Some may appear as large and hairy humanoids, while others resemble humongous-sized people, and some may even have bestial features (i.e. protruding sharp molars). Giants generally live in tribes, although as their numbers dwindle, the tribes have merged into larger groups. A Giant tribe is led by the strongest giant, known as the Gurg. Giants average between twenty and twenty five feet in height; a notable exception was Grawp, who was considered small at only sixteen feet.
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."
- —Ron Weasley regarding giants[src]
Giants are not as intelligent as wizards and witches but definitely more so than trolls, given that they seem to be able to comprehend magic and are actually fond of its use (provided it isn't being used against them, of course). They have their own language, culture, and societal structure. They are capable of learning English, and presumably other languages as well, and read. When breeding, they pride themselves on having large babies, and disappointment would arise if the child was smaller than expected.
Unfortunately, most giants don't 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 is imperative that one must have 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.
Due to their lack of patience for resolving disputes verbally, they are not used to being cramped in small areas, 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.
Even without significant magical abilities, Giants are immensely powerful creatures. Gifted with overwhelming raw strength proportionate to their prodigious size, they are difficult to detain by wizards since most spells tend to have little to no effect upon them and may very well be 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. This is 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). 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.
Giants were once plentiful across the world, with at least a hundred different tribes.
First Wizarding War
During the First Wizarding War, they allied with Lord Voldemort and were responsible for some of the War's worst atrocities against the Muggle community. Aurors from the Ministry of Magic targeted and killed many giants and forced them into hiding in remote regions of the world. All of this left a deep loathing and fear from the wizard community.
Between the wars
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.
Wizard kind, 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. In 1995, following the return of Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore dispatched two half-giants, the Hogwarts gamekeeper, Rubeus Hagrid, accompanied by the headmistress of Beauxbatons, Olympe Maxime, to make an alliance with 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.
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 the Death Eaters. Hagrid and Maxime were forced to retreat after being attacked by the giants.
Second Wizarding War
In the opening days of the Second Wizarding War, giants were responsible for an attack on Muggles in the West Country of England, although the official explanation was that a hurricane had hit the area. The Ministry of Magic covered up the incident but informed the Muggle Prime Minister of the true cause behind the incident.
During the Battle of Hogwarts, many giants fought on the side of Lord Voldemort against the defenders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They mainly battled Grawp, a small giant who had fled the colony two years earlier, and the hippogriffs and Thestrals. 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 wizard kind 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 it is the latter, then the race of giants would be near extinct, with 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 and let them live in remote habitats. However, considering their long life cycle and extremely small population size, it is not likely under any circumstances that the giant species would have remained extant for long after the end of the war, unless they were given more space on their own.
Giants 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]
Due to giants being dangerously violent, they are 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. As such, wizards and witches tend to reject any connections with such fearsome creatures in general. Voldemort and his Death Eaters, however, see 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.
It is partly because of giants that fear of "part-humans" in the Wizarding World exist. Half-giants are looked down upon as outcasts of society and are 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.
Not all giants are "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. Grawp attended Dumbledore's funeral in 1997 and assisted the defenders of Hogwarts Castle during the Battle of Hogwarts. 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. Unfortunately, when the Gurg that they did not agree with raided the area looking for them, they refused to have anymore to do with Hagrid and Madame Maxime.
- Hengist of Upper Barnton
- Karkus' wife
- Morholt's brother
- Olympe Maxime (Half-giant)
- Rubeus Hagrid (Half-giant)
- Unidentified Giant in the Battle of Hogwarts (I)
- Unidentified Giant in the Battle of Hogwarts (II)
- Unidentified Giant in the Battle of Hogwarts (III)
- Unidentified Giant in the Battle of Hogwarts (IV)
- Unidentified Giant in the Battle of Hogwarts (V)
- Unidentified giant in the Blind Pig
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.
- Andros the Invincible was able to conjure a Patronus the size of a giant, although the shape it took was unclear.
- 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.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (Appears in concept artwork)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game) (A Giant Problem) - The first Giant that Minerva McGonagall fights has a book hanging from his belt.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 82
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
|Giants and Half-Giants|
Bran the Bloodthirsty ·
Death Eaters's Giant army in First Wizarding War ·
Grawp's father ·
Hengist of Upper Barnton ·
Morholt's brother ·
Unidentified giant in the Blind Pig