Giants and Ogres In Storytelling

Jack and the Beanstalk

Giants and ogres are central archetypes in the fairytale cast. Though similar, they’re not exactly the same.


Giants are not identical with ogres but they share characteristics, stories and meaning. Giants are big. That’s their defining feature. Ogres have a massive appetite. That’s their defining feature, and in true fairytale fashion, their body is an outworking of their inner story.

Ogre stories are related to the Oedipal plot, about the battle of power between fathers and sons.

The songs and stories that feature ogres and cannibal devils and other monstrous eaters raise questions about the very nature of desire and our ways of expressing it: do our appetites make us monstrous?

— Marina Warner, No Go the Bogeyman

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