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Nice research Galin.

Thanks Val!

As Tolkien wrote the books the stories and ideas evolved over time. It is difficult to determine the precise origins of orcs from these texts due to this evolution. However, surely logic should prevail? (...) Surely then, using that argument alone, Melkor could not have created orcs and trolls from lifeless material if they were not to be just mindless puppets under his direct control.

External chronology reveals the early 'phase' in which Morgoth can seemingly make creatures like Orcs and Balrogs without needing to corrupt some other living beings -- and also reveals a time when Tolkien surely revises this. The older phase lasts up until... let's say the early 1950s for ease of reference.

This date ignores Frodo's statement in The Lord of the Rings for example, and not just because I can't seem to date it very easily, but because after The Lord of the Rings was written, Tolkien appears to have revisited his Silmarillion writings by initially restating that Morgoth simply 'made' Orcs in the same general way as he had in the 1930s.

So generally speaking, for decades, and up until the early 1950s, Tolkien believed Morgoth could create orcs out of things like stone and hatred, and create Balrogs too. But what about Dwarves?

In the 1930s we find the emergence (in The Annals of Beleriand) of the legend of Aule making the Dwarves, but interestingly, at this point the Dwarves have 'no spirit indwelling' and they have skill but not art.

No spirit indwelling? Hmm. In any case Tolkien would change this so that the Noldor believed the Dwarves had no indwelling spirit, and thus they had skill but not art, adding that they believed the Dwarves go back into the stone of the mountains of which they were made.

And jumping over to the Silmarillion of the mid to later 1930s, there is it noted:

'Wherefore the Dwarfs are like the Orcs in this: that they come from the wilfulness of one of the Valar; but they were not made out of malice and mockery, and were not begotten of evil purpose. Yet they derive their thought and being after their measure from only one of the Powers, whereas Elves and Men, to whomsoever among the Valar they chiefly turn, have kinship with all in some degree.'

So however this works in more detail, this was the notion 'paired' (in a sense) with Morgoth creating Orcs out of stone and hatred. And it was once again not until the 1950s that we find the text in which Aule now creates 'puppets' and Eru gives the Dwarves independent life and wills (as chosen for the 1977 Silmarillion by Christopher Tolkien of course).

And yes Tolkien wrote 'Dwarfs' there

The ultimate point here is that the pre-1950s idea had been revised by JRRT, but Christopher Tolkien still had a number of choices before him once the revision had been made (and 'puppets' may have lingered as an alternate kind of making for some things, again in the early 1950s at least).

So Orcs must now be corruptions of something. But what?

It could be argued that orcs and trolls only functioned when controlled by a greater power, but in my opinion the orcish armies falling into disarray when Melkor/Sauron were defeated was more a matter of having lost their leadership they no longer followed their orders and sank into unorganised squabbling and infighting. This is different to becoming mindless puppets as Aule's dwarves would have been.

There is also a distinction Tolkien makes about servitude and domination. JRRT agrees that Orcs were not puppets but some were so dominated by Morgoth's will that they seemed to be puppet like. This was more along the lines of (as Tolkien described): '... servitude to a central will that reduced the Orcs almost to an ant-like life...'.

To me, this logic implies, whether it is written or not, that Melkor must have corrupted something already living to make the orcs rather than just creating them himself.

You are correct, and it is written, but again it's not simply logic but also following the external chronology to the point when JRRT certainly changes his mind about 'making', and the old concept gives way to the new. And I don't think there was any question in Christopher Tolkien's mind that he [Christopher Tolkien] would reject the old idea for the 1977 Silmarillion.

The question then becomes, what did he corrupt to make the orcs? I had always thought Elves. There is the argument, however, that if he created them from Elves, wouldn't orcs be immortal? Not necessarily. When he spread his essence through Middle Earth as Morgoth's Ring, the effect was corrosive over time on the Elves. They grew weary, tired and began to fade. If his diffused essence had that power, surely he had the power to corrupt the immortal bodies of his orcs into mortal ones. Maybe all that twisting and corruption of their flesh made their bodies mortal, leaving their fea to go to the Halls of Mandos once they died?

What we can say is that the 'immortality question' was one Tolkien posed to himself. And I think it shows that he found the matter somewhat problematic. Tolkien noted (text VIII):

'It also seems clear (...) that though Melkor could utterly corrupt and ruin individuals, it is not possible to contemplate his absolute perversion of a whole people, or group of peoples, and his making that state heritable. [added later: The latter must (if a fact) be an act of Eru.]'

'In that case Elves, as a source, are very unlikely. And are Orcs 'immortal' in the Elvish sense? Or Trolls? (...)'

JRRT, Myths Transformed, Morgoth's Ring

So here we have two concerns: immortality, and the possibility of Morgoth not just corrupting beings, but making this corruption a heritable state -- in other words (as I read this), what will the children be if corrupted Elves [who have become Orcs] breed? Elves or Orcs? If Orcs, Morgoth has made his corruption a heritable state, and if this is true, Elves seem an unlikely source to JRRT himself (or at least this seems part of the reason anyway).

Men would solve the immortality question, at least. And there might be other concerns. As noted above, Morgoth could so dominate some Orcs that they seemed like 'puppets' with no will of their own, some even slaying themselves when the Dark Lord was defeated, for example. And in a late note Tolkien explained...

'Other originally independent creatures, and Men among them (but neither Elves nor Dwarves), could also be reduced to a like condition.'

JRRT, late note attached to text X 'Orcs from Men' 

If Orcs could be so dominated, it makes sense (to me anyway) that the source for Orcs could be so dominated as well, but here it's said that neither Elves nor Dwarves could be reduced to such a notable condition. One could argue that once Elves became Orcs they could be 'absorbed' in this way, but I also think that Men were -- generally speaking now -- more easily swayed to the will of the Dark Lords.

Tolkien even notes, in text X [he had adjusted the chronology to allow for Men to be the source for Orcs, although admitted that it was still not without its difficulties]:

'This view of the origin of orcs thus meets with difficulties of chronology. But though Men may take comfort in this, the theory remains nonetheless the most probable. It accords with all that is known of Melkor, and of the nature and behaviour of Orcs -- and Men.'

In my opinion, in general Men were already 'closer' to Orcs than Elves were, and notably I think, Men could be found in Morgoth's forces as well as Sauron's. Not all Men of course! But again, in general.

Someone posted above that orcs were possibly made from corrupted Men. My memory's failing me, but weren't orcs around before Men awoke? If Melkor had stumbled upon them before they awoke and corrupted them, wouldn't he have corrupted them all? In that case there would have been no Men. I personally don't think Men were involved until Saruman possibly crossed orcs with Men to create Uruk-hai.

I appreciate your 'possibly' here, concerning the Uruk-hai indecision

And as I say, Tolkien adjusted the chronology to make Men a possible source for Orcs, even though this new chronology was not wholly without its difficulties. And there would be some even earlier Orcs as well, considering the corrupted Maiar.

I won't go into the 'beast section' of your post here, as that alone raises a number of questions and this post is probably quite long by now!

Galin, thank you for taking the time to consider my musings and answer many of the questions I raised. It is really interesting being able to learn from someone as knowledgeable as yourself on the subject. I have read quite a few of the HoME books, albeit a long time ago, but just have scattered memories. It is good to have someone around who seems to have an intimate knowledge of those texts and who can pull the various threads together into a coherent chronological form. You are not Christopher Tolkien by any chance are you?

I am a little rushed for time at present so unfortunately cannot delve deeper into this subject right now. Hopefully, though, in the coming weeks I will find time to come back and continue with some of the points you have raised.

Thanks again Val. And I'm not trying to undermine me here (LOL)...

... but The History of Middle-Earth can be a tangled business at times, and so when I post pieces of it, sometimes I wonder if I haven't forgotten something important, or just mixed something up, or in any case, another reader might bring something else to the discussion of course, based on the same texts.

I've posted about orc origins many times now (well, it seems like many times), but I still feel like I learn new things, or often enough consider things that I hadn't before. Anyway I try to do my 'homework' (fun homework), but thanks again for the too kind words there. 

On to the beastly questions... but just some of them for now!

So could orcs have just been beasts?

I suppose they could have been, especially as Tolkien himself delves into this possibility. In my opinion I don't think the idea fits that well with some of the passages in The Lord of the Rings.

I always believed Balrogs, Ents, Eagles and possibly Huan were Maian spirits.

Balrogs are corrupted Maiar, but the question with respect to some eagles and Huan might require a post of its own. So far I have only looked into the 'eagle question' in any real depth, and unless I have forgotten something there seems to be a measure of doubt regarding an ultimate answer here.

Did Tolkien's beasts have intelligence enough for speech, or was that limited to the Valar, Maiar and the Children?

Tolkien was concerned with the question of speaking beasts in general, asking himself in a note:

(4) What of talking beasts and birds with reasoning and speech? (...)

And without quoting all his subsequent musing about that, in the text that considers orcs as perverted beasts, he ended up writing (here edited a bit by me):

'In summary: I think it must be assumed that 'talking' is not necessarily the sign of the possession of a 'rational soul' of fea. The Orcs were beasts of humanized shape (to mock Men and Elves) (...) their talking was really reeling off 'records' set in them by Melkor (...) Melkor taught them speech and as they bred they inherited this; and they had just as much independence as have, say, dogs or horses of their human masters. This talking was largely echoic (cf. parrots).'

I note here the statement 'to mock Men and Elves', another clue that Treebeard need not mean made from Elves when he notes made in mockery of Elves.

I read somewhere that the early orcs were Maian spirits, but that would surely restrict their number.

Yes, and among the late ideas the notion of the Orc-formed Maiar seems relatively stable. In one text Tolkien notes that always among the regular orcs, as special spies and servants and leaders, there must have been numerous minor spirits who assumed similar shapes.

And despite 'numerous' I would still guess relatively less compared to regular Orcs, at least after these latter had time to breed and fill up the ranks of Morgoth's armies. Possibly the Maiar-orcs were diminished in number after the fall of Utumno as well, which is quite early. 

In any case in text X (Orcs from Men) Tolkien notes:

'For Morgoth had many servants, the oldest and most potent of whom were immortal, belonging indeed in their beginning to the Maiar; and these evil spirits like heir Master could take on visible forms. Those whose business it was to direct the Orcs often took Orkish shapes, though they were greater and more terrible. Thus it was that the histories speak of Great Orcs or Orc-captains who were not slain, and who reappeared in battle through years far longer than the span of the lives of Men.'

JRRT, Myths Transformed

The Maiar-orcs appear in at least three different texts about Orcs, texts in which the origin of the regular Orcs varies.

To my knowledge, not all hybrids/crossbreeds can actually breed between themselves.

This can be due to the level of chromosomes in the resulting hybrid creature, which handicaps them in the breeding aspect. For example, Mules cannot breed, nor can Ligers or anything of the sort.

Perhaps the Uruk-hai cannot actually breed, but must rely on the two separate species to give them life.

 

Very well written Val. I'm with you on this one. In my mind the earliest Orcs were created by Melkor from captured Elves very early on. These unfortunate Elves, via Melkor's dark art and power, became the original breeding stock of the Orcs as we now know them. Obviously Melkor and for that matter Sauron enabled very successful breeding programmes as the Orc numbers became huge. It's probable that the Trolls were made in a similar way. I apologise gentle folk for the awful thought.

One thing I've always wondered is what would Illuvatar have been saying to Melkor during and after the hideous events of the early Ages. I imagine that as with Aule, Illuvatar would have been able to commune with Melkor any time he wanted too. I imagine that the conversations would have been full of deep hurt, angst and feeling.

Perhaps the Uruk-hai cannot actually breed, but must rely on the two separate species to give them life.

Do you mean, if they are half man half orc Wink Smilie

But this is actually grounds for a 'great debate' (as I have seen at various other forums), as there are citations for both sides of the issue here. Somewhat recently however, a new linguistic text was published in which the mix of man and orc argument took a bit of a hit...

... as it was finally published that the term Uruk-hai basically means 'Orc-folk'.

Before this the mixed side of the debate had included the suggestion that perhaps '-hai' meant 'Man' or something to indicate mixed blood. Not the full extent of their argument of course, but this much is no longer in question.

I agree with the Uruk-hai being great soldier orcs, with Saruman's breeding program producing the Half-orcs rather, also described in the books. So far anyway.

I suppose we should also think about Trolls. Are there females? Can they breed or was there only ever a certain number created by Melkor who lived through the Ages until ultimately they were destroyed maybe except for one or two who managed to survive the final battle to live out their sad existence hiding under bridges in Europe.

Thinking about it perhaps the Urukhai were a combination of Orc, Man and Troll. Frightening I know, but I suppose it would solve the problem of size, intelligence, life span and strength. So many possibilities and outcomes. Why do the older Stone Trolls return to stone in sunlight, yet the Ogal Hai seem to tolerate the day star? Could it be the addition of the DNA of Men or even Dwarves or Elves which did the trick!

Appendix F reveals that unlike the older race of the Twilight, the Olog-hai could endure the Sun so long as the will of Sauron held sway over them.

Also I don't think Tolkien's Uruk-hai were that large compared to Men, in any event.

You know, if orcs do reproduce sexually, I shudder to think what would take place in some dark pit in the depths of Moria. I'm beggining to think that Tolkien had his reasons for being a bit vague on the subject....

You know, if orcs do reproduce sexually, I shudder to think what would take place in some dark pit in the depths of Moria. I'm beggining to think that Tolkien had his reasons for being a bit vague on the subject....

S&M crossed Tolkien's mind at the moment.

This topic reminds me of the movie, since they don't sexually reproduce in there. Although interestly enough, the film had 2 origin theories that Tolkien had.

I think the original Orcs/Goblins were indeed unfortunate Elves captured and experimented on by Melkor and his Dark Powers. These over the years were mixed with Men and possibly Dwarves. Sauron taking on the Mantle of Dark Lord furthered and or continued this in the 3rd Age and added his variants along the way. Normal, albeit puppy farm kind, breeding would have been needed to boost numbers, awful I know.

Of course the argument on whether or not Orcs were Imortal or as I believe we're long lived is another argument.

Saruman (in the movie at least) added his power in creating his own "Fighting Uruk Hai" possibly via existing Orcs empowered and enlarged in an Earthen Coccon via his Maian power. A total abomination to Illuvatar.

Ocs could be immortals, have long life or mabe genetic memory. Orkist eas lost for thousands of years, yetthe orcs in moria reconized it upon seeing it.

Very true Glorfindel and they recognise them instantly! So that means that at least a few of them are thousands of years old. With mixed blood for most over thousands of years most were probably not immortal simply very long long lived.

Helly everyone, this is my first time in this forum so nice to meet you.

First of all, I'm sorry for my English, I'm Italian ^^'

About the Orcs, I think they're not able to couple; they were elves, it's true, but Melkor tortured and depraved them so, in my opinion, they "breeding" themselves in some mode just because of Melkor/Sauron's powers.

As a consequence of this reasoning, when Sauron's defeated there aren't  "births" of Orcs, no more.

Welcome Smile Smilie

 

As a consequence of this reasoning, when Sauron's defeated there aren't  "births" of Orcs, no more.

 

I'm going to have to disagree with this. I don't think Sauron is powerful enough to bind an entire race to himself like he did the ring.

Also remember that there were plenty of orcs and goblins who were not in service of Sauron.

In the movies we see the birth of the Uruk-Hai. They are dug out from some sort of a slimy bag inside mud. Of course it doesn't necessarily apply to the orcs.

Since they were elves however I'm inclined to believe that they reproduce exactly like elves would. Then again Morgoth surely would want a faster way of creating his legions so I'd say that he had some sort of huge pit filled with liquid of some sort and infused with his power and well...

Let's just say it would be Arteficial incemination In vitro

 

EDIT:

Very good thinking with the genetic memory. Funnily I JUST read an article regarding our own genetic memory. Apparently our bodies can remember diseases we've never had ourself. Not exactly as good as the orcs seem to have but interesting nonetheless Smile Smilie

Since they were elves however I'm inclined to believe that they reproduce exactly like elves would. Then again Morgoth surely would want a faster way of creating his legions so I'd say that he had some sort of huge pit filled with liquid of some sort and infused with his power and well...

Let's just say it would be Arteficial incemination In vitro

 

Alas! you're right >.<
I found the answer in The Silmarillion, chapt. 3, just now;
anyway I still think that  Melkor and Sauron play an important role in their multiplication and growth: evil and darkness nourish evil creatures or something like it.

I'm trying to imagine a female orc nursing an orc kids 

In addition, orcs are cannibals, so they could eat their children! It's creepy!

Yes the first Orcs were created and bred by Melkor. Most of these perished during the last battle. A few however Remained.

Sauron, after Melkor's defeat then bred his own Orcs and possibly called the surviving Orcs to his service as well.

Obviously due to there huge numbers and ability to renew there numbers, breeding was not a problem for them.

One origin theory of Tolkien concerning orcs was that they weren't elves to start off with. They were created by Melkor made from the earth.

That's true Glorfindal. But without Illuvatar's intervention they not have been nothing more than puppets. I'm glad Master Tolkien changed his mind on this. If illuvatar had not have given Aule's Elves actual life they too would only have been physical bodies with no more life than a mannequin. Not very good for an army or race hey.

That's true Glorfindal. But without Illuvatar's intervention they not have been nothing more than puppets. I'm glad Master Tolkien changed his mind on this. If illuvatar had not have given Aule's Elves actual life they too would only have been physical bodies with no more life than a mannequin. Not very good for an army or race hey.

Don't you mean dwarves?

Off topic but...

For the most part this is true. The real mystery here is that when Aule raised his hammer, the dwarves reacted. Although this can be explained that Aule wasn't "resting" therefore they weren't idle.

Oops, yes Dwarves sorry.

A few lines after Aule raising his Hammer, Illuvatar goes on to explain to Aule why his Dwarves shrank away from the imminent blow. Basically Illuvatar forgave Aule for his impatience in attempting something beyond the power of even a Valar, creation of life. Eru then granted real life to his new "adopted" children, even as Aule was apologising.

This is one of my favourite chapters of the Sill.

I wish people would stop referring to the movies for an explanation. The movies got many things wrong, for example they made it look like orcs and goblins were different kinds of creatures, or that Saruman crossed orcs with goblins. Orcs and goblins are the same thing, and Saruman crossed orcs with men.

To answer the question, I'm sure that orcs multiplied sexually, like all other creatures of the world. I'm quite certain they weren't immortal like Elves, I'd think the Gift of the Eldar was taken from them when they were corrupted. I see orcs just like any other primitive society: they ate, drunk, slept, hunted or grew their food, made things, and had sex.

Also don't forget Bolg the son of Azog.

Yes, But Widespace, Tolkien often talks of Orc crossed Goblin Men. Especially in Bree. Also of Trolls being some kind of hybrid. It's very open to interpretation. PJ had to find a way that Saruman bred Orcs which were able to function in the Suns light. He must have achieved it somehow, but Tolkien doesn't tell us how. The line "he's crossed Goblins with Orc Men is in the book.

Tolkien talks of Goblin Men, who are half-orc, half-men. They are the work of Saruman, who crossed orcs with men. I think it's quite clear in the book. That "Saruman has crossed orcs with goblin men" is a quote from the movie, not the book.

"'But these creatures of Isengard, these half-orcs and goblin-men that the foul craft of Saruman has bred, they will not quail at the sun,' said Gamling."

Never heard of troll being some kind of hybrid, could you give me a quote please?

PJ didn't have to invent anything; Tolkien tells us that the Goblin Men were the progeny of orcs and men.

But I see that there is a lot of confusion about this on various Tolkien forums, so I'll understand if you disagree with me.

Interesting forum thread on this topic: http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=5931

Also a very interesting (and mostly correct, I think) article on Tolkien's orcs: http://www.larp.com/orcs/about.html

Wildespace wrote: I wish people would stop referring to the movies for an explanation (...) PJ didn't have to invent anything; Tolkien tells us that the Goblin Men were the progeny of orcs and men.


I agree that Jackson didn't have to invent anything here Wildespace.

But I see that there is a lot of confusion about this on various Tolkien forums, so I'll understand if you [Brego] disagree with me.

There is plenty within Tolkien's work that is open to interpretation, but some things do have easy enough answers of course; and as you already responded to Brego, there is no line in the books that Saruman has crossed goblins with orc men.

You are also correct that there is plenty of confusion in threads, but as we see here [at least in part] it's fan created confusion based on incorrect information.

 

Generally speaking Tolkien's orcs do function in the sunlight, although some function better than others obviously. There is the famous:

'Of course they soon came down after him, hooting and hallooing, and hunting among the trees. But they don't like the sun: it makes their legs wobble and their heads giddy. They could not find Bilbo with the ring on [...] so soon they went back grumbling and cursing to guard the door.'

Riddles in the Dark

Even here these orcs hunt for Bilbo, even if briefly and [arguably] under some measure of shade. I mean it's not like they stay within and wait for evening, for example. 

It's interesting that when the Company flees Moria Aragorn says:

'Be swift then!' said Aragorn, looking back towards the Gates. 'The Sun sinks early. The Orcs will not, maybe, come out till after dusk,...'

Why 'maybe' here? Possibly as Aragorn now knows there are black uruks of Mordor in Moria, great orcs.

For whatever reason these uruks do not seem to follow, but in any case, also according to The Lord of the Rings, even the 'half trained' Northerners run pretty well under the Sun in my opinion. I assume there must be plenty of Men who couldn't run as long as they do!

And some of the larger, bolder Northerners [who remained with Saruman's Uruk-hai] appear to have run very well under the Sun, as do the orcs of Mordor here too.

'But what are we going to do at sunrise?' said some of the Northerners.

'Go on running,' said Ugluk [...]'

'But we can't run in the sunlight.'

''You'll run with me behind you, said Ugluk [...] 'By the White Hand! What's the use of sending out mountain-maggots on a trip, only half-trained. Run, curse you! Run while night lasts.'

Training seems to be key. Why send out these half-trained, generally smaller goblins? In any event the Northerners do run, even for 'hour after hour' after Sunrise.

Tolkien certainly makes the Sun a factor of some degree, and Treebeard thinks this is a notable factor of course, but when really looking at the matter of orcs and sunlight one can find instances of orcs other than Saruman's Uruk-hai who are fighting or running under the Sun rather well.

I note also [the books] the scenario at the battle before Minas Tirith for example: when sunlight is revealed Sauron's orcs, who are noted as hating the Sun here, yet fight on when they think Mordor has the upper hand.

All I'm saying Widespace is that we, the readers of Tolkien, have knowledge that most people don't regarding the World of ME and its nature. If PJ, or anyone doesn't dumb down or simplify various aspects of many hapennings, like the various Orcs/Goblins, most viewers will have no idea what the hell is going on. "Why are the Orcs serving Saruman, where did these big Or s come from, why can they run in the Sun?" etc etc. Also you have quoted that indeed Saruman experimented in interbreeding and yet you seem to be criticising PJ for portraying this exact thing. Don't quiet know what you mean. Ill try to find the passage regarding Trolls.
Yes I agree Brego. PJ must simplify the Tolkien world to people who read never read any of the books. Leaving minor characters out is a good example.

It is clear enough to me what Wildespace is criticizing Jackson for, and it is not that Saruman simply interbred beings.

Wildespace wrote: PJ didn't have to invent anything; Tolkien tells us that the Goblin Men were the progeny of orcs and men.

Yes; and how simple already is the idea that orcs bred with men produced orc-men -- very simple in my opinion; and even Tolkien's terminology echoes the idea, including 'half-orcs' too.

And Im debating that PJ didnt invent in this case, he simplified.  There is a huge differnce.

I really need to watch the extended editions again.

I don't really recall Saruman specifically saying how he created the Uruk-Hai. Just showing them come out of the dirt. So let's not slit each others throat over a who dunnit than I don't think exists...unless someone can give me a quote. And I'm not talking about a subtle suggestion open to interpretation quote either!

Also I just read he got his idea of them coming from the earth from an older writing of Tolkien. So technically, if this is true, he didn't invent anything here...

 

In the movie Gandalf says it to Elrond…..But the real horror and maybe the reason Tolkien later changes it to orcs are made from stone is it is not men that Melkor bred his demon Miar with. It was the first Elven women creatures so beautiful they stopped Oromë in his tracks when he first saw them. Who knows what went on in the depths of Utumno.

Wildespace is seemingly talking about a specific line in the films -- that something was bred from 'orcs and goblin-men'. Web sources [which admittedly might be dubious] note that this was said of Jackson's Uruk-hai actually, but I don't recall the context myself.

As for Tolkien's older texts [not that anyone said otherwise], these were written well before Tolkien invented the Uruks, who appear initially out of Mordor. In these early works it was Morgoth who made orcs bred of 'subterranean heats and slime' (The Book of Lost Tales), or later (Qenta Noldorinwa, repeated in the Silmarillion of the mid to later 1930s), Orcs were made [again by Morgoth] 'of stone', but their 'hearts of hatred'.

Basically rejected by Tolkien in any case, as JRRT ultimately imagined that even Morgoth could not create orcs in this manner. And these are all sources Peter Jackson would have no legal right to use.

But as we see, Jackson 'stole' a mug from Stephen Colbert, so he can't be trusted Wink Smilie

 

In the movie The Fellowship of the Ring When Gandalf is explaining to Elrond that Saruman has turned traitor that is when he says “and that is not all Saruman has been breeding Goblin men with Orcs his treachery knows no end”

Thanks Ainulindale!

So going by that, to my mind it's as Wildespace has stated: a line invented by Jackson and very arguably needlessly, since having Gandalf generally state that Saruman has been breeding orcs and men -- well again, why in the world is this more complicated a concept that what Jackson has his Gandalf say? Or too complicated for a film?

It's not in my opinion; thus a needless change. And if this is all Gandalf says here, it doesn't even necessarily refer to Saruman's Uruk-hai [or does the film cut to the Uruk-hai or something]. The audience might make this connection, but on the other hand Saruman's Uruk-hai coming out of the mud doesn't exactly speak all that specifically to 'natural breeding' in my opinion.

Maybe there is some explanation in the films that connects the 'mud pods' to interbreeding, but I don't recall that at the moment either.

In The Hobbit one of Gollum's principal sources of sustenance is "goblin imps".

I'd forgotten about that Davidbofinger. Horrible thought isn't it. So as an Imp is an underdeveloped or larvae or baby in the insect world, this would mean that at least some of the Goblins of Goblin Town above Gollum's cave were able to breed. Dare I say it, perhaps the Goblins were a natural form of Orc, used by the Dark Lords to breed the Orc armies. Drawing a long bow I know, but possible.

Brego, I think:

1. You're thinking of "nymph", not "imp".

2. Tolkien was using "imp" to mean a goblin child.

I wrote a up a web page on Tolkienian Alternate History once, it died with geocities but is sort of archived at http://webspace.webring.com/people/ud/davidbofinger/ame.htm. One of the more interesting scenarios was that Sauron wins Pelennor and destroys Gondor, but then the ring is destroyed. It leaves a lot of rampant orcs with no dark lord, wandering about trying to find their own destiny. I'd almost like someone to write that story, so I could find out what they did, and whether orcs can be heroes.

Aaahhh. Yup Nymph. Need to brush up on my Attenborough. But still a good pick up.

Production of uruk is simple u put an orc and a goblin in that sort of mud and they put in some other stuff and then you have an uruk but i dont know how to produce orcs i mean have you ever seen a female orc???

Perhaps we are about to find out how in TDOS movie as Azog and Bolg may both appear and we may get some inside Orc family info. You never know. We'll add that to the Purist hatred hit list! Also I believe that Bolg wears some giant Bear claws as epaulets in the upcoming film. Could these be from one of Beorns ancestors. Another reason that Beorn hates Orcs....
Maybe we get to see bolg's mother.

Production of uruk is simple u put an orc and a goblin in that sort of mud and they put in some other stuff and then you have an uruk but i dont know how to produce orcs i mean have you ever seen a female orc???

Welcome Gothnakh.

The answer to this second question is actually simple and straightforward: orcs reproduce sexually, just like Elves and Men, the Children of God.

If you would like a citation from Tolkien, including JRRT referring to orc-women, I can provide these, although they are probably scattered throughout this thread too. 

According to the books Sauron had uruks [the word uruk means 'orc' in Westron or 'great soldier orc' compared to lesser types], and although we know that Saruman's uruk-hai were the result of sexual reproduction, there is a difference of opinion with respect to whether or not they are fully orkish or have some measure of mannish blood. 

So here we have a matter that contains some wiggle room for interpretation [Saruman's Uruk-hai having mannish blood or not], and one that, as far as I am aware, is hardly in dispute as far as the books go [orcs reproduce sexually].

Going waaaaaaay back to the original post. The concept of orcs beginning their lives as worms is an odd thing being as how I don't recall that ever being written but in Norse Paganism "Viking Mythology." The Svßrtalfs who are called black elves or dwarves were "born from the world which is the body of the Giant Ymir as maggots in the deep earth which is his flesh"

First of all: Hello, I am He Who Walks In The Shadows, and my loyalties are a matter of debate amongst the few in Middle Earth who ever met me and realized who and what I am. But so much for the formalities, let's get to the topic at hand:

I have read this thread with great interest, and it appears to me, that none of the possibilities mentioned are satisfactory, so I have a suggestion to make:

Orcs procreate in the body of the earth like cancer in a human body.

What do I mean with that? Well, simple: I do not think orcs reproduce sexually. They may have came into being by Melkor torturing and “transforming” elves, but I guess they no longer reproduce in this way, if they ever could in the first place. Did it ever occur to you that orcs are usually malformed? They have tumors, malformed limbs, their legs or arms, their whole bodies seem to be out of proportion. They are twisted, and evil creatures.

This comes because if an orc procreates, actually a part of him breaks or falls or fouls off, and given the right conditions, this body part may become a being of its own, incomplete, sometimes even mindless, only with a dumb feeling of killing and destruction within the bunch of neurons that control it. (This is somewhat similar to how worms procreate, but only somewhat.) Given enough time however, an orc can become fully grown, and depending on the physical conditions of the orc itself or other factors, it may become a quite “handsome” type, like Azog.

I could now theorize that Bolg actually came from the hand Thorin cut off, but I do not know if I like the idea.

The Uruk-hai now, I suppose Saruman could have used mangled parts of orcs and parts of humans – and when I say parts, I mean parts – breeding them in special conditions to speed their development, and without the necessity of giving them years of time for them to become fully grown. Saruman, with his knowledge about biology, may just have found a way, that's why he could breed such big armies in such short time.

All in all, this way of reproduction I think fits best into the stories and what we think/know of orcs. Neither sexual reproduction nor having them crafted in some sort of way makes much sense in my opinion.

(...) Neither sexual reproduction nor having them crafted in some sort of way makes much sense in my opinion.

Hello.

Sorry to disagree with your first post here but sexual reproduction made sense to Tolkien, and that's how the Orcs reproduced according to the text, as they reproduced after the manner of the Children of Eru, thus after the manner of Elves and Men.

'For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar;...'

JRRT, adopted for the 1977 Silmarillion by Christopher Tolkien

And what is it about sexual reproduction that doesn't make sense to you here? I don't understand what's necessarily unsatisfactory about this, given what we know about orcs from Tolkien's own descriptions.

Some Orcs were more bow-legged than others for example, but long arms and crooked legs are not a hindrance to sexual reproduction of course.

I have given the subject some thought again, and my best guess would be, that they reproduce by "laying eggs", where there are no actual eggs but rather filthy smear of their filthy bodies, and if there is enough "smear", it may come to life and grow.

What makes no sense to me about orkish sexual reproduction is, that, in the books, it never happens. Also, orks do not rape, a thing historical armies do and did, but I do not find any clues of this ever happening. Yes, I am aware of books being stories, but from what I read I think the concept of sexual reproduction is strange to orks. I know that Tolkien actually mentions their way of procreation, but this is written in the Silmarillion – maybe something changed?, and as they got more perverted, their way of reproduction changed, from the relatively "healthy" sexual way to something twisted and disgusting.

So, my working hypothesis (and I abandon the idea now that Bolg comes from Azog's cut off hand, by the way) is, that orks reproduce basically by making filthy the place they live, and if there is enough filth, that filth comes to life, where there are factors that make that growing impossible, like light, clean air, and so forth.

What makes no sense to me about orkish sexual reproduction is, that, in the books, it never happens.

It's referred to in the books specifically, although if you mean there's no scene in which an orc has a baby, for instance, or one in which the reader sees little orc-children running around in places where orcs live, I'll note that the histories are not written by orcs.

Tolkien refers briefly to this in a letter. The orcs are on the 'other side' and we don't know about orc lives in detail, but we do know something about them.

'There must have been orc-women. But in stories that seldom if ever see the Orcs except as soldiers of armies in the service of the evil lords we naturally would not learn much about their lives. Not much was known'.

JRRT, the Munby letter

Although some think this might refer to a young goblin: 'Only a few hours ago he had worn it, and caught a small goblin-imp'. JRRT, The Hobbit

Anyway why must there have been orc women? For one thing, I would say it's because Orcs reproduce sexually, as Tolkien wrote elsewhere.

Also, orks do not rape, a thing historical armies do and did, but I do not find any clues of this ever happening.

I would guess Tolkien didn't want to include a rape scene in his tale, for example, in any case. That said he did refer to Saruman's interbreeding of Orcs and Men:  

There is no doubt that long afterwards, in the Third Age, Saruman rediscovered this, or learned of it in lore, and in his lust for mastery committed this, his wickedest deed: the interbreeding of Orcs and Men, producing both Men-orcs large and cunning, and Orc-men treacherous and vile.

JRRT, Morgoth's Ring

This explains the 'half-orcs' of The Lord of the Rings in my opinion. And we know how Men breed, so we can easily guess how they interbreed: again sexually.

Yes, I am aware of books being stories, but from what I read I think the concept of sexual reproduction is strange to orks. I know that Tolkien actually mentions their way of procreation, but this is written in the Silmarillion – maybe something changed?

But why is the concept of sexual reproduction strange to orcs, from what you have read, if what you have read includes The Silmarillion?

And asking if maybe something changed is raising the mere possibility. As yet I see no evidence that this changed, and find no great reason why it should. Again, the major change with respect to orcs came when Tolkien decided that Morgoth could not simply create true living beings, but must corrupt already living beings...

... and if the already living beings were animals or Eru's Children, they were beings who already reproduced sexually.

No orc women were mentioned was probably due the lack of knowledge the elves had on orc culture/society. It is similar to the misconception about dwarves sprouting from the ground. Also as with dwarf women having similar appearance to dwarf men, orcs may have been the same. Maybe orc women looked the same as orc men in the eyes of other races.

So, if Morgoth could not change life that much, were orcs immortal? This is, of course, assuming they are elves. If orcs are just twisted elves, does that mean they do not die except from grief or wounds? Are there orcs who are thousands of years old? Do they go to Mandos, do they reincarnate? How much that is true about the elves is true about orcs?

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