Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Origin of Orcs

In the Silmarillion it said that Morgoth, who was the master of Sauron way back in the day, created Orcs, also known as goblins, from Elves. Since Morgoth was evil, certain limitations were set upon him, one being that he could not create life. To create minions of his own, he created the Orc race from Elves by corrupting them with his own power. This is why they appear to look like a deformed version of the Elves, because in the beginning of their race they were nothing more than evil elves. Any thoughts?


Jacob Carlson said...

What I find particularly interesting about orcs and elves is the dependence that the orcs have on a higher power--Sauron in the time of LotR--that is seemingly non-existent among elves. Sure, the elves have their leaders, but the power distinction is not so great...ALL elves are cooler than just about anybody else. Does that make sense?

Oh, and here's an observation that I made while driving west on 143 the other night: I think that Granite City is actually Mordor, from the way it looks against the night sky.

David Le said...

to me the orcs i think are probably elves who were corrupted by power and turned into orcs or they could be undead elves revived to support Sauron and Saruman in a zombies kind of way.

Doug Simms said...

I think what we will find is that there are many parallels similar to the elf ~ orc pairing:

ent ~ troll
dwarf ~ goblin

among others. Once we get into the Two Towers we'll be discussing this parallelism and why some creatures stand outside of it (i.e. have no parallel)

Doug Simms said...

Let me qualify that last post a bit with a reference:

Rose Zimardo in "Moral Vision in The Lord of the Rings" (in Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism. Eds. Rose Zimbardo and Neil D. Isaacs. Pp. 68-75) makes the point that:

"For each of the classes of creatures on the chain there exists a perverse counterpart. Treebeard says that the creations of the Enemy are perversions, mockeries, or counterfeits (II,89). For Gandalf...there is Saruman...For the elves there are the orcs...The dark counterpart of men is the Ringwraiths." (71-72).

There are other dichotomies as well, e.g. Theoden ~ Denethor, Boromir ~ Faramir (72).

I would add that there are also more complex pairings, e.g. Aragorn:Denethor ~ Frodo:Sam.

Zack Ziaja said...

I had a question regarding the birthing/creation of orcs. Orcs seem to have no matriarchical figure in the orc culture so how are orcs conceved? In the LotR movies I think they show orcs and goblins being grown or something similar. Is there ever any explination of how orcs redproduce or maybe are just produced?

Doug Simms said...

That's an interesting point, Zach.

Just as with Grendel in Beowulf, the absence of a father/mother is indicative of an unnatural origin in LotR