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"Plain smart and moving. John Stanley's Little Lulu meets Miyazaki."

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hilda_logo_2018.jpg
Our heroine and her loyal companion, Twig.
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Hilda is a series of graphic novels by British cartoonist Luke Pearson and published by Nobrow Press under their children's imprint, Flying Eye Books.

All of the books revolve around the eponymous Hilda, a bright, adventurous young girl living out in the mountainous wilderness with her mom and deer-fox buddy, Twig.

So far, the series consists of:

  • Hildafolk (originally published in 2010, and then reprinted in 2015 as Hilda and the Troll. Contains 2 stories)
  • Hilda and the Midnight Giant (published in 2012)
  • Hilda and the Bird Parade (published in 2012)
  • Hilda and the Black Hound (published in 2014)
  • Hilda and the Stone Forest (published on September 1, 2016)
  • Hilda and the Mountain King (published on September 3, 2019. Some people got early access to it.)

The series as a whole is noteworthy of being quite the audience and critic-favorite, praising its visuals and characters, particularly Hilda herself. The second and fourth books are noteworthy for being nominated and winning literature awards from the likes of British Comic Awards and the fourth book itself won the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids' Comics in the year 2015.

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Netflix announced on June 2016 that an animated series based on the books was coming in 2018 from Silvergate Media and Mercury Filmworks and released it on September 21, 2018. A second season was confirmed during the show's panel at New York ComicCon a few weeks later. Follow updates on the Netflix show here.

The Netflix animated series has its own page.


The Hilda series contains examples of these tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes specific to the series in general 
  • Art Evolution: A weird case. The tone, look, and feel is consistent throughout the books, but the differences in character appearances is very noticeable. Notice how Hilda, her mum, and Twig visually change in the first three books. However, the designs start appearing more consistent starting with The Bird Parade.
  • Black Bead Eyes: David has these eyes.
  • Black Best Friend: Hilda gets one, Frida, when she moves to Trolberg. While her role in the comics is much smaller than the animated adaptation, it is shown in "Hilda and the Stone Forest" that they like to hang out together and even plan sleepovers now and then.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Averted at first when the first book was titled Hildafolk, but starting with the Midnight Giant, this was played straight. (Eventually, Hildafolk got republished as Hilda and the Troll to retain consistency with the rest.)
  • Cheerful Child: Hilda herself.
  • Cool Pet: Hilda's deerfox, Twig.
  • Disappeared Dad: Hilda doesn't really seem to have a father, with neither her nor her mother mentioning him. The only time she expresses interest in having a father is after being tranformed into a Troll in "Mountain King".
  • Free-Range Children: Hilda and her friends often roam wherever they want to.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Twig is a creature called a deerfox.
  • Nice Hat: Hilda consisently wears a cute French Beret.
  • Nice Shoes: Hilda is almost never seen without her big red boots
  • No Name Given: We still don't know Hilda's mum's name. The Netflix series says her name is Johanna.
  • Norse by Norsewest: Trolberg is implied to be somewhere in Scandinavia. Word of God confirms that the comic is heavily inspired by one of the Pearsons' family holidays to Norway, as well as the works of Tove Jansson.
  • Overprotective Mom: Hilda's mum. Can't really blame her though, considering how weird the world they live in can get.
  • Plucky Girl: Hilda in spades.
  • Scout-Out: Hilda, David, and Frida are all members of the Sparrow Scouts.
  • Skirt over Slacks: Hilda always wears a skirt over a pair of leggings, weather she's wearing her regular clothes or her Sparrow Scouts uniform.
  • World of Weirdness
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Hilda has blue hair, though her mom's a brunette, so maybe it's dyed? Word of God sort of provided a Non-Answer when asked about it.
    The Bookworm Baby: Why the blue hair?
    Luke Pearson: Why is your hair the colour it is?
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    Hildafolk / Hilda and the Troll 
  • All Trolls Are Different: Around here, trolls look like giant rocks.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Just as it seems that the troll is going to eat Hilda, it turns out that it wanted to give her back her notebook.
  • Book-Ends: The book begins and ends with Hilda at peace in her tent during a rainy night.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the original release of Hildafolk, Twig had blue fur. This was recolored to white in the paperback rerelease. The Wood Man’s house also looks different in this story, being a wooden building standing in a clearing rather than a Arboreal Abode.
  • Follow Your Nose: Hilda and Twig find the Wood Man’s house by following the smell of the smoke from his fireplace.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: A variation of this occurs when Hilda and Twig encounter a Giant walking by.
    Hilda: A giant! I bet he knows where he's going.
    (cut to the giant's POV which shows him reading a map)
    Giant: Damn it! (looks behind him) Everything looks the same from up here...
  • Orwellian Retcon: When it was first published, Twig was drawn with blue fur and a white underbelly, which was kept in the hardcover release of Hilda and the Troll. However, in the later paperback editions of Hilda and the Troll, Twig was recolored as white with little black spots on his back to retain consistency with the other books.
  • Pun-Based Title: The original title seems to be a play on Huldufólk - 'hidden people' in Icelandic.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Hilda herself when it turns out that the ringing of the bell that she put on the troll is actually considered the worst kind of torture to trolls.

    The Midnight Giant 
  • Arboreal Abode: Wood Man lives in a house that is build around, and partly inside, a hollow tree.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Actually subverted with the Midnight Giant itself. It's more of a "conversation with a fifty foot whatever" than anything really. He even has a proper name: Jorgen.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Midnight Giant and his girlfriend are reunited. But in their joy, they are blissfully unaware that they crushed Hilda and her mum's house, forcing them to relocate. However, Hilda brings back the idea of moving to the city, citing how it's not so quiet in the outside anymore.
  • Brick Joke: When Hilda confronts the Mayor of the Hidden People, his fat cat sneaks into Hilda's hair. After Hilda uses this to her advantage to find out where the Prime Minister is, the cat ends up all skinny. Much later, when Hilda feels itchy and thinks she has nits, it turns out the cat gave birth to kittens (or nittens).
  • Colossus Climb: Hilda climbs on Jorgen with help of a Woff so she can talk with him. Later, the mountain she climbed to get to the Elf King also turns out to be a giant.
  • Gentle Giant: The eponymous Midnight Giant, as it turns out.
  • Invisible to Normals: The elves and their houses. Evidently, you can see them just fine as long as you fill out the proper paperwork.
  • Meaningful Echo: After the house gets attacked by invisble elves, Hilda's mum tries to tell Hilda some of the perks of moving to the city. Much later on, when everything is said and done and their house gets crushed, Hilda uses the same perks that her mum used regarding moving to the city.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Hilda uses these on her mum after she brings up the suggestion that they'll have to move.
  • The Reveal: The nearby mountain turns out to actually be not just a giant, but the Midnight Giant's girlfriend.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: After everything Hilda did to get back on good terms with the Elves and thus be allowed to stay, it’s all rendered useless when her house is destroyed and she has to move anyway.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Mostly because your house accidentally got crushed by giants.
  • Youthful Freckles: Hilda has these, but they don't appear in any of the later books...nor were they there in the first book.

    The Bird Parade 
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: The four kids that invite Hilda to hang out with them eventually resort to throwing rocks at birds, tipping Hilda off that they are bullies.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: Hilda, Raven and a Salt Lion are spooked by a monstrous shadow of what looks like the Rat King, but it’s actually just 3 white mice.
  • Easy Amnesia: A rock to the head is all it takes to make the Great Raven forget everything about who he is, his powers, and how to fly. And seeing a news paper article about the Bird Parade is all it takes to restore his memories.
  • Horrifying the Horror: the Salt Lion that attacks Hilda and the Raven backs off in fear when it spots a shadow that looks like The Rat King.
  • Identity Amnesia: After getting hit by a rock and falling, the raven Hilda befriends can't remember who he is. Not only that, but he also forgets how to fly.
  • The Moving Experience: A variation of this trope is in play when the plot has Hilda, her mom, and Twig adjusting to moving into their new home at Trolberg after their first house got wrecked in The Midnight Giant.
  • No Name Given: None of the four kids Hilda hangs out with are given a name in the story. The animated adaptation only names their leader: Trevor.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Hilda's mom when Hilda gets a little too inquisitive about why she can't explore Trolberg with the same freedom as the outdoors. She immediately apologizes for it though.
    Mum: You're not going anywhere.
    Hilda: But WHY?
  • Tempting Fate: During his nervous breakdown, the raven insists that he be left for the cats. When Hilda leaves him, a bunch of cats are nearby, ready to pounce on him.
  • Toothy Bird: Hilda's raven friend has teeth.

    The Black Hound 
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Entering the Nowhere Space of the outside world, due to it’s immense size. The two Tontu’s are forced to do it anyway to avoid the car they, Johanna, Hilda and Jellybean are in from crashing into the city wall.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Black Hound...is called Jellybean.
  • Getting Eaten Is Harmless: The Black Hound eats 3 people, but when he barfs them up again they are no worse for the wear.
  • Militaries Are Useless: The Safety Patrol is unable to track down the hound, and when they finally do they can’t capture him since their net guns are too small.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Literally so, since the nisse (Scandinavian gnome) are far more diverse creatures in Trolberg than they are in traditional folklore.
  • Pocket Dimension: Nisse live in one called Nowhere Space, made up of all the unused space in a house.
  • Scout-Out: The Sparrow Scouts.
  • Signs of Disrepair: The sign "Scout Hall" on top of Sparrow Scout HQ is missing the "T", "A" and last "L".
  • Stopped Reading Too Soon: Determined to get at least one badge, Hilda browses through the badge guide, settles on the Friend to Animals badge, and goes through the three tasks needed to earn it. Only after she finished the last task does she read the footnote that states at least one of the tasks needs to be performed in the presence of a Scout Leader in order to qualify for the badge. Cue an Oh, Crap! expression.
  • Tempting Fate: When trying to earn a badge by finding a number of locations on a map, Hilda remarks it can’t be too hard since it’s not that big a map. When she is finally done unfolding it however, the map takes up a huge section of the floor in Scout Hall.
  • Wham Line:
    ...Jellybean?

    The Stone Forest 
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The creature that looks like a patch of land with legs act just likes a dog.
  • All Trolls Are Different: This story shows that Trolls come in a much greater variety of shapes and sizes than the ones we saw so far in previous stories. The main antagonist is a two-headed troll.
  • Call-Back: Hilda's mum reuses the "Because I Said So" card on Hilda in this story after previously using it in The Bird Parade.
  • Disapproving Look: A "precious stone" vendor gives one to Hilda when she just grabs a rock from the ground.
  • Enemy Civil War: Trolls don’t always get along and are shown to fight each other several times. In particular the two-headed troll.
  • Enemy Mine: It is strongly implied the mother troll mainly helps Hilda and Johanna since she too hates the Two-Headed Troll that was chasing them.
  • Go to Your Room!: Johanna says this to Hilda after the latter throws a tantrum over not being allowed to go to Frida's house.
  • Good-Times Montage: Early in the story, there 3 pages showing Hilda going on various adventures without her mom knowing.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: The Two-Headed Troll is finally stopped for good when Hilda and Johanna reach the exit of the caves, and the troll is going too fast to stop before he too runs outside, where the sun instantly petrifies him.
  • Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: At the beginning of the book, Hilda is seen going on so many adventures that eventually she can't think of any more excuses. One evening when she comes home covered in slime, she just tells her mum: "Whatever you're thinking, it's not that".
  • Shout-Out: There's a train in this page that distinctly looks like an inanimate version of Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • So Much for Stealth: Zig-zagged, for laughs. When trying to escape the cave of the two-headed troll, Johanna accidentally knocks down a shelf, but the noise fails to wake up the sleeping troll. Then he wakes up when a bird he keeps in a cage starts whistling.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Hilda sports one in this story.
  • The Stinger: After the main events of the story, Hilda's mum discovers that Hilda has been replaced with a changeling when she tries to wake her up in the morning. Meanwhile, Hilda wakes up to discover that for some reason she's in a troll cave and has been transformed into a troll child.
  • You Are Grounded: Played for Drama when Hilda's mum grounds Hilda for A) having one too many unsupervised adventures and B) her hurtful outburst.

     The Mountain King 
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Trundle and his brother are the two largest Trolls seen so far, with Trundle towering even over the walls of Trolberg. Trundle’s plan involves awakening an even larger Troll, Amma, who is sleeping underneath Trolberg and can destroy the whole city should she decide to rise up from her slumber.
  • BFG: The Safety Patrol's latest weapon in the war against Trolls is a gigantic cannon version of their regular torch guns.
  • Changeling Tale: Tontu deduces Hilda and Baba are the victim of a changeling spell. Breaking the spell drives the plot for the first half of the story.
  • Curse Escape Clause: The changeling spell can be reversed by returning both children to their real mothers, though the protagonists only discover this by accident.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: When touching Trundle’s eye for the first time, it gives Hilda a vision of what will happen if the Trolls attack Trolberg and are harmed by the safety patrol. Hilda later uses the eye to give Eric Ahlberg the same vision so he realizes why he must order his troops to stand down.
  • Militaries Are Useless: Played straight when Eric Ahlberg tries to fight off Trundle’s brother with his torch, which is too small to harm the giant troll. Averted however during the battle for Trolberg, where the Trolberg Safety Patrol is well capable of fighting off the Trolls and their new weapon actually kills Trundle. This is not a good thing however since them hurting the Trolls is what threatens to wake up Amma.
  • Morphic Resonance: Even in their new bodies, Hilda and Baba still strongly resemble their old selves; Troll Hilda is essentially human Hilda with a grey, stonelike skin, a longer nose and troll teeth, while human Baba is troll baba with human skin, but still bald.
  • Power High: Hilda quite enjoys the new powers that come with being a troll, like her great strength, stamina, and being able to roar.
  • Ray Gun: The Safety Patrol officers have guns called torches, which fire a ray that, on Trolls, has the same effect as sunlight.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Zig-zagged. When Baba was turned into a human, she also gained some clothes, but when Hilda is transformed back from a troll to human, she is naked, while Baba retains her clothes even as a troll. Fortunately, Tontu was prepared for this and brought Hilda a set of spare clothes.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Since Hilda is a Troll in this story, the Trolls actually get dialogue instead of just their usual roars and grunts.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Trundle is locked in a giant cave with dozens of bells hanging at the entrance, meaning he can’t leave without setting them off.
  • Treasure Room: All trolls like to collect treasures in their caves, but have rather broad definitions of what they consider treasure. The palace of the Mountain King contains the most straightforward example, filled with gold and jewels, but Hilda also sees treasure rooms filled with car parts, pillows and other junk.
  • Villainous Plan Inertia: Trundle is killed just after smashing the walls of Trolberg, but the other trolls can now freely enter the city, and if the Safety Patrol fights back, this will provoke Amma into rising up from the ground and leveling Trolberg, just like Trundle intended. Hilda has to convince the Safety Patrol to stand down to prevent this.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Eric Ahlberg, who really wants to defend all inhabitants of Trolberg against trolls, but this makes him prone to Fantastic Racism and rushing to conclusions.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Trundle, who acts like a gentle giant towards Hilda so she will accept his help in return for bringing him his eye and freeing him from his prison, but this is all an act. He is actually the Mountain King, and wants to wage war against Trolberg.


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