Author: Leora Oldessroth
The Dark One's greatest need during the War of the Shadow was for soldiers. Before the war started, his scientists (including Aginor) combined living human and animal genetic material to create warriors that were powerful, fierce, fast, hard to kill and intelligent enough to fight well and take orders. They used naturally aggressive animals like boars, bears, wolves, goats, wildcats, rams and eagles in combination with humans to make Trollocs (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
They are stronger than the animals and humans from which they were created and can run almost as fast as a horse (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
Trollocs are vicious by nature and kill for the pure pleasure of doing so (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
Trollocs were initially a failed experiment as they lacked the self-discipline and drive to be efficient soldiers. They have the instincts and drives of animals, the worst human characteristics and very limited intelligence. They can perform only comparatively simple tasks; they are deceitful and unstable by nature. They are usually unwilling or unable to follow orders unless driven by fear. If Trollocs are more afraid of the foe than their commander, they will turn and run. The unexpected appearance of the Myrddraal, Trolloc throwback offspring, solved this problem (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
Trollocs are omnivorous but prefer meat. They will eat animals, humans and even other Trollocs (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7). During the War of Power, Balthamel set up camps to breed humans as fodder for the Trollocs; Sammael often fed prisoners of war to Trollocs and Asmodean had “harvesters” that made people available for rations to Trolloc garrisons (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 5). Demandred is reported to have captured two entire cities and fed every person in it to the Trollocs just because he believed the people had slighted him in his former life (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 5). During the War of Power, Darkfriends who forswore their oath to the Dark One were fed to the Trollocs (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 6).
Trollocs are prolific breeders (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 5). Female Trollocs enjoy being pregnant. A human and a Trolloc could mate but even if the human mother survives to give birth, the resulting Trolloc offspring is usually stillborn and those who are born alive do not survive long (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
Trollocs demonstrate their individuality through tattoos, carved bone adornments and their hairstyle (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
Trollocs can dream (TDR, Ch. 36).
Trollocs call the Aiel Waste Djevik K’Shar or “the Dying Ground” (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 20). They will not enter stedding unless driven to do so (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 21). They do not like wolves (TEotW, Ch. 10). Trollocs hate deep water. They cannot swim and they will not even wade in water that is waist-deep (TEotW, Ch. 19).
Trollocs are divided into twelve principal, tribelike bands. They are the only known Shadowspawn to have formed a social structure and tribal system (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
The twelve principal tribes are: Ah’frait (badge is a silver whirlwind), Al’ghol (hoooked axe), Bhansheen (dagger-pierced skull), Dhjin’nen (skull cloven by a sythe-curved sword), Ghar’ghael (piled human skulls), Ghob’lin (goat skull with fire behind), Gho’hlem, Ghraem’lan (forked lightning), Ko’bal (blood-red enameled trident), Kno’mon (red, bloodstained fist), Dha’vol (horned skull; Lan calls them the worst kind) and Dhai’mon (iron fist) (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7; TEotW, Ch. 7; Ch. 9; KoD, Ch. 19; ToM, Ch. 21).
There are also lesser tribes. Some of their sigils include a staring eye, a dagger-pierced hand and a man shape wrapped in flames (KoD, Ch. 19).
Only male Trollocs fight and hunt. Females are cloistered, serving as breeding machines for the males (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
Each Trolloc has the face and characteristics of the particular animal that his human genetic material was combined with (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
Trollocs are eight to ten feet tall and have the body of an overlarge, extremely muscular man (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
They are towering, coarse-haired bulky forms. They have intelligent, human eyes and faces that often bear horns, tusks, bestial muzzles full of gnashing teeth, or sharp beaks. Some have the hind legs of the animal they resemble, with hooves or claws in place of feet. Almost all have human-like hands with thick, heavy nails (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7). Some believe that the wolf headed trollocs are more intelligent than other kinds (ToM, Ch. 21).
Trollocs make their own weapons and armor; they appear crude and unfinished but are still deadly. They wear no helmets because of the difficulty in crafting adequate protection for the wide variety of faces that Trollocs have (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7). Some Trolloc weapons pick up a taint from Thakan’dar, a valley on the slopes of Shayol Ghul where their weapons are made; this taint can cause deadly sickness beyond the normal wound from the weapon (TEotW, Ch. 8).
Uses, Purposes, Talents
Trollocs are used as foot soldiers. They are organized into fists of one to two hundred Trollocs and are placed under the command of a Myrddraal (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
Myrddraal can link minds with Trollocs, completely overriding their bestial nature. If a Myrddraal dies while linked, the Trollocs linked with it die as well (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 7).
Trollocs generally fight with spears and hook-tipped axes. They almost never use projectile weapons although there are some Trolloc archers whose bows fire arrows roughly the diameter of a large man’s thumb (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 10).
Trollocs see well in the dark but bright light will blind them. Some can track by scent or sound (some hear better than dogs), but they are lazy and give up easily (TEotW, Ch. 5).
During the Trolloc Wars, human armies had to develop special tactics to fight the Trollocs. They had to strike at the Trollocs’ weak points: their animalistic natures and inability to reason in tight situations. After long harassing action by cavalry, human infantry took up a defensive position, holding it long enough for mounted archers to move in from the sides and whittle the Trolloc numbers down safely from a distance. Those Trollocs not destroyed in the “pincer” broke and ran (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 10).
Timeline of Known Trolloc Activities
- Trolloc armies are used during the War of Power; after the strike at Shayol Ghul, the organization of the Shadow weakens and often the Trolloc armies would fight each other. They still wreaked havoc on humanity; it was only the Breaking that brought their destructive force to an end as even the Trollocs had to focus on surviving the male Aes Sedai going mad. The Trollocs retreated to the Blight (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 8, TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 10).
- About 1000 AB, Trollocs come out of the Blight in large numbers, shattering the Compact of Ten Nations. The Trolloc Wars lasted about 350 years and spread destruction across the continent, as far south as Illian and Tear (although Tear never fell), due in large part to their massive numbers. Trollocs attempt to take Tar Valon, unsuccessfully, on four separate occasions; during this time, it is said that the extra Warders bonded by the Green Ajah made a positive difference in the battles. There is no known reason for the sudden attacks, although Ishamael may have been responsible (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 5, 9, 10, 24).
- Trollocs moved against Manetheren; the forces of King Aemon held them off for ten days while awaiting reinforcements that never came. Queen Eldrene knew when Aemon died and she lashed out with the True Source and supposedly sent balefire to consume the Trollocs where they stood (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 10).
- Trollocs camped in the ruined city of Aridhol. Mashadar consumed the entire army and no Trolloc has willingly set foot in Aridhol/Shadar Logoth since (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 10).
- The Trolloc forces were finally defeated at the Battle of Maighande; this turned the tide of the Trolloc Wars and the creatures were eventually pushed back into the Blight (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 10).
- Trolloc activity continues in the Blight, including a brief but violent upswing around FY 943, during the reign of Artur Hawkwing (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 11). Trollocs struck hard into Hawkwing’s northern provinces in FY 986 at three points but Hawkwing crushed them in a series of seven major battles, culminating at Talidar in FY 987, so decisively that Trolloc activity along the Blight diminished for fifty years (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 12).
- The Border Nations continue to skirmish with Trollocs during the ensuing years (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 14). The nation of Malkier is overrun by Trollocs in the autumn of 955 NE (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 13).
- Trollocs are seen outside of the Borderlands for the first time since the Trolloc Wars in Emond's Field, Andor during the year of 998 NE (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 14). Trollocs attack the al’Thor farm, although Rand and Tam both escape (TEotW, Ch. 5).
- A Trolloc named Narg (the only named Trolloc we’ve seen in the series) waits for Rand to return to the farmhouse so he can capture him and hold him for a Myrddraal that wants to talk to Rand. Rand accidentally kills him with his father’s sword (TEotW, Ch. 5; Ch. 6).
- Seven different bands of Trollocs attack Emond’s Field the same night; that many have not acted together since the Trolloc Wars (TEotW, Ch. 7).
- Trollocs chase Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Thom, Lan and Moiraine as they leave Baerlon. The group tries to hide from them in Shadar Logoth, but the Trollocs are forced into the city by the Myrddraal so the group must flee once again. During the flight from Shadar Logoth, the group is separated (TEotW, Ch. 19).
- Trollocs attack Fal Dara to capture the Horn of Valere and help free Padan Fain. Ingtar lets them in (TGH, Ch. 9; Tor Q&A).
- Ingtar, Rand, Perrin and others chase the Trollocs who stole the Horn of Valere. Fain lets the Trollocs slaughter entire villages that they capture and/or eat them (TGH, Ch. 10; Ch. 11).
- Rand and Loial sneak into the Trolloc camp and steal back the Horn of Valere; they kill several Trollocs in the process (TGH, Ch. 19).
- Trollocs attack Rand and Loial in Cairhien and chase them to the Illuminators chapter house; Loial manages to kill a Trolloc (TGH, Ch. 27).
- Trollocs attack the camp of the Dragon Reborn in the Mountains of Mist (TDR, Ch. 5).
- Sammael sends an army of Trollocs to invade the Stone of Tear; Semirhage, on orders of the Dark One, sends an opposing army of Trollocs. Rand uses the One Power to destroy the Trollocs (TSR, Ch. 10; Ch. 13; Ch. 14; LoC, Ch. 6).
- Trollocs attack Perrin, Loial, Faile and the others as they use the Ways to travel to Emond’s Field (TSR, Ch. 27).
- The Two Rivers is under attack by Trollocs; the Trollocs have killed Perrin’s entire family. Perrin locks the Waygate in Emond’s Field to prevent more Trollocs from arriving (TSR, Ch. 29; Ch. 30).
- Perrin and other Two Rivers men hunt Trollocs; their hunt ends when they are ambushed and badly defeated (TSR, Ch. 40).
- Five hundred Trollocs attack Emond’s Field to test the village’s defense; they also attack the Tinkers who are camped nearby, almost completely destroying them (TSR, Ch. 44; Ch. 45).
- Trolloc attacks continue against Emond’s Field. The Trollocs eventually mount a full-scale final assault, but the forces of Emond’s Field, with the help of Deven Ride and Watch Hill, manage to turn them back (TSR, Ch. 53; Ch. 56).
- Trollocs attack Rand and the Aiel at Jangai Pass in a diversion attempt so that two Draghkar can assassinate Rand (TFoH, Ch. 22).
- When Rand arrives in Caemlyn, there are hordes of Trollocs waiting in the Palace and surrounding the city. The Aiel fight the Trollocs while Rand takes care of Rahvin. Once Rahvin is killed, Rand helps the Aiel successfully fight off the Trollocs (TFoH, Ch. 54; Ch. 55).