At the counterpoint: RPing orcish types
by, 06/Aug/2013 at 11:58 PM (5732 Views)
So having addressed how I feel about elves a couple of weeks ago (and my apologies for missing last week’s message), I figured I would spend some time on the diametrically opposed faction_ and mention how implausible the concept of RPing an orc (or some similar race) feels to me.
Now again, this is not due to some dislike of the people who chose to belong to Mordor on the plaza, many of whom I know and appreciate greatly. It is philosophical.
Many people, I think, find the orc as difficult to RP as the elf. Where elves were at one point seen as people who tried to be “better than you in every way” (in the words of an old plaza comic), many people found that the core of RPing an orc on plaza was equally hard to conceive, as I see them as being "worse than you in every way". My faith and confidence in the human behind the orc always comes up to say... naah... who could always be worse? No one is ever that bad.
But of course it goes deeper: for myself, I have no earthly idea if, and how, I would ever manage to stand torturing or being tortured, something which I have been told have been among Mordor’s more unusual activities: torture. Perhaps its the international relations student in me, or perhaps it’s some ingrained level of empathy, but I must confess that the very concept of a cartoon character being tortured (on or off screen) makes me, well, flinch. When I watched Sam beat up Gollum at the first midnight screening of ROTK, I physically shuddered and closed my eyes, unable to look at the screen and see an act which I considered... unworthy. Disgusting.
Now, of course, orcs and co aren’t torturing and warring for no reason; one might argue that it’s because they have been under Sauron’s boot for so long, that they barely know how else to be. One might argue that it is their nature and the extent of their gifts. But if truth be told... either of these would make them even quirkier and harder for me, because I interpret the first as a lack of free will, and the second as the total defeat of any aspiration to fairness or beauty... things which, in my own perspective, make life worth living and pursuing.
In fact, this perception of mine finds some resonance in a certain LOTR quote about the Uruk-hai:
"Why do you look out? Do you wish to see the greatness of our army? We are the fighting Uruk-hai."
"I look out to see the dawn," said Aragorn.
"What of the dawn?" they jeered. "We are the Uruk-hai: we do not stop the fight for night or day, for fair weather or for storm. We come to kill, by sun or moon. What of the dawn?"-The Two Towers
To me, this quote suggests that the Uruk-Hai are what they are because even though they can see goodness and beauty, even be surrounded by it in the myriad bright colours of the dawn, they are not able to perceive it as a value in itself. It is not just that they find different things beautiful, it is that they are unable to stop and evaluate whether or not a thing is beautiful to begin with.
Perhaps I put too much of my self, character and aspirations, into the characters I chose to role-play. In fact, my husband found this out to his detriment the day when his character drew a sword on mine... and I went into a royal sulk. That said, I greatly admire those who are truly able to write such a thing for their own characters: it is a skill I do fully and shame-facedly admit I do not share.