Trolls, mythical and otherwise, have been a part of Doctor Who for quite some time.
In the modern vernacular, a troll is someone who maliciously attempts to get a rise out of people, particularly on the internet. As most folks know, however, this is not the original meaning of the term. In the grander scope of human history, trolls are mythical beings that have appeared in folklore and fairy tales for centuries, originating in Norse and Scandinavian cultures.
With the news that In The Blood, a Doctor Who novel about internet trolls will be released in May of this year, it seems a tangentially appropriate time to take a look at the other sort of trolls in the history of the Whoniverse.
Trolls exist in the Land of Fiction, which is a pocket universe that is inhabited by various fictional characters. These unfortunate figments are real enough to be upgraded into Cybermen in the Big Finish Sixth Doctor audio production ‘Legend of the Cybermen.’
In Big Finish’s Companion Chronicles Third Doctor audio story ‘The Doll of Death,’ Jo Grant reveals that, as a child, she collected troll dolls. In middle school, I had a somewhat significant troll doll collection of which I was very proud. They still reside in my parents’ attic.Leah Tedesco’s 1992 (middle school) bedroom with troll doll collection… which grew to be bigger – credit: Leah Tedesco
In the Virgin New Adventures Seventh Doctor novel Cat’s Cradle: Witch Mark, a Troifran named Goibhnie creates the planet Tír na n-Óg as a sort of laboratory to study humans. The idea is that he will observe how humans would behave in a world inhabited by mythical creatures from human history. One of these is a race of troll-like beings called Fomoir.
Some characters in the Whoniverse have been likened to trolls by other characters. It is quite amusing that Susan Foreman calls the Master a troll in the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Legacy of the Daleks. The character is, indeed, the ultimate troll in our contemporary sense of the word… whether Susan means it that way or not. In the Tenth Doctor episode ‘The Poison Sky,’ UNIT Colonel Alan Mace is of the opinion that Sontarans look rather like trolls. One of my college friends was nicknamed “Troll” by his roommate because of how he looked in the mornings.
In our last example, the Tenth Doctor encounters a creature acting very much like a troll under a bridge in the BBC Audio adventure ‘The Day of the Troll‘ (as seen in the featured image at the top of this article).
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What are your thoughts on either sort of troll in regards to Doctor Who? Let us know in the comments.