Building a Goliath for the 21st Century
Even though our novel Giant Slayers takes place in the distant past we, as writers, faced the challenge of creating villains relevant for today’s readers. A hero is only as great as his (or her) villains, so we spent a lot of time developing our bad guy and bad woman for Giant Slayers.
Traditionally Goliath is portrayed as a gigantic and ugly brute. So we decided right from the start that our villain should be both intelligent and handsome.
For Goliath’s backstory we chose to reference the Biblical Nephilim, a race of giants who would have dominated the earth, if not for the great flood—a global judgment intended to destroy them. The few giants who survived the flood were relentlessly hunted by men, and forced to hide in the caves and burial crypts under the town of Garm. We think it adds dimension when the villain is a member of a race that is hunted and persecuted and has an axe to grind (no pun intended). So our Goliath is a young, up-and-coming giant living in the burial pits carved into the mountain, amid the bones and whispered voices of the dead.
The next step is to make him exceptional among his kind. Not content to remain hidden below the mountain, Goliath secretly visits Canaan and a few neighboring towns. He has a desire to explore the world. He wants to be a king among men. A king of all men. Why not? He’s bigger and stronger and smarter than any of them. Pride and ambition—the perfect flaws for our villain.
When Goliath meets the beautiful witch of Endor, he makes his move, enabling her escape, and slaying three of his kinsmen in the process. Alzsheba raises a curtain of demon fire to cover their retreat, and Goliath walks away from Garm never knowing how many giants burned to death in their wake. Their screams echo like thunder, and nearly bring the mountain crashing down. Goliath can never return to Garm. His path lies forward, not back.
To top it all off, we gave him his own love story, a dance of ambition and supremacy with the witch of Endor. Alzsheba is a kindred spirit to the giant as she has been hunted and reviled for being a witch. His physical perfection and intellect intrigue her, and of course they use each other to achieve their mutual ends.
For the movie version we envision Goliath as portrayed by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. With a little CGI height enhancement the Rock’s massive physique would rock the screen. Our Goliath is smart and handsome too, so Dwayne has those covered as well.
Handsome and intelligent, a powerful warrior, an ambitious loner from an oppressed people. If this were any other story Goliath might well be the hero.
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