Erik Ahlberg is the chief ranger of the Trolberg Safety Patrol. He is first seen in the graphic novel "Hilda and the Mountain King". He is also the main antagonist in Season 2 of the animated series and the Hilda Tie-In Series.
Erik is a man with balding brown hair and a small, black mustache. His age is unknown but he appears to be middle aged. In the animated series, he has notable male pattern baldness.
In "Hilda and the Time Worm", Ahlberg is stated to have a gold tooth. This tooth is not seen in the graphic novels or animated series.
In the graphic novels, Erik Ahlberg takes his job as safety patrol leader and protector of Trolberg very seriously. While he means well and wants to keep all humans in the city safe, he can be quite short sighted and act impulsively, and refuses to listen to Hilda when she tries to warn him about Trundle's plan.
In the animated series, he is also quite arrogant, pompous, bumbling, and an absolute buffoon who is determined to make a name for himself, just like his ancestor Edmund. To achieve this, he deliberately puts himself in danger, like angering a group of trolls with a bell. He is also not above taking credit for other people's work to make himself look heroic, or making questionable decisions like his plan to have all the bells in Trolberg ring permanently.
Erik Ahlberg is first seen when he finds Johanna, Tontu, Twig, and Baba (who was now a human girl) in the mountains outside Trolberg, looking for Hilda (who has been turned into a Troll). He asked them to go home since it would be dark soon and there are more Trolls around than ever. He put a bell on a petrified troll, not knowing that Troll was Hilda. Since Johanna didn't trust him, she lied about what she was doing outside the city walls.
That evening, on the news, he demonstrated the Safety Patrol's latest weapon in fighting Trolls; a giant version of the torch guns.
After another attempt to find Hilda failed, and she herself barely escaped from some Trolls, Johanna saw herself forced to ask Erik for help. He thus accompanied her into the mountains, where they found Baba's mom, and Hilda herself, who was being chased by a giant troll. Erik tried to fight the troll with his torch, but the creature was too big and simply knocked him aside.
Erik was next seen when Baba was about to be reunited with her mom. He tried to keep Baba's mom from reuniting with her daughter, since he thought Baba (who was still human) was in danger. Johanna was forced to step in and disarm Erik to prevent him from causing more harm.
When Trundle escaped his cave and attacked the city with a large group of Trolls, Erik ordered the Safety Patrol to use their new weapon. It worked and Trundle was killed. Hilda, knowing that any further fighting would wake up Amma from underneath the city, tried to reason with Erik to stop the attack, but he dismissed her. Only after Hilda used Trundle's eye to give Erik a vision of things about to come did he realize the danger and ordered his men to stand down.
In the animated series, Erik has just been promoted to head of the safety patrol at the start of season 2.
He is first seen in "Chapter 1: The Troll Circle", when he and Gerda Gustav drop by at Hilda's house because Hilda won the first Annual Safety Patrol student essay contest with a story about her encounter with a troll. Her price is being allowed to go on patrol with Erik and Gerda for one day to check the city's Troll defenses. Before they depart, Erik gaves a speech to the students of the Edmund Ahlberg Elementary School to assure them how no troll will attack the city on his watch. Hilda quickly grows bored with the two adults, who take interest in anything that has even remotely to do with trolls. When Hilda leads Erik to a group of petrified Trolls that she saw outside Trollberg, Erik takes his time to have Gerda take some photos of him posing next to the trolls. They forget the time however, and the sun sets while they are still near the trolls. When the trolls awaken, Erik makes the situation even worse by continuously using his pocket-sized bell, which only angers the trolls even more. When Hilda calls him out on this, Erik admits that he angers the trolls on purpose because he hopes to become as famous as his ancestor, which disillusions Hilda. The three eventually escape the trolls by using the Vittra tunnels. At the end of the episode, Erik is seen giving an interview on television. He has his left arm in a sling, but it's unknown if he truly got injured during the troll attack, or if he is just trying to exaggerate his story about the trolls.
In "Chapter 2: The Draugen", Erik has given orders to close all the Vittra tunnels under the city so Trolls can't use them to get past the wall. Hilda decides to try and discredit him, because she knows his actions to more harm than good, so she asks the Rat King to dig up some dirt on Ahlberg. Unfortunately, the Rat King is unable to find any. After the incident with the Draugen, Erik takes the credit for Hilda's actions and claims he got rid of the ghost ship.
In "Chapter 6: The Old Bells of Trolberg", Erik decides to place mechanical bellkeepers in all the bell towers in and around Trolberg, so the bells can ring 24/7. This greatly upsets the local creatures, including the migrating Woff and the Bragga Family. The plan fails when Hilda, with unexpected help from the Keeper of the Bell, manages to sabotage the system by putting all the bells on maximum volume. This causes the bellringers to short out, and the bell from the central belltower to break off. It lands on top of Ahlberg, trapping him inside. In the aftermath of this disaster, Ahlberg orders to have all bells around Trolberg tested, including one that is under water. This however, ends up waking up the Kraken from underneath Cauldron Island
In the next episode, the now awakened Kraken attacks and sinks multiple ships to feed the wood to her children. Since the attacks happen around Cauldron Island, the local sailors blame the Lindworm and demand from Erik that he takes action. Erik thus assembles a fleet to attack Cauldron Island, and ignores Hilda’s story that the Lindworm is innocent. During the attack, one of Erik’s harpoons misses the Lindworm, embeds itself deep into the sand of Cauldron Island, and angers the Kraken, who reveals herself. She wrecks a large part of Erik’s fleet before Hilda and Frida save the situation by directing the Kraken’s attention to a nearby ship graveyard, which her children can feed on instead. Erik takes a final shot at the Kraken, but she easily intercepts his harpoon, after which Erik decides to retreat.
In "Chapter 10: The Yule Lads", Erik is briefly seen walking down the streets of Trolberg, carrying a large pile of gifts and congratulating himself about how good he’s been last year. He completely fails to notice Gryla, who is in the city to take the naughty children the Yule Lads captured for her.
In "Chapter 13: The Stone Forest", Erik appears on television in an interview regarding the increased number of Troll bon fires seen every night in the mountains outside the city. He claims the Trolls are scheming against the city, while in fact they are just camping. Later, while Gerda and Erik are patrolling the area outside Trolberg with their zeppelin, they notice David and Frida, who are looking for Hilda. Frida accidentally startles a group of Woff, who collide with the zeppelin and cause it to crash. With no way to return to Trolberg before nightfall, the group spends the night in the woods. When a group of Trolls find them, Erik again uses his bell, which angers the Trolls into attacking him. Frida tries to make Erik invisible as protection, but instead ends up turning him into a bug. Gerda puts him in a jar until Frida can turn him back to normal. After the group makes it back to Trolberg, Gerda takes Frida and David to Safety Patrol HQ so Frida can work undisturbed. She manages to make Erik human again. Erik doesn’t seem to have noticed a thing about being a bug, and immediately goes back to his usual, egocentrical self by trying to rope David and Frida into giving a press statement about how he singlehandedly saved them. Gerda, who has enough of Erik’s attitude by now, quickly escorts the 2 kids out of the room, ignoring Ahlberg’s rant, and takes them home.
In the movie, Erik is again a main character with pretty much the same role as in the graphic novel. Like in the novel, he accompanies Johanna in her search for Hilda and thus witnesses Trundle escaping his cave. He then comes close to provoking Amma into destroying Trolberg when he has the Safety Patrol kill Trundle, and prepare to wage war on the trolls, but Hilda uses Trundle's eye to make Ahlberg see what his actions would lead to. This finally makes Ahlberg realize that war is not the answer and he orders his men to stand down, averting a disaster. In the aftermath, he is awarded a medal for his bravery and diplomacy, and promptly announces his retirement. He makes Gerda the new head of the safety patrol.
Erik is a major supporting character in the books "Hilda and the Time Worm", "Hilda and the Ghost Ship" and "Hilda and the White Woff", which adapt all the season 2 episodes he appeared in. The books even further enhance his obsession with Trolls, to the point that he blames every problem on Trolls; a fact also pointed out by Hilda.
In "Hilda and the Time Worm", he takes Hilda on patrol after she won the essay contest, and later puts his plan of the mechanical bellringers in action. Both of these events take place around the Trolberg Winter Festival in this continuity. Like in the series, Hilda quickly grows to dislike him, and sabotages his plan of the bellringers.
In "Ghost Ship", his role in the adventure with the Draugen is left out since the Draugen never pursuit Hilda and Wood Man on land. He does appear in the part that adapts Chapter 7: The Beast of Cauldron Island. Like in that episode, he leads the attack against the Lindworm (after first blaming the ship sinkings on aquatic trolls until a fisherman calls him out on this), but is quickly defeated when the real culprit turns out to be a Kraken. Near the end of the book, in a scene that was not in the animated series, he and Gerda Gustav come to the windmill because their seismograph picked up the activity from Victoria van Gale's machine. Erik refues to believe Hilda's explanation about what truly happened, and is convinced the seismic activity is from a large troll. Gerda realizes the kids told the truth when she sees a blueprint of the machine, but doesn't tell Erik.
In "White Woff", his role is largely similar to that in Chapter 13: The Stone Forest, including the part where he gets turned into a bug. Unlike the animated series however, he is fully aware of his transformation here. Upon beign transformed back, he fires Gerda from the safety patrol because she put him in a thermos flask, and threatens Frida, Hilda, Johanna and David that they will hear from him.
- Chapter 1: The Troll Circle
- Chapter 2: The Draugen
- Chapter 6: The Old Bells of Trollberg
- Chapter 7: The Beast of Cauldron Island
- Chapter 10: The Yule Lads
- Chapter 13: The Stone Forest
- Hilda and the Mountain King
- In the animated series and tie-in novels, he is the descendant of Edmund Ahlberg. In the graphic novels this is never brought up since the character Edmund Ahlberg is unique to the animated series.