‘Hilda’ Season 3 Ending Explained & Series Recap: Did Hilda And Johanna Return From Fairy Country?

The much-loved Netflix animated series Hilda has returned with its third and final season, and along with much colorful fare and new adventures, it has concluded the story arc of the titular character in a befitting manner. The episode count is relatively shorter this time, rounding off with eight episodes only, with the series finale being over an hour long. The overarching central plot of the season concerns Hilda and Johanna’s family legacy, which is addressed primarily through the series finale and a couple of episodes in the beginning, while the rest of the season follows the usual adventure-of-the-week format. There is an undeniable feeling of this season coming to a hurried conclusion, as fans would have surely wanted to see more of the established rich lore getting explored, but it is understandable that without progression of source material, the makers aren’t willing to experiment with the established narrative too much.

The third season continues after a brief span of time after the events of the movie Hilda and the Mountain King, which was a direct continuation of the second season of Hilda itself. Hilda Season 2 finale saw Hilda get transformed into a troll by the changeling spell of Trylla, who wanted her daughter Baba to be raised in the good care of Johanna instead. For a certain period of time, she adapted to Troll life while living with Trylla, which was shown in the movie. Eventually, the spell was reversed as Trylla understood her mistake and reunited Hilda with her mother and friends. By the end of the movie, Hilda and Johanna had established a strong bond with Trylla and her daughter Baba.

Spoilers Ahead


What Did Hilda Find In Tofoten?

As Hilda Season 3 begins, Johanna takes the kid gang—Hilda, Frida, David, Alfur, Tonto, and Twig—to visit her aunt Astrid’s place in the quaint town of Tofoten. Johanna was raised by her aunt Astrid in Tofoten, but a problematic situation prompted her to leave, and this is the first time since her teenage years that she has returned to the town. While the kids enjoy their holidays in the best possible way under the loving care of Astrid, and Johanna revisits her childhood days by reconnecting with the past, Hilda suspects the presence or influence of fairies in the town but finds the residents of the town to be clueless about it. Astrid, who practices occassional fairy and witchcraft rituals, provides the kids with her charms but avoids Hilda’s questions regarding the presence of fairies.

Eventually, Hilda experiences nightmares relating to fairies and sneaks out at night to find Astrid approaching a fairy mound. Hilda’s curiosity prompts her to take her friends, Frida and David, to investigate the area. The Fairy Mound transports the trio to an enchanted, eerie fairy country, where they find themselves surrounded by the seemingly malevolent ‘Eyes’. They are saved in the nick of time by the interference of Astrid and Johanna, who dig them up from Fairy Mound. Later, Johanna chides her aunt for not informing her about the Fairy Mound still existing in Tofoten, as a similar experience to Hilda’s prompted her to leave the town all those years ago. Their vacation comes to an abrupt stop as Johanna takes the kids back to Trolberg. Their activity in Tofoten presumably triggers two mysterious hooded figures—presumably fairies—who continue to stalk Hilda from there.


Hilda And Her Adventures: What Did Hilda Learn About Her Father’s Disappearance?

After returning to Trolberg, Hilda mistakenly breaks her charm and informs Astrid about it, who advises her to forge one on her own by locating an ancient Faratok tree. Hilda and Twig venture deeper into the forest of Nott, and as she comes across the Faratok tree, we meet Wood Man for the first time in the third season. Accidentally, the trio gets transported into an alternate dimension in the past while moving through the Faratok tree and finds themselves in the middle of a human-giant conflict. Halvor the giantslayer, whose home was destroyed by the presence of giants, is determined to slay all of their kind, and to do so, he is using a giant as bait. Hilda tries her best to make a truce between the two sides, as she insists on coexistence through mutual understanding. She comes into conflict with Halvor, which results in the village catching fire. Halvor finally comes to his senses by realizing his mistakes and learning Hilda herself suffered the same fate but didn’t act impulsively. Further, seeing the captive giant helping to put out the fire in the village, Halvor lets go of his negative feelings towards them, but it isn’t enough to convince the giants to stay in the human realm, who are determined to leave as they feel themselves to be out of time. Hilda, Twig, and Wood Man return to their reality just in the nick of time, before the Faratok tree gets destroyed as well, and Hilda manages to salvage a piece of branch from Wood Man to create a charm of her own.

Hilda and her friends go on a fish-spotting expedition to earn the Sparrow Scout badge and befriend an introverted, perceptive girl named Louise. Despite being determined to have a ‘normal’ adventure this time around so that their new friend doesn’t get freaked out, the trio inevitably welcome problems as attention-seeking Merman captures them and takes them to his lair with the intention of keeping them entertained forever. Eventually, the group outsmarts the Merman, manages to escape his lair, and further instructs him on the way back to his home—the ocean.

Hilda’s father, Anders, pays a visit to his family, whose inability to find financial stability and a lack of responsibility seem to have distanced him from his daughter, despite him sharing a strong bond with her. As Anders gets a shady job under Mr. Polecat, he takes Hilda along with him to spend quality father-daughter time, but eventually realizes he has been tasked with stealing a troll’s hoard. Eventually, Johanna tracks down the duo, and they get chased by the troll, and Anders distracts the creature away to get himself cornered at the end. Just before the troll is about to strike, Anders is abducted by the mysterious hooded fairies, and Johanna mistakenly considers him to be irresponsibly abandoning his family once again.

To distract a grief-stricken Hilda, Johanna takes her camping by the side of a lake, and the tunes of her panpipe awaken a giant spider-frog monster. The monster chases down Hilda and Johanna and even gulps them down—only to realize that their human taste is not for his palate —and spits them right out. The monster states that he met Johanna long ago, when her parents used a charm to banish him inside the lake. Johanna can’t remember the events; much of her childhood appears to her as fading memories.

Days later, Hilda comes across a mysterious radio channel that cryptically shares the catchphrase she often shared with her father, and she starts believing that she might connect the dots to find Anders. In her urgency, she almost foils a Nisse meeting conducted by Frida and eventually learns that the cryptic messages were being played by Victoria Van Gale, the disgraced meteorologist whom she used to idolize. However, Hilda learns that Anders is actually with Van Gale and the two have been stranded inside the fairy country, and she becomes determined to rescue her father by venturing into the realm through the Fairy Mound in Tofoten.


How Did Hilda And Johanna Return From Fairy Country?

With the help of David and Frida, Hilda and Twig enter the fairy country and eventually manage to locate Anders and Victoria in a fairy watchtower. Johanna learns about her daughter’s latest escapades from Alfur and Tonto and goes to Tofoten. On the other hand, learning that she has come to rescue her, Anders makes amends with her daughter by apologizing for his absence from her life and prepares to leave. Victoria acknowledges her past mistakes and realizes the fact that she has no life to look forward to in the  realm as she chooses to stay in the fairy country. As the Fairy Country gets into a turbulent situation to stop Hilda and Anders from leaving, Frida uses her magic to create a portal to allow them to reach the other side. Twig, Hilda, and Anders safely arrive in the human realm, only to learn that Johanna has already ventured inside in search of her daughter. Hilda returns to the fairy country to search for Johanna, and the portal gets closed as a strong surge of magic from the other side knocks Frida out, and the mound gets destroyed.

Inside the Fairy Country, Hilda meets a girl of her age who, like her, is searching for her mother as well. Eventually, as Hilda helps her track down her fairy mother, she learns the girl is her mother Johanna, whose parents, Phin and Lydia, are the mysterious hooded fairies who are ordained to forever remain entrapped in the fairy country. Astrid arrives at the scene as well and shares details about their past lives, which helps Hilda realize the entire situation in a better way. Siblings Astrid and Phin are fairies who frequented the human realm and befriended Lydia, a human, on one such occasion. Phin fell in love with Lydia, Johanna was born, and Phin decided to live a life in the human realm by abandoning his life in Fairy Country.

A young Johanna had fallen sick of a mysterious disease, and unable to find a viable cure, Phin and Lydia were forced to make a bargain with the primordial Fairy Isle entity, which dictated that they have to let Johanna be entrapped in the Fairy Country forever after a certain point in time in exchange for saving her life. Eventually, when the time came, Phin and Lydia traded Johanna’s place with themselves and left her in Astrid’s care. The memories of Johanna’s childhood were erased from her mind to assuage the pain, which was the reason why she couldn’t remember anything. At the present, now that Johanna has returned to her parents, Astrid has returned her memories, which makes for an emotional reunion.

However, according to the ancient laws of the fairyland, they are forever forbidden to leave the realm, and Twig, Hilda’s friend, and Anders continue to get restless in their efforts to find her and Johanna. The perennially static paradise of Fairy Country starts bewildering Hilda, who wants to return to the place she calls home, but Johanna seems comfortable with the proposition of spending her life in Fairy Country along with her parents. Hilda helps her see through the illusion of the realm, and a distraught Johanna reconsiders her decision. Phin and Lydia take them to one of the fairy watchtowers, which is used to observe other realms, which is how they saved Anders life from a troll attack. There, Hilda sees her friends and helps Frida. On the other hand, Frida amplifies Twig’s immense magical potential to help him create a bridge through the fairy country, and he takes his parents and the entire Fox-Deer herd to help Hilda and Johanna cross through the realm. However, as the bargain is broken by letting Johanna return, she collapses to the same sickness, and it almost seems a cruel fate awaits Hilda and co.

Astrid makes a bargain with the Fairy Isle entity to save Johanna’s life by giving up her own, and Johanna recovers to normalcy. The group mourns Astrid’s loss, considering that she sacrificed her life for Johanna’s sake, but it turns out Victoria had made another bargain with the entity to forever remain in the fairy country in exchange for sparing Astrid’s life. As Hilda, Johanna, and the rest of the team reach Astrid’s house, they are overjoyed to find her alive and well.

Days later, everyone gathers in Trolberg for the annual bird parade, and as Hilda soars across the night sky by riding the Great Raven, we get a grand view of celebration as all the trolls, elves, and Moomins erupt in joy and merriment. As the series ends, Hilda sees her fairy grandparents by her family’s side as the hooded figures, conveying their love from afar—even while being absent. Hilda Season 3 ends on a heartwarming note, leaving massive potential for story exploration. Perhaps a story revolving around Hilda coming of age and learning about the origins of all the realms is on the cards, but that is a tale of another time.


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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