The Orcs/Uruks/Goblins

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Togo Baggins 30/Dec/2006 at 11:13 AM
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Ok... I heard somewhere that Goblins are tortured elves.

Uruks are a mix of tortured men, and goblins

Orcs are just a more organized version of Goblins used to carry out Sauron’s deeds.


Am I correct on this? I really have been curious for a LONG time about this.

OriNori 30/Dec/2006 at 11:21 AM
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Ok I’ll try and give this a bit of break down. Orcs are goblins. Goblins are orcs. The Uruk-hai (I believe) are a crossbreed of orcs and men.  No doubt someone will be able to provide a quote on that as I’m not with my books at the moment. It was theorised and rejected the the orcs came from tortured elves which Morgoth tormented in the Eldar Days.
Túrin 30/Dec/2006 at 11:53 AM
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OriNori is correct in that Orcs and Goblins are the same, they are different terms for the same creature.

"(goblin is used as a translation in The Hobbit, where orc only occurs once, I think) ... The name has the form orch (pl. yrch) in Sindarian and uruk in the Black Speech."
     - Letter #144

As for Uruks -- I am of the mind that Uruks are merely Orcs of greater size and strength.  Yes, Saruman did breed Men and Orcs togather, but I have never seen conclusive evidence that the Uruk-Hai were exclusivly mixed breeds.  To be certain there are those who think otherwise, but I personally think it’s a weak position.

As to the origins of Orcs.....there are some who say they they were in origin Elvish and that Melkor tortured and corrupted them.  The thing is, Tolkien was changing his ideas on Orcish origins later in his life.  For a LONG time Orcs were being created by Melkor and given life by him (I know, I know - ’Melkor can’t create life!’, well, in earlier and middle versions of The Silmarillion, he could, and LotR was published under the idea that he could).  Then Tolkien began to change his ideas.  Moving to the Elvish origins, and then on to others.  The Elvish origin idea lasted for a couple years at most.

If you’re really interested in the subject I’ll go on and into detal, but I have to warn you that might involve thousands of words! (I’ve had a long thread for two of those points you brought up and a long post for the other.)

OriNori 30/Dec/2006 at 12:09 PM
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It looks like I was wrong about the Uruk-hai though. It just made sense to me that they were crossbred with men. I mean they are bigger and can walk (and run) in the sunlight whereas the standard orcs were weakened in sunlight. Again I’m sure there’s a quote on this.  Incidently Ulmo do you know if there are any other mentions of these crossbreeds?
Endril 30/Dec/2006 at 12:21 PM
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From what I know, uruks were a crossbreed of orcs and not of men and orcs. Because of that they could resist the light and also be stronger than the normal orcs. Also, goblins=orcs. Orcs come from elves, at least that is what I know, corrupted elves.
Vugar 30/Dec/2006 at 01:00 PM
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I mean they are bigger and can walk (and run) in the sunlight whereas the standard orcs were weakened in sunlight.

I do not see why this would point towards a Mannish origin. There are other explanations available. For instance, we know that Orcs range in size. In Mordor, Frodo and Sam encounter two orcs: "a small breed...evidently a tracker of some kind" and "a big-fighting orc, like those of Shagrat’s company" (The Land of Shadow, RotK).

In the Appendices, the uruks are described as "black orcs of great strength" (Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion, Appendix A)

It would not be too difficult to simply breed together the largest and strongest of Orcs to produce a strain that was typical of those characteristics. As for the resistance to sunlight, I would offer another explanation in that this is something that can be gained through training.

"’But what are we going to do at sunrise?’ said some of the Northerners.
’Go on running,’ said Uglúk. ’What do you think? Sit on the grass and wait for the Whiteskins to join the picnic?’
’But we can’t run in the sunlight.’
’You’ll run with me behind you,’ said Uglúk. ’Run! Or you’ll never see your beloved holes again. By the White Hand! What’s the use of sending out mountain-maggots on a trip, only half trained. Run, curse you! Run while night lasts!’" (The Uruk-hai, TTT)

The "half-trained" comment is the one that has alwaysy garnered my curiosity. Half-trained in what aspect? The subject at hand seems to be running under the sun.
Mithrandír 30/Dec/2006 at 01:24 PM
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Ok... I heard somewhere that Goblins are tortured elves
nunanananano the elves are tortured Orcs, because they were tortured by Morgoth or Melkor in the First Age.
Vugar 30/Dec/2006 at 01:36 PM
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The Elvish origin of Orcs no doubt owes its popularity to the amount of readers that have read the Silmarillion and drawn this conclusion from the third chapter; even though it is directly mentioned in that account that it was "held true by the wise of Eressëa" as their belief and not a given fact. The movies would be another factor, but I give greater weight to the former source as this is the lora fora.
Togo Baggins 30/Dec/2006 at 02:43 PM
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Thanks everyone for all your help on this matter... I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel...  
punatic 30/Dec/2006 at 09:27 PM
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they surely must breed on their own and persue their own objectives, they have a whole mountain kingdom in the Hobbit. It seems to me that they would prefer to be left to their own devices, as per the conversation between Shagrat and Gorbag (I believe) when they have Frodo hostage. They seemed to have had a freeer life before the rise of Sauron and Saruman.
Morgil 31/Dec/2006 at 01:25 AM
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And just to throw a bit more information as to the varying size of orcs, which is all too often exaggerated by the *cough, hack, spit* movies, here is a quote from FotR, ch. The Bridge of Khazad-Dum, emphasis in bold my own.

"But even as they retreated, and before Pippin and Merry had reached the stairs outside, a huge orc-chieftain, almost man-high, clad in black mail from head to foot, leaped into the chamber; behind him his followers clustered in the doorway."

Sil 31/Dec/2006 at 04:33 AM
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I assumed that the orc-man breeds were people like that nasty Southerner chap encountered in Bree by the hobbits in FoTR, the one hanging out with Bill Ferny, who was described as looking more than half an orc, to my recollection. I haven’t got the precise quote with me, but you get my drift.
Galin 31/Dec/2006 at 06:28 AM
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Orcs appear to function well enough under the sun despite that they prefer darkness. I have added a look at the battle of the Pelennor fields to my usual rant on ’well trained Orcs and the Sun’ (first the usual stuff)...

Looking at the chapter The Uruk-hai: some of the larger bolder Northerners appear to run with the Isengarders under the Sun, and the Mordorian Orcs run very well under the Sun in any case (actually, even the Northerners arguably run better than some Men might!). After running ’hour after hour’ the Isengarders gradually passed through the Orcs of Mordor, then after this ’soon’ they were gaining also on the Northerners ahead (earlier derided as ’half-trained’ mountain-maggots by Ugluk, right after the remarks about running under the Sun). In the Battles of the Fords of Isen (Unfinished Tales) Saruman has Dunlendings, Orcish wolfriders, followed by two battalions of Uruks’ ...the fierce Uruks, heavily armed but trained to move at great speed for many miles.’

Also noting: ’It [the word uruk] referred, however, specially to the trained and disciplined Orcs of the regiments of Mordor.’ JRRT Quendi And Eldar, WJ

In The Battle Of The Pelennor Fields the Orcs of Mordor appear to fight on after the Sun shines (a great wind blew, and the rain went North). The hosts of Mordor, which I would say included Orcs (Orcs that are said, after Aragorn is revealed, to have hated the Sunlight), were actually enheartened by the Black Sails. Éomer’s words include singing in the Sun as he prepared to face Mordor, and then Aragorn and Company are revealed and a dread falls upon the enemy. Indeed these Orcs do not like the Sun but appear quite ready to battle on when thinking that the ships contained enemies of the West.

Enough references can be provided that Orcs would rather have darkness, and indeed Tolkien will provide this, for example...

In The Black Gate Opens however, just before Pippin and his group were engaged in battle, Tolkien described the Sun as having climbed towards the South ’... veiled in the reeks of Mordor, and through a threatening haze it gleamed, remote, a sullen red, as if it were the ending of the day, or the end maybe of all the world of light. And out of the gathering mirk the Nazgûl came...’

But that doesn’t mean they can’t run or fight well enough, if there is no choice. That the Uruk-hai clearly do not have a problem in Sunlight (and like to boast about it) does not necessarily mean it is because they have Mannsh-blood in my opinion.

Indeed the Uruk-hai boast that they eat Man-flesh, which might indicate (my speculation) they have a strong sense of clannish unity distinct from Saruman’s Half-orcs.

Lord of the Rings 01/Jan/2007 at 08:25 AM
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Silendra, I would tend to agree with you about the nature of man/orc cross-breeds. They are not Uruks, but rather much more human-like in appearance. I don’t have my books with me, but the references should be the southerners in Bree, Merry’s description of Saruman’s army in Flotsam & Jetsam (and Aragorn’s comment in response), and some references in the Scouring of the Shire.

Hope those are enough to point people along, and maybe someone will come along give the quotes here.
Deep Roots 01/Jan/2007 at 06:55 PM
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In the Lord of the Rings books, ’goblins’ were ’orcs’ who ventured underground years ago and developed very large eyes for seeing in the dark. They also became very adapted to climbing, unlike thier ’orc’ counterparts. Uruk-hai are tortured elves, cursed and with darkness poored into thier souls.

Magradhaid 01/Jan/2007 at 07:02 PM
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Silendra, JRRT says in UT that the squint-eyed southerner at the inn was of Dunlendish blood, though some rumored that he had Orc-blood. Though with the Dunlendings living so close to Nan Curunír, there was certainly the opportunity for such ... interbreeding ... to occur, though I can’t say whether it actually happened.

Deep Roots, welcome to the Plaza! I’m interested in your information about Orcs since I haven’t read it before; could you tell me where I can find it?
Dor-lómin 01/Jan/2007 at 08:59 PM
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I think i heard some where that uruks are cross bred between orcs and goblins, they have the strength of an orc and the speed of a goblin, i dunno if it’s right but it sounds like a possability

Alcarináro 01/Jan/2007 at 09:08 PM
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Seeing as Orcs and Goblins are the exact same creature, Dor-lomin (as has already been said; you should read a thread before you post in it) it is not a possibility that Uruks are a crossbreed between them.

Deep Roots, nothing you said has basis in anything Tolkien wrote. Did you know that when the Fellowship passes through Moria, the term ’Orc’ is used more than ten times more frequently than the term ’Goblin’?
Vugar 01/Jan/2007 at 09:13 PM
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Dor-lómin, The major hindrance to that possibility would be that Orcs and Goblins are the same race. They are merely different names that refer to the same race (see Túrin’s post). At various points in the story, the Uruks themselves are referred to by both of those terms. What was the source of this possibility?
Dor-lómin 02/Jan/2007 at 03:58 AM
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The movies, i swaer i heard it in Pj lotr. I dunno if i was hearing things but thats where i "supposidley" heard it, and yeah i didn’t read the post before hand lol
Túrin 02/Jan/2007 at 09:35 AM
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You likely did hear it in the movies, Dor-lomin.  But the movies, to put it lightly, significantly differ from the books.  Here on the Plaza we take the writings of JRRT as that which is true Middle-earth.
Roman Empress 02/Jan/2007 at 10:37 AM
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Wow. I always thought orcs and goblins were different breeds. Now that I see everyone’s thoughts, and views on this matter. Orcs and Goblins are the same basically. I’m still quite curious on how Uruks are "created". What kind of men/human did they "breed" with orcs?


Túrin 02/Jan/2007 at 10:54 AM
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That question pre-supposes that Uruks are the resulting of an inter-breeding program.
Roman Empress 02/Jan/2007 at 10:59 AM
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So you mean that they’re interbred?
Hmm...that explains alot....

Galin 02/Jan/2007 at 11:02 AM
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We don’t know that Uruks (so called) of the Third Age were created by mixing Orcs and any Men, but according to the Appendices they appear to have come out of Mordor: In the last years of Denethor I the race of Uruks, black Orcs of great strength, first appeared out of Mordor, and in 2475 they swept across Ithilien and took Osgiliath.’

Compare to text from The Heirs of Elendil published (though not by Tolkien himself of course) in The Peoples of Middle-Earth ... ’Denethor I. born 2375 lived 102 years died 2477. Great troubles arose in his day. The Morgul-lords having bred in secret a fell race of black Orcs in Mordor assail Ithilien and over-run it.’ JRRT

If we take this at face value the Uruks appear to be a fell race of Orcs. That is... Orcs

Selective breeding (Orcs with other Orcs) by the Lords of Morgul? Possible I think. Saruman bred Orcs with Men, but I think the result is...

’And there were battalions of Men, too. (...) Most of them were ordinary men, rather tall and dark-haired, and grim but not particularly evil-looking. But there were some others that were horrible: man-high but with goblin-faces, sallow, leering, squint-eyed. Do you know, they reminded me at once of that Southerner at Bree; only he was not so obviously orc-like as most of these were.

’I thought of him too,’ said Aragorn. ’We had many of these half-orcs to deal with at Helm’s Deep.’ Flotsam And Jetsam