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"Troll -- in the dungeons -- thought you ought to know."
Quirinus Quirrell to Hogwarts School on 31 October, 1991[src]

A Troll was a magical beast of prodigious strength and immense stupidity. In fact, they were so synonymous with stupidity that they actually had a wizarding exam failing grade named after them. Trolls were grouped in the taxonomical genus Troglodytarum.[4] Trolls possessed rudimentary magic, but it is not known how they applied it.[5]

Description

Physical appearance

Trolls generally reached a height of about twelve feet and weighed up to a tonne.[1] Troll whiskers had magical properties, and were sometimes used as wand cores, though they were considered inferior to the Supreme Cores. Their feet had two toes, both with giant toenails.[6]

Behaviour

They were dangerously violent and incredibly aggressive, and they engaged in unpredictable behaviour, comparable to giants.[1] They were also incredibly low in intelligence, of which giants seemed to have more.[1] Trolls were particularly attracted to unpleasant smells, such as Dungbombs.[7]

Diet

Trolls, similar to Acromantulas, had a taste for human flesh. They enjoyed it raw, but were not fussy about what they ate. Trolls were also fond of fish.[2]

Society and Culture

"Anyone can speak Troll. All you have to do is point and grunt."
— The Troll language[src]

Troll language was supposedly nothing more than simple grunts that only Trolls seemed to be able to interpret, though skilled magical multi-linguists such as Barty Crouch could understand them.[8] Trolls understood only a limited number of Human words, and some smarter ones could be skillfully trained as security trolls.[9] Professor Quirrell had a gift for communicating with trolls, having used it to set one loose in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1991 in an effort to steal the Philosopher's Stone.[10][11]

Mountain trolls had been known to tame and ride Graphorns, or at least try to ride them. However, the Graphorns didn't seem to be very keen on the idea.[1]

History

"I went looking for the troll because I — I thought I could deal with it on my own — you know, because I've read all about them."
— Hermione Granger lying after encountering a Troll[src]

Trolls originated in Scandinavia, but were later found all across Europe.[1]

Trolls were not recognised as magical beings, but instead classified as beasts by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures of the British Ministry of Magic, most likely due to their aggressive natures.[1] Pierre Bonaccord, the first Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, wanted to stop troll-hunting and give them rights, but his appointment to that office was contested by Liechtenstein, since they were having problems with a tribe of very dangerous mountain trolls at the time.[12]

Artemius Lawson was an outspoken advocate for the strict restraint of trolls. He thought it was wrong to allow them to roam free, stating that "they were creatures who weighed a ton, but had brains the size of a bogey".[13]

The Black family kept an umbrella stand made out of a troll's leg in their front hall.[14]

After the details of the Sorting ceremony were revealed in 1991, Ron stated that he was going to kill his brother Fred, who had suggested that the test to get into Hogwarts involved wrestling a troll.[15]

A Troll was Quirrell's contribution to guarding the Philosopher's Stone in the Underground Chambers, during the 1991–1992 school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[16]

To create a diversion so he could go after the Philosopher's Stone, Professor Quirrell let a mountain troll into the castle on Hallowe'en 1991, appearing in the dungeon.[11] It wandered around the corridors until Harry Potter and Ron Weasley locked it in a girls' bathroom, only to realise soon after that Hermione Granger was also in that particular bathroom. With a combination of using the Levitation Charm and what Minerva McGonagall would cite as "sheer dumb luck", Ron managed to knock it by levitating its club and dropping it on its head, incapacitating it and saving Hermione.[10]

Trolls participated in wizarding society to some extent; some witches and wizards made a career out of training security trolls.[17] These were evidently a different type of troll than the mountain variety, since they seemed considerably more intelligent and less smelly. Dumbledore hired security trolls to guard the Fat Lady after Sirius Black attacked her. They spent all their time pacing the corridor in front of the Fat Lady's portrait, giving dirty looks to everyone who happened by and comparing the sizes of their clubs.[9] They left at the end of the year, when Sirius was deemed to have left the country.[18]

The wizarding author and celebrity Gilderoy Lockhart wrote about his supposed adventures with Trolls in his book Travels with Trolls, which was a mandatory Defence Against the Dark Arts textbook for his classes in that subject for the 1992–1993 school year when he was that year's Professor.[19] As Gilderoy Lockhart was in reality a dishonest con artist who fraudulently took the credit of the achievements of far braver wizards and witches, by erasing their memories of their deeds with the Memory Charm, Lockhart in reality had no actual experience with these creatures.[20]

When Ron Weasley was captured by Snatchers in 1997, he told them he was Stan Shunpike, due to them not looking very intelligent, and even speculated that one of them might have been part-Troll, judging by his odour.[21]

During the Calamity, several Trolls started randomly appearing throughout the Wizarding world guarding various magical Confoundables, with volunteer members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force having to incapacitate them with spells such as the the Ebublio Jinx and the Knockback Jinx, in order to overpower the Confoundables and return them to their rightful place.[22]

Sub-species

There were four known different types of Troll, each with its own highly unique set of physical differences.

The mountain troll was the largest and most violent of the various troll species. It stood twelve feet tall, with grey skin, a lumpy body, and flat horny feet. It exuded a powerfully awful smell that was reminiscent of “a mixture of old socks and the kind of public toilet no one seems to clean.” Its nose was full of what looks like lumpy, grey glue: troll bogeys.[10]

The forest troll had pale-green skin and straggly hair.[23] This breed of troll was native to forests or woodlands, and some may have even lived in the Forbidden Forest.[24]

The river troll had hairy purple skin and short horns. It was often found lurking under bridges or in the middle of rivers.[1]

A sub-type was the Troll of Nadroj, a kind of troll with disproportionate hands.[25]

Part-trolls were beings with some, but not a complete, amount of troll heritage or blood, as well as part human blood. Harry Potter once speculated that Marcus Flint had some traces of Troll blood in him; however, this might have been simply to insult Flint's stupidity and appearance.[26]

See also

Behind the scenes

  • The troll is a creature from Norse mythology. Though sometimes depicted as being little different from humans, later Scandinavian folklore began to increasingly depict them as ugly, stupid, and brutish, a depiction that has persisted into modern fantasy works.
  • In the Philosopher's Stone book and PS1/GBC game, there is a room with a troll that belongs to Professor Quirrell. However, in the film, this scene was omitted.
  • In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Ron Weasley draws a picture of a troll and describes Gregory Goyle as one.
  • In the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on home consoles, security trolls appear in the last parts of the game. They are shown to be watching the library, and the player will be sent back upon being caught, Ron must throw a Dungbomb around one. If close enough, the Troll will walk towards them. Humourously, when a Troll walks to a Dungbomb, they seem to lose sense of the player.
  • In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, if someone casts a spell at a security troll, they can create an expansive wave in self-defence.[27]
  • There is some contradiction as to the ability of trolls to perform magic. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it states that trolls have no magic powers other than their naturally enhanced strength. However, one of the questions on the Wizards' Ordinary Magic and Basic Aptitude Test, when taken with information on the Patronus Charm from Wonderbook: Book of Spells, implies that both hags and trolls can use rudimentary magic.
  • Though often derided as stupid, trolls are obviously intelligent, or at least sapient, beings. This is seen in their wielding of weapons, dressing themselves, and their attempts to domesticate other beasts (such as graphorns). This indicates that trolls are early to mid Stone Age in terms of culture, and likely possess rudimentary intelligence. However, they were either not considered intelligent enough to understand the laws of the wizarding world or could not control their violence, as the Ministry of Magic did not grant them being status.

Appearances

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Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wonderbook: Book of Potions - see this video
  3. Pottermore - "History of Quidditch World Cup Part 2" on the "Pottermore Insider"
  4. Illustration of Diagon Alley by Jim Kay from the Deluxe Illustrated Slipcase Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (see here).
  5. J. K. Rowling's official site
  6. Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Wand Cores" at Wizarding World
  7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) - Console versions
  8. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 7 (Bagman and Crouch)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 14 (Snape's Grudge)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 10 (Hallowe'en)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  13. Daily Prophet Newsletters, 8 February, 1999, Page 1
  14. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 4 (Number Twelve Grimmauld Place)
  15. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7 (The Sorting Hat)
  16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor)
  17. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
  18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 22 (Owl Post Again)
  19. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 3 (The Burrow)
  20. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
  21. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
  22. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  23. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
  24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) - PS1 version
  25. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) - The Monster Book of Monsters
  26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11 (Quidditch)
  27. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
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Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
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