What are Giants?


     Numerous Norse myths describe many aspects of the giants, but little physical description of them exists. The one thing that we know: Norse giants were horribly misportrayed in the recent Thor movie. (What the hell were they thinking?)

     Giants were not all twisted, inhuman, monstrous, nightmarish horrors. All of the first women were giants. Buri and Bor both married giantesses, as did numerous Vainir and Asier. Many giants were smooth, well-spoken, very honorable, and well-mannered. Many giant women were described as incredibly beautiful. Some giants lived in great palaces of magnificent opulence. Giants were great and skilled craftsmen, especially with masonry; if they could build two great walls around Asgard, then we can only assume that they built their homes equally well.

     The giants didn't start out well, or at least, not civilized. Ymir was reportedly totally evil; he was noted for three great evil acts:

     1. Ymir bred the first giant children out of his sweat (in early Norse culture, for any man to resemble a woman, in any way, was a great insult - cross-dressing is the butt of numerous jests in the Norse myths). To have born his own children was percieved as ultimately evil and disgraceful.

     2. Ymir kept breeding numerous brutal giants, who made the Vainir feel threatened (although no unprovoked attacks by an army of giants are described anywhere). However, the hatred of both races against each other is well-documented.

     3. Ymir killed Buri, the first and greatest god, and the father of both the Vainir and the Asier (this was Ymir's greatest evil act). It was also the first act of murder.

     Ymir, whose true origin is unknown, and who was the largest giant ever, was slain by the vengeful grandsons of Buri: Odin, Vili, and Ve. When he was slain, so much of his blood was spilled that all of the other giants were drowned in the flood, save for Bergelmir and his wife, who escaped from drowning in a boat made of a hollowed tree, and apparently became a new Adam and Eve for all of the later giants (similar to Noah!).

     The story of Bergelmir and his wife fails to reconcile with the wives of the Vainir gods who were giantesses. Did they survive ... or were the gods washed away with them? Apparently not.

     The schism of racial hatred between the giants and the gods of Asgard is never fully explained. Nor should this be surprising. According to the sagas, in the ancient days of Scandinavia, family feuds were not to be questioned, but to be continued through the generations as a matter of family honor. Yet many gods and giant-women intermarried, and there are no stories resembling Romeo and Juliette in their mythology. I will not try to explain this; I'll leave that to philosophers. But the heads and hearts of the Norse gods were easily turned; some giant women had irresistible charms, so they couldn't all have been murderess monstrosities.

     The size (height) of giants also varied widely. After Ymir's corpse was torn apart, his skull formed the sky, his brains made all clouds, his bones made all mountains, and his blood made the oceans; he was huge. No other giant even came close to equaling his height. Utgard-Loki, the King of the Giants, was probably the second biggest, but he lived in a palace with many other giants; he couldn't have been that huge. Many giantesses bore children who were the sons of gods; simple anatomy presumes that there was some equality of size.

     Like the Norse gods, the giants changed from what they were in the beginning to what they became. The differences between Ymir and Utgard-Loki couldn't be more stark, and thus, in The VIKINGS! Trilogy, we meet three notable giants: Skaldi, Blathanoir, and Utgard-Loki: an early brute, a later common, friendly giant, and the sophisticated King of the Giants.

     As to their physical appearances, I suspect that the giants looked much like the gods, only larger. The brutes wore rags and furs, and the later giants wore fine clothes and boots, some were ugly, others attractive; to me, they sound like all of us humans (only bigger).