- "All was well, until one day they met a thunderstorm—more than a thunderstorm, a thunder-battle. You know how terrific a really big thunderstorm can be down in the land and in a river-valley; especially at times when two great thunderstorms meet and class. More terrible still are thunder and lightning in the mountains at night, when storms come up from East and West and make war. The lightning splinters on the peaks, and rocks shiver, and great crashes split the air and go rolling in tumbling into every cave and hollow; and darkness is filled with overwhelming noise and sudden light. Bilbo had never seen or imagined anything of the kind. … 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, or splintered into little bits with a bang. Then came a wind and a rain…. 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."
- —Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill And Under Hill"
The origins of Giants is unknown as is the exact time they began appearing in the Middle-earth; however, but it seemed that they entered the history of the peoples of Middle-earth in the Third Age.
In the HobbitEdit
In The Hobbit, they are described as hurling rocks at one another as in a game, during a violent thunderstorm. Bilbo, Gandalf, and the thirteen Dwarves, if they actually saw them, were the only ones Tolkien mentioned as ever having seen them. Their physical form was not explained, nor was much else about them, and the entire passage indicates that the Giants may have been a metaphor for violent lightning strikes and their resultant thunder.
These Giants inhabited the Misty Mountains. It is never stated whether they occurred elsewhere. In The Hobbit, Thorin and Company encounter a "storm-giant" thunderstorm in their trek through the Misty Mountains. The Giants are not in allegiance with the Goblins, however, and do not necessarily appear evil, although they seem far capable of it and very powerful.
In The Lord of the RingsEdit
Gandalf later remarked that he would like to find 'a more or less decent giant' to block several of the orc caves.
Giants were only witnessed by Bilbo and the thirteen dwarves who were passing that way, and this information could only be found in the Red Book of Westmarch. Giants were also mentioned in passing at the beginning of chapter 3 of The Fellowship of the Ring.
Portrayal in AdaptationsEdit
Giants appear in the Peter Jackson film These stone giants were depicted as fighting each other as well as throwing rocks. They appeared as hewn from stone, they appear as the size of mountains, and indistinguishable from a cliff-face when still, they are often mistaked from mountains.
In the video game, they are represented as humanoid creatures made out of stone, who throw stones at Bilbo and unwittingly help him escape.
They appear in Battle for Middle-earth II, as the Goblins can recruit them. They seem to have a reddish tinge to them and throw the largest boulders in the game, being the ultimate Goblin long-range siege engines.
Though normally content in their dangerous pursuits (though only dangerous to non-Mountain Giants) and often neutral towards other species, a few had an unusual alliance with the Goblin king Gorkil, who promised them more interesting 'targets' for the boulders which they hurled.
Also, Angmar convinces other Mountain giants to fight for them, possibly suggested or arranged by Rogash. These can be summoned by Thrall Masters in specific missions and by their respective Tier 3 power (calls two Giants).
They also appear in the video game, where the three heroes must kill one named Bargrisar, who was corrupted by Agandaûr. It is said that they aren't aggressive towards the inhabitants of Middle-Earth, with the exception of Bargrisar.
Behind the scenesEdit
Tolkien's giants were probably based on the Jotun of Norse mythology which are similar in strength and bestial.