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Literature / The Sea of Trolls

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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. Ten chapters in, 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:

  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • Our Elves Are Different: They're of The Fair Folk variety. They're also way different from other fictional elves in that they look monstrous under all that glamour.
  • 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 "beautiful-human-with-a-fish-tail" variety, but as they mature they turn into grotesque Fish People. They can only avoid this fate by marrying a human.
  • Psychic Powers: Lots of characters have Psychic Powers, including trolls.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Olaf in The Sea of Trolls, who is slain by a massive bear.
  • 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.
  • Spoiled Brat: Lucy, and it gets much, much worse in book two—to the point where everyone around her is convinced it's the result of demonic possession. The first thing she does in book two is try to get away with secretly wearing an iron necklace during a ritual meant to celebrate Winter Solstice despite it being forbidden. For this, she loses her role in the ceremony and then demands that her father buy her a slave—specifically, the girl who took her place during the ceremony.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Erik Broad-Shoulders and Erik the Rash are both afraid of the dark, which is why Olaf has them guard the ship while the rest of the Vikings raid a village.

Alternative Title(s): Sea Of Trolls