Giants

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Giant by Mike S Miller ©

Giants are a race of sentient humanoids which once lived in various regions of the known world but now live only in northern Westeros beyond the Wall. The people of the Seven Kingdoms believe them to be extinct.[1][2]

Biology

See also: Images of Giants

Giants generally grow between ten[3] to fourteen feet tall.[2] They are capable of great feats of strength such as wrenching the bars of an iron gate apart.[4] They are covered by a shaggy pelt of fur that is thicker below their waists than above. The fur of older giants becomes grey and streaked with white. Their heads are thrust forward from their shoulder blades. They have squashed-in faces with square teeth and tiny eyes amidst folds of horny flesh. Their eyesight is poor and they snuffle constantly, smelling as much as they see.[5]

Giants have sloped chests, and their lower torsos are about half again as wide as their upper torsos. Their arms hang lower than a man's, while their legs are shorter than their arms, ending in splayed and horny feet that need no shoes even in the coldest weather.[5] According to Osha, female giants look similar to males, both being bearded.[3]

Culture

According to the stories of Old Nan, a servant at Winterfell, giants are outsized men who live in enormous castles, wield large swords, and wear huge boots.[5] Nan told the children of Lord Eddard Stark that wildlings consort with giants and ghouls, [6] and she also told the children about a man who escaped the castle of evil giants only to fall victim to Others.[7] Men believe that giants eat human flesh, and Nan claims that giants mix blood into their porridge and eat bulls whole.[8]

While hostile to men, giants are a shy folk[9] who use little technology. They wield huge clubs that are often no more than logs, though some tie boulders to the end to make crude mauls or use huge stone axes.[4] Giants ride mammoths as steeds[5] and are protective of the animals.[10][11] Giants speak the Old Tongue of the First Men,[12] referring to children of the forest as woh dak nag gran, or squirrel people.[13] Giants do not have kings, but Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg is considered their greatest living warrior.[5] In contrast to stories of bloodthirsty giants, Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun is a vegetarian.[8]

Giants in the north buried their dead, according to Maester Kennet's Passages of the Dead,[2] and some believe a King of the Giants is buried in the Great Barrow instead of the First King.[14] Giants roam freely and reside beneath tall trees or in caverns.[2] Scholars believe giants probably lived in the caverns beneath Casterly Rock, for instance.[15]

Thenns interact more with giants than other free folk tribes,[16] sharing usage of the Old Tongue. Some free folk believe that particularly large men in the north have giant blood, but there have been no recorded incidents of crossbreeding.[3] Some have theorized that the ancient mazemakers of Lorath[17] or the stoneborn of Skagos[18] descend from giants. There is a song about giants sung by free folk, "The Last of the Giants".[5]

House Umber of the Last Hearth depicts a roaring giant in shattered chains in their sigil.[3]

History

Essos

Giants once lived in parts of Essos; bones of giants have been found in caves beneath the Hills of Norvos[19] and in the Bone Mountains, for instance.[20] A circle of standing stones in the Velvet Hills is said to have been raised by giants.[21] Giants also may have once lived in Ib.[22]

The Jhogwin, said to be twice as large as the giants of Westeros, once lived in the Realm of Jhogwin in the Krazaaj Zasqa. The last of these massive giants were slain by the Jogos Nhai.[20]

Belicho, a triarch of Volantis, was eaten by giants.[23] Yezzan zo Qaggaz, one of the Wise Masters of Yunkai, is said to have once owned a giant in his collection of slave grotesques.[24]

Westeros

Maesters believe that only giants and children of the forest inhabited Westeros before the arrival of the First Men, although the two species are not believed to have reached the Iron Islands.[25] Maester Herryk's History of the Kings-Beyond-the-Wall includes a free folk song about Gendel and Gorne mediating between a clan of children and a family of giants over a northern cavern.[2] Giants lived in the foothills of the Red Mountains and Massey's Hook,[9] and bones of giants are occasionally found in the westerlands.[26] Giants were not included in the Pact between the First Men and the children.[9]

John the Oak is said to have been fathered by Garth Greenhand on a giantess.[27] In some stories Garth was rejected in his effort to civilize giants, and another of Garth's sons, Brandon of the Bloody Blade, is said to have driven giants from the Reach.[27] The legendary Serwyn of the Mirror Shield saved Princess Daeryssa from giants.[28] Giants and merlings were the friends of the legendary Winged Knight.[29]

The northern legend of the last hero includes his companions encountering ravenous giants.[30] According to legend, Brandon the Builder used the help of giants to build Winterfell[31] and the Wall.[32] Joramun, a King-Beyond-the-Wall and contemporary of Brandon the Breaker, is said to have blown the Horn of Winter and woken giants from the earth.[33] An ancient ballad describes a King of Winter driving giants from the north,[34] and the heads of some giants are said to have ended up on the walls of Winterfell.[35] Lun the Last, King of the Giants, was killed by the Storm King Durran the Dour.[36]

The expedition of Redwyn from the Shadow Tower to Lorn Point fought giants during the reign of Dorren Stark, King in the North.[37] According to tales told by King Viserys I Targaryen to his grandchildren, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen once defeated a wildling host including giants, mammoths, and wargs north of the Wall.[38][39] The last reports of giants in Westeros are more than a century old.[2]

Songs of the free folk tell that giants were at one time more plentiful, but they were hunted by men and driven from their stone halls. Now unable to withstand the Others,[40] the several hundred remaining giants have joined the host of Mance Rayder became King-Beyond-the-Wall.[5] The Lord of Bones, a leader of the free folk, wears the broken skull of a giant as his helm.[41] Tormund Giantsbane is said to have slain a giant.[5]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Osha suggest to Bran Stark that the large stableboy Hodor has giant's blood, mentioning that her brother once killed a ten-foot-tall giant.[3] She later explains that giants, children of the forest, and other old races fled beyond the Wall.[42]

A Clash of Kings

Following the Battle of Oxcross, some House Lannister men attribute Robb Stark's success to the aid of giants.[43]

Lark tells Chett that giants and wargs are in the Frostfangs.[44]

A Storm of Swords

Jon Snow and the Night's Watch fighting giants © Marc Simonetti

Jon Snow sees hundred of giants in the rearguard of the host of Mance Rayder, King-Beyond-the-Wall, near the Milkwater.[5] Tormund tells Jon that his nickname of Giantsbane is inaccurate, and he instead claims to have been nursed by an unknowing giantess.[5] Tormund, Ryk, and Ygritte sing "The Last of the Giants" to Jon.[5]

During the Battle of Castle Black, giants use a sharpened tree as a ram. The men of the Night's Watch use arrows, barrels of burning oil,[4] and stones against them.[40] Donal Noye and Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg slay each other in the tunnel through the Wall.[4] Tormund tells Jon that a dozen giants were killed in the fighting.[40] Giants atop mammoths initially withstand the attack of King Stannis Baratheon's knights,[40] but some surrender along with Mance. Stannis is willing to allow giants to live in the Gift south of the Wall, as long as they kneel to the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and worship R'hllor.[45]

Arya Stark overhears that the ghost of High Heart dreamt of a man slaying a savage giant in a castle made of snow.[46]

A Dance with Dragons

Ser Godry Farring is known as Godry the Giantslayer for having killed a small giant in the battle beneath the Wall.[47] Jon Snow, now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, encounters Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun with a group of wildlings in a grove north of the Wall, but Leathers convinces them to avoid fighting.[8] Passing through the Wall, Wun Wun learns some words of the Common Tongue from Leathers, and the giant impresses Princess Shireen Baratheon. Wun Wun is fascinated with the fool Patchface.[48]

Val tells Queen Selyse Florent that near two hundred giants and eighty mammoths are in Tormund's host.[11] Because the mammoths are too large to pass through the tunnel at Castle Black, the giants and mammoths are sent east to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.[11][49] Wun Wun kills Ser Patrek of King's Mountain shortly before the mutiny at Castle Black.[49]

Bran notices skulls of giants in the cave of the three-eyed crow.[13] The boy learns from Leaf, one of the children of the forest, that giants are nearly extinct.[13]

Quotes

Long before the coming of the First Men, all Westeros belonged to the elder races—the children of the forest and the giants (and, some say, the Others, the terrifying "white walkers" of the Long Night).[50]
- writings of Yandel


Bran: Maester Luwin says there are no more giants. He says they're all dead, like the children of the forest. All that's left of them are old bones in the earth that men turn up with plows from time to time.

Osha: Let Maester Luwin ride beyond the Wall. He'll find giants then, or they'll find him.[3]

- Bran Stark and Osha


Perhaps magic was once a mighty force in the world, but no longer. What little remains is no more than the wisp of smoke that lingers in the air after a great fire has burned out, and even that is fading. Valyria was the last ember, and Valyria is gone. The dragons are no more, the giants are dead, the children of the forest forgotten with all their lore.[51]
- Luwin to Bran Stark


Noye and his men had been waiting within, behind a gate of heavy iron bars like the two Pyp had just unlocked. The two crossbows had gotten off a dozen quarrels as the giant struggled toward them. Then the spearmen must have come to the fore, stabbing through the bars. Still the giant found the strength to reach through, twist the head off Spotted Pate, seize the iron gate, and wrench the bars apart. Links of broken chain lay strewn across the floor. One giant. All this was the work of one giant.[4]
- thoughts of Jon Snow


The giants are almost gone as well, they who were our bane and our brothers.[52]
Leaf to Bran Stark


Shireen: He's a giant! A real true giant, like from the stories. But why does he talk so funny?

Jon: He only knows a few words of the Common Tongue as yet. In their own land, giants speak the Old Tongue.[48]

- Shireen Baratheon and Jon Snow

References and Notes

  1. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Dawn Age.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 64, Jon VIII.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
  6. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
  7. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 9, Arya III.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 39, Jon VIII.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: The Coming of the First Men.
  10. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.
  12. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 13, Bran II.
  14. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
  15. The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: Casterly Rock.
  16. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.
  17. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Lorath.
  18. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Stoneborn of Skagos.
  19. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Norvos.
  20. 20.0 20.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond.
  21. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  22. The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Ib.
  23. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 33, Tyrion VIII.
  24. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 26, The Wayward Bride.
  25. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
  26. The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
  27. 27.0 27.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach.
  28. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
  29. The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: House Arryn.
  30. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Long Night.
  31. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  32. The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch.
  33. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
  34. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
  36. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Durrandon.
  37. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  38. The Rogue Prince.
  39. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
  41. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 68, Jon VIII.
  42. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  43. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 38, Arya VIII.
  44. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 43, Jon V.
  45. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 76, Jon XI.
  46. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
  47. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
  48. 48.0 48.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
  49. 49.0 49.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
  50. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands.
  51. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
  52. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III.

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