Where did the Trolls Myth Come From? (2024)

If you and your kids love mythical characters and magical beasts, you may be fascinated by unicorns, mermaids, fairies, and dragons - but what do you know about trolls? Let’s find out more about this strange creature that is a staple of folklore and discover where the troll myth originated from.

What Exactly is a Troll?

Before we look at where troll myths came from, let’s first think about what a troll actually is. If you had a plastic Troll toy when you were little, you’re probably imagining rather tanned little models with wildly coloured hair and big noses. Or if you’ve seen the Trolls movies, you may think of trolls as all-singing, all-dancing cutie-pies who love nothing but love, peace and harmony - oh and playing guitars. While this is a very modern depiction of a troll, it’s nothing like the trolls from folklore and old stories. They’re very different indeed.

Where Did Trolls Originate From?

The history of a mythical beast is usually fascinating and the background to how trolls originated is also interesting. Trolls actually originate from Nordic folklore and storytelling traditions. They have roots in Norse mythology and are featured heavily in the fairy tales of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. The word ‘troll’ likely originated from the Norwegian words for witches and witchcraft, which were trollfolk and trolldom, respectively. In Old Norse, the word ‘troll’ specifically refers to supernatural creatures as well as a subspecies of shapeshifting giants known as Jotnars. Now that sounds ominous.

Because early Norse folktales were passed along by oral tradition, meaning they were only spoken and never written down, early troll history is scarce. It wasn’t until the 13th century when they started appearing in literary works such as the Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda and Icelandic sagas. Such works now prove that troll stories have been around for hundreds of years.

What are the Trolls From Folklore Like?

Trolls from folklore don’t play guitars or sing cute songs. And they certainly wouldn’t have approved of glitter and sparkles. In fact, they were renowned for being unfriendly towards humans. They could also be stupid, dangerous and were renowned troublemakers, often talking in rhymes and setting complicated riddles for people to solve.

Nordic trolls have been described as ugly with large noses and eyes ‘the size of plates.’ According to some reports, Gods and humans were their enemies and they were angered by the smell of Christian blood. Most trolls from centuries ago lived in the mountains, ocean or forest. They could also be as big as mountains or as small as gnomes depending on the story being told.

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Where did the Trolls Myth Come From? (2024)

FAQs

Where did the Trolls Myth Come From? ›

Trolls actually originate from Nordic folklore and storytelling traditions. They have roots in Norse mythology and are featured heavily in the fairy tales of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.

Where did the myth of trolls originate? ›

Troll is a term used to describe various supernatural beings in Nordic folklore and storytelling traditions, and has roots in Norse mythology. Both appearance and characteristics can vary, but the creatures are often both dangerous and stupid.

What were trolls inspired by? ›

Troll is a collective term for several types of human-like beings in Nordic folklore and fairy tales with roots in Norse mythology. Both appearance and characteristics vary, and trolls are usually both dangerous and stupid.

What kills trolls in mythology? ›

Trolls are repelled by lightning, which kills them instantly. Likely the reason is their run-ins with Thor, who is said to have hunted trolls across the land. Some legends certify that trolls turn to stone when exposed to sunlight.

Who started trolls? ›

Where did Trolls come from? Troll dolls actually came a long way to become popular. They originated all the way over in Denmark in the 1950s. The Danish company was started by a man named Thomas Dam after his wife encouraged him to try selling the wooden dolls he had been carving for his children.

Where did the original trolls come from? ›

Toy history. Troll dolls were created in 1959 by Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam.

What country is trolls based on? ›

It's based on actual Norwegian folklore.

Trolls date back to Norse mythology and are a staple in Nordic fairy tales.

What is the backstory of troll? ›

A troll is a being in Nordic folklore, including Norse mythology. In Old Norse sources, beings described as trolls dwell in isolated areas of rocks, mountains, or caves, live together in small family units, and are rarely helpful to human beings.

What is a female troll called? ›

A female troll is called a skessa. Trolls are not portrayed as particularly physically attractive. Finally, trolls can only travel at night. When dawn comes, they had better be back in their caves, or they turn to stone. This has historically been used to explain strange rock formations.

What do trolls do to humans? ›

The trolls have little ability for self-reliance, and thus often steal materials from humans. They are also cannibalistic, usually eating their own when one is either wounded or dying. Trolls also eat humans and livestock, usually during raids.

What do trolls hate? ›

As un-Christian creatures, they are believed to have an aversion to church bells and are scared of lightning. They are described as evil spirits that turn into stone if exposed to sunlight.

What is a troll's weakness? ›

Trolls are weak to piercing damage and so your best weapon to use against them while you are in bronze is going to be bow and arrows. Kiting trolls with a bow is simple and effective.

How are trolls born? ›

Troll Eggs are also kept in the hair of the Troll, and thus Troll babies are born from the safety of their parents' hair. This is seen in both the Pop Trolls and Country Trolls. Not all the Trolls are able to use their hair in the same way, and thus not all Tribes can make their hair work the same way as another Tribe.

Where did the troll myth come from? ›

They have roots in Norse mythology and are featured heavily in the fairy tales of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. The word 'troll' likely originated from the Norwegian words for witches and witchcraft, which were trollfolk and trolldom, respectively.

How tall are trolls? ›

The average troll stands nine feet high and weighs roughly 500 pounds, though females tend to be a bit larger than males. The hide of trolls is rubbery, and usually either moss green, putrid grey, or mottled gray and green.

What do trolls eat? ›

Trolls adore eating all types of seafood! Amazingly, they fish in complete darkness so that they are not seen by anybody. They mostly eat their food raw. Sometimes, when the volcanoes have erupted, they cook their food on the hot rocks.

Did the Vikings believe in trolls? ›

A troll is a being in Nordic folklore, including Norse mythology. In Old Norse sources, beings described as trolls dwell in isolated areas of rocks, mountains, or caves, live together in small family units, and are rarely helpful to human beings.

Where does the world troll come from? ›

The English noun "troll" in the standard sense of ugly dwarf or giant dates to 1610 and originates from the Old Norse word "troll" meaning giant or demon. The word evokes the trolls of Scandinavian folklore and children's tales: antisocial, quarrelsome and slow-witted creatures which make life difficult for travelers.

What is the history of trolling? ›

The mythological and marine trolling both have their origin in indiscriminate, casual violence: the Old French hunting term troller, which meant “to wander around looking for something to kill” or “to go hunting for game with no specific purpose.” Soon, this casual hunting style gained a more popular and specific ...

What are trolls in Irish folklore? ›

A trow [trʌu](also trowe, drow, or dtrow) is a malignant or mischievous fairy or spirit in the folkloric traditions of the Orkney and Shetland islands. Trows may be regarded as monstrous giants at times, or quite the opposite, short-statured fairies dressed in grey.

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