Within the movie version of The Two Towers Saruman created Uruk-hai in the pits below Orthanc that were willing to kill Mordor orcs when the orcs attempted to harm the hobbits.

Could Gandalf (or another free leader) have created orcs to be used against Sauron?

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    I would say it is entirely possible, but Gandalf would never have done it, because creating orcs is seen as an ‘evil’ act. This appears to be one of the reasons for Saruman being seen as having ‘turned bad’ (orcs are essentially mutilated elves as Saruman describes at some point!). I do not have the books to hand, so cannot provide evidence at this time!
    – ZenLogic
    Jul 16, 2018 at 17:15
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    Gandalf is equal in power to Saruman. He could have created an army of orcs if he wanted to. Instead, he made friends; these friends massacred Saruman's army, and put up a good fight against Sauron's army as well. Altogether a far superior option. Jul 16, 2018 at 17:28
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    well, this is basically the premise of the "Shadow of Mordor" game series.
    – Yasskier
    Jul 16, 2018 at 21:16
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    @DaaaahWhoosh Yeah, but superior mostly because of plot. Good guys in that book are pretty op.
    – Misha R
    Jul 17, 2018 at 5:21
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    @chepner Morgoth couldn't create them from scratch. Tolkien never settled on an origin for the orcs, but only Eru could create any life 'from scratch'. Nov 18, 2018 at 4:03

2 Answers 2


I have no source for this (it is a speculative question) but I don't see why not.

If Saruman could do it, Gandalf probably could have too. However, for this to happen Gandalf would need to become fundamentally corrupted in some way and in many senses would no longer be Gandalf as we know him. His army would be challenging Mordor for the purposes of gaining his own power, not for the defence of the free peoples of Middle-earth.

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    Orcs are created to basically carry out their master’s will, and it seems to me that they have little free will of their own. This goes against Gandalf’s mission of freeing middle earth from the evil of Sauron’s dominion!
    – ZenLogic
    Jul 16, 2018 at 17:17

Based on the question as asked by the OP, I'm assuming that the question is "Is it possible that Gandalf was the being who created the Orcs?" (See below for an answer to the other interpretation, "Could Gandalf have created his own Orcs to use against Sauron?")

Definitely not:

(1) The orcs are mentioned numerous times in The Silmarillion, which predates Gandalf's arrival in Middle-earth.

(2) Additionally, The Silmarillion reports that the Wise all believed that the Orcs were made by Morgoth:

But of those unhappy ones [lost Elves] who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty. For who of the living has descended into the pits of Utumno, or has explored the darkness of the counsels of Melkor? Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar; and naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life, could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulindalë before the Beginning: so say the wise. And deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery.

Added: OK, the other interpretation "Could Gandalf have created his own Orcs to use against Sauron?" Has the answer, "Probably yes if he wanted to and spent enough time and effort learning the process. But he couldn't have done it without also going rogue."

It was not in Gandalf's personality. In Valinor, he was known as Olórin and

Wisest of the Maiar was Olórin. He too dwelt in Lórien, but his ways took him often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience.

But of Olórin that tale does not speak; for though he loved the Elves, he walked among them unseen, or in form as one of them, and they did not know whence came the fair visions or the promptings of wisdom that he put into their hearts. In later days he was the friend of all the Children of Ilúvatar, and took pity on their sorrows; and those who listened to him awoke from despair and put away the imaginations of darkness.


[Gandalf] would have no ties and no allegiance, save to those who sent him, and he would abide in no place nor be subject to any summons.

None of this shows the kind of person who would created a race of perverted monsters to fight Sauron.

Also, fighting Sauron directly was not his mandate, since

[Gandalf was a messenger] sent by the Lords of the West to contest the power of Sauron, if he should arise again, and to move Elves and Men and all living things of good will to valiant deeds.

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    I read the question as: "Given that Saruman was shown to create orc-like beings (the Uruk-Hai), could Gandalf have done the same to create some other kind of orc to fight Sauron?"
    – K. Morgan
    Jul 16, 2018 at 16:04
  • I'm not sure of the relevance of your two points to the question..?
    – Edlothiad
    Jul 16, 2018 at 16:51
  • @K. Morgan You may be right, so I answered that, also.
    – Mark Olson
    Jul 16, 2018 at 16:56
  • It isn't what the asker is asking; but the fighting quality of orks is so low that there use could only be as cannon-fodder (arrow fodder?). The race of men probably have the best balance between quantity/manpower (and reproductive speed) and quality/fighting-potential, if Gandalf was searching for a mass-produceable army like the orcs are. Jul 16, 2018 at 17:28
  • @K.Morgan You have the correct interpretation
    – Phil
    Jul 16, 2018 at 18:33

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