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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Can someone explain the concept of stone giants to me?
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macfalk
Valinor


Nov 14 2013, 11:09am

Post #1 of 28 (1150 views)
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Can someone explain the concept of stone giants to me? Can't Post

Didn't like them in the book nor the movie, because:

1. They feel out of place, their enormous size makes them more powerful than most other M-E creatures and almost equal to Smaug.

2. What are they doing in the mountains and what on earth would they have to fight each other about?



The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


Bumpypotato
Bree

Nov 14 2013, 11:19am

Post #2 of 28 (690 views)
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Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Size is no measure of power. And regardless, simply possessing power is meaningless if you have no intention to use it (which, for the most part, they don't).

2. I personally like not knowing their origins or indeed why the fight - nothing like a good mystery.


Glorfindela
Valinor


Nov 14 2013, 11:37am

Post #3 of 28 (651 views)
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I really like the Stone Giants myself [In reply to] Can't Post

To me they seem like elemental creatures, divorced from all other beings in Middle-Earth and not even noticing them.

I've always thought that the Stone Giants are composed of the mountains themselves. Perhaps they are the living essence of the mountains? As to what they are fighting about, who knows? The professor did not elaborate on this, and perhaps it is good that they are left as an enigma.

I thought they were brilliantly realised in the film, and was fascinated to see (in the bonus material for the EE) how they and the effects around them were created in the studio. Amazing stuff.


In Reply To
Didn't like them in the book nor the movie, because:

1. They feel out of place, their enormous size makes them more powerful than most other M-E creatures and almost equal to Smaug.

2. What are they doing in the mountains and what on earth would they have to fight each other about?



painjoiker
Grey Havens


Nov 14 2013, 12:15pm

Post #4 of 28 (599 views)
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They were not fighting, [In reply to] Can't Post

They threw stones as a game... it was like a snowball-fight
Therefor I don't like the Stone Giant-sequence in the film...
They got it all wrong... They are having fun with each other...

Vocalist in the progressive metal band 5 Minutes Late
and the progressive doom rock band Mater Thallium


Bombadil
Half-elven


Nov 14 2013, 12:32pm

Post #5 of 28 (609 views)
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3. Things [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Thorin SHOUTS "...Then the Legends are True!"
so maybe it's Similar to Greek Mythology
and other early cultures where
The Gods are fighting
when there is
a Storm.

2. This Movie needed a scary Symbol
of just how Mystical & Magical
the Misty Mountains are.

3. IT really Ramped up the Action
& We Already saw Mountain
Trolls turned to Stone. So
that fits within
Tolkien's World..

There was no way our Dwarves
could have defeated them,
without Gandalf there.
so, it showed how
desparate they are
without him.

PJ made it a really Close Call
which is fine with Bomby.


Glorfindela
Valinor


Nov 14 2013, 1:21pm

Post #6 of 28 (484 views)
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That's a good explanation, Bomby [In reply to] Can't Post

Although I don't think there was any need for the Dwarves to fight the Stone Giants, since they were not attacking them (although the Dwarves probably were not aware of this). They were in danger, however, because of the commotion that the Stone Giants were creating…


Fleuz
Lorien


Nov 14 2013, 1:39pm

Post #7 of 28 (457 views)
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nonetheless [In reply to] Can't Post

I would have preferred a more settle sequence:
Stone Giants in the far distance and maybe some kind of an earthquake would have had the same impact without the direct closeups and the weird Bud Spencer Action.
But it ROCKS in 3D! Laugh


book Gandalf
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 1:58pm

Post #8 of 28 (482 views)
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kids book [In reply to] Can't Post

didnt your mother ever tell you as a kid that thunder was the sound of giants fighting/falling over? or god stamping his foot, or something along thoselines!

thats basically the premise of tolkien writing that in, since there was a thunderstorm and it was a kids book

This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party.


Avandel
Valinor

Nov 14 2013, 2:13pm

Post #9 of 28 (457 views)
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from the WETA books [In reply to] Can't Post

Chronicles books talk about them being elemental sort of like the Ents, living spirits that have rock form around them, fight, break apart,
reform with the rocks to come again. Always liked this sequence myself - they just seem quarrelsome like trolls, and the dwarves being
there for the Stone Giants is completely unnoticed - the dwarves are just little specks.

As a side note in the BR EE noticed you can hear Fili calling more for Kili *sniff* wish they had focused on that just a few seconds more
in the SG scene, not too long but it shows older brother Fili being protective of Kili, which I'd only read about. DO has been underused
in these movies so far, hope for more of him in DOS.


OrphanOfNumenor
Bree


Nov 14 2013, 2:16pm

Post #10 of 28 (440 views)
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Wait! [In reply to] Can't Post

The first rule of Stone Giant Fight Club is you don't talk about Stone Giant Fight Club.

"The Men of the Sea send before them a great cloud, as a rain turned to serpents, or a black hail tipped with steel."


shadowdog
Rohan

Nov 14 2013, 2:25pm

Post #11 of 28 (422 views)
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Agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking the same thing when I read the book. There are many mythical tales where thunder is giants throwing stones.


Faleel
Rohan

Nov 14 2013, 3:44pm

Post #12 of 28 (402 views)
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Ever [In reply to] Can't Post

heard of fighting for fun?


Na Vedui
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 4:20pm

Post #13 of 28 (360 views)
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I think you've got something there [In reply to] Can't Post

and like storms, they're not malicious towards the Dwarves, or even aware of them, but dangerous none the less. I rather liked the film version because for me it was totally unexpected; when I read the book I'd been thinking in terms of regular giants throwing rocks, and I haven't seen these Transformers (??) that people have been saying they are like.

It's interesting to compare the more comical episode in C.S. Lewis's "The Silver Chair" where giants throw stones; they are regular giants this time, and none too bright. They are playing a game, throwing not at each other but at a particular target. Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum escape their notice completely but are in a certain amount of danger because the giants are such rotten shots. After a while, the giants have a terrific quarrel and start fighting amongst themselves.

Giants come into Norse mythology a lot, so I guess the Inklings had some lively discussions about them.


Bernhardina
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 4:22pm

Post #14 of 28 (428 views)
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The Stone Giants are a problem in LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

I mean, people who don't read the books will certainly think going through the LOTR-trilogy:
"What happened to those kick-ass stone-giants in AUJ? Can't they do something to help?"
Now I am beginning to wonder to. Anyone know? Or are they on Saurons side?
I should add that I have not yet read ROTK.

Boromir: One does not simply walk into Mordor...

Gandalf: FLY, YOU FOOLS!


(This post was edited by Bernhardina on Nov 14 2013, 4:24pm)


Glorfindela
Valinor


Nov 14 2013, 5:11pm

Post #15 of 28 (312 views)
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Oh, yes – I remember that from The Silver Chair [In reply to] Can't Post

Very vivid description by C.S. Lewis with accompanying artworks by Pauline Baynes, I believe (haven't read the Narnia books for a long time). However, the AUJ Stone Giants are more 'elemental', I think.


In Reply To
It's interesting to compare the more comical episode in C.S. Lewis's "The Silver Chair" where giants throw stones; they are regular giants this time, and none too bright. They are playing a game, throwing not at each other but at a particular target. Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum escape their notice completely but are in a certain amount of danger because the giants are such rotten shots. After a while, the giants have a terrific quarrel and start fighting amongst themselves.

Giants come into Norse mythology a lot, so I guess the Inklings had some lively discussions about them.



Fàfnir
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 5:23pm

Post #16 of 28 (321 views)
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Imo they're no threat to the world, unlike Smaug or a Balrog [In reply to] Can't Post

because they seem to be completely mindless incarnation of the moutain storm. They rise, fight, and fall, and don't follow any personal purpose, as opposed to Smaug who can live for thousands of years, is cunning and ambitious, and really evil. That's why in my opinion giants are not in the same league as dragons, or balrogs or anything like that


Na Vedui
Rohan


Nov 14 2013, 5:50pm

Post #17 of 28 (337 views)
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In the books [In reply to] Can't Post

there seems to be a whole layer of rather elemental creatures closely connected with nature, who may be experienced as benign or malevolent but who aren't really on one "side" or the other, in terms of being actively engaged on either part in the conflict with Sauron.

Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, who help the hobbits and are on friendly terms with Gandalf, seem to be immune to the Ring (Tom certainly is), but it's as if they operate on a different kind of frequency that the Ring cannot touch, rather than being tempted and resisting. This cuts both ways; at the Council of Elrond, they conclude that Tom wouldn't be a safe guardian for the Ring because he would forget about it or lose it.

Then there's the mountain, Caradhras - definitely hostile, but not in anyone's service. It's just a fierce mountain that doesn't like intruders. This is lost in the film, because their trouble on Caradhras is attributed to Saruman's weather-magic.

The Ents start off somewhat in this "neutral" category (and the Huorns, I'd say, are certainly in it), but move into engagement when they realise that the fight is affecting the natural world instead of just being an irrelevant conflict of Men, Elves, Orcs and suchlike.

The Eagles are a complicated case - see recent discussion threads - but have some kinship with these rather detached allies/enemies.

So I suspect the Stone Giants are of the same kind - not much (if at all) interested in what is going on outside their patch, possibly very little aware of the doings of Men etc (though it would be interesting to know their relationship with mining Goblins and Dwarves), and with the kind of mind or spirit that Rings, temptation and resistance simply don't touch.


Avandel
Valinor

Nov 14 2013, 6:13pm

Post #18 of 28 (269 views)
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I'd agree! [In reply to] Can't Post

And to me Tolkien would have been very aware of cultures (Celts) that consider all things to have a living spirit - trees, rocks, etc. Neither on one side or the other, but dangerous if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Riven Delve
Grey Havens


Nov 14 2013, 6:24pm

Post #19 of 28 (253 views)
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An excellent point, Na Vedui! [In reply to] Can't Post

And this is a large part of the reason that the movie's representation of these "amoral" elemental creatures has grown on me, the more I watch it. I really feel that although the Stone Giants scene doesn't do much to move the plot along beyond getting the Dwarves into the "Goblin trap" cave, it does not only give us viewers some fun action and drama, but goes a long way in representing some of the most intriguing (and charming, IMO) elements of the physicality of Middle-earth. Honestly, that's about 70% of why I love these Peter Jackson Tolkien movies. Heart


"Our perennial spiritual and psychological task is to look at things familiar until they become unfamiliar again." --G. K. Chesterton



Smeagol Bagginsess
Rivendell


Nov 14 2013, 6:27pm

Post #20 of 28 (272 views)
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Well the term "stone giants" doesnt necessarily have to mean [In reply to] Can't Post

Giants made of stone. The stone could also refer to the area, stone or rock i.e. Regular giants living in the rocky area.

And there could be a fair chance the latter might be true. Though the Professor was ambiguous on the matter.


Faleel
Rohan

Nov 14 2013, 7:12pm

Post #21 of 28 (233 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

The Anottated Hobbit says something along the lines that they are Trolls or something.


Bumblingidiot
Rohan

Nov 14 2013, 10:16pm

Post #22 of 28 (171 views)
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I don't remember any mention of their actual size (?) [In reply to] Can't Post

- beyond the fact that they are big - but in the mist up a mountain in a storm, it is very difficult to accurately scale things. It would be a weird and somewhat dull world where everything you came across was explained and known.

"Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear."


Fredeghar Wayfarer
Lorien


Nov 15 2013, 12:11am

Post #23 of 28 (149 views)
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Various theories [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien doesn't say a lot about the stone-giants. The description in the book is vague so we don't know for sure that they're made of stone or how big they are. "Stone-giant" could just be a breed of giant or refer to their environment (like how there are Stone-trolls, Hill-trolls, Mountain-trolls, etc.). There are several different theories among fans about what they are. Here's a few I've come across:

1. They're a larger race of Man. Hobbits are said to be related to Men but of a smaller breed so it's possible there are larger breeds as well. In this version, the stone-giants would be more like the humanoid fairy tale-style giants.

2. They're Maiar of the earth. This seems to be the version Peter Jackson is using. The idea is that the stone-giants are spirits of the mountains formed out of stone. It's plausible since Tolkien talks about spirits of water (Goldberry, Osse, Uinen) and spirits of fire (Arien, the Balrogs) so there might be an earth variety.

3. They're ancestors of the trolls. Evil is not able to create life on its own in Tolkien's world, only corrupt what already exists. In this theory, the stone-giants are the original race that Morgoth corrupted into trolls in the First Age. Trolls turn to stone in daylight so that's a possible connection. Also, giants and trolls were part of the same race (the Jotuns) in Norse mythology. The stone-giants might be the last remaining members of that original uncorrupted species.

4. They don't exist at all. This theory holds that Tolkien was using them metaphorically to describe the thunderstorm in the mountains. This seems unlikely to me since Gandalf later says they should find a "more or less decent giant" to close the gate of Goblin-town. He certainly seems to believe they're real.

I like the uncorrupted troll theory best myself but it's all very open to interpretation.


(This post was edited by Fredeghar Wayfarer on Nov 15 2013, 12:13am)


sauget.diblosio
Tol Eressea


Nov 15 2013, 1:32am

Post #24 of 28 (138 views)
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I liked them quite a lot in the book. [In reply to] Can't Post

That short passage made quite an impression on me when i first read it in junior high. I still remember how i wondered if what Bilbo saw was real, or if it was just a trick of the lightning, mists and rain. It was very evocative.

I thought the way PJ handled it was just terrible. Not one iota of subtlely was there on the screen. It was fine at first-- the stone giants looked great, although i thought them to be entirely too massive. But then the dwarves are running aroung on them, somehow not falling off as they smash into each other and the mountain itself, and things just got ridiculous. This is where the film really commits to it's OTT shenanigans, and it kind of loses me in the process.


Plurmo
Rohan

Nov 15 2013, 3:16am

Post #25 of 28 (120 views)
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The Misty Mountains were reared by Melkor. [In reply to] Can't Post

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that originally there was not enough geological activity for him to rise his fence against Oromë from natural means alone. So, my tentative tale begins, Melkor went to the depths of the earth and there created these giants of rock and put in them the gift of ambition and told them that there would be a time when a great cloud would spread from North to South and inside that cloud there would be a marvelous secret that would make he who found it a god like Melkor and master of this new giant people. Then he went back to the north and threw a whole glacier into a volcanic pit and with a great wind sent the vapours southwards. Seeing the enormous cloud approach, the stone giants started to climb one above the other consumed by ambition. A pile of cracked, dead stone giants soon began to grow and grow till the most fierce giants at last reached the cloudy sky mounted on the ruins of their own people, but there instead of finding the secret only they found one another and made battle for supremacy. Eventually, even those few giants who prevailed found themselves alone and lost. Up there the cloud was so dense and hopeless that not even their ambition could guide them anymore. There at last they sat and closed their eyes in despair and in doing so slept.

Many years passed and from the primeval cloud only misty wisps can now be seen, swirling carriers of a secret as false and enduring as a whisper of Melkor. And in the wuthering lament of the wind the story of the rearing of the Misty Mountains is told to this day but no one who hears it knows the meaning of the words. But at times, when black clouds of thunderstorm pile above the peaks and lightning licks the face of the mountain, here and there it lashes through the edge of the closed eyelid of a sleeping stone giant, who wakes in wrath and rouses to claim his divine rights, only to find himself surrounded by others like him whose delusions of ambition did nothing but build a desolate fence for a long dethroned god. There they do battle in hate of one another and the few who survive, just as the showers relent into cold drizzle, close their eyes again into forgetfulness.

I know this is not a likely story, but this is Middle-earth, the Ring of Morgoth, where even the softest powder of rock carries the memory of the mightiest of the Valar, and, perhaps, his will.

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