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General information

Os-Mine Hills


Vine-weaver Birds, wood mice, rock rats, snakes, Dragon Lizard, horses, humans




Bulky, covered in matted grey hair

Chronological information
First appearance

Tales of Deltora

Last appearance

Dragon's Nest

Granous are cowardly, scheming predators that live in the Os-Mine Hills. They are cunning, bloodthirsty and live and hunt in packs of six to ten.[1]


Granous roamed the Os-Mine Hills for years and appeared in one of the Tenna Birdsong Tales of The Seven Goblins, in which seven Plumes travelled from their island in the underground sea to the Land of Dragons aboveground. While the seven Plumes were roaming the Os-Mine Hills, one of them lagged behind the group and was snatched by a group of Granous. The five other Plumes could not rescue their companion, but heard the Granous discover the Plume's puzzle box before they fled. This event may have started the custom of forcing captives to solve puzzles on pain of losing their digits: the Granous who found the box remarked how they liked fingers and toes the best, and would eat nothing else if they could.[2]

Secrets of Deltora

Doran the Dragonlover wrote about Granous in his book Secrets of Deltora.[1] In The Deltora Annals he also noted that-following his first misadventure in the Secret sea-his ordeal could not have included an encounter with the Granous, as he was not missing any fingers or toes.[3]

Cavern of The Fear

Lief and Barda entered the Os-Mine Hills with Jinks, led by Fury, in search of Jasmine and Glock. Jinks panicked when Barda suggested that they leave their horses because of the rough landscape, reminding the guard that they were in "Granous country". Before Jinks could argue further, a pack of Granous ambushed the group. The Granous were unimpressed when told that they had captured the king of Deltora, seeing this simply as an opportunity to match wits with a king.[3]

As the Granous pack leader presented Lief with his riddles, all of which Lief answered correctly, Jinks managed to slips from his bonds and flee into the Hills. The Granous pursued the acrobat, leaving Barda and Lief to be freed by Vine-weaver Birds. Jinks managed to evade the Granous and return to Del.[3]

Dragon's Nest

Lief, Barda, Jasmine, and a contingent of guards from Del journeyed into the Os-Mine Hills once more, this time with the intention of waking the last Topaz dragon, which had hidden itself in the Hills. On the way, they came across the same pack of Granous they had encountered before, toying with their latest victim, a Capricon named Rolf. Lief insisted that they rescue him and fed the Capricon the answers to the Granous' riddles to buy time. The Capricon, however, panicked and gave away Lief’s hiding place. Barda and Jasmine managed to slay two of the Granous, but the leader of the pack moved to kill Lief. At that moment, the Topaz dragon, awakened by the Belt of Deltora, snatched the pack leader into the sky and devoured him. The Granous scattered in fear and the Topaz dragon spent that night feeding on the creatures, regaining its strength.[4]

Barda recovered the puzzle box the Granous used in their game and kept it with him for the rest of the journey, toying with it in his free time. Later that night the companions heard the sounds of Granous being hunted.[4]

The sounds of the Granous hunts resulted in rumours of disturbances in the Os-Mine Hills. Lindal of Broome decided to investigate the rumours, which lead to her discovering the massacre of Lief's guards at Ringle.[4]


Granous live exclusively in the Del territory, specifically in the Os-Mine Hills. Granous live in underground dens throughout the Hills and travel through a network of hidden tunnels. Though normally forced underground by dragons, the Granous can be found above ground much more frequently now that dragons are so scarce. They grew to "plague populations" in the absence of their only predators, the Topaz dragons.


Granous are typically about the same height as a Dread Gnome, but are much bulkier and covered in matted, grey hair. They are ape-like creatures with pointed, yellow teeth, beady eyes and wet, black noses. Their hands sport long, wiry fingers with yellowed claws. Their flesh is filled with parasites, which according to Doran the Dragonlover in his book will make anyone violently ill if eaten.


Granous are cowardly creatures that will stalk their prey for days, waiting for a moment of weakness to take advantage of. Granous have been known to avoid attacking if their prey has a visible weapon or appears powerful, but they are easily frustrated and will eventually attack if their target lingers. Granous typically live and hunt in packs ranging from six to ten members,[1] but they have been known to form groups of up to twelve,[4] and some pack leaders are bolder and more aggressive than others.[1]

The most notable trait of the Granous is their fondness for riddles. Granous often offer their captives the chance to play "the Twenty Questions game", wherein they ask one captive to solve a riddle within twenty seconds. If their prisoner fails to solve the riddle, the Granous eat one of his or her fingers, and one finger from any other captives. If the prisoner succeeds in solving the riddle, then the Granous howl and groan with frustration before moving on to the next question without taking any fingers. When their playthings run out of fingers, the Granous begin eating toes. After all twenty questions have been asked, the Granous supposedly release their captives, though this has not been observed. No game of Twenty Questions has been seen successfully completed in the series. It is possible that the games the Granous play vary depending on the pack.

Granous often salvage things from their more intelligent prey, such as the Plume's puzzle box or a wooden board of letters, and recycle them for future riddles. The Granous leader seems to be responsible for asking the riddles and the rest of his pack will often criticise his choices if they are answered correctly. Despite their cowardly nature, Granous are reasonably intelligent, able to speak to humans, use tools, tie captives to posts, and think up complicated riddles.[1]

Granous board

The letter board.

As Granous have consciousnesses and are not simple-minded animals, and because they are somewhat malicious, they are weakened by the Belt of Deltora, but as they are Deltoran creatures, the effect is lessened, and they may quickly regain the strength and their edge over an heir to the throne wearing the Belt. This was demonstrated by King Lief during his second run-in with a Granous pack.[4] There has been no similar effect on the Granous the first time the king encountered the pack because he was wearing a replica of the Belt at the time.[3]


Granous board answer

The letter board with the answer revealed.

The Granous pack most frequently seen in the series employed a number of riddles and puzzles in their game of Twenty Questions. Some include:

  • The Granous presented Lief with a beautifully carved wooden board – stolen from a previous victim - with letters on its face arranged in 5x10 rows. The leader of the pack then asked Lief a question: "What are the only useful things about you?" The answer, spelled out on the board of letters, could run up, down, sideways, or all three. Lief eventually managed to discern that the answer was "Ten fingers and ten toes."
  • The Granous leader offered Lief this riddle:

"A king dined with his sister,
His friend and his friend's wife.
All of them were greedy beasts
Who loved food more than life.
At last three pies alone remained
There wasn't any knife.
How did they all have equal shares,
And save themselves from strife?"
— Lief answered that the king’s friend was married to his sister, and so there were only three people dining to begin with.

Fish riddle 1

The fish riddle.

  • The Granous arranged eight sticks into the crude shape of a fish swimming to the left. The challenge was to move exactly three sticks – no more, no less – and make the fish swim to the right. Lief solved this riddle for Rolf when the Capricon panicked and gave up.
Fish riddle 2

The fish riddle's solution.

  • The Granous leader presented a puzzle box, which he admitted to Rolf that none of his kind had been able to open before. As revealed in Tales of Deltora, the box originally belonged to one of the seven goblins, or Plumes. Barda later succeeded in opening the puzzle box in The Sister of the South.


Granous are carnivores that normally prey on Vine-weaver Birds, rock rats, wood mice, snakes, and young Dragon Lizards. Granous enjoy the taste of human and horse flesh, particularly human fingers and toes, which they feel are the sweetest part of their prey. Granous are some of the favourite prey of Topaz dragons, but have no other known predators.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Rodda, Emily. Secrets of Deltora. Scholastic Australia. 2008.
  2. Rodda, Emily. Tales of Deltora. Scholastic Australia. 2005.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Rodda, Emily. Cavern of The Fear. Scholastic Australia. February 1, 2002.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Rodda, Emily. Dragon's Nest. Scholastic Australia. November 1, 2003.