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Trolls

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For other uses, see Troll (disambiguation).
Trolls
Trolls
Dominions

Angmar, Trollshaws, Mordor, Ettenmoors, Moria

Average height

Around 9'

Skin color

Grey, green, dark

Hair color

None

Distinctions

Strong, large, non or half-sentience

Members

Cave-trolls, Snow-trolls, Hill-trolls, Olog-hai, Mountain-trolls, Stone-trolls

  [Source]

Trolls are a very large and monstrous (ranging from between 8 to 10 feet tall), and for the most part unintelligent (references are made about more cunning trolls[1]) humanoid race inhabiting Middle-earth.

HistoryEdit

Melkor created Trolls before the First Age. Trolls were very strong, but they turned to stone in sunlight. Many Trolls died in the War of Wrath, but some survived and joined the forces of Sauron, the greatest surviving servant of Morgoth. In the Second Age and Third Age, Trolls were among Sauron's most dangerous warriors. He created the Olog-hai, which were more powerful than earlier breeds of Trolls. While most Trolls cannot bear exposure to sunlight without turning to stone, the Olog-hai apparently could; this attribute was mentioned in The Return of the King as making them particularly dangerous.

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A Mountain Troll at the Morannon, used for opening the gate

During Bilbo's quest to the Lonely Mountain (Erebor), trolls were known to speak with thick Cockney accents, specifically three Hill Trolls who dwelt in the Trollshaws and had gotten there from the Ettenmoors . They turned to stone when exposed to sunlight, for stone, as told in The Hobbit, is what Trolls were originally made of. They enjoyed eating anything they could get their hands on. While threatening, the trolls in The Hobbit serve as a comic element. They even had normal names: Tom, Bert, and William (Bill) Huggins (the only one with a given surname).

During the War of the Ring, Sauron used Olog-hai in the Siege of Gondor and Battle of the Pelennor Fields. In the subsequent Battle at the Black Gate, the hobbit Peregrin Took wounds a large Olog-hai troll with a huge sword. As a result of the One Ring being destroyed, the Black Gate and the rest of Mordor collapsed into ruin during that battle. Most of the Trolls present at the battle were killed, and the others are known to have fled.

Physiology and characteristicsEdit

They were strong and vicious, but generally dim-witted and stupid at best. Some were described as being able to speak, while others appear to be as irrational as animals. The major weakness of at least some Trolls was that they turned to stone in sunlight, although it is evident they can be slain by weapons in spite of their extremely tough skin. It is stated that they were created by Melkor, although it's not clear exactly how. Treebeard of the Ents says that Trolls were "made in mockery" of Ents, as Orcs were of Elves, though not necessarily from Entish stock. However, they could be based on another race of Middle-earth, as neither Morgoth nor Sauron have access to the Secret Fire, and therefore cannot create things, only alter that which already exists. There is reference that sunlight will return them to the stone from which they were made in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

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A Cave Troll

During the wars of Beleriand, Gothmog, the Lord of Balrogs, had a bodyguard of Trolls. While leading his men in a final stand to protect the retreat of Turgon and the continued secrecy of the Kingdom of Gondolin, the great warrior Húrin faced them, and due to Morgoth's emphatic orders to have Húrin captured alive, he managed to wipe them out. Their apparently caustic blood, however, melted his axe, allowing orcs to swarm over him and bind him, his capture ending the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, where Morgoth seemingly triumphed over the united armies of Elves, Men and Dwarves.

During the Battle of the Pelennor Fields there is a reference to "men like Half-trolls", also called troll-men, but it is unclear whether these men actually had some trollish ancestry or were simply compared to trolls (for some readers, the first interpretation is supported by the similar and interchangeable terms "orc-men" and "half-orcs", referring to crossbreeds of Saruman).

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

200px-SnowTroll

A snow troll in rage

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Rankin and Bass animated filmsEdit

Trolls here are shown as large humanoids of apparently mammalian nature, with large noses and tusks (though Tom's have apparently been broken off in his mouth). Other than Tom, Bert, and William, several trolls in armor are seen in the siege on Gondor in Return of the King, as melee fighters and as operators of the battering ram Grond.

Bakshi's animated filmEdit

Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version follows the book very faithfully in its depiction of the encounter with the troll in the Chamber; however, the troll does have toes here. From the parts of it seen through the door it seems to be a humanoid reptilian around nine feet tall. Tolkien described the troll's foot as flat and toeless. There are no other trolls.

Peter Jackson's trilogyEdit

In Peter Jackson's 2001 The Fellowship of the Ring, there is also only one cave-troll. Boromir first sights it; it later barges through the open doors, and smashes much of the Chamber, including Balin's tomb, in the ensuing fight. It stabs Frodo, who is saved by his mithril shirt (in the book it is an Uruk captain who spears him). It is killed by the members of the Fellowship (though it puts up a good fight), who spear and hack at it until Legolas dispatches it with an arrow. It enters the soft palate of its mouth and goes straight through its brain, emerging from the top of its head after becoming stuck in the thick skull. It has been noted that in Jackson's version, light from a window falls on Balin's tomb, which the troll steps into. This theoretically should have turned it to stone, although the light may be coming from the moon during early morning hours.

Ctrol

The cave Troll that appears in Moria and confronts the Fellowship.

Battle Trolls were shown as the shock troops in the The Two Towers and the The Return of the King, sporting armor and spiked clubs alluded to in the appendices. They were then used in the Siege of Gondor, as primary shock troops after the gates of Minas Tirith were broken. At least one survived which carried a hammer instead of a club, and is seen later, attempting to break down a gate.

Sauron's military used other trolls for moving extremely heavy objects such as gates and siege towers, sometimes chaining them. The cave-troll in Moria wore a collar with a trailing chain, suggesting it may have been a former labourer, though this particular specimen was undisciplined enough to attack some of its own allies in the fight thus perhaps showing others' need to restrain it.

Aragorn fights one of the Olog-hai during the battle of the Black Gate. This Olog's entire upper body is covered in black plated-armour, making it more menacing. While most trolls in the movies wielded clubs, this one wielded a sword, as well a briefly seen mace. It fled when the Ring was destroyed, and was last seen running past the ranks of Sauron's army before the ground collapsed beneath them.

Video gamesEdit

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A Troll confronting Aragorn in the New Line film.

Various movie-only sources, like The Lord of the Rings: Weapons, Warfare, and the spin-off games by Electronic Arts, greatly expand on what Tolkien wrote about trolls.

In the world of the films, Mountain-trolls, including the cave-trolls of Moria, are about 17 feet (5 m) tall, with massive limbs, potbellies, and dark scales on its back and shoulders. They come in stony colours, with the most common being grey. They have 22 teeth, including two fangs on the lower canines. As in the book, their blood is black, and is so hot that when split, it sizzles on the floor. They are mainly carnivorous, but can digest plant matter if need be. The eyes are either grey or blue. They wear loincloths of leather that they find in the Mines or are given by the Goblins. They sometimes roar when in a battle rage, but are incapable of forming words or language. They often wield either a great club or a hammer. Cave-trolls are usually found with small groups of orcs. They are too unintelligent to hunt food for themselves, often consuming whatever hapless creature they come across, so food is an advantage they get from working with the orcs. Their fingernails extend to most of their fingers, and were allegedly used to dig holes into the rock itself.

The Olog-hai differ from the other Trolls depicted in the New Line movies in that they have more forward-facing eyes as well as hair on their bodies, suggesting that they are a more advanced form of Troll. They are usually grey to black in colour. Mountain-trolls and Olog-hai have much in common, they are both much larger and more intelligent than most trolls are and more resistant to light. However, Olog-hai are certainly far superior to Mountain-trolls in all these aspects.

Forest trolls were invented for the EA game version of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. They have hard grey skin, are resistant to arrow fire, and carry a large quiver of wood logs (to use as firewood and projectiles), as well as a mace like a Cave-trolls.

Drummer

Drummering troll in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

For the game version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, trolls also returned as enemy units. Although they were slow, their attacks could not be blocked and were very strong, but there was often a war pike around that made them easy to kill. They also appeared as enemies in "Lord of the Rings: The Third Age". In this game, they were also slow but powerful, and could take a lot of damage before dying. Some of the later trolls in the game (the Attack Troll) wielded a pair of large swords, while a stronger kind carried massive war hammers. Trolls also appear as controllable units in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, its sequel, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II and its expansion The Rise of the Witch-king. In The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, it is necessary for a regular mountain troll to gain a rank (after destroying enemy units, etc.), to become an attack troll where it gains an armour bonus and can heal by itself as the only non-hero unit who is able to do so. In The Battle for Middle-Earth II, attack trolls can be made from a Rank 3 Troll Cage. In The Rise of the Witch-king, the Angmar faction has a troll hero named Rogash. Mountain and Cave-trolls usually flail when dying in the BfMEs. (Note when this happens do not fire. it just wastes time.) In all the Battle for Middle Earth games, Trolls are depicted as "tank"; units (slow, very strong, can take massive damage before being killed).

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Mountain Trolls

While it is never explicitly mentioned in the books that armored battle Trolls existed, it is highly likely that they did exist and that Sauron used them for deadly effect.

There is also a type of troll known as the Drummer Troll in the movies and games. This troll was not designed for battle; rather it provided a steady beat inspiring Mordor forces. It could also howl to drive opponents away in terror. In the "Third Age" PS2 game, these trolls have magic powers. In the games workshop game manual it says that if attacked it will drive away its enemies by hitting them with their drums, however this is not possible because they always run away from battle if they are losing.

A-hilltrolls

Snow Trolls in service of Angmar, as seen in game "The Battle For Middle Earth II : Rise of the Witch king"

Wood Trolls in the MMO The Lord of the Rings Online Trolls that appear to be semi-entish made of wood appear in the Trollshaws and Evendim; they are particularly difficult to kill and deal a lot of damage.

The Lord of the Rings tabletop wargame, produced by Games Workshop, includes an Isengard Troll, which is depicted as wearing armour and carrying a shield similar to Uruk-hai.

In Norse mythology, trolls are magical creatures with special skills, and are so accepted to this day in Norway. In Tolkien's writings, they are portrayed as evil, with crude, bloodthirsty habits.

In Battle for Middle-Earth II, there are also Attack Trolls, Drummer Trolls and Half-Trolls.

TypesEdit

Originating in the Norse mythology, a wide range of folklore ranging in landscape from the mountains to the valleys, there are many types of Trolls, each unique to its inhabitants:

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    Stone Troll.

    "Stone-trolls" were Trolls who turned into stone during daylight, like the Trolls in The Hobbit. They could speak, and used a debased form of Westron (presumably rendered into Cockney English in Tolkien's "translation" of Bilbo's diary).
  • Two-Headed Trolls a controlled breed of "two headed" Trolls, as stated in the Hobbit. They are said to be more ferocious than those with one head. It is unknown if they actually have two heads or it is a term for those working for Sauron, for he controlled them, meaning they have two "heads".
  • Hill-trolls are described in the chronology at one instance as having killed Arador, grandfather of Aragorn, at the Coldfells. Tolkien described the trolls of that region, including the three from The Hobbit, as stone-trolls, suggesting that hill-trolls might be a sub-class or alternate term for such. However, the Army of the West fought "hill-trolls" of Gorgoroth that could move in sunlight at the Black Gate, inferring that these hill-trolls, at least, were Olog-hai rather than stone-trolls. Hill-trolls differ not much from "Stone-trolls" and were probably of the same beast-race, however those are classified.
Cave troll vs gondor soldiers

A Cave Troll fighting Gondorian soldiers in the BFME series.

  • Cave-trolls were seen in Moria, and were also in the Ettenmoors. One was described as having dark greenish scales and black blood. Their hide was thick enough that when Boromir struck one in the arm his sword was notched and did no damage. However, Frodo Baggins was able to impale the "toeless" foot of the same troll with the enchanted sword Sting.
  • Mountain-trolls were mentioned once, wielding the great battering ram Grond in shattering the gates of Minas Tirith. from their name, they are generally assumed to live in the mountains, and their choice is the creatures to wield Grond is sometimes taken to suggest that they were particularly strong even for trolls. Some records,{Citation needed} however, state that a truly terrifying beast, yet an unknown one, wielded Grond and was unmade at Sauron's destruction.
  • Snow-trolls are mentioned only in comparison to Helm Hammerhand. When Helm went out clad in white during the Long Winter to stalk and slay his enemies he was described as being like a snow-troll. It thus seems implied that these trolls were white in colour and lived in cold climates, but otherwise nothing is known of them.
  • Olog-hai were "strong, agile, fierce, and cunning" trolls created by Sauron, not unlike the Uruk-hai, and were able to withstand sunlight while under the sway of Sauron's will.
  • Half-trolls were troll-like humanoids from Harad who served Sauron in the The Battle of the Pelennor Fields. While it is unlikely that they had any actuall troll blood in them; it is still possible (but more likely they were were a superior breed of Orcs and/or men).
The-lord-of-the-rings-the-battle-for-middle-earth-ii-20060131115135052

A Half-Troll

The Olog-hai were actually a breed of Mountain-trolls. They seldom spoke and were said to know no language other than the Black Speech, in which Olog-hai means "troll-folk" (singular Olog "troll"). Because of their cunning, they were thought by some to be giant Orcs, rather than trolls. They appeared towards the end of the Third Age and could be found near Dol Guldur and in the mountains around Mordor. In the Battle of the Morannon, there appear "hill-trolls" of Gorgoroth which are implied to be Olog-hai in one of the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings (the term is not used within the story proper). These were described as being taller and wider than men and their hide or armour was described as a mesh of horny scales. They had black blood. Peregrin Took slew the leader of these trolls at the Battle of the Morannon and after the destruction of the One Ring and the fall of Sauron, the surviving trolls scattered as if mindless.

Other namesEdit

Torog was the translation Elven (Sindarin) name for those of troll-kind. Tolkien normally renders it as "Troll" in his works. The derivation of this word is uncertain-it may be derived from old Elvish words or perhaps imitates Olog, which seems to be comparative term in Black Speech.

TriviaEdit

Trolls in Middle Earth could be categorized as one of goblin-subspecies since trolls were 'Stone-giants' which were originally rocks inhabited by spirits of orcs.

  • Cave Troll
  • Mountain Troll
  • Hill Troll
  • River Troll
  • Forest Troll
  • Snow Troll
  • Half Troll

ReferencesEdit

  1. Trolls were abroad, no longer dull-witted, but cunning and armed with dreadful weapons. J.R.R. Tolkien (2009-04-17). The Lord of the Rings (p. 44). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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