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I just saw a Shadow Mordor E3 trailer and in one of the orc's lines, he says:

He moves like a ghost; fights like a [the] devil!

Is this accurate to what words orcs use or what they believe in (or merely a device the game designers/writers used of their own volition)? If this is accurate, what devil(s) could he be referring to? E.g. could he be referring to Sauron as in "He fights like Sauron!"?

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  • The Orc devil... what would he look like? Thats the real question! Considering what our Devil sometimes looks like: pitchfork, hooves and a cape. Maybe the Orc Devil would be dressed like a hipster? You know he's definitely wearing big thick framed glasses with no lenses!
    – Daft
    Jan 5, 2015 at 16:04

3 Answers 3

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I think it's just a figure of speech. After all -- none of the human races spoke english over there and neither did orcs.

Same thing applies to movies -- during the battle of Helm's Deep Aragorn ordered bowmen to "fire" bows. Apparently everyone understood the command even though the order is clearly related to firearms, correct command being "release" or "shoot".

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This is kind of late, but I found that devils actually are referenced. After Frodo is bitten by Shelob and the orcs take him, Sam calls the orcs devils.

The voices began to move away. Sam heard the sound of feet receding. He was recovering from his shock, and now a wild fury was on him. 'I got it all wrong!' he cried. 'I knew I would. Now they've got him, the devils! the filth! Never leave your master, never, never: that was my right rule. And I knew it in my heart. May I be forgiven! Now I've got to get back to him. Somehow, somehow!'
- Book 4, Chapter 10

So if Sam does it, I see no reason why orcs wouldn't.

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  • Awesome! Can you please provide an expanded excerpt? Also, what do you think Sam is referring to?
    – brain56
    Jul 17, 2014 at 10:17
  • @brain56 He is referring to orcs. What do you mean by an expanded excerpt? Jul 17, 2014 at 22:58
  • I mean can you provide additional text from Book 4, Chapter 10 to give further context to Samwise's dialog?
    – brain56
    Jul 19, 2014 at 21:06
  • @brain56 I added the whole paragraph it was in. Jul 19, 2014 at 22:02
  • There is another reference, if memory serves. I am sure that Ioreth, one of the women who work in the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith, refers to the forces of Sauron as "murdering devils" during the battle of Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King. Jun 1, 2017 at 13:44
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I think the term is being used in sense 3a of this definition: simply as meaning someone very wicked and cruel. I think it's probably very politely phrased, for an Orc.

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  • I don't think so. I feel like there's something else here if orcs really say devil. Tolkien is quite the linguist, and his words are hardly seen without specificity.
    – brain56
    Jun 6, 2014 at 1:28
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    @brain56 But then Tolkien has nothing to do with Shadow of Mordor though, does he? A game developer may well be more careless with language than Tolkien. Jun 6, 2014 at 1:48
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    @BrianWarshaw I know, of course he doesn't have anything to do with it. But it could be the case that the game designer did his best to be as faithful to the source material as possible, as was the case with LOTRO (where you're greeted with naming guidelines upon character creation based on your character's chosen origin). And that's what I was wondering.
    – brain56
    Jun 6, 2014 at 1:50
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    I doubt it means "wickedly/cruelly" in the context of "fights like a devil". It seems more likely to refer to a very skilled, powerful combatant who fought with a lot of fury; the kind you'd see carving a path through ranks of lesser opponents on the battlefield (e.g. Sauron at the start of the first Lord of the Rings movie). Jun 6, 2014 at 10:33
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    Understood, @JimmyShelter; but that require the orcs to say "fights like the Devil", and according to [destructoid.com/… the phrasing is "fights like a devil". Middle-earth indeed has a devil; the question is whether the orcs refer to Melkor as such. I'm aware of no instances in which they do; and I'm aware of no other "devils" (Sauron might be a candidate, but in LotR he seems never to be referred to by the orcs as a devil.) Jun 6, 2014 at 13:45

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