The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
The only known encounter with Stone-trolls was that of Bilbo and the Dwarves, probably in early June III 2941
'Troll' is a word from Scandinavian myth, used as an English translation of the Sindarin torog, of uncertain derivation
'Stone' presumably comes from the fact that these creatures turned to stone under the light of the Sun


About this entry:

  • Updated 20 May 2008
  • This entry is complete


Lumbering creatures of the night

A race of large Trolls that inhabited the Westlands of Middle-earth, and were found especially in the lands west of the Misty Mountains and northward of Rivendell. The dark woods known as the Trollshaws took their name from these hulking monsters, as did the Troll-fells that lay around the sources of the River Hoarwell.

Stone-trolls were among the most primitive of their kind, vulgar and brutish, and capable of only the most debased language. Said to have been made by the Dark Lord in mockery of living things, they could not exist in the light, and caught by the rays of the Sun they would return to the stone from which they were made1. Thus Stone-trolls wandered abroad only in the darkness of night, but hid underground when the Sun was in the sky.

This weakness of the Stone-trolls proved fortunate for Bilbo Baggins and his companions early in their quest for the Lonely Mountain. Captured by three Stone-trolls known rather improbably as Tom, Bert and Bill Huggins, the adventurers survived when Gandalf tricked the Trolls into arguing until the Sunrise, when they froze into stone. Their petrified images remained among the trees as the decades passed and they were discovered by Frodo and his friends seventy-seven years after they had turned back to stone, still standing in their clearing among the trees.



There is some doubt about exactly where the Stone-trolls came from, and the cause of their vulnerability to sunlight. Tolkien discusses the issue in his letters (specifically, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, No. 153, dated 1954) but there he confesses to being uncertain on the point himself. He suggests that these Trolls were 'counterfeits' rather than truly living creatures, and so could not survive outside the darkness that spawned them. He's careful to note, though, that these origins do not apply to all Trolls, and nor do the weaknesses of the primitive Stone-trolls.

See also...

Tom, Tom, Troll-holes, Trolls

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