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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
Does Eru still love the Orcs?

boldog
Rohan


Mar 22 2014, 12:24am

Post #1 of 9 (257 views)
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Does Eru still love the Orcs? Can't Post

Personally i percieve Eru, to be very similar, if not, exactly the same to my christian God. In saying that, I see him being a loving, gentle, and forgiving father of all people. We christians believe that any one, is redeemable, and God loves them all. Even if they are as bad as a terrorist leader, God still loves them.
Could this be the same for Eru? The Orcs, are evil, but they are still created partly from his own thought. If it wasnt for his creation of the elves, the orcs wouldnt exsist. So basically they are like an off shoot of elves. So if that is the case, then they too are children of illuvatar, just corrupted, and tortured by Melkor, into hateful beings. I personally believe, that Eru pitys them, and has places for them in the halls of mandos. Here they probably will stay for a very long time, slowly realising the evil they had done.

But either way, i believe that Eru loves them as much as his own children, even though they are considered evil.

I believe that Azog and Bolg are possibly the only two orcs who may be an exception to the typical evil nature of an orc. Azog had brought up his son, well enough that he actually acknowledges him as his own son. That is a first for any orc. And Bolg sets out to march upon Erebor in vengeance of his fathers death. How many orcs will Try and avenge another dead orc? Most will just forget about the dead one. This gives me hope that Orcs, have some traits of good in them, even if it is small aspects.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 22 2014, 1:53am

Post #2 of 9 (172 views)
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I like to think so too... [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a belief that, yes, in the end, the orcs are redeemable, however there is no authorial writing that states the 'why's', 'wheretofore's' and specific clauses that lawyers and 'real-fans' love!!Wink

JRR came across the same problem when others began to delve into the richness of his writings. They began to inquire into everything from genealogy, Elven and Mannish biology, historical sources, nomenclature, geography, and philosophy. In Letters we see a few detailed answers to some of these questions, but I do recall that one, marked as a draft, was quite long and detailed, yet broke off after a few pages and there was a handwritten note that said 'I am taking myself much too seriously'. A shorter note was actually sent. In HoME or another place, I recall reading that Christopher Tolkien saw his father struggling with the same morali-philosophical question, but no final reconciliation with the published works was ever written.

Personally, I think that there is a redemption for orcs. How, I cannot tell you, but as I have to excercise faith in RL, I do much the same in ME context. I accept that Eru is intended to be ultimately kind and benevolent, so he must never be otherwise. How do you deal with orcs? I'm not sure, but they did make great minions!!!

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 22 2014, 8:31am

Post #3 of 9 (174 views)
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The quote that springs to my mind is: [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
But even before this wickedness of Morgoth was suspected the Wise in the Elder Days taught always that the Orcs were not 'made' by Melkor, and therefore were not in their origin evil. They might have become irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men), but they remained within the Law. That is, that though of necessity, being the fingers of the hand of Morgoth, they must be fought with the utmost severity, they must not be dealt with in their own terms of cruelty and treachery. Captives must not be tormented, not even to discover information for the defence of the homes of Elves and Men. If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost. This was the teaching of the Wise, though in the horror of the War it was not always heeded. Morgoth's Ring, HoMe X, 419


There is a hint in there that although Orcs may not be irredeemable in the eyes of Elves and Men, the situation could have been regarded differently in the eyes of the Valar or Eru. I think Tolkien was at least willing to consider the possibility that an Orc might plead for mercy. If a orcs had the ability to make such a plea (and why would Tolkien raise the point unless he felt that they had that ability?), I think they might be able to be "redeemed" in some form or fashion.


squire
Valinor


Mar 22 2014, 1:14pm

Post #4 of 9 (146 views)
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"even at a cost"? [In reply to] Can't Post

If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost. -- HoME X, 419

The stories themselves, both in the Silmarillion (which HoME X usually refers to) and in LotR, never present any orc with the slightest impulse towards "good" behavior. So I wonder if this teaching doesn't say that an orc could change its ways, but simply states the proper moral response to orc deceptions like surrendering and then killing ones captors. That kind of treachery would be consistent with this vividly described behavior:
[Aragorn and Eomer] turned and ran. At that moment some dozen Orcs that had lain motionless among the slain leaped to their feet, and came silently and swiftly behind. Two flung themselves to the ground at Éomer’s heels, tripped him, and in a moment they were on top of him. -- LotR III.7

I think Tolkien's caveat "even at a cost" leaves the story where he starts it: orcs may not be fundamentally evil, because nothing is, not even Melkor or Sauron. However they are "irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men)" and must be fought to the death always.
Yet torture is nonetheless prohibited, even in desperate need; if orcs surrender or act as if surrendering, Elves and Men are constrained to behave properly and risk accepting the invariably-false surrender, or else lose their claim to be 'good', or better than orcs themselves.
‘I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood,’ said Faramir. - -- LotR IV.5

I am curious how much of this morality is dictated by Tolkien's Christian faith, and how much is common to any civilized culture. I am reminded of numerous stories from recent wars where each side regarded the other side's way of making war as unacceptably barbaric, and retaliated with unrestrained brutality and barbarism in turn since all rules were being broken. The irony was that both sides invariably saw themselves as wanting to follow the "laws of war" as they had formulated them.

For instance, Japanese soldiers in the Pacific War were taught never to surrender, and false surrender for the opportunity of taking a few more Yanks out was an honorable tactic. The Yanks did not appreciate this, and began killing all prisoners 'just in case' in clear violation of the U.S.'s own rules of war. But the Japanese were not barbaric as such; they had an ancient and well-defined moral code of proper warfare that just didn't happen to include the concept of honorable surrender.

War is hell, but war between two dissimilar cultures is hell squared. Tolkien takes the problem to that of war between two dissimilar races, and ends up with rules that seem as true to Buddha as to Christ.



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Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 22 2014, 2:27pm

Post #5 of 9 (127 views)
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Who foots the bill? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well that is one way to interpret 'cost', and I find it quite interesting. The 'laws of war' (if they really exist, or can survive in hell squared) point you make is an excellent one!

I'm sure the 'rules of engagement' accepted by his good characters in LoTR is an idealized form of the 'right actions' he felt needed to be taken in a conflict. I'm also sure he saw that there were violations of those rules on the battlefield of WWI, and that must have him some pause to think. Might there have been some deep struggle of reconciliation of ' grey means' to the 'end' of the war? Some kind of inner confliction must have been present--they weren't all white knights after all.

I think that Tolkien fully realised thaf the moral highway doesn't always win a battle, but decided that in his story, in those places and times, good would draw farther from evil and triumph. We have plenty of fallen heroes in the Legendarium, more than noble ones, that's why I don't get the accusations of 'black-and-white' good and evil. Just because someone took the moral high ground and won, is that a reason to decry them?

Now as to motivation, I think that 'cost' could be charged to both sides of an Orc-human/elf encounter. What do you think happened to the warrior who slayed 1000 orcs? It just made it easier to slay 1001, giving basis to a specious claim that must have been proposed 'All orcs are evil! Have you ever seem an orc do good?'. So you get a jaded warrior, confronted with a sniveling orc, and what happens?

Jaded warrior might think 'Trap! Trick! Kill! Evil!!' He doesn't even consider the implications of killing. It's become a ritual, chore, or worse easy for him. Sniveling orc might lose life, but what has jaded warrior lost? The empathy that allows another's pain, if only an enemy's, to be felt. A high price.

So perhaps the danger and 'cost' is greater for the 'good' person who comes across the repentant orc. If they don't offer aid, they could lose humanity, yet if they seek to preserve moral standards, they could lose life. Which is greater? Can you really compartmentalise that choice without it having it affect you as a whole person? All the advantage seems to be had by the orc, who it seems had nothing but life to lose. Maybe that's the danger of being 'good?'; you can always fall, but you have to fight gravity to get back up.

Side note: I can see the issues and misunderstandings that might arise between a Kansas doughboy and a Japanese warrior raised in a secluded village. The lack of mutual knowledge must have only perpetuated the conflict. The world isn't black and white, and anything approaching an 'us vs. them' mentality could not have done anything to help matters.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


geordie
Tol Eressea

Mar 22 2014, 7:53pm

Post #6 of 9 (108 views)
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Shouldn't have thought so - [In reply to] Can't Post

- he wasn't too keen on the rebellious Numenoreans.


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


Mar 22 2014, 9:29pm

Post #7 of 9 (100 views)
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Sure he does. He loves a cur rabid dog too.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Might we ask, do Orcs have a soul? How are they made/bred? Mothers & Fathers?
I’ve always thought that Eru/Illuvatar was much more benevolent than the Old Testament constantly interfering God. This (OT) God (at least in the 1st 5 Books) demanded the deaths of thousands; while Eru chose (for the most part) to simply “Sit and harken”.
Yes, thousands of Numenoreans and Belerianders must have died in the drowning; but nothing compared to the many slaughters that God demanded in the OT.

From World's End then he turned away,
and yearned again to find afar .
his home through shadows journeying,
and burning as an island star . . .

-Bilbo Baggins


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Mar 23 2014, 12:12am

Post #8 of 9 (89 views)
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Why yes He does [In reply to] Can't Post

But that doesn't mean they all get to go to Heaven. If Tolkien is thinking about this from his Catholic roots then Eru's love for all His creation is real. But Eru is also a God of justice, and mercy and both those things do not mean that everyone gets a pass. If an orc were truly repentant then then he would receive forgiveness and would become a very different creature. The Numenoreans who rebelled received justice. Those who repented received mercy and were saved. Both were loved by Eru. They fates are different because they reacted differently to that love.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Mar 23 2014, 1:29pm

Post #9 of 9 (86 views)
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That's an interesting thought [In reply to] Can't Post

Imho... I think the love is always there, but it's still up to the individual/entity to make the choice as to the quality/purpose/performance of their life. I believe anyone can be redeemed (aka Gollum), but they must choose to redeem themselves first and repent. The love is there, but the individual must choose whether to be lovable at the level most would feel to be worthwhile/worthy.



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