Text Synopsis



The BFG (which stands for "Big Friendly Giant") is a children's book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, first published in 1982. An animated film based on the book was released in 1989 with David Jason providing the voice of the BFG and Amanda Root as the voice of Sophie (a character Dahl based on his own granddaughter).

1 Synopsis
2 Snozzcumber
3 Connections to other works
4 Editions

The story is about an orphan girl named Sophie, a name possibly inspired by the author's granddaughter Sophie Dahl; Roald's mother was Sofie Magdalene Hesselberg Dahl. One night when Sophie cannot sleep during the "witching hour", she sees a giant blowing something into bedroom windows down the street. The giant notices her; although she tries to hide in her bed, he reaches through the window and carries her away to his home.

Fortunately for Sophie, she has been abducted by the world's only benevolent giant, the Big Friendly Giant or BFG. Operating in the strictest secrecy, the BFG catches good dreams (which manifest themselves in misty Dream Country as floating, blob-like objects) and blows them via a trumpet-like blowpipe into the bedrooms of children. When he catches a nightmare, he explodes it, bottles it forever, or uses it to start a fight among his neighboring giants.

The other giants are not so pleasant; each night they go out into the world to steal and eat "human beans", especially children. There is little else for them to eat where they live; the BFG, because he refuses to eat people, must survive on a revolting vegetable known as a snozzcumber. Luckily he is also able to make a delicious drink called frobscottle, which is fizzy and infinitely refreshing. It is rather unusual in that the bubbles in the drink travel downwards and therefore cause the drinker to break wind instead of burp; this causes noises known as Whizzpoppers.

Sophie and the BFG become friends. Eventually, Sophie persuades the BFG that something must be done to stop the anthropophagous giants. Together they develop a plan to get the Queen of England to help them. The BFG mixes a dream which will show the Queen what the giants do; when complete, it is the worst nightmare he has ever encountered. They set off for Buckingham Palace and blow the dream into the Queen's bedroom. The BFG then leaves Sophie on the Queen's windowsill and retreats into the palace gardens to hide.

When the Queen awakens, Sophie tells her that all of her dream was true. Because the dream included the knowledge that Sophie would be there when she woke up, the Queen believes her and speaks with the BFG. After considerable effort by the palace staff, the BFG is given a lavish breakfast, and the Queen begins work on eliminating the other giants. She calls the King of Sweden and the Sultan of Baghdad to confirm the BFG's story, then summons the Heads of the Army and the Air Force. The said officers, though initially belligerent and skeptical, are brought to cooperate.

Eventually a huge fleet of helicopters follows the BFG to the giants' homeland. While the child-eating giants are asleep, the Army ties them up, hangs them under the helicopters, and after a brief struggle with the Fleshlumpeater, flies them to London, where a special large pit has been constructed from which they will not be able to escape.

As punishment for their lifetimes of child-eating, the giants are forced to eat snozzcumbers for the rest of their lives. The BFG is given a nicer place to live and a personal teacher to teach him English, and he eventually becomes a writer, while Sophie lives next door in a little house.

The nine anthropophagous giants in the story are called:

The Fleshlumpeater;
The Bonecruncher;
The Manhugger;
The Childchewer;
The Meatdripper;
The Gizzardgulper;
The Maidmasher;
The Bloodbottler; and
The Butcher Boy.
A possible tenth giant, the New Zealander-eating "Welly-Eating Giant" is mentioned only once and is mysteriously never referred to again. This may simply be a reference to one of the known giants, however.

Most of the nasty giants are only mentioned by name; some are given a larger role, such as Fleshlumpeater, who is the nastiest of them all, and Bloodbottler, who invades the BFG's cave early in the story. Later, the BFG narrates the hunting methods of Childchewer, Gizzardgulper, and Meatdripper. It is also remarked that each giant has his favorite hunting ground, though they vary at times. Because all humans taste differently, the giants have certain preferences; all detest Greece as a hunting ground, however. This is because the flavors supposedly reflect the names and/or principal exports of their native land: therefore, Greeks taste greasy, Danes taste canine, and Swedes taste both sweet and sour.

[edit] Snozzcumber
The Snozzcumber is a fictional food featured prominently in this novel. The Snozzcumber resembles a cucumber but differs in various respects. The snozzcumber varies from nine to twelve feet long. It is striped lengthwise black and white, with wart-like growths all over its surface. It, along with Frobscottle (which gives them whizzpoppers), is the sole diet of the BFG until he has captured the man-eaters. Having done so, he feeds them snozzcumbers for the rest of their lives – an apparent act of revenge, due to the snozzcumber's repulsive flavor.

Connections to other works
The BFG is mentioned in Dahl's earlier children's book Danny, the Champion of the World, in which he is featured in a bedtime story told to the protagonist Danny by his father.

Jack is mentioned as the only human the giants fear. They have very little knowledge of Jack the Giant Killer; their ignorance causes them to conflate him with the folktale, "Jack and the Beanstalk", which also featured man-eating giants. Because none of them know what a beanstalk is, they assume it is a weapon.

The BFG should not be confused with The Friendly Giant, a long-running Canadian television character, or the BFG 9000, a weapon in the Doom video game series.

The snozzcumber and the term friendly giant are mentioned in the book Inkheart.

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