What was the origin of Trolls?

No one seems to know. Apparently, though, they were "made" (as opposed to "created" like the orcs) by Melkor. Said Tolkien: "I am not sure about Trolls. I think they are mere 'counterfeits', and hence ... they return to mere stone images when not in the dark. But there are other sorts of Trolls, beside these rather ridiculous, if brutal, Stone-trolls, for which other origins are suggested." (Letters, p. 191) "Counterfeits" here means more-or-less that the Trolls have no independent life of their own but are puppets animated in some way by an external Evil Will. As for the other kind of Troll, the Olog-hai, no reference to their origin has been found, except for Appendix F: "That Sauron bred them none doubted, though from what stock was not known." However, they were definitely true Trolls, not large Orcs.

The Troll adventure in the Hobbit should probably not be taken too literally as a source of Troll-lore -- it seems clear that it was much modified by the translator's desire to create familiarity. Thus, it seems unlikely that Trolls in Middle-earth spoke with Cockney accents, just as it seems unlikely that one of them would have been named "William".

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Last modified: Sat Aug 19 20:14:09 1995