Orcs orcs orcs

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Amarië
Posts: 2785

Orcs orcs orcs

Post#1 » Mon Mar 01, 2004 3:04 pm

Nasssty orcsessss...
I have been wondering what would happen if a baby orc was raised by elves. A genetics vs enviroment thing. But as I tried to start a discussion about it in the chat room, I realized that we don't know where they come from!?

The silmarillion says they are made by tortured and destroyed elves. (I won't bother to look it up, I'm sure someone will provide the excact quote soon), Virumor is digging up evidence which says JRR said they did NOT come from elves. I though it might make a good PT dicussion. Any of you got any theories or evidence on this matter?
"Don't complain under the stars
about the lack of bright spots in you life."
Henrik Wergeland, Norwegian writer

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Vee
Posts: 2711

Orcs orcs orcs

Post#2 » Mon Mar 01, 2004 3:37 pm

It could depend on which books you take as being "the truth". As I understand it (someone will correct me if I am wrong) The Silmarillion and LotR are 'gospel' and the other books are the route JRRT took to develop ideas and stories. They give added detail but a lot of stuff changed.

In the Sil it says that Melkor was watching the elves after they awoke and sent evil spirits to waylay them. Also

But of those unhappy ones who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty. For who of the living has descended into the pits of Utumno, or has explored the darkness of the counsels of Melkor? Yet this is held true by the wise of the Eressea. 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.



And also from the Sil...
Whence they (Orcs) came, or what they were, the Elves knew not then thinking them perhaps to be Avari who had become evil and savage in the wild; in which they guessed all too near, it is said.


So I think they were from Elves, corrupted and tortured by Melkor.


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valedhelgwath
Posts: 4233

Orcs orcs orcs

Post#3 » Mon Mar 01, 2004 3:56 pm

Buried in one of the other threads somewhere I did root out a few quotes from Morgoth's Ring about the origin of Orcs. From what I remember, Tolkien himself changed his mind several times about their origin. In some places he tells us they were created by Morgoth from tortured elves, but in other places he says the early orcs were in fact Maiar spirits who had flocked to his banner. Still later, he says they are just "animal" creations possessing no true thought, and whose minds are "programmed" to Morgoth's will.

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Tyrhael
Posts: 1187

Orcs orcs orcs

Post#4 » Tue Mar 02, 2004 2:02 pm

I think that the Elves -> Orcs was an outdated idea, though I don't think he ever fully made up his mind. There was a thread with more info at TORC; I'll try to find it.

Anyway, there are a number of theories that Tolkien himself made, and never fully committed himself to one or the other;
Orcs coming from Elves
Orcs coming from beasts
Orcs coming from corrupted Maiar
Orcs coming from Men
A combo. of the above

It seems, chronology-wise, that the "last" idea Tolkien made was from Men, though there is evidence to support each and every theory, and evidence to disprove each and every theory. He never fully made up his mind, so I don't think we can either.

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Vee
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Orcs orcs orcs

Post#5 » Tue Mar 02, 2004 2:24 pm

I thought the Silmarillion represented Tolkien's final decisions and if that is the case I am happy with elves to orcs.


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valedhelgwath
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Orcs orcs orcs

Post#6 » Tue Mar 02, 2004 6:33 pm

I thought the Silmarillion represented Tolkien's final decisions


Tolkien never actually finished writing the Silmarillion. What we see is a version edited by Christopher from his father's notes. These notes were extensive, contradictory, and not always in chronological order. Some of the bits that made it into the Silmarillion had come from notes that Tolkien had later updated and changed. Whether Christopher did not find these notes until after the Silmarillion had been published, I'm not sure.

Some of the last notes JRR wrote actually began fundamentally changing vast concepts of the story we know as the Silmarillion. One such example is the creation of the sun and moon. In his later works, JRR was moving away from these two being created from fruits of the Two Trees. The creation of his world was becoming more like the one which we live in. For me, this takes away much of the magic I see in the Silmarillion, because I like the concept of the sun and moon being born from the Two Trees. I like to think these later works, had JRR lived longer, perhaps been changed back again into the version which finally made it into the Sil. Maybe Christopher felt similar and deliberately left those last notes out.

Morambar
Posts: 1022

Orcs orcs orcs

Post#7 » Thu Jul 14, 2005 12:00 am

I thought the consensus position was that we accepted HOME UNLESS IT'S CONTRADICTED BY THE SILM (though, at least for today, dissent is still legal in most parts of the West.) Orcs deriving from Men would represent a real problem for the first battles of the War of the Jewels (since Men had not yet awakened) and If Orcs are Maiar a) how are they different in origins form Balrogs and b) how come there's so many of them? I could live with the beasts thing; I never really liked the idea of Orcs as degenerate Elves. IF that holds though it suggests interesting things, too; the Quendi were immortal....

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miruvor
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Orcs orcs orcs

Post#8 » Thu Jul 14, 2005 5:55 am

It's possible that Orcs are immortal; they just lead such violent and dangerous lives that they always get killed soon.

In the conversation between Gorbag and Shagrat, one of the two seems to point out he/she was at the Siege of Barad-Dur.

Morambar
Posts: 1022

Orcs orcs orcs

Post#9 » Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:34 am

Good catch, Miruvor; I knew there was some allusion buried somewhere. If I ever learn the trick of memorization I'll count myself blessed. I can paraphrase well, but there's times when that's unsuitable, even unwise.

Good explanation of why Middle-Earth wasn't (quite) buried in a mountain of Orcs, too. It brings to mind something else about which I've always wondered, though:

Elves had few children, and these aged slowly. The fecundity of Men is occasionally cited as one reason for the decline of the Eldar. Yet Orcs bred like rabbits, so that after repeated decimation in the War of the Jewels Morgoth could bide his time, wait for Orcs to do what Orcs do, and come back with a huge numerical advantage. What gives?

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miruvor
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Orcs orcs orcs

Post#10 » Fri Jul 15, 2005 7:25 am

Elves had few children, and these aged slowly. The fecundity of Men is occasionally cited as one reason for the decline of the Eldar. Yet Orcs bred like rabbits, so that after repeated decimation in the War of the Jewels Morgoth could bide his time, wait for Orcs to do what Orcs do, and come back with a huge numerical advantage. What gives?

The number of Elves in Middle-Earth at the end of the Third Age was indeed very low : there were only some remains of Elfdumb left in Rivendell, Lothlorien and the Woodland Realm, but we don't really know anything about the number of Elves in Valinor.

But as an army of Vanyar, Teleri and Noldor was able to wipe out Morgoth's armies in the War of Wrath, i have a feeling they weren't outnumbered 3:1, let alone 2:1. I have a feeling their numbers were pretty equal, hence the total number of Elves in Arda, before Valinor was removed by Eru, was pretty high.

So the Elves which awoke at Cuiviénen (144, according to HOME - ha ha), must have bred like rabbits as well. Think of the Fibonacci series used for rabbit multiplication, with the difference that no rabbit ever dies - and you indeed get very high numbers quickly.

By sheer numerical power, both Morgoth and Sauron would've won easily, without any 'divine' intervention (Bilbo finding the Ring was quite predestined so let's call that divine). Luckily Sauron orchestrated his own destruction by forging the One Ring.

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