Ugly, fiendish, dangerous, powerful and stupid the trolls personality is as varied as his appearance. In the old Norse language troll was used as a general supernatural word. ‘Trolldomr’ meant ‘witchcraft’ and ‘troll’ generally referred to a giant or demon. Through the ages the depiction of trolls have become less giant like and generally more mischievous than demonic.
Trolls usually live in caves or underground while the troll from the famous Norwegian fairytale ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ lived under a bridge. In other stories trolls capture princesses, invade peoples houses on Christmas eve and generally get up to all sorts of naughtiness.
Depictions of trolls often vary, they can have tails, some have the ability to shape shift and some can even appear as humans. The modern day troll will invariably have a large nose and ears and are very messy. The current depiction of trolls may have been influenced by the toys which were popular in the 1960’s and had a resurgence in the 80s. The last photo in the post shows one of these toys. The trolls I photographed in Norway seem to be very patriotic. Norwegians are very proud of Trolls with several cities in Norway named after the creatures; including Trollheimen, Trollstigen, and Trollveggen to name a few. Nordic neighbours Finland are also famous for trolls particularly the Moomins who live in the forests of Finland.
To see more Norwegian trolls visit a gallery I created on flickr.