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The first installment in the Tales of Arcadia trilogy, Trollhunters focuses on the fifteen year old James "Jim" Lake and his best friend Tobias "Toby" Domzalski and the changes to their lives after Jim finds a magic amulet that labels him as the next "Trollhunter."

Tropes used in Trollhunters include:
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • "Jim Sturges Jr." becomes "Jim Lake Jr."
    • "Tobias Dershowitz" becomes "Tobias Domzalski."
    • "Claire Fontaine" becomes "Claire Nuñez." It's a side-effect of her heritage being changed from Scottish to Hispanic.
    • "Steve Jorgenson-Warner" is now "Steve Palchuk."
  • Adaptation Species Change: Steve was a Changeling in the novel but is fully human here.
  • Adapted Out: In the book, Jim's father was distant because he was trying to get Uncle Jack back from the trolls. Here, Jim's dad was a deadbeat who simply left his family, taking away the Uncle Jack subplot.
  • Adult Fear: As Jim begins shrieking away from his responsibilities and lying to her, Barbara really begins to fear that he's fallen in with a bad crowd.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Given his tendency to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, Strickler calls Jim "Young Atlas."
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Well not technically "alien" but the Trolls do seem to enjoy human culture.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Trolls come in great variety with even their common features (horns, tusks, large noses) varying wildly from one breed to another. Some grow hair and some don't, some have more than two eyes, some glow when angered or powered up, while sizes can go from four feet tall to bigger than a mountain while others have tails. And that's not even getting into the outlying breeds of the Changelings and the Stalklings.
  • Ambiguously Human: Morgana. At the very least, she appears to be a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Amnesia Missed a Spot: Barbara's memories of the world of trolls are wiped after she's targeted by Angor Rot but she has vague dreams of Trollmarket. By "Parental Guidance", she gets them back.
  • Avengers Assemble: Blinky and AAARRRGGHH!!! aimed for this, but they couldn't get the entire Troll army to rally behind them.
  • Backup From Otherworld: The spirits of the old Trollhunters join the fight against Morgana.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Jim and Claire may love each other but that doesn't stop a lot of teasing at the other's expense. Borders on Like an Old Married Couple at times. "Just Add Water" is the best example of this.
  • Berserk Button: Never knock a gnome's hat off.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate:
    • Bular and Strickler in Season 1.
    • Gunmar and Morgana in Season 3.
  • Birthday Hater: Jim. His dad left on his fifth birthday.
  • Black Comedy: The show has way too much fun describing in great detail the horrible ways that there are to die.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Morgana and Merlin respectively.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The end credits of "Creepslayerz" has Steve and Eli commenting on the visuals.
  • Broken Pedestal: Merlin disappoints everyone he meets and almost seems to take a sadistic delight in it.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end, Jim and Claire lead the Trolls, save AAARRRGGHH!!! and Strickler, to New Jersey where a new Heartstone may lie.
  • Can't Kill You - Still Need You: Gunmar and Strickler's relationship in Season 3. Strickler knows it and milks it for all that it's worth.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Jim doesn't take it well when Douxie flirts with Claire.
  • Crazy Prepared: When word leaked about a spy in Trollmarket, Vendel took every precaution.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After Jim spares his life in their duel, and in doing so, strip away his honor, Draal becomes Jim's bodyguard and sword teacher.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Most of the Janus Order in Season 2.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Trollmarket is hidden beneath Arcadia Oaks. All other Troll settlements are either underground as well or are in some darkened environment.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Working with Morgana was a bit too much, even for Angor Rot.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Krubera are Just Following Orders but learning that Usurna willingly gave AAARRRGGHH!!! to Gunmar is too much for them to stay silent.
  • Failed a Spot Check: It takes Jim far longer than it should have to realize that Claire has been possessed in "So I'm Dating a Sorceress."
  • Fallen Hero: Angor Rot was once a hero to Trolls everywhere.
  • Fantastic Racism: Changelings are referred to as "im-pures."
  • First-Name Basis: How Strickler manages to Spot the Imposter. Barbara always calls him "Walter." Try again Usurna.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Jim goes through all five when he becomes half-Troll.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Eli's conspiracy board has "aliens" and "wizards" on it, foreshadowing what comes next.
    • A shooting star races across the sky in "Night Patroll", the arrival of the Mothership in 3Below.
    • A few characters in Season 2 and 3 comment that Jim will one day have to choose between the Troll and human worlds.
  • Groin Attack: Rule #3 of Trollhunting.
  • Half-Identifying Hybrid: Jim becomes a Type 6 in Part Three.
  • Heel Face Turn: Strickler and Angor Rot in Season 3.
  • Hero-Killer: Between them, Gunmar and Bular have killed several Trollhunters.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Draal in Season 3.
  • Hulk Speak: AAARRRGGHH!!! Fitting considering that he shares a voice actor with the Trope Namer.
  • Human Resources: Merlin used Morgana's left hand to craft the Amulet of Daylight.
  • Humanity Ensues: Briefly happens to Blinky in Season 2. While a bit miffed by it, he takes the time to enjoy human food and the majesty of a sunset.
  • Humanoid Abomination: How Trolls are born is not clear but Gunmar emerged from a corrupted and rotted Heartstone.
  • I Choose to Stay: AAARRRGGHH!!! stays behind in Arcadia with Toby at the end
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Jim in "Gnome Your Enemy." The machine however was meant to work on Trolls so he's stuck at a smaller size for longer than he should be.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "Unbecoming."
  • It's All About Me: All Merlin cared about was getting his magic back.
  • Jerkass: Merlin. To his credit, he doesn't deny it. He slowly evolves into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold by the end.
  • Just Following Orders: The Krubera trolls.
  • Keystone Army: When Gunmar is killed, all the Gumm-Gumms follow.
  • Literal Split Personality: The Aspectus Stone grants Jim a few in "Hero with a Thousand Faces." Hilarity Ensues.
  • Locked Into Strangeness: Claire's formerly dyed blue streak of hair turns white after being possessed by Morgana.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Bagdwella. The Trollhunter must heed any call for help; such as say, mailing a package; regardless of context. Taking Advantage of Generosity doesn't even begin to describe it.
    • The safeguard on the Staff of Avalon only lets it be wielded by a human who speaks the troll tongue. Changelings are human when they shift forms.
  • Lower Deck Episode: "Creepslayerz."
  • Love Redeems: It's Strickler's love for Barbara that leads to him Becoming the Mask of the kind, worldly man.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: So Jim decides that he must kill the masquerade instead, telling Claire about his status as the Trollhunter.
  • Meat Puppet: A power of Gunmar's Decimaar Blade. It can work over miles.
  • Mole in Charge: Usurna is a servant of Gunmar's.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: In the Troll tongue, Gumm-Gumm translates to "Bringer of horrible, slow, painful, and thoroughly calculated death." It doesn't quite translate into English.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: The Janus Order.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The Eternal Night. Though Morgana simply created a powerful smog that blocked direct sunlight from entering. If one flies high enough, then the sky is normal.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • To show how upped the stakes are in Part Two, Trollmarket is seized by the Gumm-Gumms.
    • In preparation for the final battle, Merlin makes Jim half-troll.
    • After three seasons of the Masquerade, the Grand Finale radically alters the status quo of Arcadia-Oaks.
  • Odd Friendship: Steve, The Bully, forms a close friendship with Eli, his favorite target for bullying.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • AAARRRGGHH!!!'s full name is "Aarghaumont" but he's rarely called that.
    • Blinky's full name is Blinkous Galadrigal, something only Vendel calls him.
  • Outliving One's Offspring:
    • Bular is killed by Jim in he first season, leaving Gunmar to mourn for his son.
    • Toby's parents won a cruise and perished at sea, with Nana Domzalski losing her son, Ralph.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Jim's dad walked out when he was five, leaving his teacher, Walter Strickler to fill the void. Of course when Walter was found out to be a Changeling, it led to a thoroughly Broken Pedestal but it eventually became a Rebuilt Pedestal.
    • Blinky is another to the point that he and Jim build a Vespa together, just like a father and son would. It's clear that Blinky returns the sentiment.
  • Perspective Flip: "Creepslayerz" focuses on the same events as "Just Add Water" but from Steve and Eli's POV instead of the Trollhunters.
  • Physical God: Morgana might very well qualify as one. She is able to move the moon.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: "In Good Hands" for 3Below.
  • Put on a Bus: Strickler disappears for Part Two, having burnt all his bridges in Part One, though he does return in Part Three.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Toby after his parents died on a cruise.
  • Reality Ensues: As Jim learns in the third season, you can't keep skipping class and blowing off homework to go Trollhunting if you want to keep your grades up. Señor Uhl outright says that Jim is in serious danger of failing the year.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: The main cast of Trolls have been around since, at least, Arthurian times.
  • Reforged Blade: Morgana destroys Daylight only for Merlin to recreate it soon after.
  • Refused by the Call: Toby tries to join Jim and Claire's quest for a new Heartstone but they ask him to stay behind as he's now the only one who can protect Arcadia.
  • Resurrection Sickness: AAARRRGGHH!!! briefly suffers from it.
  • Riddle Me This: Gatto.
  • Running Gag:
  • Shout-Out: Morgana's magic looks suspiciously like Doctor Strange's.
  • Spanner in the Works: Jim and Toby's outside-the-box approach to Trollhunting leads to the discovery of Killahead Bridge. As "Unbecoming" shows, a traditional approach would have led to the Gumm-Gumms winning.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Transformers Prime. Both shows take place in an isolated, and fictional, town (Jasper and Arcadia) and focus on an ordinary teenager (Jack Darby and Jim Lake) whose single mother is a nurse, and who is chosen to carry the artifact of another race (the Key to Vector Sigma and the Amulet of Daylight) to the interest of the Big Bad (Megatron and Gunmar) who is incapacitated for the first season thanks to a scheming subordinate (Starscream pulling out the Dark Energon and Strickler delaying the reconstruction of Killahead Bridge) who eventually has to go on the run after wronging both sides. Throughout both shows, the sheer power of a Bigger Bad (Unicron and Morgana) looms over everything and the Bigger Bad finally returns in Season 3. Jim, Claire, and Toby also look a lot like Jack, Miko, and Raf respectively.
    • The two shows take differing paths about halfway through Season 2, however. Prime moved away from humans and leaned into Cybertronian mythology while Trollhunters brought the Muggles into the world of fantasy. Likewise, Megatron, after a failed attempt at an alliance, allied with the Autobots to defeat Unicron while Gunmar eagerly serves Morgana. Similarly, Starscream went back to Megatron while Strickler pulls a Heel Face Turn and joins the Trollhunters.
  • Thinking Up Portals: The Shadow Staff.
  • To Serve Man: Gunmar and Bular enjoy eating humans.
  • The Unmasqued World: Morgana enacts The Night That Never Ends in the Grand Finale allowing the Gumm-Gumms to invade Arcadia letting the townsfolk know of their existence.
  • Weakened by the Light: Direct sunlight petrifies trolls. Ultraviolet light is also said to be very effective.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Gunmar fills the Gumm-Gumm ranks by fitting his victims with helmets that brainwash them. Following this, the heroes have no issue offing them.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "The Reckless Club" to The Breakfast Club.