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"They're not meant ter live together, giants ... they can't help themselves, they half kill each other every few weeks."
Rubeus Hagrid[src]

A giant was a very large humanoid magical being which could potentially grow to approximately twenty-five feet tall, but other than their height, they greatly resembled humans. They were not as intelligent as wizards, but were capable of communication. Giants had their own language for communication, but sometimes spoke English.


Some appeared as large and hairy humanoids, while others resembled humongous-sized people, and some may even have had bestial features (i.e. protruding sharp molars). Giants generally lived in tribes, although as their numbers dwindled, the tribes merged into larger groups. A Giant tribe was led by the strongest giant, known as the Gurg.[2]

Giants average between twenty and twenty five feet in height; a notable exception was Grawp, who was considered small at only sixteen feet.[3]

Behaviour and traits[]

"Harry, they're just vicious, giants. It's like Hagrid said, it's in their natures, they're like trolls... they just like killing, everyone knows that."
— Wizarding prejudice against giants[src]
Giant3 dh

The appearance of a normal giant

Giants were overall not as intelligent as wizards and witches, but definitely more so than trolls. They seemed to be able to comprehend magic and are actually fond of its use (provided it isn't being used against them). They had their own language, culture, and societal structure.[2] They are capable of learning English,[3] and presumably other languages as well.[4] When breeding, they pride themselves on having large babies, and disappointment would arise if the child was smaller than expected.[3] Some giant parents even opted to leave their child if they were too small.

Unfortunately, most giants did not have the patience for long discussions and seem to prefer "simplifying" matters by killing their audience if the topic they brought proved too complicated. Because of this, it was imperative that one must have had gifts at the ready when trying to appease giants and take one's time, giving the giants the privilege of deciding what to do with what was offered.[2]

Giant's Helm WU

A Giant's Helm, used for battle

Due to their lack of patience for resolving disputes verbally, they were not used to being cramped in small areas with other people, and would fight against each other over the smallest matters, such as sleeping places and food. Even being a Gurg does not guarantee the complete loyalty of the tribe, as others may end up killing them to obtain the position, such as when Golgomath killed Karkus, summarising their characteristics of might makes right.[2]

Even without significant magical abilities, Giants were immensely powerful creatures. Gifted with overwhelming raw strength proportionate to their prodigious size, they were difficult to detain by wizards since most spells tend to have little to no effect upon them, and they may very well have been even stronger than dragons, as seen when six Ministry wizards came to subdue the half-giant, Hagrid. All of the stunning spells they sent at him only seemed to just bounce off.[5] This was particularly noteworthy, since Sirius claimed that nothing less of at least half a dozen wizards casting said enchantments at the same time can stun a full-grown dragon into submission.

However, similar to dragons, they may have certain weaker spots on their bodies, such as their eyes, as Olympe Maxime managed to subdue some of Golgomath's subordinates with the Conjunctivitis Curse (which attacks the eyes).[2] It also seems apparent that, while giants may be resistant to many spells, their skin appears to be no more resistant to non-magical trauma than regular wizards, as evidenced by the fact that Grawp - a full-blooded giant - was injured by the centaurs' arrows in the spring of 1996, despite there being no indication that their bows and arrows have any magical properties.[6]


There was a time when giants were a force to be reckoned with in the wizarding world; they were once plentiful across the world, with at least a hundred different tribes,[2] and they all frequently wreaked havoc.

Giants were very active in the United States of America during the 1920s, even frequenting wizarding speakeasies such as The Blind Pig.[7] In 1926, Newt Scamander saw a giant having a drink in The Blind Pig speakeasy in New York City.

First Wizarding War[]

Ron Weasley: "There aren't any left in Britain now, though."
Harry Potter: "What happened to them?"
Ron Weasley: "Well, they were dying out anyway, and then loads got themselves killed by Aurors."
— Discussion of giants during the Yule Ball[src]

During the First Wizarding War, the giants allied with Lord Voldemort. During the first war they were responsible for some of the War's worst atrocities against the Muggle community. It can be assumed they killed numerous Muggles during this time period, and maybe even wizards as well.

In retaliation, Aurors from the Ministry of Magic targeted and killed many giants. After large portions of giants were executed, the Ministry then forced the remaining giants into hiding. From that point onward giants took up residence in remote regions of the world.[8]

All of this left a deep loathing and fear from the wizard community. Wizards believed that giants were unstable creatures that just liked to kill, which, in fairness, was the general nature of some of them.[8] It also left giants with a distaste for wizards and a fear of them using magic against them. However, this fear of magic being used against them didn't completely erase their enjoyment of hurting them.

Between the wars[]

"Dumbledore wanted us ter take it very slow. Let'em see we kept our promises. We'll come back tomorrow with another present, an' then we do come back with another present — gives a good impression, see? An' gives them time ter test out the firs' present an' find out it's a good one, an' get 'em eager fer more. In any case, giants like Karkus — overload 'em with information an' they'll kill yeh jus' to simplify things. So we bowed outta the way an' went off an' found ourselves a nice little cave ter spend that night in, an' the followin' mornin' we went back an' this time we found Karkus sittin' up waitin' fer us lookin' all eager."
— Hagrid's mission to the giant colony[src]

The remaining giants retreated into a remote mountainous region in Northern Europe, and being cramped in such areas resulted in them killing each other for the most trivial matters or sometimes for nothing but sheer violence, reducing their numbers to around eighty in total. Muggle mountaineers who approach the giants' colony would meet their demise at the hands of these fearsome beings, but they were always written off as some kind of climbing accident.

Wizardkind, however, seemed to be satisfied with the giants out of their community as a whole and did not bother to monitor or exterminate them as long as they remained so.[8] In 1995, following the return of Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore dispatched two half-giants. The two-half giants were the Hogwarts gamekeeper (Rubeus Hagrid) and the headmistress of Beauxbatons (Olympe Maxime).[9]

Giant Colony

Hagrid and Madam Maxime on their mission

Their mission was to make an alliance with full-blooded giants and deny their forces to Voldemort when Cornelius Fudge refused to make an official approach on behalf of the Ministry of Magic. The pair travelled to a tribe north-east of Minsk to try and gain the friendship of the tribe, however, they were not alone in their efforts. Two Death Eaters, including Walden Macnair, had also arrived to try and convince the giants to rejoin Voldemort's forces.[2]

Hagrid and Maxime were doing well and were on good terms with the Gurg called Karkus. The Death Eaters, though, courted the favour of Golgomath and engineered an uprising. Golgomath killed Karkus, took his place as Gurg, and allied with the Death Eaters. After the remnants of Karkus were oppressed, Hagrid and Maxime were forced to retreat after being attacked by the giants.[2]

Second Wizarding War[]

"They've brought giants of their own!"
Aberforth Dumbledore at the start of the Battle of Hogwarts[src]

In the opening days of the Second Wizarding War, giants were responsible for an attack on Muggles in the West Country of England. The Ministry's official explanation was that a hurricane had hit the area and was responsible for the devastation. The Ministry of Magic secretly did inform Muggle Prime Minister of the true cause behind the incident.[10]

The trio escaping a giant at Battle of Hogwarts

A giant attacking Hogwarts and its defenders during the Battle of Hogwarts

During the Battle of Hogwarts, many giants fought on the side of Lord Voldemort. They fought against the defenders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. During the opening stage of the battle, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger came into direct contact with one.[11] It is unknown how the defenders of Hogwarts dealt with these giants, as most spells have no effect on them. In the second half of the battle, the giants mainly battled Grawp (a small giant who had fled the colony two years earlier), the hippogriffs, and Thestrals.[12]

It is not known what happened to them after the battle. The most likely theories are that the survivors returned to the northern colony, came to be accepted by wizardkind from Albus Dumbledore's attempt to offer them the hand of friendship, or were subsequently executed by Aurors and The Committee for Disposal of Dangerous Creatures for the part they played in the war.

If they were executed, then the race of giants would be near extinct. This would leave only Grawp and two half-giants remaining, but given Kingsley Shacklebolt's loyalty to Dumbledore, as well as the insistence of Harry, Ron, and Hermione (and likely eventually others after the Battle of Hogwarts) it is far more likely that wizardkind eventually wanted and managed to make peace and friendship with the surviving giants. The Ministry most likely let them live in remote habitats as long as they did not kill any Muggles or other creatures.

It is not likely that the giant species would have remained extant for long after the end of the war. They have an extremely small population size, because of the heavy casualties they suffered after the First Wizarding War. Furthermore, they are not meant to live in close quarters and end up killing each other as a result, thus downsizing the population even further. Unless they were given more space on their own they will become extinct in the near future.

After the war[]

After the Battle of Hogwarts, Minister for Magic Hermione Granger had a disturbing report of giants with "winged tattoos" in the Greek Seas, influenced by Voldemort's daughter Delphini who called herself "The Augurey".[13]

Within the wizarding world[]

Albus Dumbledore: "Extend them the hand of friendship, now, before it is too late, or Voldemort will persuade them, as he did before, that he alone among wizards will give them their rights and their freedom!"
Cornelius Fudge: "You — you cannot be serious! If the magical community got wind that I had approached the giants — people hate them, Dumbledore — end of my career —"
— Wizarding opinion regarding the giants[src]
Giant bell towers

A giant fighting for Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts

Due to giants being dangerously violent, they were feared and hated amongst the Wizarding World. This was further compounded when they joined forces with Voldemort and caused some of the most devastating catastrophes in magical history. As such, wizards and witches tended to reject any connections with such fearsome creatures in general.

Voldemort and his Death Eaters, however, saw the giants as valuable assets and recruited them for both wars. Albus Dumbledore attempted to bring them over as an attempt to strengthen inter-species bonding (as well as preventing Voldemort from utilising their immense strength for his army), despite Minister Fudge's absolute refusal of the idea. Fudge believed that if he even entertained the idea of approaching the giants, it would spell the end of his career.[14]

It was partly because of giants that fear of "part-humans" in the Wizarding World existed. Half-giants specifically were looked down upon as outcasts of society and were singled out as a subject of ridicule. When Rubeus Hagrid was outed by Rita Skeeter as a half-giant, many became frightened of him despite having known him for years, and some demanded his resignation. Olympe Maxime refused to publicly admit her heritage, even to a fellow half-giant.[9]

Not all giants were "bad". Grawp was taken from the mountain tribe by his half-brother Rubeus Hagrid and lived in the Forbidden Forest. Hagrid managed to civilise his half-brother to a degree and taught him some English.[8] Grawp attended Dumbledore's funeral in 1997[15] and assisted the defenders of Hogwarts Castle during the Battle of Hogwarts.[12] There were also some other giants who grew interested when Hagrid and Madame Maxime went to negotiate with them to live in harmony with wizards.[2] Unfortunately, when the Gurg that they did not agree with raided the area looking for them, they refused to have any more to do with Hagrid and Madame Maxime.[2]

Known giants[]

See also[]

Behind the scenes[]

  • Gigantic humanoids exist in the legends of many cultures worldwide. The giants of Harry Potter are most likely predominately based on the giants of English folklore, such as those in the fairy tale "Jack the Giant Killer".
  • According to W.O.M.B.A.T., giants may be cannibals, or giants may have very poor eyesight when compared with humans. Support for the latter is provided by the fact that Grawp needed to move his head close to see Harry and Hermione, and later to see the centaurs while in the Forbidden Forest.
  • Given the considerable size discrepancy between giants and humans, it is unknown how they are able to mate with the latter. A possible explanation is the Shrinking Charm.
  • Cormoran Strike, the protagonist of the detective series written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, bears the name of a giant.


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Notes and references[]

Giants and half-giants
Giant colony

Gurgs: Karkus (Former) · Golgomath
Fridwulfa · Grawp (Former) · Karkus's wife · Group of injured giants (Former)

Other giants

Bran the Bloodthirsty · Cyclops · Death Eaters' giant army in the First Wizarding War · Goliath · Grawp's father · Grawp's opponent · Hengist of Upper Barnton · Morholt · Morholt's brother · Unidentified giant in The Blind Pig
Unidentified giants at the Battle of Hogwarts: I · II · III · IV · V


Rubeus Hagrid · Olympe Maxime · Pronk