Two-headed Trolls

From Tolkien Gateway
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
Stephen King - "Two-headed" Troll
"Yes, I am afraid trolls do behave like that, even those with only one head each."
Roast Mutton

Two-headed Trolls might have been a legendary race of Trolls, whose possible existence is fleetingly suggested in a chronicle of the Quest of Erebor, commenting on William wiping his lips on his sleeve.[1]

If this statement was not merely a way of speaking, perhaps there were indeed Trolls in Middle-earth that, unlike the Stone-trolls, had at least two heads and behaved even worse.

Inspiration[edit | edit source]

Commenting on the above remark, John D. Rateliff has noted that trolls "with multiple heads appear in many stories", especially pointing to George Webbe Dasent's "Soria Moria Castle".[2]

C.S. Lewis mentioned the Ettins of Ettinsmoor in Narnia, some of which have two heads.[3] In many later fantasy settings, but also some adaptations of Middle-earth, there are two-headed monsters, which usually are called "ettens" (q.v.).

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

An individual monster called Skessa, a cross-breed between a troll and giant, having two heads.[4]

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

"'Two-headed' Troll" is a Warrior Ally for evil players.

1998-2004: Middle-earth Online:

Ettins, a race of two-headed trolls, was intended to be included in the game.[5]

2002-5: The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game:

Ettens resemble the Hill-trolls, but they possess "not one but two long heads". The solitary creatures, a result of an ancient experiment by Morgoth, live almost exclusively in the Ettenmoors.[6]

2017: Middle-earth: Shadow of War:

The Overlord of the Núrnen region of Mordor is an Olog named Az-Harto, who poses as a two-headed Troll. In reality, the second head is that of the Uruk Ratbag the Coward, who is riding on Az-Harto's back and wearing a large helmet to conceal his identity.

2018: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Two-headed Trolls are among the evil creatures of Gundabad and can be found among the Grey Mountains.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Roast Mutton"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Trolls", p. 99 (note 9)
  3. Ettins in Narnia Wiki
  4. Zachariah Woolf (1995), Lake-town (#2016)
  5. Roundup 12.1 (02-09-2004) at (accessed 16 November 2010)
  6. Scott Bennie, Mike Mearls, Steve Miller, Aaron Rosenberg, Chris Seeman, Owen Seyler, and George Strayton (2003), Fell Beasts and Wondrous Magic
Legendary races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Ettens · Giants · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Two-headed Trolls
Other:  Badger-folk · Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless things · Spectres
Individuals:  Talking Gurthang · Talking purse · The Hunter · Lady of the Sun · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · River-woman · Tarlang · Tim · Tom · White cow