|This article contains canon information corresponding to the Tales of Arcadia franchise. That means all information in this article is true and has appeared/been validated officialy on-screen.|
Changelings are Trolls that were altered by the Gumm-Gumms so they can assume human forms. They send them to the human realm as spies, supplanting human babies from an early age. Changelings are immune to the effects of daylight regardless if they are in their human forms or troll forms.
The Changelings are Trolls who were abducted by the Gumm-Gumms from their youth, who did "something horrible" to change them. Unlike other Trolls, Changelings demonstrate a more humanoid appearance and size, in both human and Troll form. By connecting with a specific human, his or her Familiar, the Changelings are able to assume the appearance of that human when they wish. In their human forms, the Changelings also appear to be immune to the effect of sunlight just like Stalklings thus, making them the perfect spies for the Gumm-Gumms. However, they can be revealed if you touch them with a gaggletack (an iron horseshoe). There are a few Changelings called Polymorphs that are able to assume the appearance of whoever they wish, human or troll, without the need of a Familiar.(Ex. Otto Scaarbach)
The Gumm-Gumms use Fetches to sequester human babies and replace them with Changelings. The Changelings adapt perfectly to the human world, being able to exist as any person. It is known that there are currently hundreds of Changelings around the world, as well as hundreds of baby Familiars in the Darklands. They are organized under a Changeling spy group known as The Janus Order.
In order for Changelings to maintain their human guises, no harm must come to their Familiars, hence why the Gumm-Gumms tolerate their presence in the Darklands. For some reason, their Familiar remain unaged, stretching back as 1894. It is possible that a changeling’s familiar remains unaged because of the formula fed to them by goblins or because of the dark magic in the Darklands. If a baby familiar was to be rescued from the Darklands, the changeling bonded to that familiar would lose the ability to transform into that human child and be stuck in their Troll form. Also if the Familiar is out of the Darklands their bodies will revert to the original age they are supposed to be in the real world.
The Changelings are seen as inferior beings by the other Trolls, referring to them as "impures".
- Otto Scaarbach (deceased)
- Gladys Groe (deceased)
- Krax (deceased)
- Customs Agent in "Bittersweet Sixteen"
- An unnamed Police chief in Bordeaux
- An unnamed state senator in Boise
- An unnamed News editor in Shanghai
- The concept is based on medieval folklore where fairies swap out human children with monsters. There are different versions of the story but in mythology, trolls are a type of fairy.
- It is probable that they have kidnapped the babies for years and the destination of the previous ones is not known, since in the original novel that it reveals on a big wave of children's mysterious disappearances.
- At some point there's some resolution to the Dark Lands Nursery story, but not really because there are a lot of babies that have been imprisoned there for a long time.
- There are still hundreds of babies in the Dark Lands, including quite frankly the human incarnation of a Changeling we call a Familiar, and Strickler's familiar from the 1800s is still somewhere in the Dark Lands. Suffice it to say, your instinct is absolutely correct. There's more story there, and you'll have to tune in to find out.