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In the LOTR movie it's implied that Saruman bred and created Uruk-hai.

But the Wiki is a bit ambigous on the books - the impression I got was that it was a Saruman stealing the idea from Sauron who bred the first Orc-Goblinmen hybrids.

Is there a Tolkien statement to confirm or deny this?

Just to clarify, I'm referring to the breeding technique, NOT specific beings created using it.

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Sauron was the first to create Uruk-hai - they first appeared out of Mordor in the last years of Steward Denethor I, before TA 2475 (Appendix A). This was long before Saruman's treachery that roughly dated to the early 3000s TA.

An argument could be made, however, that the Uruk-hai in the LotR were a different breed created by Saruman by inter-breeding Orcs and Men. There is a quote from the History of Middle-Earth (Morgoth's Ring) that states

There is no doubt that long afterwards, in the Third Age, Saruman rediscovered this, or learned of it in lore, and in his lust for mastery committed this, his wickedest deed: the interbreeding of Orcs and Men, producing both Men-orcs large and cunning, and Orc-men treacherous and vile.

"This" being the creation of Orcs.

Treebeard also speculates on the Uruk-hai's creation in LotR, saying

For these Isengarders are more like wicked Men. It is a mark of evil things that came in the Great Darkness that they cannot abide the Sun, but Saruman's Orcs can endure it, even if they hate it. I wonder what he has done? Are they Men he has ruined, or has he blended the races of Orcs and Men? That would be a black evil!

That is in-character speculation rather than a definite statement though.

  • Just to clarify - the question was who produced the techique, NOT the actual beings. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 10 '12 at 17:16
  • Rearranged the answer to reflect that. Sauron was definitely the first. Saruman just improved them by (allegedly) breeding them with Men, so it depends whether you consider that a separate "breed" or not. – dlanod Mar 10 '12 at 17:52
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The first orcs were breeding and corrupting of a certain elven nation by Melkor. Sauron and then Saruman both contributed to breeding them to be 'better'

  • Again, can you provide sources for your answer? Secondly, the origin of orcs is debated and was never decided on by J.R.R. Tolkien. – Edlothiad Apr 29 '17 at 6:35

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