Trolls are having a moment. Yesterday, DreamWorks announced that Anna Kendrick would star in Trolls, an animated musical based on the creepy children’s toys. Last week, Laika released the trailer for The Boxtrolls, which combats trolls’ reputation as monsters, depicting them instead as silly magical creatures living peacefully in the sewers. And last year, Frozen featured a gaggle of friendly, wise trolls who adopted leading man Kristoff and gave leading lady Anna a hand when she needed their help.
All of these creatures stand in pretty sharp contrast to various Old Norse myths, which establish a few basic trollish characteristics: they’re magical, strong, not very smart, human-hungry, and vulnerable to the sun, which turns them into stone. While this cuddly new breed of trolls may be magical, they’re also cute and amiable. And that’s a shame.