The Hobbit: The Art of Writing: Stone Giants

Two sentences. That’s all the description in The Hobbit of the stone-giants.

When [Bilbo] 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 (68).


If we don’t get blown off, or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked sky-high for a football (68).

I didn’t know dwarves knew about soccer, but I digress. 

As I was saying, that is all we get about stone-giants in The Hobbit, yet these two sentences opened up a whole other world for me when I was young. I saw them, heard them, and imagined so much more about them. If you would have asked me a year after reading this book for the first time what stood out to me, I would certainly have said the stone-giants. I don’t know what piqued my interest about this little detail—maybe I was reading on a dark and stormy night? Whatever it was, this, for me, is one of the most vivid scenes in the whole book. I believe this is so because I created this section of Tolkien’s world in greater detail than almost any other. I gave the giants faces and personalities and life. The giants’ game went on in my mind much longer than two sentences. 

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