This article is about one of the books from the Hilda series of graphic novels.
You may be looking for the Netflix-exclusive television series of the same name.
It is night, and Johanna and Hilda are drinking tea in their living room, when there is a knock at the door. When Hilda answers, she finds a tiny letter with a message that they have to move, or there will be consequences. Tired of the letters (it’s the sixth one already), Hilda writes a letter back to the mysterious senders.
When Hilda and Johanna are sleeping, the house is attacked by invisible creatures. They wreak havoc in the living room until Hilda chases them out with a broom. Outside, Hilda sees a Giant standing next to a mountain. She tries to warn her mom, but the giant leaves again before Johanna can see him. Johanna, scared by the attack, thinks they should move to Trolberg, but Hilda objects.
The following day, a voice wakes Hilda up. The unseen creature claims to be an elf. He instructs Hilda to sign some papers that will allow her to see them, since elves are normally invisible to humans. Hilda does as asked. The elf, now visible to Hilda, introduces himself as Alfur, and shows Hilda that there was an entire village of Elves just outside her house the whole time. The Elves have grown tired of the humans constantly walking through their village (which, while it doesn’t harm them, is still considered traumatic), and thus the new prime minister has promised to get rid of Hilda and Johanna. Hilda wants to speak with this prime minister, but Alfur insists that can’t be done. He will arrange a meeting with the mayor of the town for tomorrow.
That night, the giant comes back, and again Hilda fails to show him to her mom. In the morning, Hilda goes to the mayor, who is unwilling to listen to help her. Only the Prime Minister can change things now. When the mayor’s favorite pet cat Angelina, who is about to give birth, crawls in to Hilda’s hair, she threatens not to give her back unless the mayor tells her where the prime minister is. The mayor reluctantly agrees. With the information, Hilda sets out to see the Prime Minister. On the way to him, she is attacked by the Prime Minister’s cavalry, but Twig scares them off. Once at the house of the Prime Minister, Hilda is informed that the problem runs even deeper than she thought. She and her family are considered enemies of the king ever since the house they live in was build, and thus only the King himself can end the war. Hilda is at loss about what to do now, but Alfur promises her to take her to the King.
When the Giant comes back for the third night in a row, Hilda wants to know who he is. So she jumps out the window on a Woff, and flies to the giant. She lands on the giant’s head, and climbs down to his ear to talk to him. When asked why he is here, the giant claims he has been coming to the valley since a friend was supposed to meet him there. He is concerned that he hasn’t seen any other giants since he came to the valley. Hilda convinces him that perhaps the giant he was waiting for has left too, and there is no point in coming back. The giant agrees. He takes Hilda back to her home leaves.
Hilda is curious about the giants story, and goes to the Wood Man’s house in hopes that he has books about ancient giants. He does. From the books Hilda learns that the giant she met is named Jorgen, and that he is one of the giants that lived in the valleys before the days of men. Most giants fled into space when humans came, and got into conflict with the giants. Jorgen is still here because he spend the last few millennia at the tallest mountain in the North, as watchman of the Earth; a duty all giants shared. Hilda feels sorry for Jorgen.
The following day, Alfur takes Hilda up a mountain to the palace of the king. Hilda tries to get there faster by riding a Woff again, but it tries to shake her off and they both crash land in the snow, causing an avalanche. The avalanche reveals a hidden cave. When Hilda checks the cave, a voice from the mountain begins to speak to her. It turns out the mountain is actually a giant; the very giant Jorgen was waiting for. She was asleep, but awakens now, and it sends tremors all across the mountain. The palace of the elf king falls from it’s place, but Hilda saves it. She tells the female giant that Jorgen was here, but she missed him and he is probably gone now. The giant reaches for her ear, causing Hilda and the palace to fall off. They are saved however by Jorgen, who hadn’t left after all.
Jorgen and his girlfriend a reunited, and since Hilda saved the Elf King he declares the war between them over. But just when it seems all will be well, Jorgen’s friend accidently steps on Hilda’s house, crushing it without even realizing it. As she and Jorgen leap off a mountain to follow their fellow giants into space, Hilda decides that she and Johanna should move to Trolberg after all.
The final two pages of the novel show all the Giants of Old, with their names and description. Here we learn that the female giant is named Valfreyja.
Changes in the adaptation
- The animated adaptation adds two extra scenes that are not in the graphic novel:
- Johanna taking Hilda on a daytrip to Trolberg to convince her daughter they should move there. While in Trolberg, they visit their future house, and Hilda briefly meets Frida and David at their school.
- Hilda and Johanna packing their car with what they could salvage from the wrecks of their house, while the Woodman comes to say goodbye to them, and them settling into their new home in Trolberg.
- In the animated adaptation, Hilda briefly talks with the Elf King before the avalanche that reveals Valfreyja’s ear.
- Alfur goes with Hilda to Trolberg in the animated adaptation.
- In the graphic novel, Valfreya is the one who crushes Hilda's house. In the animated adaptation, this is Jorgen's doing.
- A minor one: in the animated adaptation, Hilda claims her great-grandfather build the house she now lives in. In the novel, it was her grandfather.
Awards and nominations
Hilda and the Midnight Giant won three awards:
- 2012: The British Comic Awards, Young People’s Comic Award.
- 2014: The Max & Moritz Prize for Best Comic Book for Kids
- 2014: The Gran Guinigi for Best Book Series.
- In July 2013, the German translation of "Hilda and the Midnight Giant" was featured in The Best 7 Books for Young Readers list released by Deutschlandfunk, the German public radio.