From Tolkien Gateway
Ted Nasmith - A Song in the Trollshaws.jpg
"A Song in the Trollshaws" by Ted Nasmith
General Information
LocationEastern Eriador, west of Rivendell
DescriptionA wild forest on the north side of the East-West Road
People and History
EventsQuest of Erebor

The Trollshaws were the upland woods, consisting at least partly of beech trees, that lay to the west of Rivendell between the Rivers Hoarwell and Loudwater.[1]

On the hills of the Trollshaws were shallow caves, such as the Trolls' cave, and Mannish castles and towers.

History[edit | edit source]

The Trollshaws were within the borders of Arnor and later of the smaller realm of Rhudaur. The Men of Rhudaur built castles and towers on the top of some of its hills.[2]

They were the haunt of Trolls, especially after the fall of Arnor; Stone-trolls from "the mountains" came to the woodlands. This was the case of William who led Tom and Bert; having eaten a village and a half on their way, they complained about the scarcity of people in the area and instead had to make do with mutton. While they made their camp, they famously waylaid Bilbo and his companions who were on their Quest of Erebor. Thanks to the distractions of Gandalf, the Trolls were turned to stone by the Sun.[3] Years later, Frodo and his companions traversed the woodland and found the Trolls' petrified forms on the way to Rivendell.[4]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Shaw is an archaic word meaning "thicket, small wood, copse, or grove". The Trollshaws are referred to in the narrative as "the Trolls' wood".[5][6] According to the Index of The Lord of the Rings the "Trolls' wood" is equivalent to the "Trollshaws".[7] Trollshaws means Trollwoods.

The woods geographically belonged to where the ancient realm of Rhudaur used to be,[8][9][10] and were perhaps named after it. The Sindarin name Rhudaur means "Troll shaw".[11]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

Trollshaws is where Arwen encounters Aragorn and the Hobbits - right near Old Bilbo's stone Trolls.
Map of the Trollshaws from The Lord of the Rings Online.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Trollshaws is a region of the game located between the Lone-lands across the Last Bridge in the west, the Misty Mountains beyond Rivendell to the north-east, and Eregion to the south. The river Bruinen plays a prominent role there, with both the "Bruinen Gorges" and the hills of "Tâl Bruinen" being important areas. The "Angle of Mitheithel" between the Hoarwell and the Loudwater is also featured.
Rivendell is the only major settlement, but there are several camps and outposts kept by the Elves throughout the region. There are also many ruins inhabited by Trolls, hostile Hill-men, and other foes. The Ranger village "Tornhad" is another settlement, located in the Angle.

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

As in the book, the Company traverse the Trollshaws where they have a similar adventure with the Trolls.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Roast Mutton"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Flight to the Ford"
  5. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. Ixiii
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Flight to the Ford"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Index: III. Persons, Places, and Things", "Trolls' wood (Trollshaws)"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur", The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain, first paragraph "Rhudaur [...] included also the Angle between the Hoarwell and the Loudwater"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VII. The Heirs of Elendil", Commentary, manuscript B entry Earendur "Rhudaur north of the R. Bruinen (where later were the Trollshaws)"
  10. General Map of Middle-earth
  11. 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), entry "S Rhudaur = Troll shaw.", p. 115
Route of Thorin and Company
Bag End · Green Dragon · The Shire · Lone-lands · Last Bridge · Trollshaws · Trolls' cave · Rivendell · High Pass · Front Porch · Goblin-town · Goblin-gate · Eagle's Eyrie · Carrock · Beorn's Hall · Wilderland · Forest Gate · Elf-path · Mirkwood · Elvenking's Halls · Forest River · Lake-town · Long Lake · River Running · Desolation of the Dragon · Ravenhill · Back Door · Lonely Mountain · Great Hall of Thráin