Never Mind the Trollocs

I recently started reading the Wheel of Time series- another major 90s fantasy series that I missed out on at the time.

It’s quite good, but there are bestial humanoid hordes called Trollocs.

Honestly, if you want to give them an original name, I’m pretty sure you could think of something better. To me it’s much worse than just calling them ‘trolls’, because it sounds like you made an effort and this is the best you can do.

It doesn’t even make sense from an ‘intellectual property’ point of view: I doubt you can claim ownership of the idea of removing one letter from ‘troll-orc’.

This sort of thing is surprisingly common. D&D has ‘worgs’- giant wolves that are totally not wargs- and World of Warcraft has taurens, bull-headed humanoids that are totally not minotaurs.

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6 thoughts on “Never Mind the Trollocs

  1. Calling them Minotaurs in WoW would make no sense, however, given the absence of a Minoan culture in the setting, so it’s slightly more forgivable, I guess.

  2. As well as worgs/wargs, there’s mithril/mithral, balor/balrog and hobbit/halfling. I know the last two were a result of a legal dispute with the Tolkein Estate – are the first two as well perhaps?

    • I think you’re right.

      I guess it’s more forgivable for a game which is *supposed* to be ripping off other fantasy.

      However, I would have used more general, evocative terms (eg ‘dire wolf’ instead of ‘worg’, ‘adamantium’ instead of ‘mithral’).

      As it is, D&D seems to do both- and then has to come up with a reason why dire wolves and worgs are different. And if worgs aren’t giant wolves any more, the point of having a name which is almost ‘warg’ is lost.

    • You might be right.

      I’ve actually stopped reading the Wheel of Time series, in the middle of book 9. I realised I didn’t know who any of the characters were or what they were intriguing about.

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