As we know the Elves are afflicted with sea-longing, which must have been known to the orc overlords. Why didn't the orcs just bide their time and perhaps even help the elves depart? They could have saved some resources this way and this could allow them to focus on other matters.

Let me give an example. The Hobbits were easily subdued in the Book, so why not deal with them first, then Men and the Dwarves and Elves after that? One thing at a time.

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    What is the source of your question? What are you struggling to understand? The Orcs were bred with a hatred for all the free people’s. You seem to think Orcs were only interested in having the Elvish lands, but Orcs tended to live underground. Also once the Elves had gone there was still Man, and Hobbits. I’m not sure what you’re trying to find out and that makes it difficult to answer your question.
    – Edlothiad
    Mar 31, 2021 at 10:57
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    Why do the Elves have to leave? You ask why the Orcs bothered with the Elves but you have no actual problem you’re trying to solve. Is there a reason they needed the Elves gone? Did they not want them gone? What do you not understand that led you to asking this question?
    – Edlothiad
    Mar 31, 2021 at 14:09
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    The majority of orcs did what Morgoth/Sauron/Saruman told them to, and had little choice in the matter. The orcs of the Misty Mountains tended to act independently, and generally avoided pitched battles unless someone did something to upset them (e.g. sleeping in their front porch and then killing their leader), in which case they went out in numbers for revenge. Mar 31, 2021 at 20:25
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    Voting to reopen. I think I have a skeleton of a pretty good answer that's not opinion-based at all. Apr 1, 2021 at 12:22
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    @edlothiad because I think there's a definitive answer. Otherwise I wouldn't have said I had an answer, I would have said I had an opinion. If there's a definite answer then it's not opinion-based. Apr 2, 2021 at 0:23

2 Answers 2


Regarding "sea longing":

As noted in another answer, the "sea longing" is actually a longing for Valinor, which simply put is "paradise". When elves first appeared in Middle-Earth, they were invited by Valar ("the gods") to come live with them in Valinor.

Those elves who accepted and started the journey to Valinor are called Eldar and those who didn't are called Avari. Eldar in turn consists of three races: Vanyar, Noldor and Teleri. All of Vanyar and Nolder went to Valinor, but only some of Teleri. The events of Silmarillion focus on most of Noldor returning to Middle-Earth to reclaim the stolen Silmarils.

So those elves who would have "sea longing" would be those belonging to Noldor or Teleri. One of the main reasons is that their family and kin live in Valinor and elves who die also travel there (to the Halls of Mandos) in a form of reincarnation. From the more notable characters of LotR: Elrond, Arwen and Galadriel are of Noldor, Legolas and Celeborn are of Teleri.

The majority of elves in the Mirkwood area are Avari though.

Regarding "lets start with the hobbits first":

After his defeat by the Last Alliance between elves and Men, Sauron had been planning his conquest for several millennium. He was biding his time, waiting for the elves in particular to grow weaker, but also for Valar to lose interest in Middle-Earth.

Sauron had closely been grinding down Gondor over time, slowly but steadily claiming bit by bit of it: Minas Ithil, Ithilien, even Gondor's former capital Osgiliath.

When the One Ring unexpectedly surfaces, events escalate out of Sauron's control. Sauron's plan was to use Saruman to keep Rohan in check and eventually neutralize or defeat that country. When he sees Pippin in the Palantír, he thinks that it is the Ringbearer and that Saruman has found the One Ring. Then as he sends a nazgûl to check, he learns that Saruman has been unexpectedly defeated.

This forces Sauron's hand - he feared that one of his enemies would use the One Ring against him - someone like Gandalf or Aragorn. And also that an alliance between Gondor and Rohan would now happen. So he starts an all-out war, trying to defeat Gondor before Rohan would come to their aid.

But also a war in the north, against dwarves, elves and men there. Sauron had troops around Mirkwood, or could move them there from Mordor unchallenged. But he couldn't easily take an army across the Misty Mountains - it means passing Rohan, or Lórien and Mirkwood. And Sauron couldn't single out one faction at a time in that area, since they all band together as allies (made possible through the events of The Hobbit).

So there's no easy way to get an army to The Shire. Plus everyone regards the hobbits as irrelevant, if they even know of them. The Shire isn't a sensible military objective, since it doesn't even have any military.

As for "hobbits easily subdued", that happens mostly though Saurman's cunning and charisma than out of military force. The hobbits outnumber his gang greatly, as they soon realize when Frodo & company returns to lead them.


The sea longing is not known to affect all Elves. The Avari had no interest of Aman. Even Eldar who avoided the sea could last at least a long time, if not permanently, before feeling the call (see Legolas). Even if it did affect all of them you are talking about thousands of years, between the First and start of the Fourth Ages, and they did not even all leave by the Fourth Age. Also until the start of the Fourth Age, they were generally not acting independently. They were acting under the orders of others: Morgoth, Sauron, Saruman for some of them at the end.

  • sure and these orc leaders surely knew about the sea-longing. As for time, the orcs were immortal and had plenty of time.
    – user29110
    Mar 31, 2021 at 12:41
  • @user1095108 the Orcs were never immortal. I'm not sure where you got that idea from bu it's wrong.
    – Edlothiad
    Mar 31, 2021 at 12:55
  • Long-lived at least, then :)
    – user29110
    Mar 31, 2021 at 13:00
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    Long lived related to what? A fly? Some lived >100 years, as did many Men in the Second and some in the Third age. They were certainly not long lived in the scope of Middle-earth. Thorin was 195 himself.
    – Edlothiad
    Mar 31, 2021 at 14:08
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    You are wading into a different topic entirely. If you google for this topic, you'll see that opinions vastly differ. It's not what my question is about.
    – user29110
    Mar 31, 2021 at 15:01