There is a quote from the History of Middle-Earth (Morgoth's Ring) - supplied in dlanod's answer - 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.

OK, I get it that creation of Orcs as an act was a Bad Juju by Morgoth (or Sauron?) originally. But:

  1. Why is merely breeding men and orcs so bad now that Orcs exist? Somehow, breeding Elves and men is a Highly Commendabe Thing (Aragorn and Elrond are both products of this).

  2. Even assuming that the breeding was not consensual on human part and this was the reason for marking the deed bad, this surely was not - by far - the wickedest thing Saruman ever did.

  • Have you seen a Orc woman naked? ;) Mar 11, 2012 at 21:03
  • Presumably, half-elves aren't "bred" or created artificially, but rather "made" in the traditional way of "man meets woman, and then one thing lead to another..."
    – TLP
    Mar 11, 2012 at 22:26
  • 3
    @TLP - I donno, the way I understand it with elves, you need a bird and a bee. Mar 11, 2012 at 22:35
  • 1
    If breeding with an orc is wrong, I don't wanna be right!
    – Daft
    Nov 13, 2014 at 14:18

5 Answers 5


The original creation of Orcs, assuming that we accept the Silmarillion account, is described as:

This it may be was the vilest deed of Melkor, and the most hateful to Ilúvatar.

This is in very similar terms to the description of Saruman's works: "his wickedest deed".

Now, even if we don't accept an Elvish origin for Orcs, the description (as a description of a wicked deed) remains valid. What Melkor did, and what Saruman did, is simply this: interfering with the nature of the Children of Ilúvatar.

Here's how the Ainulindale describes the Children:

For the Children of Ilúvatar were conceived by him alone; and they came with the third theme, and were not in the theme which Ilúvatar propounded at the beginning, and none of the Ainur had part in their making.

And here's what Of the Beginning of Days has to say:

For Elves and Men are the Children of Ilúvatar; and since they understood not fully that theme by which the Children entered into the Music, none of the Ainur dared to add anything to their fashion.

The pattern should be obvious: the nature of the Children of Ilúvatar is not for the Ainur to interfere with and doing so is considered evil. I'll leave the last words to Ilúvatar himself:

Why hast thou done this? Why dost thou attempt a thing which thou knowest is beyond thy power and thy authority? For thou hast from me as a gift thy own being only, and no more...


In Tolkien's world, Orcs are inherently evil, because they were made that way. Breeding a bigger, stronger, smarter, and braver Orc is something that is likely to have consequences that last long after Saruman is dead and affect far more people than any of his other actions.


One item not mentioned by John or cjm's answers but touched on in both is that because Orcs are inherently evil and cruel, and the act of creating them in the first place was an act of malice and evil, that causing Men to be cross-bred with them is an act of corruption of the Children of Eru. This is in effect violating God's plan, as Eru is basically God as understood within the Christian mythology. That's in addition to cjm's comment of improving what is otherwise an inherently evil race.


I'm not sure how accepted it is that LOTR has Christian overtones. Some Googling suggests that some agree while others reject the idea.

Anyhow, it's always seemed to me that there are Christian aspects to the story, and if you accept this then from a Christian perspective cross-breeding men with Orcs would be a gross perversion and a great evil.

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    "from a Christian perspective cross-breeding men with Orcs would be a gross perversion and a great evil" - cite please? Especially compared to all else Saruman did? Mar 11, 2012 at 19:32
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    Gosh, now you're asking, and I'm no theologian. Strangely, the bible has no proscription on sex with orcs, though a quick scan of my King James bible reveals Deu 27:21 "Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast" and I imagine this would cover orcs. On a more serious level, Christians believe man is made in the image of God and to corrupt mankind by breeding with Orcs would surely be to desecrate God's work and would be a grave blasphemy. I can't find a citation to support this but isn't it a reasonable assumption? Mar 11, 2012 at 19:44
  • beats me. I seriously don't know. May be should ask on Hermeneutics SE? Mar 11, 2012 at 20:18
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    The Hermeneutics crowd (very politely :-) told me I was posting in the wrong place, but pointed me towards en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_of_God Mar 12, 2012 at 6:45

Probably because a captured female human is not willingly bred with an orc. So they would be the product of rape.

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    Who says it isn't a captured human male willingly breeding with a sweet Orc lady? ;)
    – Andres F.
    Jan 22, 2014 at 23:58
  • Sure, Orc babes...they have those,right?
    – Monty129
    Jan 23, 2014 at 0:24
  • Or why are we making the assumption at all that an Orc male with a human female is non-consensual? Sep 28, 2014 at 15:45
  • 1
    Just for fun, the consensual version makes me think of this (it's a sculpture at an art museum in Melbourne, Australia): mycitymelbourne.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/thug.jpg Sep 28, 2014 at 15:56

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