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Giants

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'''<big><big><big>Giants</big></big></big>'''
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[[File:Angus McBride - Giants.jpg|frame|right|Artwork by [[Angus McBride]]]]
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'''Giants''' were one of the mysterious [[races]] of [[Middle-earth]], mentioned only fleetingly.
  
                    "All was well, until one day they met a thunderstorm—more than a thunderstorm, a thunder-battle. You know how terrific a really big thunderstorm can be down in the land and in a river-valley; especially at times when two great thunderstorms meet and class. More terrible still are thunder and lightning in the mountains at night, when storms come up from East and West and make war. The lightning splinters on the peaks, and rocks shiver, and great crashes split the air and go rolling in tumbling into every cave and hollow; and darkness is filled with overwhelming noise and sudden light. Bilbo had never seen or imagined anything of the kind. … When he peeped out in the lightning-flashes, he saw that across the valley the stone-giants were out, and were hurling rocks at one another for a game, and catching them, and tossing them down into the darkness where they smashed among the trees far below, or splintered into little bits with a bang. Then came a wind and a rain…. Soon they were getting drenched and their ponies were standing with their heads down and their tails between their legs, and some of them were whinnying with fright. they could hear the giants guffawing and shouting all over the mountainsides."—Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill And Under Hill"
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==History==
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Giants are beings shrouded in mystery. [[Gandalf|Gandalf the Grey]] was known for telling stories about [[dragons]] and [[Orcs|goblins]] and giants<ref>{{H|Party}}</ref> and [[Bilbo Baggins|Bilbo]] had heard of giants in tales,<ref>{{H|Riddles}}</ref> but none of these tales survive and the origin and history of the giants is obscure. Presumably, not all giants were evil, as Gandalf seems to have convinced a more or less decent giant to block the entrance to [[Goblin-town]] at the top of the [[High Pass]] in the [[Misty Mountains]].<ref>{{H|6}}</ref><ref name="Giants">{{HH|IV}}, "(iii): The Giants", pp. 143-5</ref>
  
'''Giants''' also known as Stone-giants, Snow-giants, Cave-giants and Mountain-giants were a mysterious race that lived in the mountains and Caves of Middle-earth.
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However, what is known is that ''stone-giants'' lived in the Misty Mountains during the late [[Third Age]]. Upon coming, they drove out the majority of the [[bears]] that lived there.<ref>{{H|Queer}}</ref> They found a sport in throwing rocks at each other, and then into the depths below them to hear them shatter trees.<ref>{{H|Hill}}</ref>
  
<big>'''History'''</big>
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A local legend among the [[Pre-Númenóreans|indigenous people]] of [[Gondor]] told of giants making the [[White Mountains]], to keep [[Men]] out of their lands by the [[Belegaer|Sea]]. One of them, [[Tarlang]], tripped, and broke his neck. The other giants did not clean up his body, which became incorporated in the land instead. The giant's neck became [[Tarlang's Neck]], his head [[Dol Tarlang]], and the stones he was carrying [[Cûl Veleg]] and [[Cûl Bîn]].<ref>{{HM|N}}, pp. 536-7</ref>
  
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==Other versions of the legendarium==
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===Before ''The Hobbit''===
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Giants originally had a larger part in the [[legendarium]]. In one early manuscript, the giants are counted among the [[úvanimo|Úvanimor]], servants of [[Morgoth|Melko]].<ref>{{LT1|X}}</ref> In another manuscript, the giants are counted among the [[Earthlings]], and are divided between the "wood-giants" ([[Qenya]] ''ulbandi'') and "mountainous-giants" (Qenya ''taulir'').<ref>{{PE|14}}, p. 9</ref> And in other early writings, two giants are named: [[Nan (giant)|Nan]] and [[Gilim]].<ref>{{LB|C5}} (verse 1497)</ref><ref>{{LT2|I}}</ref> ''Gilim'' is [[Gnomish]] for "winter", and ''Nan'' was said to be like an [[Elms|Elm]]-tree.
  
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It is quite possible that their appearance in ''[[The Hobbit]]'' is a relic from this early phase of the legendarium. [[John D. Rateliff]] has argued that they might have become "free agents"; not wicked, but simply not aware of their surroundings.<ref name="Giants"/>
  
The origins of Giants is unknown as is the exact time they began appearing in the Middle-earth; however, but it seemed that they entered the history of the peoples of Middle-earth in the Third Age.
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===Giants and Ents===
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Giants were the wicked precursors of [[Ents]]. The elm-like features of the Giant Nan, and that in early versions of ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'' it was the Giant [[Treebeard]] who held [[Gandalf]] captive, not [[Saruman]],<ref>{{RS|3XXI}}</ref> makes the connection between Giants and Ents within [[J.R.R. Tolkien]]'s imagination clear.<ref name="Giants"/> "Ent" comes from an [[Old English]] word for "giant",<ref>{{RS|1XId}}</ref> seen at various points in ''[[Beowulf]]'', for example line 2717, ''enta geweorc'', "the work of giants".<ref>Howell D. Chickering, Jr., "Beowulf: A Dual Language Edition", pp. 212-3</ref>
  
'''In the Hobbit'''
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==Inspiration==
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In the ''[[The Return of the King|Return of the King]]'' it is noted that [[Minas Tirith]] "''seemed to have been not builded but carven by giants out of the bones of the earth''".<ref>{{RK|V1}}</ref> [[Wayne G. Hammond|Hammond]] and [[Christina Scull|Scull]] have suggested that this notion derives from [[Old English]] mythology, in which giants were often portrayed as builders of ancient structures.<ref>{{HM|RC}}, p. 514</ref>
  
In The Hobbit, they are described as hurling rocks at one another as in a game, during a violent thunderstorm. Bilbo, Gandalf, and the thirteen Dwarves, if they actually saw them, were the only ones Tolkien mentioned as ever having seen them. Their physical form was not explained, nor was much else about them, and the entire passage indicates that the Giants may have been a metaphor for violent lightning strikes and their resultant thunder.
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==Other fiction==
These Giants inhabited the Misty Mountains. It is never stated whether they occurred elsewhere. In The Hobbit, Thorin and Company encounter a "storm-giant" thunderstorm in their trek through the Misty Mountains. The Giants are not in allegiance with the Goblins, however, and do not necessarily appear evil, although they seem far capable of it and very powerful.
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A [[The Giant|giant]] troubles [[Farmer Giles]]' land, who chases him off with his blunderbuss.<ref>[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], ''[[Farmer Giles of Ham]]''</ref>
  
'''In The Lord of the Rings'''
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==Etymology==
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An early [[Sundocarmë|root]] for "giant" is given as [[NOROTH]]. This yields [[Quenya]] ''[[norsa]]'',<ref name="NOROTH">{{LR|Etymologies}} (cf. [[Sundocarmë|Root]] ''[[NOROTH]]'')</ref> and ''Noroth'' (likely supposed to be a [[Noldorin]] word<ref>{{webcite|author=Roman Rausch|articleurl=http://sindanorie.lima-city.de/RS&TI&WR.htm|articlename=''Essekenta Endamarwa'' - Names from ''The Return of the Shadow'', ''The Treason of Isengard'' and ''The War of the Ring''|dated=23 December 2006|website=Sindanórie|accessed=8 October 2011}}</ref>). A discarded Quenya word was ''hanako'', from a root KHAN-AK.<ref>{{VT|45a}}, p. 21</ref>
  
Gandalf later remarked that he would like to find 'a more or less decent giant' to block several of the orc caves.Giants were only witnessed by Bilbo and the thirteen dwarves who were passing that way, and this information could only be found in the Red Book of Westmarch. Giants were also mentioned in passing at the beginning of chapter 3 of The Fellowship of the Ring.
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==Portrayal in adaptations==
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{{Gallery
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|title=Giants in adaptations
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|width=200
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|height=200
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|lines=3
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|File:Nicholas Jainschigg - Thunder's Companion.jpg|''Thunder's Companion'' by Nicholas Jainschigg for [[Middle-earth Collectible Card Game|''MECCG'']]
  
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|File:The Lord of the Rings - The Battle for Middle-earth II - Mountain Giant.jpg|Mountain giant in  ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II]]''
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|File:The Lord of the Rings Online - Giant.jpg|A giant in  ''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]''
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|File:The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey - Stone Giants.jpg|A stone giant in  ''[[The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey]]''
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|File:The Lord of the Rings - War in the North - Bargrisar.png|Bargrisar in ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]''
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}}
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===Films===
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'''2012: ''[[The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey]]'':'''
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:Stone-giants are seen throwing rocks and crashing into each other as [[Thorin and Company]] travel over the [[Misty Mountains]]. In the film, they are interpreted as being literal beings of stone.
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===Games===
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'''1982: ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'':'''
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:Several divisions and races of giants are described and given statistics, such as Stone Giants<ref>{{ICE|8070}}</ref>, Ice Giants<ref>{{ICE|2025}}</ref>, Giants of the Southern Misty Mountains<ref>{{ICE|3600}}</ref>, and Red Giants<ref>{{ICE|2012}}</ref>.
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'''1995: ''[[Middle-earth Collectible Card Game]]'':'''
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:Giants, called ''Thunder's Companions'', are one of the Hazard Creatures.
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'''2003: [[The Hobbit (2003 video game)|''The Hobbit'' (2003 video game)]]:'''
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:Stone-giants are golem-like creatures that appear in the fourth level, hurling rocks at Bilbo as he tries to travel along a mountain path. They are completely made of stone, and their stones are dangerous.<ref>[[The Hobbit (2003 video game)|''The Hobbit'' (2003 video game)]], "Over Hill and Under Hill"</ref>
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'''2006: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II]]'':'''
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:"Mountain Giants" are large and powerful beings in the Goblin faction, with brown scaly skin. They can hurl stones at great distance, and serve as the faction's artillery units.
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'''2007: ''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]'':'''
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:Several tribes of giants appear in the game, including Stone-giants, Ogres (also called Jorthkyn or Earth-kin), and Ice-giants. While some are enemy creatures, others remain neutral and can be befriended by the player.
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'''2011: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]'':'''
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:A renegade Stone-Giant named Bargrisar appears in the game, serving as a boss character. He is the leader of a small army of Orcs and Trolls. Similar to the portrayal in ''[[The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey]]'', he is a being composed entirely of stone.
  
 
===Other===
 
===Other===

Revision as of 15:00, 29 March 2013

Artwork by Angus McBride

Giants were one of the mysterious races of Middle-earth, mentioned only fleetingly.

Contents

History

Giants are beings shrouded in mystery. Gandalf the Grey was known for telling stories about dragons and goblins and giants[1] and Bilbo had heard of giants in tales,[2] but none of these tales survive and the origin and history of the giants is obscure. Presumably, not all giants were evil, as Gandalf seems to have convinced a more or less decent giant to block the entrance to Goblin-town at the top of the High Pass in the Misty Mountains.[3][4]

However, what is known is that stone-giants lived in the Misty Mountains during the late Third Age. Upon coming, they drove out the majority of the bears that lived there.[5] They found a sport in throwing rocks at each other, and then into the depths below them to hear them shatter trees.[6]

A local legend among the indigenous people of Gondor told of giants making the White Mountains, to keep Men out of their lands by the Sea. One of them, Tarlang, tripped, and broke his neck. The other giants did not clean up his body, which became incorporated in the land instead. The giant's neck became Tarlang's Neck, his head Dol Tarlang, and the stones he was carrying Cûl Veleg and Cûl Bîn.[7]

Other versions of the legendarium

Before The Hobbit

Giants originally had a larger part in the legendarium. In one early manuscript, the giants are counted among the Úvanimor, servants of Melko.[8] In another manuscript, the giants are counted among the Earthlings, and are divided between the "wood-giants" (Qenya ulbandi) and "mountainous-giants" (Qenya taulir).[9] And in other early writings, two giants are named: Nan and Gilim.[10][11] Gilim is Gnomish for "winter", and Nan was said to be like an Elm-tree.

It is quite possible that their appearance in The Hobbit is a relic from this early phase of the legendarium. John D. Rateliff has argued that they might have become "free agents"; not wicked, but simply not aware of their surroundings.[4]

Giants and Ents

Giants were the wicked precursors of Ents. The elm-like features of the Giant Nan, and that in early versions of The Lord of the Rings it was the Giant Treebeard who held Gandalf captive, not Saruman,[12] makes the connection between Giants and Ents within J.R.R. Tolkien's imagination clear.[4] "Ent" comes from an Old English word for "giant",[13] seen at various points in Beowulf, for example line 2717, enta geweorc, "the work of giants".[14]

Inspiration

In the Return of the King it is noted that Minas Tirith "seemed to have been not builded but carven by giants out of the bones of the earth".[15] Hammond and Scull have suggested that this notion derives from Old English mythology, in which giants were often portrayed as builders of ancient structures.[16]

Other fiction

A giant troubles Farmer Giles' land, who chases him off with his blunderbuss.[17]

Etymology

An early root for "giant" is given as NOROTH. This yields Quenya norsa,[18] and Noroth (likely supposed to be a Noldorin word[19]). A discarded Quenya word was hanako, from a root KHAN-AK.[20]

Portrayal in adaptations

Giants in adaptations
Thunder's Companion by Nicholas Jainschigg for MECCG  

Films

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

Stone-giants are seen throwing rocks and crashing into each other as Thorin and Company travel over the Misty Mountains. In the film, they are interpreted as being literal beings of stone.

Games

1982: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Several divisions and races of giants are described and given statistics, such as Stone Giants[21], Ice Giants[22], Giants of the Southern Misty Mountains[23], and Red Giants[24].

1995: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

Giants, called Thunder's Companions, are one of the Hazard Creatures.

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

Stone-giants are golem-like creatures that appear in the fourth level, hurling rocks at Bilbo as he tries to travel along a mountain path. They are completely made of stone, and their stones are dangerous.[25]

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

"Mountain Giants" are large and powerful beings in the Goblin faction, with brown scaly skin. They can hurl stones at great distance, and serve as the faction's artillery units.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Several tribes of giants appear in the game, including Stone-giants, Ogres (also called Jorthkyn or Earth-kin), and Ice-giants. While some are enemy creatures, others remain neutral and can be befriended by the player.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

A renegade Stone-Giant named Bargrisar appears in the game, serving as a boss character. He is the leader of a small army of Orcs and Trolls. Similar to the portrayal in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, he is a being composed entirely of stone.

Other

1989: The Hobbit (comic book):

Giants are displayed as bearded gigantic men with regular leather attire.

See also

External links

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Riddles in the Dark"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Goblins", "(iii): The Giants", pp. 143-5
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pp. 536-7
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "Gilfanon's Tale: The Travail of the Noldoli and the Coming of Mankind"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Early Qenya and The Valmaric Script", in Parma Eldalamberon XIV (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), p. 9
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "III. The Lay of Leithian: Canto V (Lúthien's captivity in Doriath)" (verse 1497)
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Tale of Tinúviel"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Third Phase (3): To Weathertop and Rivendell"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The First Phase: XI. From Weathertop to the Ford, Note on the Entish Lands"
  14. Howell D. Chickering, Jr., "Beowulf: A Dual Language Edition", pp. 212-3
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Minas Tirith"
  16. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 514
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, Farmer Giles of Ham
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies" (cf. Root NOROTH)
  19. Roman Rausch, "Essekenta Endamarwa - Names from The Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard and The War of the Ring" dated 23 December 2006, Sindanórie (accessed 8 October 2011)
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Addenda and Corrigenda to the Etymologies — Part One" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter and Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 45, November 2003, p. 21
  21. Carl Willner (1985), Goblin-gate and Eagle's Eyrie (#8070)
  22. Randy Maxwell (1997), The Northern Waste (#2025)
  23. Randell E. Doty (1987), Dunland and the Southern Misty Mountains (#3600)
  24. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1994), Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2012)
  25. The Hobbit (2003 video game), "Over Hill and Under Hill"
Legendary Races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Great glow-worms · Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Giants · Gongs · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Troll-men · Two-headed Trolls
Fairies:  Dryads · Mermaids · Sprites · Sylphs · White cow
Other:  Badger-folk · Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless Things · Spectres
Individuals:  The Hunter · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · River-woman · Tarlang · Tim