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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room: orcs and a class struggle: Edit Log


Feb 29, 5:39pm

Views: 3807
orcs and a class struggle

That's an interesting idea! I'd never thought of it that way, but now you point it out, I do see how that is a viable interpretation (and a thought-provoking one too). Heart

I'd expect that orc society is riven by every possible kind of internal struggle: perhaps because of the nature of the creatures themselves, but perhaps also because of endless divide-and-rule by their evil masters.

Indeed, maybe those are two sides of the same coin. While orcs may not be the ideal servants of a dark lord in terms of effectiveness, they are perhaps the most appropriate ones. Back when we did the character study of Saruman, I burbled on about 'Darklordism' - and Tolkien's Letters comment that his story was about "...beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object except power, and so on..." (The characteristics of Darklords are helpfuly emboldened and underlined by me here Smile )

And I think we see these aspects of their 'creator'* in the orcs: the ability to apply ruthlessness to some objective, but also a delight in sadism, violent dispute, treachey, vandalism, selfishness and mahem just for the lolz.
Thinking about working class hobbits brings me to Ted Sandyman, in many ways Sam's dark-side reflection. I'm thinking about how when we meet him again in Scouring of the Shire he talks very much more like an orc than when he was just mocking Sam for his 'elves and dragons' enthusiasms in the Ivy Bush before the whole adventure kicked off. I'm sure this is deliberate - and in fact Tolkien has Frodo say quite explicitly that Mordor has come to The Shire. And that in turn leads me to the idea that maybe everyone in Middle-earth has some orc-nature to them that could be brought out by the right combination or temptaton and immoral response to it (orcs are just 100% orc-nature in this formulation).


*'Creator' there in quotes because I know (and probably most of us know) about Tolkien getting himself into a philopsical or theological tizzy once he'd written orcs with intelligence and personality. I believe that's because he found his story for their origins either no longer worked, or ended up damning a whole lot of creaters in perpetuity. But I think others here know more about that than I do.

"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Feb 29, 5:39pm)

Edit Log:
Post edited by noWizardme (Half-elven) on Feb 29, 5:39pm

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