Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

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Astar
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#1 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:37 pm

Hello everyone.
I recently watched the LOTR trilogy and I couldn't help but be distracted by a certain subject that has been plaguing me ever since I first saw the trilogy.
I've always been a bit confused by all the different types of orcs, goblins and trolls. I can tell Uruk-hai from orcs, and cave trolls/trolls in general, but whenever it comes to goblins, and mordor orcs, and isengard orcs, and just plain orcs in general, I tend to get a bit confused.
For example, in FoTR when the nine first enter the mines of moria and find all the carnage and dead bodies left over from the dwarves being attacked, Legolas pulls out a random arrow from a body and exclaims, "Goblins!"; while later when Pippin pushes a certain rather noisy skeleton down the well and they start hearing drums, Legolas exclaims, "Orcs!"
That bit is mixed in with the orcs/uruk-hai that capture merry and pippin, and the orcs that captured frodo after he was poisoned by shelob, and all the other orcs in the different battles that are really starting to make my head spin!
So after all my rambling ( :roll: ), the main question is: Is there any real difference between different breeds of orcs, goblins, and trolls besides where they were 'created' so to speak, and if there are, what are they?
Any input you could give me would be most helpful! :? :? :?

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Gandalfs Beard
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#2 » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:11 am

Hopefully Beren or Show will be by to help clear this up, because even I get a little confused sometimes. But initially, Orc and Goblin are interchangeable terms, they are one and the same thing. However, Goblin seems to be favoured when talking about orcs from the Misty Mountains (as in The Hobbit) or the original orcs in general. They look like slimy Gollum-ish elf type creatures with big eyes and cat-like pupils.

Then there are Mordor orcs which seem to look like (and talk like) really ugly members of Monty Python ;) :lol: . Then there are the Orcs created by Saruman; these are the Uruk-hai. They look more like Neanderthal versions of Elves. They are bigger, stronger and meaner than the other Orcs, and apparently more loyal and focussed on their missions too :roll: .

Anyway, maybe Beren or Show will have some more canonical details from the books that I've forgotten.

GB

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Show
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#3 » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:29 am

As you both pointed out, the Uruk-Hai are easy to spot. Same goes for the cave trolls.
The best of my understanding is that Goblin and Orc are simply two words for the same thing. Typically in writing they were Goblins in Hobbit and orcs in LotR.
If my memory serves me (which it fails to do at times), Peter Jackson said on the Commentary for RotK that he used the same look for his Mordor Orcs as for the rest. But he knew he had to make them more menacing, so he suited them up in bigger and better armour.
So while the Mordor orcs are the same creepy fugly characters as those housed in Isengard, the Mordor orcs get better gear.

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Beren
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#4 » Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:34 pm

I can see how Legolas' comments can get confusing (they're not meant to bear much meaning in the movie, anyways). But, as GB and Show have said: the basic thing you must remember is that goblins are orcs and orcs are goblins. They are the same creature, but people tend to refer to the Misty Mountain "orcs" as goblins and anything else as orcs.

The very first orcs that Saruman made (like the one that came to him and said, "What news from Mordor, my lord? What does the Eye command?") were essentially the same as the Mordor orcs. But then Saruman was able to breed a stronger and better "version" that was able to travel in sunlight, accomplish missions better, and defeat foes better. These were the Uruk-Hai.

Sauron's orcs are all pretty much the same. The ones that capture Frodo are the most wimpy, since they just sit in the tower all the time. But the ones at the battle for Pelennor fields were essentially the same thing.

All orcs, as Saruman explains in TT, were elves once. In the ancient days, Morgoth captured elves, tortured them, subjected them to lifelong hard labor, and mutilated them by this process. He then forced them to breed, and thus bred his Orc race. They all eventually (through Morgoth messing with the genetics, probably) lost all their elfishness, and became absolute servants of Morgoth. When Morgoth was destroyed, all the remaining orcs hid in the depths of the mountain caves, and when Sauron arose, he used these orcs.

So, although orcs really aren't elves, their ancestors from thousands of years ago were. It's pretty sick.

I hope that clears things up. If you want to know about trolls too, let us know.

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Astar
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#5 » Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:38 pm

Thanks so much for all three of your guys' comments! They were extremely helpful, especially the whole bit about goblins essentially being orcs. ;)

As for trolls, I've read bits and pieces from other posts, so any questions I may have had about them are cleared up. :D

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Eldorion
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#6 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:34 pm

This is probably beating a dead horse, but I just want to emphasize that there is absolutely no difference between goblins and orcs. The phrase goblin is used in LOTR interchangeably with orc. It is not exclusively used to refer to Misty Mountain orcs. The only difference is linguistic: Orc is an Old English (the language Tolkien used to represent Rohirric) word and Goblin is an English word. They are no more different than dog (English) and Hund (German).

The movies confuse the concept of orcs somewhat. In them there are insectoid like "goblins", regular "orcs", and larger and stronger "Uruk-hai". The situation in the book is somewhat different.

Within Orcs there are sub-types. There are Uruks (or Uruk-hai, "orc-folk"), the Black Orcs of Mordor, who are bigger and stronger than other orcs. They sometimes refer to lesser orcs as snagas, meaning slaves. Orcs can also be interbred with humans, resulting in human/orc hybrids who are even bigger and stronger and can withstand sunlight better. This technique was used by Morgoth in the First Age and rediscovered by Saruman, but there is no evidence that Sauron ever used it.

(I've been a bit confused by Saurman's half-orcs referring to themselves as "Uruk-hai" when they clearly have human blood in them. My conclusion is that they are part Uruk and just didn't mention the half-orc part for some reason.)

The origin of orcs is a complicated matter that J.R.R. Tolkien never fully resolved. The version his son Christopher included in the published Silmarillion is that Orcs were corrupted Elves, though many other ideas were also given. Regardless of their origins though, it is clear that Orcs reproduced sexually in the same manner as humans (source: The Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of the Elves"). The spawning pits shown to us by Mr. Jackson were entirely a creation of the films.

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Beren
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#7 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:04 pm

Eldorion wrote:The spawning pits shown to us by Mr. Jackson were entirely a creation of the films.


I totally agree. I have no idea where Jackson came up with that. Of course, he couldn't show how they really reproduced, so I guess the gory part in him (which is pretty much dominant) took over and he thought this up. Not true at all, and not visually appealing at all, lol.

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Eldorion
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#8 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:10 pm

I think that Jackson may have a thing for monsters (including spawning monsters), and I think it's a bit excessive at times. At least they wasn't as bad as they were in King Kong though, there was barely a plot in the middle of the movie because of the amount of time spent on monster action sequences. :roll:

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Beren
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#9 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:15 pm

haha, that's Jackson for you. Remember the Uruk-Hai head (with it's tongue sticking out) on the spike next to Fangorn? Pure Peter Jackson. :lol:

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Eldorion
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Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!

Post#10 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:56 pm

Ah yes, that fine specimen of Orchood. :P The so-called Gothmog of ROTK was worse for me though, the masses of diseased flesh were a bit creepy to me. On the other hand, I thought Gollum was done well and not all over-the-top freaky monsterish.

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