Thread: Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls; Oh My!
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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 ( ), 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!
Then there are Mordor orcs which seem to look like (and talk like) really ugly members of Monty Python . 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 .
Anyway, maybe Beren or Show will have some more canonical details from the books that I've forgotten.
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.
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.
As for trolls, I've read bits and pieces from other posts, so any questions I may have had about them are cleared up.
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 [i:2d8az9el]snagas[/i:2d8az9el], 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 [i:2d8az9el]Silmarillion[/i:2d8az9el] 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: [i:2d8az9el]The Silmarillion[/i:2d8az9el], "Of the Coming of the Elves". 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.
Gollum was not only an artistic achievement, he was a scientific achievement. He was huge and ushered in a whole new age of CG.
I at first thought this, but now I don't think it was a direct blow. I'll have to watch it again. It almost seems to me (in my mind) that the Witch-King mainly missed, but just kind of hit the shield in an awkward way. But it was enough for him.
Also i think the Witch kings mace/flail thing was way too big, surely it wouldn't matter how big it was but how much power was in it? Sort of a cartoony death for the Witch King too, with his head warping around then imploding.
I thought the Witch-king's entire helmet contraption was a bit odd. He'd have to be very careful not to lean or it would probably cause him to fall over because of how bulky and heavy it was.
Kudos to PJ for the living up to our Nostalgic memories. I really couldn't be happier with the design of Middle Earth's inhabitants (except for the Wargs). They seem to be plucked from our collective unconscious, and brought to life on-screen.
The implosion effect was brilliant too. It suggests an Empty Suit of Armour, animated by a Malevolent Spirit that once punctured, deflates.
It's great that you liked the designs, but I didn't feel that universally. Some of them were very good (hobbits come to mind - though not the huge feet, and I thought Aragorn's ranger costume was good - much better than in Bakshi ) but I was a bit disappointed by some of the others. The Rohirrim and Gondorians should have been wearing chain mail, but they were not. That's not to minimize the artistic quality and devotion that went into [i:2712wcsp]making them[/i:2712wcsp], which I am in awe of, but rather, they weren't Middle-earth to me. Beautiful, but not what I was hoping for.
Overall i thought all the costumes and equipment was spot on,apart from those already mentioned and the Rohirrim could have had blonde/gold hair like in the book, but that's probably me being picky :0)
Now the Gondorians actually did have chain mail sleeves (I forgot about that), but the uniform of the Guards of the Citadel in the book) contained no plate. The Rohirrim had similar armour to the Gondorians since their armour was supplied to them by Gondor (UT, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen", Note 11).
Yes, their armour totally works for me . But then I was a D&D enthusiat myself back in the day .
Anyway, I've found mostly that Peter Jackson's work has helped to inspire me to imagine more the world of Middle Earth and Tolkien's creation. Don't get me wrong, the book was awesome. But PJ simply took that awesomeness and expanded it into a world that I could see in front of my very own eyes and then imagine whenever I wanted.
I think that the spawning pits in Isengard makes total sense. They were fabricated creatures. Sauruman in the movie was the absolute expression of industry (he even says so in the TT). "The old world will burn in the fires of industry". In FOTR..in the movie Gandalf tells Elrond that "the Foul Cad Sauruman has crossed orcs with goblin men..hes breeding an army in the caverns of Isengard.
In the Silmarillion one of the main reasons that Morgoth rebelled is because of the ability to create life. The orcs were a mockery of the elves in the sense that only Illuvatar could create "true" life. (at least I think thats where I read it).
Also, all the things that happen in the movie are designed to further the plot, PJ even admits that some comprimises had to be made on the cannonical front.
In the movie the Uruk-hai were, the "goblins" and ordinary orcs were left ambiguous. In the book however no orc variants were fabricated in the sense that they did not reproduce sexually.
[quote:1osjbweo]The orcs were a mockery of the elves in the sense that only Illuvatar could create "true" life. [/quote:1osjbweo]
It was actually that Morgoth could not create things, period; he could only corrupt. This is why Orcs [i:1osjbweo]have[/i:1osjbweo] to reproduce sexually: they are corruptions of beings (Elves and/or Men possibly, though this was never really resolved by Tolkien) who reproduce sexually.
I suspect we share a similar view of the movies. Great job - but just not quite what it should have been!
Some changes were good. For instance, Arwen for Glorfindel worked for me - but I know it wasn't kosher. The whole Arwen/Aragorn thing worked for me. Liv Tyler is a gorgeous girl. Something about her and not just her looks.
Still, I think PJ could have stayed truer to the story overall and still made a successful movie. (I'd argue - a better movie).
I hated PJ's wargs. I saw them and the whole scene as being unecessary. Especially as he couldn't fit in something like, say, the Barrrow-wights - or Old Man Willow. And I sympathsize with the writers trying to give the Faramir scenes a bit more tension - but I think there was enough doubt about him in the book anyway. Why draw out his part and leave out folk like Tom Bombadil? I know all these scenes were in different parts of the movies, but the point I'm making is that quite a few things from PJ's imagination could have been left out and and some of my favorite scenes put in. Hey! So what if each movie was five hours long! PJ could have brought back INTERMISSIONS atthe cinemas! (Six movies, of course, would have been perfect).
Apologies for getting off the track with my last post. I got excited.
As to goblins, hob-goblins, orcs and uruks, it seems that there were different races of them. Like different races of human - only uglier and nastier. Apparently, the original orcs were corrupted elves - I think this is mentioned in the Silmarillion somewhere. The Uruk-hai were a new variety rumoured to be a horrid inter-mixture of orc and man sponsored somehow by Saruman.
I think the above is all pretty right.
Sorry if I've covered stuff folk have already explained.
If I'm wrong - let me know.
Hello, B'arelyn Dwarf,
I think you're right about those wargs of PJ's. Pit bulls is close - or hyenas!Do you agree there was no need to make them something other than wolves?
You're back. It's 4am here. I go home at 6. Sleepy time for me then.
A few people - myself included - went over this earlier in the thread: goblins and orcs are the same exact thing. Uruks are a large variant of orcs. Hob-goblins are a bit obscure, but it's possible they are another phrase for uruks (in any event the Author's Note to [i:3szs9xun]The Hobbit[/i:3szs9xun] states that it refers to larger types).
[quote:3szs9xun]Apparently, the original orcs were corrupted elves - I think this is mentioned in the Silmarillion somewhere.[/quote:3szs9xun]
This does appear in [i:3szs9xun]The Silmarillion[/i:3szs9xun], though the elder Tolkien never made a final decision about the origin of orcs.
[quote:3szs9xun]The Uruk-hai were a new variety rumoured to be a horrid inter-mixture of orc and man sponsored somehow by Saruman. [/quote:3szs9xun]
While the phrase "Uruk-hai" and "Uruk" refer only to larger types of orcs, the experimental sunlight-tolerant form developed by Saruman almost certainly has a human strain present.
I suspect we share a similar view of the movies. Great job - but just not quite what it should have been![/quote:2em2ja1j]
Reading this post I'm inclined to agree that we agree.
[quote:2em2ja1j]Some changes were good. For instance, Arwen for Glorfindel worked for me - but I know it wasn't kosher. The whole Arwen/Aragorn thing worked for me. Liv Tyler is a gorgeous girl. Something about her and not just her looks. [/quote:2em2ja1j]
Arwen wasn't a big issue for me - I was more concerned with Frodo being turned into (effectively) a sack of potatoes that had to be chaperoned the whole way.
[quote:2em2ja1j]Still, I think PJ could have stayed truer to the story overall and still made a successful movie. (I'd argue - a better movie).[/quote:2em2ja1j]
I agree entirely. I think the success of the story told by the book is testament to this. While I can understand some of the cuts that PJ made (personally I don't think Tom Bombadil was a huge deal) I think PJ was too overzealous with them, and also with the changes and outright additions as you mention. If he had so little time he shouldn't have been adding.
I hope I don't further the thread hijack too much.
You know your stuff - I'm just not sure about the Uruk-hai. Weren't they purely Sarauman's creatures? I understand your reference to the Uruks (of Mordor for instance) but Sauron didn't have any Uruk-hai, did he?
I think the Uruk-hai were referred to by one of the characters who feared Saruman had meddled somehow in their creation. I just can't remember which character made the reference - maybe I'm just imagining I did!
Just to make things more fun, the orcs may have unwittingly made a similar distinction among themselves. The big warrior-orcs of Mordor and Isengard called themselves [i:3hif5196]uruk-hai[/i:3hif5196], "warrior race", and referred to the smaller, Sun-suffering types as [i:3hif5196]snaga[/i:3hif5196], "slave".
[quote="Zeonista":380w9ujj]"goblin" refers to the shorter, lesser breed, "uruk" refers to the Sun-tolerant warrior strain, while "orc" refers to the race in general.[/quote:380w9ujj]
I'm afraid there is not a single difference between goblins and orcs, not even as a sub-type. Goblin is just an English word and Orc and Old English (standing in for Rohirric) word. I'm not certain that Uruks are all sun-tolerant either. Certainly Saruman's "Uruk-hai" were, but it's debatable that they were in fact half-orcs and thus not reflective of normal uruks. That's a complicated issue though.
Good to be here, it's fun to talk with other Tolkien fans.
[quote:wwr4vnz5]I'm afraid there is not a single difference between goblins and orcs, not even as a sub-type.[/quote:wwr4vnz5]
Untrue, Tolkien uses the two words interchangeably in LOTR, so they are meant to be divergent Westron words for the same race. See the initial description of the White Hand uruks in TTT, also Gamling's reference to them at Helm's Deep later on. Sam calls Frodo a "proprer orc" after kitting him out in a disguise at Cirith Ungol, even though Frodo would technically be a Goblin in size.
[quote:wwr4vnz5]Goblin is just an English word[/quote:wwr4vnz5]
Goblin is derived from the French [i:wwr4vnz5]gobelin[/i:wwr4vnz5], which refers to a French village and its faerie denizen from folklore. The term crossed the channel with the Normans, I guess. Christopher Tolkien references it in one of his books, I don't hjave the source at hand right now.
[quote:wwr4vnz5]and Orc and Old English (standing in for Rohirric) word.[/quote:wwr4vnz5]
In Middle-Earth, "orc" is a Westron corruption of the Elvish [i:wwr4vnz5]yrch[/i:wwr4vnz5], the name applied by the Elves to those creatures. Legolas says it twice. Tolkien is having fun with language again.
[quote:wwr4vnz5]I'm not certain that Uruks are all sun-tolerant either.[/quote:wwr4vnz5]
The uruk-hai are explicitly stated to be able to tolerate the Sun, however much they hate it. Sauron, followed by Saruman, designed the sub-race explicitly to be able to fight Men at less of a disadvantage than the original Orcs.
[quote:wwr4vnz5]Certainly Saruman's "Uruk-hai" were, but it's debatable that they were in fact half-orcs and thus not reflective of normal uruks.[/quote:wwr4vnz5]
Sauron originally developed the uruk-hai, and they made their big debut in TA 2475 when troops of them overran Ithilien, temporarily forcing Gondor to cede control of that province. (See ROTK Appendix for history of Gondor.) The uruks were intended to be bigger, stronger, and more capable of discipline, making them better warriors than standard orcs. The uruks knew their own capabilities and lorded it over the lesser original breeds, becoming their leaders and taskmasters. The uruk-hai, and any mixed-blood offspring of theirs derived from common orcs, were readibly discernable from lesser orcs. Gandalf identifies them at Moria, even before the introduction of Saruman's uruk-hai in the story.
Concerning Saruman, when he turned to evil he sought to copy Sauron in many things, in order to be both servant and rival. Since Saruman knew that regular orcs and the diminuative snaga-hai were useless against the Rohirrim in open battle, from the previous battle records of the two peoples. (See ROTK appendices for history of Rohan.) So he decided to make up uruk-hai on his own, with or without consultation from Mordor. How he got the idea, or the means to do it, is unknown, and likely to remain unknown in Middle-Earth, possibly due to a high squick factor. The orc+man breeding program was ultimately successful in giving him uruk-hai of a useful sort. There may have been some differences in appearance between Isengard and Mordor uruk-hai, since Aragorn professes to know the difference at Parth Galen, and be curious about it. (His curiosity may have been less concerned with physical characteristics and more due to the equipment and heraldry, which is described as being unusual.)