A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 23: Fantasy Squad – Trolls

TWhen I was little I used to believe trolls lived under bridges. Clearly that stemmed from one of my favourite stories – The Three Billy Goats Gruff. I liked to think of the billy goats as siblings; the younger two relying on their big brother for protection. I enjoyed the way the tables were turned and when the third ‘victim’ came tripping along the bridge, he had no fear of the bully – or the threat of being eaten up!

Well, come along! I’ve got two spears,
And I’ll poke your eyeballs out at your ears;
I’ve got besides two curling-stones,
And I’ll crush you to bits, body and bones.

Source: Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, De tre bukkene Bruse som skulle gå til seters og gjøre seg fete, Norske Folkeeventyr, translated by George Webbe Dasent in Popular Tales from the Norse, 2nd edition (London: George Routledge and Sons, n.d.), no. 37, pp. 275-276. Translation revised by D. L. Ashliman.

Children’s stories have some of the best trolls. Perhaps one of my favourite modern interpretations is the trolls from Disney’s Frozen.

These ancient creatures might be found in the Valley of the Living Rock, but only if they want to be found. Trolls are masters of minerals and yielders of the night sky. They are also overbearing, loud, meddlesome, inappropriate, and heavy–really heavy. But they mean well and love well.”―Official Disney Bio

Trolls by Kimsuyeong81 Traditional Art / Drawings / Fantasy
Trolls by Kimsuyeong81
Traditional Art / Drawings / Fantasy

Of course, there are far nastier trolls – truly the stuff of nightmares. Tolkien’s trolls were large and monstrous. In other depictions too, they are seen to be fiendish giants.

In some legends they can eat anything, literally, making them sound more like a giant trash can! They are normally associated with an element and, in most cases, have regenerative powers. If the troll in The Three Billy Goats Gruff had been half as dangerous, the ending might have been very different. Unless the billy goat was a shape-shifter and then all bets are off!

Trolls appear across media; comics, film, music, art, television and literature – the list would be so long today I’m not sure we’d get through it.

Still, I think they deserve a place on the squad. Though which side they would be on, that is the question! How do you envisage trolls? What is your favourite interpretation? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.


32 thoughts on “A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 23: Fantasy Squad – Trolls

  1. Charles Yallowitz says:

    Can’t have the squad without trolls. If you tried, they’d simply eat the winner and take their place. 🙂 I think of two things with trolls. One is the big, ugly monster that is a living juggernaut and able to heal any injury that isn’t caused by fire. Then there are the bright-haired Troll Dolls from when I was younger. That would be an odd team up.

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      Ha! I’d forgotten all about the crazy haired trolls. That settles it – when I write a troll it will have something unique about its hair. It could be a weird theme 😉 Your comment about eating the winner made me laugh out loud!

  2. Solveig says:

    I always pictured trolls as being small. A big potato or a shrivelled rock that is quite grumpy.
    If I remember correctly there are Trolls in Ronja the Robbers Daughter, they must have been my favourites as a child.

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      Yes, I know what you mean about the grumpy – that sticks out in my mind too! I haven’t read the tale of the Robber’s Daughter – I must go and investigate right now! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      1. mbarkersimpson says:

        It sounds delightful – something to enjoy with my daughter. I got distracted and have been reading about The Brothers Lionheart – that went on the list too!

      2. Solveig says:

        Oh read that one too! It is one of the most beautiful and saddest books out there. I should maybe to a Lindgren recommendation post.

  3. Alex Hurst says:

    I used to think of the shock neon-color haired trolls when I was a kid, but now I think of LOTR’s trolls without fail. Scary indeed. Good thing poor Frodo had mythril!

  4. callummclaughlin says:

    I was fascinated by the huge amount of lore surrounding trolls when I was in Iceland. They are said to be huge creatures that live in caves in the mountains and people believed they caused earthquakes and eruptions.

    There are also 13 trolls known as the Yule Lads who visit during the 13 days leading up to Christmas. Children traditionally leave their shoes on their windowsills and if they have been good, the Yule Lads will stuff then with small gifts; if they’ve been bad they’ll get rotten potatoes. (Iceland’s version of Santa and lumps of coal in stockings I suppose!)

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      What a wonderful tradition. Thank you for sharing it 🙂 I love their names, and 13 is my favourite number – I want to learn everything about these intriguing creatures and the lore.

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