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J.R.R. Tolkien - The Three Trolls are turned to Stone (Colored by H.E. Riddett).jpg
"The Three Trolls are turned to Stone" by J.R.R. Tolkien (coloured by H.E. Riddett)
General Information
OriginsBelieved by Treebeard to be “made in mockery of” Ents
LocationsMordor, Ettenmoors
AffiliationMostly Morgoth and Sauron
LanguagesBlack Speech, various Mannish tongues
PeopleCave-trolls, Hill-trolls, Mountain-trolls, Olog-hai, Snow-trolls, and Stone-trolls.
MembersWilliam, Tom, Bert
Physical Description
DistinctionsStrong beasts with limited intellect
Average heightLarge
Skin colorGrey
GalleryImages of Trolls

Trolls were large monsters of limited intellect. They were strong and vicious, but could not endure sunlight.


Morgoth created or corrupted Trolls at the end of the First Age (twilight of the Elder Days).[1] Their exact origins are unknown, though it is theorized by Treebeard that Trolls were "made in mockery of" Ents, similar to the theory that Orcs were a twisted parody of the Elves.

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 and Third Ages, Trolls were among Sauron's most dangerous warriors and breeds of the various kinds of Trolls could be seen in several conflicts.

In the Third Age, Sauron made 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, something that made them particularly dangerous.

In the years leading up to the War of the Ring, rumors reached the Shire that Trolls were abroad, more cunning than normal, armed with dreadful weapons.[2]

Kinds of Trolls

Other names

The Sindarin word for a "troll" is torog.[1] The Black Speech equivalent is olog.[4]

The name Rhudaur is translated by Tolkien as "Troll shaw", with rhû translated as "evil, wicked".[5]

Other versions of the legendarium

In an early chart of different creatures, trolls are given the Qenya name maulir. Patrick H. Wynne and Christopher Gilson have suggested that maulir is possibly related to Qenya maule ("crying, weeping"), thus perhaps "referring to cries made by these monsters or to the weeping of their victims".[6]


Trolls were originally a part of the Norse mythology (as a negative synonym for jötunn, "giants") and Scandinavian folklore (as ugly, large creatures of remote wildlife areas).

Other fiction

In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are mentioned the "wood-trolls" (translated by J.R.R. Tolkien from the manuscript word wodwos).[7] The latter word is related to Woses.

Portrayal in adaptations

Trolls in adaptations
A "Groan" in The Hobbit (1966 film)  


1966: The Hobbit (1966 film):

The three Trolls' position in the narrative was taken by two creatures called "Groans".[8] They had wooden, bark-like skin, and, instead of stone, turned into dead trees when exposed to sunlight.

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

The Troll that attempts to enter Balin's Tomb is depicted as a shadowy creature with dark green fur. Unlike in the novel, its feet have toes. It is the only Troll seen in the film.


2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:

Like in the film adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring, a Cave-troll serves as the boss of the "Balin's Tomb" level. A pair of Cave-trolls also serve as the bosses of the "Hornburg Courtyard" level. Also unique to this game are a new breed of Troll known as "Forest-trolls", which appear in several levels including "Fangorn Forest" and "Breached Wall".

2003: The Hobbit:

In addition to the three Stone-trolls from the book, a Cave-troll was intended to appear during the "Over Hill and Under Hill" level in the PC and console versions, where it would have served as the level's boss. Even though the encounter was cut from the final version of the game, Bilbo still mentions the troll to Gandalf when he reunites with Thorin and Company, and Kili informs Bilbo that Trolls are known to live in the Misty Mountains, and hopes Bilbo didn't encounter any while he was separated.[9]
Third-party trainer programs for the PC version allow the boss battle to be reintegrated into the game. Like the three Stone-trolls, the Cave Troll would have been capable of speaking Westron, as shown during its introductory cutscene where it complains about having a toothache. Defeating it would have yielded the Troll Key which, in the final version of the game, instead lays on the floor for Bilbo to take without having to kill any of the creatures that guard it.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

Compared to other enemies, Trolls are much stronger. Trolls first appear in Fornost, where one traps Eradan, Andriel and Farin.[10] Another troll appears at the end of the level, where Eradan, Andriel and Farin have to protect Elladan and Elrohir. When this Troll is killed, the player is able to enter the Citadel to confront Tharzog and Agandaûr.[11]

2014: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor:

The Udûn and Sea of Nûrnen regions of Mordor are inhabited by large troll-like creatures known as "Olog Graugs". According to their Nature article in the Appendices menu, Sauron intends to use the Graug to crossbreed with ordinary Trolls, and create a new breed of "hill-trolls" that can withstand direct sunlight. Graugs are very rare in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game due to technical limitations, but are more abundant in the PS4, PC, and Xbox One versions.


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Other Races"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Shadow of the Past"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Roast Mutton"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 136
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), pp. 115, 170
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Early Qenya and The Valmaric Script", in Parma Eldalamberon XIV (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), pp. 7, 9
  7. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 555
  8. Gene Deitch, "Comment 5311" dated 25 July 2012, genedeitchcredits (accessed 17 October 2012)
  9. The Hobbit (2003 video game), "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  10. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Outer Wards
  11. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, The Citadel