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West of Rivendell, between the Rivers Hoarwell and Loudwater
At least some were Stone-trolls
Shaw is an old name for a wood, so 'Trollshaws' means 'Troll-woods'


About this entry:

  • Updated 1 November 2017
  • This entry is complete


The Troll-woods west of Rivendell

Map of the North Downs

A patch of woodland in the eastern parts of Eriador, lying along the course of the East Road between the courses of the rivers Hoarwell and Bruinen, directly westward of Rivendell. Between the valleys of these two rivers, the land rose to higher elevations, and under the trees of Trollshaws lay at least one rocky hill. The name 'Trollshaws' incorporates the old word 'shaw', meaning a small wood or thicket, though in fact these woods formed a relatively broad belt of trees running some fifty miles from west to east.

It is evident from the name of this wood that it had long been associated with Trolls. Three of these are particularly well known: a group of three who occupied a Troll-hole in the western part of the woods and waylaid travellers on the East Road. It was these three who captured the Dwarves of Thorin's Company as they journeyed on the Quest of Erebor, only to be tricked by Gandalf and turned to stone.

These three were recent arrivals at the time Thorin and his Dwarves encountered them, but the fact that the woods were named 'Trollshaws' suggests a much longer history of Troll activity. The Troll-hole discovered after Gandalf's rescue of the Dwarves also seems potentially rather older than might be expected for three newly-arrived Trolls, being filled with plunder and ancient weapons. On that basis, it may be that the Trolls Bert, Bill and Tom had taken over the concealed cavern from some earlier denizens of the forest.1

In the earlier Third Age, the woodlands of Trollshaws lay in the eastern parts of the North-kingdom of Arnor. Eventually Arnor broke up into three lesser lands, and after that time the woods fell within a new land of Rhudaur. The name Rhudaur means 'eastern forest', and since Trollshaws is the only known forest within the region, this seems to imply that it gave its name to the entire kingdom. Indeed, perhaps Rhudaur was originally the Elvish name for the wood, and this was later taken up as the name of the eastern kingdom that encompassed it.



The origins of the Troll-hole discovered by Thorin and Company are rather murky. It may have been made by the three Trolls themselves, but if so they must have gathered a remarkable amount of booty in a relatively short time, including several ancient swords of the Elves. After Gandalf led the party of Dwarves to Rivendell, Elrond offered a guess that the Trolls had '...plundered other plunderers...' which might include the contents of the Troll-hole itself (from The Hobbit 3, A Short Rest). On the other hand, he also guesses that they might have found their treasure ' some hold in the mountains of the North' (ibid), in which case they must have carried the coins, clothing and weapons with them when they travelled into the southern woods.


About this entry:

  • Updated 1 November 2017
  • This entry is complete

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