Friday Favourites: Giants
By Anne Perry
Posted on July 8, 2016 in Friday Favourites, Fun Stuff with tags
Giants! They’re big, sometimes they eat people, and sometimes they’re friendly (like the BFG, who inspired today’s post). Today the team chooses their favourite giants, because of course we all have favourite giants. Who doesn’t?
You know the guy: he’s big and he’s covered in eyeballs. I mean, literally – he has 100 eyeballs distributed about his person. The most famous story about Argus is that Hera charged him with guarding a white calf (that she knew happened to be one of Zeus’ many, many nymph paramours in disguise) so that Zeus couldn’t get at her. Hera figured she was in good shape, since Argus had so many eyes that they couldn’t all close at the same time, so nothing could sneak past him. Zeus, however, disguised himself as a shepherd, cast a spell on Argus and then killed him (sorry, Argus!), because nothing comes between Zeus and his lady-disguised-as-a-cow.
Hera was upset enough that she immortalized Argus by placing his eyes in the feathers of the peacock’s tail, which is a pretty good epilogue to a sad ending.
This is sure to be a popular choice, but my favourite giant (well, half-giant) is Hagrid. Hagrid forms a strong attachment to Harry from the off and is the first person to celebrate Harry’s birthday with him. He is maligned and mistrusted throughout the books because of his affinity with quite formidable creatures, but ultimately proves himself to be a stalwart and steadfast friend. Hagrid has a risky teaching style; if I were ever to attend Hogwarts (and believe me, I’m still hoping this happens), I would have to pass up his Care of Magical Creatures lessons, but would feel respect for those about to face injuries from a batch of blast-ended skrewts.
The giant from Jack and the beanstalk
As a kid I was terrified of the giant at the top of Jack’s beanstalk. As I’ve grown older I’ve come to feel a little sorry for him – maybe even feel a kinship with him. After all, he’s just a giant dude, going about his business, being giantly, sitting in his castle, calling out for the blood of Englishmen and saying he’ll use their bones to make his bread. Kind of fair enough if they’re intruding and trying to steal his stuff, right? I’d be the same! He didn’t deserve his end (Jack cuts down the beanstalk and our giant friend falls to his death, whilst Jack and his ma live on the riches they stole for him).
The giant from Game of Thrones
Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun is (I am assured) the name of the giant wildling in Game of Thrones seasons five and six. He’s the reason many battles are won. He breaks down gates and mows down Walkers with one arm swing. I have to wonder why they don’t just send him in first to do a mass clear up before sending the troops in.
Sadly he seems to be the only giant, though it’s not confirmed that he’s the last of his kind. There might be more north of the wall somewhere. I have my fingers crossed for a massive giant army marching down south and squashing the buggers at Kings Landing.
The Grawp from the Harry Potter books, not the CGI mess from the movies. Yeah, he was a bit violent and yes, he banged up Hagrid a lil, but his heart was in the right place and he is kind of sweet… to Hermione at least. Plus he helped defeat Voldemort’s army. One of my favourite bits from the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts was when people were throwing bits of food into Grawp’s mouth through the window – it was a really lovely signifier that the divisions between races had been broken down to fight against a common enemy. Plus, he’s Hagrid’s brother – and we all love Hagrid.
There is nothing better than a (kinda) articulate giant tree, so I’m going for the oldest creature in Middle Earth, Tree Beard, the Ent. Guardian of the endangered forests, green crusader, protector of hobbits… Wouldn’t we all be better off if we became more ‘treelike’?