Thread: Orcrist - The Goblin Cleaver
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I should have been more specific, Glamdring is portrayed that way in the LOTR [u:1fi0zl2o]film[/u:1fi0zl2o]
I believe Glamdring was an elven sword and actually belonged to Turgon son of Fingolfin. It is speculated that Turgon was so devastating with the sword During the Battle of Unnumbered Tears and/or the fall of Gondolin that this is why the goblins still know it. Orcrist is thought to have a similar history.
However I've always seem them as being of same size and design, 'mates' in a similar sense to which ships have 'sister' ships -identical in most aspects.
If they're 'mates' perhaps Sting is their baby?
P.S. Glamdring didn't really have a [u:2a68vzgp]very[/u:2a68vzgp] distinctive design I don't feel (not distinctive enough to notice on the movie-screen anyway), which is a shame because as Ancalagon said, if Glamdring is indeed the mate of Orcrist then the film-designing team have missed out here.
The "Cleaver" part of Orcrists' name comes from the "rist" part (Orc[u:14ugc4pb]rist[/u:14ugc4pb])
"rist" is Sindarin for cut, thus Orc-rist = orc-cut
I imagine Tolkien chose the name "goblin cleaver" because it sounds cooler than "orc cutter," not because the weapon was actually a meat cleaver.
Another example can be seen in the knife Ang[u:14ugc4pb]rist[/u:14ugc4pb] the "iron cleaver"
"perhaps implying they were made for one person to wield- one in each hand"
That's a very interesting idea, I've never thought of it like that. Or maybe, not that these were both used at once, but perhaps something similar to how the Japanese samurai had the large and small katana pairs. (Sorry I'm not very familiar with these swords and their specific names)
But JD is right about movie Glamdring being a missed trick. It is, from the above pictures, pretty blooming dull looking up-close (and I assume we will see them close-up when they are discovered and Orcist prominently when Thorin is buried with it) and unless they want another continuity error they are stuck with it and possibly just as dull a look for its mate (assuming they want to make them look like they're a pair of course).
[quote:1dawlmq3]I do think one needs to be able to closely examine the sword to appreciate its detail[/quote:1dawlmq3],
...maybe the link between the two does need to be a subtle one to be close to the book, although I agree with Petty that film Glamdring's pretty dull, so the link needs to be pretty subtle!
P.S. I thought the shape of the blade was pretty standard Ancalagon , there's nothing that unique about it really. I found a picture comparing the LotR film swords (or a private collection), save Sting and the Elfish blade they all look quite similar.
"[i:26oxux1h]I thought the shape of the blade was pretty standard[/i:26oxux1h]"
Glamdrings blade tapers from thick at the hilt to narrow, then thick again before coming to a tip. The other swords just have a standard gradual taper from hilt to tip.
"[i:26oxux1h]these swords would be very distinctive if after a couple of Middle-earth Ages, the goblins of the Misty Mountains recognize them immediately[/i:26oxux1h]"
I'm not sure myself, but some believe that orcs, originating from elves, are immortal and may have actually been around during the first age
Given that it's not even clear if Orcs are derived from Elves, much less if they retained Elvish immortality, I treat that idea with great skepticism. I wonder if perhaps the swords had distinctive markings or engravings on them that made them easy to identify.
"Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar; and naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life, could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulindalë before the Beginning; so say the wise. And deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery. This it may be was the vilest deed of Melkor, and the most hateful to Ilúvatar."
The part about maintaining the elven immortality is what I'm not sure about.
I'm not sure what you mean by it being "the one he most elaborated on", but it was neither Tolkien's first nor last conception of Orc origins. Also, J.R.R. Tolkien did not write the version of The Silmarillion published in 1977. He wrote many drafts and fragments over several decades that his son (with every right!) edited together into a more or less coherent work. Along the way a lot of decisions had to be made in order to get something more or less consistent. In some cases, the younger Tolkien even changed or added to the fragments he had. In any event, the 1977 Silmarillion is no guide for what JRRT settled on. In the case of Orc origins, he never settled on anything.
"except he was referring to Uru-Kai, not orcs..."
Uruk-hai are simply orcs crossed with men, so the Uruk-hai share the same origins as other orcs. (Oh no... those poor men )
I feel its the version he described in the greatest historical detail and that it's most consistent with the rest of his writings. OK, I shouldn't have used the word "fact," but I feel the evidence is much stronger for than against this version.
Not the case for the book, and unclear in the movies. Supplementary materials describe a number of Sauron's more powerful soldiers as Uruks, but it's not made clear in them or the films proper if those orcs were also crossed with humans. On the other hand, Uruks in the book are simply a larger breed of orcs.
[quote:2pjgoq41]I feel its the version he described in the greatest historical detail and that it's most consistent with the rest of his writings. OK, I shouldn't have used the word "fact," but I feel the evidence is much stronger for than against this version.[/quote:2pjgoq41]
We use words like "fact" and "actually" when discussing Tolkien's world using the conceit that it's a historical record, but we all know that in actuality its fiction. Anyway, I'm curious as to [i:2pjgoq41]why[/i:2pjgoq41] you think think there is more evidence for the Elf theory.
Something that always bothered me about the movies was that Glamdring was never really portrayed correctly. In the books, both Glamdring and Orcrist would glow when near goblins / orcs, while in the movie only Sting did this. I suppose either they wanted to concentrate on the idea that Sting was "special" or maybe Jackson just never caught on that all three weapons were all forged the same. I dunno, and I'm sure it doesn't matter to anyone but a lore nut. Not that I would resemble that.
Having said that, I seriously doubt Orcs would have retained Elvish immortality. The process of torturing, mutilating, and mutating the Elves would likely have nullified their immortality. They would have been "broken" beings.
And I think it is relatively clear that later generations of Orcs were bred biologically from the originals. And possibly even breeding them with humans as is occasionally implied. Though I agree with Eldorion, that in the books it's never stated that Uruk Hai themselves are of such breeding.
As to recognizing Orcrist and other swords; I think that it would have had distinguishing characteristics that were passed into the Orcs collective memory through legends. However, "distinguishing characteristics" doesn't have to mean Orcrist was particularly ornate or some non-standard shape. It could have just been recognizable by runes or patterned markings on the blade or hilt. So, I think I also lean towards Eldo's view on that point.
last but certainly not least. Welcome to the forum [b:1cxoi485]Sarge816[/b:1cxoi485] . I think (but I'm not certain) that Jackson and crew did indeed intend to set Sting apart, as to not confuse a general audience who did not have the lore knowledge.
There is no official canon (i.e., set by the copyright holder or publisher), so speaking of a default canon is somewhat of a non sequitur. There is [b:360mcowo]no[/b:360mcowo] Tolkien canon, and we must each decide what we want to accept as "true" evidence. However, it is important to note that when trying to discern JRRT's thoughts on his literary creations, the published Silmarillion is not the best place to look. Christopher Tolkien states in the Foreword that "I set myself therefore to work out a single text, selecting and arranging in such a way as seemed to me to produce the most coherent and internally self-consistent narrative."
This gave rise to complications, however, as some parts (for instance, the Fall of Gondolin) had been largely unchanged since the 1920s, whereas others (such as adding several generations between Beor and Beren) were relatively late additions of the 1960s (IIRC). In at least one case that comes to mind, Christopher Tolkien, along with Guy Gavriel Kay, simply wrote most of the chapter "The Ruin of Doriath" themselves since JRRT's latest version of it did not lend itself to the goal of a consistent book. I'm not trying to say that Christopher was wrong to do this in pursuit of his goal (and he certainly had every right to do so), but it means that The Silmarillion should to be understood as not definitive if we want to know Tolkien's (final) thoughts on certain matters.
[quote:360mcowo]And I think it is relatively clear that later generations of Orcs were bred biologically from the originals. And possibly even breeding them with humans as is occasionally implied. Though I agree with Eldorion, that in the books it's never stated that Uruk Hai themselves are of such breeding.[/quote:360mcowo]
On the other hand, the implication could be derived from "Myths Transformed" where it is stated that human and Orc interbreeding gave rise to stronger breeds of orcs (I'm sorry I don't have a reference; [i:360mcowo]HoMe X[/i:360mcowo] is not with me at the moment). However, I consider Myths Transformed even more unreliable than the published Silmarillion since they were Tolkien's notes for a complete overhaul of his mythology that he never followed through on.
I'll stop my rambling now. The canon issue is just something that interests me and I got a bit carried away.
"Anyway, I'm curious as to why you think think there is more evidence for the Elf theory"
I'd really rather not debate this because some would find it controversial, but I'll just say my piece. Tolkien, a Christian, wrote his books loaded with Biblical undertone and often obvious parallelism. Again, not trying to start a debate, but I feel that Tolkien was intentional about this (whether he says so or not) and if so, Morgoth (Satan) cannot "create" life he can only corrupt and mock. Note that Morgoth's most powerful servants (Sauron, Balrogs...) are not his creations, they are "fallen angels" aka demons. Many will disagree (and this position is not fool-proof) but this is the way I tend to see Tolkien's intentions.
Yes, Tolkien fans here are civil and quite respectable, I just don't want anyone to get offended on a sensitive subject.
Didn't the orcs show up before men even came into the picture during the First Age?
Also, I think the Maiar (who joined Melkor by choice) probably would have taken shape in powerful, fearsome forms like the balrogs not like the miserable little orcs
I think that for the most part I agree with the "orcs are immortal" theory, and that they were spawned from the torture and dark magic of Melkor. Although the following is just opinion and conjecture, I always thought it was well thought out and compelling:
"ARE ORCS IMMORTAL??
That's the big question! According to the Silmarillion in its published form, the elves believed that orcs were first formed from corrupted and ruined elves who had been captured by Morgoth. Elves are immortal, of course (that is, they do not die of old age), while men are given mortality as a special gift of Eru. So presumably Morgoth would not be able to remove elvish immortality when he made his first orcs. Not that he'd really want to, of course, since it's much easier to build up an army if the troops aren't dying off or retiring.
By this train of logic, the orcs and goblins seen in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are immortal like elves. It would explain why the Great Goblin and his buddies who capture Bilbo and the dwarves recognize Glamdring and Orcrist, swords which were made in Gondolin TWO AGES before! It would also explain why Shagrat and Gorbag apparently remember the Great Siege of Barad-dur at the end of the Second Age. (At the very least, these two incidents must reflect an orcish culture with a very rich and strong oral history!)
It should be noted that Tolkien himself was undecided on this issue. His later versions of Silmarillion stories has orcs being derived from corrupted men, though in all fairness his very earliest writings say they were formed directly from stone by Morgoth. But as published, the Silmarillion definitely seems to have orcs showing up long before men do, so they must have been made from elves.
I'll admit that I found the idea of orcish immortality very hard to swallow at first, but it has grown on me. I console myself with the thought that very few orcs survive long enough to realize they are immortal! "
That page has much good information and makes many strong points, but again is just all conjecture and gathered opinion and supported argument from interpretation of the works.
Author intentions are best understood through reading extra-textual material such as letters, author's notes, earlier drafts, and unpublished revised manuscripts. I always try to distinguish between Canon and perceived intentions myself. As such I feel that Tolkien's abortive attempts to write an LotRized version of The Hobbit indicate that he himself wished to include Gandalf's adventures with the White Council and Dol Guldur, yet I wouldn't suggest that would be Canonical.
I'm inclined to agree with Ancalagon on two fronts regarding Tolkien's views on Orc origins. The Canon front I think is indisputable.
The other front is much more debatable, but I think the evidence of Tolkien's evolving views at least points that direction. As we know by now from evidence unearthed in other debates, earlier versions of the material in the Silmarillion (such as Unfinished Tales) indicate a more First or Second Wave Pagan (i.e. more Animistic and Nature oriented) take on his Cosmology. Later versions are much more based on a blend of Third Wave, or Classical Paganism and Catholicism. I think this indicates at least the strong possibility that Tolkien might have settled on the "Corrupted Elf" version of events.
Though this is by no means conclusive, as Tolkien certainly had felt it unnecessary to revise certain Animist elements (such as Bombadil and Goldberry), and indeed the Polytheist aspects of the Co-Creative Powers of the Ainur (subject of course to the Godhead of Eru). Thus the Canon argument is the one I am most comfortable with.
[b:2c69gg15]Sarge,[/b:2c69gg15] I feel I must reiterate my point from the last page, that evidence for the immortality of Orcs is dubious at best. While I certainly agree with Ancalagon that Orcs were originally corrupted Elves, I strongly disagree that they were immortal. And I have to conclude that based on the more Catholic aspects of the later versions of Tolkien's Cosmology, that the "Broken" and "Sinful" nature of the Corrupted Elves would have destroyed their physical immortality, in a similar manner to which the Biblical Corruption of Man in the Garden destroyed the immortality of Adam and Eve and their descendants.
Depends on what version of the legends you're reading. Tolkien played around with the idea of moving the 'waking' of Men to a much earlier time so it would be more realistic that they developed societies before reaching Beleriand.
[quote:2ou6skoy]Also, I think the Maiar (who joined Melkor by choice) probably would have taken shape in powerful, fearsome forms like the balrogs not like the miserable little orcs [/quote:2ou6skoy]
Not all orcs are little and miserable. It's an idea that Tolkien considered, though of course he didn't settle on it definitively.
No, canon is the officially recognized text. That's what the word has meant since its original religious sense, and its what it generally means when applied to fiction as well. Normally the official canon indeed the last published text, but in the case of Tolkien's notes on the First Age there is no 'official' version. The Silmarillion was supposed to give a brief, internally consistent overview of the First Age while The History of Middle-earth gave a look at the evolution of Tolkien's thoughts (I am reminded of Christopher's comment in the Foreword to The Silmarillion that it was "in truth a continuing and evolving creation extending over more than half a century".
Even if we were to go by your unusual definition of canon though, we would need to use the last volumes of The History of Middle-earth, which were published about 20 years after The Silmarillion. Additionally, they give a more complete view of the legendarium as Christopher had discovered/deciphered several new texts in the intervening decades.
[quote:27u4mzk7]Author intentions are best understood through reading extra-textual material such as letters, author's notes, early drafts, and unpublished revised manuscripts. I always try to distinguish between Canon and perceived intentions myself.[/quote:27u4mzk7]
One can of course assign all sorts of 'intentions' to an author, but we can only go by their word (that includes what Tolkien wrote in his letters, by the way ). That's what I'm doing: looking at what Tolkien wrote over many decades and realizing that he never made up his mind. Your approach is to take a text that Tolkien did not directly write and to elevate to the status of 'canon' when neither the indirect author, the editor, the publisher, nor the copyright holder of the book gave it such status.
[quote:27u4mzk7]As such I feel that Tolkien's abortive attempts to write an LotRized version of The Hobbit indicate that he himself wished to include Gandalf's adventures with the White Council and Dol Guldur, yet I wouldn't suggest that would be Canonical.[/quote:27u4mzk7]
Ah, this again. I'm still wondering if you've found a quote where Tolkien mentioned that he wanted to include the White Council in the version of The Hobbit that, in the end, he decided to abandon, but that's a matter for another thread.
[quote:27u4mzk7][b:27u4mzk7]Sarge,[/b:27u4mzk7] I feel I must reiterate my point from the last page, that evidence for the immortality of Orcs is dubious at best.[/quote:27u4mzk7]
Agreed. Even if the Orcs were corrupted Elves (something I've not denied, only said is uncertain), I think it's a bit of a leap to say that they retained immortality after the process of ruination, especially if human strains were later introduced into the Orcs. It's possible that Eru did not grant [i:27u4mzk7]fear[/i:27u4mzk7] (souls) to the ruined Orcs after they became different enough from Elves.
However having said that I do think your points Sarge about certain orcs seeming to have a suspiciously good knowledge of ancient history should be given full consideration. (hard to envisage orc history lessons or even them all sitting round the homestead listening to tales).
There is nothing I can think of which expressly negates the possibility that Orcs have long lives except perhaps the speed at which they appear to be able to reproduce (if they were all immortal it would not take many ages to overrun the world with orcs).
On the Uruk-Hai I had formed the opinion that (assuming orcs are corrupted elves) that what was added to the mix was humans. But that is just a guess.
On your point Ancalagon about not wanting to offend anyone with debating particular comments I would not worry about that here- one of the reasons I enjoy this forum so much is that it is, mercifully, lacking in "Your just an idiot," or "My God is better than yours" nonsense. Debate is the name of the game here (when we're not larking around) and I've yet to see a subject on here that hasn't been handled with moderation and fairness by all. A look through the threads on origins and even the destruction of the Ring will provide you with many a conversation about religious significance and how they play out in Tolkien's works (GB is particularly knowledgeable and informative on such matters) without a hint of offence in any of it.
While we don't know much about Orc social structures, they had to have some sort of structure for the raising of their young. I don't like the "brutal barbarian stereotype". We get a very one-sided view of Orcs in TH and TLotR (naturally, since they're told from the point of view of people who are enemies of Orcs). This isn't to say that Orcs are secretly the good guys, but we only see them at war, so for all we know they might have had a strong oral tradition. Thinking of the two cases in question: it's possible that the swords had very distinctive features/markings, and the Siege of Barad-dur was a pretty monumental moment in the history of, well, everyone (I don't think Shagrat and Gorbag's conversation suggests that either of them actually remember the siege, either; they're merely comparing the current situation to a well-known historical event).
[quote:35giuf72]There is nothing I can think of which expressly negates the possibility that Orcs have long lives except perhaps the speed at which they appear to be able to reproduce (if they were all immortal it would not take many ages to overrun the world with orcs).[/quote:35giuf72]
True, but the burden of proof is on advocates of Orc immortality to provide evidence of their claim, not on critics to provide evidence of a negative. (You may know this already, but I think it's worth pointing out nonetheless.)
To pontificate even more on this:
Azog first comes into the tales in T.A. 2790, but Sauron had sent a force into Moria in 2480 - it might be conceivable (considering the age of his son at death) that Azog was that original orc chieftan sent by the Dark Lord. This would make his rule a full 319 years at the time of his death in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs.
Bolg ruled Moria after his father's death from T.A. 2799 until the Battle of Five Armies, where he was slain by Beorn in 2941. So his rule was only a paltry 142 years, but no telling his exact age. It does lend credence to the idea that orcs at the very minimum were extremely long lived.
In this situation either position is based on speculation, however Eldo is correct "the burden of proof is on advocates of Orc immortality to provide evidence of their claim, not on critics to provide evidence of a negative" - spoken like a true scientist
If for a moment we can agree that orcs came from elves (sorry Eldo) the [u:2vbcamsj]conrete evidence[/u:2vbcamsj] stands thus
FOR IMMORTALITY: Orcs came from an immortal race (to claim they lost this would be a guess even though educated)
AGAINST IMMORTALITY: None
Thus, I must lean toward immortality but cannot guarantee it.
For the sake of discussion I can let that slide for this post.
[quote="Ancalagon":jbr22l8t]FOR IMMORTALITY: Orcs came from an immortal race (to claim they lost this would be a guess even though educated)
AGAINST IMMORTALITY: None[/quote:jbr22l8t]
That there is no evidence against immortality is irrelevant. I might as well say the following:
[quote:jbr22l8t]FOR BIGFOOT: Many sightings (albeit unverified) over several decades.
AGAINST BIGFOOT: None
Therefore, I believe in Bigfoot.[/quote:jbr22l8t]
But that would be ridiculous. Proving a negative is, quite often, a difficult thing. As it is though, the default assumption is that Orcs aren't immortal and evidence must be provided for the positive claim. The only evidence provided so far are assumptions that, as has been pointed out, aren't really warranted. Likewise in the Bigfoot case, despite the [i:jbr22l8t]volume[/i:jbr22l8t] of evidence vastly favoring the 'pro' side, it's not convincing evidence, so most people stick with the 'con' side.
If we can agree that orcs came from immortal elves, then the appropriate null hypothesis is that there is no difference between orcs and elves (aka orcs are also immortal). The burden of proof then falls on the alternative hypothesis "orcs are different (not immortal)."
The "negative" is always "no difference/change" or "the same"
Thus the default assumption in this case is that orcs are also immortal
Thus the default assumption in this case is that orcs are also immortal [/quote:2bcpmptt]
Genetic fallacy. Just because Orcs were [b:2bcpmptt]supposedly[/b:2bcpmptt] once Elves doesn't mean they automaticaly still have any properties of Elvishness. Additionally, you seem to have misunderstood the principle of burden proof. The person making a [i:2bcpmptt]positive claim[/i:2bcpmptt] must back up their claim. The "negative" in this case is merely the side arguing against the positive claim.
Please provide evidence that Orcs were immortal.
I didn't comment on it because I agree with the conclusion that it shows that Orcs, or at least some Orcs, have very long lives by human standards, but I don't think it touches on the issue of immortality. Dain Ironfoot lived to be about 250 years old, and I could imagine Azog and Bolg having similar lifespans, but that doesn't make them immortal by a long shot.
Eldo I thought you might simply have missed the post (because there was no comment on it) and it seemed an interesting point, perhaps because I've never given too much thought to the lifespan of orcs prior to now, but I found the information quite eye opening
I should have known better than to assume you'd missed something , I see from your post you gave the thought consideration and simply didn't comment because you agreed with it.
No problem, petty. It would have been polite of me to at least acknowledge it, but I was more concerned with the other sub-topic and didn't think about sarge's post much beyond my initial agreement.
By the way, may I add that I love your new avatar? Cats FTW.