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Of Trolls, Giants and Tomtes: The John Bauer Tarot


Mi-Shell

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34 minutes ago, gregory said:

 

VERY much this. Think of the images by Kay Nielsen, which reflect this.

 

Very good example. I couldn’t resist to select a few images to share. 

 

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Here we also see the dark metal clothes and the bare arms/legs, the ornamental jewelry etc… I love that Kay depicts his trolls with multiple heads btw! They have such interesting facial expressions, like multiple personalities. 

 

I do think it helps to have a broader understanding of the story world that John Bauer illustrated. The Scandinavian sagas are very lovely and there’s of course more to it than the ones that John got to illustrate, but his paintings give a very nice introduction to them. 
 

Trolls were not necessarily seen as a separate species though. Humans could be called trolls, especially if they consorted with magic or behaved outside of the norm. Christianity has definitely impacted this. You can see how the trolls were said to desire the beautiful ‘pure and innocent’ blonde (Christian) children and to want to either eat them or kidnap them. That’s something that Satan was said to do as well… 

 

I do have a copy of an old family letter that was written in the 1800s but describe events that took place in the 1700s. It has a sad story about a child (an ancestor of mine) who couldn’t speak and who befriended a magpie. One day, a Christian stranger walked past the child and saw the strange friendship with the bird and quickly came to the conclusion that the bird was a ‘trollkärring’ (troll hag) who had shapeshifted into a bird. This man then quickly grabbed the bird and banged it to death in front of the child. All the Christians were grateful for what he had done to rescue the child… 

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3 hours ago, gregory said:

Yeah - don't worry about it. I am now trying to think what you THOUGHT you meant ! We're laughing too - but not at you !

 

Chain letters? Easy mistake to make, 😁

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1 hour ago, gregory said:

Poor kid. That's awful.

Yeah, horrible stuff. 

 

I don't mean to take this thread off topic, but the title speaks of trolls, gigants and tomtes so I think it is helpful to talk a little about what those words mean in the context of Scandinavian culture. Just like I said previously, the word "trolla" means "to do magic", and our word for Magician is either "Trollkarl" (=male troll magician) or Trollkvinna (female troll magician/witch). This means that anyone who used magic could and would have been called a troll back in the days. People feared them and so they were described as dark and ugly creatures that were primitive and living outside of society. Tomtar (gnomes) have magic too, its just different. They were typically seen as more benign and if you paid them respect, they could protect your property and your animals. 

 

The way John depicts Tomtar makes them look a bit like trolls, actually. Its mostly the red hat and the mittens that sets them apart 😁 Plus Tomtar do not wear jewelry..

 

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According to Wiki JB's drawings were an inspiration for the Mystics characters in Dark Crystal. 

 

And thx everyone, I feel really at home here... 

 

Vegan applepie anyone? 

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Beautiful pics, Raggy!♥

Here are my Troll - a gift I received in Sweden in 1979

and Peter's hand crafted Tomte, that is dated 1972

 

DSCN4531.thumb.JPG.fbdb36caca445e117a321ee4d61c784e.JPG

I am not quite sure, if they liked being out in the cold and snow for this picture...

 

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19 minutes ago, Mi-Shell said:

Beautiful pics, Raggy!♥

Here are my Troll - a gift I received in Sweden in 1979

and Peter's hand crafted Tomte, that is dated 1972

 

DSCN4531.thumb.JPG.fbdb36caca445e117a321ee4d61c784e.JPG

I am not quite sure, if they liked being out in the cold and snow for this picture...

 

If they have lived in Sweden and later in Canada, I bet they are used to snow!! 😄

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They are voyeuristic wusses, that live in our warm bedroom! 

I think I saw the Troll's belly button shrink and the Tomte's feet go blue....?

 

 

 

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