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Friday, February 02, 2007

Troll - Part Two

Monstropedia Eternia

Troll - A Wikipedia Research Part Two

Modern fantasy

Today there are many depictions of trolls in fantasy, which often differ. Most of them depicts them as large, brutal but sentient creatures, usually taller than humans, but their posture is more crouchy and lanky. They are similar to ogres, but are less bulky than them. In some desciptions they have boar-like tusks and green to brown skin. Sometimes trolls are considered canibalistic and beast like, and are rarely or never seen in human societies.

Differences between trolls in modern fantasy

In Warcraft, trolls are depicted as a race of tall, although often crouching, lanky humanoids. They vary in colour, with boar-like tusks protruding of the lower part of their jaws. Many Trolls sport natural Mohawks in every colour imaginable. While some trolls appear well muscled, some others appear quite lithe. All breeds are tall and stand approximately 7.5 feet in height. The females are less muscled than the males and have less conspicuous tusks. Trolls in Warcraft have amazing regenerative powers, to the extent that they can regenerate a limb. It is believed that the trolls and the elves share a common, though forgotten ancestor.

The trolls in the Discworld series, written by Terry Pratchett, are a race of nocturnal silicon based creatures (i.e. made of stone), and have teeth made of diamonds. They feed on stones and sometimes human, but the habit of eating people is becoming more and more rare in the present days of the Discworld, especially in the cities such as Ankh Morpork. Their strength is much greater than that of an average human, and though they are generally thought as a stupid race, their intelligence improves the cooler the temperature and in freezing climates can be quite bright. In the mixed racial societies of Discworld, Trolls have become useful members of society, working particularly in manual labour and jobs in freezing conditions. The natural amusement amongst the Trolls is to hit each other in the head or play some sort of football with human heads, as well as continue their ages long feud with Dwarves.

There are also brief mentions in Artemis Fowl of trolls in Book 1. There troll are described as more powerful than any human, and capable of butchering and devouring anything they encounter.

In a popular MMORPG Guild Wars there are also Trolls but there is no mention or even implication of them being anything more than a brutal smasher.

Trolls also appear in the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons. This form of troll has extensive regenerative powers. This form originated in Poul Anderson's fantasy novel, Three Hearts and Three Lions.

American trolls

Enlarge picture
"The Troll." A statue under the north end of the Aurora Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, USA.

Scandinavian folk-tales involving trolls such as "Three Billy Goats Gruff" are familiar to other European and European-derived cultures. In the US and Canada, the old belief in trolls is parallelled by a modern belief in Bigfoot and Sasquatch. Many statues of trolls adorn the downtown business district of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, leading to the town being dubbed The Troll Capital. There is also a neighborhood on the northeast side of Fargo, North Dakota which is named Trollwood.

In the TV mini-series The 10th Kingdom, trolls are the ruling race of the 3rd kingdom, having large pointy ears and noses, wild hair, poor intelligence and a love of shoes and leather.

Residents of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, known as Yoopers, refer to their lower-peninsula counterparts as "trolls," because they live "Under the Bridge" (Referring to the Mackinac Bridge.)

A Japanese troll?

In the classic Japanese animation My Neighbor Totoro, the main fantastical character Totoro is so named because of a childish mispronounciation of the Japanese equivalent of troll - "torōru". While Totoro is depicted as closer to a kami spirit of the Shinto religion, the film appears to deliberately mix Western elements into a rural Japanese idyll.


  • Folktro från förr, Ebbe Schön (2001), ISBN 91-7203-420-3
  • Troll och människa, Ebbe Schön (1999), ISBN 91-27-06873-0
  • Svensk folktro A-Ö, Ebbe Schön (1998), ISBN 91-518-2892-8
  • Trollmakter og godvette, Olav Bø (1987), ISBN 82-521-2923-4
  • Camilla Asplund Ingemark's, The Genre of Trolls. The Case of a Finland-Swedish Folk Belief Tradition is the first doctoral dissertation in Finland on traditional forest trolls. Her research describes trolls according to the folklore of Swedish-speaking Finns. Ingemark compares the style and content of troll tales in folklore with biblical stories.
Q&A with Gary Gygax - Part I. EN World Forums. Retrieved on January 27, 2006.

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