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Old 02-08-2007, 01:17 PM   #1
Lór Redbrace
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Question Giants....

... I believe in the Lord of the Rings we hear of Giants. When Gandalf and the Fellowship were crossing Cadrahdras, (spelling?), in the Misty Mountains, rocks are aimed at our party and there are voices in the air, and Gandalf speaks of creatures that don't serve Sauron. Are these Giants?
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:42 PM   #2
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Possibly. This would be one explanation. The other is, that it would be Caradhras itself: if you take literally Gimli's (and Gandalf's, and whoever else might have said it) lines about "cruel Caradhras". It might be pure personification of the place, but it seems like something more. My thoughts come from these points in the text:

Quote:
'We cannot go further tonight,' said Boromir. 'Let those call it the wind who will; there are fell voices on the air; and these stones are aimed at us.'
'I do call it the wind,' said Aragorn. 'But that does not make what you say untrue. There are many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs, and yet are not in league with Sauron, but have purposes of their own. Some have been in this world longer than he.'
'Caradhras was called the Cruel, and had an ill name, said Gimli, 'long years ago, when rumour of Sauron had not been heard in these lands.'
'It matters little who is the enemy, if we cannot beat off his attack; said Gandalf.
Thus, why I think it is Caradhras itself:
1. Aragorn calls it the wind, though he agrees that it is this "wind" what is evil here. It would seem to me as weather around the Caradhras, being something like a part of it.
2. Aragorn speaks about things, which have little love for those that go on two legs. If I am not very much mistaken, then Giants have two legs, then why would they hate everyone who walks two legs. It might be a metaphore that they just hate all living, but why would then Aragorn use such a stupid metaphore, when the Giants have two legs as well.
3. Gandalf has on his own eyes seen Giants (in the Hobbit) and he spoke about them to Dwarves and to Beorn, but he seems reluctant in naming the enemy now (unless he just doesn't want to talk about nonsenses while there are more important things to do). It seems to me that Gandalf does not know who the enemy is, or that it is something he does not want to talk about.

And to end this, for illustration just more quotes from Gimli, which may take Caradhras just as a personification, but also might consider Caradhras as true entity:
Quote:
'Caradhras has not forgiven us.' he said. 'He has more snow yet to fling at us, if we go on.'
(...)
'It was no ordinary storm. It is the ill will of Caradhras. He does not love Elves and Dwarves, and that drift was laid to cut off our escape.'
It is true that it might be a "strange dwarven belief" (as is mentioned in Appendix A III, that the Dwarves "had many strange tales and beliefs"), and the fact that Boromir says to Gimli "But happily your Caradhras has forgotten that you have Men with you" (which seems to me like a little scoff) would somehow support that. But still, maybe Boromir was the one who didn't know everything about mountains.
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:29 PM   #3
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Great topic, and great post Legate. You pretty much laid it all out there. I myself always thought of the attacks on The Fellowship due to Caradhras itself. All the references point to so, and I would believe like you said that Giants would have two legs...so why would they hate other two leg beings, if there were Giants present at all? Unless we apply Gimli's "belief" into the mix, whereas if there were Giants, they probably wouldn't care whether or not 2 Men were with the company (Boromir's response), if they knew an Elf and a Dwarf were abroad (doubtless the Hobbits would be unknown and also be considered Dwarves to such a folk as Giants would be, therefore increasing the amount of Dwarves.)

But, I think it's safe to say the evil at work here is Caradhras itself, at least in my opinion. Aragorn agrees with Boromir when he confirms calling it the wind.
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:56 PM   #4
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Giants assault the travellers in The Hobbit just before the Goblins do, by throwing rocks down.
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Old 02-10-2007, 08:11 AM   #5
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an interesting topic indeed...
But I don't really know what to think
We know that it is was said that giants had not always lived in the area of the Great Pass, and that the great bears, possible ancestors of Beorn had lived there before their arrival. It could be a possibility that they had migrated north in time.
After the Battle of the Five Armies it is said that the goblins hid themselves and the mountain passes were made safe again, perhaps the giants were forced to return in the southern part of the Misty Mountains.
It could be that because the Dwarves did not know or see the giants they believed that the mountain was against them and attributed such events to supernatural forces, not to normal creatures like giants.

However it is hard to say what Tolkien really thought about, the Hobbit is very different from LOTR.
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Old 02-11-2007, 02:45 PM   #6
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Possibly some variant on a troll? Pio is the troll expert (they have featured in a couple of RPGs I have played) and not all are light sensitive.
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:01 PM   #7
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Ok...

I might be posting a totally weird theory here, but maby the Giants were actually stone, so they were part of the mountain? That would tie both theories together.
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:17 PM   #8
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Pipe

Well...here are some quotes about giants talking presenting one of the first ideas Tolkien had about giants:

"At this point in the story the agents of Melko appear, the
Uvanimor, 'bred in the earth' by him (Uvanimor, 'who are
monsters, giants, and ogres', have been mentioned in an
earlier tale, pp. 75-6); and Tuvo protected Men and Elves from
them and from 'evil fays'. "
As we see here the giants are associated with ogres (also creatures of legend and myth in lotr), and are very interestingly presented as creatures of Melkor.

and again in HOMe 6 the giants are associated with other evil creatures.
"Goblins were multiplying again and
reappearing. 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. And there were vague
hints of things or creatures more terrible than goblins, trolls, or
giants. Elves were vanishing, or wandering steadily westward."

They were removed from the published The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion for a reason.
The giants were, like Beorn and everything in The Hobbit originally, not written to be part of Tolkien's mythology. JRRT masterfully wove practically every aspect of The Hobbit into The Lord of the Rings and/or The Silmarillion to give it a credible background, but the giants are one of those things that gave him trouble. They most definately existed, since Tolkien was not one to merely erase something completely, but they are no longer mentioned after The Hobbit for a reason, most likely. They were written as fairy tale characters for when The Hobbit was meant to be a children's tale for his young relatives and so did not fit with the epic setting of his greater mythology. The reference in The Fellowship of the Ring is of a similar nature, although it is not Tolkien telling the fairy tale this time, but a Hobbit telling a far-fetched tale. That's my idea on it.

However, as I said in my first post in this thread one could speculate and expand the story from the Hobbit and think that they inhabited an area in the Misty Mountains. If so I would see them as a type of Men. Just as Hobbits were smaller, Giants could be a larger type of Men. I guess it all depends on your point of view.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:55 PM   #9
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Apparently, the Numenorians had help from giants when constructing Helm's Deep, so maybe not all giants are evil...

And what do giants look like?? The giants on the Battle for Middle-earth II look like tall long-necked trolls but im guessing that they look more like the ones in Harry Potter
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:13 PM   #10
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Well, I don't want to speculate, but I see them as...well...large men
Perhaps the Giants in earlier writings might have had an ogreish look, due to the fact they were counted among the Uvanimor alongside ogres and trolls.
However, just as Hobbits are a smaller version of Men, Giants are a bigger one, or at least so I see it. As hobbits have their curly hair and hairy feet, giants might have some differences of their own, still I doubt there would be a striking difference. But, as I said it all is speculation.

As for Helm's Deep, I think you misunderstood Tolkien.
"Carved by the hands of giants" or how Helm's Deep (just like Minas Tirith) is described doesn't actually mean that giants helped the Numenoreans, it's just a metaphor to make you picture the size and strength of the fortress.
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:46 PM   #11
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I would also argue for a metaphorical interpretation of this giants refference. After all, the woses thought that the numenoreans ate stone , which is another statement which is, obviously, metaphorical.
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Old 03-15-2007, 05:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raynor
After all, the woses thought that the numenoreans ate stone which is another statement which is, obviously, metaphorical.
I don't think that the the Woses thought that Numenorians ate stone or that they were making a metaphorical point. It was simply a joke among the Woses.

When I was three years old and frightened by thunder, my father told me that noise was made by giants playing skittles in the clouds. He wasn't trying to teach me a truth in metaphorical form, he was making a joke to ease my fears. I'll take Gandalf's comments on giants in The Hobbit in the same way.
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Old 03-15-2007, 06:42 AM   #13
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I always thought of their mention as metaphorical. When the Dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo are on the mountain path in the storm Thorin (I think) mentions that he doesn't want to be picked up by a giant and kicked like a football. Perhaps they were once real creatures and by the time of the Hobbit were mythological and used in reference to such situations when there were avalanches in the mountains.
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Old 03-15-2007, 07:18 AM   #14
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I always thought of their mention as real. When the Dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo are on the mountain path in the storm, Thorin indeed mentions that he doesn't want to be picked up by a giant and kicked like a football. But few sentences before Bilbo takes a peek out of their shelter and sees the giants throwing stones, and they all hear them laughing*.

But I don't believe they were on Caradhras (as I said before).

*If some of you read On Fairy-stories, it might also be of some concern what Tolkien says about Thor...
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
I always thought of their mention as real. When the Dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo are on the mountain path in the storm, Thorin indeed mentions that he doesn't want to be picked up by a giant and kicked like a football. But few sentences before Bilbo takes a peek out of their shelter and sees the giants throwing stones, and they all hear them laughing*.

But I don't believe they were on Caradhras (as I said before).

*If some of you read On Fairy-stories, it might also be of some concern what Tolkien says about Thor...
But is this literal or metaphroical? Perhaps 'seeing' the giants throwing stones is the boulders crashing down the mountain and the 'laughing' is the sounds they makes mixed with howling wind and rain.
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:27 AM   #16
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Giants existed, and that's more then clear.
In "The Hobbit", talking about Beorn's origin, Gandalf clearly says he heard him swear he would take revenge and return into the mountains, further speculationg he was perhaps a descendant of the olf bears living in that area before the giants came.
I doubt he means, before the avalanches or landslides or whatever started.
Also, Gandalf thinks about asking one of the nicer giants to help him and block the entrance to the tunnel leading to Goblin Town with a stone.
Clearly, they are not metaphores for anything.
They are however predecessors of the Ents in Tolkien's writings and this can be easily noticed by looking at this change from The Hobbit to LotR.

Selmo, as far as your post is concerned, I think I must disagree. I doubt the woses were trying to make a joke with that.
This description of Numenoreans as stone-eaters is clearly made out of awe, wonder and perhaps respect for the way they learned to use the stone to build their cities.
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:00 PM   #17
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Hammond and Scull, in their comments on "The passing of the grey company", quote an explanation of the name Tarlang's Neck:
Quote:
Originally Posted by LotR Companion, page 536
It is said that when "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: Dor Tarlang, Tarlang's Head, Cul Veleg, Bigload and Cul Bin, Little Load.
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raynor
Hammond and Scull, in their comments on "The passing of the grey company", quote an explanation of the name Tarlang's Neck:
Well, especially this I would call metaphore. Or a Gondorian myth, more likely - although we are in mythical world, this one would sound to me quite much of a created myth (in opposite to reality).

But this does not change the fact the Giants, as TM said, do not seem to be much of a metaphore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattius
But is this literal or metaphroical? Perhaps 'seeing' the giants throwing stones is the boulders crashing down the mountain and the 'laughing' is the sounds they makes mixed with howling wind and rain.
The howling, perhaps, if it stood alone (the thing I mentioned from On Fairy-Stories has something to do with laughter of Thor and the sound of storm). But the fact that Bilbo saw the giants, well, you could tell that he saw what his imagination created there or something like that, but in the context of the Hobbit, I think not.
Even if not, I find Gandalf's talk about "finding a decent giant to close the door", as TM pointed, quite good sign of the true existence of giants. Where Gandalf might or might not have joked about it (did he really want to go and persuade a giant to do it?), he certainly wouldn't speak of going to something that does not exist.
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Old 03-15-2007, 05:14 PM   #19
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I think that Gandalf saying that could still be contrived as him joking/making a reference to mythical 'giants' although regarding the subject personally I have not yet decided if I think they exist in Middle-earth or not.
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Old 03-15-2007, 06:01 PM   #20
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Old 03-16-2007, 08:07 AM   #21
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I think I can provide a pretty good comparison.
Just because Gondorians and others see Giants as mythical, inexistent creatures doesn't mean they don't exist.
We see that the Rohirrim had the exact same idea about Hobbits and Ents, but this doesn't mean they don't exist.
Only because giants are later no longer mentioned doesn't mean they no longer existed...and as I already said their place was taken by Ents in LotR, justifying their absence.
And if you see Gandalf's remark as a joke, what about the account on Beorn's origin. Clearly, by saying he descended from bears living in the Misty Mountains before the giants came, he is not trying to make any sort of "joke".
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Old 03-16-2007, 10:37 AM   #22
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I think you are correct, it just seems odd that they are not mentioned or seen in Lord of the Rings or the Silm. in more than a few lines.
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Old 03-17-2007, 09:14 AM   #23
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Well, Gothmog the Lieutenant of Morgul is mentioned only once but so far I haven't seen anyone speculating that he doesn't exist
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Old 03-17-2007, 05:00 PM   #24
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Why should there not be giants in Middle-earth? They only add to the sense of mystery after all.
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Old 03-29-2007, 05:59 AM   #25
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Hopefully the new 'adult version' of The Hobbit will include more specific references to Giants (and also Beron)
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Old 04-01-2007, 04:00 AM   #26
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The reference to giants goes like this:

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 then, 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, and the wind whipped the rain and the hail about in every direction, so that an overhanging rock was no protection at all. 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.
"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."
"Well, if you know of anywhere better, take us there!" said Gandalf, who was feeling very grumpy, and was far from happy about the giants himself.


This all just sounds too real to be a 'metaphor'. We hear about them shouting and even playing a game, and Thorin and Gandalf also talk about them. I think they're another 'oddity' from TH that, like the 'wild Were-worms', didn't quite fit in with the Legendarium.
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Old 04-01-2007, 09:36 AM   #27
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I disagree.
While the giants are actually there, and their existence is proven, for me these were-worms are only a hobbit myth, and you probably know how good they are at making up stories.
However, behind the story of the were-worms there might be some truth after all. We are told that cold drakes still survived in the northern wastelands, so it could be that Hobbits knew of their existence under then name of were-worms.
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Old 04-01-2007, 10:43 AM   #28
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i too see giants as real creatures. and i always thought that they may have been called "stone giants" because they liked to throw stones. after all, in the one place we see them, they are throwing large boulders and stones.
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