Episode 82: Solitary Fae: Giants
The folklore of giants in a nutshell, how I reimagined them for my writing, and this faery translated to Afrikaans.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2023 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about giants in folklore here.
Get the transcript here.
Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
This episode is brought to you by my Dark Court Sisters book series. Available in ebook, paperback and audiobook. Three sisters. Three destinies. Three ways to destroy the world. Go to ronelthemythmaker.com/darkcourtsistersseries for more.
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We’re continuing our exploration of Solitary Fae.
Today’s Faery: Giants
Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel by Ronel
As with humans, there are different races of giants. There are those who are more human-like, such as Orion, who mingled with humans and gods alike. And then there are those of superhuman proportions such as Typhon, who sometimes appeared as a tornado to the mortal gaze as the many heads, snakes and other protrusions from his body is just too much for the mortal mind to grasp. But the true giants of Greek mythology, the Gigantes, are the children of Gaia and Uranus when Kronus castrated his father and his blood fell to the earth. These giants are often confused with the Titans, but they had their own war with the Olympians – which they lost – and were then buried beneath volcanoes and are the cause of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
Moving from Greek mythology to Norse, the Jotnar are a race of giants who are in turns in conflict with the gods of Asgard and their allies. They live in Jotunheim – giant land. There are different kinds of giants: frost giants, fire giants, mountain giants and sea giants. Aegir, the sea god, is a giant. And so is Loki. Even Loki’s children the wolf Fenrir and the sea serpent Jormungand are giants in animal form. These giants are capable shape-shifters, as Loki continuously shows in tales about him. And though they are at times allies to the Aesir and Vanir (the gods), when Ragnarok arrives it will be because their mutual hatred cannot be contained any longer. The fire giant Surt who is the guardian of the fiery realm of Muspelheim will lead an army of fire giants to set the world ablaze.
In Celtic tradition, though, as the Tuatha de Danann grew smaller and became the fae, the heroes of the time became bigger and bigger until they became giants and gods. Bran the Blessed is one such hero. The Cailleach is usually depicted as a giant crone who shaped the landscape when rocks fell from her apron, and so mountains and valleys were created.
Giants can be found all over the world, though, and were a favourite of medieval tales. They are always huge, strong and vaguely human in appearance. They range from malevolent to playful, from enjoying human flesh to befriending humans.
Just remember that they can sometimes forget their own strength, so look out for yourself before you end up like the Cornish lad who died when his giant friend tapped him friendlily on his head.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an Origin of the Fae: Giants
Giants prefer to live in their own realm within Faerie where they cannot be bothered by silly humans seeking to steal their treasures – or certain fae who want to fight them for the chance to brag that they’ve beaten a giant.
Giants are excellent shape-shifters and can come in any size and form. When they have to be in the mortal realm for some reason or another, some appear as tornados or hurricanes, while others are fine by going unnoticed in the form of birds.
Though they are Solitary Fae, they have carved out a home in Faerie free from the Courts.
As a little bonus, let’s look at this faery translated to Afrikaans: reuse
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
Remember that you can get a transcript of this episode in the description. If you’re new to the podcast, why not go and grab your free copy of Unseen, the second book in the Faery Tales series, on my website ronelthemythmaker.com? Loads of folklore, magic and danger await! Take care!
You can now support my time in producing the podcast (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.
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No-one writes about the fae like Ronel Janse van Vuuren.