Stone Giants of Caradhras!

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Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:57 am

So, here's an idea I came up with while reading a TOR.N discussion about the LotR chapter: "The Ring Goes South."

The question was to whom the "fell voices on the air" belong during the Fellowship's attempt at Caradhras.

Boromir considers that, similarly to the gloomy storms that Sauron supposedly controls in the Mountains of Shadow, the blizzard they encounter may be more of the same. Gandalf does not discount this idea, but Gimli points out that "Caradhras was called the Cruel, and had an ill name... long years ago, when rumour of Sauron had not been heard in these lands."

The description of the storm is as follows:
"The wing whistled and the snow became a blinding blizzard...The Company halted suddenly, as if they had come to an agreement without any words being spoken. They heard eerie noises in the darkness round them. It may have been only a trick of the wind in the cracks and fullies of the rocky wall, but the sounds were those of shrill cries, and wild howls of laughter. Stones began to fall from the mountain-side, whistling over their heads, or crashing on the path beside them. Every now and again they heard a dull rumble, as a great boulder rolled down from hidden heights above.

'We cannot go further tonight,' said Boromir. 'Let those call it the wind who will; there are fell voices on the air; and these stones are aimed at us.'

'I do call it the wind,' said Aragorn. 'But that does not make what you say untrue. There are many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs, and yet are not in league with Sauron, but have purposes of their own. Some have been in this world longer than he.' "

Taking Gimli's observation about Caradhras, and the description of the storm upon the mountain, I believe the culprits may be stone giants. This continuity with The Hobbit makes some sense, considering that echoes of that earlier journey are sometimes heard in LotR; in the Fellowship particularly. Also, stone giants would supposedly come from the mountain upon which they resided. If we assume that their temperament and manner would also be affected by the nature of the mountain from which they came, then it is safe to say that stone giants from "Caradhras the Cruel" would not be a very pleasant sort.

Of course, this is not a completely sensible fit. Aragorn's words would seem to discount the idea of giants (at least two-legged ones) while "shrill cries" don't sound very giant-y.

Anyway, food for thought!

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:12 am

An interesting thought Forest, one that had not occurred to me before.

I think its certainty one of these interpretations that can sit in the readers mind perfectly fine and fit.

What I loved about that bit in the book, and therefore loathed about PJ's take, was the unknown- was it Sauron, the mountain itself, or some independent force like the giants? Yet Pj just makes it Saruman- and worse the Company immediately know its him Mad 


"There are many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs, and yet are not in league with Sauron"

Sadly not in PJ's- where all evil seems to stem from Sauron alone Mad His ME is a small, small place.

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:39 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:An interesting thought Forest, one that had not occurred to me before.

I think its certainty one of these interpretations that can sit in the readers mind perfectly fine and fit.

What I loved about that bit in the book, and therefore loathed about PJ's take, was the unknown- was it Sauron, the mountain itself, or some independent force like the giants? Yet Pj just makes it Saruman- and worse the Company immediately know its him Mad 


"There are many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs, and yet are not in league with Sauron"

Sadly not in PJ's- where all evil seems to stem from Sauron alone Mad His ME is a small, small place.
This must be a film-only problem. Ambiguity and subtlety do not play so very well on-screen sometimes. At least not if one wishes to present an easy-to-follow storyline for a large and diverse audience. (read: blockbusters)
I like that you brought up Peter Jackson and the film, as it reminded me of my first reading LotR after I saw the film, and how strangely different this section was from the movie.
I think I remember structuring the story in my head as completely separate from the film while reading. The idea of sinister forces holding the pass from the Fellowship was vague, but had a certain allure visually. The fact that these sounds are coming in through a blizzard in the dark is enough to give you the chills while reading. study 
To be clear, I don't mean horror chills. Rather, the exciting little goosebumps of those grin-madly-while-squirming-under-the-covers-for-a-moment thrills that are unique to the experience of reading an epic book in bed on a rainy night. (Ah, Harry Potter series, how I miss you).


By the by, if these forces could in fact be stone giants, it begs the question of why Tolkien felt the need to keep them hidden from sight in LotR. After all, it is rather odd that the giants from The Hobbit do not appear anywhere else in the canon. It's not as if they're a bunch of talking purses. Wink

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:00 am

it begs the question of why Tolkien felt the need to keep them hidden from sight in LotR- Forest

I expect from a writing point of view it means he doesn't have to answer any questions about them- did they take sides in the war? If not why not? ect
Whereas the Caradhras scene doesn't eliminate the prospect of them still being about- it just keeps it vague, as nature elements separate from Sauron or anyone else.

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by malickfan on Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:23 pm

Hmm, I do remember reading that passage and thinking of the stone Gaints, the ambiguity definitely plays into their appearance in The Hobbit, but I'm not sure if I like the idea of them appearing in LOTR or not.

That said I came across this in Hammond and Scull's LOTR Readers Companion (excellent book btw), :

'It was said in ancient days some gaints were building The White Mountains as a wall to keep Men out of their land by the sea, one of them called Tarlang tripped and fell on his face as he was carrying a heavy load of rocks on his head he broke his neck and was killed. The other Gaints used his body to complete the wall at that point, but left his neck lying southward, leading to the three mountains of the spur Dol Tarlang 'Tarlang's Neck, Cul Veleg 'Bigload' and Cul Bin 'Little Load'...'

Page 536, 2008 edition.

(An extract from the second of two versions, both cited from Tolkien's unpublished 'Nomenclature of The Lord of The Rings')

Granted it's supposed to be a myth, but it does tie in with the idea of Gaints in the mountains (In The Return of The Shadow if I remember correctly early pot notes for LOTR suggest Stone Gaints were to appear in the Black Mountains of Ond (Later Gondor).

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Radaghast on Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:31 pm

I think the giants are simply an unfortunate snag in continuity; the one notable aspect that Tolkien couldn't rewrite to fit in with LotR without either disappointing TH readers or creating a an elaborate history for the giants. But they don't have a lot of bearing on the story. If not for Gandalf's remark about getting a giant to help him block a passageway, one could just chalk it up to dwarven superstition.

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Eldorion on Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:05 pm

I always kind of liked the idea that it was the mountain itself trying to block the Fellowship for its own reasons. Smile You raise an interesting point about the possibility of giants though.  I had not thought about that before.  However, I've always imagined the giants of The Hobbit (and by extension the rest of Middle-earth, were they to appear there) as being not dissimilar to trolls, rather than the stone mechas of the film.  Actually, my mental image of them is probably based on the descriptions of giants in Harry Potter since I read Order of the Phoenix and The Hobbit for the first time less than a year apart from each other. Razz
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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:08 pm

The troll thing raises an interesting point- around my part of the world, and Im sure Fjordia too, some hills and mountains are said to be sleeping or dead trolls.
At what point is a very big troll mistaken for a stone giant?

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Ringdrotten on Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:05 pm

I hadn't thought about this either, but I like the idea Very Happy Whether they were stone giants or not, the next time I read this part I'll picture giants somewhere Smile

Petty - you're quite right, according to some old superstitions mountains are either sleeping or dead trolls Smile

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:11 pm

thats interesting about the stone giants.

when I imagine the mountain its like a haunted place rather than actual Beings or creatures, I think the fell voices were the wind itself being given a voice by the place. The mountain having an anima, the rocks absorbing Sarumans ill will, or Sarumans 'magical' voice awakening fell nature spirits.

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:00 pm

Are there any Stone Giants at all? Or is it a case of mistaken identity. Trolls are stone, get a huge troll you've got a giant made of stone.

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Eldorion on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:02 pm

There's no indication in the books as to what the stone giants are at all.  I never imagined them as being made of stone (since as noted I modeled them after HP giants in my mind), but I can see why others would.  I'm not sure Tolkien even had a clear image of what they were supposed to be.  For what it's worth, Doug Anderson in The Annotated Hobbit argues that the stone giants were probably a type of troll.  He also notes that in LOTR Appendix F Tolkien makes a reference to "stone-trolls" in the west of Middle-earth who spoke "a debased form of the Common Speech", but little more is said of them. I'd assume that Tom, Bert, and William were intended (presumably only in later revision) to be stone-trolls, though.


Last edited by Eldorion on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:06 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Radaghast on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:03 pm

They'd have been hard to account for in LotR. Are they good, evil or neutral? Would Sauron been able to use them "to terrible effect"? Etc.

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by bungobaggins on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:04 pm

I think the stone giants would be chaotic neutral.
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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Radaghast on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:27 pm

With +5 to stomp attack Razz
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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:30 pm

And a lot of sunblock in their talking purse of holding.

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Radaghast on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:39 pm

In the world of D&D, trolls and stone giants are definitely distinct. Maybe they trade with each other...

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Re: Stone Giants of Caradhras!

Post by Yavanna on Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:38 am

Ahhh, "Fell cries upon the wind", always led me to believe that there might have been a few Yeti up there residing at the top of the mountain, but I read it as the mountain itself was alive and reacting.
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