Giants are a race of creatures that are very old and have lived on Earth for thousands of years. According to the Wood Man's book "Giants of Old", they were the first things to live in the valley.
They exist in various subspecies, that greatly differ in size and appearance. The two main subspecies seen in the series are the ancient giants, and the Forest Giants.
Thousands of years ago, the ancient giants roamed the valley long before people or other creatures set foot there. These giants could reach heights up to the size of mountains.
Back then, Giants were the Earth's guardians. It was important that one giant must be sat atop the tallest mountain, which was a long-forgotten peak in the north at all times. On top, they would just sit and stare, being on "watch duty" for anything that might attack the Earth from up above. Young giants mostly served as guardians, and their guard duty could be millennia-long duty. According to legend, Jorgen, the giant that Hilda came across, was the last guardian in giant history.
However, as time passed, space for the giants started to get smaller as humans appeared and built their towns to live in. Although the giants were not evil and held no malice towards humans, their size resulted in several accidents where they unintentionally crushed the houses of the humans. This caused the people to riot against the giants, forcing them out of their world: the valley. In the end, the giants were forced to move away from their home, their current whereabouts unknown. Some thought that the giants jumped as high as they could and floated off into space. Only a few giants remained on Earth; Jorgen, who was still performing his duty as guardian, and the Forest Giants, who were the smallest giants and thus could hide in the woods.
In the series
Hilda encountered Jorgen when she found him waiting outside of her house when the clock struck midnight. Curious, she climbed up on him and asked him about his business. Jorgen revealed that he's been waiting for a friend to meet up with, where he's been waiting for thousands of years. Since he didn't find his friend yet, he assumed he got the date wrong. Hilda, thinking that Jorgen isn't the kind of person to forget something like this, assumed that this was all a setup and that he should stop waiting. Jorgen agrees with her and assumes that Hilda is right and that his friend is gone as well. He thanks Hilda for the advice in the morning, drops her off at her place, and walks off.
Shortly after the encounter with Jorgen, Hilda travels up a mountain to negotiate with the Elf King so that she can continue living in the woods. She discovers that the mountain is Illus, and is the friend Jorgen has been waiting for. Hilda tells her all about Jorgen arriving for days, with Illus explaining that the snow blocked her ears. Hilda then apologizes for telling Jorgen not to wait anymore, but jumps off Illus' ear when she tries to rub the snow out of it. Luckily, Jorgen catches her, and he reunites with his friend. Illus reveals that every other giants decided to hide or leave, but she couldn't bear to. Later, she arrived at the spot where she and Jorgen agreed to meet at and waited for him. Over time, greenery grew all over her body, and snow piled up on her upper body, causing her to become the mountain. She apologizes and Jorgen forgives her, amazed at the fact that she's waited four thousand years for him. Jorgen and Illus hug, and walk off into the distance, holding hands.
Some time after the Elf King declares the conflict between the humans and the elves over, Jorgen accidentally stomps on Hilda's house causing it to crumble. He and Illus do not realize what they did. Hilda decides to let the conflict slide, seeing how happy the two are. Jorgen and Illus kiss on a cliff, then, holding hands, they jump off into the sky, where they vanish.
Later, after Hilda and her family move into Trolberg, Hilda hangs up a colored drawing of Jorgen and Illus on a billboard in her new bedroom.
In the episode "Chapter 6: The Nightmare Spirit", during Hilda's bet with David's Marra to overcome the nightmares she gave her so that she won't make anymore nightmares for David, she attempted to create a forest giant in her dream that wanted to eat her. However, Hilda pointed out that forest giants do not eat people and asked the giant if he's trying new things because his "life's in a rut" as well as pointed out that filling that crater is not eating people. After Hilda was thrown and landed on a woff, David's Marra watched her from inside the giant's eye and wondered what scares Hilda, but then remembered her secret that she told the Rat King.
Two mountains are named after giants in the graphic novels. The reason for this is unclear.
In the graphic novel "Hilda and the Midnight Giant" however, there are two pages in the back of the book dedicated to the Giants of Old, with their names and a brief description. "Hilda's Book of Beasts and Spirits" likewise contains an entry about the various giants.
|Fjällmarr||Father of horses and dragons. Wilder and less forgiving than his fellow giants, he was a great antagonist of the little people, who feared him greatly.|
|Aldinn||Looked to by the other giants as a leader of sorts. He was the first to take the leap and leave the valleys for good.|
|Hár||The oldest of the last generation of giants, and by far the largest. His ancient beard was home to a thriving alien ecosystem. Many of the stranger creatures that wander the Earth first appeared when they tumbled out of it.|
|Valfreyja||Gardener and planter of trees. The first mountains were sculpted in her appearance, and she planted the forests that cover most of the Wilderness.|
|Halldór||Descended from a line of great warrior giants, he was actually one of the most gentle. He was greatly sympathetic to the little people, and is the giant most fondly remembered in their tales. He did not leave with the others and it is unclear what became of him.|
|Jørgen||The last guardian summoned to his duty at a young age. Jørgen has served as the Earth's watchman for perhaps thousands of years.|
|Myrkr||A mysterious and shadowy giant associated with ill health and bad omens. Despite this, he was terribly nice and a bit of a practical joker.|
|Kald||The winterbringer. Usually only seen during blizzards as a vague and colossal shadow. It is unclear if she is made of snow or simply caked in it.|
|Heimskr||Had one eye and a chilly head.|
|Sigmund||A cousin of Jørgen's and a rival to Aldinn's leadership. He was known for his long, luxurious fur which he washed twice a day in the sea.|
|Jaðarrokk||Lived deep within the Mountains of Misfortune. He rarely saw the other giants, preferring the company of his six extra heads.|
|Drib||Kald's older (yet smaller) brother.|
|Björg||The outcast of the group. He was fearful of the other giants and not well liked. When the others left, he went into hiding. Trolls and Nisse are descended from him.|
|The Knolem||A mean-spirited, living hill|
|Forest giants||The closest living relatives to the giants of old.|
|The Ice Man||Unrelated to the giants. It is made of pure ice and is sometimes seen walking slowly across the plains.|
|Bliða||The smallest of the true giants. She didn't feel the others took her seriously enough.|
|Brekkus the Thunderwurm||Cursed with an unfortunate appearance, Brekkus struck fear into the little people and made the other giants uncomfortable.|
|Einarr||Fascinated by how he could affect the landscape, he would spend his nights editing rivers, moving rocks and replanting trees, just to see how the people would react in the morning.|
|Gertl||The smartest of the giants and the most fun to be around. She once decided to see how long she could balance an enormous boulder on her head. The legends say it never fell off.|
|Illus||A most loyal and patient giant. She waited hundreds of years, rooted in the ground as a mountain, for Jørgen, her lover, in oredr to be with him foreverafter.|
- Chapter 1: The Hidden People (cameo, debut)
- Chapter 2: The Midnight Giant
- Chapter 6: The Nightmare Spirit (dream)
- Chapter 11: The House in the Woods