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"Nothing like a little dance with Trollocs to ready you for sleep. Right, Aviendha?"
   —Mat Cauthon

A Trolloc (pronounced: TRAHL-lohk) is a type of Shadowspawn created in the Age of Legends that comprises the bulk of the Dark One's armies. A horrifying crossing of human and animal stock with physical characteristics of both. While capable of speech and a cruel and twisted humor, they are less intelligent than humans and require supervision in battle. They are carnivorous[verify], sadistic, fearful, and violent. Unlike other Shadowspawn, Trollocs are social creatures, grouped by several distinct tribes.

Creation and early history

Trolloc portrait done by Jeremy Saliba

During the War of the Shadow, the Dark One's forces searched for a method to produce a soldier more powerful than normal humans. The quest for this "super-soldier" was undertaken by the Forsaken Aginor.

He combined human genetic material with that of several animal species. Species such as boars, bears, and eagles were selected due to their high levels of aggression, leading to some of the common animal features seen in Trollocs. The crossbreeding eventually produced a soldier with the desired physical and emotional attributes, and just as importantly, a soldier that was capable of producing viable offspring. A self-replenishing army was more highly valued than one that needed to be produced in biological laboratories.

Originally, Trollocs were a failed creation. Their innate blood lust overwhelmed them and made them impossible to control, and thus, while they were superior fighters, they made terrible soldiers and had extremely poor discipline. This problem was solved when Trolloc breeding began to result in the Myrddraal: a being capable of intelligent thought and of being commanded, and which also terrifies any Trolloc into obedience. What causes the birth of a myrdraal is unknown, even by Aginor, although it is generally described as a "throwback" of sorts that is more human in appearance, if not in nature or abilities.

Characteristics and Psychology

Trolloc size comparison wth a 5'11" (180cm) human.

A Trolloc is a humanoid creature with both animal and human physical features. A Trolloc has an animal-like snout, beak, or head, hoofed feet, feathers, or oversized rough hands with thick nails. Much as height and hair color differs between humans, so does the line between animal and human vary amongst individual Trollocs. Some have feet capable of wearing boots, while others have legs far more like a goat, hoofed and unable to wear shoes. They are between 8 and 10 feet (244-305cm) tall.[1]

The non-human genetic elements can lend the Trolloc more unique abilities eg those with canine (largely wolf) characteristics are can be more intelligent and more likely able to speak other languages, while those resembling bears are noticeably tougher. Some can track a person by scent or sound. They see better than a man in the dark.

Trollocs charging into battle by Seamas Gallagher

Trollocs are cruel and sadistic, often killing for pleasure or by instinct than by command. This inherent violence makes them easily detectable by a sniffer. They are also fearful creatures, with self-preservation generally being one of the only reasons they abstain from violence and killing. They also fear rivers and crossing bodies of water, as they cannot swim.

Although they have some intelligence, they are invariably less intelligent than humans. Trollocs have their own spoken and written language. They may or may not be capable of speech, depending on the relative proportions of human/animal genetics and the resulting phenotypes, specifically those that determine the nature of their vocal cords. All Trollocs, however, are at least capable of understanding language. Although many are physically capable of speech, fewer are capable of speaking normally. To some extent they fear, and hate, wolves and kill them whenever possible. While they may favor their chances against a lone wolf, Elyas Machera says that Trollocs fear packs of wolves. The feeling of hate is mutual, however, as wolves also take pleasure in killing Trollocs.

More than anything, they fear Shadar Logoth, or more accurately Mashadar, and also the Aiel Waste which they refer to as the Dying Grounds. It generally takes the insistent driving from a Myrddraal to get them to enter either area.

Trolloc reproduction

Trolloc from The Eye of the World Comic

Trolloc reproduction occasionally results in offspring that is based almost entirely on its animal genetic material, or its human material. The near-animal result always dies, but the near-human result, a Myrddraal, will tend to live. Aginor comments that roughly 5% of Trolloc offspring are Myddraal, interestingly this is a similar ratio to channelers vs non-channelers born amongst the human population.[verify]

Eating habits

Trollocs are largely carnivores, eating any meat they can acquire, with an infamous preference for human flesh. They routinely cook and eat human captives or casualties taken during battle, and during the War of Power human breeding camps were set up in Forsaken-controlled territory to sustain Trolloc populations. If there are no prisoners available, lower-ranking Darkfriends are sometimes fed to the Trollocs instead. Padan Fain was once threatened with such a fate.

So infamous is this habit that "in a Trolloc cookpot" is a phrase often used to describe where an incredibly foolish, and dangerous, course of action might lead.

Souls and related abilities

Trollocs have souls, although Robert Jordan describes them as being "pathetic". Shaisam, who had been gorging himself on Trolloc souls, mused to himself that they were far less nourishing than human souls, calling them "unsatisfying".

Trollocs are not capable of channeling the One Power or True Power, the first being a property of human souls that is an invariant. This could imply a correspondence between non-channeling souls and Trollocs and channeling souls and Myrdraal.

According to Lanfear Trollocs can dream. Only Gray Men and Myrddraal are denied dreams.[2]

Combat effectiveness

Trolloc army, led by a Myrddraal

Despite their strength and size, their combat effectiveness is questionable. They can usually be defeated one-on-one by a moderately skilled human, especially if that human has had prior experience fighting them. A blademaster or highly skilled warrior can kill numerous Trollocs without much difficulty. An Ogier who has very little combat experience can also defeat a Trolloc fairly easily, and an experienced or enraged Ogier can cut swaths through a Trolloc unit. Part of this is a Trolloc's reliance on being physically terrifying enough to cause their victims to flee rather than stand and fight. This is why experience and relative size plays such a big factor when facing a Trolloc one-on-one.

If the tide of a battle is turning against them, Trolloc bands and armies will tend to flee. Even when being led by Myrrddraal, Trollocs tend to require overwhelming numbers in order to best a human force. If the two forces are near parity, the human force will almost certainly prevail, especially if its members have had experience fighting Trollocs. Due to this weakness, the Shadow usually employs the tactic of overwhelming numbers, facilitated by the fact that Trollocs breed extremely fast. As they typically outnumber their foes, battles of attrition is a common method for a Trolloc armies to emerge victorious. When raiding against smaller parties, they partly rely.

Despite all this, their size, strength, and bloodlust makes them more than a match for an average human. They are also very tough, and it can take several arrows or blade-strokes to kill one if non-vital areas are targeted.

A group of at least one hundred but never more than two hundred Trollocs is referred to as a "fist" of Trollocs. Only male Trollocs are allowed to participate in raiding parties.

Relationship with Myrddraal

Although Myrdraal can act as officers to impose an otherwise lacking discipline on Trolloc forces, they also have an ability to mentally link with groups of Trollocs. While this is in effect, the Trollocs fight harder and longer, not able to flee even if they wanted to. While on the march, they move as one. The downside, however, is that all linked Trollocs immediately fall down dead if the binding myrdraal is killed.

Trolloc bands

Unlike other constructs from the War of Power, Trollocs have developed a social order and are divided into bands (or chapters). There are twelve principle bands and an unknown number of lesser bands.[3] The meanings of their names are given in the The Wheel of Time Companion[4].

Different bands do not normally work together. It takes the fear of a Myrddraal to get them to cooperate.

Name of band Symbol Image Meaning Name origin
Ahf'frait Silver whirlwind Ahf'frait.png Strong wind Ifrit
Al'ghol Hooked axe Al'ghol.png Soulless Ghoul
Bhan'sheen Dagger-pierced skull Bhan'sheen.png Bringers of annihilation Banshee
Dha'vol Horned skull Dha'vol.png Sires of agony Devil
Dhai'mon Iron fist Dhai'mon.png Scythes of war Demon
Dhjin'nen Skull cloven by scythe-curved sword Dhjin'nen.png Those who cause terror Djinn/Genie
Ghar'ghael Piled human skulls Ghar'ghael.png Brutes of venom Gargoyle
Gho'hlem Unknown Takers of souls Golem
Ghob'hlin Goat's skull with fire burning behind Ghob'hlin.png Harvester of soulsTakers of souls Goblin
Graem'lan Forked lightning Graem'lan.png Prized of the mighty Gremlin
Ko'bal Blood-red trident Ko'bal.png Circle of one / brotherhood Kobold
Kno'mon Red blood-stained fist Kno'mon.png Scythes of devastation Gnome
(burrowers) Unknown
Unknown Staring eye Trolloc band 1.png
Unknown Dagger-pierced hand Dagger-pierced hand.png
Unknown Man shape wrapped in flames Trolloc band 3.png

Trolloc Language

Some Trollocs are capable of rudimentary human speech, but usually they converse amongst themselves in their own guttural tongue. Trollocs also have a written script for their language, in the form of angular runes. An example of this is the carvings found on some of the guide stones in The Ways.

External links

Notes

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Encyclopaedia WoT has an article about: Trollocs
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