Monday, 5 September 2016

Troll

Poul Anderson, Three Hearts And Three Lions (London, 1977).

Holger and his companions must meet a troll. There is a long slow build-up. The troll can be smelled from afar. Pursuing cannibals withdraw when they see that Holger etc approach the troll's cave. From within the cave, narrow tunnels strewn with animal and human bones wind down to the troll's nest where he:

"...crawled from beneath dead leaves." (p. 143)

Eight or more feet tall;
stooped forward;
arms dangling to the ground;
hairless, moving, green skin;
a gash of a mouth;
yard-long nose;
black eyes without pupil or white;
green blood;
unchanged smirk as smoke rises from a sword wound;
deep wounds that close at once;
able to crack a wooden shield with a single blow;
when a hand is chopped off and the head shattered, the hand runs on its fingers and grows back on the wrist while the head knits together and the troll stands up, grinning;
a jaw that, even when chopped from the face, attacks an ankle before the troll picks it up and reattaches it to his face;
is destroyed only when severed limbs, head and torso are thrown into a fire although the torso fights back with snake-like guts.

When I started to write that summary, I did not know how it was going to end!

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    The fight Holger and his friends had with the troll was gruesomely interesting! I immediately thought, before you mentioned it, of how the troll's wounds healed at once and how parts of its body still lived and could be rejoined to the rest of the troll. I can't think of any other writer who has used the concept of such a self regenerating body. I wonder if this was an idea unique to Anderson?

    Sean

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