TROLLS IN TOLKIEN
I am a big huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, as you can probably tell from reading this blog. In the Hobbit, his first published work, trolls are sort of comedy relief. Their names are Bert, Tom, and William. They are a bunch of blundering idiots for the most part, and end up getting tricked by Gandalf and turning into stone.
In Lord of the Rings, a book with a slightly less silly tone, they are big hulking monsters, and don’t really speak that much, acting as slaves. Also, the origin of Trolls is partially told, we are informed they come from the shadow in the North and were originally lumpy animal things.
The Silmarillion, the book of Elvish legendary traditions, also includes their origin story. They were bred by Morgoth in mockery of Ents (spirits made because of Yavanna’s request to protect Trees).
A lot of modern fantasy Trolls are sort of based on Tolkien’s trolls.
DAVID THE GNOME
In David the Gnome, an old cartoon series which is actually really good, the trolls are depicted as the arch-enemies of gnomes. The specific trolls appearing in the series are really cool, and have tails. Also, like in Tolkien, they turn to stone with light. They are not the smartest, so gnomes usually can defeat them. They also steal human babies because their own babies are so weird.
DA DA DA DA DA TROLLS, IRON WITCHES, AND TROLLDOM
Da da da da da Trolls (also commonly known as internet trolls) is really just a term for people that write mean and/or dumb comments on websites. Just getting that clear.
Now, in original Norse Lore, trolls were one of the four types of nature spirits, the others are Jotuns, Purs, Risi. Jotuns are giants and enemies of Odin, Purs faded into monsters, and Risi sort of were the inspiration for Wood Elves, as opposed to Alfs.
By the way, I could not find a single picture of purs or risi, so if you are making a fantasy book, those four races would be awesome.
Anyway, Trolls became mysterious magical hermits living in large family groups. Then as time went on more traits were assigned to them, such as turning into stone during the day, hating lightning, and wanting to drink Christian blood. Grendel is a sort of Anglo-Saxon equivalent, and Tomte are Germanic.
In Old English, the word giant was Ent (Tolkien’s giant tree shepherds are based on that) and in Norse, the word is Jotun. The Trolls were a sort of more magical Jotun. The Iron Witches are also called Troll-wives of the Iron Wood. Thus, Trolldom is their word for one type of magic.
In the later Fairy Tale traditions, many older Fey Folk were adopted into more sophisticated tales. Trolls mainly were given the Ugly Stupid Dimwitted Monster treatment, and distanced from older tales of primordial wars between gods and jotuns. One story emerges from this time.
The Riddling Troll Under the Bridge.
This guy will cause you real problems if you are late for a meeting and need to cross his bridge. He is usually included in fantasy universes just for show.
TROLLS AS MAHAS AND TROLLS AS FAIRIES
Trolls were the inspiration for one guy to make a little doll with spiky hair. It was a hit!! So now it’s a big company.
Disney made a movie of it, but it does not do justice to the original troll “dolls.” These kind of trolls can also be called ma-has.
Also, many types of fey are similar to trolls, partly because over the years trolls have sucked in many other lesser known fairy-folk.
These are some links you might find helpful if you are researching trolls and other types of fairies.
Alright everybody, that concludes the Troll Authority! Hope you enjoyed it, and if you did, like and comment and subscribe. Or not, I mean, you don’t have to. But please do. Next up: the Ogre Authority and more List of Mythical Creatures!