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I have been trying to visualise how I would portray the Stone Giants in the Hobbit Movies. How big are they? Are they Spirits or Flesh and Blood? Do they pay any attention to the Gandalf and or the Hobbit and Dwarves? Are they simply (as I actually think) visions in the lightning and a Hobbits tale to explain Thunder? This section of the Hobbit has always perplexed me as obviously Giants with the power to smash and almost destroy a mountain would be a powerful ally in the battles of the powers in ages past, yet Tolkien makes no use of them in his many other stories. What are your thoughts, Ideas and imaginings on this?

Hmmm....This is very interesting, Brego....there is a very fine line in Mythology...to some extent there is tendency to Anthropomorphism...i.e. the Vikings personified the notion of thunder as Thor...sometimes The Professor seemed to draw a deliberately ambivalent line between representing Phenomena as merely the acts of nature, and the desire to personify them...a classic example of this is when the fellowship are attempting to climb Caradhras....I think it is Legolas who says...(quoting from memory here...)..."Let those who will call it the wind...I say there is a fell voice on the air...."  I think Aragorn then says something like..."I do call it the wind...but that does not make what you say untrue...."

so in some sense, He was trying to portray the mountain as an actual character...

Of course, in the film they changed all this; the fell voice on the air, turned out to be Saruman chanting...I never got the impression from the book that the fell voice was Saruman...did you ?

Yes, it will be very interesting to see how the stone giants are portrayed..of course, they may get cut out completely...!!

There was a thread on this on the old Hobbit Movie News forum, sadly it has never reappeared.

 I agree Tolkien melds nature and spirits in quite a pagan fashion at times, much more so in TH than in LotR's.

Gimli says of Caradhras, "It had an ill name long ago before the name of Sauron was ever heard." and in response to the rocks being hurled at them and the 'voices on the wind' he says "it is the mountain itself."

I never got the impression from the book it was anything to do with Saruman. Boromir says of Sauron "His arm has grown long indeed if he draw snow down from the north to trouble us here." To which Gandalf responds, "His arm has grown long." The implication I always took that it was Sauron, possibly in allegiance with the mountain itself which Gimli said had always had an ill name.

PJ made it Saruman as part of his failed strategy of promoting other characters to the role of 'onscreen baddie'. The scripts for the films is never comfortable with the lack of an onscreen presence for Sauron. PJ promotes first Saruman, briefly the head of the Uruk-Hai until Boromirs death, back to Saruman, then for RotK he creates Gothmog for the role (a terrible character in every way from creation to design) and focuses more on the Witch-King. All badly in my opinion and crudely from a scripting perspective. Cheap tricks in lieu of being able to convey the sense of spreading dark from Mordor which pervades the books. Its poor writing.

In the case of the stone giants the description in TH is given from the perspective of Bilbo, "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.....They could hear the giants guffawing and shouting all over the mountainsides.

"This won't do at all!" said Thorin, "If we don't get blown off, or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked sky-high for a football."

 

There is nothing here to hint at metaphor or simile. Bilbo sees the giants independently of Thorin's statement about them so they cannot just be poetic license. (Also it would appear Dwarves at least play football- bet they make great defenders!).

In my view when Tolkien wrote TH the storm giants were actual giants that came out during storms in the mountains.

How or if PJ will choose to do them is another matter. On the one hand I can easily see them using it as an excuse for a ridiculous spun out, over the top action cgi scene, with lots of 3D spectacle potential (after all he turned two lines in the Chamber of Marzabul where the troll thrusts a toe through the crack in the door into a fifteen minute fight sequence complete with cgi Legolas and hobbits).

On the other hand the stone giants along with talking trolls, animals, chatty birds and the like may sit very uneasily with what PJ seems to be doing with TH which is making a prequel for his own films of LotR's rather than an adaptation of the actual children's book.

This question also touches on the songs- will Bilbo still defeat the spiders by singing and teasing them by calling them 'attercop'? Will the elves still tral-la-la in the woods. And of course will the Eagles talk. They do in LotR's the book (they even sing) but PJ choose to make them mute in his film, obviously he was uncomfortable portraying huge talking birds, will he remain so for TH.

 

I rather fear that the film PJ seems to be proposing is very little in feel like the book from which he is drawing. And for those of us with a fondness for TH as a children's classic, a book read first as a child, that's a tragedy.

Yes some interesting thoughts.  As film is visual, and reading is multi dimensional and is impossible to replicate in film I can only explain what I thought while reading the Hobbit.  In the huge flashes of lightning I see the stone giants atop the neighboring mountains looking toward each other, suddenly they appear in a flash, then gone as the thunder rolls on.  Again they appear and seem to be throwing massive boulders at each other, the thunder smashes again as the boulder rolls down the mountain side, then disappears along with the Giants as soon as the light from the lightning disappears.  Again and again this happens in the distance as a saturated Gandalf and troupe edge around the narrow track hugging the cold wet rock of the mountain side.  The giants take up the entire view of the stormy night sky in flashes of electric blue and white.  Like a strobe type vision.

By the way I think it was me who started the thread on the other site....