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Old 04-12-2019, 06:39 AM   #20
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Well, we've been doing exactly that at this forum for over twelve years now, so I like to think the old fellow is smiling down on us.
Over eighteen, now, and still going strong...

While looking into giants for a recent Password, I came up with a new theory: could Stone Giants be Morgoth's construction equipment?

This theory is based mostly on the tale of Tarlang, which Tolkien Gateway renders as follows:

Originally Posted by Tolkien Gateway: Tarlang
According to folklore, Tarlang belonged to a group of giants who in "ancient days" were building the White Mountains in order to prevent Men from entering the giants' land close by the Sea. While carrying a heavy load of rocks, Tarlang stumbled and fell on his face, fatally breaking his neck. His corpse was used by the other giants to finish the wall: his remants formed the pass Tarlang's Neck (from the break in his neck), Dol Tarlang (consisting of his head), and Cl Veleg and Cl Bn (remnants of his load of rocks).
Like the two references in The Hobbit (Stone-Giants in the storm, and Gandalf's 'more or less decent' reference), these giants are known only for building - specifically, building mountains. Assuming we discount the idea that they were working for themselves, who do we know who might need to raise mountain ranges? Well... Melkor raised the Misty Mountains to inconvenience Orome, and later formed Thangorodrim (no word on whether he also lifted up the Iron Mountains behind it). Findegil's map comparisons show that the Mountains of Mordor and the White Mountains would both have started out as the sea-bed of the Inland Sea of Helkar - which means that someone must have deliberately raised them up, too. Melkor or Sauron, the result is the same - heavy-duty earthworks by the Dark Lord.

Could they pull that off just by their own innate power? It's not impossible - the Valar appear to have increased the height of the Pelori that way after the death of the Trees. But it probably takes a lot of effort, right? If, instead, you can build a handful of semi-autonomous G.I.A.N.T.-class rock transporters and let them handle it... well, why not?

There's nothing in the canon to indicate the giants must have been intelligent. Bilbo thinks he sees them playing, but they could just have been moving rocks around to repair the mountains. Gandalf says 'decent', but he could mean 'in decent condition' - if they're constructs, they're going on ten thousand years old; a lot of them are probably broken down into rocks by now.

And Tarlang? Ignore the Gondorian 'land of giants' folklore and see it for what it is: a machine, tasked by Sauron to build up the south coast against the flooding of the Fall of Beleriand, that broke down and was left in situ afterwards.

(Per the obscure characters thread, Gilim and Nan are probably irrelevant to this discussion - they're either weird incarnations of Summer and Winter, or - if 'like an elm' applies to both of them - Ents.)

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