Hot answers tagged

150

You're not the first to have asked this question; in fact Sam pondered the very same thing on the way to Mount Doom (RotK Book VI Chapter 2: The Land of Shadow): 'I don't like the look of things at all,' said Sam. 'Pretty hopeless, I call it – saving that where there's such a lot of folk there must be wells or water, not to mention food. And these are Men ...


119

Okay, I really didn't intend to end up answering my own question, but this really piqued my curiosity so I dug into it. The answer - weirdly - may actually be Spider-Man. There does not seem to be any association between goblins and the colour green before the early 1900's. Searching shows that the early examples are fairy stories, which peaked in the 1920'...


84

I believe the passage you are talking about is from The Return of the King (book 6 specifically). Frodo and Sam have just gotten away from Cirith Ungol, and they run into a patrol and overhear the following conversation. They went two or three miles further, and the orc-hold was hidden from sight behind them; but they had hardly begun to breathe more ...


72

Yes. Sam asks the same question, of whether orcs eat and drink or just live on foul air and poison, and Frodo gives him the following answer: "No, they eat and drink, Sam. The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don't think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are ...


57

It's clearly stated multiple times in The Silmarillion that only Ilúvatar can create life. In chapter 2 of "Quenta Silmarillion" ("Of Aulë and Yavanna"), Aulë creates the dwarves, but Ilúvatar chastises him: Why dost thou attempt a thing which thou knowest is beyond thy power and thy authority? In chapter 3 ("Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity ...


56

I must admit that it's true in the movies they look like having a hopeless advantage. BUT... Spoilers follow: As depicted in the movie, dwarves in Tolkien's world are redoubtable warriors, with much steadfastness... they are really strong and can endure a lot. They are disciplined and they are masters of iron work, so they have really good equipment. But ...


55

The internal thoughts of orcs are never described in the LotR. However, several dialogues between orcs are "overheard" by hobbits (Pippin when he and Merry are being carried to Isengard, Sam in Cirith Ungol). Those allow us a glimpse into the orcs' experience of the war. In particular, Shagrat and Gorbag, two company leaders (one from Cirith Ungol, one from ...


52

What do you see here? 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, ...


50

Perhaps the best answer is why do we need to define Orcs as having a single origin? It is possible that all of these answers are correct or none of them are. Tolkien may have decided there may have simply been a number of ways Orcs came into existence. From purely a scientific point of view, there have been at least three different hominid species to have ...


50

You are comparing the Uruk-Hai to humans or elves, which isn't a very relevant comparison. Instead, compare them to the other breeds of orcs that serve Sauron, which the Uruk-Hai were bred as a replacement for. Here is a confrontation between the Uruk-Hai and some northern Orcs. Uglúk is the Uruk-Hai, Grishnákh is the northern Orc. Emphases are mine. (Book ...


46

This article has a nice analysis of the Orcs aversion to sunlight. The sunlight seemed to have more of a psychological effect on the orcs, much like the gloom of Mordor depressed the morale of all men who entered there. Many times throughout the Silmarillion Orcs fight in the sunlight, fueled on by either hate of their enemies or fear of their dark masters. ...


43

Wikipedia states that some Orc traits, notably their green(ish) skin color were later additions to the Orc archetype that was established by Tolkien. Edit: to prevent misinterpretation, I did not mean to imply that the green skin color was added at a later stage by Tolkien. But rather than it was added by another party, after Tolkien had established the ...


32

There's an excellent article here entitled "The Unnatural History of Tolkien's Orcs" which gives the answers to your questions 2. and 3. as clearly Tolkien. Quoting from it: Tolkien, in the creation of orcs, was very literally making up his own monsters. Tolkien also used the concepts of elves, hobbits, dwarves, and medieval-type kingdoms in creating his ...


32

The passage in question could be from The Return of the King, Book VI, Chapter One, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol". Sam had infiltrated the tower, which was full of dead orcs, to look for Frodo, when suddenly a live orc runs toward Sam, looking down. It was no more than six paces from him when, lifting its head, it saw him; and Sam could hear its gasping ...


26

In his letter 246, JRRT spoke about the likely consequences should Frodo (or any other lesser being) decide to take control of the ring. In short, the ring will drive anyone who claims it into a state of megalomaniacal madness. They'll become obsessed with trying to dominate the world and will ultimately seek to confront Sauron himself, at which point ...


25

I have not read it, so this is me speculating fairly wildly. It is possibly you are misremembering, and the text is actually from The Last Ringbearer, by Kirill Eskov. This book (an informal sequel to the LOTR trilogy), is based on the premise that the Tolkien account is a "history written by the victors". In Eskov's version of the story, Mordor is ...


23

Uruk-Hais are Orcs. Just a special breed, that is stronger, faster and can withstand sunlight. Although Treebeard speculates that Saruman created them by crossbreeding Orcs with men, there is no tangible evidence for that. Nonetheless your average Orc is bow-legged while Uruk-hais have straight legs. Also they are bigger. But as far as we know Uruks are just ...


22

Tolkien invented neither orcs, nor the term "orc". The word "orc", related to the term "orkney", is from Beowulf "Þanon untydras ealle onwocon,/eotenas ond ylfe, ond orcneas." "The concept of a generally despicable, probably inherently evil race of foot soldiers,"1 probably extends back to antiquity. For example, the Rakshasa demons commanded by Lord Ravana ...


22

Unlikely, since Tolkien was professor of Old English (and as Valorum commented, wrote a translation and commentary on Beowulf). The Old English word "orc" corresponds with Latin Orcus (deity of the Underworld), and synonymous with the Norse þyrs/ðyrs "ogre", so it has a different mythological origin than Grendel, and Tolkien would certainly have been aware ...


21

Though this may have been more exaggerated in the movies, this is the case in the LOTR books as well. Recall Gimli's and and Legolas's contest at Helm's Deep which Gimli won 42-41 (or 43-42 in the movie). Possible reasons for the individual inferiority (perceived or actual) of orcs: Orcs are ugly, half-crippled, corrupted spawn of Morgoth's making. It's ...


19

Some of the orcs in Mordor were bred by Sauron: ...a race of sentient beings bred by the evil Vala Melkor (Morgoth) during the time of the Great Darkness. The Dark Lord Sauron also bred them, and later the wizard Saruman It is stated that: After the ultimate defeat of Sauron, Mordor became mostly empty again as the orcs inside it fled or were ...


18

Yes. In addition to the quote provided by @Randal'Thor, there is also this: 'Water, water!' muttered Sam. He had stinted himself, and in his parched mouth his tongue seemed thick and swollen; but for all his care they now had very little left, perhaps half his bottle, and maybe there were still days to go. All would long ago have been spent, if they had ...


15

In addition to the answer above, the only additional information I can add is some of Karyn Wynn Fonstad's maps from the Atlas of Middle Earth. These include climate maps showing the area around the Sea of Núrnen as being Semi-Arid and mostly plains and bottomlands. The first image suggests that the land was Semi-Arid, and slightly further South, in Harad, ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible