Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Trolls

Monsters of Scandinavian Myth and Nordic Fantasy; related Shetland myths call them trows. They have affinities with Giants (size, general malevolence, fondness for eating human flesh) and earth Elementals: they are associated with mountains and cold, and often turn to stone on exposure to daylight – as in J R R Tolkien's The Hobbit (1937). Further famous trolls appear in Peer Gynt (1867) by Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) and T H White's comic-sinister "The Troll" (1935). Fantasy Games often base their trolls on the tough specimen in Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions (1961), which regenerates even as it is hacked apart and must be burnt piecemeal. The Revisionist-Fantasy "trolls" in Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn are most un-troll-like and slightly resemble Tolkien's hobbits; the more traditional but nevertheless comic trolls of Terry Pratchett's Discworld (some of which do indeed turn to stone at dawn, only to revive at sunset) have done rather more to rehabilitate the creatures' image. Rose Estes's Troll sequence features a society of child-kidnapping trolls beneath Chicago. [DRL]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.