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Orcs

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| pronun=
 
| pronun=
 
| othernames=Goblins, [[Glamhoth]], [[Yrch]]
 
| othernames=Goblins, [[Glamhoth]], [[Yrch]]
| origin=Obscure, but apparently bred from [[Elves]] or [[Men]]
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| origin=Obscure, but apparently bred from [[Elves]] <br />''See [[Orcs/Origin]]''
| location=[[Utumno]], [[Angband]], [[Mordor]], [[Misty Mountains]],  [[Angmar]], [[Mount Gundabad]], [[High Pass]], [[Dol Guldur]] [[Isengard]]
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| location=[[Utumno]], [[Angband]], [[Mordor]], [[Misty Mountains]],  [[Angmar]], [[Mount Gundabad]], [[High Pass]], [[Dol Guldur]], [[Isengard]]
| affiliation=[[Morgoth]], [[Sauron]], [[Saruman]]
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| affiliation=[[Morgoth]], [[Sauron]]
 
| rivalry=[[Elves]], [[Men]], [[Dwarves]]
 
| rivalry=[[Elves]], [[Men]], [[Dwarves]]
 
| language=[[Black Speech]]; numerous [[Orkish]] languages; [[Westron]]
 
| language=[[Black Speech]]; numerous [[Orkish]] languages; [[Westron]]
| people=[[Uruk-hai]], [[Goblin-men]], [[Half-orcs]], [[Hobgoblins]], [[Orcs of Mordor|Mordor Orcs]], [[Orcs of the Misty Mountains|Misty Mountain Orcs]]
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| people=[[Uruk-hai]], [[Goblin-men]], [[Half-orcs]], [[Hobgoblins]], [[Orcs of the Misty Mountains|Mountain Orcs]], [[Eastern Orcs]], [[Orcs of Mordor|Mordor Orcs]], [[Orcs of Isengard|Isengard Orcs]]
 
| members=[[Othrod]], [[Azog]], [[Bolg]], [[Gorbag]], [[Great Goblin]], [[Grishnákh]]
 
| members=[[Othrod]], [[Azog]], [[Bolg]], [[Gorbag]], [[Great Goblin]], [[Grishnákh]]
| lifespan=Early Orcs - Probably immortal or long-lived<ref>{{S|3}}</ref><br/>Later Orcs - diminished<ref name=Myths>{{MR|Myths}}</ref>{{rp|411}}<br/>[[Boldog|Boldogs]] - far longer than [[Men]]<ref name=Myths/>{{rp|418}}
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| lifespan=Unknown
| distinctions=Evil footsoldiers of the [[Dark Lord|Evil]]; preferred darkness
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| distinctions=Evil footsoldiers of the [[Dark Lord|Enemy]]; preferred darkness
 
| height=Short<ref>{{FR|II5}} The "huge" orc-chieftain is described as "almost man high"</ref>
 
| height=Short<ref>{{FR|II5}} The "huge" orc-chieftain is described as "almost man high"</ref>
 
| hair=
 
| hair=
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| weapons=
 
| weapons=
 
}}
 
}}
'''Orcs''' (also called '''[[Orcs#Orcs and Goblins|Goblins]]''') were the footsoldiers of evil overlords - [[Morgoth]], [[Sauron]] and [[Saruman]].  
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'''Orcs''' (also called '''[[Orcs#Orcs and goblins|Goblins]]''') were the footsoldiers of the two [[Dark Lord|Dark Lords]] - [[Morgoth]] and [[Sauron]].
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
 
===Origins and early years===
 
===Origins and early years===
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{{Main|Orcs/Origin}}
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[[File:Anna Kulisz - The vilest deed of Melkor.jpg|thumb|''The vilest deed of Melkor'' by [[:Category:Images by Anna Kulisz|Anna Kulisz]]]]
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The Orcs were bred by [[Melkor]] in mockery of the [[Elves]], sometime during the [[The Darkness#The Great Darkness|Great Darkness]].<ref>{{S|3}}</ref><ref>{{TT|III4}}</ref> How this was done is unclear, as the Dark Lord did not possess the power to create life, only to corrupt it. It is unknown whether corrupted Elves, [[Men]] or other creatures were used to achieve this.
  
The Orcs were bred by [[Morgoth|Melkor]] in mockery of the [[Elves]], sometime during the [[The Darkness#The Great Darkness|Great Darkness]].<ref>{{S|3}}</ref><ref>{{TT|III4}}</ref>
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It is unclear exactly when Orcs were created, but it certainly happened before the [[Battle of the Powers]] in his stronghold of Utumno. Whether the Orcs were at this time a capable fighting force against the host of Valinor is not known. But some of them survived this war: a few stayed hidden in the deep vaults of [[Angband]], and multiplied, waiting for their master, while the many more stronger ones ventured into far eastern regions.  
  
[[File:John Howe - Orc Swordsman.jpg|thumb|200px|right|[[John Howe]] - ''Orc Swordsman'']]
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They first came out of Angband in {{YT|1330}}, passing over the mountains to [[Beleriand]] with other dark creatures.<ref>{{GA|26-27}}</ref>
  
It is unclear exactly when Orcs were created, but it certainly happened before the [[War for Sake of the Elves]] in his stronghold of Utumno. Whether the Orcs were at this time a capable fighting force against the host of Valinor is not known. But at least some of them survived this war, probably hidden in the deep vaults of [[Angband]], and multiplied, waiting for their master.
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When Melkor (now known as Morgoth) returned to Middle-earth, he fashioned himself new fresh hosts of Orcs and invaded [[Beleriand]], where the [[First Battle of Beleriand]] took place. These hordes also fought in [[Dagor-nuin-Giliath]]. However, the Eastern Orcs remained outside Morgoth's reach and self-ruling, though they ended up squabbling among themselves as much as they troubled Men.<ref name=Cuv>{{NM|P3xviii}}, p. 370</ref>
 
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When Melkor (now known as [[Morgoth]]) returned to Middle-earth, he created new hordes of Orcs and invaded [[Beleriand]], where the [[First Battle of Beleriand]] took place. Orcs also fought in [[Dagor-nuin-Giliath]].
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===First Age===
 
===First Age===
Orcs appear in the [[First Age]] as the core force of [[Morgoth]]. Hundreds of thousands of Orcs were bred in [[Angband]] to participate in the [[Battles of Beleriand]], which lasted 587 years.
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[[File:John Howe - Orc Swordsman.jpg|thumb|right|''Orc Swordsman'' by [[John Howe]]]]
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Orcs appear in the [[First Age]] as the core force of Morgoth. Hundreds of thousands of Orcs were bred in [[Angband]] to participate in the [[Battles of Beleriand]], which lasted 587 years.  
  
 
Orcs first appear in the [[First Age]] in the [[Battle of the Lammoth]], where they were defeated by [[Fingolfin]] and his [[Noldor]]. Orcs participated in battles such as  the [[Dagor Aglareb]], [[Dagor Bragollach]], [[Nirnaeth Arnoediad]], [[Fall of the Falas]], and finally in the [[War of Wrath]], where they were almost extinguished. Those that survived the defeat fled eastwards and hid probably in the Mountains of [[Angmar]] and the [[Ered Mithrin]].
 
Orcs first appear in the [[First Age]] in the [[Battle of the Lammoth]], where they were defeated by [[Fingolfin]] and his [[Noldor]]. Orcs participated in battles such as  the [[Dagor Aglareb]], [[Dagor Bragollach]], [[Nirnaeth Arnoediad]], [[Fall of the Falas]], and finally in the [[War of Wrath]], where they were almost extinguished. Those that survived the defeat fled eastwards and hid probably in the Mountains of [[Angmar]] and the [[Ered Mithrin]].
  
 
===Second Age===
 
===Second Age===
Around the year {{SA|1000}} Sauron reappeared, took the land of [[Mordor]] as his realm and started the construction of [[Barad-dûr]]. It is likely that most of his servants were Orcs at this time that he had gathered under his command. Still for a long time Sauron's foul servants did not play an important role, for the Dark Lord had chosen a more subtle way to overthrow the free people by creating the [[Rings of Power]].
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Around the year {{SA|1000}} Sauron reappeared, took the land of [[Mordor]] as his realm and started the construction of [[Barad-dûr]]. His servants among Orc-kind were at this time of northern stock, who had escaped Morgoth's vanquishment, and it was not only until much later that he gathered all of their foul race under his command - as long as he went among the Elves in a fair visage, the Eastern Orcs resented him. <ref name=Cuv>{{NM|P3xviii}}, p. 370</ref>  Still for a long time Sauron's servants did not play an important role, for the Dark Lord had chosen a more subtle way to overthrow the free people by creating the [[Rings of Power]].
  
 
During the [[War of the Elves and Sauron]], in {{SA|1700}}, Orcs formed the main power of Sauron's host. Despite the immeasurable number of Orcs, Sauron was defeated by the united hosts of Elves and [[Númenóreans]]. Still Sauron was powerful east of the [[Misty Mountains]] and the Orcs that inhabited the mountains and the eastern lands multiplied.
 
During the [[War of the Elves and Sauron]], in {{SA|1700}}, Orcs formed the main power of Sauron's host. Despite the immeasurable number of Orcs, Sauron was defeated by the united hosts of Elves and [[Númenóreans]]. Still Sauron was powerful east of the [[Misty Mountains]] and the Orcs that inhabited the mountains and the eastern lands multiplied.
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===Third Age===
 
===Third Age===
[[File:Richard Sullivan - Orc.jpg|thumb|left|Richard Sullivan - ''Orc'']]
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[[File:Richard Sullivan - Orc.jpg|thumb|left|''Orc'' by [[:Category:Images by Richard Sullivan|Richard Sullivan]]]]
During the [[Third Age]], Orcs were the standard troops of the [[Witch-king]] of [[Angmar]] and [[Sauron]] (both in [[Mordor]] and in [[Dol Guldur]]).  
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During the [[Third Age]], Orcs were the standard troops of [[Sauron]] (both in [[Mordor]] and in [[Dol Guldur]]), and his great servants - such as the [[Witch-king]] and [[Saruman]].
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In [[Angmar]], Orcs fought for the Witch-king in the [[Angmar War]]. Years later, they invaded [[Eriador]] under the leadership of the [[Necromancer]].  
  
In [[Angmar]], Orcs fought in the [[Angmar War]]. Years later, they invaded [[Eriador]] under the leadership of the [[Necromancer]].  
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The [[Orcs of the Misty Mountains]], one of the few (more or less) independent Orcish societies, and their leader [[Azog]] started out the [[War of the Dwarves and Orcs]], and after their defeat they retreated in their caves. They appeared again in {{TA|2941}}, when the [[Battle of Five Armies]] took place, suffering yet another terrible loss.  
  
The [[Orcs of the Misty Mountains]], one of the few (more or less) independent Orcish societies, and their leader [[Azog]] started out the [[War of the Dwarves and Orcs]], and after their defeat they retreated in their caves. They appeared again in {{TA|2941}}, when the [[Battle of Five Armies]] took place.
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To both carry out Sauron's war on Rohan and his own efforts to harry the [[Fellowship of the Ring]], Saruman began to assemble his [[Orcs of Isengard|own Orcs]] into an army in [[Isengard]] - these he gathered from the tribes of the Misty Mountains as well as Orcs he bred, some being crossed with Men. The Orcs of Isengard fought in the early-mid battles of the [[War of the Ring]], such as the [[First Battle of the Fords of Isen|First]] and [[Second Battle of the Fords of Isen|Second Battles of the Fords of Isen]], but were crushed or scattered at the [[Battle of the Hornburg]].  
  
The [[Orcs of Mordor]] fought in major battles during the [[War of the Ring]], such as the [[Battle of the Pelennor Fields]], but the majority of [[Mordor]]'s forces were destroyed or scattered at the [[Battle of the Morannon]]. Sporadic fighting in the following weeks led to the Orcs finally being driven out of the western end of Mordor, though it is unclear how many Orcs Sauron had in his armies, and it is also unclear how many survived after his defeat.  
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The [[Orcs of Mordor]] fought in major battles during the War of the Ring, such as the [[Battle of the Pelennor Fields]], but the majority of [[Mordor]]'s forces were destroyed or scattered at the [[Battle of the Morannon]]. Sporadic fighting in the following weeks led to the Orcs finally being driven out of the western end of Mordor, though it is unclear how many Orcs Sauron had in his armies, and it is also unclear how many survived after his defeat.  
  
 
The Orcs in [[Dol Guldur]] remained in [[Mirkwood]] until the [[Fall of Dol Guldur]], one of the last battles of the War of the Ring.
 
The Orcs in [[Dol Guldur]] remained in [[Mirkwood]] until the [[Fall of Dol Guldur]], one of the last battles of the War of the Ring.
  
===Fourth Age and beyond===
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===Later history===
 
The fate of the Orcs after the Third Age is unknown. Though many of Sauron's Orcs fought on and were slain in the weeks following the Battle of the Morannon, the true number of Sauron's hosts is unclear, as are the numbers of Orcs not within Mordor that may still inhabit the rest of Middle-earth. It is at least known that the Orcs of Moria either fled or were slain by the Fourth Age, as it is mentioned that the Dwarves managed to retake Moria and the mines within it.
 
The fate of the Orcs after the Third Age is unknown. Though many of Sauron's Orcs fought on and were slain in the weeks following the Battle of the Morannon, the true number of Sauron's hosts is unclear, as are the numbers of Orcs not within Mordor that may still inhabit the rest of Middle-earth. It is at least known that the Orcs of Moria either fled or were slain by the Fourth Age, as it is mentioned that the Dwarves managed to retake Moria and the mines within it.
  
 
==Characteristics==
 
==Characteristics==
 
 
===Culture===
 
===Culture===
 
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[[File:Jan Pospíšil - Orc Army.jpg|thumb|''Orc Army'' by [[:Category:Images by Jan Pospíšil|Jan Pospíšil]]]]
It is certain all Orcs were dependent on the Dark Lords in various ways: after the War of Wrath, the Orcs were confused and dismayed without Morgoth, and were easily scattered by their enemies. In the millennia after his defeat and banishment from Arda, they were without a leader and degenerated into small, quarrelsome tribes hiding in wild places, such as the [[Misty Mountains]] and the [[Mountains of Angmar]]. Orcs remained a threat to travelers and isolated settlements, and when united could pose a great regional threat, but they could never amount to the force they were under Morgoth. Only when Sauron returned to power did they begin to reclaim their old power. The same happened after Sauron's defeat by the [[Last Alliance of Elves and Men]]: only under the Witch-King's command, and when Sauron returned as the Necromancer of [[Mirkwood]], did the Orcs become a real danger for all of Middle-earth again. Orcs were warlike and often cruel, fighting with reckless ferocity and delighting in the slaughter and torture of their foes; many had a cowardly nature however, and were often regarded as inferior, though far more expendable, than the soldiers of Men, Elves, and Dwarves.
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It is certain that most Orcs were dependent on the Dark Lords in various ways: after the War of Wrath, the Orcs were confused and dismayed without Morgoth, and were easily scattered by their enemies. In the millennia after his defeat and banishment from Arda, they were without a leader and degenerated into small, quarrelsome tribes hiding in wild places, such as the [[Misty Mountains]] and the [[Mountains of Angmar]]. Orcs remained a threat to travelers and isolated settlements, and when united could pose a great regional threat, but they could never amount to the force they were under Morgoth. Only when Sauron returned to power did they begin to reclaim their old power. The same happened after Sauron's defeat by the [[Last Alliance of Elves and Men]]: only under the Witch-King's command, and when Sauron returned as the Necromancer of [[Mirkwood]], did the Orcs become a real danger for all of Middle-earth again. Orcs were warlike and often cruel, fighting with reckless ferocity and delighting in the slaughter and torture of their foes; many had a cowardly nature however, and were often regarded as inferior, though far more expendable, than the soldiers of Men, Elves, and Dwarves. It is said that Sauron, at the height of his power, had greater control over his Orcs than Morgoth had had, though this was because he had not yet spent so much of himself in dominating others as well as due to a lesser threat posed by his adversaries than those of his predecessor. Orcs also proved themselves adept at taming and riding [[Wolves]] and even [[Wargs]], an abillity harnessed by the Dark Lords for their armies.
  
 
===Lifespan===
 
===Lifespan===
 
 
It is unknown if the Orcs were immortal like the Elves. There is, in any case, a hint for a long lifespan in the story of two of the most famous Orc-chieftains: [[Azog]] and [[Bolg]]. Bolg, being the son of Azog, was the chieftain of the Orcs who attacked Erebor in the Battle of Five Armies in {{TA|2941}}. Azog himself was killed in the Battle of Azanulbizar in {{TA|2799}}, so Bolg was at least 150 years old.
 
It is unknown if the Orcs were immortal like the Elves. There is, in any case, a hint for a long lifespan in the story of two of the most famous Orc-chieftains: [[Azog]] and [[Bolg]]. Bolg, being the son of Azog, was the chieftain of the Orcs who attacked Erebor in the Battle of Five Armies in {{TA|2941}}. Azog himself was killed in the Battle of Azanulbizar in {{TA|2799}}, so Bolg was at least 150 years old.
  
 
===Appearance===
 
===Appearance===
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Orcs were described as smaller in stature than Men on average, strong but crooked in frame and bow-legged. One "huge orc-chieftain" was described as "almost Man-high", but some must have been of a similar size to Hobbits (Frodo and Sam succeeded in disguising themselves as Orcs in Mordor). Their overall appearance varied: they had long arms and fanged mouths; Tolkien describes them as "swart" or "sallow", although one in Mordor is "black-skinned" and others are described generally as "black" (possibly not a reference to skin colour).
  
Orcs were described as smaller in stature than Men on average, strong but crooked in frame and bow-legged. One "huge orc-chieftain" was described as "almost Man-high", but some must have been of a similar size to Hobbits (Frodo and Sam succeeded in disguising themselves as Orcs in Mordor). Their overall appearance varied: they had long arms and fanged mouths; Tolkien describes them as "swart" or "sallow", although one in Moria is "black-skinned" and others are described generally as "black" (possibly not a reference to skin colour).
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===Kinds of Orcs===
 
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===Kinds of orcs===
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The Fellowship usually encountered the large soldier-Orcs bred for war, and sometimes the "snaga" variety which were more geared towards being labourers. Another type is referred to as "snufflers", smaller, black-skinned Orcs with wide nostrils, who excelled in tracking. Despite the smaller size, one snuffler was able to skillfully kill a soldier-orc when they got into a disagreement.<ref name="Cirith">{{RK|VI1}}</ref>
 
The Fellowship usually encountered the large soldier-Orcs bred for war, and sometimes the "snaga" variety which were more geared towards being labourers. Another type is referred to as "snufflers", smaller, black-skinned Orcs with wide nostrils, who excelled in tracking. Despite the smaller size, one snuffler was able to skillfully kill a soldier-orc when they got into a disagreement.<ref name="Cirith">{{RK|VI1}}</ref>
  
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*[[Orcs of Mordor]]
 
*[[Orcs of Mordor]]
 
*[[Orcs of the Misty Mountains]]
 
*[[Orcs of the Misty Mountains]]
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*[[Orcs of Isengard]]
 
*[[Half-orcs]] (and [[Goblin-men]])
 
*[[Half-orcs]] (and [[Goblin-men]])
 
*[[Uruk-hai]]
 
*[[Uruk-hai]]
 
*[[Hobgoblins]]
 
*[[Hobgoblins]]
 
[[File:Darek Zabrocki - Goblins.jpg|thumb|250px|'''Goblins''' by Darek Zabrocki.]]
 
  
 
===Orcs and goblins===
 
===Orcs and goblins===
 
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[[File:Darek Zabrocki - Goblins.jpg|thumb|250px|''Goblins'' by [[:Category:Images by Darek Zabrocki|Darek Zabrocki]]]]
The term ''goblin'' was used primarily in ''[[The Hobbit]]'' but also in ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'' where it is used synonymously with "Orc".<ref>{{TT|III1}}</ref><ref>{{HM|RC}}, p. 24</ref>
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The term ''goblin'' was used primarily in ''[[The Hobbit]]'' but also in ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'' where it is used synonymously with "Orc".<ref>{{HM|RC}}, p. 24</ref> It is said to be a translation of ''Orc'' in a note on languages and runic letters in ''[[The Hobbit]]''.
 
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{{blockquote|Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin|''[[The Hobbit]]''}}
"Goblin" is an English word, whereas "Orc" is Old English, the language used by Tolkien to represent Rohirric.<ref>{{App|F1iv}}</ref>  Thus, there is no difference between Orcs and Goblins.
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{{blockquote|There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature [...] Upon their shields they bore [...] a small white hand in the centre of the black field|''[[The Two Towers]]'', "[[The Departure of Boromir]]"}}
  
 
==Etymology==
 
==Etymology==
{{quote|The word as far as I am concerned actually derived from [[Old English]] ''orc'', demon, but only because of its phonetic suitability.|[[J.R.R. Tolkien]]<ref name=L144/>}}
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{{quote|The word as far as I am concerned actually derived from [[Old English]] ''orc'', demon, but only because of its phonetic suitability.|[[J.R.R. Tolkien]] in [[Letter 144]]}}
 
===Orc===
 
===Orc===
 
The word '''''Orc''''' is said to be the "''form of the name that other races had for this foul people as it was in the [[Rohirric|language of Rohan]]''".<ref name=App|F1iv/>
 
The word '''''Orc''''' is said to be the "''form of the name that other races had for this foul people as it was in the [[Rohirric|language of Rohan]]''".<ref name=App|F1iv/>
  
In his late, post-''Lord of the Rings'' writings, Tolkien preferred the spelling '''''Ork'''''.<ref>{{HM|PM}}</ref> It is also possible that the word is a Common Tongue Version of 'orch', the [[Sindarin]] word for Orc. The original sense of the word seems to be "bogey", "bogeyman", that is, something that provokes fear, as seen in the Quenya cognate ''urko'', pl. ''urqui''.{{fact}}
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In his late, post-''Lord of the Rings'' writings, Tolkien preferred the spelling '''''Ork'''''.<ref>{{HM|PM}}</ref>
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It also is "supposed to be the CS[Common Speech] name of these creatures at that time".<ref name=Nomenclature>{{HM|N}}</ref>
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The statement may be ambiguous due to Tolkien's use of the term Common Speech for both Westron and English. But Tolkien continued to say "It should therefore according to the system be translated into E[English]. or the LT[Language of Translation]. It was translated 'goblin' in The H.[Hobbit]"<ref name=Nomenclature></ref>. This may suggest it is a genuine Westron word, which Tolkien kept untranslated because he liked the sound of it: "In any case orc seemed to me, and seems, in sound a good name for these creatures. It should be retained."<ref name=Nomenclature></ref>
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Fictionally, it is then possibly derived from 'orch', the [[Sindarin]] word for Orc. The original sense of the word seems to be "bogey", "bogeyman", that is, something that provokes fear, as seen in the Quenya cognate ''urko'', pl. ''urqui''.<ref>{{HM|WJ}} Quendi and Eldar</ref>
  
 
Tolkien derived the word ''orc'' from [[Old English]] believing it refers to a kind of evil spirits,<ref name=L144/> which in turn is thought to derive from Latin ''Orcus'' "Hades", although Tolkien doubted this etymology.<ref>[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], "[[Letter to Gene Wolfe]]" (letter)</ref> He also thought it survives in the modern language for sea-beasts,<ref>{{HM|N}}, p. 762</ref> such as the [[Wikipedia:Orca Whale|Orca Whale]].
 
Tolkien derived the word ''orc'' from [[Old English]] believing it refers to a kind of evil spirits,<ref name=L144/> which in turn is thought to derive from Latin ''Orcus'' "Hades", although Tolkien doubted this etymology.<ref>[[J.R.R. Tolkien]], "[[Letter to Gene Wolfe]]" (letter)</ref> He also thought it survives in the modern language for sea-beasts,<ref>{{HM|N}}, p. 762</ref> such as the [[Wikipedia:Orca Whale|Orca Whale]].
  
''Orc'' is an [[Old English]] word that refers mainly to a kind of metal cup (from Latin ''Urceus'').<ref group="note">The word ''Orc'' occurs twice in ''[[Beowulf (poem)|Beowulf]]''.</ref> However, in a 11th century glossary, this entry was conflated with another entry which refers to evil giants such as ''[[Wikipedia:Jötunn|þyrs]]'' and other monsters, also glossed in Latin as ''Orcus''. This merge of the two entries made many philologists of the previous centuries, like Tolkien, to believe that ''Orc'' was an actual Old English word that refers to any kind of evil creature from the underworld.<ref>Bosworth and Toller's ''An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary'' (1898), corrected in later editions</ref>
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''Orc'' is an [[Old English]] word that refers mainly to a kind of metal cup (from Latin ''Urceus'').<ref group="note">The word ''Orc'' occurs twice in ''[[Beowulf (poem)|Beowulf]]''.</ref> However, in an 11th century glossary, this entry was conflated with another entry which refers to evil giants such as ''[[Wikipedia:Jötunn|þyrs]]'' and other monsters, also glossed in Latin as ''Orcus''. This merge of the two entries made many philologists of the previous centuries, like Tolkien, to believe that ''Orc'' was an actual Old English word that refers to any kind of evil creature from the underworld.<ref>Bosworth and Toller's ''An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary'' (1898), corrected in later editions</ref>
  
The word ''Orcnéas'' is once found only in ''[[Beowulf (poem)|Beowulf]]'' (lines 112-113) and is cited as an example of the word "Orc" in Old English text. Actually its meaning is not clear, and it is thought to refer to corpses (''néas'') from the Underworld.  
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The word ''Orcnéas'' is once found only in ''[[Beowulf (poem)|Beowulf]]'' (lines 112-113) and is cited as an example of the word "Orc" in Old English text. Actually its meaning is not clear, and it is thought to refer to corpses (''néas'') from the Underworld.
  
 
==="Orcs" in Tolkien's languages===
 
==="Orcs" in Tolkien's languages===
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*[[Adûnaic]]: '''''urku''''', '''''urkhu'''''<ref name=WJAC/>
 
*[[Adûnaic]]: '''''urku''''', '''''urkhu'''''<ref name=WJAC/>
*[[Westron]]: '''''orka'''''<ref name=PE17_47>{{PE|17}}, p. 47</ref>
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*[[Westron]]: '''''orka'''''<ref name=PE17_47>{{PE|17}}, p. 47</ref>, possibly '''orc''' <ref name=Nomenclature></ref>
 
*[[Black Speech]]: '''''[[Uruk-hai#Etymology|uruk]]'''''<ref name=App|F1iv>{{App|F1iv}}</ref><ref name=WJAC/><ref name=L144>{{L|144}}</ref><ref name=PE17_47/>
 
*[[Black Speech]]: '''''[[Uruk-hai#Etymology|uruk]]'''''<ref name=App|F1iv>{{App|F1iv}}</ref><ref name=WJAC/><ref name=L144>{{L|144}}</ref><ref name=PE17_47/>
 
*[[Khuzdul]]: '''''Rukhs''''' (pl. '''''Rakhās'''''), possibly derived from an unknown [[Avarin]] word of the same meaning<ref name=WJAC/><ref group="note">''Rukhs'' appears to contain the radical R-Kh-S.<!-- this note needs to be clarified: what is a radical? add internal link to something? --></ref>
 
*[[Khuzdul]]: '''''Rukhs''''' (pl. '''''Rakhās'''''), possibly derived from an unknown [[Avarin]] word of the same meaning<ref name=WJAC/><ref group="note">''Rukhs'' appears to contain the radical R-Kh-S.<!-- this note needs to be clarified: what is a radical? add internal link to something? --></ref>
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*''See also: [[Entish]] ''[[burárum]]''
 
*''See also: [[Entish]] ''[[burárum]]''
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===Goblin===
 
===Goblin===
 
''[[Wiktionary:goblin|Goblin]]'' is a folk word which according to ''The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English'' is probably derived from the Anglo-French ''[[Wiktionary:gobelin|gobelin]]'' a diminutive of ''gobel'' (cf. ''[[Wiktionary:kobold|kobold]]''). William D.B. Loos notes that ''goblin'' is a Romance-derived word, unlike other Germanic words preferred by [[J.R.R. Tolkien|Tolkien]].<ref>William D.B. Loos, [http://tolkien.slimy.com/tfaq/EnemyMisc.html#Orcs Enemies and Miscellaneous: What was the relationship between Orcs and Goblins?] at [http://tolkien.slimy.com/tfaq/ The Tolkien Frequently Asked Questions List] (accessed 3 July 2011)</ref>
 
''[[Wiktionary:goblin|Goblin]]'' is a folk word which according to ''The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English'' is probably derived from the Anglo-French ''[[Wiktionary:gobelin|gobelin]]'' a diminutive of ''gobel'' (cf. ''[[Wiktionary:kobold|kobold]]''). William D.B. Loos notes that ''goblin'' is a Romance-derived word, unlike other Germanic words preferred by [[J.R.R. Tolkien|Tolkien]].<ref>William D.B. Loos, [http://tolkien.slimy.com/tfaq/EnemyMisc.html#Orcs Enemies and Miscellaneous: What was the relationship between Orcs and Goblins?] at [http://tolkien.slimy.com/tfaq/ The Tolkien Frequently Asked Questions List] (accessed 3 July 2011)</ref>
  
 
==="Goblin" in Tolkien's languages===
 
==="Goblin" in Tolkien's languages===
 
 
In the [[The Etymologies|''Etymologies'']], the Elvish names used to translate "goblin" derive from root [[RUKU#Other versions|ÓROK]] and are:<ref name=LR379>{{LR|Etymologies}}, p. 379 (entry for ÓROK)</ref>
 
In the [[The Etymologies|''Etymologies'']], the Elvish names used to translate "goblin" derive from root [[RUKU#Other versions|ÓROK]] and are:<ref name=LR379>{{LR|Etymologies}}, p. 379 (entry for ÓROK)</ref>
  
Line 142: Line 148:
  
 
==Other versions of the legendarium==
 
==Other versions of the legendarium==
 
+
{{Main|Orcs/Origin}}
===Origin===
+
According to the oldest "theory" proposed by Tolkien, Orcs were made of "subterranean heat and slime", and their hearts were stones like granite, through the sorcery of Morgoth.<ref>{{LT2 | III}}, p.159</ref> But, Tolkien later changed the legendarium so that Morgoth could no longer produce life on his own.
+
 
+
While Tolkien originally saw all Orcs as descended from tortured Elves, later comments of his indicate, according to [[Christopher Tolkien]] in ''Morgoth's Ring'' ("Myths Transformed, text X"), that he began to feel uncomfortable with the theory that orcs were descended from Elves. However, Tolkien died before he could complete his upheaval of the cosmology, and in the published version of ''The Silmarillion'', the Elvish origin of Orcs was adopted.  It does not appear that the elder Tolkien ever decided on a definitive answer. Different origins proposed were: animals that Morgoth infused with reason (Myths Transformed, text VIII), Elves and (later) Men (M.T., text IX) and "probably" Men (text X).
+
 
+
The origin of Orcs is an open question. In Tolkien's writings, evil is not capable of independent creation, making it unlikely that the [[Valar|Vala]] [[Morgoth|Melkor]], who was obviously the first to produce them, could do that ''ex nihilo''. In ''[[The Silmarillion]]'' is mentioned that the Orcs were transformed from Elves &mdash; the purest form of life on [[Arda]] (the Earth) &mdash; by means of torture and mutilation; and this "theory" would then become the most popular. There are hints in the ''[[The History of Middle-earth|History of Middle-earth]]'' series of books, (especially in ''[[Morgoth's Ring]]'' in the section "Myths Transformed"), that some Orc leaders, such as the First Age's [[Boldog]], or the [[Great Goblin]] encountered by [[Bilbo Baggins|Bilbo]] and the Dwarves, may in fact have been fallen [[Maiar]] which had taken Orc form.
+
 
+
Yet other Orcs may have begun as animals of vaguely humanoid shapes, empowered by the will of the Dark Lord (first [[Morgoth]], later Sauron).
+
 
+
: ''The Orcs were beasts of humanized shape (&#8230;).'' ('Morgoth's Ring', "Myths transformed", text VIII')
+
  
 
==Controversy==
 
==Controversy==
Tolkien's Orcs have been a subject of criticism of [[racism]]. Tolkien described Orcs as "squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types".<ref>{{L|210}}</ref>
+
Tolkien's Orcs have been a subject of criticism of [[racism]]. Tolkien described Orcs as "squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types".<ref>{{L|210}}</ref>
  
 
==Other writings==
 
==Other writings==
Line 166: Line 162:
 
File:The Lord of the Rings- The Treason of Isengard - Ork.jpg|Concept art of an orc in ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Treason of Isengard]]''
 
File:The Lord of the Rings- The Treason of Isengard - Ork.jpg|Concept art of an orc in ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Treason of Isengard]]''
 
File:The Lord of the Rings War in the North - Orc3.jpg|An Orc in [[Fornost]] in ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]''.</gallery>
 
File:The Lord of the Rings War in the North - Orc3.jpg|An Orc in [[Fornost]] in ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]''.</gallery>
 +
 +
'''2001-2003: [[Pán prsteňov (2001-2003 Slovak radio series)|''Pán prsteňov'' (2001-2003 Slovak radio series)]]:'''
 +
:Due to timing and certain legal issues, the radio series uses the term ''skirt'' (pron. "skeert") and ''skirti'' for an "orc" and "orcs" (a neologism derived from the Czech translation's ''skrět'', ''skrěti'', "goblins"). Some of the orc characters are credited, e.g. [[Grishnakh]] in ''The Two Towers'' is portrayed by Eduard Vitek, and in ''The Return of the King'', a Mordor orc commander whipping a disguised Frodo and Sam into shape is played by Jozef Šimonovič.
  
 
'''2007: ''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]'':'''
 
'''2007: ''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]'':'''
:Orc-kind is a genus that include the species of Orc, Goblins, [[Half-orcs]], [[Boggarts]], [[Bugans]] and [[Uruk-hai]].
+
:Orc-kind is a genus that includes the species of Orcs, Goblins, [[Hobgoblins]], [[Half-orcs]], [[Boggarts]], [[Bugans]] and [[Uruk-hai]].
  
:Orcs are very common in Middle-earth. They are about the size of a man with a hunchback.
+
:Orcs are very common in Middle-earth. They are about the size of a man with a hunchback, though some of the sub-races are of larger or smaller stature.
  
''''2011: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]'':'''
+
'''2011: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]'':'''
:Orcs are first seen in [[Fornost]], where they immediately attack [[Eradan (video game character)|Eradan]], [[Andriel]] and [[Farin (video game character)|Farin]] on their aproach.<ref>[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]], Chapter 1: Fornost, ''Main Gate''</ref> ''Orc warriors'' are stronger then normal Orcs. Some Orcs have been taught [[Magic|sorcery]] by [[Agandaûr]], these are known as ''Orc Sorcerers''.
+
:Orcs are first seen in [[Fornost]], where they immediately attack [[Eradan (video game character)|Eradan]], [[Andriel]] and [[Farin (video game character)|Farin]] as they near the citadel.<ref name=Main>[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]], Chapter 1: Fornost, ''Main Gate''</ref> ''Orc warriors'' are stronger then normal Orcs. Some Orcs have been taught [[Magic|sorcery]] by [[Agandaûr]], these are known as ''Orc Sorcerers'
  
===Goblins===
+
===Goblins==='.
 
<gallery>File:The Hobbit (1977 film) - Goblins.jpg|Goblins in [[The Hobbit (1977 film)|''The Hobbit'' (1977 film)]]
 
<gallery>File:The Hobbit (1977 film) - Goblins.jpg|Goblins in [[The Hobbit (1977 film)|''The Hobbit'' (1977 film)]]
 
File:The Lord of the Rings War in the North - Goblins1.jpg|Goblins in the pits of [[Fornost]] in ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]''
 
File:The Lord of the Rings War in the North - Goblins1.jpg|Goblins in the pits of [[Fornost]] in ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]''
Line 190: Line 189:
  
 
'''2011: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]'':'''
 
'''2011: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]]'':'''
:Goblins first appear in [[Fornost Erain]], where they attack [[Eradan (video game character)|Eradan]], [[Andriel]] and [[Farin (video game character)|Farin]] immediately when they reach the city.<ref>[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North]], Chapter 1: Fornost, ''Main Gate''</ref> Goblins are weaker than Orcs.
+
:Goblins first appear in [[Fornost Erain]], where they attack [[Eradan (video game character)|Eradan]], [[Andriel]] and [[Farin (video game character)|Farin]] immediately when they reach the city.<ref name=Main></ref> Goblins are weaker than Orcs.
  
 
'''2012: ''[[The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey]]'':'''
 
'''2012: ''[[The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey]]'':'''
:Goblins are again made clearly distinct from Orcs in the film series. They are possibly lesser relatives of Orcs; they are smaller (the very large Great Goblin notwithstanding), less powerful, and generally have pale, diseased skin.
+
:Goblins are again made clearly distinct from Orcs in the film series. They are lesser relatives of Orcs; they are smaller (the very large Great Goblin notwithstanding), less powerful, and generally have pale, diseased skin, riddled with warts.
  
 
'''2014: ''[[The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies]]'':'''
 
'''2014: ''[[The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies]]'':'''
:A band of "Goblin mercenaries" appear on [[Ravenhill]] during the [[Battle of Five Armies]], but are taken care of by the Dwarves without much trouble.
+
:A band of "Goblin mercenaries" appear on [[Ravenhill]] during the [[Battle of Five Armies]], but are taken care of by the Dwarves without much troub
  
==See also==
+
==See also==le.
 
*[[Gongs]]
 
*[[Gongs]]
*[[:Category:Images of Orcs|Images of Orcs]]
 
 
*[[:Category:Images of Goblins|Images of Goblins]]
 
*[[:Category:Images of Goblins|Images of Goblins]]
  
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[[Category:Races]]
 
[[Category:Races]]
 
[[Category:Servants of Melkor]]
 
[[Category:Servants of Melkor]]
[[Category:Servants of Sauron]]
 
 
[[Category:Servants of Saruman]]
 
[[Category:Servants of Saruman]]
 +
[[Category:Servants of Sauron]]
 
[[de:Orks]]
 
[[de:Orks]]
 
[[fr:encyclo/peuples/orques/orques]]
 
[[fr:encyclo/peuples/orques/orques]]
 
[[fi:Örkit]]
 
[[fi:Örkit]]

Latest revision as of 13:13, 19 October 2021

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Orcs
Race
John Howe - In Mordor.jpg
"In Mordor" by John Howe
General Information
Other namesGoblins, Glamhoth, Yrch
OriginsObscure, but apparently bred from Elves
See Orcs/Origin
LocationsUtumno, Angband, Mordor, Misty Mountains, Angmar, Mount Gundabad, High Pass, Dol Guldur, Isengard
AffiliationMorgoth, Sauron
RivalriesElves, Men, Dwarves
LanguagesBlack Speech; numerous Orkish languages; Westron
PeopleUruk-hai, Goblin-men, Half-orcs, Hobgoblins, Mountain Orcs, Eastern Orcs, Mordor Orcs, Isengard Orcs
MembersOthrod, Azog, Bolg, Gorbag, Great Goblin, Grishnákh
Physical Description
LifespanUnknown
DistinctionsEvil footsoldiers of the Enemy; preferred darkness
Average heightShort[1]
Skin colorSallow, green, brown, grey, black, swarthy
GalleryImages of Orcs

Orcs (also called Goblins) were the footsoldiers of the two Dark Lords - Morgoth and Sauron.

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] Origins and early years

Main article: Orcs/Origin
The vilest deed of Melkor by Anna Kulisz

The Orcs were bred by Melkor in mockery of the Elves, sometime during the Great Darkness.[2][3] How this was done is unclear, as the Dark Lord did not possess the power to create life, only to corrupt it. It is unknown whether corrupted Elves, Men or other creatures were used to achieve this.

It is unclear exactly when Orcs were created, but it certainly happened before the Battle of the Powers in his stronghold of Utumno. Whether the Orcs were at this time a capable fighting force against the host of Valinor is not known. But some of them survived this war: a few stayed hidden in the deep vaults of Angband, and multiplied, waiting for their master, while the many more stronger ones ventured into far eastern regions.

They first came out of Angband in Y.T. 1330, passing over the mountains to Beleriand with other dark creatures.[4]

When Melkor (now known as Morgoth) returned to Middle-earth, he fashioned himself new fresh hosts of Orcs and invaded Beleriand, where the First Battle of Beleriand took place. These hordes also fought in Dagor-nuin-Giliath. However, the Eastern Orcs remained outside Morgoth's reach and self-ruling, though they ended up squabbling among themselves as much as they troubled Men.[5]

[edit] First Age

Orc Swordsman by John Howe

Orcs appear in the First Age as the core force of Morgoth. Hundreds of thousands of Orcs were bred in Angband to participate in the Battles of Beleriand, which lasted 587 years.

Orcs first appear in the First Age in the Battle of the Lammoth, where they were defeated by Fingolfin and his Noldor. Orcs participated in battles such as the Dagor Aglareb, Dagor Bragollach, Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Fall of the Falas, and finally in the War of Wrath, where they were almost extinguished. Those that survived the defeat fled eastwards and hid probably in the Mountains of Angmar and the Ered Mithrin.

[edit] Second Age

Around the year S.A. 1000 Sauron reappeared, took the land of Mordor as his realm and started the construction of Barad-dûr. His servants among Orc-kind were at this time of northern stock, who had escaped Morgoth's vanquishment, and it was not only until much later that he gathered all of their foul race under his command - as long as he went among the Elves in a fair visage, the Eastern Orcs resented him. [5] Still for a long time Sauron's servants did not play an important role, for the Dark Lord had chosen a more subtle way to overthrow the free people by creating the Rings of Power.

During the War of the Elves and Sauron, in S.A. 1700, Orcs formed the main power of Sauron's host. Despite the immeasurable number of Orcs, Sauron was defeated by the united hosts of Elves and Númenóreans. Still Sauron was powerful east of the Misty Mountains and the Orcs that inhabited the mountains and the eastern lands multiplied.

The Orcs of the Misty Mountains started a war against the Dwarves, resulting in the First Sack of Gundabad and its occupation by the Orcs. Finally, Orcs were the core force of Sauron during the War of the Last Alliance, and fought in great battles such as the Battle of Dagorlad and the Siege of Barad-dûr.

[edit] Third Age

During the Third Age, Orcs were the standard troops of Sauron (both in Mordor and in Dol Guldur), and his great servants - such as the Witch-king and Saruman.

In Angmar, Orcs fought for the Witch-king in the Angmar War. Years later, they invaded Eriador under the leadership of the Necromancer.

The Orcs of the Misty Mountains, one of the few (more or less) independent Orcish societies, and their leader Azog started out the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, and after their defeat they retreated in their caves. They appeared again in T.A. 2941, when the Battle of Five Armies took place, suffering yet another terrible loss.

To both carry out Sauron's war on Rohan and his own efforts to harry the Fellowship of the Ring, Saruman began to assemble his own Orcs into an army in Isengard - these he gathered from the tribes of the Misty Mountains as well as Orcs he bred, some being crossed with Men. The Orcs of Isengard fought in the early-mid battles of the War of the Ring, such as the First and Second Battles of the Fords of Isen, but were crushed or scattered at the Battle of the Hornburg.

The Orcs of Mordor fought in major battles during the War of the Ring, such as the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, but the majority of Mordor's forces were destroyed or scattered at the Battle of the Morannon. Sporadic fighting in the following weeks led to the Orcs finally being driven out of the western end of Mordor, though it is unclear how many Orcs Sauron had in his armies, and it is also unclear how many survived after his defeat.

The Orcs in Dol Guldur remained in Mirkwood until the Fall of Dol Guldur, one of the last battles of the War of the Ring.

[edit] Later history

The fate of the Orcs after the Third Age is unknown. Though many of Sauron's Orcs fought on and were slain in the weeks following the Battle of the Morannon, the true number of Sauron's hosts is unclear, as are the numbers of Orcs not within Mordor that may still inhabit the rest of Middle-earth. It is at least known that the Orcs of Moria either fled or were slain by the Fourth Age, as it is mentioned that the Dwarves managed to retake Moria and the mines within it.

[edit] Characteristics

[edit] Culture

Orc Army by Jan Pospíšil

It is certain that most Orcs were dependent on the Dark Lords in various ways: after the War of Wrath, the Orcs were confused and dismayed without Morgoth, and were easily scattered by their enemies. In the millennia after his defeat and banishment from Arda, they were without a leader and degenerated into small, quarrelsome tribes hiding in wild places, such as the Misty Mountains and the Mountains of Angmar. Orcs remained a threat to travelers and isolated settlements, and when united could pose a great regional threat, but they could never amount to the force they were under Morgoth. Only when Sauron returned to power did they begin to reclaim their old power. The same happened after Sauron's defeat by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men: only under the Witch-King's command, and when Sauron returned as the Necromancer of Mirkwood, did the Orcs become a real danger for all of Middle-earth again. Orcs were warlike and often cruel, fighting with reckless ferocity and delighting in the slaughter and torture of their foes; many had a cowardly nature however, and were often regarded as inferior, though far more expendable, than the soldiers of Men, Elves, and Dwarves. It is said that Sauron, at the height of his power, had greater control over his Orcs than Morgoth had had, though this was because he had not yet spent so much of himself in dominating others as well as due to a lesser threat posed by his adversaries than those of his predecessor. Orcs also proved themselves adept at taming and riding Wolves and even Wargs, an abillity harnessed by the Dark Lords for their armies.

[edit] Lifespan

It is unknown if the Orcs were immortal like the Elves. There is, in any case, a hint for a long lifespan in the story of two of the most famous Orc-chieftains: Azog and Bolg. Bolg, being the son of Azog, was the chieftain of the Orcs who attacked Erebor in the Battle of Five Armies in T.A. 2941. Azog himself was killed in the Battle of Azanulbizar in T.A. 2799, so Bolg was at least 150 years old.

[edit] Appearance

Orcs were described as smaller in stature than Men on average, strong but crooked in frame and bow-legged. One "huge orc-chieftain" was described as "almost Man-high", but some must have been of a similar size to Hobbits (Frodo and Sam succeeded in disguising themselves as Orcs in Mordor). Their overall appearance varied: they had long arms and fanged mouths; Tolkien describes them as "swart" or "sallow", although one in Mordor is "black-skinned" and others are described generally as "black" (possibly not a reference to skin colour).

[edit] Kinds of Orcs

The Fellowship usually encountered the large soldier-Orcs bred for war, and sometimes the "snaga" variety which were more geared towards being labourers. Another type is referred to as "snufflers", smaller, black-skinned Orcs with wide nostrils, who excelled in tracking. Despite the smaller size, one snuffler was able to skillfully kill a soldier-orc when they got into a disagreement.[6]

[edit] Orcs and goblins

Goblins by Darek Zabrocki

The term goblin was used primarily in The Hobbit but also in The Lord of the Rings where it is used synonymously with "Orc".[7] It is said to be a translation of Orc in a note on languages and runic letters in The Hobbit.

Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin
The Hobbit
There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature [...] Upon their shields they bore [...] a small white hand in the centre of the black field
The Two Towers, "The Departure of Boromir"

[edit] Etymology

"The word as far as I am concerned actually derived from Old English orc, demon, but only because of its phonetic suitability."
J.R.R. Tolkien in Letter 144

[edit] Orc

The word Orc is said to be the "form of the name that other races had for this foul people as it was in the language of Rohan".[8]

In his late, post-Lord of the Rings writings, Tolkien preferred the spelling Ork.[9]

It also is "supposed to be the CS[Common Speech] name of these creatures at that time".[10]

The statement may be ambiguous due to Tolkien's use of the term Common Speech for both Westron and English. But Tolkien continued to say "It should therefore according to the system be translated into E[English]. or the LT[Language of Translation]. It was translated 'goblin' in The H.[Hobbit]"[10]. This may suggest it is a genuine Westron word, which Tolkien kept untranslated because he liked the sound of it: "In any case orc seemed to me, and seems, in sound a good name for these creatures. It should be retained."[10]

Fictionally, it is then possibly derived from 'orch', the Sindarin word for Orc. The original sense of the word seems to be "bogey", "bogeyman", that is, something that provokes fear, as seen in the Quenya cognate urko, pl. urqui.[11]

Tolkien derived the word orc from Old English believing it refers to a kind of evil spirits,[12] which in turn is thought to derive from Latin Orcus "Hades", although Tolkien doubted this etymology.[13] He also thought it survives in the modern language for sea-beasts,[14] such as the Orca Whale.

Orc is an Old English word that refers mainly to a kind of metal cup (from Latin Urceus).[note 1] However, in an 11th century glossary, this entry was conflated with another entry which refers to evil giants such as þyrs and other monsters, also glossed in Latin as Orcus. This merge of the two entries made many philologists of the previous centuries, like Tolkien, to believe that Orc was an actual Old English word that refers to any kind of evil creature from the underworld.[15]

The word Orcnéas is once found only in Beowulf (lines 112-113) and is cited as an example of the word "Orc" in Old English text. Actually its meaning is not clear, and it is thought to refer to corpses (néas) from the Underworld.

[edit] "Orcs" in Tolkien's languages

Tolkien said that one of the reason of choosing "Orc" over "Goblin" was the similarity with his fictional languages.[16] Indeed most Elvish, Mannish and other words for Orc, are similar to the English word.

The basic Primitive Quendian root, from which the words for Orc derive, is RUKU (said to refer to any "bogey" that scared the Elves)[16]:

In the earliest versions of Qenya, Tolkien had words such as "Ork (orq-) pl. Orqi and fem. "orqindi".[source?]

In Noldorin, the earlier version of Sindarin, the word for Orc is the same: orch (pl yrch).[23][24][25] The Gnomish word for "one of a tribe of the orcs. a goblin" is said to be Gong.[26]

[edit] Goblin

Goblin is a folk word which according to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English is probably derived from the Anglo-French gobelin a diminutive of gobel (cf. kobold). William D.B. Loos notes that goblin is a Romance-derived word, unlike other Germanic words preferred by Tolkien.[27]

[edit] "Goblin" in Tolkien's languages

In the Etymologies, the Elvish names used to translate "goblin" derive from root ÓROK and are:[23]

In an early linguistic writing, Tolkien translated the Gnomish word Gong as "one of a tribe of the orcs. a goblin."[29]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

Main article: Orcs/Origin

[edit] Controversy

Tolkien's Orcs have been a subject of criticism of racism. Tolkien described Orcs as "squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types".[30]

[edit] Other writings

In The Father Christmas Letters, goblins appear as the enemies of Father Christmas and the Red Elves.

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

[edit] Orcs

"...there is much else that may be told." — Glóin
This article or section is a stub. Please help Tolkien Gateway by expanding it.

2001-2003: Pán prsteňov (2001-2003 Slovak radio series):

Due to timing and certain legal issues, the radio series uses the term skirt (pron. "skeert") and skirti for an "orc" and "orcs" (a neologism derived from the Czech translation's skrět, skrěti, "goblins"). Some of the orc characters are credited, e.g. Grishnakh in The Two Towers is portrayed by Eduard Vitek, and in The Return of the King, a Mordor orc commander whipping a disguised Frodo and Sam into shape is played by Jozef Šimonovič.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Orc-kind is a genus that includes the species of Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Half-orcs, Boggarts, Bugans and Uruk-hai.
Orcs are very common in Middle-earth. They are about the size of a man with a hunchback, though some of the sub-races are of larger or smaller stature.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

Orcs are first seen in Fornost, where they immediately attack Eradan, Andriel and Farin as they near the citadel.[31] Orc warriors are stronger then normal Orcs. Some Orcs have been taught sorcery by Agandaûr, these are known as Orc Sorcerers'

===Goblins==='.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring:

Goblins have been made clearly distinct from Orcs.

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

Goblins have been made clearly distinct from Orcs.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Goblins are a separate race and can be found in Evendim, the Shire, Ered Luin, Bree-land, Lone-lands, North Downs, Misty Mountains, Angmar and Moria. They are small in stature; a little shorter than Hobbits. In contrast, Orcs are about the size of Men. Goblins are also weaker than the orcs.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

Goblins first appear in Fornost Erain, where they attack Eradan, Andriel and Farin immediately when they reach the city.[31] Goblins are weaker than Orcs.

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

Goblins are again made clearly distinct from Orcs in the film series. They are lesser relatives of Orcs; they are smaller (the very large Great Goblin notwithstanding), less powerful, and generally have pale, diseased skin, riddled with warts.

2014: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies:

A band of "Goblin mercenaries" appear on Ravenhill during the Battle of Five Armies, but are taken care of by the Dwarves without much troub

==See also==le.

Notes

  1. The word Orc occurs twice in Beowulf.
  2. Orchoth is likely a compound of orch + hoth.
  3. Rukhs appears to contain the radical R-Kh-S.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm" The "huge" orc-chieftain is described as "almost man high"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Treebeard"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §26-27
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XVIII. Note on the Delay of Gil-galad and the Númenóreans", p. 370
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  7. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 24
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Other Races"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels Quendi and Eldar
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144, (dated 25 April 1954)
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Letter to Gene Wolfe" (letter)
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 762
  15. Bosworth and Toller's An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (1898), corrected in later editions
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Appendix C. Elvish names for the Orcs", pp. 389-91
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 47
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §27, p. 12
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, pp. 74, 194
  20. 20.0 20.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), pp. 52-4
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 99
  22. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim"
  23. 23.0 23.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", p. 379 (entry for ÓROK)
  24. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (I) The First Phase: 7. Of the Flight of the Noldor", p. 195
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, "A Secret Vice", p. 217
  26. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), p. 41
  27. William D.B. Loos, Enemies and Miscellaneous: What was the relationship between Orcs and Goblins? at The Tolkien Frequently Asked Questions List (accessed 3 July 2011)
  28. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Addenda and Corrigenda to the Etymologies — Part Two" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter and Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 46, July 2004, p. 7
  29. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), p. 41
  30. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 210, (undated, written June 1958)
  31. 31.0 31.1 The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, Chapter 1: Fornost, Main Gate