We find out that Ursula Monkton is Skarthach of the Keep or "fleas" as the Hempstocks call them, but I can't recall finding out what the Hempstocks are.

I thought they may have been witches, but this extract states otherwise:

'Rowanberry and red thread, stop a witch in her speed,' I recited. It was something I had read in a book. 'That'd work, and work well,' said Lettie, 'if there was any witches involved in all this. But there's not.'

Lettie of course could have been lying, but I don't think so. Does anyone have any idea what the family could be?

  • I kind of got the impression they were minor dieties of some sort. – Zoredache Mar 5 '14 at 8:59
  • @Zoredache I think you may be right. Now you mention it I seem to recall a piece where it mentioned that Gran was around for the creation of the moon. That sounds rather god like to me. – Energ1ser Mar 6 '14 at 4:15

Gaiman likes to leave his magic and mythology​ veiled by... well, mythic mists.

The Hempstocks are definitely an incarnation of the Triple Goddess (Mother-Maiden-Crone), they appear quite often in his works (from Sandman to American Gods).

But all you really need to know is that they are the Hempstocks, beings far bigger and far more noble than we can comprehend.

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I think the Hempstocks are the Triple Goddess, and also the universal feminine principle of creation, at the same time being multi-dimensional beings like those a modern Cosmologist thinks about. So cool that he makes those things work so well together, keeping the mystery of it all.

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The way I read it, they are an incarnation of the Norse norns, Urd, Verdande and Skuld. Other goddesses or similar exist in several religions, so it can be anything, but then again, for me, it's the Norse, since I'm close to that.

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  • What exactly makes you think this is who they're supposed to be? Could you edit your answer to clarify, with explanations, quotes and the like? – Jenayah Feb 21 at 7:18

I think they are more complex and yet more simple: they are guardians and came over from the old country, so some form of gods or guardian spirits. Such as in American Gods where Jinn, Leprechauns and gods came over, the same happens here but they protect the boundaries.

Liza Hempstock from the Graveyard book is a witch and believes herself to be one, so you might say there is witch blood related to this, but the Hempstocks at the farm are the real thing.

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