Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Hilda

Go To
Our heroine, her deerfox and her buddies. note 

Based on the Eisner-award nominated graphic novel series of the same name, distributed by Netflix and produced by the original author Luke Pearson. The first season consists of 13 episodes, adapting 4 of the 5 books then published, and the show was renewed for a second season for 2019.

The show follows the eponymous Hilda (Bella Ramsey), a young girl with a knack for befriending the magical creatures that populate her world, who must learn to make friends with humans as well after circumstances force her and her mother (Daisy Haggard) to leave her childhood home in the wilderness for the walled city of Trolberg... but that doesn't necessarily mean the end of meeting more of those supernatural critters, now does it?

When Sony Pictures Television acquired Silvergate, it was announced that a 70-minute movie special was in production.


Follow updates on the show here.

You can vote for your favorite episode here.

The novelization of the series has it's own page.

This show provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Episodes one and two are based on Hilda and the Troll and (mostly) The Midnight Giant. Episode three is based on The Bird Parade, and episodes 12 and 13 (plus Hilda's Sparrow Scout initiation at the start of episode 4) are based on The Black Hound. The episodes in-between are newly written stories.
  • Adapted Out: A minor elf character named Tomas appeared in the graphic novel The Midnight Giant, but his role was given to Alfur in the cartoon and novelizations.
  • Adaptation Induced Plothole: Chapters 12 and 13, which adapt Hilda and the Black Hound, keep the subplot about Hilda failing to get any Sparrow Scout badges. However, this contradicts chapter 7, which contains a new story in which Hilda, David and Frida succeed in gathering a Blue Nettle for their botany badge.
  • Advertisement:
  • Adaptational Late Appearance: In the graphic novels, the black hound (or Jellybean) makes his debut in the same story where Hilda joins the Sparrow Scouts. This story was split over three episodes, with multiple new stories in between, for the animated series. As such, Hilda joins the scouts in episode 4, but Jellybean isn't properly introduced till episode 12.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the comic books, Hilda is confrontational, a bit of a brat and even more overconfident. In the series, Hilda is much nicer, kinder and friendly.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Both Hilda and her mother get something of an overhaul, making them less confrontational and more compatible with each other's personalities.
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Usually played straight, leaving Hilda and company to accomplish most of the heroics on their own, but fortunately, the series has its fair share of reasonable authority figures, like Hilda's mum or the librarian.
    • It's justified by Hilda often being resistant to the idea of involving adults, normally believing she can handle things herself. Whether she's right or not tends to vary, and she has been called out on this.
  • Alien Geometries: In episode 11, Hilda and the Woodman end up in a magic house that gives them everything they desire, but doesn't want them to leave. When they try to escape anyway, the house starts adopting alien geometries in order to keep its prisoners captive, like forming rooms with stairs going in all directions (and a door in the floor), and an attic door that leads straight back to the living room downstairs.
  • All Trolls Are Different: One of the first magical creatures seen in the show and among the most recurring. They're rocks with long noses during the day and only animate at night.
  • Alternate Continuity: To the graphic novels; a lot of elements carry over in the adaptation, but are combined with new stories and characters having expanded roles (like David and Frida). The Tie-In novels are also this to the animated series, with the episodes they adapt occuring in a different order and again by adding new scenes. Thus, the Hilda-franchise currently has 3 continuities.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Due to the Law of Conservation of Detail, many of the magical creatures will have large gaps in their origins. note 
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Hilda's father is never seen or even alluded to, but it is made clear that her mum is a single parent of some description note 
  • Amnesia Danger: In chapter 3, due to getting hit by a rock, The Great Raven can't remember any of his powers, or even how to fly. This becomes a problem when he is accosted by cats and Trevor.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of the comics.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Hilda's friends Frida and David have their roles expanded from the graphic novel.
    • Alfur, the elf who approached Hilda, gets a lot more screen time here, traveling to Trolberg with Hilda to make reports on it.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In "The Tide Mice", Hilda uses a spell to make sure that David and her mother achieve their goals. However, she never read the whole thing, and ends up finding out that the Tide Mice are actually part of a spell to steal the souls of the people they grant the wishes of.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Like The Fair Folk of lore, while many supernatural creatures Hilda encounters are friendly enough, most have their own internal values and motivations that are very different from that of humans. The best Hilda can do is try to understand what they want and reach a compromise that benefits all parties, even if they don't always understand one another.
  • Bookends: The series both begins and ends in the same place, overlooking Hilda's destroyed cottage.
  • Canon Foreigner: Victoria Van Gale, the Librarian, and the Marra (among others) are series-exclusive characters.
  • Casting Gag: Hilda is a fearless, take charge girl who goes her own way but knows when to take responsibility. Sounds a lot like Lyanna Mormont!
  • City of Adventure: Trolberg functions as this due to Hilda and her friends encountering several supernatural occurrences throughout the city.
  • The City vs. the Country: This is a major source of conflict for Hilda and her mother, because she dreads the thought of being forced to move to the city from her idyllic life in the wilderness.
  • Commonplace Rare: Hilda gets a lindworm to do her a favor by offering common weeds to add to her garden. They're all over the place in a human town, but the dragon having social anxiety caused her to keep putting off actually going out there to collect anything.
  • Cowardly Lion: David shows bursts of bravery on occasion.
  • Crossover Cosmology: While most of the creatures are Scandinavian in origin there are a few from other mythologies, such as a Thunderbird (Native American) and Barghest (English).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Many of the creatures Hilda encounters are shadowy and intimidating, but all have their own sympathetic reasons for what they do, even if it puts them at odds with Hilda and her friends. Generally, the show's humans and monsters have a lot more in common than they realize, and neither group has a clear moral high ground over the other.
  • Doomed Hometown: Downplayed, but the cottage in which Hilda and her mother live acts as this, with its destruction forcing the move to Trolberg.
  • The Fair Folk: Most of the supernatural creatures Hilda encounters are friendly enough, but they all operate on their own value system and can be dangerous, unpredictable, or just a bother by human standards.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The magical creatures introduced thus far include a deer-fox, giants, elves, rock trolls, a thunderbird, a Rat King, the ghostly Marra, actual ghosts, water spirits, weather spirits, a lindworm, a trapping house, the Nisse, and a Barghest.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: An overarching theme of the first season where Hilda and her friends are sometimes nearly killed or are simply unjustly wronged by the supernatural creatures they encounter simply following their natures. It's capped off at the end where Hilda's original Nisse and the Black Hound stumble across the ruins of Hilda's old house with the Wood Man presiding over the wreckage. When asked what happened, Wood Guy replies that it was the home of a little girl who befriended a giant. The Nisse scoffs and derisively states that the girl probably learned her lesson. The Wood Man shrugs and says that "she'd probably do it again."
  • For Want of a Nail: Learning that rooms don't just clean themselves make Frida question her entire life, as she realizes not having to take time to clean her room every day left her plenty of time to study and pursue extracurricular activities. She wonders who and what she would be like if she'd had to spend so much time learning to clean her room every day like everyone else has to.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: All human characters have these, as well as only four toes on their feet.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: In "The Ghost", David says "flipping".
  • The Great Wall: Trolberg is surrounded by a giant stone wall intended to keep trolls and other hostile creatures out. It doesn't seem particularly effective.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Averted. While the human and magical worlds certainly may not always get along, the humans in the show always have very sympathetic motivations for what they do. Even in stories where a monster needs to be protected from humans, the humans' fear isn't wholly irrational. A few exceptions to this are Victoria Van Gale, whose motivations aren't exactly selfish, but aren't noble enough to justify what she does; Trevor, who is just mean; and the Marra, who just seem to enjoy the fear of others, on top of being, well... monsters.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: The theme tune is an electronic piece with no words.
  • Jerkass Ball: Grasped firmly by Frida when she discovers her status as The Pig-Pen, shattering her self-image as The Perfectionist. The ultimate result is her zeroing in on David and Hilda's faults to the point that she drives them away.
    David: You could just learn to tidy your own flipping room!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Wood Man; he's usually quite obnoxious, and doesn't respect people's privacy, but he has his nice moments, like giving Hilda and Johanna wood for the fireplace in their new house at the end of Chapter 2.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Played with; all three main characters have multiple outfits for different occasions, namely their regular daily clothes, their school uniform, their Sparrow Scouts uniform, pyjamas and winter clothes. Within these groups however, there is no variation; they always wear the same attire.
  • The Lost Woods: Hilda's cottage and the city of Trolberg border one of these, filled with enormous trees and forest giants.
  • Magical Library: The Trolberg public library is filled with books about magic creatures and the supernatural. It even has a reference section for more practical uses.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Downplayed, but this is definitely a recurring theme of the series. Certain rare breeds of magical creatures, such as the old giants and lindworms, are being driven from the land by human development.
  • Make an Example of Them: Deliberately bringing a troll rock inside the city walls of Trolberg earns the offender a 50 year prison term. Bringing a troll rock inside the city walls accidentally is punished by a 100 year sentence because the city really doesn't want people doing this by accident.
  • Merit Badges for Everything: Subverted. It's a bit of a running gag that Hilda can't get any badges because all the fantastic things she does don't align with any badges.
  • Monster of the Week: Very much follows this formula. Each episode or "Chapter" will involve Hilda and friends having an encounter or a conflict with some sort of magical creature, although the stories often bleed into each other in a much less episodic way than this trope normally implies.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Used a couple of different times, such as the Troll that rampages in the fourth episode (turns out that David took its child thinking it was a funny-looking rock).
  • Monster Progenitor: The Old Giants are this to many magical creatures. While not explained in the show, in Hilda and the Midnight Giant it is said that Trolls and Nisses are descendants of a giant who went into hiding rather than leave with the others, and that many others come from a giant so large his beard contained its own ecosystem.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Dragons and elves and trolls exist in this world, but are treated more as annoying and sometimes dangerous animals than anything remarkable.
  • A Mythology Is True: Gives this treatment to Norse Mythology and Scandinavian folklore.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Hilda's mum is now named Johanna.
  • New Friend Envy: In the episode "The Nisse", Hilda and David feel like this when their friend, Frida, makes a new friend named Kelly, a Marra. They even had a secret handshake. The truth was that Kelly was keeping Frida away from her friends and from going on the Scout trip.
  • New Weird: The show has a blend of several conventional fantasy tropes used in various unconventional ways. Elves are invisible, paperwork-obsessed Lilliputian Warriors, giants are mostly gone (presumably to space) to avoid stepping on people, and the Nisse are gnomes that live in the Nowhere Space of houses. Spirits in particular take all sorts of forms: there's your basic ghosts, then there are the Marra (Ambiguously Human teenage Nightmare Weavers), some spirits inhabit and shift bodies of water, and some influence the weather. The most notable trait of the show, however, is the way people view them. While they are mostly not ignorant of them, modern society tends to isolate themselves from magical creatures; Trollberg has a wall around it to keep out the rock trolls, and its denizens are mostly averse to the presence of the supernatural (with the exception of Hilda).
  • No Name Given: Surprisingly common for the magical creatures that Hilda encounters, with most of them simply never mentioning their names and usually just becoming known by their species.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Hilda resists moving to the big city because she worries she'll never encounter any magical creatures like she does in the wilderness. Sure enough, an enormous bird has perched on the roof of her new apartment by the end of the second episode.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Frida's friend Kelly has the disquieting habit of appearing right behind people - even when they've just opened a door to let her into a house. She's eventually revealed to be a Marra, justifying this ability as actual teleportation.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Hilda, David and Frida are all only children. ( Though David's parents are seen with 2 other children at the bird parade, but it is not officially confirmed whether if that is an error or if those 2 are related to David, since after that scene, the children are never seen again with David's family. Though they might be cousins.)
  • Our Elves Are Better: One of the most recurring magical creatures is a race of elves standing at about two inches high, who are completely invisible to other creatures until they fill out the proper paperwork. They also have an obsession with paperwork that is similar to the Vogons' (although they are more high-functioning about it).
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts in this show's universe are white/transparent humanoid beings, whose form still somewhat resembles how they looked when they were alive. They have glowing skulls with black eyes and a mouth, and visibly carry their skeletal remains inside their bodies. While their ghost bodies and skulls can phase through solid matter, their bones cannot and thus remain behind if they enter a building. They can only come out at night and must be back in their graves before sunrise. They can absorb object and people inside their bodies.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Two types of giant have been seen. The first are the size of mountains and gentle but a bit careless. The majority of them left the planet when it became clear humans were tired of them accidentally stepping on their houses. The second are "forest giants" that are "only" the size of large trees, have antlers, and are a bit more obnoxious - or at least, the one we meet is.
  • Our Spirits Are Different: Though only a few are seen, it's implied that there are several species of nature spirits that exist as physical manifestations of their respective elements.
  • Period Piece: The series seems to be taking place between the late 80's and early 90's, going off of the technology we see.
  • Pint-Sized Kid: According to Luke Pearson invoked, Hilda is somewhere between 10 and 12 years old. Yet, she and other kids her age are barely half the size of the adult characters.
  • Reality Ensues: In The Ghost Hilda, David and Frida are challenged to a wrestling match by a much, larger, adult ghost. It is noted that Frida is a very proficient wrestler, and indeed Frida actually manages to get the ghost in a military press... only to be instantly flattened and pinned under the weight of the much larger adult that she's just attempted to pick up.
  • Ritual Magic: The only form of Functional Magic that has so far been seen in the show comes from procedures in spellbooks.
  • Running Gag: People pointing out that there's a bug on David.
  • Scenery Porn: The show has a tendency to linger on wide, panoramic shots of the wilderness - or, occasionally, the Trolberg skyline - and the creatures that inhabit it. The opening of the first episode is almost entirely devoted to showing off the lavish scenery and the creatures that inhabit it.
  • Scout-Out: The Sparrow Scouts of which Hilda and her friends are members. The Scouts' lodge also fills the role that the school normally would, linking the main trio together socially.
  • The Show of the Books: Of the graphic novel Hilda, also called Hildafolk, written and illustrated by Luke Pearson, who also produced the show.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The city that the protagonists live in is named "Trolberg"; the correct spelling is shown in chapter 2 on the cover of a book. But there are enough fans who write the name as "Trolburg" or "Trollberg".
  • Spoiler Opening: The season 1 opening sequence features multiple characters that would not make their debut till later (sometimes even as late as the second last episode). Jorgen, the Great Raven, the Vittra, a ghost, the Black Hound, Tontu; they're all there from episode 1.
  • Summoning Ritual: Most of the spells Hilda has used were for summoning creatures. Most notably the Tide Mice, which was followed by a Banishing Ritual when she found out they were stealing her friends' souls.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The Marra definitely count, in more ways than one, being supernatural beings that may or not be actual human teenagers.
  • Title: The Adaptation: Some marketing refers to the show as Hilda: the Series.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: While the show first aired in the 2010s, computers are not present in the setting, implying that it takes place in the early 90s at latest. As a result, characters go to the library for all their research.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: The main trio of friends are made up of Hilda, Frida and David.
  • Unknown Character: Hilda's grandfather who built the cottage she and her mother live in.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: It's never specified where Trolberg or the surrounding areas are in the world, though the characters mostly talk with English accents. This might be a Translation Convention, as the setting is otherwise vaguely Scandinavian for the most part, and you can hear some rather Nordic inflections in a few voices.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: The Enchanted Tide Pool Mice take the soul of the person they're created for and give it to their creator after a 30-day trial period. Which category it falls under is unknown because Hilda stops the only two she summoned before the end of the 30-day trial period.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: