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I'm currently rereading the Hobbit and something caught my eye: "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." Tolkien talks about the battle of Stone giants when Thorin and co. are crossing the Misty Mountains. I've been wondering: did Tolkien ever mention giants in other works (maybe HoMe?)? Well, this is my interpretation: I guess those giants are not particulary evil (so I suppose they aren't created by Melkor), but powerful mysterious creatures, although not very wise (since they're throwing rocks just for fun). Since Yavanna created the Ents, maybe Aulë created the stone giants while creating Dwarves, since they are both created out of stone?

Any suggestions?

Tolkien does refer to 'giants' in other works, for example there is Gilim the giant of Eruman in the poem The Lay of Leithian, although Tolkien never finished updating this poem after writing The Lord of the Rings.

And (to mention the obvious) the Ents of The Lord of the Rings could be considered giants -- ent itself is a 'giant word', as is etten in ettenmoors for example.

'As usually with me they grew rather out of their name than the other way about. I always felt that something ought to be done about the peculiar Anglo-Saxon word ent for a ‘giant’ or mighty person of long ago – to whom all old works were ascribed.'

JRRT, letter 157

A large troll could be considered a giant too, especially by a Hobbit; perhaps even a tall Elf or Numenorean could too, from that perspective I guess. Anyway there are references to giants in The Lord of the Rings of course, but I'll leave you to interpret them. For instance...

... the tale revisits, although very briefly, the matter of astonishing news and 'tales' heard in both the Ivy Bush and the Green Dragon, as in the next chapter (Three Is Company):

 

'Giants and other portents on the borders of the Shire were forgotten for more important matters: Mr. Frodo...'

And later in the story:

'He [Sam] had imagined himself meeting giants taller than trees, and other creatures even more terrifying, some time or other in the course of his journey, but at the moment he was finding his first sight of Men and their tall houses quite enough, indeed too much for the dark end of a tiring day.'

And this interesting passage:

'It was said in ancient days some giants were building The White Mountains as a wall to keep Men out of their land by the sea, one of them called Tarlang tripped and fell on his face as he was carrying a heavy load of rocks on his head he broke his neck and was killed. The other Giants used his body to complete the wall at that point, but left his neck lying southward, leading to the three mountains of the spur Dol Tarlang 'Tarlang's Neck, Cul Veleg 'Big load' and Cul Bin 'Little Load'..


An extract from the second of two versions, Tolkien's Nomenclature of The Lord of The Rings.

__________

Draft texts for The Lord of the Rings

In probably late Sept 1938, or early October 1938, Tolkien will write the chapter Ancient History (partially based on some earlier material), within what is called the 'Second Phase'. This will include the descriptions:

 

'Trolls of a new and most malevolent kind were abroad; giants were spoken of, a Big Folk only far bigger and stronger than Men the [?ordinary] Big Folk, and no stupider, indeed often full of cunning and wizardry.'

'… But what about these what do you call 'em -- giants? They do say as one nigh as big as a tower or leastways a tree was seen up away beyond the North Moors not long back.' [changed at the time of writing to] 'But what about these Tree-Men, these here -- giants? They do say one nigh as big as a tower was seen up away…'

Of course one can easily find the final versions of both these passages, but in my opinion Tolkien was at least thinking of seemingly 'mannish looking' giants when he first began writing his Hobbit sequel.

The 'giant Treebeard' began as an absolutely towering being! But he was, interestingly enough, drastically reduced in size when he became an Ent (although still notably tall), and then arguably was given a little more height for the final, published version.

Thanks a lot! As a hobbit, I would consider a lot of things as a 'giant' for sure Wink Smilie

Any references how they were made? I know Ents were made by Yavanna, Trolls by Morgoth, Stone Giants by ..?

Namárië

discord of melkor,silmarillion.

Amras, you sure? I've never read anything about it.

Gandalf quotes this at page 90 (Chapter 7: Out of the frying-pan into the fire):

"I must see if I can't find a more or less decent giant to block it up again, or soon there will be no getting over the mountains at all."

If Melkor made these creatures, why would they help Gandalf?

The mumakil or the great beasts served Harad,but yet they were just warcarriers,not the evildoers. The giants were not evil in themselves but they could change for good or bad,it is your choice.

Thanks a lot! As a hobbit, I would consider a lot of things as a 'giant' for sure Wink Smilie

Any references how they were made? I know Ents were made by Yavanna, Trolls by Morgoth, Stone Giants by ..?

 

Morgoth didn't have the power to create. He could only twist and ruin the work of others to serve his purpose.

 

As for the Stone Giants, I believe they  represented the will of the mountains. Arda was alive as a whole. The trees talked and could express themselves, Why not mountains? Smile Smilie

But I'm notorious for being wrong.

 

 

 

 

Stone Giants are mentioned only a couple times in The Hobbit. Gandalf flipently states that he should find a friendly Giant to plug up the back door of Goblin Town whilst visiting Beorn. Of course we all know that the Giants were out during the Thunder Battle, as seen in the movie.

Perhaps the Giants are manifestations of natures power, becoming animated during the storms of the world. Whether they are sentient, I guess we'll never know.

There are various references to Giants in The Hobbit, including in the Riddle Game -- there with Ogres and 'in tales' anyway, as Bilbo plays the game. But another possibly notable instance comes from Gandalf about Beorn...

'Some say that he is a bear descended from the great and ancient bears of the mountains that lived there before the giants came.'

I think if we can have Halflings we can have Giants, and if Gandalf hopes to find a 'more or less decent Giant' it would seem to suggest a real being of some kind.

Thanks a lot for these insights! This is the beauty of Tolkien's work, so many different interpretations are possible, I guess they are all correct in some way

If there were good stone giants why in the Arda did Gandalf not enlist them to fight Sauron. They could of done serious damage to the orc armies. Maybe the giants would of not been scared by the wich king. One punch and his fell beast  and himself go down.

Why did he not enlist the Ents either? They could have annihilated orc armies. However, they are much more passive characters, it took them a long time to decide to destroy sauroman even after he was openly wrecking them. I think the stone giants are similar characters. Either too stupid to notice what's going on or too passive to care.

Another possibility is that Sauron had strong enough creatures or devices and so when Gandalf got the giants to fight, they dwindled quickly. They were probably only a few to begin with. Perhaps after that they were scared of extinction and did not want to go to war any more.