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Troll's Cave

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Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless? - Tom Bombadil
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
David T. Wenzel - Cave.jpg
Troll's Cave
Physical Description
InhabitantsThe three Trolls
DescriptionA messy, smell cave on a hill

The Troll's Cave was the hideout of the three trolls, Tom, Bert and William that captured Bilbo and the dwarves. The cave served as their hideout from the Sun and also their treasury and storeroom.



The cave floor had bones and an untidy litter of plunder, from brass button to pots of gold. On shelves was a good deal of food, along with a barrel of ale. Clothing of victims hung on the walls as well as several swords. There was also a horrible smell in the air.


After Gandalf had rescued Thorin and his party, he reminded them that the trolls must have a cave or hole to hide in from the sun. Searching about, they followed the marks of stony boots uphill to a big stone door hidden by bushes. Pushing and incantations by Gandalf did not open it. Then Bilbo asked if the key he had found would help. It did.

The party took much of the food, the barrel of ale, and the gold. Gandalf and Thorin took two swords with beautiful scabbards and jeweled hilts, and Bilbo took a knife in a leather sheath (which for a hobbit was as good as a short sword). Outside the cave the party ate and rested, and then buried the pots of gold near the river with many spells put over them.[1]

Later in Rivendell it was Elrond who read the runes on the swords of Gandalf and Thorin. He revealed that they were very old and had been made by the High Elves of the West, in Gondolin. Thus from the troll’s cave Thorin obtained Orcrist the Goblin-cleaver and Gandalf got Glamdring the Foe-hammer.[2] Much later Bilbo would name his short sword from the troll’s cave "Sting".[3]

Other Versions of the Legendarium

In the manuscript for The Hobbit the Company found something else in the Troll's cave besides the three swords - they also found the key to the Back Door of the Lonely Mountain, although they did not know it at the time.[4] Gandalf took charge of the key in the cave and gave it to Thorin just before he departed from the Company at the gates of Mirkwood.[5] On Durin's Day it was Bilbo who recalled the troll-key and they found that it was the right one to open the door.[6]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Roast Mutton"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Short Rest"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Trolls", p. 97
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Medwed", p. 244
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag-End, The Second Phase, "The Lonely Mountain"