Originally when I thought of designing trolls, I thought of tiny, misshapen creatures that seemed to be part of the earth itself. It was a given that they had large noses, hands and feet out of proportion with the rest of their pudgy bodies but other features such as hair was made of grass, moss or tree branches, that their skin could blend in with bark or rock and their clothing was meant to further this camouflage. So I had these ideas, from the beginnings based on illustrations from children’s stories and legends.
Doing some research I found that during great war events, where mountains were bombed, there were large figures that seemed to be a part of the mountains themselves, emerge and run across open fields and forests for cover. These were labelled mountain trolls. Big foot, sasquatch, mountain troll, giant? I hadn’t put trolls in this category before. But the fact that they remain hidden, content to blend, rather than take over, makes them less ominous than ones depicted in stories of their smaller selves.
Giants, on the other hand, were in my mind, always beings on a grand scale, but somehow also not quite human like. I pictured them with fangs, with horns, their hands and toes with claws instead of nails. The use of tree branches for limbs, rocks and grasses for hair and skin seemed a natural choice when drawing design.
Strength and giantism were obvious pairs. Did they eat people? Were ogres giants? Are giant mountain trolls giants? Were they beautiful? That’s where it gets tricky.
Scandinavian gods and goddesses seemed to have taken turns being both enemies and lovers of giants. Their offspring were forced to take sides when there were wars. Odin, Vili and Ve were sons of the giantess Bestla. Thor is son of Odin and the Giantess Jord. We get our idea that Vikings wore horned helmets from Thor’s comment mocking his brother Loki that soon women would be fashioning horns on their heads and wearing beards or men shaving their beards and trimming their horns.
Was the minotaur a giant? Is Stonehenge the remains of a giant castle? Were the Fomorians of Scotland the last of the Earth’s Giant race? Oh, yes, and how do you define Giant beauty? Let’s put that into perspective. What did the gods look like? The quick answer is “us”. But, when you describe someone especially beautiful, fit, attractive in a hypnotizing way that is beyond humanly possible, you get godlike. So if creatures that were the handsome vampires of the immortal world fell for giants, they surely must have been strikingly beautiful.