I was playing LOTR War in the North the other day. Despite its inaccuracy, there was one part where I had to fight a stone giant. I don't recall this from any of the books I've read, which are numerous. So I would like to know.

Where did giants come from? Are they Maia spirits like those of the Eagles and Ents? Do they originate from Melkor (Morgoth)?


Giants certainly do exist, however not much is known about them.

Giants occur in several of Tolkien’s works, but we never learn a great deal about them. Lúthien’s sleep-spell, already cited in reference to the beards of the dwarves (see p. 77), invokes ‘the neck of Gilim the giant’ and ‘the sword of Nan’ (BLT II.19) in its list of the longest things in the world, but little is known of either of these figures beyond the names.
The History of the Hobbit

In Tolkien's earlier works, he prominently features Giants, from Gilim mentioned above, to the giant who wanders Little Kingdom only to run into Farmer Giles. However, in his most famous work, Lord of the Rings (LR), Tolkien never had time for giants. Although the inclusion of creatures such as Trolls and Ents certainly suggests the possibility of the existence of "giants" in LR.

In early manuscripts, giants were certainly counted amongst the agents of Melkor:

At this point in the story the agents of Melko appear, the Úvanimor, ‘bred in the earth’ by him (Úvanimor, ‘who are monsters, giants, and ogres’, have been mentioned in an earlier tale, p. 75); and Túvo protected Men and Elves from them and from ‘evil fays’.
The Book of Lost Tales, Part 1

However, in the Parma Eldalamberon XIV it is mentioned that giants were later considered amongst Men.

Giants are clearly more prominent in early version of the Legendarium, however with the dissipation of the creatures, not much is known about them in the final, published works of Tolkien (at least during his life), their origins, however, are never made clear beyond them either being agents of Melkor or possibly men.

The stone giants from The Hobbit are discussed in this question.

  • from the context you've given I'd say that "the giant" was an epithet, like "Gorlim the unhappy". Is there more to the quote that makes it clearer that Gilim was indeed a creature that we might call a Giant, and not just someone very large? With a long neck? – Quasi_Stomach Jan 30 '18 at 18:28
  • I’d like to say yes, but as it says in the quote, little is known about the figures beyond their names, I’m also unsure as I don’t have my texts on me (I whipped up an answer quickly before leaving the house. Slightly better than a stub but certainly improbable). I’m led to believe it’s not an epithet based on the amount of online sources that claim him to be a Giant, furthermore, that would suggest there are other texts that he may be mentioned in, but at this point, I can’t say. – Edlothiad Jan 30 '18 at 18:32
  • Okay thanks for the clarification, but one last question; Are the Giants a part of whatever "order" that the Great Eagles and Ents are? – TheLastRingbearer888 Jan 30 '18 at 19:38
  • 7
    Giants are mentioned in The Hobbit as throwing rocks around in the Misty Mountains while the party cowers in the cave that turns out to be the front doorstep of the goblins. – Todd Wilcox Jan 30 '18 at 21:59
  • 1
    @Lexible it is a journal from the Elvish Linguistic Society part of the Mythopoetic Society. They published various unseen texts and descriptions on the linguistics in Tolkien's Legendarium. Although this answer is due for an update to improve details – Edlothiad Jul 19 '20 at 14:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.