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Hello, I've looked, but I could not find a thread of a similar topic.
After reading the books, and having numerous encounters with some of Tolkien's less than savory characters, I sometimes wonder if ALL of them are entirely evil. The theme of redemption has always seemed prevelent in the books, (to me, at least) whether it be Frodo's redemption even after his supposed failure, Boromir's redemption after his attempt to steal the ring, Gollum redeeming himself by actually destroying the ring, or even Saruman's possible redemption when freed from his tower. Goodness, even Lobelia Sackville-Baggins had some small redemption at the end of the third book. It seems that Tolkien earnestly supports the redemption of those who fell from good to evil, but is it possible that some of the villains could become good? This is rather odd question, as many of the evil characters are accepted as completely evil, especially the orcs. If orcs were saved from the evil of Sauron's captivity, could one show them to be good, or would they still be completely twisted? If Orcs were originally created from mutilated Elves, could some spark of good be left in them, or are they really twisted and corrupted beyond the chance of redemption, doomed to be forever cold killing machines? It seemed that the orcs had the ability to think on there own. Could it be even possible that some could be born with some small good inside them? Also, were they all wiped out after Saurons downfall. Out of his power could some of them have turned neutral or even good if they were not killed by men? Has anyone else questioned this as well? Thanks.
Also, I'm so sorry, but this thread posted twice, accidentaly. I tried to delete it to get out of the way, but it just left an empty thread. I'm sorry it double posted, and I most certainly did not want to fill the thread list with my silly inquisitiveness. If one of the mods or anyone else could help me delete that empty thread, I would be most thankful.
Orcs really are a riddle. In a way as said in the Sil, I think, they hated Melkor whom they blamed for their misery (i.e being hated and fought against by most of the people of ME) but yet they served him and as said in the LOTR. Frodo mentions to Sam that if they saw us they would forget their quarrels and deal with them.

That hardly seems to show any good intent on their part and it seems that their hatred for the other folks are greater than their hatred for their Lords. Indeed it may be that their envy for the beauty and the wisdom of the Quendi fills them with hatred because they themselves originated from the Elves and their current state is due to the "slow arts of cruelty" that Melkor used.

In any case although they are descended from the Elves one should not forget that they also have part of the evil and malice of Melkor in them. I am saying this because somewhere in the Sil it is mentioned that Melkor lost most of his powers through his creatures that he brought forward.

And thus if we take into consideration that they have part of Melkor in them and if we're trying to judge whether they any goodness in them then we should ask also whether Melkor has any thing good in him?
This is probably the old tug-of-war between "Nature" vs "Nuture". I am sure that if one were to find a baby Orc; separate it from its fellow Orcs; and place it within a loving non-orc family, it would grow up to become a model citizen. That is, until the neighbors and authorities let their prejudices undermine all the hard work of the adoptive parents.

Human cultures all have their prejudices, making it nigh on impossible to set those things right, which were wrong in the past. But we can still hope; and nothing will change if we never try. Teacher Smilie
Ok. Maybe you could be the first foster parent of an orc Grondy and then tell us how your experiment is going? Elk Grinning Smilie Orc Grinning Smilie
The dark side can never completely claim one. There is always the chance of redemption, since in the beginning nothing was evil.
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There is always the chance of redemption, since in the beginning nothing was evil.


I think that the chance of redemption exists only in the beginning since once you have passed the point of no return their is no going back, e.g, Sauron, Melkor.
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I think that the chance of redemption exists only in the beginning since once you have passed the point of no return their is no going back, e.g, Sauron, Melkor.

So that means Eru-Iluvatar and Manwë would say:
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Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
Or 'That's once! (Like: 'Thats strike one; and it only takes two strikes to be out, rather than the biblical "seven times seven".')
That is a preposterous thought. Forgiveness is the gift of Gods. The Valar know the power of redemption - note that Ossë had once joined Melkor to escape the clutches of his dominant wife, but was redeemed; note that Sauron was almost redeemed when he witnessed how his lord was utterly defeated and humiliated; note how Galadriel ultimately repented for her folly and her six thousand year reign of terror over Laurelindorenán.

Even Morgoth would have repented if Nienna would have had the chance to spend some time alone with him, but alas! she had to bend her will to her Lady, Varda, who had not forgotten how Melkor had brutishly courted her before Arda was made and finally had the opportunity for revenge.
Virumor is correct in his above post, i forgot to add the sarcastic Animated Wink Smilie smilie.

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And thus if we take into consideration that they have part of Melkor in them and if we're trying to judge whether they any goodness in them then we should ask also whether Melkor has any thing good in him?


I went back to my copy of the Silmarillion for reference. In the beginning Melkor appears to be benevolent, or at least neutral. It seems that the power bestowed upon him by Eru is what inspired his desire and hunger for power and to create new things of his own. I am not sure if this sort of rebellion is classified as evil, initially, but from this deisre for power and control and the following jealousy and anger is what began to corrupt him into becoming an evil power. Therefore, though he is "Evil", I do not think he was truly evil to the core. I think that since Eru created Melkor, and (I do not think) Eru would create something purposefully and wholly evil, he cannot be completely without some trace of good left within him from what he used to be. Even if Melkor DID repent or feel remorse for his evil deeds, would he be forgiven by the Valar? If already exiled, could he have achieved redemption by repenting and doing good deeds?

I agree with Grondy completely about this also being a question of nature vs. nurture. Yet, who would raise an orc with their already existing prejudices? Also, are orcs ever "children"? I can imagine an orc child, but I don't know if orcs are born as such or if they spawn like the Uruk-hai, full grown out of the mud. This might seem to be an odd question, but does anyone know what happened to the orcs and other Servants of Sauron when Sauron was destroyed? I can't remember any information on that subject towards the end of the books, except that they were driven out somehow and they were bereft of all their powers.

Sorry to have abandoned this thread till just now, I had my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday, and I've been sleeping and taking lots of pain medications that have left me out of it for a while.
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This might seem to be an odd question, but does anyone know what happened to the orcs and other Servants of Sauron when Sauron was destroyed? I can't remember any information on that subject towards the end of the books, except that they were driven out somehow and they were bereft of all their powers.

Genocide. Although not many would agree with using this word, as apparently Orcs were 'evil' and following from this 'deserved to be hunted down and killed like vermin', but there is no other word for the slaying of hundreds of thousands of Orcish men, women and children - even though they would no longer pose a significant threat after the fall of Sauron, leaving them leaderless; they would just return to their tribal society and fight amongst themselves.

Still, there would come a time when a dark lord would rise again, and so the destruction of an entire race was necessary; at least, this was the pretense used by King Elessar the Mad, the Warmonger, the Terrible, who brought perhaps peace and prosperity to Gondor, but not to the peoples of Rhűn, Near Harad, Far Harad and Khand, who were continuously threatened, besieged and perhaps even enslaved.

But indeed, history is written by the victor, and brutality elsewhere is usually ignored by relative prosperity at home.
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Even if Melkor DID repent or feel remorse for his evil deeds, would he be forgiven by the Valar?


I think that's not possible because for once it's said in the Sil that Melkor had been consumed by his own lust and i find it highly unlikely that any of the Valar would be able to forgive Melkor, indeed considering that he had mocked the Creations of Illuvatar himself by creating orcs and trolls.

Also let us consider Feanor's case. For his part in the history of Elves he was 'banished' to Mandos until the world is broken again. If now you think about Melkor's crimes which are more serious is he really able to repent? Also I think that Melkor feels too much hatred and dislike for the Valar to be able to live in fellowship with them again.

As for the orcs Rose, most of them 'disappeared' after the destruction of the Ring for they were also from the ring power.
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As for the orcs Rose, most of them 'disappeared' after the destruction of the Ring for they were also from the ring power.

I believe not: By the time of the War of the Ring, orcs had been bred in sufficient numbers that magic was no longer part of their creation. Even the Uruk-hai were created without use of a ring, for Saruman had no ring, or at least no Ring of Power, which may be why he was so unhappy with Gandalf, not that he actually knew Gandalf wore Narya.
interesting thread.
1) are the Orcs REALLY "ruined" elves, and do they have souls (i mean independent lives, sentience) given to them originally by Eru (if they were merely Melkor's creations, they would have only been animated when Melkor's thought was upon them, as illustrated by the Dwarf creation story).

2) OR, are they a sort of very advanced wind-up robot made of physical flesh and bone, having a semblance of sentience but no real soul or substance? Could Melkor have made them to somehow appear as if they had independent lives and thoughts, and set them going, while turning his thoughts elsewhere?

3) Do orcs have their own moral code, of which the rest of the children of illuvitar know nothing, and which, I suppose, allows orcs to be graded on the curve, so to speak: that choice which is utter moral failure for an elf, man, dwarf, hobbit, wizard, maia, valar, etc, might be considered pretty good moral fiber by orc, cave troll, dragon, warg, or oversized spider standards?

4) Tolkien certainly presents the orcs as total, complete, "natural" enemies (by which I mean that you never see a good or even a slightly sympathetic orc) - they are always portrayed as a blight on (or under) the face of middle-earth. On the other hand, doesn't he also portray elves as "Good People", even when they temporarily oppose the protagonist (as when the Wood-Elves imprison Thorin & Co.)?

5) I recall reading the beginning of a story Tolkien wrote but then abandoned - a story that concerns life in Gondor after Elessar's reign is over (the connecting character is the son of the guard - whose name escapes me now - with whom Pippin hung about before the siege of Minas Tirith - who was just a child in LoTR but is in this story a very old man). The gist of why Tolkien abandoned the story had to do with the idea that in the age of Men, there were no more epic tales of good vs. evil to be told, because there were no more epic villains on the scale of really bad, really evil, thoroughly evil creatures like Sauron, Melkor, dragons, or their ilk (including orcs). Tell me, am I hallucinating, or am I reading much more into this memory than is there? The book is in my library which is closed so I can't run to find out what it actually says. In any case, if I'm not making this up, then it appears that tolkien did think of certain villains as actual villains, however much he also thought of heroes as creatures needing redemption.

~~~~I'm thinking, along the lines of this last point, that Tolkien did quite a masterful job of combining the fable types (a fox is always foxy, a la Aesop's fables, a wolf always wolfish, an orc always orc-ish, and an Elf always elvish) - with the free-will hero types (a hobbit is NOT always hobbit-like, men are free to make their own fates, the song sung before the creation of the world is not as fate to them). So you have a bunch of redeemable or condemnable creatures (mostly hobbits, men and ghosts of men) and a bunch of creatures/people who seem to have either already been redeemed (Elves) or already have been condemned (Orcs, Balrogs, Trolls, Nazgul), and then a bunch of fairy-tale like enigmas who are neither redeemable nor condemnable (Ents, Bombadil, Eagles, Trees, Dragons, Beorn, Spiders, Dwarves) -

In 1954 Tolkien wrote of Orcs (in a letter): 'They would be Morgoth's greatest sins, abuses of his highest privilege, and would be creatures begotten of Sin, and naturally bad.' JRRT added that he nearly wrote 'irredeemably bad', but that would be going too far: '... because by accepting or tolerating their making -- necessary to their actual existence -- even Orcs would become part of the World, which is God's and ultimately good.'

This might imply that their badness was heritable, and in the late 1950s (text VIII, Myths Transformed) Tolkien questions if Morgoth could be so powerful as to make heritable the absolute perversion of a whole people or group of peoples, but by the end of the same text he notes: 'But Finrod probably went too far in his assertion that Melkor could not wholly corrupt any work of Eru,...'

In text X to Myths Transformed (about Orcs) it is said: 'They might have become irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men), but they remained within the law.' (full context is best here, but I'll just add that it is also noted in this text that no Orc would ever treat with an Elf, and that Morgoth had convinced Orcs beyond refutation that the Elves were crueler than themselves).

Just for interest maybe, Tom Shippey has analyzed Orc conversation and finds that Orcs: 'recognize the idea of goodness, appreciate humor, value loyalty, trust, group cohesion, and the ideal of a higher cause than themselves, and condemn failing from these ideals in others. So, if they know what is right, how does it happen that they persist in wrong?' Shippey relates Orcish behavior to human behavior and concludes: 'and their inability to judge their own actions by their own moral criteria is a problem all too sadly familiar.'

Shippey's statements are published in Roots and Branches
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believe not: By the time of the War of the Ring, orcs had been bred in sufficient numbers that magic was no longer part of their creation. Even the Uruk-hai were created without use of a ring, for Saruman had no ring, or at least no Ring of Power, which may be why he was so unhappy with Gandalf, not that he actually knew Gandalf wore Narya.
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It may also be that the last of the Uruks and orcs were hunted during the reign of Elessar. Now, that you mention it Grondy, does anyone know about the ring Gandalf reported at the council that Saruman was wearing? Also, Gandalf mentioned that saruman had called himself ¨Ring-maker¨so could anyone enlightened us on this subject?
I do not believe that he could have created a ring of power.
He most likely called himself "Ring-maker" Because he had tried to forge a ring of power and was under the delusion that it was giving him strenght.
I agree about him not being able to create a ring of power as i remember Gandalf telling someone, maybe it was at the council, that saruman lacked some last bits of knowledge to make a ring of power.
If I have time after I finished reading the rest of the forum today, I'll see if I can find Gandalf's discussion about Saruman's ring ownership and/or ring making abilities.
Without the burden of the flesh laid upon him, Saruman would be able to create a One Ring. He and Sauron after all once had the same master.
I found only this when I again read of Gandalf's story he told before the 'Council of Elrond':
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'But I rode to the foot of Orthanc, and came to the stair of Saruman; and there he met me and led me up to his high chamber. He wore a Ring on his finger.

So Saruman had a ring, but who made it, or who controlled it, or what was its description or power: these I could not find as I skimmed through the pages. Perhaps one of you can find if there is anything more to be gleaned from that chapter. If Saruman's ring had been provided by Sauron, I'm sure the Nazgul had already confiscated it, when after the inundation of Isengard, next we encounter Saruman in 'The Voice of Saruman'.
Nothing more is mentioned in the book about that ring Grondy that's why i was asking if anyone knew anything about it.
Maybe he had married an Orc?
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which may be why he was so unhappy with Gandalf, not that he actually knew Gandalf wore Narya.


From what I have understood Cirdan gave Gandalf his ring when Gandalf first came to ME. If I'm not wrong then Saruman was still 'good'. Then how come he never ever knew that Gandalf wore one of the great Rings even when he had studied much of the lore of the ring and had even made a trial to forge one?

It seems that he wasn't as farsighted as his reputation made out.
There's a text in Unfinished Tales which states that though Gandalf kept the Ring ever secret, Saruman: '... (who was skilled to uncover all secrets) after a time became aware of this gift, and begrudged it, and it was the beginning of the hidden ill-will that he bore to the Grey, which afterwards became manifest.' The Istari, probably 1954

And also:

'But the Red Ring remained hidden until the end, and none save Elrond and Galadriel and Círdan knew to whom it had been committed.' Of The Rings Of Power And The Third Age

Of course neither of these were published by Tolkien himself.
[QUOTE]This is probably the old tug-of-war between "Nature" vs "Nuture". I am sure that if one were to find a baby Orc; separate it from its fellow Orcs; and place it within a loving non-orc family, it would grow up to become a model citizen. [/QUOTE]

I somehow don't think so. Galins quote about them being naturally bad would seem to back that up. If their are indeed Orc babies (somehow I find Peter Jackson's version where they're extracted full grown out of slimey goo bubbles easier to believe even if, as far as I know, Tolkien never said anything of the sort) it would probably grow up to be just as evil as the rest of them. I suppose what Orc's real problem is that they're entirely incapable of love, which in the end is what pure evil really is, like with Morgoth "All love had departed from him forever".
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This is probably the old tug-of-war between "Nature" vs "Nuture". I am sure that if one were to find a baby Orc; separate it from its fellow Orcs; and place it within a loving non-orc family, it would grow up to become a model citizen.

This would be true in our world, but not in Tolkien's world. Our world is not black & white, good & evil like Tolkien's.
This thread reminds me of darth vader
Evil is as evil does.
In Tolkien's world, evil seems to always stem from pride. You get too full of yourself, and then you succumb to the dark side. Perhaps in today's world, pride is more of an "archaic sin." It's hard to draw the line between being a confident, successful individual and being an arrogant #($ these days, but if you read Tolkien, you'll find that all the good guys are humble and determined at the same time. It's that humility that gives them strength, and the lack of it that makes Sauron, Morgoth and the like, evil.

So I guess they were good in the beginning because they simply hadn't realized they were so powerful then. When they did, they just blew themselves over with their big fat egos.
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Our world is not black & white, good & evil like Tolkien's.


Tolkien's world is far from black and white. I can see how maybe somehow it might be possible to get that impression from LotR, but if anyone can read the Silmarillion and think it's black and white, then it's not the book that's black and white, it's the reader's perception that's black and white.

A better way to put it would be that Tolkien's world is black and gray, while ours is mostly just gray. But that's easily explained by the fact that all we have is Men. All the purely evil creatures like Orcs and so forth are gone, and you'll rarely if ever find a human being who is entirely 100 percent evil. I'm sure even Hitler had his good points. And I can't think of a human that was pure evil in Tolkien's writings either.