I was just reading about Bilbo and the three trolls: William, Bert, and Tom.

At the end of the quote, there is a reference to multi-headed trolls.

William choked. "Shut yer mouth!" he said as soon as he could. "Yer can't expect folks to stop here for ever just to be et by you and Bert. You've et a village and a half between yer, since we come down from the mountains. How much more d'yer want? And time's been up our way, when yer'd have said 'thank yer Bill' for a nice bit of o'fat valley mutton like what this is." He took a big bite off a sheep's leg he was toasting, and wiped his lips on his sleeve.

Yes, I'm afraid trolls do behave like that, even those with only one head each.
- The Hobbit p.35

Does Tolkien further describe multi-headed trolls in his notes, or is the reference just a one off limited to The Hobbit?

  • Nice question. To my knowledge there is no creature with more than one head in the entire legendarium. – user8252 Dec 19 '12 at 8:33
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    According to Douglas Anderson in "The Annotated Hobbit", they don't exist. – user8252 Dec 19 '12 at 14:25
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    Also I don't remember any entry on Tolkien's Bestiary referencing multiheaded trolls... I'll try to check it. – Bardo Dec 19 '12 at 17:26

"The Hobbit", when originally written, was simply a story for his children. A lot of the book was written as if actually being told to the reader. See the above quote: "Yes, I'm afraid trolls do behave like that..."

I have heard many stories as a child of giants, ogres, and trolls with multiple heads. And usually they were defeated by the hero causing them to fight among themselves, much like Gandalf does in the book.

I don't think Tolkien meant to imply there were multi-headed trolls in Middle Earth, as much as to relate his story to other tales the reader might be familar with.

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