As The BFG begins, Sophie lies in bed in an orphanage, unable to sleep. She creeps to the curtains to shut them against the moonlight. It is the Witching Hour, the time when everything is quiet and still, and she is curious about what the world looks like at this time. She sticks her head outside and sees a giant walking toward her carrying a suitcase and a huge, trumpet-like object. He puts something into the trumpet and inserts it into a window. Then he looks up and sees Sophie watching.
Sophie runs back to bed and covers herself with her blanket. After a moment, she peeks out and sees the giant’s eye peeking in. He grabs her out of her bed, blanket and all, and starts to run. His legs have some kind of magical power that makes him travel extremely fast, as if by flight, across the land and maybe the ocean, too. Eventually he comes to a big mountain. He pushes a round stone away from the side of the mountain and goes inside, rolling the stone to close the opening behind him.
When the giant sets Sophie down, she cowers in fear and begs him not to eat her. He laughs. “Just because I is a giant, you think I is a man-gobbling cannybull!” he roars. He explains that she is almost right because most giants are cannybulls. His neighbor, Bone-Crunching Giant, loves eating “human beans” from Turkey because they are juicy and delicious. He launches into a long explanation of the flavors of people from around the world. People from Greece taste greasy, people from Wales taste fishy, and so on. Sophie tries to change the subject, but when she fails she decides to face her fate. She asks the giant what kind of people he likes best. He roars:
Me gobbling up human beans! This I never!....I is the BIG FRIENDLY GIANT! I is the BFG.
Sophie demands to know why the BFG snatched her if he is so friendly. He says he had to prevent her from telling people that he exists. Otherwise people would hunt him down and lock him up in a zoo. Sophie admits that this is probably true, and the BFG says that she will have to live with him forever. He warns her never to go outside without him, or the other giants will eat her up. To prove this, he gives her a peek of his nine cannibalistic neighbors, all of whom eat several people every night. The BFG thinks this is wrong, but he cannot stop them because he is far smaller than the others.
The BFG worries that Sophie’s parents must be missing her by now, and she says she is an orphan. He cries when he hears about her grim life in the orphanage and the punishments she suffered at the hands of Mrs. Clonkers, who runs the orphanage. To change the subject, Sophie asks what he was doing when she first saw him. The BFG explains that he is a dream-blowing giant who spends nights giving children nice dreams. Dreams are invisible creatures that live wild in the air. The BFG uses his enormous ears to hear them flit past. He catches them with a net, “the same way you is catching buttery flies,” and puts them in jars to take to children at night.
Tasty vegetables do not grow in giant country, so the BFG has nothing to eat except snozzcumbers. A snozzcumber is the most disgusting vegetable imaginable. It is black and white, lumpy, and longer than an ordinary man. When Sophie tastes it, she says it tastes like “frogskins” and “rotten fish.” She suggests that the BFG steal better vegetables when he goes dream-blowing at night, but the BFG says he is an honorable giant who does not steal. Sophie points out that he stole her, and he says, “I did not steal you very much.... After all, you is only a tiny little girl.”
Bloodbottler, one of the BFG’s giant neighbors, hears the BFG’s voice through his stone door and barges in. Sophie jumps out of sight behind the snozzcumber. The BFG distracts Bloodbottler, and Sophie scrapes some seeds out of the awful vegetable and climbs inside. Bloodbottler decides to try a bite of the snozzcumber, and Sophie soon finds herself in his mouth. Luckily for her, he hates the taste and spits the whole mouthful right out. She sails across the room, and the BFG’s cloak prevents her from being smashed against the wall. She hides in its folds until Bloodbottler leaves. The whole scene horrifies the BFG. He says he now hates the other giants more than ever and wants to “find a way of disappearing them.” Sophie promises to think up a plan.
Sophie is thirsty, but the BFG does not know what water is. He only has frobscottle, a delicious liquid full of bubbles that move down instead of up. Sophie objects that bubbles traveling downward from the stomach will inevitably produce a very rude noise, and the BFG insists that this rude noise, which he calls a whizzpopper, is fun and wonderful. He demonstrates by taking a sip of frobscottle and waiting until he emits the loudest, rudest sounds Sophie has ever heard. He is actually lifted him off the floor “like a rocket.” Sophie tries it out and finds she loves it as much as the BFG does.
When Sophie is refreshed, the BFG puts her in his pocket and takes her out to collect dreams. On the way, the other giants bully him. They toss him around like a ball while Sophie clings to the inside of his pocket. Fortunately the giants tire of the game before she falls out or gets squished. Afterward, Sophie says it is terrible that the mean giants eat people. The BFG agrees, but adds:
Human beans is squishing each other all the time....They is shootling guns and going up in aerioplanes to drop bombs on each other’s heads every week. Human beans is always killing other human beans.
When they arrive in Dream Country, the BFG tells Sophie to be very quiet. She watches his ears swivel around, listening for dreams. He catches them in his butterfly net, and Sophie helps him shut them up in jars. He catches a phizzwizard, the...
(The entire section is 2418 words.)