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Norway Trolls: Everything You Need to Know

|February 28, 2022

Many writers have been inspired by trolls, the most mystical and supernatural beings in Nordic folklore. But are these stories real? Did these Norwegian creatures actually exist? What's the myth (or facts) that inspired these characters? Where do trolls live?


So many questions. It's truly fascinating how several landmarks in Norway are influenced by these monsters from Norse mythology. Legends of trolls are centuries old, they are etched in several Norwegian folk tales, and the first written record of trolls was made in the book Prose Edda from the 13th century.

We are sure this has got you gripped enough to read the rest of the details, facts, and fiction we have gathered about mythical trolls. So, without further ado, let's dive right into the mythology and help you understand the origins of trolls.

What Are Trolls from Norse Mythology?

Norwegian trolls are believed to be mythical creatures that live in isolated rocks or caves. They are believed to live alone or in small families and are hostile towards humans. As per the troll legends, they are believed to be evil and dangerous beings that prefer the wilderness.

You may be wondering, What does a troll look like? Troll folklores have many different variations of their appearance and characteristics. Try visualizing an ugly giant with a large nose and bulgy eyes—that's how these intriguing creatures are described in troll folklores.

Group of Norwegian trolls souvenirs

What Does the Troll Mythology Say?

Throughout Norse mythology and even in Scandinavian folklore, you'll find several mentions about trolls. Some are giants, some are dwarfs, and some even have more than one head, but one similarity in appearance is their monstrous look.

Because most Norse legends were handed down orally, it is difficult to point out the origin of trolls from history.

Referring back to The Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, there is a reference of an encounter made with a troll woman. 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 Are the Two Different Types of Trolls?

According to the troll myth, there are two types of trolls. First, the Trogre, which looked like ogre-like giants and were called jotun (or jotul) in Norwegian folktales. These evil creatures were against the gods and are linked to the origins or the universe itself.

When Christianity was introduced, Trogres were assumed to have become enemies of the church and the worshippers. They even attacked priests and destroyed all the places of worship. In troll's history, they are etiological legends. This explains the formation of mountains, lakes, craters, and rocks.

The second type of troll is known as the Troblins. They are considered to be Scandinavian trolls that have bigger personalities than their size. Although they prefer to be isolated, they are assumed to have been social within their communities and form families too.

They enjoy stirring up trouble for humans, especially on Christmas eve. Tiny troblins in trolls Norse mythology has it that they break into houses on the eve of Christmas and cause messes by throwing parties.

For those interested in literature, there are so many different stories with Troblins as lead characters.

Most Famous Trolls

Within these two types of trolls, there are several sub categories of trolls with different characteristics and looks. Dovregubben is a powerful troll king that was identified as a character in Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt poem that was written in 1867. The defining characteristics of Dovregubben were narrow-mindedness and self-righteous behavior.

Peer Nisse and Huldra trolls

Huldra is another famous troll character identified as a supernatural female. Several legends and folklore have made mention of Huldra as a beautiful maiden that looks like a human but has a tail of a cow. She is said to appear in the mountains or in the forests of southeast Norway.

Finally, another famous troll character is known as Nøkken, who is both vicious and scary. The folklores suggest that these shrewd characters would lure people into the water and drown them.

What Do Trolls Eat?

If you are lost in the woods while exploring the rugged landscapes of Norway, you don't have to worry about being served as dinner to trolls. Trolls of Norse mythology have bigger appetites and can eat anything from a stone to a human (but not adults).

Troll folklore suggests that they have sharp teeth and can eat whatever comes their way. One tale has it that naughty kids and goats are their favorite snacks.

About Troll's Tongue, or Trolltunga

One of the most iconic landmarks of Norway, Troll's Tongue, or Trolltunga, is picturesque, stunning, and we are running out of adjectives. The long hike might be a little strenuous, but the scenic views from above is worth all the effort.

Trolltunga, Troll's tongue rock, Norway

Troll's Tongue, or Trolltunga is a unique rock formation located 3,600 feet above sea level. The formation is only a little over 10,000 years old and hangs 2,300 feet above the Lake Ringedalvatnet.

As an adventure lover, this gorgeous hike is not to be missed; it may need some preparation in advance, but trust us when we say it is a rewarding experience.

Legend has it that Trolltunga was named after a troll mythical creature that was confident that it wouldn't turn into a rock after being exposed to the sun.

Trollveggen, trollstigen, and Jotunheimen National park are also some of the other landmarks with some connection to trolls. Plan your travel Norwegian itinerary to incorporate some of these incredible places.

Conclusion

To this day, trolls remain an integral part of Norwegian culture.

Every country, every region has its own legends and folklore. As travelers, it is imperative we spend time to learn and about the myths, culture, and traditions.

Trolls have lived through the generations in stories, landmark names, Norwegian figurines, and souvenirs.

Norwegian Troll Figurine

If you are an adventure junky, go on a troll hunting trip to Norway. Explore the stunning rock formations, caves, crevices, and cliffs that offer panoramic views of the destination.

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