A novel by author Nancy Farmer combining
historical fiction with fantasy
about a Bard's apprentice living in a village on the coast of England in The Low Middle Ages
. The said village is invaded
by Vikings, who capture him as a slave. He survives captivity by demonstrating his recently-developed magical bard powers and making himself useful to the Vikings.
In the Norse town where he ends up, events transpire which lead him to accompanying several warriors on a quest into Jotunheim, the land of the Trolls.
Nancy Farmer later wrote two sequels, Land of the Silver Apples
and The Islands of the Blessed
Despite the title, no apparent connection to 4Chan
and Something Awful
The Sea of Trolls and its sequels provide examples of the following tropes:
- All Myths Are True
- All Trolls Are Different
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Specifically subverted with Pega and Thorgil, as Jack notes that even though Pega is hideous she has a good heart and beautiful voice, and Thorgil's bad temper negates her natural beauty.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Thorgil and Jack, by the third book.
- The Berserker: Lots of literal berserkers (actual Vikings) appear in these books.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In the second book, Thorgil punches Satan in the face, but her hand becomes paralyzed because of it.
- Confusion Fu / Insanity Immunity: Berserkers are immune to trolls' mind-reading powers because their mindless, frenzied style of fighting is impossible for the trolls to decipher.
- The Determinator: Thorgil. Full stop.
- Disabled Love Interest/Disabled Snarker: Thorgil becomes these after punching Satan in the face, which leaves her right hand paralyzed.
- Doomed Hometown
- Eldritch Abomination: A few appear, including one who appears to be Satan. (At least, that's what a Christian would call him. People from other religions see him differently; for example, Thorgil sees him as the Hell Hound Garm.)
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Bard.
- The Fair Folk: Elves in general, but they are capable of doing a Heel-Face Turn and gaining a soul.
- Fish People: Mature fin folk.
- Hell Hound: How Thorgil sees Satan.
- The Hero Dies
- Heroic Fantasy
- Here There Were Dragons: In Jotunheim, however, they're still thriving.
- Historical-Domain Character: King Olaf.
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: Deconstructed right down to the bone with one character.
- The Low Middle Ages
- Made a Slave
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Seemingly played straight, then averted in a Twist Ending. The Bard was not dead. He was actually disguised as a bird all along.
- He actually does die in Book 3.
- Naked People Are Funny: Freya's cats naked and Frith naked. Also counts as Squick. Averted with Rune, whose nudity in his introduction is described tragically.
- Norse by Norsewest
- The Obi-Wan: The Bard
- Our Demons Are Different
- Our Elves Are Better: They're of The Fair Folk variety. They're also way different from other fictional elves in that without their glamour, they look like ugly monsters.
- Our Dragons Are Different: They live in cliffside caves and raise their young like birds. Their blood can even give you the ability to understand bird-language, as per the myth of Sigurd and Fafnir.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: Young merfolk look like the classic "good-looking-human-with-a-fish-tail" variety, but as they mature they turn into Fish People.
- Psychic Powers: Lots of characters have Psychic Powers, including trolls.
- Satan: He makes an appearance near the end of The Land of the Silver Apples.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Halfway through Sea of Trolls, Thorgil swallows dragon blood, giving her the ability to speak bird.
- The Time of Myths
- The World Tree