often appear in Titan ruins or alongside Dark Iron dwarfs (who have a large factory dedicated to creating golems in their capital). Blood Elfs use arcane golems, which are a Magitech version. The Drakkari Trolls construct mojo-powered stone Colossi, which are later used by the Zandalari.
- The Burning Legion has Infernals, which are golems made out of rocks held in a humanoid shape by green Hellfire. They usually are deployed into battle in the form of flaming meteors. Warlocks can also summon Infernals when they gain enough levels.
- After their flesh-and-blood creations turned on them, the Mogu developed methods for animating stone and terra cotta statues to act as soldiers.
- The necromancer of Diablo II can summon fighting golems made of clay, metal, blood, or fire. Clay Golems slow opponents and have HP, Metal Golems take on the properties of what they're created from, Blood Golems can steal life to heal itself and the Necromancer (prior to the final patch, this link functioned both ways, harming the Necromancer when the golem is hit), and Fire Golems are immune to fire and grow stronger when hit by fire attacks as well as having a damaging fire aura.
- All over the place in the Castlevania series. They run the gamut from your typical clay giant to an animated pile of rocks. In Castlevania: Judgment, a golem winds up with a soul for unexplained reasons and goes on a quest of self-identity.
- It's actually handwaved at the beginning of his story as the time rift's doing, and even plays a major plot point at the end.
- In Castlevania: Lament of Innocence the bit about emeth, meth is actually part of the puzzle (although emeth is wrongly translated as "life" instead of "truth").
- The Big Daddies from Bioshock are large bulky creatures sometimes compared to golems.
- Ohtsuchi, the Arcana of Earth in Arcana Heart, is a massive clay golem that Maori's family has been praying to for generations.
- Golems were a Monster Rancher staple.
- The Disgaea series has the Wood Golem monster class in every game after the first (Which had ones of the clay variety). They're the sentient, speaking sort of golem, and generally the most durable out of all the monsters, boasting high HP and defense on top of the ability to regenerate health after each turn.
- The Dragon Quest series features monsters named Golem (made of bricks) and Gold Golem (made of gold). They both made their appearance in the first game: the standard one as the guardian of a town and thus a boss, and the Gold Golem as a random encounter that gave lots of gold.
- The second boss of the little known arcade beat'em-up Night Slashers is a rock golem.
- The Heroes of Might and Magic series has given the opportunity to control iron golems, steel golems, and dragon golems (in one game, dragonoids made of animated crystal, in another game, dwarves controlling draconic machines).
- In the fourth game, during the Academy campaign, Solymr is implied to compare golems to robots, when he remarks that he heard of humans that can create golems without magic (for context, the setting explicitly has robots. It's just that we only meet the results, not anyone that could make them — and even then, it's only in the original series that we do it).
- There is a cutscene video in Heroes III that shows golems being chiseled out of stone and animated.
- Some of the games also feature gold golems and diamond golems. The latter, unsurprisingly, boast a lot of elemental resistance.
- Ogre Battle offers golems, including one made of baldr. They become stronger when teamed with enchanters, who fight by magically controlling dolls.
- Enchanted Arms has Mons that are called Golems, but they do speak. (however, even in the English version, most speak Japanese. Leads to great confusion if you're trying to understand what they're saying. Thankfully the Devil Golems, counting the Big Bad Infinity speak the language the game is set to)
- Nimdok's portion of the video game adaptation of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream features a steel-reinforced golem created by the Nazis- the design of which emerged from tortured Jewish prisoners. In order to activate it, it must be given eyes, told to wake up, told the truth, and kissed: what the player does with the Golem once it awakens will revisit Nimdok in the endgame.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- Arena contained golems of ice, iron, and stone.
- Daggerfall lacked literal golems, but featured "atronaches" of fire, ice, iron, and flesh that could be made by mages. In practice, and little mentioned in accompanying material, atronaches were actually Daedra induced to a less demonic, more humanoid form, and then contracted to service. In one notable example, an atronach had escaped the Mages Guild to a nearby dungeon; when found by the player, it claims that it'd rather die than go back.
- Morrowind and Oblivion feature Flame, Frost, and Storm Atronachs; Shivering Isles reintroduces Flesh Atronachs.
- One Oblivion mod note introduced such things as the Cheese Golem and the Melon Golem, the summoning of which requires that you have a large amount of said foodstuffs beforehand.
- With the barriers between Nirn and Oblivion restored by Martin's Heroic Sacrifice, elemental atronachs are one of only two types of daedra that can be summoned in Skyrim.
- Asura in Guild Wars create golems (in-universe, short for Genius Operated Living Enchanted Mechanisms). You can gain a golem named M.O.X. as a hero.
- A lot of the elementals in the game arguably qualify as well.
- Stone Man in Mega Man 5 is essentially a robot golem made of rocks, a core, and eyes. Earlier games had the Junk Golem enemy, and Mega Man 7 had Junk Man. The various Devils were golems made of shapeshifting blocks or green goo.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption features a rampaging golem in the Jewish quarter of old Prague.
- The Black Mages in Final Fantasy IX are automatons created by the villain from inert materials; however, they slowly gain a consciousness as the game progresses. In a somewhat unusual variant, their primary skill is offensive magic (eg fireballs), not physical strength. The party fights a couple of special winged models sent out as assassins. Unfortunately for Vivi, Black Mages also come with an expiration date.
- Many Final Fantasy games have golems as minor enemies, or summons.
- In the 2nd Fullmetal Alchemist videogame, the main antagonists are golems created by an ancient form of alchemy. Jack Crowley and Elma are also golems.
- Golems were the dwarves' ultimate weapon in the backstory of Dragon Age. However, the knowledge of how to make them was lost forever during the First Blight. The Player Character can gain one, Shale, as a party member, and later in the game can learn the truth about the lost art of creating them: they're made from living dwarves.
- TimeSplitters 2's Aztec level has wood and stone golems protecting the time crystal. Just don't ask what's in his little sack.
- Jade Empire: Calls its magically-animated automata "golems" despite being otherwise based on Chinese mythology and folklore. Similar to Dragon Age, they're made from the souls of the recently, painfully killed.
- In the third game of the Exile series, the golems are a major plague destroying the planet's surface. All of them appear to be made of metal and gemstones, but they have different associated elements including fire, ice, and acid.
- GrimGrimoire has golems as an alchemy unit. They function as siege tanks because of their incredibly long attack range. Being technically mindless, they're also immune to the Homunculi's Psi Storm.
- Girl Stinky in Sam & Max: Freelance Police is a cake golem, and a very intelligent and shifty one at that. Then again, she might just be a mermaid pulling a really elaborate con.
- The colossi from Shadow of the Colossus are created from the earth itself. Their hairy bodies are actually composed of dead grass, and once they're defeated, they crumble into dirt and mold themselves into the ground. The final Colossus is a whole other kettle of fish: he's composed of magma.
- Browser-based game Muelsfell: Rise of the Golems is entirely based around the creation of Golems.
- Korean MMORPG Mabinogi includes golems as boss monsters. These are all simply piles of magically-animated rocks in a vaguely humanoid shape; sometimes covered with plants or snow. As of G9, player characters can get an Alchemy skill that allows them to create and control golems.
- In the Fall from Heaven II mod for Civilization IV, the Luchuirp is a civilization made up of surface-dwelling Dwarves and golems. The problem is that the crude golems they can make now are incapable of learning (i.e. gaining XP) on their own. Barnaxus is an ancient golem from the old Khrad'Ke-zun Empire, of which only the Luchuirp remain, who can teach himself new things and then pass it on to Dwarves and other golems. Their cave-dwelling Khazad cousins don't use golems.
- One boss from Sonic & Knuckles is a golem (it appears at the end of an Ancient Egyptian-themed level, but whatever). You can't actually destroy it - it just rebuilds itself - and instead have to lure it into quicksand.
- The Egg Golem boss from Sonic Adventure 2, a gigantic mecha covered with stone whose only vulnerable point (in the Hero Story) is a control device on its head. In the Dark Story, Sonic scrambles the control device and the Egg Golem turns on Dr. Eggman, who's forced to blow off its rocky armor and destroy its power cores to stop it.
- Being based on Dungeons & Dragons, it is no surprise that these show up in Baldur's Gate. The first game had flesh golems which hit hard and required +2 weapons to defeat, of which there are only a handful in the game. The second game upped it with clay-, stone-, bone-, iron-, sand-, magic- and adamantite golems, which could be Demonic Spiders depending on your level and equipment.
- Fallen London has the Clay Men. They are never called golems, but otherwise fit the description. The in-game art even shows that they have writing on their foreheads.
- Ancient Domains of Mystery features many golem types, including: flesh golems, clay golems, stone golems, stone statues, crystal statues, diamond statues, steel golems, steel zombies, steel horrors, iron golems, and eternium golems. Many of these also breathe fire. Oddly enough, most of them can be pickpocketed, even though fictional golems often don't wear clothes.
- In The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, Golems are Kaiju-sized lava monsters from below the Earth. Only one appears and it serves as The Dragon to Malefor in the game. It can regenerate by absorbing rock or rubble and the only way to permently kill it is to destroy the Dark Gem acting as it's brain. Spyro and Cynder shatter it's brain, sending it falling off a building. The Destroyer, a planet destroying Eldritch Abomination Malefor unleashes is pretty much a mountain-sized, much more frightening one.
- Skylanders has a playable golem named Crusher, who is the giant for the earth element.
- Astaroth in the Soul Calibur series was created after Rock the "White Giant" attacked a cult to rescue his adopted son. The cultists were so impressed by Rock's strength that they created Astaroth in his image. Astaroth eventually went rogue and tried to claim Soul Edge and kill Rock so that he could be a truly unique being instead of being just an Evil Knockoff. The remnants of the cult also created a feminine clockwork golem named Ashlotte to bring Astaroth back to them. In the time period between the fourth and fifth games, Astaroth was apparently Killed Off for Real by Maxi and Ashlotte retrieved his golem heart. The cultists, having failed to learn from their past mistakes, have created an entire series of Astaroth-like golems.
- Dark Souls has a fair number:
- A huge iron golem acts as a boss. The descriptions of the weapons that can be forged from its core reveal that the gods used the remains of a dead dragon to forge the golem's core.
- Seath the Scaleless made a whole bunch of crystal golems. They have the apparent ability to create new crystal out of nothing, though it only lasts for about a second (still just long enough for them to form a giant mace and smash your skull in with it).
- Large Stone Knights populate the area outside the Moonlight Butterfly's perch. They are capable of casting Miracles. Likely also created by Seath.
- Minecraft has iron golems and snow golems that the player can build. A snow golem looks like a snowman with a jack-o-lantern for a head, and it distracts enemies by throwing snowballs at them. Iron golems can be found in large NPC villages, where they defend villagers from zombies at night.
- Wizard 101 has these all over the spiral. The main ones are living mannequins, Clockworks, iron golems, and Homunculi.
- Neverwinter Nights, being D&D-based, had them in certain dungeons. The sequel stepped it up a notch by allowing you to recruit one as an Optional Party Member.
- In the swamp in The Witcher, there's a dormant stone golem in a clearing. A sidequest lets you reactivate it, whereupon it becomes a Bonus Boss whose heart is an ingredient in a mutagen that grants a bonus to Geralt's magic.
- A couple of other types of golems appear in the sequel.
- In Baten Kaitos Origins, major character Guillo is a golem of sorts; a magical puppet dug up in the woods near Sagi's home. It was actually created by the Children of the Earth, and was used to slay Malpercio.
- The Clay Men in Mother 3 are mass-produced clay golems used by the Pigmask army for hard labor. They're brought to life with a device that's inserted into their heads after they're sculpted, and said device needs to be recharged periodically to keep them moving.
- Golems are one of the sturdier miniboss enemies in Duel Savior Destiny, though they're also really slow. A golem is also the first fight in the game when Muriel Sheerfield pits a rampaging golem against Taiga in an effort to get his sister to leap to his defense and thus join her army. She does, but to her surprise Taiga actually destroys it on his own by calling for an Aether Relic, something men aren't supposed to be able to do.
- In Risk of Rain Rock Golems appear as enemies. They are highly resilient to damage and their smash attack can be deadly to low leveled players, however they are restricted by low mobility which makes them easy to avoid or out maneuver using hit and run tactics. The Stone Guardian boss is a massive version of this enemy.
- Shantae has a placed called the Golem Mine. No points for guessing what serves as the boss of this dungeon. It fights by spewing fireballs from its mouth and attacking you with its Giant Hands of Doom, and has a Power Crystal on its head that serves as its weak point.
- Warlords Battlecry: Practically the entire fighting force of the Dark Dwarves consists on golems. Stone golems are basically sloooooow mooks with a heavy back-hand, Iron golems can summon firebombs and have an area-of-effect spinning strike while still slow, and Bronze golems are nasty pieces of work with a really heavy hand and Implacable Man levels of armor and resistance. All these, combined with some general upgrades for golems and some huge, though expensive, accumulated bonuses when researching the Armorer-Weaponsmith-Mithril upgrade line, makes them a slow, tough as hell and pretty damn dangerous fighting force. Unless they mass Flame Cannons and Hellbores.
- The DLC character for Child of Light is a stone golem named Golem. He's first found as a talking head, and Aurora must find the rest of his parts to put him back together. Once that's done, it joins the party, and acts as a Mighty Glacier with abilities that can slow, stun, or push back foes.
- Elite Beat Agents has a golem made of rock and lava. It attacks an amusement park. Fortunately for the park's patrons, the janitor is a former baseball player who sees a chance to redeem himself. It's that sort of game.
- In the world of Tales Of MU, golems are created as living tools who must obey orders. Their level of sentience varies; some have more developed personalities than others. They can be "emancipated" by ordering them to consider themselves free beings. The character Two is one such golem, with a rather uniquely constructed personality.
- In the Whateley Universe, the superpowered Charmer has several already-prepared charms she carries with her; one is a 'golem charm' that she has apparently used in self-defense class.
- And Eldritch is a former member of the academy's weapon range crew turned into something called an 'artificer', essentially a (still largely human-looking) golem with the potential to become the perfect magic-item crafting slave for whoever manages to get the proper tattoos on her body. As of this writing, she's still trying to figure out how to do the job herself and thereby retain her independence, which would apparently make her the first artificer to ever do so.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe one of the "superheroes" on the state-sponsored Israeli national hero team is a golem that seems to have stepped right out of the Rabbi Loew legend. Whether this is the actual Golem of Prague, or a new creation using the same process, is a carefully-guarded state secret.
- Mister Magic, a Jewish super-sorcerer who gets his powers from Kaballah, has occasinally employed golems in his fight against supervillains.
- Golems are much more popular in the fantasy fiction of the alternate world in Look to the West, as they can be a Recycled In Space stand-in for the Automata that dominate much of science fiction in that world, but for mediaeval settings where the technology to make real Automata would not yet exist.
- Appears in A Caution to the Wise, a story in The Wanderer's Library.
- Batman Beyond: "Golem": A geeky high school student gets mental control of a giant construction robot through Lightning.
- The Extreme Ghostbusters episode "The True Face of a Monster" involved a young Jewish man creating a Golem to protect his synagogue from hooligans.
- Gargoyles: In "The Golem", an episode with a lot of Shown Their Work moments, Goliath comes into contact with recurring character Halcyon Renard, who is attempting to resurrect the mythical Golem in Prague.
- In Huntik: Secrets & Seekers, Metagolem is one of Dante Vale's titans, and it is stated that he was the golem present in the Rabbi Lowe legend.
- He also has Ignatius, which looks to be completely composed of rocks and fire. The name could be a play on "igneous" which is volcanic stone.
- Introduced, and manipulated by a villain into a weapon utterly impervious to normal human weapons in Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures episode "Rock of Rages." The episode's writer, Lance Falk, later explained in an interview that the episode was, at least in part, a dig at the 1980s attempt at the series and its addition of a living statue called Hard Rock to the main cast.
Lance Falk: "Actually, 'Rock of Rages' with the Golem, was an attempt to sort of tweak the nose of Hard Rock. I wanted to show how downright frightening a seven-foot tall rock creature is. A terrifying supernatural force, not a puppy dog."
- A Halloween episode of The Simpsons features a Golem (visually based on the 1920 movie) and portrays its creation by a rabbi. Bart takes over the Golem and has it slaughter people until Lisa allows it to speak, at which point it's voiced by Richard Lewis and begins acting like a stereotypical Jew. The family make a female Golem out of play-doh, voiced by Fran Drescher, and the pair get married in a Jewish ceremony.
Lisa: Bart, did your mystical Jewish monster beat up those bullies?
Bart: (sarcastically) Oh, it's always the Jews' fault.
Do golems dream of ceramic sheep?