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the problem with orcs
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Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 23 2013, 12:38pm

Post #1 of 57 (604 views)
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the problem with orcs Can't Post

 
yes, i know tolkien wrestled with their origins. but the best we have, at this point, is that they are corrupted eldar (with perhaps some corrupted edain thrown in... who knows, some corrupted dwarves as well).

neither melkor nor sauron nor anyone else can create life from scratch. that is certainly consistent. so the orcs came from something with a fea.

if they have fea, they essentially have souls. i find the plight of the orcs perhaps the most pitiable of all, for having souls, yet being so spiritually tortured that they are injured by the things from which were part of their natural environment and legacy (light, blessedness).

so are orcs born evil? if we could take an orc at birth and raise it, what part of its corruption comes from the corruption of its hror?

although i really don't see a way around killing them in great quantities to protect homes and people...think upon these killings and sweeping victories as massive kinslayings, elf upon elf (however disfigured). that is a sickening vista, and one may view these battles through an entirely different lens.

pity the orcs.


cheers and lamentations --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 23 2013, 2:03pm

Post #2 of 57 (407 views)
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Born bad [In reply to] Can't Post

I've thought of orc-killing as Kinslayings also, and it's disturbing to think that Elves who were corrupted through no fault of their own are objects of slaughter for the good peoples of Middle-earth.

Good question about raising an orc from birth. My sense of the Tolkien universe is that it would always be evil and would bite the hand that feeds it.

I think their corruption is permanent and is part of their DNA. Which is a little disturbing from a Christian writer, since they and their children have no hope for redemption. Not supposed to visit the sins of the fathers upon their sons. Unless you take orcs to be the Fall of Humans, who were not evil in the beginning, but once their ancestors became corrupt, all their descendants were doomed to the same corruption. Though I don't think Tolkien intended that interpretation, just bringing it up.

There is certainly nothing fair about any of this, which is why I think Tolkien struggled with the moral implications. He needed bad guys that the good guys could kill without doubt and remorse, so we got orcs. I focus more on what orcs do (which is always bad) and less on where they're from. But I still wonder where they're from.

It's worth comparing the Elven captives described in The Silmarillion. Morgoth enslaves them and breaks their will, sometimes releasing them to go back among their own kind as spies or to demoralize the Elves with what can happen to them. They never heal or recover and drift about, even drifting back to Morgoth, so they are forever broken, which is a long time for an immortal. Even hard to comprehend for this mortal. There's an important BUT! here. They don't become evil-doers and are spies at the worst; not orcs. And it's hard to see them having "broken thrall children" who will be born as spies. So, why aren't the thralls orcs? Did Morgoth lose his earlier ability to corrupt Elves so thoroughly? Or do they represent a middle view from Tolkien that Morgoth can forever break down a soul, but can't turn it wholly to evil?

I think we may philosophize about things more than Tolkien did or would himself. But if he's going to give a chance at redemption to Gollum, it seems he should to Orc-Elves. Which makes me think that if he'd lived another 50-100 years, he might have de-Elfed the Orcs and just made them evil creatures from the beginning, like dragons. I like Smaug in a way, but feel no remorse when he's killed.

Another thought is that as a writer, Tolkien could sometimes make evil people a little bit sympathetic when writing from their perspective. When Ungoliant is bullying Morgoth, I oddly feel like Morgoth is a victim and don't necessarily want her to win. Similarly, when Orcs are doing the talking in LOTR, there are glimpses of them that humanize them. When Shagrat and Gorbag talk about getting away from authority after the war with a few trusty lads, that almost seems a worthy goal, even though they would do nothing but evil. And when Shagrat so determinedly plows past Sam to do his duty to take Frodo's belongings to Barad-dur, he seems vaguely heroic. I won't pretend to read Tolkien's mind, but if I had to choose between 1) he was trying to humanize them on purpose, and 2) he did it by accident, I would guess by accident. One reason I think readers get drawn into the books is that Tolkien gives a little bit of spiritual insight into every character, even Gollum, so there's an intimate link with them. I think it's something he just does as part of his natural style. >>> Anyway, this tangent had the purpose of saying that even though he humanized some Orcs, I don't think he really pitied them, and saw them as cannon fodder, unlike evil Men, who are cannon fodder too but have a chance at redemption. The only good orc is a dead orc.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Apr 23 2013, 2:28pm

Post #3 of 57 (377 views)
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Unfortunately, Orcs seem to be left with little (if any) free will... [In reply to] Can't Post

I, personally, would be inclined to make them victims of 'nurture' rather than 'nature'. However, that does not seem to be Tolkien's intent. Ultimately, I have to go along the the 'born bad' viewpoint.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


elaen32
Gondor

Apr 23 2013, 10:37pm

Post #4 of 57 (362 views)
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? Orcs as sympathetic characters? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I've thought of orc-killing as Kinslayings also, and it's disturbing to think that Elves who were corrupted through no fault of their own are objects of slaughter for the good peoples of Middle-earth. .

Another thought is that as a writer, Tolkien could sometimes make evil people a little bit sympathetic when writing from their perspective. When Ungoliant is bullying Morgoth, I oddly feel like Morgoth is a victim and don't necessarily want her to win. Similarly, when Orcs are doing the talking in LOTR, there are glimpses of them that humanize them. When Shagrat and Gorbag talk about getting away from authority after the war with a few trusty lads, that almost seems a worthy goal, even though they would do nothing but evil. And when Shagrat so determinedly plows past Sam to do his duty to take Frodo's belongings to Barad-dur, he seems vaguely heroic. I won't pretend to read Tolkien's mind, but if I had to choose between 1) he was trying to humanize them on purpose, and 2) he did it by accident, I would guess by accident. One reason I think readers get drawn into the books is that Tolkien gives a little bit of spiritual insight into every character, even Gollum, so there's an intimate link with them. I think it's something he just does as part of his natural style. >>> Anyway, this tangent had the purpose of saying that even though he humanized some Orcs, I don't think he really pitied them, and saw them as cannon fodder, unlike evil Men, who are cannon fodder too but have a chance at redemption. The only good orc is a dead orc.


I agree that it is disturbing that the orcs/corrupted elves are seen as casual "cannon fodder" and sometimes feel sorry for them whilst reading. The passage you mention re Shagrat and Gorbag is exactly the point when I see the orcs as victims themselves and they quite obviously feel oppressed and even frightened by their masters. They have no control over their destinies and dream of setting up on their own, with no Nazgul, Sauron etc to worry about. However, as you also implied- I dread to think what Gorbag, Shagrat and their "lads" would actually be doing- certainly nothing good! The orcs are a danger to all "good" life forms in ME due to their sheer numbers, their evil and their relative inability to do anything but follow orders of even more evil beings. Unfortunately, the way they have been "created" there probably is no choice but to slaughter them, since redemption does not seem in anyway possible

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 24 2013, 12:17am

Post #5 of 57 (340 views)
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personally [In reply to] Can't Post

 
... i have a very difficult time thinking that anything with a soul is born bad; yet, at the same time, i don't think orcs are rehabilitatable. even if raised from infancy, i think they'd probably do bad things.

but i also wonder... if their physical essence has been corrupted, perhaps over time, over generation of orcs, they might be able to be reclaimed.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 24 2013, 12:46am

Post #6 of 57 (342 views)
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what a wonderful, thoughtful post, curiousg... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
... thank you....

agree re an orc raised from birth would probably go on to bite the hand that raised it.

but also -- if their physical forms are corrupted, it doesn't mean that their fear are. the fea would be constrained by the limits of the hroa, so we'd get orcs who could not be redeemed in life.

however --

they have fear, and when finally unshackled from their corrupted hror, would be capable, finally, of growth and upward movement.

wouldn't it be a surprise for fingolfin or turin or thorin to arrive in mandos to meet up with the fear of orcs?

i would like to think eru would not abandon them, 'tho morgoth forever dashed their chances for happiness in arda.

i disagree on one point, 'tho... i definitely agree that the fate of the captured elves and men who escape is pitiable to the extreme. but those that became spies (willing spies), did do evil.

(what a wonderful post you composed... thank you again.)


cheers ---


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Apr 24 2013, 7:27am

Post #7 of 57 (332 views)
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In the journey to Mount Doom [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo and Sam encounter some Goblins who are been marched against their will to Sauron's war. Those at least sound like some that might prefer to live in peace if only out of self-presevation. Which does make them more sensible at least than many other Orcs!
The trouble with the mass-slaughter bit at the end of most Lotr battles is that I don't think that many Orcs had the brains to give themselves up voluntarily. Did any actually try? Their surrender might have been accepted out of shock! In some cases a few Orcs did survive but not many. Maybe a handful were allowed to escape?
I once wrote a fanfic were I did not quite have the heart to kill of all the Orcs wholesale so they were kept in jails. Deep underground in dark. At their own request! The captors did try given them light, but the Orcs begged, 'No, no, keep us in underground cellars!


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 24 2013, 11:53am

Post #8 of 57 (331 views)
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GALLOPING INTO ROHAN!!!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

  
(...the air is sweet with the perfume of beautiful, fleet-footed creatures...)

interesting scenario, Hamfast, i'm glad it inspired you to flesh it out in a story of your own. i'm not sure what elves, edain, or dwarves would do if orcs surrendered. would that turn the tables, morally? what would we think of any of them who, upon the surrender, slew the orcs anyway?

one of the most poignant scenes for me in the trilogy is one in which an orc plays a strong part --- as someone wholly pitiable (beautifully played by our very own jed brophy!)..

it is the scene in the two towers, and aragorn has just fallen off the cliff with the warg. legolas and gimli come across him, and seeing that he has arwen's jewel, press him for information about aragorn's fate.

you can clearly see all the misery of this being's existence in his physical appearance. close up, every detail of every malignancy he was born with and every injury received is twisted and cracked and stippled across his body like a wretched, boiled geography.

his face is slashed by many wide, deep, jagged cuts to the bone which are old wounds that have never healed, leaving his inside exposed to the outside. his teeth are misshapen, bent, broken, missing. there's a metal plate crudely nailed into his head. he speaks in wet, gutteral tones... but is that an effect of his injuries, or of some congenital defect he's borne all his miserable life?

i do not see sharku as reclaimable. at least while he inhabits hir hroa. but have pity upon those who are given fear who are poured into blighted vessels that torture that spirit from its awakening into the world until its passing.

melkor and sauron may have wholly subjugated these fear to their wills, but fear are still the gift of eru, and i would hope that eru has a path for them once they are freed from the diseased bones and poisoned blood which are their prison and torture chamber within arda.

i would like to think that they pass to mandos, where they may finally begin the journey that should have been theirs to begin with, and of all the children of illuvatar, were denied from the first.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Hengist on Apr 24 2013, 1:23pm)


Elthir
Gondor

Apr 24 2013, 1:36pm

Post #9 of 57 (302 views)
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Orc origins tangent [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
yes, i know tolkien wrestled with their origins. but the best we have, at this point, is that they are corrupted eldar (with perhaps some corrupted edain thrown in... who knows, some corrupted dwarves as well).




I'm not sure I agree with the notion that the best we have is corrupted Elves. Some may like this idea better, obviously, but not everyone including Tolkien himself thinks Orcs from corrupted Elves is necessarily the best idea.


Also there is no indication (that I know of to date) of Dwarves being in the mix, and considering how many origins Tolkien actually wrangled with [Men, Elves, some Maiar, beasts, and so on] to my mind it's fairly safe to say that Dwarves were not considered.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Apr 24 2013, 1:40pm)


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 24 2013, 2:38pm

Post #10 of 57 (277 views)
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You're very welcome, Mac [In reply to] Can't Post

Your posts are always fresh and thought-provoking, and I look forward to them. Which means that having discovered the Reading Room, you may not abandon it, lest disappointment ensue.Frown

And I appreciate your compassion for creatures that most readers (including me) dismiss as evil. I suppose I see the orcs as animals in a way. If you take a lion, even as a cub, and give it a vegetarian diet, it's still got instincts to make it kill for a meal, and it will. I also think of all the people who take wild animal cubs as pets who seem to do everything right, but still can be mauled when the animal reaches adulthood. Inherited traits can't be nurtured away, it seems.

Getting back to redemption, I'm influenced by CS Lewis. I think it was in The Great Divorce that someone on a bus ride to heaven meets the person who had murdered them in real life. Wait, your murderer gets forgiven and can live in bliss, and you have to live there with them? How fair is that? The point was that not that all murderers are redeemed, but some can be, even though as sins go, murder tops the list. So maybe there is something redeemable for at least some orcs, given the chance. They do appear to have souls. Are they brainwashed from birth? "You are evil and will do evil, now let's go out and practice, and put away those dolls."

I'd also say that the people on the good side are pretty entrenched on their views of even good people, such as Elves vs Dwarves, or Men mistrusting Elves without ever meeting them. If that's the case, I can't see an orc refugee fleeing orcdom and seeking asylum with Elves to get a chance at rehabilitation. I think they'd be killed on the spot with no listening to their pleas. So we would never know if it was possible. Nice to think that they could somehow be redeemed, however. And who knows? With Sauron gone and the great motivating supernatural evil withdrawn from them, maybe they became brutes like ruffians but not bloodthirsty ones.


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Apr 24 2013, 2:46pm

Post #11 of 57 (288 views)
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Welcome to Rohan! [In reply to] Can't Post

It is a beautiful place. Sorry I couldn't stay and wait for you, but I promise--you will enjoy it!

This may sound strange, but I've always felt sorry for the goblins and Orcs; especially if it is true that they were corrupted beings from Elves. I've always thought that they breed and mature quickly, but are possibly long-lived; I think of Shagrat and Gorbag's conversation (The Two Towers, The Choices of Master Samwise) about the "old days".

However, they have been influenced by Morgoth and Sauron, and are under that evil control. At the end of The Return of the King, after the Ring has been destroyed, it describes what happens to the creatures of Sauron (excepting the Men): "...so the creatures of Sauron, orc or troll or beast spell-enslaved, ran hither and thither mindless; and some slew themselves, or cast themselves into pits, or fled wailing back to hide in holes and dark lightless places far from hope." (The Field of Cormallen). I've always wished (perhaps I'm too soft-hearted) that some would surrender, and remember their days as Elves, and somehow be redeemed. However Tolkien does not describe this; this is only in my own imagination.

'"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.'


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 24 2013, 4:06pm

Post #12 of 57 (269 views)
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Oh, I just noticed (so slow). Welcome to the Mark, and ride on. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 24 2013, 4:15pm

Post #13 of 57 (272 views)
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ah, thanks!!!! : ) [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i +love+ the juxtaposition of my avatar and my new demesne.

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 24 2013, 7:23pm

Post #14 of 57 (270 views)
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My take on Orcs, souls, and redemption [In reply to] Can't Post

Great thread Maciliel...have been following but haven't weighed in yet, as I have been enjoying watching everyone's ideas emerge. This is a long one so pull up a chair....

I DO believe that spiritual corruption of Elves, resulting in physical change, are indeed Orcish origins; and that they contain the trace of goodness, and that (small) redemption is logically possible.

In Letter #131 JRRT references their breeding by Morgoth: "Also the Orcs (goblins) and other monsters bred by the First Enemy are not wholly destroyed." Of course the word 'bred' is not wholly descriptive, as it could potentially refer to the controlled proliferation of a race somehow extant outside of Morgoth's creation. In Letter #153 he writes first about Treebeard's perception of the Orcs; and then goes on to point out that Treebeard is merely a character in his story, and not him (JRRT) and thus has less full understanding (as JRRT says the Wise do). Treebeard says that the dark Lord "made them in 'counterfeit' of certain creatures pre-existing." JRRT points out the gulf of this statement between one he assigns to Frodo, as having "suffering and experience (and possibly the Ring itself) gave Frodo more insight." Frodo says, "The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make new real things of its own. I don't think it gave life to the Orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them." (Ch1, Book IV) Also in letter #153 "...I have represented at least the Orcs as pre-existing real beings on whom the Dark Lord has exerted the fullness of his power in remodelling and corrupting them, not making them."

This idea that Morgoth could not create "new" life is in Eru's interaction with Aule: Letter #212, "The One rebuked Aule, saying he had tried to usurp the Creator's power; but he could not give independent 'life' to his makings." So even the Great Smith Valar cannot make "new" things with "new" life. In Silmarillion Chapter 3 (The Coming of the Elves) we read "that if any of the Elves strayed far abroad, alone or a few together, they would often vanish, and never return; and the Quendi said the Hunter had caught them, and they were afraid. And indeed the most ancient songs of the Elves, of which echoes are remembered still in the West, tell of shadow-shapes that walked in the hills above Cuivienen, or would pass suddenly over the stars..." Here I think are the (disturbing and frightening) origins of the Elves used by Melkor/Morgoth in Utumno - not with perhaps the ideal to create a new race, but to simply use to break their spirits and thus twist them to his will in betraying the Elves to him (note in Letter #181 JRRT describes torture as a way to create traitors and apostates). A few paragraphs later "But of those unhappy ones who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty...Yet this is held true by the wise of 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 Orcs in mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes." I bolded 'wise' because it is direct confirmation - as stated above in Letter #153 - that the thoughts of the Wise on this matter are the correct and most fully understood view. An interesting notion arises, similar to having the Elves pine for 'what was' in Aman: having once been Light, and now and far from it yet jealous of it's memory, is that the mechanism for the deep enmity between Orcs and Elves?

Could Elves be corrupted? Yes, I think so - in Letter #154 "But the Elves are not wholly good or in the right." So within them is the potential for ill or evil deeds, as proscribed by the fullness of the Song. So we cannot dismiss the idea just based on our perception of Elven 'goodness' which is almost entirely true - but not entirely. We have seen proof of their fallibility.

Do Orcs have the potential for redemption? In Letter #183 "In my story I do not deal with Absolute Evil. I do not think there is such a thing...I do not think that at any rate any 'rational being' is wholly evil." And in JRRT's theological construct, Ea, the World That Is, is all-containing the Flame Imperishable, the spark of the Creator; every living thing exists because of it.

So they contain the Flame - do they have souls? Speaking of the Orcs: "They would be Morgoth's greatest sins, abuses of his highest privilege, and would be creatures begotten of Sin, and naturally bad." ...So as CG points out earlier, their 'born' nature would indeed be to bite the hand that fed them... (I nearly wrote 'irredeemably bad'; but that would be going too far. Because by accepting or tolerating their making - necessary to their actual existence - even Orcs would become part of the World, which is God's and ultimately good.) But whether they have souls or spirits seems a different question; and since in my myth at any rate I do not conceive of the making of souls or spirits...That God would tolerate that, seems no worse theology then the calculated dehumanizing of Men by tyrants that goes on today." (Letter #153). As part of the living world, of Ea, Orcs have an essential place in the natural world, all of which is essentially good, or has the potential to be. So the impression here is that the souls and spirits of all rational beings are inherent to their existence from their creation by Eru, and beyond the powers of Morgoth (or JRRT for that matter); so as rational beings, and having come from creatures conclusively having souls, I conclude that Orcs do indeed have souls (the fea). He also seems to imply that tyranny today can 'break' and 'dehumanize' us in a real-world fashion - the cycle continues.

So if there is indeed a modicum of Good in the form of the flame of Creation present, because they are rational beings, logically some measure of reformation is possible - the thing that tells against it happening is the 'law of numbers' when JRRT specifies that continuing in a dark route depends largely on who one's captains are (Letters, from memory). So the more prevalent the evil-like spirit and deeds, especially in dominant leaders, the less likely one individual Orc is to step out of the mold and reclaim their potential for good, especially while the Darkest Captains - Morgoth and Sauron - have command; especially with the creation of the Ring.

By inference it IS possible though, and as Argalen said we can perhaps imagine it happening on a select, individual scale, especially after the Fall of the Tower. So the conclusion here I think can be a happy one, for one whose kind soul looks for the potential for joy, as do you Maciliel.Angelic That we can indulge ourselves and picture a lone Orc, here and there, turning back towards their ancient better past - I think is permissible, and although we enter the realm of 'fanfic' a bit by doing it I don't think it violates any philosphy laid down in the texts, or by its maker who above all had the promise redemption in his heart.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."

(This post was edited by Brethil on Apr 24 2013, 7:32pm)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 25 2013, 10:30pm

Post #15 of 57 (229 views)
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hi -- think you might have misunderstood me [In reply to] Can't Post

 
hi elthir, think you might have misunderstood me...

in using the word "best," i am not saying this is the optimal and most excellent and praiseworthy explanation for orcish origins, but that, given all of tolkien's writings on this, and thoughts on this (he struggled with what should be the official explanation), this elven origins explanation has more consistency than any other he pursued, and seems to be, through his finished materials, the working model at his death.

of course that might have changed had he lived longer, but this is what we have.

also, there is (i believe) mention made of "goblin=men" and some such things, leaving room to think that the dna of the edain worked itself in there as well, perhaps through experiments of morgoth or sauron, perhaps from orcs raping female edain (and there does seem to be suggestion from tolkien that this sort of horrible event happened from time to time).

as for dwarven dna being in the mix as well, of course that is my own fanciful thought, based on the possibility that elven dna was not the only dna.


cheers --


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Eruonen
Tol Eressea


Apr 26 2013, 9:05pm

Post #16 of 57 (224 views)
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I never realized why PJ had the Uruk Hai mud birth until I read this: [In reply to] Can't Post

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orc_(Middle-earth)

Made from the earth

According to the oldest "theory" proposed by J.R.R. Tolkien (found in The Fall of Gondolin, from The Book of Lost Tales, circa 1917 — the first tale of Middle-earth to be written in full), Orcs were made of slime through the sorcery of Morgoth: "bred from the heats and slimes of the earth".[29]

However, it is consistently stated in Tolkien's other writings, with regard to his creation myth, that only Eru Ilúvatar (God) can create new life from nothing. Therefore, by whatever means the orcs came into being, it is certain that either they were "descended" from other beings or a deliberate manifestation of Ilúvatar's thought.

Personally, I think the analogy of Aule and the dwarves is better. Melkor may have also "created" the orcs in like fashion but it took Eru to give them independent existence. The question is...did they have independent existence apart from Melkor and by allocation to Sauron? Were they not dumbfounded and confused after the ring was destroyed?

JRRT did not answer the question definitively so speculation will go on and on.


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 26 2013, 9:45pm

Post #17 of 57 (215 views)
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That brings up a good question about free will [In reply to] Can't Post

Aule's Dwarves had no free will. If Orcs were created by Morgoth from slime, they wouldn't either, hence they could only do evil and had no chance at redemption.


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 26 2013, 11:55pm

Post #18 of 57 (191 views)
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thanks, aragalen : ) [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i never really thought about orcs being long-lived... but perhaps that might make sense, being corrupted elves. also weighing in the balance is the idea (as seen in the numenoreans) that as an individual or race turns farther away from grace, lifespan diminishes.

re what happened when morgoth and sauron's influences were removed (and thank you for providing that quote)... i always thought that this was proof that they had their own fear. their dark masters departed, they still could move and act, even though they were confused.

somehow, i can't see an orc surrendering. i think they'd have to have some internalized concept of mercy in order for them to form the thought, and i don't think they have any mercy to grow the thought of surrender from seed.


cheers (and i am enjoying rohan +immensely+! : ) ) --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 27 2013, 12:03am

Post #19 of 57 (190 views)
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thanks for digging that up re pj's uruk-hai [In reply to] Can't Post

 
yes, the other issues you mention i've brought up in other posts of mine re orcs.

only eru can create fear. if orcs were mere puppets, at the casting out of morgoth and the dissipation of sauron, orcs would have ceased to move and breathe. but that did not happen. although they became confused because there was no dark will to dominate them, the mere fact that they could be confused means they had their own fear. (check upthread: aragalen has pulled a quote referencing orc behavior after the ring was destroyed.)

your other notion is intriguing, 'tho it personally repels me. i don't like the idea that eru saw morgoth creating puppets for slaves and evil purposes and granted them fear, and thus doomed. that seems so awful and unjust.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 27 2013, 12:06am

Post #20 of 57 (184 views)
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free will [In reply to] Can't Post

 
that's why i've mentioned in some other posts on orcs the fact that, after the ring was destroyed, orcs still moved and breathed. if they were mere puppets, once morgoth or sauron no longer pulled the strings, they would be instant, grubby lumps. but that doesn't happen (see my exchange with aragalen, upthread, and with eruonen, upthread).


cheers ---

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


CuriousG
Valinor


Apr 27 2013, 12:52am

Post #21 of 57 (186 views)
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I cannot answer you [In reply to] Can't Post

You have turned your attention elsewhere, and I am but a grubby lump. Wait, is that a bird about to poop on me? Alas for us immobile lumps.


Brethil
Half-elven


Apr 27 2013, 1:20am

Post #22 of 57 (188 views)
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You're a Congressman CG? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
You have turned your attention elsewhere, and I am but a grubby lump. Wait, is that a bird about to poop on me? Alas for us immobile lumps.




Wow. Who knew?

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 27 2013, 4:26am

Post #23 of 57 (170 views)
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national poetry month [In reply to] Can't Post

 
ah, i see that you've taken to heart my reminding that april is national poetry month, and have posted in blank verse -- very creative.

apologies, each of you was talking about similar issues, and i answered (I think -- i did it on only two hours sleep) in chronological order.

--- wait ---

just rereading your post.... it could also be interpreted that you are writing the lay of the orcs, after the ring is destroyed, in first-orc perspective..


"i cannot answer you"

you have turned your attention elsewhere,
and i am but a grubby lump.
wait, is that a bird about to poop on me?
alas for us immobile lumps



-- or --

are you calling me morgoth or something?



cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Apr 27 2013, 4:28am

Post #24 of 57 (170 views)
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brethil, indeed -- [In reply to] Can't Post

 
(cue nbc's four-note bumper...)

the more you know...

(motion graphic of a star shooting across the screen; viewers feel satisfied, and spiritually enriched.)

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Elthir
Gondor

Apr 27 2013, 12:05pm

Post #25 of 57 (170 views)
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external origin matters [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
... in using the word "best," i am not saying this is the optimal and most excellent and praiseworthy explanation for orcish origins, but that, given all of tolkien's writings on this, and thoughts on this (he struggled with what should be the official explanation), this elven origins explanation has more consistency than any other he pursued, and seems to be, through his finished materials, the working model at his death.




Maciliel, I can't agree that Orcs from Elves was Tolkien's working model at his death -- in my opinion signs rather point to Orcs created from Men as being Tolkien's last known working idea -- nor, to my mind, is the idea of Orcs from Elves necessarily the most consistent idea Tolkien pursued [this could be a thread in itself I think].

Orcs created from Men has its own timeline by the way, as Tolkien was aware he needed to make this idea consistent with his world [if the timeline issue is raised as far as consistency is concerned, for example].



Quote
also, there is (i believe) mention made of "goblin=men" and some such things, leaving room to think that the dna of the edain worked itself in there as well, perhaps through experiments of morgoth or sauron, perhaps from orcs raping female edain (and there does seem to be suggestion from tolkien that this sort of horrible event happened from time to time).




I think the goblin-men are the result of Saruman's breeding program -- Saruman breeding Orcs and Men resulting in Half-orcs; although this is thousands of years after Orcs were already in existence of course.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Apr 27 2013, 12:11pm)

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