Orc chieftains

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dwarflord
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Orc chieftains

Post#1 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:36 pm


This is something that popped into my head just a moment ago.

There are some differences in the manner in which Orcs go about their business. In the First Age, Morgoth's will dominated thease creatures so strongly, that there is no mention (unless I am mistaken, I read The Silmarillion a while ago) of any Orc chieftain, in the sense, that he decided for himself. Everything the Orcs did in those days was to carry out orders of The Dark Lord.
However, in the Third Age there are times in wich Orcs seem to govern their own, to some extent. Thorin and Co. are captured and brought into the presence of a great Orc (Goblin) Chieftain, who seems to be more than just a puppet of someone's will. If he were, the fact that The One Ring existed relatively close to him would'nt escape his master's attention.
Azog and Bolg seem to be more than just pawns. They make decisions, plan strategies and act on them. Of course Moria (where Azog dwelt) was populated by Sauron with his creatures (around 2480, III Age), but reading the appedices in the Lord of the Rings, I got the impression that even if they got orders from Sauron, they weren't specific. They just stated: Don't let Moria be recolonized by Dwarves. How to achieve this was up to them. Their chieftains were to figure out how to carry out these orders.
Mount Gundabad, which was a sacred place fot the Dwarves became an Orc stronghold. It was from here that the Orcs moved on Erebor the battle of The Five Armies. This clearly suggests that they were "organized" in a way. During this battle the movements of their forces were made by Orcs, not by some outside will. They weren't entirely controlled by the will of Sauron or The Witch King. They showed a high level of independence (however it is safe to say that even though the Orcs may have thought they were fighting the Dwarves for some other reasons the bottom line is that it was in Sauron's interest that they do so)

It may be that this was due to the fact that Orcs in the Third Age were much more numerous than in the First Age. The territories they occupied were greater (after all the Orcs of the First Age were kept in Thangorodrim, thus on Morgoth's doorstep). They Orcs of the Third Age forged realms (in a way), like Gundabad or Moria. It may be because Sauron didn't have a power great enough to controll them all. Perhaps learning from Morgoth's mistakes, Sauron deduced that it was "wiser" to give the Orcs more freedom in their actions, and that, added to their sheer numbers and ferocity would serve him better.

The Orcs of Mordor, fighting at The Black Gate however were close to Sauron. I think that he and his Nazgul controlled their every movement. That is why The Lidless Eye had to concentrate fully on those events, leaving Orodruin totally unwatched.

I don't remember if Saruman's army had an Orc chieftain. Maybe some of you remember the structure of command. Did Saruman leave the immediate decisions of battle to some general or did he himself controll his hosts. It seems doubtful that he did it himself, I don't think he had that much power. Then again I may be wrong.

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miruvor
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Orc chieftains

Post#2 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 2:01 pm

It may be that this was due to the fact that Orcs in the Third Age were much more numerous than in the First Age. The territories they occupied were greater (after all the Orcs of the First Age were kept in Thangorodrim, thus on Morgoth's doorstep).

I disagree with this statement. I believe Orcs were more numerous in the First Age. Why else would Sauron need to add Easterlings to his armies ?

Take this quote from the Sil :

There was marshalled the whole power of the Throne of Morgoth, and it had become great beyond count, so that Anfauglith could not contain it; and all the North was aflame with war.


We know from ROTK that one part of Sauron's army - one part of Sauron's hand, as Denethor called it - covered the entire Pelennor, but even his complete hand wouldn't be as big as Morgoth's final army.

Of course Moria (where Azog dwelt) was populated by Sauron with his creatures (around 2480, III Age), but reading the appedices in the Lord of the Rings, I got the impression that even if they got orders from Sauron, they weren't specific.

Even so, there was still Durin's Bane lurking around there, who was awoken in 1980 III by the Dwarves, and of which Sauron was apparently unaware. In the end, it was the Balrog who took care of things, which was of course also good for Sauron's cause.

The Orcs of Mordor, fighting at The Black Gate however were close to Sauron. I think that he and his Nazgul controlled their every movement. That is why The Lidless Eye had to concentrate fully on those events, leaving Orodruin totally unwatched.

But even these Orcs had their amount of free will. Look at the conversation between Gorbag and Shagrat, who are doubting the good progress of the war and talking about running away if the war's over :

`It's going well, they say.'
'They would.' grunted Gorbag. `We'll see. But anyway, if it does go well, there should be a lot more room. What d'you say? – if we get a chance, you and me'll slip off and set up somewhere on our own with a few trusty lads, somewhere where there's good loot nice and handy, and no big bosses.'
'Ah! ' said Shagrat. `Like old times.'


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dwarflord
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Orc chieftains

Post#3 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 2:50 pm

Even so, there was still Durin's Bane lurking around there, who was awoken in 1980 III by the Dwarves, and of which Sauron was apparently unaware. In the end, it was the Balrog who took care of things, which was of course also good for Sauron's cause.


Now that you mention it, how is it possible that Sauron populated Moria 500 years after the awakening of the Balrog, and he didn't know about its presence there?
If Sauron knew nothing, then it proves my point - he left Moria with the Orcs. But if he knew, would'nt he put the Deamon of Fire to some better use? Like attacking Lorien or try to transport him to Mordor...That would be much more useful to him than just "blocking" Moria.

As far as Shagrat and Gorbag go. I think they are the exeption to the rule. They cannot possibly represent a meaning percentage of Sauron's army. It's impossible that a considerable number of his Orcs were dreaming about their own realms. Sauron would'nt give them so much freedom, because he could'nt keep discipline in his ranks

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miruvor
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Orc chieftains

Post#4 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:14 pm

As far as Shagrat and Gorbag go. I think they are the exeption to the rule. They cannot possibly represent a meaning percentage of Sauron's army. It's impossible that a considerable number of his Orcs were dreaming about their own realms. Sauron would'nt give them so much freedom, because he could'nt keep discipline in his ranks

I think Shagrat and Gorbag are the proof that all Orcs are untrustworthy, undisciplined creatures that can only be commanded by means of fear and dread, and by promising them the lands (and heads) of their enemies.

But if he knew, would'nt he put the Deamon of Fire to some better use? Like attacking Lorien or try to transport him to Mordor...That would be much more useful to him than just "blocking" Moria.

If Sauron knew, which is possible because he had Thrain in his dungeons in Dol Guldur once, i'm sure he treated the Balrog in the same way as he treated Shelob. He didn't hold control over any of them, but as they served his purposes, he let them have their own way.

Nor the Balrog, nor Shelob would easily submit to Sauron, to say the least.

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dwarflord
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Orc chieftains

Post#5 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:27 pm

I think Shagrat and Gorbag are the proof that all Orcs are untrustworthy, undisciplined creatures that can only be commanded by means of fear and dread, and by promising them the lands (and heads) of their enemies


This is an interesting point. I agree with the first part. They were untrustworthy creatures. Fear of Sauron was what drove them, but not his promising of lands. As far as I am aware nowhere is it written that Sauron "bribed" Orcs in such a way. He used political means when dealing with his human allies, but not the Orcs. If there are such writings, they would have to totally change my perception of Orcs.

Nor the Balrog, nor Shelob would easily submit to Sauron, to say the least.


This is true, although you must remember: Shelob and her ancestors were never dominated. With Shelob Sauron didn't even try. When it comes to the Balrog, he was "just" a servant. before he fled under the Mountains. He probably could be subdued again. And by who if not Sauron (with or without the Ring, I wonder...)

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miruvor
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Orc chieftains

Post#6 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:54 pm

When it comes to the Balrog, he was "just" a servant. before he fled under the Mountains. He probably could be subdued again. And by who if not Sauron (with or without the Ring, I wonder...)

Sauron was "just" a servant too, along with the Balrog, of Melkor the Great. It was Melkor who could subdue the Balrogs, as he was in a bigger league, whilst Sauron and the Balrog are in the same league.

After the débâcle at the end of the First Age, the Balrog of Morgoth would never want to serve anyone anymore, and would most likely fight to the death; hence Sauron would not take such a risk, as we all know what a great warrior he is : don't forget his body was destroyed by Gil-Galad (or Kill-Galad) and Elendil, even when he was wearing the Ring.

If there are such writings, they would have to totally change my perception of Orcs.

Orcs are based on British football hooligans (or rather : cricket hooligans, as football wasn't yet as popular in JRRT's time) : all they like is fighting, and making the biggest mess as possible.

On another note, that "Orc chieftain" in PJ's ROTK really looked like Sloth from the Goonies, didn't he ? I call him Slothmog.

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dwarflord
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Orc chieftains

Post#7 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 6:37 pm

Sauron was "just" a servant too


Do not underestimate Sauron.

Sauron and the Balrog are in the same league.


Not any more. Sauron in the Third Age is the single most powerful being in Middle Earth. No [u]single [/u]person could withstand him one to one. It took nothing short of the alliance of the free peoples to [u]temporarily[/u] overthrow him. The Balrog could not withstand Sauron who was one of the the Maia, long ago servant of Aule. The Fire Demon was a twisted creation of Morgoth. In my opinion Sauron could controll the Balrog with or without the Ring on his finger. It would be difficult without the Ring, but certainly Sauron was capable of it. And the fact that he was unable to take physical form weakened him for a time. But when he regained his power he was once again as mighty as ever.

The cutting of the Ring from his hand was destiny, pure fate. Otherwise nothing could ever stop him. This one event had far fetched consequences for Sauron. Years later it proved to be the pebble that started the avalanche of his downfall.
Call it an intervention of Eru...

On another note, that "Orc chieftain" in PJ's ROTK really looked like Sloth from the Goonies, didn't he ?

Nice one Miruvor, something we totally agree on :)

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miruvor
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Orc chieftains

Post#8 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 6:57 pm

Not any more. Sauron in the Third Age is the single most powerful being in Middle Earth. No single person could withstand him one to one. It took nothing short of the alliance of the free peoples to temporarily overthrow him. The Balrog could not withstand Sauron who was one of the the Maia, long ago servant of Aule. The Fire Demon was a twisted creation of Morgoth. In my opinion Sauron could controll the Balrog with or without the Ring on his finger. It would be difficult without the Ring, but certainly Sauron was capable of it. And the fact that he was unable to take physical form weakened him for a time. But when he regained his power he was once again as mighty as ever.

That's where we disagree. Balrogs are Maiar as well, not just "twisted creations by Morgoth". Morgoth didn't create the Balrogs, he convinced them into joining him, just like he did with Sauron.

I believe Sauron could never force the Balrog in serving him, without killing him. And even if Sauron would be able to kill him, i believe Sauron would barely leave the battle alive, à la Gandalf. Again, history has proven Sauron is a lousy warrior. When facing a Balrog, there wouldn't just be a "battle of wills" à la Finrod vs Sauron, but there'd be some hand-to-hand combat and sumo wrestling involved.

No one could stand him one to one ? Aragorn did, through the Palantir. But yes, in the flesh Aragorn would have been toast, although Sauron wouldn't leave that battle unharmed as well.

Furthermore, i believe Gandalf the White would be able to trounce Sauron, but he wasn't allowed to do that.

Do not underestimate Sauron.

Do not overestimate Sauron. He was just a wise fool. Morgoth, now that's my man. ;-)

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dwarflord
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Orc chieftains

Post#9 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 6:58 pm

Oh of course, how could I forget. Balrogs are also Maia. You're absolutely right.
So Sauron could have controlled him only when he had the Ring.

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miruvor
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Orc chieftains

Post#10 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 7:17 pm

So Sauron could have controlled him only when he had the Ring.

See my previous post.

Really, the Ring was just a scheme to trap all Free Peoples of Middle-Earth under his dominion. Sauron with his Ring on was just Sauron with his full power, and that's all. He didn't have any influence on the Three, as they didn't wear their rings. The Ring wouldn't enhance the power that was originally given to him by Eru.

There has been a discussion somewhere else about whether Sauron would be able to control Smaug : i think the same applies there as well.

The only thing Sauron can manage vs Smaug and Durin's Bane, and perhaps even Galadriel, is only a Pyrrhic victory.

The Ring was just a partly failed scheme, a bad experiment. Sauron only wanted it back to fully restore his power from 40%-50% back to 100%.

It's maybe true that Sauron had the highest amount of latent power, but he didn't know how to use it efficiently, hence he has been defeated quite some times in the history of Arda. Sauron is a twit.

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