SPOILERS ARE UNMARKED.
- Each generation of trolls has a champion who protects them, as well as humans, from the cannibalistic Gumm-Gumms and from tiny nuisances like gnomes. The legacy is only passed on when the previous Trollhunter dies.
You'd Expect: Since trolls have existed for eons, that someone would realize that a Trollhunter fighting alone doesn't make sense. The Gumm-Gumms don't play fair, and will murder each champion. Also it's in the trolls' best interests to band together for a fight.
You'd Also Expect: That the trollhunter would be given a choice about whether or not to pick up the burden.
Instead: To keep their loved ones safe, Trollhunters often work alone. They at best have a mentor, and the spirits of previous trollhunters to guide them. Also, if you pick up the amulet after hearing it call for you, whether or not you know what it is, you are stuck with the Trollhunter duties until you die.
The Result: Most Trollhunters die alone while in combat, which means the amulet is at risk of being stolen each time. Unkar the Unfortunate lasted only a day, and it's implied he regrets how his life ended. In an alternate timeline, this practice led to Gunmar's army invading in force because they were able to isolate and kill the Trollhunter easily. It takes a human child, Jim, to show that working as a team actually makes more sense since not dying is one of the primary rules of being a Trollhunter.
- Changelings are trolls that can take human form and walk around during the day. They replace actual humans, which allows them to infiltrate human society.
You'd Expect: Gunmar and Bular to treat the changelings with a bit more respect. The changelings have a superior advantage, in that they can walk around during the day and know how to blend in well.
Instead: Gunmar and the other Gumm-Gumms condescendingly refer to changelings as Impures, and, once they are no longer useful, wipe out the entire Janus Order, who was nothing but loyal.
The Result: The three changelings that either defect or are disgraced end up surviving and helping the Trollhunters immensely. NotEnrique after some HeelFace Revolving Door ends up switching sides completely because he comes to truly care for his adopted human sister Claire; at one point he figures out that Morgana is possessing her and saves Jim from a brainwashed Claire. Meanwhile, Strickler and Nomura both get disgraced for their failures — Strickler for losing control of Angor Rot and suggesting the Janus Order organizes a coup against Gunmar, and Nomura for failing to capture Jim or keep her cover— and decide they don't want a world where Gunmar will rule. Strickler and Nomura start training Jim in Season Three, while preparing him to fight fire with fire. To top it all off, Gunmar learns that to release Morgana, the Staff of Avalon requires human hands — changeling hands, and Nomura and Strickler obviously don't want to help him at this point.
- Jim is nervous about kissing Claire during the play rehearsals as Romeo. He confides in Draal, who knows about a magical device called a Grit Shaka that removes one's fear.
You'd Expect: Jim to remember that last time he used a magical item, it didn't work perfectly because it was made for trolls.
Instead: Jim tries the Grit Shaka, which makes him an arrogant Fearless Fool in a matter of hours. He then refuses to take it off when Blinky is concerned, and decides to seek out Bular in the sewers. The resulting fight nearly gets him killed, and removing the Grit Shaka wipes his memories of the past day.
- Meanwhile, Bular is suspicious that Strickler has gone soft on the Trollhunter. He thinks that Strickler wants the boy alive, and will sacrifice their goals. Lo and behold, Gunmar gives Bular permission for the latter to test the bond between teacher and student, and Jim comes seeking him while under the influence of a Grit Shaka that removes his survival instinct. Bular finds himself unable to kill the trollhunter because the Grit Shaka makes him more flexible and faster. He has to remove it to get a clear shot. Jim wakes up as if from a dream, not knowing where he is or how he got into the sewers.
You'd Expect: Bular to mortally wound Jim and then out Strickler.
Instead: Bular outs Strickler by calling Jim "Young Atlas" and pretty much taunts him. This allows Jim to escape by the skin of his teeth and dumb luck due to Toby finding him.
The Result: Strickler is furious that Bular made his quest to obtain the amulet much harder. Jim in the meantime is feeling hurt and betrayed, with his fondness for Strickler changing into righteous fury. The whole point of being a changeling, after all, is to spy on humans and trolls alike without notice . He has to fight Jim during a dinner with the Lakes and devise an alternative means of stealing the amulet without Jim knowing.
Battle of the Two Bridges
- Due to the previous episode, Jim ends up in the hospital with a bad concussion and nasty scratches. His mother, who's on call, begs Jim to tell her what happened. Claire and Toby gave him a cover story.
You'd Expect: That Claire, Toby, or Jim would explain that he was attacked. They don't have to go into the details about the trolls, even if they can't explain the goblin scratches. If they were going to lie, they could have said he was mugged, which wasn't far from the truth.
Instead: Claire, Toby and Jim try to claim that coyotes attacked Jim to a medical professional, Jim's mother Dr. Lake, who knows coyotes didn't scratch him.
The Result: She immediately calls Jim out for not telling the truth. For most of season one, she gets into fights with him about his secrets.
Return of the Trollhunter
- Several weeks after "The Battle of the Two Bridges", Barbara is still upset with Jim for not telling her who attacked him and why. She's refusing to eat his cooking, and telling him off for coming home with bruises.
You'd Expect: Jim would tell his mother the truth, or an abbreviated version. He has the amulet, so he can prove there's a magical world.
Instead: Jim justifies not telling his mother about his double life because she'd commit him. Except...he told Claire and was able to prove it. If Jim had been honest with Barbara, she would have understood even while being upset about it. Not only that, but it would give her some peace of mind. She may get worried but at least she knows where he's going as he's doing hero stuff. After all, a kid goes out on his own and may come back with battle injuries, may look really bad to a mother.
It's About Time
- Blinky was changed into a human for several episodes. Vendel has admitted he's not sure when the spell will wear off, and it could happen at any time. If Blinky is exposed to the sun while a troll, he will turn to stone.
You'd Expect: Blinky would keep a parasol, ponchos, or some form of sun protection.
Instead: He carries nothing of the sort.
The Result: When he meets Jim's mother for coffee, to discuss Jim's troubles with school and injuries, he starts reverting back. In broad daylight. He nearly turns to stone and has to hide in the bathroom. Dr. Lake screams when she follows him and sees his true form. If not for Jim using his time travel to save Blinky, there would have been a lot of awkward questions.
- Jim seems to have been holding on to the Idiot Ball for the entire episode. To start things off, Jim has used a Kairosect to freeze time. He uses this as an opportunity to steal the Inferna Copula from Strickler and learns the location of both Angor Rot and the second Triumbric Stone after putting the ring on. The ring is the only thing capable of controlling Angor Rot, who has proven to be Jim's most dangerous enemy so far.
You'd Expect: Jim to do the obvious and continue to wear the Inferna Copula.
Instead: He takes it off.
Then: Jim has arrived at Angor Rot's location and sees the stone in Angor's grasp.
You'd Expect: Jim to put on the Inferna Copula before trying to take the stone and leaving.
Or: Jim to put on the ring and wait for time to resume. Then, he could simply order Angor to give him the stone. If Jim's worried about potentially pissing Angor off, he could just remember that as long as he has the ring on, Angor can't touch him.
Or Even Better: Jim to simply equip his armor, summon Daylight, and kill Angor Rot then and there while the latter is in a helpless state.
Instead: He tries none of the three options. Rather, he tries to take the stone from Angor, without the ring, as time quickly runs out.
Following That: Jim has taken back the Triumbric Stone from Angor Rot. Unfortunately, he has seconds left before time resumes.
You'd Expect: Jim to immediately put the Inferna Copula on his finger. It's clear that there is no way he can possibly take the stone and leave before time runs out.
Instead: He doesn't put the ring on and instead tries to leave. It's only after the Kairosect's effects wear off that Jim attempts to put on the Inferna Copula, at which point it's too late and Angor knocks the ring from his hand.
The Result: Angor Rot, understandably enraged at this seeming act of betrayal, enters an Unstoppable Rage and in the process ends up inadvertently destroying the Inferna Copula (and consequently his soul). This, in turn, causes him to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Jim and his friends. This culminates in Jim's own mother being mortally wounded and Aaarrrgghh!!!'s death.
For Bonus Stupidity: The moment Jim took the Inferna Copula, he had basically won. He had robbed Strickler of his weapon and now controls Trollkind's most dangerous assassin. His decision to not use the ring against Angor basically threw all that away for no reason.
- Angor Rot is defeated, the Trollhunter has all three Triumbric stones, but Aaarrrgghh!!! has fallen and his mother's memories have been wiped. The team is grieving, especially Jim and Toby. Now that Jim has all the stones, he can enter the Darklands with a higher chance of surviving. He has promised to enter to save Claire's baby brother.
You'd Expect: Jim would wait to mourn Aaarrrgghh!!!, and then go in as a team, leaving one person behind to represent the Trollhunting team to the tribunal. Aaarrrgghh!!! was dying anyway from Creeper Sun poison, and it turns out there is a way to revive him in season two. The humans also all need a cover story, for school and such.
Instead: Jim goes alone into the Darklands. He justifies it at not wanting to see any more of his friends die.
The Result: It has a lot of physical and emotional consequences: while Claire gets her baby brother back, in only two weeks, she and the others are worried sick about Jim getting killed. She and Toby also have to cover for Jim, which makes them laughingstocks at school and gets Steve on their case. Meanwhile, the troll tribunal points out that while Jim did have good intentions, he's given Gunmar the key to freeing himself and the Gumm Gumms, and plan to destroy the Killahead Bridge, which would be a death sentence for Jim. Even when he returns, Jim admits that it was completely stupid, when he sees that he might have accidentally freed Gunmar and hurt his friends.
- It's been two weeks. Jim is still trapped in the Darklands. The Trollhunters team is worried sick. Meanwhile, there's Barbara whose memories have been wiped.
You'd Expect: The team would tell Barbara the truth. Dr. Lake had previously been forced to accept her son's double life before her memories were wiped, and while she would have been as worried, she could have helped cover for Jim by telling the school he was sick.
Or You'd Expect: If they are going to keep it a secret, they'd have Claire impersonate Jim for Barbara because she is a good actor, she's impersonated him before, and what's more, she can cook.
Instead: Toby and Claire refuse to tell his mother the truth about Jim being a Trollhunter and trapped in the Darklands. As a matter of fact, Toby poses as Jim to not worry her, which makes her suspicious because Toby is a terrible cook and calls her "Dr. L".
Hero with a Thousand Faces
- Vendel shows Jim a wide array of magic stones that can enhance the amulet. Among these is a stone that allows trolls to walk in daylight.
You'd Expect: Since Jim is the first human to wield the amulet, this stone would have been installed in the amulet at all times and never removed unless absolutely necessary. It literally protects against the greatest weakness trolls have and would have been a huge advantage against Bular and any other evil troll.
Instead: Vendel has it in a box with the rest of the stones, which seemingly go unused most of the time. If Kanjigar had thought to use the stone, he wouldn't be dead.
The Reckless Club
- Draal feels guilty when the tribute finds "evidence" that Gunmar escaped. He had abandoned his post to save Jim. When he goes into the woods to investigate, he finds evidence that Gunmare escaped the Darklands and ate one person. Gunmar then appears and attacks him, though Draal manages to be a Curb Stomp Cushion and gets an opportunity to run.
You'd Expect: Draal would run so that he can warn Trollmarket. He failed, but sometimes you have to accept failure and survive another day.
Instead: Draal tries to fight Gunmar to the bitter end. The only reason he doesn't die is that he foolishly announces his loyalty to Jim. Gunmar then brainwashes him to make him a mindless attack dog, as revenge on Jim.
- The troll tribunal consists of all the troll leaders. They are upset when they find evidence that Gunmar has escaped the Darklands, which was thanks to Jim entering the Darklands at the end of the previous season.
You'd Expect: That if their worry is about Gunmar escaping, then they should prioritize stopping Gunmar over trying the trollhunter for treason. Also, Jim is human, with another life and people who would miss him if he were killed. The masquerade would break almost immediately as soon as his mother would file a missing persons report.
Instead: The tribunal puts out a warrant for Jim's arrest as soon as they hear from a "spy" that Gunmar escaped, demanding he arrive before sundown. Vendel, the Only Sane Man, is outvoted because he had previously stuck out his neck for Jim. Every other troll leader in the tribunal wants Jim's blood. After locking him in a cage overnight, they spend all the next day trying him for treason and then sentencing him to death in the Dep. Jim had spent the whole day in detention, but what if he had never gone home and his mother was missing him?
The Result: Gunmar uses the time wasted during Jim's trial and execution to wipe out the Janus Order, enter Trollmarket thanks to the spy, who turns out to be Queen Usurna on the tribunal, and start rebuilding his army. Both the regular trolls and the surviving tribunal members — Usurna assassinates Vendel when he presents proof that Jim is innocent— go Mass "Oh, Crap!" and realize that with no Trollhunter, they are vulnerable. Jim by some miracle survives the Deep, but he and his friends only manage to save a handful of trolls from getting brainwashed.
- While training Jim, Strickler has him inhale Grave Sand, ashes made from dead Gumm-Gumms. Blinky comes across them, and while angry, manages to talk Jim down from his ash-induced anger. He then chides Strickler because Grave Sand isn't supposed to be used on humans.
You'd Expect: Strickler or Blinky would take the ashes.
Instead: They let Jim take it to school.
The Result: Jim accidentally swaps the jar with the coffee jar in the teachers lounge because the jar labels are identical, and the teachers all drink the Grave Sand coffee. Then Strickler is hit with it as well when he comes to help and the ash-angry teachers ambush him.
So I'm Dating A Sorceress
- Morgana has been growing stronger. She's been using Claire as an unwitting Manchurian Agent. Claire doesn't realize anything is wrong until NotEnrique reveals he's caught video footage of her using her staff without her remembering. Morgana in the meantime wants to get rid of the current Trollhunter, as she has gotten rid of other Trollhunters.
You'd Expect: Morgana wouldn't reveal herself until she is one hundred percent certain of victory. At this point no one knows she is possessing Claire
Instead: She does Evil Gloating to Claire while the latter is on a date with Jim, and possesses her to murder Jim. She alerts NotEnrique, who followed along to watch Claire out of concern, by attacking him, something the real Claire wouldn't do.
The Result: Jim manages to fight a possessed Claire long enough for the changeling to rescue him, and in the next episode the Trollhunters successfully exorcise Claire, which means she can use her staff now without Morgana possessing her.
- Barbara has just recovered her memories and realized that Jim and his friends are Trollhunters. She still doesn't have all the pieces but remembers a large enough portion to get the general idea of the situation so she can act rationally. She also realizes that their parents don't know the kids are involving themselves in danger every night, and tells Jim that it's not fair to hide this because one day Claire and Toby may not come back home, and what will Jim tell their families?
You'd Expect: Since Barbara was understanding the first time she found out what Jim was doing, and flat-out says that nothing should be allowed to stop the kids from doing what they do, otherwise the entire world will be in danger, she would confront the kids on her own, then offer to help them break the news to their parents or potentially be their sole Secret Keeper. Claire and Toby know their parents and grandmother respectively best and would know how to break the news.
Instead: Barbara springs her confrontation on the kids the week before finals, without talking to them first. She involves Claire's parents and Toby's grandmother, treating the whole situation like an intervention for teenage drug use instead of something that involves the fate of the world.
The Result: When she tries to tell the truth, the other parents think that she's suffered a breakdown from overworking, and the kids try to laugh it off as a joke. It's not until she and Jim have a heart-to-heart that he convinces the others to tell the truth. Claire's mother understandably wants to call the mayor and warn them, because the entire town should know if an apocalypse is happening; Jim barely convinces her not to because this is beyond human capacity and firepower. In addition to all this, Barbara, Claire's Parents, and Toby's grandmother are almost injured or killed when a pack of goblins come for Dictatious, and Claire's mother very nearly forbids her from Trollhunting. Given that Claire is the one to eventually imprison Morgana, this could have literally ended the world.