View Full Version : Goblins, Hobgoblins, and Orcs

10-17-2001, 05:12 AM
When Bilbo and the Dwarves ask Gandalf if they have to go through the forest, or could they go around it? Gandalf then said they couldn't go south of it because of the Necromancer. Then he said north they would run into all kinds of goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs. What is the difference between the three?

I've never heard of hobgoblins anywhere else, I've never remember hearing of orcsin The Hobbit, but in the LOTR orcs seem to replace the word orcs. What's the deal?

10-17-2001, 05:52 AM
Goblins, hobgoblins, orcs, they're all the same thing, I believe. Certain things in the Hobbit later got new names later on in LOTR, and some things got taken out. The goblins/orcs are a prime example, as are the Stone Giants.

10-17-2001, 09:56 PM
Goblins were supposedly less in build and weaker, many describe gollum as a hobgoblin. In a book it states that it is actually a contridiction. Hob is supposed to mean good, yet goblin is bad. So a battle between good and bad in a certain individual.

10-18-2001, 04:15 AM
What my first thought was, consisering the order they were stated, I though goblins were the smallest and the least dangerous (not to say goblins aren't deadly), orcs were the larger form of goblins, and hobgoblins were somewhere in between. But what I guess I neglected to consiser was that fact that many things chenged from The Hobbit to LOTR. Thank you for reminding me.

10-27-2001, 07:13 PM
Goblins and Orcs are the same, however, HobGoblins are more of a so-called "commando-goblin". They are slightly larger, are more aggresive, and usualy lead goblins/orcs in battle.

10-27-2001, 07:26 PM
I agree pretty much with Sting. I also think the term "orc" was meant to include pretty much all of this nasty type of creature. Hobgoblins were supposed to be the larger, tougher goblins, so they would equate to the orcs we see in LotR that are especially large and tough.

10-30-2001, 04:26 AM
Are you sure about the hobgoblins being tougher? A little while after I posted this I heard the "hob" in the elven language (I think) means good (or some other positve meaning) and goblin, on the contrary means bad. I also heard that Gollum would be considered a hobgoblin, an orc-like creature, but not entirely. But I don't know thats why I posted this. I would really like to hear a debate on this.

10-30-2001, 01:49 PM
In the revised introductory note to The Hobbit JRRT tells us that he used Hobgoblin for the larger kinds of goblin, and that orc is usually translated goblin.

Despite this sentence, the terms orc and goblin are used interchangeably. Goblin still appears in LotR ~ even when referring to large orcs, thus speaking against the theory that goblins were ultimately smaller than orcs.

10-30-2001, 06:30 PM
"Goblin" is not an elvish word; therefore applying "hob-" to mean "good" wouldn't necessarily work.
"Goblin" is a direct translation of "orc." All orcs are goblins, therefore; "hobgoblin" would not, in this case. be a technical term. Instead it's just a way of referring to larger orcs.
The Uruk-hai are something else together. They aren't half-orcs (though there are half-orcs, I believe), but they are stronger than normal orcs. They think for themselves, they're not afraid of sunlight, and they are generally larger. I think they also walk similarly to Men, which brought up the confusion between the Uruks and the half-orcs.

10-31-2001, 01:10 AM
Yea Greymantle, I have to agree with that.

11-03-2001, 02:32 PM
I think that in the Hobbit there are many contradictory parts. Gandalf mentions something about getting a stone-giant to work for him or something; and in those days, when there was no such thing as modern fantasy literature, hobgoblins and goblins were used loosely, and orcs were not mentioned much at all. I think that Tolkien was building the entire story of Middle-earth when he was writing the Hobbit to a fine-toned point, so although many things are 'correct', or according to the places, events and people in the LotR, in the Hobbit, there are many almost cliché-like terms.
In modern-day fantasy books, the terms 'orc', 'goblin' and 'hobgoblin' have evolved a lot, but to what level I don't know I've always seen the three like this:
Orcs: shorter than Men, but a bit larger in build than most. Ugly, with almost no human features bar a nose, eyes, mouth and ears, relatively unlearned but evilly crafty.
Goblins: More troll-like orcs= taller, but not much larger in build, and a bit more intelligent.
Hobgoblins: the most humane of the three, IMO. I think they posess the most human-like features, and are more prone to courteousness and kindness than orcs. I like to think that maybe some 'hobgoblins' have turned against their larger and stupider relatives, and joined the Mannish lifestyle.

11-04-2001, 06:39 AM
"Goblin" is a simple translation of the Sindarin "Orch," or Orc. They're exactly the same thing.

11-05-2001, 11:08 PM
orcs are tougher than goblins and hobgoblins are deformed goblins

thats how i pictured it

Mount Doom
11-09-2001, 02:11 PM
So in the end what is up??? Orcs and goblins are the same.... And hob-goblins are taller, stronger, but deformed orcs (or goblins). Am I correct?:confused:

11-09-2001, 02:33 PM
Oh great, why do I now have an unshakable mental image of Bilbo and the Dwarves cautiously walking into Mirkwood chanting "Goblins, Hobgoblins and Orcs, Oh My!...Goblins, Hobgoblins and Orcs, OH MY!"?

11-12-2001, 08:16 PM
Maybe in the Disney version they would.

12-09-2001, 02:41 AM
I think this thread has already been asked, but are goblins and orcs the same thing? I always pictured them much differen't. Goblins, I thought, were smaller and had claw like hands. Orcs I thought of being bigger and more muscular than goblins. If they are the same thing, why did Tolkien in "The Hobbit" use the word goblin, and then in the rest of LotR use the word orc? I would appreciate any help on this subject.

12-09-2001, 07:47 PM
Might be beacuse The Hobbit was written for children while the LoTR is written for a more adult audince..

12-09-2001, 11:39 PM
Tolkien explained (in an intro note for The Hobbit):

"2) orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated as goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds)."

Orcrist = "goblin cleaver" fits that. JRRT later preferred orc to goblin, but still used "goblin" in the LotR (he had used both terms in an early mythology before The Hobbit was written).

A couple LotR examples: the Prof uses "goblin" when referring to large orcs, and refers to Grishnákh as both an "orc" and a "goblin".

Gandalf White
12-09-2001, 11:42 PM
That's interesting, because I, too, had always thought of them as different creatures.

12-10-2001, 05:34 PM
Do you think Tolkien had Sindarin quite figured out when he invented the name 'Orcrist'? Because as far as I know 'Orc' is not an Elvish name in Quenya or Sindarin, but crist( kir) is. So what's the deal with that? I'm sure Cian can tell us. :)
Anyway, I've usually seen a goblin as a larger form of an orc, ie. a different 'race'.

12-10-2001, 07:11 PM
The word orcrist was invented in "... whatever variant of Noldorin that existed at the time" (David Salo) I'll leave the details to David here :) but we know that orch is the Sindarin word (plural Yrch ~ not ch as in English "church")
... and we see from Etymologies (where N. stands for "Noldorin"):

"RIS- slash rip ... N. risto Cf. Orchrist sword name."

12-11-2001, 02:02 AM
Ah, ok. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I have been wondering it for awhile now.

The Dark Walker
12-11-2001, 10:32 PM
Am I the only one who think Orcs are wusses?

12-11-2001, 10:42 PM
that Orcs and Goblins were the same, just one name (goblin) was used by Men and others (i.e. the Common Tounge) and Orcs were what the "learned" (Elves, Dunedain, Wizards, etc.) of the era called them by.

That is the perception I got from my reading. Also, like Telchar said, I also attributed the main reason for the different names to The Hobbit starting out as a bedtime story he told to his children and The Lord of the Rings being for an "older" (I wouldn't necessarily say adult) audience.

Just my thoughts,

12-12-2001, 12:12 AM
In The Fellowship of the Ring the prolouge mentions that Bilbo found the ring in orc-tunnels. I don't really understand either.

12-12-2001, 12:25 AM
I allways assumed that Orc was the name that the Orcs took for themselves and that Orcrist incorperated the name of this race, as they described themselves, and added to it in the language of the creators of Orcrist. Kind of like if you made a device for putting a mark on a German Person, you could call it DeutschMarker instead of GermanMarker.

Rosie Cotton
12-12-2001, 01:25 AM
I've always thought that goblins were akin to orcs, but larger and more dangerous. The Tolkien Companion (by J.E.A Tyler) says that they are the same thing though. I wonder where I came up with the idea that they're different races?

Jeff, have you read The Hobbit? If you haven't that's fine, but an incident in The Hobbit is what the prolouge is refering to. Bilbo and the dwarves accidentally end up trapped a goblin settlement (inside a moutain). Bilbo gets seperated, stumbles and finds the one ring. So in other words "Bilbo found the ring in orc-tunnels." Hope that answers your question!

12-12-2001, 01:32 AM
I don't know if this is true or not, but I thought that it said somewhere (in the Sil. maybe) that orcs actually are elfs, and not just an immitation of them. That Morgoth captured some of them, kept them in deep caverns, for hundreds of years, and he bent them to his evil ways. And they became orcs. I'm pretty sure it says that somewhere. If any of you know about it can you let me know?

12-12-2001, 07:43 PM
From Appendix F: "Orcs and the Black Speech. Orc is the form of the name that other races had for this foul people as it was in the language of Rohan."

Tolkien also wrote: "Orc is the Hobbit's form of the name given at that time to these creatures."

I think with the appearance of Orchrist along with Elronds description: "... the runes name Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver in the ancient tongue of Gondolin;" that Tolkien conceived the sword-name in Elvish, in the existing Noldorin of the time anyway. The same as with Glamdring -- Elvish glam "din, uproar, the confused yelling and bellowing of beasts"; cf. Glamhoth "Yelling-horde" a kenning for orcs.

Kit Baggins
12-12-2001, 10:27 PM
Originally posted by Rosie Cotton
I've always thought that goblins were akin to orcs, but larger and more dangerous. Funny, I always imagined goblins were smaller. Oh well :confused: ...

~Kit :p

12-13-2001, 05:16 AM
Yes I read The Hobbit. Sorry, though, I was confused a little. ( I have to reread the books because they are confusing.)

12-18-2001, 05:04 PM
Just accidently ran across (mega-Tolkien-linguist) David Salo's thoughts on Orcrist ~ he agreed that "Orc" is Elvish for Goblin, (adding that the "usual word" is orch), and rist for "cleaver" in the sword name.

12-21-2001, 09:23 AM
I always thought they were the same thing, & it was part of The Hobbit being a kid's story & the LOTR being a more serious work.

To add to the confusion, doesn't somebody (Gandalf I think) say in The Hobbit that the Grey Mountains are "Filled with Goblins, Hob-Goblins & Orcs of every description"?

12-23-2001, 05:39 AM
Orcs aren't really wusses, they're just smaller and weaker than Men and Elves. and they can't stand the Sun. if they were wusses they wouldn't throw themselves against their ememies the way they do.

12-28-2001, 12:18 AM
Hello everyone. I don't want to sound like some idiot who has never read the books because I have read LOTR several times along with the sil. and history of middle earth books. I don't know how I could miss this but could somebody answer
Are orcs and goblins the same or are they altogether different creatures. If somebody would answer that would really help me out.
Dan Boyd

12-28-2001, 01:00 AM
They're more or less the same. I think that when Tolkien wrote The Hobbit he was more inclined to use the term goblins, but by the time he wrote LOTR he preferred to say orcs.
Somewhat subtle differences- Goblins are usually referred to as being smaller and quicker (most of the ones from the mountain), while Orcs are generally larger and more warlike. But they are definitely the same race - perversions of the elves.

Dain Ironfoot
12-28-2001, 02:04 AM
Goblin men can also go out in the light....

12-28-2001, 03:47 PM
Tolkien referred to large orcs as "goblins" in the LotR, and referred to Grishnákh as both orc and goblin.

With The Hobbit Tolkien explained the usage as a translation thing ~ whether one believes this notion easily fits every Hobbit quote (with the word 'orcs' in it) is for each to decide I guess, but that was Tolkien's explanation nonetheless ~

~ including that he used hobgoblin for the larger kinds (despite that the Prof. ultimately thought it the reverse of the "original truth" :))

12-28-2001, 06:51 PM
Seems like loads of people out there think of orcs as bigger and fatter

And goblins smaller and thinner

12-28-2001, 07:01 PM
I've always assumed that "goblin" was a slang word for "Orc" in M-E usage. Like "boy" and "lad".

12-28-2001, 09:12 PM
Is there a difference?

12-28-2001, 09:48 PM
Same creature, different name.

12-29-2001, 07:37 PM
goblins and orcs are the same thing, goblin is just the hobbits word for them (according to the guide to middle earth that is)

The Sindar
12-30-2001, 03:03 AM
According to the complete guide to middle earth the term goblin means "The Orcs" and the term "Orcs" could be anything ranging from the normal small orcs to the large Uruk-Hai.

12-30-2001, 01:24 PM
I found this definition on a very good Middle-Earth resource website:


Very much what most of the people here have said.

The Phony Pope
12-31-2001, 04:41 AM
You might of noticed that in the movie Saruman said that the Uruk-hai were part orc and part goblin, but in the book they are part orc and part human. I guess they did this just because people might find the latter idea to be disgusting (which it is). I would have preffered it if they had just said part human and part orc though

12-31-2001, 04:50 AM
Actually, if I remember correctly, the Uruk-Hai were all Orc: they were simply bred, raised, and trained to withstand sunlight and walk upright. Their somewhat different appearance led the fighters at Helm's Deep to believe they were half-Orcs, while in fact they were not. Saruman did have half-Orcs in his service, however. The "ruffians" in the Shire were among them.

12-31-2001, 06:29 AM
HUH? I thought the ruffians in the Shire were the Easterlings, in fact yes, they were. They were the people who spied on em since Bree. They looked like the people at Bree who were spying on the Hobbits, and the Men who faught in the War. I think they were just Easterlings, and not half orcs.

The uruk-hai though, i thought, were half orc half man, and thats why they could withstand sunlight better.

12-31-2001, 06:47 AM
I'm looking for quotes for you....
But I can tell you right off that there were know Easterlings involved. Bill Ferny's friend is described as a "squint-eyed Southerner." The "southern" part probably only means that he's not of the Bree-folk, but from one of the kingdoms of Men in the south.
Still looking for quotes... *sigh* I'll edit them in later.

12-31-2001, 02:21 PM
It is interesting. Tolkien states in his 1954 letter to Naomi Mitchison (#144 in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien)...

"Orcs (The word is so far as I am concerned actually derived from Old English orc`demon', but only because of it's phonetic suitability) are nowhere clearly stated to be of any particular origin. But since they are servants of the Dark Power, and later of Sauron, neither of whom could, or would, produce living things, they must be `corruptions'. They are not based on direct experience of mine; but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (goblin is used as a translation in The Hobbit, where orc only appears once, I think), especially as it apprears in George McDonald, except for the soft feet which I never believed in. The name has the form orch (pl. yrch)in Sindarin and uruk in the Black Speech."

What I found interesting is that Uruk would be the original term, being that the Black Speech originated in the house of Morgoth, and Uruk-hai must be the designation for what is otherwise spoken of as "Great Orcs" and perhaps in a few cases as "Hobgoblins" (the latter being used only in the Hobbit by Gandalf as he tries to frighten Bilbo with tales of really big goblins). So when in The Two Towers the Orcs describe themselves as "The Uruks of Barad Dur", they are not necessarily saying they are Uruk-hai...HHMMmmmmm..

The Phony Pope
12-31-2001, 02:26 PM
Yeah I was very sure that they were half human, but now that I researched it I can't find any evidence that they were part human. I am very sure that they were though. I'll tell you if I can find a quote pointing to them being half human

12-31-2001, 02:36 PM
not that this may be right , it is just the way i think of it

i see orc's as the main species and that goblin, hob goblin and all the other differant types and cross breads as being sub groups in the main species..

eg, humans you have , asia ,european, american indain,south american , orental ,african ect. also these groups can be put in sub groups..

just teh way i look at it so as to sort it in my head..


p.s sorry about the spelling..was in a rush

The Phony Pope
12-31-2001, 02:47 PM
I found out that half-orcs are part human and part orc, but I am not sure about the Uruk-hai, because half-orcs and Uruk-hai are different. Half orcs were not mentioned in the Lord of the Rings

12-31-2001, 02:47 PM
The Black Speech was Saurons invention though, after the fall of Morgoth. Christopher Tolkiens index to UT is interesting regarding entry Uruks

Uruks Anglicized form of Uruk-hai of the Black Speech; a race of Orcs of great size and strength.

Note the word in Oghor-hai for example, a name given to the Drúedain by Orcs.

Tolkien linguists Helge Fauskanger, David Salo, Lisa Star all seem to agree that BS "hai" denotes "folk" basically. In any case, on the BS word uruk Tolkien explains that it was probably borrowed: "... from the Elvish tongues of earlier times." and referred to those of trained and disciplined Orc regiments.

12-31-2001, 03:06 PM
Aragorn uses the term "half-orcs" in Flotsam and Jetsam for example, referring to the Man-high, goblin-faced folk. Aragorn says that there were many at Helms Deep.

The Phony Pope
12-31-2001, 03:20 PM
I'm pretty sure that then he was just referring to the Uruk-hai, which are different from half-orcs. The actual species of half-orcs were not mentioned in Lord of the Rings I'm pretty sure

The Phony Pope
12-31-2001, 03:24 PM
Sauron bred the half-orcs

The Phony Pope
12-31-2001, 03:36 PM
I'm not sure maybe I'm mistaken. I'm almost certain I read somewhere that half orcs and the Uruk hai were different. I will now see if I can find my Complete Guide to Middle Earth book. That will solve all of our problems

Man I just realized I've posted a whole lot on this thread

12-31-2001, 03:56 PM
'And there were battalions of Men, too. (edited for bevity) ... 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. ...'

As I say, Aragorn uses the term 'half-orcs' to describe these folk.

12-31-2001, 08:39 PM
Yes, there are half-orcs present at Helm's Deep, but they're distinctly differenct from the Uruk-Hai. The Uruks were created by Sauron as a breed of "super-orcs," and Saruman bred his own. He also experimented crossing the breeds-- hence the half-orcs at Helm's Deep, Bree and the Shire.
If I'm wrong, do correct me, but I'm fairly sure of this.

12-31-2001, 09:16 PM
I was wrong, they werent Easterlings. I meant Men from the South. I thought they were the people of Umbar that Saruman hired and also fought for Mordor. But Im pretty sure they werent half-orcs, because if there were half-orcs in Bree, Im sure people (Rangers for one) would have killed them, because all types of orcs are evil to every race.

12-31-2001, 11:21 PM
(Sorry if i make a fool of my self becouse this might have alredy been said.) Orcs is a name for all evil that is not human or demon. Goblins, Ur'kiy, are both species of orcs. ringwraiths are also a species of orcs. Balrogs, on the other hand, are not orcs.

The Sindar
01-01-2002, 01:09 AM
Sorry my friend, but Ringwraiths, the Nazgul, are NOT orcs... They were once men, the nine kings that recieved the nine rings of Sauron. They aren't alive, and they aren't dead, but they are not orcs, orcs are not any evil being that is not demon, their official definition is :

"Evil race of middle-earth bred by Melkor in Utumno early in the first age using elves whom he'd captured near Cuivienen and corrupted in his dungeons."

That obviously does not have anything to do with Ringwraiths... the Nazgul.

And, to the other question, Goblins ARE orcs. The officials definition of goblins is:

"The Orcs."

And to the topic of Uruk Hai, they are Strains of Orcs bred by Sauron in the third age. Unlike other orcs, they did not weaken in sunlight, they had strong straight legs and were almost as tall as men. They were NOT half-orcs.

The half-orcs were servants of Saurman, used by him as spies and soldiers, they were seemingly the product of a cross between men and orcs. Although they were tall as men, they were sallow-faced and squint-eyed. The Chief's Men were half-orcs.

"The Half-Orcs (The term is NOT used in Lord of the Rings) were definately not Uruk-hai."
-The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth by Robert Foster.

So you see, to clear many confused things up on this thread, Half-Orcs are not Uruk-Hai. So they were right in the LOTR movie, Uruk-Hai are weird breeds that are trained different then most orcs.

Goblins and orcs are the same things, only sometimes, though, the term goblins refers to the smaller orcs.

01-01-2002, 01:54 AM
Dagorlad's assessment (without looking up the details). The "ruffians" were southerners and half-orcs enlisted in Saruman's service. How that ever made sense is beyond me. Saruman had half-orcs that were bred from orcs and humans - no doubt there were some of these among the "ruffians", and the fellow in Bree was supposedly one also. Yes, Sindar, the term half-orc IS used in LoTR. The movie, according to my ears, said that the Uruk-Hai were a breed of goblin-men and orcs.
Greymantle, Sauron had no Uruk-Hai in his service whatsoever. Saruman made them.
Oh, and the dif. between orcs and goblins? Well, what's the difference between a halfling and a hobbit? A wild hillman and a dunlanding? An istari and a wizard?

Dain Ironfoot
01-01-2002, 02:20 AM
Orks, goblins..... Can't we all just get along?????

The Phony Pope
01-02-2002, 12:28 AM
Half orcs are servents of Saruman, used by him as spies and soldiers. They were seemingly the product of a cross between Men and Orcs. Although as tall as Men, they were shallow-faced and squint-eyed. The Chief's men were half orcs.
The half orcs were definitaly not Uruk-hai

The Uruk-hai are a strain of orc bred by Sauron in teh Third Age in Mordor. By the time of the War of the Ring, uruks were used by Sauron and Saruman on all fronts. Gorbag Shagrat and Ugluk were all Uruks, The Uruk hai were used as soldiers more than other strains because they were almost as tall as men and did not weaken from sunlight. They regarded themselves as superiors of orcs.

I read these things in a few guides that I have found (I couldn't completely remember everything because I haven't read a lot of the Tolkien books on the Lord of the Rings universe for a while). I am pretty sure that this is correct information, because upon glancing at the books it makes sense.

01-02-2002, 12:47 AM
For clarity:

Cian (me) is not, nor was, saying "half-orcs" are "Uruk-hai" -- but simply saying that the term "half-orcs" does appear in LotR, as I've already shown in a quote from TTT.

01-02-2002, 03:16 AM
We've been having a huge debate on this in the FotR forum. I don't have the link right now... it basically comes down to a stalemate: A. Follow the entymological evidence and the guidebooks, or B. Follow the loose contextual implications of LotR. I go with A... but almost no one else agrees with me! :rolleyes:

The Phony Pope
01-02-2002, 03:23 AM
Yeah I think that I'd go with A as well for that one

01-04-2002, 03:27 AM
if you want my opinion...

Uruks: "black Uruks from Mordor". large, black-skinned fighting-Orcs.

Orcs: Elves twisted by Morgoth. many kinds, including trackers and warriors.

Goblins: Orcs. Possibly a smaller breed?

Uruk-Hai: half-Orcs, bred by Saruman and increased in size, strength, and intelligence by same. Probably breed true.

Chief's Men: either part-Orcs not made stronger by Saruman or a weird race of Men.

01-04-2002, 09:17 PM
And what about the Olog-hai?
I think they were goblin/orcs. Like Uruk's, but much taller and stronger. (And I don't mean a 'cave-troll', like in the movie. It was cool, but way too big!)

01-04-2002, 09:55 PM
The Olog-hai were Trolls. Some held they were giant orcs: "... but the Olog-hai were in fashion of body and mind quite unlike even the largest of Orc-kind, whom they far surpassed in size and power. Trolls they were, but filled with the evil will of their master ..." JRRT

01-12-2002, 09:37 AM
Is there a difference between the Goblins in The Hobbit and The Orcs in The Lord of the Rings?

01-12-2002, 07:05 PM
I have wondered about that myself. I think that they are. Since the Hobbit is more of a children's book than The LOTR is Tolkien might have used Goblin because children had heard of Goblins and not Orcs. NO kid likes Goblins do they?

Bill the Pony
01-13-2002, 02:17 AM
Welcome to the forum. See also


01-13-2002, 02:16 PM
Goblin is Westron and
Orc is Elvish:p

01-13-2002, 05:51 PM
OK, talkin' bout Orcs/Goblins...
If U saw that ugly, geeky, foolish, stupid, aaarggh!!!!harry potter u'll c da Goblins in that stupid bank full of MONEY!!!

01-17-2002, 02:32 AM
I thought this was farely obviuos but I guess not.

Orcs-mutated elves

Goblins-the race of Orcs that Morgoth breed, but...much larger, more sensitive to the sunlight, less agressive than the Orcs of Sauron or Sarumon (or however you spell it), because they dwelt in the Misty Mountains so long after their master's defeat. (Hobbit)

I agree with the fact that the Uruk-Hai were the half-orc, half-men. They are never mentioned in the same breath as a different
species. Plus Sauron seems to only have Orcs (FoTR) in his arsenal, and Sarumon's Uruk-Hai seem quite surperior to them.

Could be wrong...

01-17-2002, 04:47 AM

01-17-2002, 09:41 AM
just a few hours ago, as my boyfriend (who is reading them for the first time) posed the question to me just yesterday....

They are different names for the same race of creatures. Of the two, "Orc" is the correct one. This has been a matter of widespread debate and misunderstanding,
mostly resulting from the usage in the The Hobbit (Tolkien had changed his mind about it by The Lord of the Rings but the confusion in the earlier book was made
worse by inconsistent backwards modifications). There are a couple of statements in the The Hobbit which, if taken literally, suggest that Orcs are a subset of
goblins. If we are to believe the indications from all other areas of Tolkien's writing, this is not correct. These are: some fairly clear statements in letters, the evolution
of his standard terminology (see next paragraph), and the actual usage in The Lord of the Rings, all of which suggest that "Orc" was the true name of the race. (The
pedigrees in Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia are thoroughly inaccurate and undependable.)

What happened was this. The creatures so referred to were invented along with the rest of Tolkien's subcreation during the writing of the Book of Lost Tales
(pre-The Silmarillion). His usage in the early writing is somewhat varied but the movement is away from "goblin" and towards "orc". It was part of a general trend
away from the terminology of traditional folklore (he felt that the familiar words would call up the wrong associations in the readers' minds, since his creations were
quite different in specific ways). For the same general reasons he began calling the Deep Elves "Noldor" rather than "Gnomes", and avoided "Faerie" altogether. (On
the other hand, he was stuck with "Wizards", an "imperfect" translation of Istari ('the Wise'), "Elves", and "Dwarves"; he did say once that he would have preferred
"dwarrow", which, so he said, was more historically and linguistically correct, if he'd thought of it in time...)

In the The Hobbit, which originally was unconnected with the The Silmarillion, he used the familiar term "goblin" for the benefit of modern readers. By the time of The
Lord of the Rings, however, he'd decided that "goblin" wouldn't do - Orcs were not storybook goblins (see above). (No doubt he also felt that "goblin", being
Romance-derived, had no place in a work based so much on Anglo-Saxon and Northern traditions in general.) Thus, in The Lord of the Rings, the proper name of
the race is "Orcs" (capital "O"), and that name is found in the index along with Ents, Men, etc., while "goblin" is not in the index at all. There are a handful of
examples of "goblin" being used (always with a small "g") but it seems in these cases to be a kind of slang for Orcs. Tolkien's explanation inside the story was that the
"true" name of the creatures was Orc (an anglicised version of Sindarin Orch , pl. Yrch). As the "translator" of the ancient manuscripts, he "substituted" "Goblin" for
"Orch" when he translated Bilbo's diary, but for The Red Book he reverted to a form of the ancient word.

[The actual source of the word "orc" is Beowulf: "orc-nass", translated as "death-corpses". It has nothing to do with cetaceans.]

01-21-2002, 12:13 AM
There is a significant difference between orcs and goblins. Orcs are more muscular and can reach human height if stand straight. Also, orcs can be described as dumb while their cousins are more creative-engineering various machines and devices.
Goblins are smaller & more agile.

01-21-2002, 05:25 PM
I side with Wardnine on this issue. My impression is that orcs and goblins are interchangeable with 'orcs' being the more formal term and 'goblins' the more colloquial. (Kinda like 'human beings' vs. 'dudes'):)

01-21-2002, 07:35 PM
This description is used in LOTR in pp 96, 180, 218 of vol II, and pp 350. 352, 364 of vol III (Ballantine paperback edition of LOTR). The evil men at Bree were Southrons realted to Dunlendings (which the men of Bree themselves were also related to though these had been Westron-ized)

03-01-2002, 05:19 PM
Ok so I'm not sure if this was mentioned anywhere else (no time to look) but I was thinking that Orcs and Goblins are the same.... tell me if I'm wrong.

If this is true then when did the names change? why don't they just call them goblins?

03-01-2002, 05:33 PM
Yep, one and the same. "Orc" is the Elvish word for Goblins. "Goblins" was used in the Hobbit and "Orcs" (for the most part) in LOTR. I don't have the time to look, but I believe "Goblin" was the term the Men of the North (i.e. Dale, etc..) used for them. Hence the use of Goblin in the Hobbit (because of the Dwarves) and (as far as I can remember) Gimli was the only one in LOTR to call them Goblins. Hope this helps. By the way, if you're really, really interested in this subject, check out the "Uruk vs. Uruk-hai" thread :D

Beleg Strongbow
03-02-2002, 03:56 AM
Originally posted by Tar-Palantir
Yep, one and the same. "Orc" is the Elvish word for Goblins. "Goblins" was used in the Hobbit and "Orcs" (for the most part) in LOTR. I don't have the time to look, but I believe "Goblin" was the term the Men of the North (i.e. Dale, etc..) used for them. Hence the use of Goblin in the Hobbit (because of the Dwarves) and (as far as I can remember) Gimli was the only one in LOTR to call them Goblins. Hope this helps. By the way, if you're really, really interested in this subject, check out the "Uruk vs. Uruk-hai" thread :D

Yes there are a few threads somewhere. Also Goblins are shorter ocrs.

03-02-2002, 08:15 PM
I must agree with you here.
Goblins are orcs who lived in the mountains to long.
They got smaller.

03-07-2002, 11:42 PM
GOBLINS: Smaller cousins of the Orcs. They are craftier and more clever. It is a mistake to assume that goblins are referred to as orcs in 'The Lord of the Rings' as the word 'goblin' is also mentioned. They are definately more sophisticated. Note how in 'The Hobbit' they captured the party in the Misty Mountains and brought them in front of their King. Orcs would have just killed them.
ORCS: A larger cousin of the goblin. More muscular and powerful.
HOBGOBLINS: A mix between a goblin and an orc. Looks like a tall goblin but is not as muscular, or dumb, as an orc.

03-08-2002, 04:51 PM
Ok so you tell us not to call goblins orcs in the lord of the rings but i'm pretty sure that somewhere in the book when they were talking about what happened in the Hobbit that they referred to the goblins in the caves and the ones in the Battle of the 5 armies as orcs. please explain.

03-08-2002, 04:58 PM
Here in LotR, "Goblin" is used in reference to large orcs however:

"There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature, ..." TTT

Grishnákh is referred to as both an orc and a goblin.

04-04-2002, 03:46 PM
I thought it went in size

Hob Goblins

Also are not hobbits a from of Hob goblin?

06-24-2002, 01:36 AM
I see my theory is spreading! :D

06-24-2002, 09:48 PM
This isn't much of a difference but unlike the rest, goblins prefer to live in mountains or caves. Its actually pretty rare you'll find a hobgoblin or a orc in the mountains...(this is my first post)

06-25-2002, 10:32 PM
The word hobgoblin means greater goblin. They are different creatures.....if they were the same thing Tolkien wouldnt have used all the different names for the same creature..

06-26-2002, 02:57 AM
waht i see when i hear orcs is kinda liek the human race...the generalized hame for everyone

goblins are just from driffrent places kinda like africans

and mabye hob goblins are goblins liveing with a diffrent group...like african americans

06-28-2002, 05:30 AM
I always thought they were they same, but had small differences, like nose or stature or something like that.

06-28-2002, 05:55 AM
As said, JRRT explained that "goblin" was used as a translation in The Hobbit, and that therein he used "Hobgoblin" to refer to the larger kinds.

Note Tolkien's explanation of (and use of "orc") Bilbo and Company's "goblin adventure" in The Hobbit:

"The party was assailed by Orcs in a high pass of the Misty Mountains as they went towards Wilderland; and so it happened that Bilbo was lost for a while in the black orc-mines deep under the mountains, ..." JRRT FotR

And from Etymologies (as the entry _stood at the time_ that is ): "Root "ÓROK- *órku goblin: Q. orko ... N. orch, pl. yrch ..."

And again a note on size, JRRT used "goblin" in the LOTR when referring to large nasties among Saruman's band, and Grishnákh is referred to as both and "orc" and a "goblin".

I note Azog "the Goblin" in The Hobbit -- Azog the "great Orc" in LotR.

06-28-2002, 10:27 AM
Tolkien was also very concerned we would get mixed up with ORK which is a sea mammel

06-28-2002, 01:17 PM
Originally posted by Smeagol
... And Tolkien uses the one to be the translation of the other. So where is the point in claiming a difference between the two as specifying separate species?

I didn't claim that.
(for clarity :))

06-28-2002, 01:49 PM
I am referencing JRRTs "explanation" (as given in the foreword to The Hobbit anyway).

"Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds."

And a letter:

" ... but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (goblin is used as a translation in The Hobbit, ..." JRRT

Which is why I wrote: "that "goblin" was used as a translation in The Hobbit".

07-27-2002, 04:58 AM
goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs, they're all the same thing except that hobgoblins are bigger and sort of in charge, they are usually the leaders;)

07-27-2002, 05:52 PM
re Glorfindel1187's: "goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs, they're all the same thing except that hobgoblins are bigger and sort of in charge, they are usually the leaders."

Originally posted by Smeagol: OK, that's what you think. Can you prove it?

Well, JRRT explained that he used hobgoblin for the larger kinds. And goblins/orcs is a case of one word being a translation of the other, also according to JRRT, ie in his mythology. Note Tolkien's use of the terms, for example, first in The Hobbit:

"Out jumped the goblins, big goblins, great ugly looking goblins, lots of goblins, before you could say ..." ~ JRRT

And in LOTR: "The party was assailed by Orcs in a high pass of the Misty Mountains, ..." ~ JRRT

07-28-2002, 04:23 AM
I have my own opinion on Orcs/Goblins if anybody wants to peak in at Uruks vs. Uruk-hai in the LotR forum. I'll spare Cian any anguish by not reprinting those thoughts here.

07-28-2002, 06:09 PM
Also the Orcs (goblins) and other mosnsters bred by the First Enemy are not wholly destroyed. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien #131

I'm not sure on the "Hobgoblin" thing though...

07-29-2002, 03:44 PM
"Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds)." ~ JRRT

That is JRRT explaining that he used hobgoblin for the larger kinds. IMO it doesn't much matter what the word means in any dictionary or as used by another author ~ at least for the purpose of Tolkien's world that is, ie that's what the term refers to in The Hobbit

07-29-2002, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by aragil: I'll spare Cian any anguish by not reprinting those thoughts here.

But did you have any specific thoughts on Goblins/Orcs that I might 'respectfully disagree' :) with in there? (I can't remember). I remember the Uruks/Uruk-hai stuffs, or much of it.

07-29-2002, 05:35 PM
I'm not sure, I suppose it could be either/or, but I think its more likely that it was accounted for the size/rank within the goblin species, I don't feel like looking it up right now and I'm not sure it says it anywhere. Try checking in the appendix at the end of LOTR concerning the creatures of middle-earth, somewhere in there is a subtitle called Orcs/goblins, or something similar to that.

07-29-2002, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by Cian
But did you have any specific thoughts on Goblins/Orcs that I might 'respectfully disagree' :) with in there? (I can't remember). I remember the Uruks/Uruk-hai stuffs, or much of it.

It was one of the lynchpins of my argument that the terms Uruks and Uruk-hai referred to different things. It is a little seperate from the discussion of the Hobbit proper (at least the original edition), so I didn't want to post too much here. But with an invitation, I now feel rather like Merry after Theoden's query regarding tobacco at the gates of Isengard. Whee!

In the original Hobbit, Orcs is only used once, in the present quote- 'goblins, hobgoblins and orcs'. However, in 1947 Tolkien sent a letter to A&U which contained some suggestions which he felt would bring The Hobbit more in-line with LotR, which was nearing completion. Most of the revisions pertained to Gollum and his attitude towards the Ring, but there was one little passage of interest to me, at least (courtesy of http://www.ringgame.net/riddles.html#93):

Original version of the Hobbit, text to be changed in bold
It was a low narrow one roughly made. It was all right for the hobbit, except when he stubbed his toes in the dark on nasty jags in the floor; but it must have been a bit low for goblins. Perhaps it was not knowing that goblins are used to this sort of thing, and go along quite fast stooping low with their hands almost on the floor, that made Bilbo forget the danger of meeting them and hurry forward recklessly.

Revised version of the Hobbit, changed text in bold
The passage was low and roughly made. It was not too difficult for the hobbit, except when, in spite of all care, he stubbed his poor toes again, several times, on nasty jagged stones in the floor. "A bit low for goblins, at least for the big ones," thought Bilbo, not knowing that even the big ones, the orcs of the mountains, go along at a great speed stooping low with their hands almost on the ground.

Here (probably different from 'goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs'), I think it is relatively clear that orcs represent a larger variety of goblins. This is backed up by a the version of The Bridge of Khazad-dûm that was extant at this time (1947):

Original version of the 'The Bridge of Khazad-dûm' (ca 1942-1947)
'there are goblins - of very evil kind, larger than usual, real orcs.'

Final version of the 'The Bridge of Khazad-dûm' (post 1948)
"There are Orcs, very many of them .... And some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor."

Furthermore, the description of 'orcs of the mountains' in the revised version of the Hobbit jives well with descriptions of Shagrat, Grishnakh, and Grishnakh's buddies, all probable Uruks of Mordor:

Printed version of 'The Tower of Cirith Ungol'
Behind him came Shagrat, a large orc with long arms that, as he ran crouching, reached to the ground.

Printed version of 'The Uruk-hai'
In the twilight he saw a large black Orc, probably Ugluk, standing facing Grishnakh, a short crook-legged creature, very broad and with long arms that hung almost to the ground.

Printed version of 'The Uruk-hai'
From that direction there now came hoarse cries, and there was Grishnakh again, and at his back a couple of score of others like him: long-armed crook-legged Orcs.

This was my evidence that originally in LotR (~1942-1947) Tolkien conceived of three broad categories of Orcs: goblins being the lesser kind, Orcs being the 'large soldiers of Mordor', and my beloved Uruk-hai being the 'large soldiers of Isengard', who from their conception seemed to be partly human. Sometime during the composition of the final chapters (~summer of 1948) and the final editing, Tolkien abandoned these terms, and switched to 'Orcs', 'Uruks', and 'Uruk-hai'. What is at issue in UvsU-h is whether the latter two varieties(soldiers of Mordor and Isengard) were melded into a single group that could be referred to as either Uruks or Uruk-hai. Of course you (Cian) know my position on the matter, but I think the other bit is interesting for this thread. In the revised (i.e. 1947) version of the Hobbit, Orcs of the Mountains (and I've always assumed this referred to the Orcs of Mount Gundabad, and not the Goblins of the Misty Mountains) were supposed to represent a larger variety than your run-of-the-mill goblin. However, this was in the revised edition, and may or may not have any bearing on the original version with its list of 'goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs.

Incidentally, there might be some exciting news for UvsU-h, but I won't mention more until I'm more certain.

07-29-2002, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by aragil
... But with an invitation, I now feel rather like Merry after Theoden's query regarding tobacco at the gates of Isengard. Whee!

LoL, Ok I "opened the door" here :D

What is at issue in UvsU-h is whether the latter two varieties(soldiers of Mordor and Isengard) were melded into a single group that could be referred to as either Uruks or Uruk-hai. Of course you (Cian) know my position on the matter, but I think the other bit is interesting for this thread. Incidentally, there might be some exciting news for UvsU-h, but I won't mention more until I'm more certain.

Oh but now you have to! even if in a speculative light for now :D Oh Tar-EEEEEEEE :calls:

08-01-2002, 06:17 AM
I'm back, now that my computer (grrrrrr) is up and running again. :)

08-01-2002, 08:58 PM

And now we wait :)

08-01-2002, 09:23 PM
Tee-hee. Somewhere there is a quote about how the hasty stroke often goes astray, or the (Lords of the West) sticking out their necks too soon after finding the Ring (or so Sauron guessed). Wait you shall!

08-01-2002, 09:31 PM
I can be patient :D

Incidently, since there was some posting on the index to LOTR (IIRC) in the Uruks/Uruk-hai thread, I though I would post this from Wayne Hammond (and it's interesting anyway). I would post it in the U/U-hai thread but I can't seem to locate it easily with search:

An index was appended to _The Lord of the Rings_ beginning with the Ballantine Books edition in 1965. It was compiled by a woman named Nancy Smith, hired by Allen & Unwin to do the job, with Tolkien's approval and participation. (Relevant correspondence recently sold at auction.) But it was done in a rush, because of the urgency of publication to compete with the Ace Books "pirate". Tolkien then did further work on the index: "Closer scrutiny," he wrote to Allen & Unwin in February 1966, "has revealed many more errors, several omissions, and some confused entries [in the Ballantine Books edition index]. I have in the event done much alteration and correction -- making, I think, the index more useful and informative within its limits" (quoted in _J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography_, 1993, p. 137). The revised index first appeared in the 2nd Allen & Unwin hardcover edition of _The Lord of the Rings_, 1966. But it was never as full an index as Tolkien would have liked.

The chronology of these actions will be shown in detail in Volume 1 of the Tolkien _Companion and Guide_ my wife and I are writing for HarperCollins and Houghton Mifflin, for publication in September 2003, and their history will be dealt with more fully in the next edition of my Tolkien _Bibliography_, projected for 2004 from Oak Knoll Press.

Wayne Hammond

08-01-2002, 09:58 PM
(got it bookmarked!)

Sept of 2003, eh? Could be a scary wait, what with the possibility that CT's 'Uruks = anglicization of Uruk-hai' could be a direct quote from his father's expanded index.

Incidentally, as I said in UvsU-h, I think that the big T did originally intend for uruks to be a simple anglicization (thusly making you linguists happy), but I suspect that in the summer of 1948, as he was struggling to finally finish LotR, he decided try and 'sneak in' the term uruks to describe the Mordor soldier orcs.

08-13-2002, 01:35 AM
what about the fact that it says in lotr that suaruman crossed orcs with goblin men, if that is so they can't be the same thing

08-13-2002, 02:17 AM
Half goblin was used to describe Harry the Gatekeeper's squint eyed friend...

But, perhaps you mean
'But these creatures of Isengard, these half-orcs and goblin-men that the foul craft of Saruman has bred, they will not quail at the sun,' said Gamling. 'And neither will the wild men of the hills. Do you not hear their voices?'

Half orc is the same as a goblin-man. Since orcs = goblins, Half orc + half man = half goblin + half man

08-13-2002, 02:20 AM
They are not the same thing, Tolkien used the term Uruks for the soldiers of Mordor and Uruk-hai for the soldiers of Isengard(the man-orcs)

08-13-2002, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by Glorfindel1187
They are not the same thing, Tolkien used the term Uruks for the soldiers of Mordor and Uruk-hai for the soldiers of Isengard(the man-orcs)

And I think there's a thread debating this general issue ... somewhere :)

08-13-2002, 04:36 PM
Woo-hoo, another that has seen the light! Actually, there's a link to that dreaded thread five posts back. And 'debating' might be a little present tense-ish, considering the number of posts there in the past five months. But never fear, good (being a relative term) news is on the way!

08-16-2002, 11:39 PM
I think that goblins are natural, evil beings, because it says that the orcs where elves that were mutated and multiplyed bu sauron for his dark army, and also, i always pictured goblns as Gollum-like creatures, but more built, with Big glowing eyes and not as string as goblins

08-17-2002, 03:04 AM
goblins and orcs are the SAME thing, they are both mutated elves, one might be bigger than the other, but they are just elves of different size.

And another thing, if somebody could help me out on this one, if orcs are mutated elves, then how come they suck at fighting, most elves are very good fighters and warriors, and also, why are they afraid of elves if that is what they once were?:confused:

08-17-2002, 10:49 PM
Well, i think that as te orcs were utated by Sauron that they lost their srength, fairness, imortalness, and o think they fear them because the elves are just the better race, bigger, stronger, fairer and all in all they kick orcs arses, orcs are just barabric, not as skilled or as light fotted as elves, this is what i would think, but somone probally knows better, :D
And thanks for tellig em about orcs and gobblins :D

08-17-2002, 10:51 PM
Another thing, i reckon that goblins are much more inteleigent than orcs,a nd orcs are stronger :D

08-18-2002, 03:16 AM
Originally posted by Glorfindel1187
goblins and orcs are the SAME thing, they are both mutated elves, one might be bigger than the other, but they are just elves of different size.

And another thing, if somebody could help me out on this one, if orcs are mutated elves, then how come they suck at fighting, most elves are very good fighters and warriors, and also, why are they afraid of elves if that is what they once were?:confused: You guys are soooo funny. First, Orcs were made in mockery of Elves. There is a real sense in The Silmarillion that JRRT meant that Orcs were made from Elves. He backtracked in later writings (see HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring, in particular) and said that the beings that ended up being Orcs in the later ages were in fact from Man-stock.

One needs to go the the Uruk vs Uruk-hai thread before one should make a brash comment that Uruks = Sauron Orcs and Uruk-hai = Saruman's Orcs. You will absolutely find no such a statement in any of Tolkien's works. It is because of the way that the Uruk-hai chapter is presented that it is assumed that they are bred by Saruman. It should be noted that in JRRT's earlier development of The Lord of the Rings (See HoMe VII) he referred to these creatures as Uruks.... Man-orcs and Goblin-men.

Really, this entire discussion should be taken back to the Uruk vs. Uruk-hai thread. Here is the link again... http://www.thetolkienforum.com/show...=&threadid=2146

08-19-2002, 03:34 AM
Originally posted by Grond
It should be noted that in JRRT's earlier development of The Lord of the Rings (See HoMe VII) he referred to these creatures as Uruks.... Man-orcs and Goblin-men.

Not sure that I agree with you here, Grond. Then again, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Are you saying JRRT called the later Uruks by the names 'Man-orcs' and 'Goblin-men'?

08-19-2002, 05:16 AM
Originally posted by aragil

Not sure that I agree with you here, Grond. Then again, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Are you saying JRRT called the later Uruks by the names 'Man-orcs' and 'Goblin-men'? LOL!! I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say either. Let me clarify my thoughts. Firstly, in Unfinished Tales, The Battles of the Fords of Isen, no where is the word Uruk-hai used at all. The word Uruks is used nine times. here
This was barely done when disaster came. Saruman's eastern force came down with unexpected speed; it was much smaller than the western force, but more dangerous. In its van were some Dunlending horsemen and a great pack of the dreadful Orcish wolfriders, feared by horses. 5 Behind them came two battalions of the fierce Uruks, heavily armed but trained to move at great speed for many miles.then here twice more
The garrison of the east bank surprised by the sudden assault of the massed Uruks, was swept away, and the Riders that had just crossed from the west were caught still in disarray, and though they fought desperately they were driven from the Fords along the line of the Isen with the Uruks in pursuit.and here
Elfhelm thus heard and saw nothing of the fighting between the retreating garrison and the Uruks south of the Fords. The sun had sunk and light was failing when he drew near the last bend in the road, and there encountered some horses running wild and a few fugitives who told him of the disaster. and again here
Later in the morning most of Théodred's Riders that had been driven south down the river by a battalion of black Uruks came back battle-worn but in good order. They had a like tale to tell. They came to a stand on a low hill and prepared to defend.and again
The Uruks had resisted any attempt to burst eastwards, and were driving them towards the now hostile country of the Dunlendish "west-march."and twice more here
They thought that the Uruks had gone back to reinforce their hold on the Fords, and expected there to meet in battle again, and they wondered much to find the Rohirrim in command. It was not till later that they discovered whither the Uruks had gone.and finally here
At length, however, when both the forts were heavily engaged, a troop of Uruks forced the passage between them and began to cross the Fords. .It seems to me that if JRRT had meant for the Uruk-hai to have been a separate breed, they would have certainly have been involved at the Battle of the Fords of Isen.

As for Man-orcs and Goblin-men, there is this quote from the same source
. As he came to his side Théodred fell, hewn down by a great Orc-man. I need to get out my HoMe VII, The Treason of Isengard and comb it for clues on the issue. I will later this week.

08-20-2002, 07:37 AM
Hmm. Well, as was stated in U vs U-h, we don't know for sure what Tolkien intended in The Fords of Isen. CT was the one who published the book, after all, and as we've seen he had several letters plus his linguistic knowledge to say that Uruks and Uruk-hai were the same thing. However, (and this is a big butt) the letters might have been wrong due to a time lag between their writing and the writing of the Lord of the Rings. CT's linguistic knowledge might also have been a detriment in this matter- I think it is entirely possible (actually, I regard it as near fact) that JRRT could use two words with the same singular term to refer to different groups.

As for the HoME series, here are a few passages which I find enlightening:
(pertaining to FotR The Bridge of Khazad-dum
"There are Orcs, very many of them .... And some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor.")
HoME VI p.437
Gandalf says there are goblins- of very evil kind, larger than usual, real orcs.
HoME VII p.193
"There are goblins: very many of them,' he said. 'Evil they look and large: black Orcs."
Notice what changed here- goblins became Orcs, real/black orcs became Uruks. However, from everything presented in the HoME series, these changes were made after 1948, and probably even later- perhaps ~1950.

In HoME VII p.205 note 5 CT informs us that the above passages originally had 'veritable Orcs' in place of 'black Orcs'. The reason for this can be seen in HoME VI p.437 note 35, p.443, and page 462 note 2.

HoME VI, p.437, note 35:
This is not the first use of the word Orcs in the LR papers: Gandalf refers to 'orcs and goblins' among the servants of the Dark Lord, pp.211, 364; cf. also pp. 187, 320. But the rarity of the usage at this stage is remarkable. The word Orc goes back to the Lost Tales, and had been pervasive in all my father's subsequent writings. In the Lost Tales the two terms were used as equivalents, though some times apparently distinquished (see II.364, entry Goblins). A clue may be found in a passage that occurs in both the earlier and the later Quenta (IV .82, V.233): 'Goblins they may be called, but in ancient days they were strong and fell.' At this stage it seems that 'Orcs' are to be regarded as a more formidable kind of 'Goblin'; so in the preliminary sketch for 'The Mines of Moria' (p. 443) Gandalf says 'there are goblins - of very evil kind, larger than usual, real orcs.'- It is Incidentally notable that in the first edition of The Hobbit the word Orcs is used only once (at the end of Chapter VII 'Queer Lodgings'), while in the published LR goblins is hardly ever used.
This quote is important in showing that JRRT was changing his mind about orcs and goblins while writing tLotR. I thought I'd throw it in here because it's the only quote in this post that pertains to the subject matter of this thread.

HoME IX, p. 34, note 4:
A few such details from the earliest form of the conclusion of the chapter may be mentioned. The orc 'slave-drivers' are called 'two of the large fierce uruks, the fighting-orcs', and this seems to be the first time that the word was used (though the name Uruk-hai had appeared long since, VII.409, VIII.22 see also p. 436); This is the first (historically, not in the finished narrative) description of Mordor Orcs as anything other than Orcs. It is a statement made ~6 years after calling the Orcs of Saruman 'Uruk-hai'. The Mordor Uruks = Isengard Uruk-hai theory has a hard time explaining this delay. However it is rather to simple to resolve if you assume (and it is still an assumption- there is no proof either way I think) that the two words refer to different creatures.

To throw a bone to the Uruks=Uruk-hai crowd:
HoME VII, p.347 note 18 (this is in the chapter 'The Story Forseen from Lorien'):

Black orcs of Misty Mountains capture Merry and Pippin, bear them to Isengard.
This is the very first conception of the later Uruk-hai. Notice, they are described exactly the same as the Orcs in the HoME VII p.193 quote above- black orcs! This is significant because the HoME VII p.193 Orcs are later described as Black Uruks of Mordor. Also there are the bits in HoME XII (Grond you'll have to do the honors, I don't have my books). While CT can't give dates for the appendices, he does show that the first drafts of the appendices had the later Uruks as simply 'black orcs bred by the lords of Morgul'. Of course, I have my own theories about the implications here, but certainly it's an interesting that the later Uruks of Mordor, Uruk-hai of Isengard similarly in these three passages.