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Hi!
This is my first post here....stumbled across the site by pure accident but figured i'd give it a shot. anyway....
In The Hobbit, Tolkien refers to Goblins a lot, but in all his other works he uses the term Orcs.
Anyone know why this is? It niggles at me, haha. I'm thinking maybe as it was intended more as a children's book than the others?

ah well.
Dead Smilie *buzzer* actually ive pretty much figured out the goblins thing:
goblin: created by sauron (first attempt)
orc: saron again, better than goblins
urik-hai: breeded by sauromon, perfected orc

so there awnsers your question
The Hobbit was put forward as a children's book. Now "goblin" is not a very uncommon term in kiddy fairytailes and hence the kiddies would be able to identify with "goblin" rather than the term "orc" which is a very uncommon term. The goblins and the orcs are pretty much the same thing but lets say they were more adult-ised in the Lord of the Rings as orcs.

And just for knowledge, its Morgoth who created Orcs/goblins and not Sauron.
Yah Lord Aragorn, and also Goblins live mainly in the misty mountains and Orcs live mainly in Mordor or Dul Guldur or Carn Dum (at least I think so) or somewhere like that.
Thats right Gwaihir. Morgoth created the orcs in the elder days, along with goblins who were their smaller, faster relatives with better noses for tracking scent. Sauron used the orcs as well, and later he developed the uruk-hai and the olog-hai. They are both stronger, more daylight resistant orcs, as big as men and fierce in combat. Saruman did not design the uruk-hai (as in the movie) that is a common misconcepcion.
possibly the both started from the same root species and develped along different paths? would explain why the "goblins" are predominant in the caves and mountains
Droll0, read around the site, theres a wealth of information to be found that wouldnt be known by someone who (i suspect) became a fan through the movies and hasnt yet fully read the book(s)
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Sauron used the orcs as well, and later he developed the uruk-hai and the olog-hai. They are both stronger, more daylight resistant orcs, as big as men and fierce in combat. Saruman did not design the uruk-hai (as in the movie) that is a common misconcepcion.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Sauron did not develop the Uruk-Hai, nor had any dominion over them. It was Saruman who made them and was their master. The movies aren't wrong all the time.

Treebeard :
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He has taken up with foul folk, with the Orcs. Brm, hoom! Worse than that: he has been doing something to them; something dangerous. For these Isengarders are more like wicked Men. It is a mark of evil things that came in the Great Darkness that they cannot abide the Sun; but Saruman's Orcs can endure it, even if they hate it. I wonder what he has done? Are they Men he has ruined, or has he blended the races of Orcs and Men? That would be a black evil!'


Goblins are just a branch of Orcs, who live in the Misty Mountains. Just like elves and men, there are lots of types of Orcs. That's perfectly normal. Hoom!
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Sauron used the orcs as well, and later he developed the uruk-hai and the olog-hai.
The Olog-hai were bred by Sauron when he was in Southern Mirkwood at Dol Guldur and they were not made from Orc stock but from Trolls.
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Some held that they were not Trolls but giant Orcs; but the Olog-hai were in fashion of body and mind quite unlike even the largest of Orc-kind whom they surpassed in size and power, Trolls they were, but filled with evil will of their master: a fell race, strong, agile, fierce and cunning, but harder than stone. Unlike the older of their race of the Twilight they could endure the Sun, so long as the will of Sauron held sway over them. - from Return of the King, Part I of Appendix F under Trolls.
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Sorry to burst your bubble, but Sauron did not develop the Uruk-Hai, nor had any dominion over them. It was Saruman who made them and was their master. The movies aren't wrong all the time.


Sorry Vir, but it was Sauron who first bred the Uruk hai, around TA 2475. It was these Uruks that over-ran Ithilien and sacked Osgiliath at this time. The original Uruks were superiour orcs, who as well as being stronger were able to withstand sunlight. What Saruman did later was to cross Uruk hai with Men.
Oh no, i have made a mistake. Time for seppuku.

Saruman developed his own breed of Orcs, which called themselves the Uruk-Hai. It is not correct that he didn't develop any orcs in the books. This i was trying to point out.

And as far as i know, only Saruman's orcs called themselves Uruk-Hai. To me Uruk-Hai always were the Isengard ones, nothing else.
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Morgoth created the orcs in the elder days, along with goblins who were their smaller, faster relatives with better noses for tracking scent.


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and also Goblins live mainly in the misty mountains and Orcs live mainly in Mordor or Dul Guldur or Carn Dum


Does there are direct proof, that Goblins are not the same as Orcs? In my thoughts there is no difference between them and I remember a quote in the Letters, which I haven't at hand at the moment, that Tolkien said, that Orcs and Goblins are quite the same. That means, that there cannot be a difference with the locations. Orcs and Goblins living in the Misty Mountains and Orcs and Goblins living in Mordor. They are the same.
The only difference ist the difference between the stronger race of Uruks and Orcs/Goblins. That is explicitly mentioned, but not the other thing, I think.
Me too, me too! Sorry I missed you earlier, Turner, but I think you've actually been here a touch longer than me. I can't recall if there's a "member since" or anything like that anywhere on accounts; frankly, I don't care enough to check.

I hold with the goblin vs. orc rather than goblin=orc view, and while I don't recall it being explicitly stated either, it is strongly implied. Perhaps it was a derived distinction; after the creation of Uruks a distinction would be necessary, and I wouldn't expect Sauron to maintain a whole lot of the inferior older stock except for spying and scouting duties to which they were better suited. Thus the various diminutive and cowardly snagas held in contempt by the Uruks.

I had always thought that Uruk-hai were the RESULT of Sarumans cross breeding orcs with men, but I'm not going to argue with Val 'cos I don't like looking like a fool. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
It's a popular belief that Orcs from the Misty Mountains - the ones that appear in the Hobbit - are called Goblins, Orcs from Mordor are called Uruks or simply Orcs. To put it simply : LOTR-Orcs = Uruks or Orcs; Hobbit-Orcs : Goblins.

I believe Goblins are just a smaller kind of Orcs, just like the River-ppl were a smaller kind of Men.

In one of his letters JRRT seems to imply that Orcs=Goblins, though in another letter he writes that Orcs are not Goblins.

Letter #131 :
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Also the Orcs (goblins) and other monsters bred by the First Enemy are not wholly destroyed.


In another letter, JRRT implies that "goblin" is the translation of "orch".

Letter #141 :
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They are not based on direct experience of mine; but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (goblin is used as a translation in The Hobbit, where orc only occurs once, I think), especially as it appears in George MacDonald, except for the soft feet which I never believed in. The name has the form orch (pl. yrch) in Sindarin and uruk in the Black Speech.


Later in LOTR, JRRT translates "orch" as "orc" :

Letter #151:
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Your preference of goblins to orcs involves a large question and a matter of taste, and perhaps historical pedantry on my pan. Personally I prefer Orcs (since these creatures are not 'goblins', not even the goblins of George MacDonald, which they do to some extent resemble). Also I now deeply regret having used Elves, though this is a word in ancestry and original meaning suitable enough.
My take on the subject is that Tolkien substituted the word 'Goblin' for 'Orc' in his hobbit story for children, because most children were familiar with the nasty old garden variety of Goblin. By using 'Goblin' Tolkien didn't need the added complication of explaining the new term 'Orc' in The Hobbit.

I've been familiar with goblins since age seven when I was introduced to James Whitcomb Riley's poem Little Orphant Annie published in 1885, in which each verse ends with the lines:
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An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
... Ef you
.......... Don't
............... Watch
.................... Out!"
'Orc', 'Uruk', and 'Yrch' are the different spellings of Tolkien's denizen of Middle-earth and he put them in the indicies of his epic volumes; the word 'goblin' doesn't show up there. I concider any reference to 'goblins' in his more adult books, to be mere slips of the tongue, as are any reference to 'orcs' in The Hobbit.
Orcs and goblins are indeed the same thing. Tolkien published the following in The Hobbit ...

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'... (2) Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds). Orc is the hobbits' form of the name given at that time to these creatures, and it is not connected at all with our orc, ork, applied to sea-animals of dolphin-kind.' JRRT The Hobbit


Thus 'goblin' is an English word used to translate an actual word spoken in Middle-earth Orc, as 'Elves' can be used to translate Elvish Quendi for example (the word 'goblin' can be used to translate Elvish words like Orch too). The explanation above is specific to The Hobbit as far as 'usually' translated, but explains the scenario of The Lord of the Rings as well: the general idea is that Orc is translated goblin a lot in The Hobbit, and sometimes translated in The Lord of the Rings.

A somewhat similar example might be if one were reading a German text that had been translated into English and the word 'hund' started to appear in the English translation because the person who did the translation liked the word hund so much he or she started using it instead of rendering English 'dog'.
My sword does not make any distinctions.
ive always just seen it as Tolien used "goblin" for theHobit, because it is more 'kiddy-esque', wer as for LotR he used orc as a grown up version od goblin, but sometimes splipped into old habbits and wrote goblin xxx
In my interpretation, Goblins are Orcs from the Misty Mountains, who were smaller and less fierce than the Orcs from Mordor and Isengard.

There are different races/subsections amongst Men and Elves, so why not amongst Orcs?
Orcs and Goblins are the same thing. It can be disputed that Goblins are a Type of Orc, perhaps more hunched and adpated to tunnels etc but they are the same thing. Then there are Uruks which Sauron created as perfections on the normal scum and then there are Uruk-Hai, the greatest type of Orc 'Nearly Man high'.
'Goblin' was probably just used more often to appeal to children or perhaps Tolkien used Goblin more in the Hobbit becuase that book seems to be written from the perspective of Bilbo and hobbits would probably associate with the word 'Goblin' than 'Orc' better.
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Virumor posted: In my interpretation, Goblins are Orcs from the Misty Mountains, who were smaller and less fierce than the Orcs from Mordor and Isengard.


Again, Tolkien explained that 'goblin' is used in translation for Orc however. Moreover Tolkien refers to Saruman's Isengarders as goblin-soldiers, for example, and Azog (the great Orc) as a goblin -- goblin is not reserved for smaller, less fierce types, it is a word that translates Orc, Orch (words used in Middle-earth) and simply appears a lot in The Hobbit.

Since 'man-high' is brought up, just to add, the great Orc-chieftain in Moria was said to be 'almost man-high', who surely is one of the Uruks from Mordor I would say (as Gandalf notes are present).

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Lord of All posted: '... or perhaps Tolkien used Goblin more in the Hobbit becuase that book seems to be written from the perspective of Bilbo and hobbits would probably associate with the word 'Goblin' than 'Orc' better.


Hobbits used the word Orc (as Tolkien explained in the note he added to The Hobbit).
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Again, Tolkien explained that 'goblin' is used in translation for Orc however.

Glad I had posted "In my interpretation", then.
I am not saying that Hobbits did not know of the word 'Orc'. I am meraly saying they would probably use Goblin more commonly. The Hobbit is meant to be a book made by Bilbo baggins also called 'There and back again' isn't it? Well thats what it appears like to me anyway. And seeing as Goblin is used much more than Orc which is hardly used at all it therefore follows that the said explanation was the reason for this.
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Lord of All posted: I am not saying that Hobbits did not know of the word 'Orc'. I am meraly saying they would probably use Goblin more commonly. The Hobbit is meant to be a book made by Bilbo baggins also called 'There and back again' isn't it? Well thats what it appears like to me anyway. And seeing as Goblin is used much more than Orc which is hardly used at all it therefore follows that the said explanation was the reason for this.'


But the Hobbits would not have used the word 'goblin' more commonly, and Bilbo would not have used the word goblin in his story of course. Tolkien's note was published in revised editions of The Hobbit and lands right in line with Appendix F in The Return of the King on translation.
I'm getting confused. Tolkien mentions that Orc is not an English word, but is it not an Old-English word? Did he invent the word? Why would he need to translate an existing English word?

There's of course 'orc' being synonymous to the cetacean mammal 'orca', but this does not apply here.

As for the different types, it seems Tolkien used 'hobgoblin' for the larger types, and 'goblin' for the rest, so then would 'Orc' be a common denominator for goblins and hobgoblins?
As far as Tolkien was concerned Old English Orc meant 'demon'. Thus Old English is the external source for a word used back in Frodo's day.

Perhaps to add to the confusion, in The Lord of the Rings Old English has been used to represent the language of the Rohirrim (not meant to be the actual language of the Rohirrim, but used in translation). But despite this (and Orthanc aside for the moment) the word Orc is meant to be an actual word used by the Rohirrim and the Hobbits.

As far as the translations goblin, hobgoblin: Tolkien (in The Hobbit) used hobgoblin for larger types -- and for example, 'dog' need not become a word only referring to small dogs if I were to use a compound 'greatdog' for larger kinds.
Galin wrote:
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But the Hobbits would not have used the word 'goblin' more commonly, and Bilbo would not have used the word goblin in his story of course.


I am also confused. Why wouldn't Hobbits have used 'Goblin' and 'Hobgoblin'? What are your reasons behind this?
Because they are translations, words in languages 'of the future' that no Hobbit would use or understand ('Hobbit' represents kuduk for example). 'Goblin' could (in theory) represent some word for Orcs peculiar to Hobbits, but it is said to represent Orc in any case (not some other word used by Hobbits), though as noted, it also is used in translation for Elvish orch, conveniently, because yrch are Orcs are 'goblins'.
You've lost me Galin... Dead Smilie
Well the Hobbits spoke a form of Westron (which is not English), thus 'goblin, hobgoblin' are not words in their language. These are translations rather.

I too am confused, but I understand kinda where you are going.

You are saying, that in "Hobbit Language" or "Hobbit Terms" the word for "Orc" is "Goblin", as in "Elvish Language" or "Elvish Terms" the word for "Orc" is "Orch" or "Yrch" for the plural. They all mean the same thing, but different words for different languages or terms right???
The Hobbit-word for these creatures is Orc -- the translation is 'goblin'. Two different words, yes, both denoting the same thing. Hobbits (Westron speakers, speaking their own variety of it) did not say 'goblin', they said Orc. Yes, orch (pl. yrch), orc, and goblin are different words in different languages, the last being a word in a modern language (can be used to translate the others).

I hope I'm not confusing things with the German analogy Smile Smilie
I think it would be best to leave out the German Analogy, that DID confuse me. I understand now, I hope the rest of the others do, just different words for different lingo but same definition. Gotcha!!! Elf Winking Smilie Hopefully it is sorted Orc Smiling Smilie
I like it also because Orcs and dogs come in different sizes Wink Smilie
So does cake and carrots!!! (but not carrot cake, wait... yes you can) Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
Yes but I don't know the German word for carrot! Actually I think hund 'sounds bigger' than dog sometimes. If you know what I mean.
Karotte is the german word for carrot, and the word for cake is Kuchen, they don't really sound bigger IMHO, but then again to me, I don't think that Hund makes a dog seem bigger, looks like Hound, but hounds are dogs, so there is no difference, and I suppose that's what your point was originally?
Elf Rolling Eyes Smilie Moving on....Elf Rolling Eyes Smilie

In short Orcs and Goblins are the same thing. Here it is in simple terms:

Orc = Goblin
Uruk = Hobgoblin
Uruk-Hai = no transalation to my knowledge.

Though as I said it can be disputed that Goblins were a Type of Orc and not a mere translation for the mountain Orc types that may have adapted specifically to there tunneling lives.
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Though as I said it can be disputed that Goblins were a Type of Orc and not a mere translation for the mountain Orc types that may have adapted specifically to there tunneling lives.


What's the 'dispute'? Goblins are not a type of Orc, 'goblin' is an English word translating Orc, and the word 'goblin' is not reserved for Orcs of the Mountains or any other distinction.
Why was the word 'Goblin' used in The Hobbit, whilst 'Orcs' in LOTR? I can only see 2 possibilities:
1. The Hobbit was written from Bilbo's perspective, thus Goblin was used more than Orc, where as LOTR was written from a writer (Tolkien's) perspective, thus Orc would be used.
2. Goblins are a type of Orc, thus considering only the tunneling type of Orc (goblin) was used in The Hobbit, they would not use 'Orc' - refering to the types that were in Mordor and other more open places...

Note: I said it could be disputed - thats not to say I dispute it.
Well Tolkien's explanation clears up the matter neatly and echoes the ideas in On Translation Appendix F in Return of the King. In the books Tolkien does not reserve goblin for Misty Mountain Orcs or smaller Orcs, for example; and, if there is possible ambiguity, his note explains away any possible confusion (arguably why he added it in revised editions).

The explanation on translation covers both works.

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Note: I said it could be disputed - thats not to say I dispute it.


Well, obviously you still think it can be... anything can be 'disputed' of course, but forming a compelling argument that stands up when the text is considered is another thing.
Galin wrote:
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forming a compelling argument that stands up when the text is considered is another thing.


I generally can't be bothered to do that with most things Tolkien but when I do bother they are scarecely repelled... Elf Winking Smilie

In this case I can see why someone COULD dispute the point, though I myself reserve judgment. Just becuase you understand a point of view, doesn't mean you have sided with it.
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In this case I can see why someone COULD dispute the point, though I myself reserve judgment. Just becuase you understand a point of view, doesn't mean you have sided with it.


Well, I see little reason to simply post 'someone could dispute the point'. I cannot see why Tolkien's explanation, which specifically explains the word Orc and its translation 'goblin', is not enough here.
In the department of information and computing sciences I found this explanation which fits bits and pieces I think of what I read in the Tolkien Letters:

What was the relationship between Orcs and Goblins?

They are different names for the same race of creatures. Of the two,
"Orc" is the correct one. This has been a matter of widespread debate and
misunderstanding, mostly resulting from the usage in _The Hobbit_ (Tolkien
had changed his mind about it by LotR but the confusion in the earlier book
was made worse by inconsistant backwards modifications). There are a couple
of statements in _The Hobbit_ which, if taken literally, suggest that Orcs
are a subset of goblins. If we are to believe the indications from all other
areas of Tolkien's writing, this is not correct. These are: some fairly
clear statements in letters, the evolution of his standard terminology (see
next paragraph), and the actual usage in LotR, all of which suggest that
"Orc" was the true name of the race. (The pedigrees in _Tolkien: The
Illustrated Encyclopedia_ are thoroughly innaccurate and undependable.)

What happened was this. The creatures so referred to were invented along
with the rest of Tolkien's subcreation during the writing of the Book of Lost
Tales (the "pre-Silmarillion"). His usage in the early writing is somewhat
varied but the movement is away from "goblin" and towards "orc". It was part
of a general trend away from the terminology of traditional folklore (he felt
that the familiar words would call up the wrong associations in the readers'
minds, since his creations were quite different in specific ways). For the
same general reasons he began calling the Deep Elves "Noldor" rather than
"Gnomes", and avoided "Faerie" altogether. (On the other hand, he was stuck
with "Wizards", an "imperfect" translation of Istari ('the Wise'), "Elves",
and "Dwarves"; he did say once that he would have preferred "dwarrow", which,
so he said, was more historically and linguistically correct, if he'd thought
of it in time ...)

In _The Hobbit_, which originally was unconnected with the Silmarillion,
he used the familiar term "goblin" for the benefit of modern readers. By the
time of LotR, however, he'd decided that "goblin" wouldn't do -- Orcs were
not storybook goblins (see above). (No doubt he also felt that "goblin",
being Romance-derived, had no place in a work based so much on Anglo-Saxon
and Northern traditions in general.) Thus, in LotR, the proper name of the
race is "Orcs" (capital "O"), and that name is found in the index along with
Ents, Men, etc., while "goblin" is not in the index at all. There are a
handful of examples of "goblin" being used (always with a small "g") but it
seems in these cases to be a kind of slang for Orcs.

Tolkien's explanation inside the story was that the "true" name of the
creatures was Orc (an anglicized version of Sindarin *Orch* , pl. *Yrch*).
As the "translator" of the ancient manuscripts, he "substituted" "Goblin" for
"Orch" when he translated Bilbo's diary, but for The Red Book he reverted to
a form of the ancient word.

[The actual source of the word "orc" is Beowulf: "orc-nass", translated
as "death-corpses". It has nothing to do with cetaceans.]

-----
You have once again beaten another poor dead horse to a bloody pulp. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie If you wish to merely argue, please do it via PM so not to subject the rest of the membership to these endless repeats. - Thanks
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LeeLee posted: '(...) Tolkien's explanation inside the story was that the "true" name of the creatures was Orc (an anglicized version of Sindarin *Orch* , pl. *Yrch*). As the "translator" of the ancient manuscripts, he "substituted" "Goblin" for "Orch" when he translated Bilbo's diary, but for The Red Book he reverted to a form of the ancient word.


Thank you Happy Elf Smilie

It's basically what I have been saying all along (the evidence of early texts might confuse the matter, so I have been leaving this out). However I disagree with one detail, as Orc itself is a Westron word (as opposed to merely an anglicization of Elvish orch) in my opinion, still translated by English in accordance with the general ideas set out in On Translation.

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'Orc is not an English word. (...) Orc is the hobbits' form of the name given at that time to these creatures...' JRRT


Part of JRRT's note, with my emphasis on the time the form of the name was given.
But how was I arguing Grondy dear,I don't understand. I was just trying to h elp by sharing something I found. Sad Smilie
I don't think that was directed at you LeeLee Happy Elf Smilie
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But how was I arguing Grondy dear,I don't understand. I was just trying to help by sharing something I found. Sad Smilie

:elfbigrin: No it wasn't directed at you Leelee, your input is appreciated; I'm sorry I used the collective 'you' rather than naming names. I was trying not to specifically single out those who I felt were writing around in circles, because they would know if the shoe fit. Elf Winking Smilie
yay! I don't have to flee back to Rivendell and hide away for a month or so.
But really I should stick to beading my elf shoes, a lot safer I think than giving my little so so opinions. Big Smile Smilie
I have two mithril pieces to put into the conversation... Even though the issue seems pretty much closed, I didn't see anyone mention this little tidbit, so I offer this quote:

QUOTING ELROND IN THE HOBBIT, "A SHORT REST":
They are old swords, very old swords of the High Elves of the West, my kin. They were made in Gondolin for the Goblin-wars. They must have come from a dragon's hoard or goblin plunder, for dragons and goblins destroyed that city many ages ago. This, Thorin, the runes name Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver in the ancient tongue of Gondolin; it was a famous blade.

(I find it interesting that Elrond does not mention balrogs helping to destroy Gondolin, btw.)

So, what does "orcrist" mean? Does it mean "orc" (goblin) "rist" (cleaver) in "the ancient tongue of Gondolin" (Quenya)? (See, for instance, the entry for "ris" in the appendix of the Silmarillion "Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names".) So, does this provide more evidence that "goblin" is just the translation of the word "orc" from another language (Quenya, in his case)?

BTW, doesn't "hai" mean "royal"?
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