The BFG Summary
Our story begins during the Witching Hour, a time of night when humans are asleep and creatures from the shadows get to roam the world. Probably not the best time to poke around (if you’re a human), but that’s what a little girl named Sophie is up to. She peeks out the window of her bedroom, which is in an orphanage, and sees a giant blowing what looks like a trumpet into the window across the street. She runs back into her bed, but guess what? It’s too late.
The giant sticks his hand into her window, lifts her up, and carries her to a different world. Not your average middle-of-the-night experience.
When he puts her down, she’s on the giant table in a cave. She begs the giant not to eat her, and after the giant gets sidetracked, talking about the many ways giants like to eat humans, he reveals that he is the Big Friendly Giant. In other words, he’s the only giant who doesn’t do that kind of thing.
Way to kill the tension, BFG.
So if he wasn’t looking for a snack, why did the Big Friendly Giant kidnap Sophie? Simple enough: because she saw him. He’s pretty scared of the human world finding out about giants and putting him in a zoo. And he has a point: that’s probably just what would happen. He tells Sophie she’ll have to live with him forever, so that she’ll never tell the world about giants. Forever’s no big deal, right?
Surprisingly, Sophie isn’t too into that idea. On the other hand, since she’s from a terrible orphanage, she’s not in a big hurry to return, either.
She’s also curious about the BFG. So she keeps her cool and asks him a bunch of questions. Like how the BFG found her when she was hiding in bed. The BFG says he heard her heart beating. His giant ears, it turns out, are not just for comic effect. He can hear ladybugs walking and ants talking to each other. You’d think that would be distracting when he’s having a conversation, but it seems to work out okay.
Oh, and his other secret: he’s a dream-blowing giant. Every night, he uses his trumpet to blow good dreams into children’s bedrooms.
Pretty cool guy, as it turns out.
The BFG is hungry, so he eats some of a bumpy, spiky vegetable called a snozzcumber. The BFG is not a snozzcumber fan, but it’s the only vegetable that grows in Giant Country, and he doesn’t believe in stealing food from humans.
Sophie tries a piece of snozzcumber, too. And spits it right back out. Guess snozzcumber is about as tasty as regular cucumber.
But it turns out to be a good thing the snozzcumber pieces are on the table, because they’re a perfect place to hide when another giant with the sweet, winning name of the Bloodbottler stomps into the cave. The Bloodbottler heard the BFG talking and thinks he captured a human for a pet. How’d he figure that one out? He starts looking around the cave for Sophie so he can eat her.
Sophie manages to scoop seeds out of a larger snozzcumber piece and hides directly inside it. But the BFG doesn’t know that, and tries to convince the Bloodbottler to eat a snozzcumber. His thinking: maybe the grossness of the snozzcumber will drive the Bloodbottler out of the cave.
The result? The Bloodbottler takes a bite with Sophie in it, but luckily, the snozzcumber is so gross that he spits her out. Then, as predicted, he runs from the cave.
The BFG and Sophie relieve their stress by drinking frobscottle—in other words, soda for giants that makes you fart. (It’s okay—“whizzpopping” is considered polite in giant culture.)
As a post-whizzpopping treat, the BFG takes Sophie to Dream Country, a misty land where he catches dreams for his collection. He gets a good one but also accidentally bottles a “trogglehumper,” meaning nightmare. See what we mean about language being a little kooky?
The BFG doesn’t want to release the trogglehumper where it could float into any human’s mind, so he blows it at a sleeping giant named the Fleshlumpeater. To the BFG and Sophie’s delight, the Fleshlumpeater kicks so much in his dream that all the giants get into a fight.
The BFG takes Sophie back to his cave to show her his dream collection, but soon, the giants are running past the cave. It’s people-eating time. They shout to the BFG that they’re going to England to eat schoolchildren. This, for obvious reasons, upsets Sophie.
Sophie thinks they should go to the Queen of England and ask her to stop the giants, which is a perfectly logical solution for a British citizen under the age of ten to think of. But the BFG thinks she won’t believe them. Which, sorry to say, folks, is probably more accurate as far as royalty is concerned.
So Sophie comes up with a plan. She asks the BFG to mix a dream for the Queen that shows the boys and girls getting eaten and also shows Sophie and the BFG ready to help. Then the BFG will put Sophie down in the Queen’s room, so the Queen will see her when she wakes up and know that her dream is real.
It’s a long shot, but the BFG goes for it. (Mostly because of the prospect of not having to eat snozzcumbers ever again.) He mixes the dream and carries Sophie to the palace in his ear. Sophie directs him to the Queen’s back garden, and the BFG blows the dream and sets Sophie on the windowsill of the Queen’s bedroom.
The Queen wakes up in a panic, and then her maid panics when the Queen tells her that she dreamed about boarding school children being eaten. The missing boarding school children made front-page news that morning.
Then they find Sophie in the window, and the maid almost loses her mind. The Queen stays remarkably calm (that’s what Queens do, after all). She even keeps her cool when Sophie calls the BFG to their window. She simply invites them both to breakfast.
The butler, Mr. Tibbs, faces the intimidating task of prepping to have a giant dine in the ballroom. He makes a table out of a ping pong table and grandfather clocks, and a chair from a piano and chest of drawers. He runs into trouble when the BFG gobbles all his food in one bite, but he keeps his cool (and keeps the chef busy). Way to improvise, royal staff.
The three sit down to dine, Sophie wearing a borrowed former princess’s dress and the Queen’s sapphire brooch. The BFG and Sophie tell the Queen about the giants. After calling the King of Sweden and the Sultan of Baghdad to confirm their story about who’s been eaten in the past few nights, the Queen calls the Heads of the Army and the Air Force.
The Heads want to bomb the giants, but the Queen doesn’t believe in killing anyone. So the BFG has the army and air force follow him to Giant Country in the afternoon, when the giants are asleep. The men tie the giants up. But it can’t all be that simple: they have trouble tying the Fleshlumpeater, and he wakes up.
He lifts up a soldier and is about to eat him, but Sophie saves the day by jabbing the Queen’s brooch into his foot. The Fleshlumpeater drops the soldier, and the BFG convinces him that he was bitten by a snake. The Fleshlumpeater isn’t the most questioning of giants, so he believes the BFG, even when the BFG gets him to close his eyes while the soldiers tie him up. #DreamTeam.
The soldiers fly the giants back to England and lower them into a deep pit. The BFG gives the royal gardener snozzcumber seeds so they’ll have an endless supply of snozzcumbers to feed to the giants.
The Queen makes the BFG The Royal Dreamblower and has a giant house built for him near her palace, with a little cottage built next door for Sophie. The now-famous BFG gets an education and starts writing about his life. And we learn that he wrote the book that we just read. No wonder it was such a clever mix of English and Giantese, right?
Chapter One: The Witching Hour
- The book opens on a girl named Sophie. It’s the middle of the night, but she can’t sleep because a moonbeam is shining on her face.
- She lives in a dormitory, and everyone and everything there is still.
- This makes her think it’s The Witching Hour, which, (we’re told) is the hour of the night when all humans are asleep and “all the dark things came out of hiding and had the world to themselves.” (1.9) Comforting.
- Instead of doing the smart thing and staying in her bed, Sophie gets out and approaches the window. Sophie, what are you doing? It’s like watching everyone decide to split up in a horror movie.
- The view outside the window is odd, because everything, even the buildings, seem hazy and bent.
- Sophie sees something tall, black, and thin walking up the street.
Chapter Two: Who?
- The creature Sophie sees kind of looks like a human, only he’s four times as tall as one. She was definitely right about the Witching Hour.
- He’s carrying a trumpet and a suitcase.
- Sophie watches as the giant peeks into the window of a family across the street, where two children live. The giant takes a glass jar from the suitcase, puts its contents into the trumpet, and silently blows it into the room.
- Then the giant sees Sophie. Oops. Sophie runs back to her bed, but we all know it’s too late by now.
Chapter Three: The Snatch
- Sophie waits for a minute, then peeks out from under the blanket to find the giant staring at her from the window. (She doesn’t scream then, but we would.)
- The giant sticks his hand and arms through the window, reaching toward Sophie. Now she screams.
- Only for a second though, because the hand clamps down over her blanket, which muffles the sound.
- The giant lifts Sophie out of the room, rearranges the blanket so she’s stuck inside, and then starts running.
- Sophie manages to peek her head out and sees the village speeding past. She thinks the giant wants to get home quickly so he can eat her. All that because there was a moonbeam on her face.
Chapter Four: The Cave
- As he runs, the giant seems to go into a higher gear. Sophie gets the sense that they’re flying and even crossing oceans.
- They eventually slow down as they get to a wasteland with a pale yellow ground, blue rocks, and dead trees. There’s also a mountain in the distance.
- The giant stops at the mountain, rolls out the rock blocking the entrance, and enters. It’s pitch black.
- He lowers Sophie onto a surface.
- Poor Sophie can’t stop thinking about all the different ways that the giant might cook and eat her.
- The giant lights a candle, and Sophie sees that she is on a super-tall table. Along the walls, she can see very tall shelves all full of glass jars.
- The giant turns to Sophie and begins to speak in a booming voice.
Chapter Five: The BFG
- Sophie asks the giant not to eat her. The giant doesn’t really answer the question, which is not encouraging. He says it’s true that giants tend to eat people, and that she’s in Giant Country now.
- The giant gives the example of a Bonecrunching Giant he knows who only eats people from Turkey. When Sophie asks why, the giant explains that Turkish people taste like turkey. Logical.
- The giant goes on to name what people in different countries taste like. The Greeks taste greasy, humans from Panama taste like hats, Welsh taste fishy, humans from Jersey taste like cardigans, and the Danish taste like dogs.
- We should probably mention that the giant has a funny way of speaking, inventing and mispronouncing many words. He calls human beings “human beans.” Maybe they taste like beans.
- Sophie decides she might as well get her death over with and asks the giant what kind of humans he eats.
- The giant says that he’s not like the other giants, and doesn’t eat humans. He is the Big Friendly Giant. Sigh of relief.
Chapter Six: The Giants
- Sophie asks the giant why he snatched her up if he wasn’t planning on eating her. Fair question.
- The Big Friendly Giant explains that he had to take her because she saw him. He says if he left her there, she’d spread the word that there are giants and there would be a huge giant hunt. He thinks humans would put him in a zoo.
- The BFG tells Sophie she’ll have to live with him for the rest of his life.
- It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. He takes her to the cave entrance and has her peep out so she can see the rest of the giants and explains that they’ll eat her if they find her outside the cave.
- The giants are pretty tall and creepy-looking. They’re all just shuffling around, waiting for night so they can snatch more people to eat. Shiver.
- Sophie asks the BFG why he can’t stop them, but he explains that he’s a runt compared to them. Which sounds funny coming from a guy the size of four grown human beans, but we’ve got to take his word for it.
Chapter Seven: The Marvelous Ears
- The BFG worries that Sophie’s parents are missing her. Sophie explains that her parents died when she was a baby and that she lives in an orphanage run by a mean woman who locks them in the cellar for punishment. Sounds about on par with being kidnapped by a giant.
- The BFG feels so sorry for Sophie that he starts to cry.
- Sophie tells him her more pressing concern, which is that the giants will find and eat her eventually. It’s a fair point.
- Sophie asks the BFG what he was doing on her street last night. The BFG doesn’t want to tell her, but Sophie points out that she’ll never see another human again, and she wouldn’t have a chance to tell the other giants, because they would eat her before she could speak.
- Turns out, the BFG was blowing happy dreams into children’s rooms. He says he collects dreams.
- He says dreams make a sound, which only he can hear because of his huge ears. Who would have thought they could come in handy like that?
- Sophie and the BFG get on a tangent about what other things the BFG can hear that Sophie can’t. They include: ladybug footsteps, ants chittering, music from the stars in the sky.
- The BFG can also hear flowers when they’re picked and trees when they’re cut down, and he tells Sophie that they sound like they’re being tortured during these events. Some things you wish you didn’t know.
- Back to happier sounds. The BFG tells Sophie that he usually goes to a special place for catching dreams and brings a net to catch them with.
- The BFG decides he’s hungry and that it’s time to eat.
Chapter Eight: Snozzcumbers
- Poor BFG. The only food that grows in Giant Country is the snozzcumber. So that’s what he eats instead of humans.
- When Sophie says that snozzcumbers don’t exist, the BFG points out that she didn’t believe in giants yesterday. He also names a bunch of animals that Sophie’s never heard of, and they all sound like Dr. Seuss characters: the humplecrimp, the wraprascal, the crumpscoddle, and the great squizzly scotch-hopper.
- The BFG takes out a snozzcumber, which looks like a cucumber, only it’s half his size and covered in knobbles. In other words, it’s huge and looks gross.
- The BFG and Sophie get sidetracked again when Sophie corrects his word choice. He explains that he never went to school, nor had a mother who could teach him. Giants aren’t born—they just appear.
- The BFG hates the snozzcumber and sprays pieces of it on the table when he complains. Sophie tries it and cries out things like, “Oh help!” Apparently she’s not a fan, either.
- The BFG asks Sophie to stop correcting him about his word choices. He says his brain gets scrambled up, but Sophie tells him he speaks beautifully. Sometimes scrambling and beauty go together, even if they’re a little confusing at first.
- Sophie suggests the BFG take some vegetables from a garden in England, but the BFG says he doesn’t steal. Is this giant a great guy or what?
Chapter Nine: The Bloodbottler
- Another giant, much bigger than the BFG, storms into the cave. It’s a fair guess he doesn’t have all the moral values the BFG does.
- Sophie quickly hides behind a piece of snozzcumber.
- The gross-looking Bloodbottler demands to know who the BFG has been talking to. His theory is that the BFG has kidnapped a human, and he starts looking around the cave for the human. Unlike the BFG, he wants a snack.
- While the Bloodbottler is looking through the shelves, Sophie scoops some seeds out of the snozzcumber and hides inside it.
- The Bloodbottler approaches the table, with the BFG following him. The BFG has no idea where Sophie is hiding. The suspense!
- The BFG gets the idea to convince the Bloodbottler to taste the snozzcumber. He thinks the foul taste will drive him right out of the cave. Uh oh.
- The BFG goes on about how great snozzcumbers taste until the Bloodbottler takes a bite…a bite that includes Sophie.
- Sophie is in the Bloodbottler’s mouth. Gross. Also scary. She thinks she’s going to die, but then the Bloodbottler spits her out. She falls against the BFG’s cloak and miraculously doesn’t get hurt. She crouches under the hem of the cloak. Lucky save!
- The Bloodbottler tells the BFG that tonight he’s going to eat humans from Chile because they’re “chilly,” and he wants a cold treat. But a bunch of other giants are going to eat English schoolchildren for their inky flavor. Then he storms out of the cave.
- Sophie emerges and tells the BFG what happened. She probably feels pretty sticky.
- The BFG says he wish he could make the other giants disappear, and Sophie says that she’ll try to think of a way to help.
Chapter Ten: Frobscottle and Whizzpoppers
- At this point, Sophie is hungry and thirsty. She asks the BFG for some water, which confuses him. He only has a drink called frobscottle. On the bright side, he says that frobscottle is delicious.
- He brings out a bottle of fizzy pale green liquid, but the bubbles are floating down instead of up. It’s like Mountain Dew, but in an upside-down universe.
- When Sophie exclaims about the unusual bubble direction, the BFG is shocked. How could there be a culture where bubbles in fizzy drinks float up? He thinks that would make a person burp, and he considers burping a very rude noise.
- Sophie, as you might expect, points out that a noise coming out the other end is more rude. The BFG has a different opinion: he calls that sound a whizzpopper and considers it a sign of happiness. If only Mom felt that way.
- The BFG demonstrates a whizzpopper by guzzling the frobscottle. The sound is deafening and makes him shoot up into the air, and it makes Sophie laugh. (A giant farting himself off the ground—wouldn’t you?)
- How could she resist? Sophie takes her turn to taste the frobscottle. It sounds like a pretty quick but tasty way to get a sugar rush (vanilla and cream with a trace of raspberry), not to mention a good way for Sophie to try a whizzpopper of her own.
Chapter Eleven: Journey to Dream Country
- The BFG decides to go catch some dreams. (You know, as would anyone.) He puts Sophie in his pocket and starts out. Luckily for Sophie, there’s a little hole in his pocket that she can peek through. Sometimes a shlubby wardrobe can come in handy.
- But for giants, catching dreams doesn’t just mean going to sleep. There’s a special spot the BFG goes to for that. But first he has to get past the other giants, who are all waffling around, being bored and waiting for nightfall.
- They demand to know where the BFG is going, and when he won’t tell them, they pick him up and start throwing him between them. Don’t try this at home, Shmoopers.
- When they get bored, they make him run and toss rocks after him. But the BFG dodges them like a boss. He must have been good at dodgeball as a kid. Especially since giants use rocks.
- Once they’re out of sight, Sophie asks the BFG if the giants would ever eat him. The BFG says that humans are the only creature that kills their own kind. Fair point. It makes Sophie wonder if humans actually are better than giants. This is getting deep.
- When Sophie says that it’s still bad that giants eat humans, the BFG points out that the pigs probably don’t like it that humans eat them. But he agrees that giants still shouldn’t eat humans, because two wrongs don’t make a right.
- Now is the time to put on your philosopher hat and stroke your pretend beard.
- Back to the journey. The BFG starts running at top speed and Sophie has to duck back into his pocket. When he slows, they are in a cool, pale land with a thick mist. You guessed it—Dream Country.
Chapter Twelve: Dream-Catching
- The BFG stands very still in the mist, listening for a dream. His ears slowly move back and forth. It must look pretty silly, but hey—that’s how you catch a dream.
- Suddenly, he waves his net through the air like he’s trying to snag a ginormous, invisible butterfly. He asks Sophie to hand him a jar.
- The BFG holds the jar to his ear and is thrilled with the results. He calls the dream “a golden phizzwizard.” (12.6) We’re guessing that means it’s at least a decent one.
- Next try. The BFG listens for another dream, pounces, and Sophie helps him bottle it. But this time, he calls it “a trogglehumper.” (12.17) Which, in our opinion, is a fitting name for a nightmare.
- When dreams are captured, they become slightly more visible. Sophie can see the trogglehumper—a scarlet blob—thrashing against the confines of the jar. That sounds about right for what a nightmare would look like, too.
- The BFG is so upset about the trogglehumper that he decides not to catch any more dreams. At least there’s that one phizzwizard to be happy about.
- He pockets Sophie and runs home.
- When they arrive in Giant Country, they find all the giants asleep. Whew. At least that means no more dodge(rock)ball.
Chapter Thirteen: A Trogglehumper for the Fleshlumpeater
- Sophie and the BFG have a chat about sleep. The BFG says giants don’t need very much of it: they just catch a snooze for two to three hours per afternoon.
- Humans, as you well know, are the opposite. The BFG says humans spend so much time sleeping that if you only count their waking hours, they’re a lot younger than in number years.
- For example, Sophie is eight, but he says that if he doesn’t count her time sleeping, she’s actually four. Which is a mind-boggling thought.
- All this chatter about sleep gives the BFG an idea. He runs to his cave and puts the trogglehumper in his dream-blowing trumpet. Then he heads back out to the giants and blows the nightmare at Fleshlumpeater. Sneaky, sneaky!
- Then he runs Sophie away to a safe place where they can hide and watch.
- The Fleshlumpeater starts thrashing and yelling in his sleep about someone named Jack. The BFG explains to Sophie that Jack is a famous giant killer—the only human that giants are afraid of. Sophie thinks this is very funny. She’s probably thinking something about beanstalks.
- In his sleep, The Fleshlumpeater punches the Meatdripping Giant and kicks the Gizzardgulping Giant. Let’s pause a second over those happy, heartwarming names.
- Pause over. Soon they wake up and start fighting the Fleshlumpeater and each other.
- According to the BFG, these fights are pretty common.
- The BFG and Sophie leave, feeling proud of themselves.
Chapter Fourteen: Dreams
- Now that the fun’s over, back to work. The BFG starts writing a label for the good dream he captured.
- Sophie asks him how he knows what’s in the dream. The BFG explains that when he hears music, he understands it as if it’s a language. Too bad they don’t offer it in school, right?
- He lets Sophie read the label. The dream he caught is about saving a teacher from drowning. Come on, even if you’re not a huge fan of your teacher, that’s got to be a good dream.
- When the BFG encourages Sophie to look through the jar, she sees that the dream is a beautiful pale green.
- She says that the dream is alive. The BFG explains that even though it’s alive, it doesn’t need any food.
- The BFG catalogues separate dreams for boys and for girls. He shows Sophie some of his boy labels. They include: having magic powers to make teachers fall asleep, having magical suction boots that let you walk on the ceiling, advising the president of the United States and impressing a father while doing it, having invisibility powers, and writing the best book in the world.
- Let’s take a moment to say any girl could have those kinds of dreams too. But since all the giants around the BFG are boys, we forgive him.
- He also shows Sophie dreams with shorter labels that he wrote in a hurry (for both boys and girls). They include: climbing Mount Everest, inventing a car that runs on toothpaste, turning lights on and off with your mind, growing a very long beard to impress other little boys (if a girl could do that, why couldn’t she advise the president, you ask? Let’s just say in dreamworld, she could do it all). There’s also having the power to jump out the window and float, and having a bee that plays rock and roll music when it flies.
- One of each, please and thank you.
- Sophie is impressed that The BFG taught himself to write. The BFG explains that he learned from Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens. He borrowed it from a little boy’s room.
- Sounds like stealing to us, but hey, at least he didn’t eat the little boy.
- They are interrupted by the giants galloping off to find food. They tell the BFG that they are going to England to eat schoolchildren. Do they mean borrow books from them? Unfortunately, no.
Chapter Fifteen: The Great Plan
- Sophie can’t stand just sitting there knowing British schoolchildren are going to get eaten. She keeps telling the BFG that they have to do something, and the BFG keeps explaining that there’s nothing he can do because he’s so much smaller than the other giants. (Not to mention outnumbered.)
- He’s also afraid of humans putting him into a zoo.
- They start talking about the Queen, specifically how Fleshlumpeater would love to taste her. That’s a whole new way of loving your monarch. Still, this gives Sophie an idea.
- First, she checks if the BFG could make a dream about anything, instead of just the pre-made ones in his shelf full of jars. He assures her he could, by mixing different dreams together.
- Sophie’s plan is to have the BFG make the Queen a dream about giants going to England to gobble up schoolchildren. The BFG will put himself and Sophie in the dream too. Then the BFG will physically place Sophie in the Queen’s bedroom window. When she wakes up, Sophie will convince her that the rest of her dream is real.
- This is not how politics usually work.
- The BFG isn’t so sure, but Sophie assures him that if he’s a hero, humans won’t put him in a zoo. Also, he won’t have to eat snozzcumbers again.
- Can you guess which part of that convinces the BFG to agree?
Chapter Sixteen: Mixing the Dream
- Night falls. The BFG rushes them both into the cave. He places Sophie on the table and tells her not to speak because he needs complete concentration while he mixes the dream.
- The BFG runs from shelf to shelf to gather different elements of the dream, and tips them all into a giant jar. The dreams sit there in individual blobs until he takes what looks like a giant eggbeater and mixes the dreams.
- The parts of the individual dreams that won’t be used float like bubbles out of the cave to return to the world. (Since the bubbles are floating up, guess which sound they would produce? Not a whizzpopper, that’s for sure.)
- The dream inside the jar turns red and starts fighting to get outside. Creepy.
- Sophie realizes it’s a nightmare and worries about putting the Queen through that. But the BFG points out that it’s worth it if it will save lives. Roald is at it with the deep moral questions again.
- The BFG puts the dream-bottle in his pocket. Sophie doesn’t want to sit next to it, so she asks the BFG if he can swivel his ear like a teacup so she can sit inside.
- He does this. Among his other great qualities, he’s got some really flexible ears.
- After a few false starts where Sophie tries to ask him if they’re ready and he screams that she’s speaking too loud, Sophie whispers her question. The BFG takes off.
Chapter Seventeen: Journey to London
- Sophie is so cozy in the BFG’s ear that she falls asleep. Apparently earwax makes a good pillow.
- When she wakes up, the BFG points out the other giants returning home in the distance. Their stomachs are bulging. Hopefully you didn’t know anyone they caught.
- When they reach London, Sophie worries that people will see the BFG, but he manages to slip through the shadows so quickly that no one notices him. That’s one sneaky giant.
- The BFG winds up in a green space and gets confused, but Sophie tells him it’s Hyde Park. She points out the roundabout and has the BFG jump over it. If you’re English, or have spent a bunch of time in England, this is basically second nature to you.
- The BFG easily leaps over the back garden wall, and they are in the Queen’s garden.
Chapter Eighteen: The Palace
- The BFG and Sophie hear a watchman. The BFG stands completely still and the man passes right by him. Like we said, sneaky giant.
- The BFG then listens at every window. Which is no small task, since there are about a hundred. He can tell whether the people inside are men or women by the sound of their sleeping.
- When he hears a woman, he puts Sophie up to the window and she sees that it’s the Queen. She must have really regal-sounding sleep.
- The BFG slides open the window and sits Sophie down on the sill. Then he blows the dream into the Queen’s room.
- Sophie is totally freaked out. Which you might be too, if you were trespassing on the Queen’s property (a.k.a. palace). But The BFG tells her to call whenever she needs him. He kisses her goodbye and then returns to the back garden. Sophie feels like she’s going to cry. That’s what happens, when you live in an orphanage all your life and then make best friends with a giant over the course of a whizzpoppingly weird day.
Chapter Nineteen: The Queen
- Sophie is stuck on the windowsill for the rest of the night. Not the comfiest.
- Eventually, the sun comes out and she hears the clock strike seven. Then she hears the Queen murmuring in her sleep as she has the nightmare. (Apparently dreams take a while to cook in people’s heads.)
- When the maid walks in with a tray of breakfast, the Queen tells her about her dream. The maid, whose name is Mary, drops the tray and turns white.
- Turns out (as she explains) that children were snatched from boarding schools last night, and their bones were found underneath the schools. She hands the Queen the newspaper for proof.
- The Queen is confused, and even a little freaked out (which is rare for royalty. They’re usually above freaked-out-ness). She keeps repeating that the dream seemed so real, but that the children couldn’t have been eaten by giants. As far as she knows, that’s impossible.
- Mary goes to open the window, and then they find Sophie. Awkward.
- Mary starts yelling at Sophie, but the Queen remembers her from her dream. She asks Sophie how she got there, and Sophie explains that the Big Friendly Giant put her there.
- With the Queen’s permission, Sophie calls the BFG. He comes over to the window and bows to the Queen.
- The Queen takes it pretty well. After all, it’s got to be impressive when you get bowed to by someone as tall as your palace. She stays calm and asks them both to join her for breakfast in the ballroom. Not so they can practice the waltz, but because it has the tallest ceiling.
Chapter Twenty: The Royal Breakfast
- For the first time, the narrator switches to show us a different point of view: that of the Queen’s butler. His name is Mr. Tibbs.
- Mr. Tibbs hears that he must provide breakfast for a twenty-four foot giant. He’s a great butler (he does work for the Queen, after all), so he figures out right away that a giant that tall must have a twelve-foot-high table and a chair with an eight-foot-high seat.
- He creates this by putting a piano on top of a chest of drawers for the chair and placing the prince’s ping-pong table on top of four grandfather clocks for the table. He uses a garden rake and spade for utensils and a sword for a knife.
- That’s one creative butler.
- The Queen and Sophie enter. Sophie wears a dress that used to belong to a princess, and also the Queen’s sapphire brooch. Now that’s hospitality.
- The BFG crawls through the door after them. He’s dressed like usual. Still, he’s the one who gets the fancy table.
- Aside from his height, he doesn’t make the best impression on the Queen’s staff. His head crashes into the chandelier and he swallows the food in one bite and asks for more. The Queen keeps her cool and orders more for him. She’s not the one who has to cook it.
- The BFG hates the coffee and asks for frobscottle. When Sophie tells him that there should be no frobscottle or whizzpoppers, the Queen misunderstands and says he can sing if he wants. Uh-oh.
- As you may have expected, the BFG lets out a whizzpopper. But the Queen keeps her cool and even smiles. For a Queen, she’s pretty chill.
- The BFG cleans the palace out of bread and eggs. Sophie tells the Queen everything about Giant Country while the BFG is busy eating the entire contents of the royal kitchen. Don’t forget, this is a guy who’s used to living on snozzcumbers.
- The Queen asks the BFG where the giants attacked the night before (that is, the night before they attacked England). The BFG tells her it was Sweden. So the Queen calmly calls up the King of Sweden (royalty are all pals, you know) and he confirms that his people were attacked two nights ago.
- She decides to do one more check before calling out her troops. (It’s always good to check your facts before you get the army involved.) The BFG lets her know that three days ago, Fleshlumpeater ate a family in Baghdad. The Queen calls the Sultan of Baghdad and he confirms that one of his adviser’s families disappeared.
- That settles it. The Queen summons the Head of the Army and the Head of the Air Force.
Chapter Twenty-One: The Plan
- The Queen explains the situation to the Heads of the Army and the Air Force. Both men want to bomb the giants, but the Queen doesn’t approve of killing people—even giants. (And she has a point). She claims two wrongs don’t make a right, and the BFG agrees.
- The BFG (with Sophie translating—the last thing you want when you’re planning an invasion is more whizzpopper confusion) suggests that they tie the giants up in the afternoon, while they’re asleep. But the Heads of the Army and Air Force get upset when the BFG says he can’t pinpoint Giant Country on a map.
- Both the Queen and the BFG throw some shade at the Heads of the Army and Air Force. Then the BFG suggests that they follow him while he runs there. That seems like a good solution.
- The team sets out. Sophie travels in the BFG’s ear, which we already know is as comfy as anything your local mattress store has to offer.
- There’s a young pilot flying a plane that carries the Head of the Army and the Head of the Air Force. He’s really into the journey. When the Heads freak out because they’re flying outside the atlas, the young pilot points out that the last two pages of every atlas are blank so that adventurers can fill in new places.
- They arrive in Giant Country. The Head of the Army wants to turn back because he thinks he hears gunfire, but the BFG assures him it’s just the giants snoring.
- The soldiers tie up the sleeping giants. But they have to move the Fleshlumpeater’s arm. Uh oh: that wakes him up.
- The Fleshlumpeater grabs a soldier and threatens to eat him, along with all the other humans.
- Sophie, knowing she better act fast, sticks the Queen’s brooch into his foot, proving that jewelry that doubles as a weapon is the best kind of jewelry.
- Don’t use jewelry as weapons, kids.
- The BFG tells the Fleshlumpeater that he was bitten by a snake, which definitely would make us wide awake and heading straight to the hospital, but for the Fleshlumpeater it seems to work like a lullaby. He closes his eyes and the soldiers finish tying him up.
- The BFG has the soldiers load up their jeeps with his supply dream bottles. There’s also a large, mysterious bag.
- The giants wake up, but they’re stuck. The helicopters fly them back to England.
Chapter 22: Feeding Time
- While Sophie, the BFG, and the soldiers were gone, a massive pit was dug in England to house the giants. The giants are lowered into it.
- Everyone is a bit reluctant to untie the giants (who can blame them? They don’t want to get eaten). The BFG volunteers to go down and untie them. He explains to the giants that they were captured because they ate humans. They still don’t really get why that’s bad.
- The Fleshlumpeater threatens to eat the BFG now that his human food supply is out of reach, but the BFG grabs a rope and is lifted out just in time.
- The BFG throws snozzcumbers down into the pit. Tasty.
- He’s also brought the plants back so they can plant snozzcumbers in the royal garden. That way the food supply for the giants will never run out. Though since it’s snozzcumbers, some of the giants might prefer to starve. Still, that’s how punishment works.
Chapter 23: The Author
- The BFG gets a ton of presents from all the world leaders, including an elephant, which for him is something like a puppy.
- The Queen has a house built for the BFG in Windsor Great Park, with a cottage for Sophie built alongside it.
- She also gives him the title of Royal Dream-Blower, and many children write to him, asking him to give them good dreams.
- Tourists come from all over to watch the giants in the pit. One time, a group of drunk men climb the fence surrounding the pit and fall in. The giants eat them. A no trespassing sign is put up the next day, and everyone follows the rules after that. Thanks, drunk guys.
- Sophie starts teaching the BFG to read. Eventually, he can write essays about his life, and Sophie encourages him to turn them into a book.
- The Queen reads the book to her grandchildren, and then gets it published so other kids can read it. But the BFG is modest, so he puts a different author’s name on the book.
- Guess what book he wrote? It’s this one. The whole time, the narrator was secretly the BFG. Who woulda thunk it with all those whizzpoppers whizzing by the whole time?