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Literature / Trolle

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Trolle og den Magiske Fela (Trolle and the Magic Violin), sometimes referred to as simply Trolle, is a Norwegian children's novel written by Alexander Rybak and illustrated by Thomas Kirkeberg. The story revolves around Trolle, a troll born without a tail who finds friendship and acceptance in a human girl, Alva, who lives in the nearby village. The book was published on September 15th, 2015 by the Norwegian publisher Cappelen Damm.

Rybak, a well-known singer-songwriter, originally intended for Trolle to be a musical. However, realising how long producing a musical could potentially take, he decided to structure the project differently. Trolle became a children's novel, together with an accompanying audiobook split into 3 CDs. The audiobook (narrated by Dennis Storhøi) contains original music by Rybak and several other collaborators, who perform as the characters just as they would on stage.

Norwegian games studio Ravn Studio was funded 150,000 NOK on December 12th 2016 by Vilken Filmcenter to produce a platformer game of Trolle. On the October 8th 2018, the project was granted 150,000 euros. No news about the development process has been announced, but concept art from the game has been released in articles.

On January 11th 2019, Alexander Rybak announced on his social media (including the Trolle Facebook page) that a stage musical adaptation of Trolle had been created. It ran at the Kilden Performing Arts Centre in Kristiansand, Norway from November 28th - December 30th 2019 and was well-received by the public.


The songs, not including various instrumental backing tracks that play during the narration, are:

  • 'Den magiske fela' (The magic violin)
  • 'Du, bare du' (You, only you) - featuring Pernille Hogstad Stene
  • 'Være på vakt' (Stay on guard) - featuring Anders Baasmo Christiansen and Pernille Hogstad Stene
  • 'Trollbinde deg' (Bewitch you)
  • 'Alvas vals' (Alva's Waltz)
  • 'Danse for trærne' (Dance for the trees)
  • 'Kom deg vekk' (Go away) - featuring Anders Baasmo Christiansen and Pernille Hogstad Stene
  • 'Vakrere enn hun jeg hadde sist' (Like the wife I had before) - featuring Stig-Werner Moe
  • 'Jeg vil være for meg selv' (I want to be by myself) - featuring Pernille Hogstad Stene
  • 'Blant fjell' (Among mountains)
  • 'Stjernen vår' (Our star) - featuring Pernille Hogstad Stene
  • 'Kom til meg' (Come to me) - featuring Stig-Werner Moe
  • 'Venner' '(Friends) - featuring Pernille Hogstad Stene

Trolle og den Magiske Fela has examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: In full force with the mayor. He's so obsessed with keeping his daughter close that he doesn't realize he's actually pushing her away... and he's so busy with his arrangements to protect her and keep her safe with guards and security measures that it takes him a long time to even catch on to the fact that she's been sneaking out of the house and into the forest for quite some time. Later on he refuses to listen to her when she says Trolle isn't dangerous, and when she's upset with him it's his clumsy attempts at reconciling with her that drives her away and lands her into real danger when the Hulder King captures her.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Trolle’s social isolation during childhood mostly stemmed from the fact that he doesn’t have a tail. Amongst humans, however, it’s a matter of species.
  • Angry Mob Song: 'Kom deg vekk', one hundred percent. Also, 'Være på vakt' once the mayor's got the crowd riled up enough to join in.
  • Brown Note: The violin's cursed music, if the user wills it to harm someone. Revealed when the Hulder King tortures Trolle; the notes he plays are grating and very uncomfortable to listen to, and the art for that scene in the book shows Trolle on all fours, screaming and covering his ears. Ouch.
  • Close-Knit Community: Vendehjem falls under this trope. Everyone knows everyone.
  • Cooldown Hug: Alva gives this to Trolle when he's furious about the idea of her going back to Vendehjem and leaving him behind.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Trolle was bullied by the other trolls for years, became addicted to using the violin on them so that they would love him, and then was abandoned by them when they couldn't take any more. His only friend from that point on, for several more years of his life, was Småen. This meant he spent the majority of his childhood and adolescence sad and alone.
  • Drone of Dread: The Hulder King causes this when he uses the violin on Trolle.
  • Epiphany Therapy: When Alva is about to go home for the first time, Trolle gets very defensive, threatening to use the violin to bewitch her. However, once she says she'll come back since they’re friends, and tells him that as long as their star is in the sky she'll be with him, that’s it- he’s converted. His dependency is gone and he’s so happy that he sings a whole song about it. After that, he refuses to use the violin, even to defend himself (e.g during 'Kom Deg Vekk').
  • Friendless Background: Trolle’s entire past.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: 'Kom Til Meg'. What makes this even more out-of-place is that this is the climax and the Hulder King is trying to capture Trolle and Alva while seemingly jamming out to this.
  • Heroic BSoD: Just after ‘Kom Deg Vekk’. Alva finds Trolle in the forest, just standing there in shock despite the spreading fire. She has to tell him herself to literally ‘kom deg vekk’ (go away) before he actually makes an effort to leave.
  • Harmful to Minors: Trolle had a pretty miserable childhood to say the least. Alva, not so much, but she still felt alone in Vendehjem- she’s been the mayor's daughter all her life so we can assume she's felt this way for a long time. Plus, after meeting Trolle, she went through being kidnapped by the Hulder King and almost drowned at one point.
    • Alva's mother died well before the events of the book, but she seems pretty well adjusted and her father just so happens to be the kindest, most overprotective dad in the whole village. On the other hand, Trolle's parents (or lack thereof) aren't even brought up.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: All the humans are afraid of Trolle, but Alva insists he has this. After all, he did save her life, even after she ruined his chances of making peace with the villagers. He's also the only real friend she's ever had, considering everyone else only likes her because she's the mayor's daughter (or so she thinks).
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: The entire reason Trolle becomes so obsessed with the violin is that it made the trolls like and admire him. When they abandon him, he’s devastated, despite them having bullied him before.
    • This also applies to Alva in the sense that she just wants a true friend. She’s equally as devastated when Trolle has to leave in order to escape the angry mob, so much so that she’s constantly upset back in Vendehjem.
  • "I Want" Song: 'Du, bare du' is about Alva wanting someone she can feel close to, but she's not really sure if it's her dead mother she longs for, or the friend who's out there and she hasn't met yet, so the song's lyrics go a little in both directions.
  • Magic Music: The entire story is based around the violin being capable of this.
  • Mind-Control Music: One of the violin's many abilities, and arguably the one that causes the most damage in the story. Trolle's attempts to mind-control the other trolls into liking and accepting him caused them to abandon him for good, and the Hulder King's mind-control of the huldra has facilitated the kidnapping of countless young girls.
  • Monster Façade: The events of the scene surrounding 'Trollbinde deg'. Trolle follows Alva back to Vendehjem in order to return her mother's shawl, which she lost in the forest. However, Alva gets scared on her way home and runs crying back to the villagers, who are less than happy to see a possibly dangerous troll following the mayor's daughter. Noticing his violin, they accuse him of bewitching and trying to kidnap Alva. The villagers' anger towards him makes Trolle grow anxious and he decides to play along (literally, play along), singing a threatening song about how he will bewitch them too. He does end up casting a spell on the villagers - but it's only to temporarily freeze them so he has time to escape.
  • Musical Assassin: The Hulder King. Though he never actually kills anyone with the violin, it is certainly a weapon and at one point he uses its music to torture and threaten Trolle once he's taken it back (see Brown Note above).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The mayor, when he realizes that Trolle isn't the evil entity who has been kidnapping girls from the village for centuries, and that he's not only essentially hunted and chased away an innocent person, but also indirectly and inadvertently made it easier for the real threat, the Hulder King, to get to Alva.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Alva's opinion of Vendehjem, which is why she so frequently looks for adventure in the nearby forest.
  • Odd Friendship: Trolle and Alva. She’s a young human child and he appears to be a teenage/adult troll (though probably not much older than the equivalent of 20-something human years).
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Trolle and Alva are an Odd Friendship version of this. They become very close over the course of the story, but there's never a hint of any sort of romantic feelings.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: 'Den Magiske Fela'. As you listen to the song you can pick out Trolle's emotions- at first he's hesitant and cautious, unsure if he can really play, but when the song swells it's obvious how overjoyed he is to have found his talent.
  • The Power of Friendship: Ultimately it’s Trolle and Alva’s friendship that allows them to break free of the violin’s curse and defeat the Hulder King with their own song.
  • Reluctant Monster: Trolle. Although the trolls themselves aren't that dangerous on their own (Alva even says to the villagers that he is "only a troll"), the fact that Trolle is in possession of the cursed violin gives him a terrible reputation with the villagers.
  • Shaming the Mob: Alva attempts to do this in 'Kom deg vekk', but to no avail.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The villagers of Vendehjem show up to Trolle's house with these in an attempt to capture (and, it's implied, possibly hurt or kill) him.
  • Walking the Earth: Following the burning down of his house by angry mob, Trolle flees to the mountains, where he decides he'll be content just to be amongst nature.
  • Young Face, Old Eyes: Inverted with the old man who tells the village about his sister's abduction.
  • Zombie Advocate: Alva, advocating for Trolle. She pleads with the villagers and her father multiple times in his defence.