Goblins, Orcs, Uruk-No females?

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Tenharien Calmcacil 17/Dec/2006 at 02:21 PM
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I was just thinking about the more evil races in the lord of the rings and i started to think if i missed something. I cant remember how Goblins/Orcs are born. I remember the Uruks, vaguely, but are the Orcs asexual? How are they born? Are there any female ones? Or a female equivilant to those orcs?
geordie 17/Dec/2006 at 02:59 PM
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There are female orcs - in an unpublished letter to a Mrs Munby, Tolkien says -’There must have been orc women. But as all we see of orc society are glimpses [such as Bilbo’s jopurney into the orc-mines in TH] ... not much is known

[paraphrase].

Welcome to the Plaza by the way! [if I have’nt said so already]
Vugar 17/Dec/2006 at 03:29 PM
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Another quote that addresses the issue comes from the Silmarillion:

"For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar..." (Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor, The Silmarillion)

The Children of Ilúvatar i.e. Men and Elves reproduce in a sexual manner with males and females, hence Orcs would do the same.

The same rule would apply to the Uruks, as they are a larger breed of Orc.

Kaulargorn 17/Dec/2006 at 03:46 PM
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Yeah, I’ve heard of this letter. In general the orcs’ origin and everything around orc’s life has been rather controversial. Is it in the very same letter where Tolkien denies that orcs came from tortured elves or I have mixed them up? The same question existed about the dwarves, about the dwarf-women
Arien Ellariel 18/Dec/2006 at 07:29 AM
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Yah, it would make sense for their to be orc women (scary thought really, cause they must be awefully ugly!).... I mean, if orcs were elves once, than they’d reproduce similarly to how elves, hobbits, and men do.
Alcarináro 18/Dec/2006 at 07:42 AM
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And to clear up another misconception, Tenharien, while you may think you remember the Uruks, that you ask this question means you don’t. For what you have seen in the films is incorrect. Uruks are not spawned from mud. No Orcs are spawned from mud. Uruk-hai, like all other Orcs, are born just as Men and Elves are born, and all the processes leading up the births of those Orcs are as they are with Elves and Men.

You do mix it up Kaulargorn. The refution of Orcs being from Elves is not in a letter, but in a series of writings Tolkien made, found in the tenth volume of the Histories of Middle-earth, titled ’Morgoth’s Ring’. Most of the ’controversial’ matters involving Orcs are really not, just lack of knowledge by the voiceful majority.
Deagol77 18/Dec/2006 at 12:31 PM
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There probably are orc females, they are just indistinguishable from orc men, like dwarf women. Or orc females are less war-like and come out of the caves and burrows less often. The unwar-like bit is based on us never hearing of any female orcs at war or marching with armies.
Aeros 18/Dec/2006 at 05:36 PM
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Or, Deagol77, it is possible that the male and female orcs were almost indistinguishable. Perhaps the women went to war as much as the men, except maybe while bearing/raising an orc baby. *cringe*
Rapiere Lorde 18/Dec/2006 at 08:26 PM
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Yet, the question was mentioned by Gimli about dwarves and he answered himself that perhaps dwarves just popped out of the ground. He mocked that but what if that really applyed to the uruks and goblins?

Hmm, I thought that orcs were made out of mud, sticks, and stones.
Arvellas 18/Dec/2006 at 09:06 PM
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Curse Peter Jackson, really.  He’s done more harm than good, as far as introducing people to the legendarium (he can hardly claim to have truly introduced anyone, since most people don’t even read the books after seeing the movies).  And of course, as with Dwarven women, just because we don’t hear of female Orcs doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

Rapiere Lorde-Welcome to the Plaza and to the Lore Fora!  As for the incident you describe, I do not remember it.  Was it from the movies?  If so, it cannot be trusted.  One thing we try to do here on the Plaza is to keep the information in the books straight as much as possible.  And also, uruks and goblins are not different creatures; an uruk is just a type of Orc, and goblin is another name for an Orc.

Miriath 21/Dec/2006 at 02:02 PM
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The whole instance with Gimli suggesting that Dwarves pop out of the ground is in the movies; I’m certain of that. However, if my memory recalls correctly, I do believe that he was just making a joke when he said something along the lines of, "Well, Dwarves just pop out of the grounds." I don’t think that what he said was meant to be the truth and I got the impression, through the movie, that he was making a joke of the Dwarves and their mating habits. 
Magradhaid 21/Dec/2006 at 05:20 PM
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In the movies, Gimli was clearing the misconception that Dwarves just "popped out of holes in the ground" by describing Dwarf women, how not many know of them, and that they’re bearded. So PJ decides to clear misconceptions about Dwarves popping out of the ground (perhaps derived from the story of Aulë making the Fathers of the Dwarves out of earth), but create new ones about Orcs popping out of the ground? That’s ironic.
Eloymen 21/Dec/2006 at 05:36 PM
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The fact that there are Orc children is proved in The Hobbit I believe. When Bilbo is talking to Gollum, Gollum thinks or says something about eating an Orc child I believe.
Endril 21/Dec/2006 at 09:25 PM
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I was wondering if someone could think of a suitable description for an orc female or an orc child. That would be interesting as none of them is described in the books. Wonder how they would look like and also how was the family of an orc? Did they made the same thing like always, I meen eating each other or killing there kin?
Túrin 21/Dec/2006 at 09:57 PM
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Legolas,

Any suggestions as to how an Orc female would look would be entirely speculative.  Tolkien described Orcs as:

"corruptions of the ’human’ form seen in Elves and Men.  They are (or were) squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types."
     - Letter #210

So take the ugliest "Mongol-type" gal you can find and picture her more awful and disgusting than ever, and you’ll be getting close.

As for "eating each other or killing there kin" - No and yes.  Tolkien tells us that Orcs would eat captive Elves/Men only "at need" (HoMe X), and from that I’d conclude that they’d not eat each other - the comment in TTT regarding it seems to be more of an insult among Orcs.  However, Tolkien also writes that if the Orcs were not kept busy, they would soon start to fued and attack each other - probably similar to the debacle at the Tower of Cirith Ungol.

elvenpath 23/Dec/2006 at 07:46 AM
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Just a small comment on what Turin said - when thinking of the most ugly "Mongol-type" add some more color for the skin, as Orcs were having dark skin, even black.

a large black Orc (TTT - The Uruk-hai)

black ants (TTT - The Black Gait is Closed )

small black figures (TTT - The Stairs of Cirith Ungol)

black-skinned (ROTK - The Land of Shadow)

Wilibald Bumble 27/Dec/2006 at 09:45 AM
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I thought Orcs were spawned...
Túrin 27/Dec/2006 at 10:45 AM
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They are, Wilibald, but not in the sense propagated by the movies.  ’Spawned’ is indeed used to refer to Orcs (Aragorn uses it at some point), but the word does not imply growing out of mud as if some layed batches of eggs like frogs.  As Geordie and Achaius show in the first two replies in the thread, Orcs reproduce in the same manner as Elves and Men.  Thus, it becomes clear that the way Tolkien was using ’spawn’ in reference to Orcs is the idea of reproducing swiftly.  This is further strengthened in HoMe X where Tolkien says that the Orcs multiply rapidly when left undisturbed (paraphrase).

Wilibald Bumble 27/Dec/2006 at 04:00 PM
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Yes, I haven’t really watched the movies in-depth but in the books it just says that Melkor made the Firstborn evil and he did not have the Flame Imperishable so he just corrupted the Elves and made them into "Orcs". And in the Lord of the Rings, reference to "Orc-spawn" is made a couple of times. So would orcs still need to breed and then multiply?
Túrin 27/Dec/2006 at 04:20 PM
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One does not need to watch the movies in-depth to see it’s misguided portrayal of Orc reproduction.  Saruman’s servants dig the Uruk-hai out of the mud.

in the books it just says that Melkor made the Firstborn evil and he did not have the Flame Imperishable so he just corrupted the Elves and made them into "Orcs"

The books say more than this.  Achaius quoted a bit in the 2nd reply of this thread about Orcs reproducing in the same manner as the Children of Illuvatar - this means that Orcs reproduced like we do.  And regardless of that, if you hold that Orcs are corruptions of Elves, would it not follow that they would multiply in the same manner?  (I won’t go into Orcish origins here, but suffice to say that they are most likely not Elvish in origin).

And in the Lord of the Rings, reference to "Orc-spawn" is made a couple of times. So would orcs still need to breed and then multiply?

As I pointed out in my previous post, the word "spawn" can be taken to mean rather that the individuals simply reproduce at a rapid rate.  Given what Tolkien says abotu Orcish reproduction, it’s clear that this is the sense he uses the word ’spawn’.  So yes, Orcs do still need to breed in order to multiply.  They do not "spawn" in the sense of laying eggs or forming out of mud.  They are just like Elves and Men in the mechanics of it.

Qtpie 27/Dec/2006 at 08:54 PM
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Here’s the quote that Turin is referring to in regards to Orc reproducing quickly.

’They bred and multiplied rapidly whenever left undisturbed’ Morgoth’s Ring: X
Beregond Abell 27/Dec/2006 at 09:24 PM
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Taragolloion. So there sort of like rabbits huh?
Qtpie 27/Dec/2006 at 09:32 PM
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Bernabie: I’ve heard that compared to the Orcs before on the plaza somewhere.
Túrin 28/Dec/2006 at 01:03 PM
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I’ve made the comment before that Orcs breed like rabbits.
Curubethion 28/Dec/2006 at 09:10 PM
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About PJ’s mud Uruks...not likely, but what if Saruman had corrupted the reproductive processes of the Uruks to speed up and facilitate the creation of his massive army? After all, he had to come up with a 10,000 strong fighting force in probably a year and a half (I’m lazy, so I don’t have the time to look up the actual chronology from when Saruman and Gandalf met, and Isengard was corrupted, to the time of Helm’s Deep) Anyhow, it’s reasonable to expect that Uruks weren’t born fully grown-up, so did they just have an accelerated growth rate?
Vugar 28/Dec/2006 at 10:19 PM
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Saruman’s forces were not composed solely of Orcs. There were Men present such as the Dunlendings and apparently half-breeds. As for a date concerning the breeding of Orcs under Saruman, I happened upon this note:

"The Council seems to have been unaware, since for many years Isengard had been closely guarded, of what went on within its Ring. The use, and possibly special breeding, of Orcs was kept secret, and cannot have begun much before 2990 at earliest. The Orc-troops seem never to have been used beyond the territory of Isengard before the attack on Rohan." (The Palantíri note 7, Unfinished Tales)

The Hornburg was beseiged in the year 3019. That leaves 29 years between "2990 at earliest" and the attack on the Hornburg. I would also think it likely Saruman simply gathered full-grown Orcs under his banner in addition to breeding his own.
Alcarináro 28/Dec/2006 at 10:34 PM
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Note to the unwary (e.g. Curubethion): If the films are wrong in one aspect, doubt whether they are correct in any and all related aspects. The way Peter Jackson works, it is never just one change. It is one change that begets more, all of which beget more, until you end up with a great web of fabrication.
Túrin 28/Dec/2006 at 10:39 PM
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I would also think it likely Saruman simply gathered full-grown Orcs under his banner in addition to breeding his own.

Indeed!

"[Saruman’s] friends and servants he drew then from all who hated Gondor and Rohan, whether Men or other creatures more evil.
[...]
Orcs began to raid in the eastern regions and slay or steal horses.  Other also came down from the Misty Mountains, many being great uruks in the service of Saruman, thought it was long before that was suspected."
     - RotK, Appendix A

Tenharien Calmcacil 30/Dec/2006 at 10:08 AM
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Well there is certainly a lot of different opinions and facts on this subject. They are all good ones as well. I have always thought that their were femle orcs of some kind or that. Elenhir, you should ask something of me next time before you assume. I was posing this quesyion simply for conversation. Not that i am mad or upset, you answered me just fine and so did everyone else. Thank you all. Its good to hear other oppinions.
geordie 30/Dec/2006 at 11:30 AM
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I was wondering if someone could think of a suitable description for an orc female or an orc child. That would be interesting as none of them is described in the books.

Dunno - I suppose the males and females would be called orc men and orc women [or something like that, to distinguish the sexes from each other]. Tolkien himself uses the term ’orc women’ in the Munby letter, which I mentioned in my post above.

In The Hobbit, we’re told that Gollum was still hungry, even after just having eaten a ’goblin imp’. That’s as good a name as I can think of for a young goblin.
Endril 30/Dec/2006 at 12:33 PM
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Turin:very nice thought about how an orc woman would look. But I get the point. The child image would also be interesting. I wonder if they could indeed have a family in a quite normal way. They didn’t seemed to have any kind of family feelings at all.
punatic 30/Dec/2006 at 01:29 PM
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I believe that since it seems that orcs came from mutated or abused and twisted elves in the distant past that orcs themselves would reproduce in the same way that elves do. Since elves reproduce sexually orcs must as well.
Although without the soft music and scented candles that no doubt accompany elven love. In other works by other authors they invision orcs being raised like dogs in pits, dropped in by their mothers to fend for themselves with the other orclings, fighting for scraps.