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Troll Bridge

(Discworld #16.5)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,872 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Part of a short story tribute anthology to Tolkien, found in After the King: Stories In Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was also reprinted in My Favorite Fantasy Story, in The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories, in The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy and was finally released as free online fiction.
10 pages
Published January 1992 by Pan Books
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Troll Bridge (Discworld #16.5), Terry Pratchett

Troll Bridge is a Discworld short story, written by Terry Pratchett in 1991 for a collection entitled After The King: Stories in Honour of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Set following the events of The Light Fantastic, the story stars Cohen the Barbarian, who plans to prove himself by killing a troll in single combat.

Cohen is a well-known hero in the Discworld, Instead, he and the troll find themselves reminiscing about how the Discworld used to be, when trolls a
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Pratchett’s 1992 short story featuring Cohen the Barbarian.

Cohen travels to a remote bridge to test his might, mano y mano, against the troll under the bridge. Cohen’s father told him it’s what a hero should do. And the old man would turn over in his mound if Cohen didn’t try.

But these times are a changing and Pratchett delivers a short but effective scene of two old timers reflecting on how things evolve and grow.

“I used to like that forest. It was . . . well, it was darksome. You don't get pro
Joey Woolfardis
Available in A Blink of the Screen and After the King: Stories In Honour of J.R.R. Tolkien, My Favorite Fantasy Story, The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories and The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy.

A short story concerning the Discworld character Cohen. Another very human piece, this time about the values of change, but also the disregard change has on those it leaves behind. It is a nice story but it lacks the well-known and loved Discworld humour.

[First read: 26th June, 2015.
Second read: 28th Decemb
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A short story about what it takes to be a hero. Favorite passage:
"Are you going to kill our dad?" said Scree suspiciously. "Course he is," said Mica severely. "It's his job. An' then I'll get famed in song an' story. This is Cohen the Barbarian, right, not some bugger from the village with a pitchfork."
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have read this short story couple of times by now and it's still just as funny as first time.Must read for all Discworld fans. ...more
Ole Steinbru
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A find little short story by Pratchett. Quite funny and a short read.
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Troll Bridge is a short story in the Discworld universe. It can be read for free from here:

The story features Cohen the Barbarian, a character we met in previous books from the Rincewind subseries. Cohen is a well-known hero in the Discworld, modeled off of Conan no doubt, who’s well past his prime. Cohen remembers his father telling him as a child that, if he could defeat a troll in single combat, he could do anything. He decides it’s time to cross that
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite of the Discworld short stories I’ve read so far—the others were little more than jokes dressed up as vignettes. This one is slightly longer, more elaborate, and different in tone: Poignant in its nostalgia, it made me kinda sad.

A Cohen the Barbarian who is well past his prime meets a troll, and together they reflect on the evolving times, the roles of hero VS villain, the value of change, but also its disregard of those it leaves behind.

As most other Discworld short stories,
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short story featuring Cohen the Barbarian
Lee Broderick
In Men at Arms Terry Pratchett proposed that trolls had a reputation for being stupid due to having evolved in cooler climes - their brains don't function properly in the warmer places where people live. Here, we get to see the effect of that societal change on the trolls left behind - the ones who haven't moved to the city. The first two Discworld short stories were basically sketches, jokes of one form or another. This one is a little longer and rather different in tone. It's still written ...more
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
2019: first time reading this short story. Weirdly I've seen the fan made short film before reading the story. Only discovered this due to Goodreads! ...more
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, fantasy, comedy
Ever wondered what happened to Cohen the Barbarian? Well, the saying "old soldiers never die, they just smell that way" sort of rings true but Cohen is still getting on and constantly being a hero is a lot of hard work.

He has a sort of going out in style plan in mind when he approaches the old troll bridge but, like most plans, that first encounter sort of never goes the way you thought it would.

This is an endearingly comical short story about the trials and tribulations of being a hero and of b
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
A short story about Conan the Barbarian and what heroes do with themselves after they’ve changed the world.
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this story. Despite their age, gender, nationality. It is always topical, relateable, and slightly, yet beautifully sad. This is just life, as and how we know it. Sooner or later , we all find ourselves on the same bridge, with the same questions to be answered. This short story is pure enjoyment, presented on a few pages.
Paul Liadis
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite short stories. Classic Pratchett. Funny and poignant. Cohen the Barbarian (along with Death and Rincewind) is probably my favorite character in Discworld. And this is his story.
Le Petit
Oct 06, 2020 rated it liked it
A much longer short story, you know it’s about Conan the Barbarian shortly after it begins. Conan is looking to kill a troll and he goes looking for one under a bridge. But times have changed and instead of finding an opponent and treasure he finds a fan fighting against time.

It’s easy to guess where the story goes but it’s still an interesting and quick read. The only thing is I distinctly remember a book in which Detritus is in a cold place and his brain starts functioning at a much higher cap
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very melancholy story. A look at the "good old days" from an old man and a troll. The last of a dying breed unable to move on and understanding that today is not the day either. Terry Pratchett at some of his best and most philosophical. ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Part of a short story tribute anthology to Tolkien, found in After the King: Stories In Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien

A very funny, and thought provoking story about the idea of heros, legacy and the changing of the times! And honestly the best discworld short story, that I've read to date! And it seems, other fans of the discworld agree! 😀
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Another short story, this one about Cohen the Barbarian.

A group of volunteers funded through a Kickstarter campaign have been working on making this into a movie. You can view the trailer here.

This one is available online, too, but the background behind the text was really annoying. I copied & pasted it here for easier reading:

The air blew off the mountains, filling the air with fine ice crystals.
It was too cold to snow. In weather like this wolves came down into villages, trees in the heart of
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fantasy
No Country for Old Barbarians and Trolls.
Lance Schonberg
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
In remembrance of the good old days, which probably weren't nearly as good in reality as they are in memory.

I rather like Cohen the Barbarian as a character, a crotchety old buzzard who's far too tough to kill but certainly manages to mete out more than his share of destruction and mayhem. When he was young, his father told him that if you could go one on one with a troll, you could do anything.

And today is the day.
Octavia Cade
Poor old troll. Honestly, though, as well-written as this is, Cohen the Barbarian is on a par with Rincewind for me - amusing enough in a small way, but very far from my favourite Discworld character. This little short is basically his character in a nutshell, but as much as I sympathise with the idea of the adventurous world being lost, I can't get upset about forests cleared out of giant creepy spiders. ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: terry-pratchett
And again I say . . . SO clever. And poignant. But that's part of Pratchett's cleverness - he mixes humour, the ridiculous, amazing scenic descriptions, and pathos. Others have tried, but nobody does it as well as he.

Oh yes, this another online short short story.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fresh link to the story online:

Ironically, it's in a horrid red font on an ancient angelfire webpage, which seems to suit the material perfectly.
Miriam Cihodariu
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: england
Sweet and short, a hero and a traditional villain (a troll waiting to ambush people by the toll bridge) reminisce together about getting old and change.

If I had to sum it up: not even the future is what it used to be.
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Melancholic short story, but really really awesome
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not as good as the other short stories, but good. I do like Cohen the barbarian, and it is always fun to read about him.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I actually only read the short story Troll Bridge by Terry Pratchett. Just wanted to keep track. Cohen the Barbarian and a troll reminisce about the good old days and commiserate in how the world has changed. Also there's a talking horse, which is always good. Below are my favorite snippets.

'Blast that damn distress auction. This is what comes of buying something that belonged to a wizard,' he said, to the cold wind in general. 'I looked at your teeth, I looked at you hooves, it never occurred
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-read
'It was an old horse. It was an old rider. The horse looked like a shrink-wrapped toast rack; the man looked as though the only reason he wasn't falling off was because he couldn't muster the energy. Despite the bitterly cold wind, he was wearing nothing but a tiny leather kilt and a dirty bandage on one knee.'

And so Cohen the Barbarian sags into action once again. Contrary to the advice of his knackered old horse.

Pratchett hits a spot, a sweet spot inside me that I feel every other day, and wis
Himanish Prabhakar
I have read a lot of fantasy books but I never read Terry until one of my friend suggested me to do so and that was the time I started to read "Discworld" series by Terry from the Book 1. After reading the whole series I would definitely admit that I was missing something that I should not have because he was a writer that have a charisma in him to put down such a words that will take you away. So amazing writing. There is nothing you can compare his work to, unique and classic.

I loved the whole
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Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, i

Other books in the series

Discworld (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind, #1)
  • The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)
  • Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1)
  • Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1)
  • Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind #3)
  • Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches #2)
  • Pyramids (Discworld, #7)
  • Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1)
  • Eric (Discworld, #9; Rincewind #4)
  • Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1)

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