By Mason Sansonia
Dreamworks has taken to branching out when it comes to entertainment of late. With the success of spin off shows continuing film storylines, such as How to Train Your Dragon: Race to the Edge and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesome, it only made sense to create some standalone shows as well. One of these is a Netflix exclusive known as Trollhunters, following a boy named Jim and his friends who fight to protect a group of trolls. By hunting other trolls. It’s less confusing than it sounds.
The trolls in question are largely drawn from Icelandic folklore: they’re not too bright, kinda funny lookin’, and they turn to stone when exposed to sunlight. There are also some decidedly evil trolls who seek to rule the entire world and who scare the daylights out of the regular trolls (and the humans for that matter). But mixed in with them are two figures who feature far more prominently in Arthurian legend, namely Merlin the Magician (who created the Trollhunter’s magic amulet) and Morgana, the main villain and puppet master of the series.
It’s already a bit strange that Merlin and Morgana are featured characters in a show about trolls. It leads to several bizarre questions, not the least of which is why it’s taken so long for there to be a human Trollhunter (Jim’s the first one) when it was a human who made their amulet. One of the crazier implications however, is raised by Morgana when she rattles off her various titles for Jim: Argante, The Pale Lady, Baba Yaga, Mother of Monsters. It’s a very fast moment, but there’s a lot of history in those names, so much so you can break it down word by word.
Morgana herself is, as her rivalry with Merlin in the show would suggest, the fabled Morgan le Fey, a prominent antagonist from Arthurian lore.
Argante is a figure from Arthurian lore, the supposed queen of Avalon. It’s said that she is the one (or one of the ones) who healed Arthur after his climactic final battle. Her being another version of Morgan le Fey does check out, as Morgan is said to have turned over a new leaf later in life.
The Pale Lady is, unless I’m very much mistaken, a reference to a vampiric maiden who appears in a book of the same name by Alexandre Dumas. You may know him as the guy who wrote The Three Muskateers and The Count of Monte Cristo.
Baba Yaga is a notorious witch out of Russian folklore. Much like Morgan le Fay, she is often portrayed as evil and destructive, although she sometimes takes the role of a wise woman. It’s a brave soul who’d dare ask her anything though.
Finally, there’s the Mother of Monsters. It’s a title held by a very old mythological being: Echidna. One of the oldest monsters out of Greek mythology, her title is very literal, as she gave birth to the Lernean Hydra, the Chimera, and even Cerberus.
Not counting Argante, that’s three entirely different villainesses out of literature and myth. And Morgana seems to be claiming to be… all of them. It’s a brief and subtle moment, but if you know what to listen for, it lends some weight to the idea of the main characters being embroiled in a centuries old conflict.