Ever since childhood, Norwegians are told stories about trolls. These folk tales are an important part of the cultural heritage, and every souvenir shop you will come across in Norway will have a wide selection of trolls you can bring home with you. What is it with Norway’s obsession with trolls?
Troll is a collective term of several types of human-like beings in Nordic folklore and fairytale tradition. The stories of trolls are many and old, with roots back to Norse mythology. Both the appearance and characteristics vary, but trolls are often projected as both dangerous and stupid. They are described as huge, strong and ugly, with big noses and often with just one eye or several heads.
The trolls are said to live in inaccessible and untouched nature, for example in caves in the mountain, in forests and in the sea. They have always lived in hostility with gods and people. They are active during the night, because according to widespread belief in ancient folklore, the trolls would be transformed into stone when exposed to sunlight. It was also said that whoever was touched by a troll, would turn into stone.
In our time, trolls have become popular in Norway, both as souvenir figures and in movies.
In 2010, the Norwegian movie Trollhunter (Trolljegeren) came out. It is a horror comedy mockumentary portraying the life of a hunter in the Norwegian Troll Security Service. The movie received good reviews, both nationally and internationally.
Hunderfossen Family Park just outside Lillehammer, is a theme park dedicated to trolls and Norwegian fairytales, showing the important part the tales about these creatures play in the Norwegian culture.
The biggest troll at Hunderfossen. 14 meters tall and 70 tons heavy, it marks the entrance into a cave of adventures. Photo: NeonNero/Flickr.
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs