"I is a nice and jumbly giant! I is the only nice and jumbly Giant in Giant Country! I is THE BIG FRIENDLY GIANT! I is the BFG. What is your name?" - The BFG

The BFG - or, to give him his full name, The Big Friendly Giant - is one of Roald Dahl's best-loved characters. He features in two of Roald's stories: Danny, the Champion of the World and, of course, The BFG.

In Danny, first published in 1975, he is the hero of a bedtime story told to Danny by his father - a story, Danny tells us, "that must have gone on for at least fifty nights." 

Seven years after his first appearance in print, The Big Friendly Giant became the star of his own story. Published in 1982, The BFG picks up on many of the character traits Roald first wrote about in Danny, the Champion of the World. In both books, The BFG catches dreams and stores them up in his cavernous home before sharing the good dreams with sleeping children. There are a few differences though: in Danny, The BFG is said to be "three times as tall as an ordinary man," whilst when Sophie first spots him in The BFG, she thinks he is "four times as tall as the tallest human."

What isn't in doubt is that The BFG is the smallest of all the Giants in Giant Country - but he is also the kindest. While the others rush off to gobble up 'human beans' every night, The BFG survives on a diet of snozzcumbers (yucky) and frobscottle (yummy, and with interesting side effects...), and teaches himself to write by reading Nicholas Nickleby by Dahl's Chickens. He speaks, as his friend Sophie says, "beautifully" - in an idiosyncratic way all of his own that we call 'gobblefunk.'

In 1989, The BFG was adapted for a UK TV movie, with David Jason voicing the Big Friendly Giant. A new film version of the story directed by Steven Spielberg is planned for release in 2016.

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The Grand High Witch

"My orders are that every single child in this country shall be rrubbed out, sqvashed, sqvirted, sqvittered and frrrittered before I come here again in vun year's time! Do I make myself clear?" - The Witches

Witches are all pretty scary. They live in plain sight, disguised as normal women, but their hatred of children (who smell to them of dogs' droppings) is all-powerful. Beneath their wigs and gloves and badly-fitting shoes, they are itching to get rid of any child unlucky enough to cross their path.

And The Grand High Witch is the worst of them all. She is, as Grandmother tells her grandson, their ruler. "She is all-powerful. She is without mercy. All other Witches are petrified of her." 

So, when The Grand High Witch descends on the same Bournemouth hotel where the boy is staying with his retired witchophile Grandmother - and brings with her the recipe for Formula 86 Delayed Action Mouse-Maker and a plan to wipe out all the children of England - she must be stopped...

In the 1990 film version of Roald Dahl's The Witches, The Grand High Witch was played by Anjelica Huston.

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The Oompa-Loompas

"'Of course they're real people,' Mr Wonka answered. 'They're Oompa-Loompas.'"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Oompa-Loompas feature in two of Roald Dahl's stories: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - which has since been adapted for two films, an opera and a stage musical - and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

The Oompa-Loompas are from Loompaland, which Mr Wonka describes as a terrible place. "Nothing but thick jungles infested by the most dangerous beasts in the world - hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles," he tells Charlie Bucket and the other Golden Ticket winners.

Loompaland is such a terrible place that when Mr Wonka invited the Ooompa-Loompas to come back to his Chocolate Factory, they leapt at the chance. Now they live and work there, helping Mr Wonka with his experiments and generally keeping his Chocolate Factory going. 

The Oompa-Loompas enjoy singing and dancing. They're always making up songs. Their favourite food is the cacao bean, the central ingredient in a bar of chocolate, and in the Wonka Factory they have access to as many cacao beans as they could possibly wish for.

In the original book, the Oompa-Loompas are described as "tiny" people with "funny long hair." The iconic visual representation of them having orange skin and green hair comes from the 1971 film adaptation. 

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The Other Giants

It was a brain-boggling sight. The giants were all naked except for a sort of short skirt around their waists, and their skins were burnt by the sun. - The BFG

The BFG - or Big Friendly Giant - is a kind, gentle giant who can be found every night blowing good dreams through the bedroom windows of sleeping children. 

That's not how the other giants in Giant Country spend their nights, though. When they go galloping off around the world, they're not carrying dreams - they are looking for human 'beans' to eat. As the BFG tells his new friend Sophie - "Giants is all cannybully and murdeful! And they does gobble up human beans!"

The nine other giants that live in Giant Country are about twice as tall and wide as the BFG, and a lot more horrible, with names suited to their human-bean-diet. They are:

  • The Bonecruncher, who "crunches up two whoppsy-whiffling human beans for supper every night!"
  • The Fleshlumpeater, "...the horriblest of them all."
  • The Bloodbottler
  • The Childchewer
  • The Meatdripper
  • The Gizzardgulper
  • The Maidmasher
  • The Manhugger
  • The Butcher Boy

Unfortunately for the giants, the BFG and Sophie are about to put a stop their murderous activities with the help of a Very Important Person and a very bad dream...

The BFG was adapted for an animated TV film, first shown on ITV in the UK in 1989. The story is set to be adapted for the big screen by Steven Spielberg, due for release in 2016.

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