From the perspective of an orc - what is a hobbit?

The Hobbit told us that dragons and trolls do not know the race of hobbits. The Lord of the Rings told us that even the Ents do not know the hobbits.

So what about orcs? I would assume that not all of them know hobbits - only a few, maybe. But what does an orc see when he looks at an hobbit and what does an orc think?

Presumably they do not see hobbits as a threat, but maybe as an easy meal? Maybe they think they look ugly or weak? I can't remember reading anything about what orcs think about hobbits in the books.

I just want get a better understanding of what would happen from an orc's perspective if they encountered a hobbit, especially if that perspective was detailed in any scene of Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit.

  • 3
    I could swear that in the second or third movie some orcs mention that they smell hobbit nearby. But my memories are not as good as many on this site. Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 19:52
  • 11
    Meat's meat, and an Orc's gotta eat. Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 23:26
  • 4
    The weak are meat the strong do eat.
    – RichS
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 6:48
  • 4
    Hobbits and Orcs have met and fought on the battle field. That's where golf comes from
    – Doctor Two
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 19:54
  • @DoctorTwo, technically, those were Goblins, but since Goblins and Orcs are the same thing anyway, and are merely named differently in the Hobbit, compared to LOTR, this is a pointless nitpick.
    – Gryphon
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 23:54

2 Answers 2


Tolkien explicitly states in a number of places that Hobbits are a variant of Men, so in broad terms they're just smaller Men.

Perhaps the clearest indication of an Orc's attitude to them is in the Two Towers Book 4 chapter 3: The Uruk Hai:

'What are they wanted for?' asked several voices. 'Why alive? Do they give good sport?'

This is typical Orc-fashion: they're most interested in how they respond to torture and quite uninterested otherwise.

There's also Snaga's treatment of Frodo in the Tower of Cirith Ungol (RotK):

'You lie quiet, or you'll pay for it! You've not got long to live in peace, I guess; but if you don't want the fun to begin right now, keep your trap shut, see? There's a reminder for you!' There was a sound like the crack of a whip.

And Gorbag's words in Two Towers, Choices of Master Samwise:

'We can tell him a few stories at any rate, if we can't do anything else. I don't suppose he's ever been in lovely Lugburz, so he may like to know what to expect. This is going to be more funny than I thought. Let's go!'

Again, it's typical Orc-fashion: their interest is in "having fun" by causing torment to others, and their attitude towards Hobbits is how much "fun" they can have with them.

  • 4
    If we would combine your answer with the things Royal Canadian Bandit wrote in the comments, I think than we got a real good answer to my question.
    – Jurik
    Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 12:05
  • Is a Hobbit just a Halfling from Middle Earth?
    – Daft
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 13:45
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    @Daft - it's more accurate to say that Halflings are just Hobbits with the serial-numbers filed off. Tolkien invented the whole concept of Halflings as we know them today, and they're sometimes even called "Halflings" in his work (e.g "For Isildur's Bane shall waken, And the Halfling forth shall stand"), but the two names are interchangable. Other works aren't legally allowed use the word "Hobbit" so "Halfling" is what they use instead (IIRC early editions of D&D used "Hobbit" before they were stopped).
    – user8719
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 14:18

What do you see here?

what is it?

It's a wombat. You might not have known it, so how did you perceive it? What did you see in it? What did you think? If someone had described it to you, would you have been able to apprehend one? Orcs might not be the brightest kind in middle earth but if you tell them (slowly) "small people, big, hairy feet, probably without shoes, pointy ears", I don't see a problem why they shouldn't be able to apprehend one.

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    That's one of the most unusual answers I've seen so far. Bonus points for the wombat ;) Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 9:41
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    In The Two Towers (both book and film) it is made very clear that the Uruk-hai regard hobbits as edible. And when the orcs capture Frodo in Cirith Ungol in Return of the King, their reaction is not "what in the world can this be?" but rather, "this must be some sort of spy for the elves and/or Gondor." Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 10:13
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    Well, the orcs are taking the same attitude as Faramir: "There are no travellers in this land, only servants of the Dark Tower or the White." Frodo isn't a servant of Sauron, so it is entirely reasonable to assume he is a spy. Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 11:33
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    This is a pretty good analogy--"wombat" sounds like "hobbit", it lives in a relatively quiet and isolated part of the world, and people would ask if it's good to eat. I'd be concerned about apprehending one and taking it out of the wild :) Commented May 6, 2014 at 19:01
  • 3
    I really want to +1 this answer but I was chased by a wombat once... they're fell beasts!!
    – Daft
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 10:39

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