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Are orcs also immortal???

imladris

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:confused: :confused: :confused:
I'm a bit confused.
Are orcs and goblins also immortal??
They were elfish.
I didn't thought of it before, but now I asked it myself and I just don't know.
:confused: :confused: :confused:
 

Greenwood

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Tolkien never seems to have totally settled in his own mind the origin of orcs. He seems to originally have thought of them as distorted elves, but perhaps because that would imply immortality he later rethought their origins and late in his life seemed to be leaning towards orcs being distorted humans, but it does not appear that he ever really settled on a final opinion. He certainly did not publish one during his lifetime.
 

imladris

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Oh, so it was never mentioned.
But i still think they are immortal.
Thanx anyway.
:D :D :D :D :D
 

Greenwood

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Originally posted by UngattTrunn475
I don't think it makes sense that orcs are mutilated elves. Elves are immortal, and orcs aren't.
But how do you know orcs are not immortal? Can you cite any orc in Tolkien's work who died of old age? All that I can think of met their ends violently.
 
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ReadWryt

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One may not think that it makes sense that Orcs are "Tormented Elves", but then that's just the way it is no matter how much/little sense it seems to make.
 

Tar-Elenion

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As Greenwood has noted JRRT never seems to have come to a firm conclusion on the origin of Orcs, having switched around between Elves, Men, Maiar, beasts and even some sort of 'puppets' (IIRC), or perhaps even a mixture. An interesting tidbit: Bolg, son of Azog, was slain at the Battle of Five Armies, in TA 2941. Azog was slain at the Battle of Nanduhirion in 2799. This puts Bolg at at least @142 years old (if he was born the same year that Azog was slain).
 

Gary Gamgee

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I would think that they are immortal, they began as Elves there is no mention that Eru took away anything from after they were ruined by Morgoth. They also breed like Elves and can of course be killed, but where do they go when they die? Is there a special hall Mandos has laid aside for them? Will they be forgiven and return to thier original form? at least the orignal ones? I don't remember any mention of a hell, is there one?

Interesting thread.

GGG
 
G

GimlisonofGloin

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Orcs are Sauron's version of elves, and Trolls are his version of Ents. And I do not beleive that orcs are immortal because immortal means that you cannot die or be killed.
 

Beorn

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Immortal means you cannot die of old age or of disease, not necessarily dying in battle.
 

Mayberry

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Great Question!

Paging Grond... Paging Harad... Read-Wryt, come in, please...

Ok, where are these guys? Even their disagreements should be insightful...at least as far as this question is concerned. ;)
 
H

Harad

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Sorry but I dont think there is an answer. The Orcs are mostly said to arise from the corruption of captured Elves--see quotes below from both Letter and the Sil. However, whether this "fact" remained true for LOTR and whether the "corruption" affected the originals' immortality is not mentioned. The way orcs were slain by the gazillions and presumably multiplied by the gazillions makes immortality rather irrelevant for them.

The Orcs are definitely stated to be 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
Elves may turn into Orcs, and if this required the special perversive malice of Morgoth,
I don't think it gave life to the Orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them.' In the legends of the Elder Days it is suggested that the Diabolus subjugated and corrupted some of the earliest Elves, before they had ever heard of the 'gods', let alone of God.
, I have represented at least the Orcs as pre-existing real beings on whom the Dark Lord has exerted the fullness of his power in remodelling and corrupting them, not making them.
Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar; and naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life, could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulindalë before the Beginning: so say the wise.
 

Bill the Pony

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Check out this thread, where HoME, Morgoth's Ring is used as reference on this issue. Grond seems to start out by saying orcs were bred from men, so they are not immortal and don't go to the Halls of Mandos. This theory, however, seems to give conflicts with what's in the Silmarillion. I don't think there's a final verdict yet...


Harad, I'm a very lazy pony, would it be possible if you quote to say which quote comes from where? That makes it easier to put them in context....
 
H

Harad

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no


wait..its still your week...

So they are all from Letters, except the last from the Silmarillion.
 

Camille

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Orcs are Sauron's version of elves, and Trolls are his version of Ents. And I do not beleive that orcs are immortal because immortal means that you cannot die or be killed.
sorry Gimli son of Gloin but the orcs are not Sauron's elf version but Melkor's elf version, if we take the orcs theory from the silmarilion... but this is a very good thread!!! orcs inmortal!! mmm if they were elves then maybe they can be inmortal but if we take the thoery that were breed from man thn they are not, but we can have a conflict because orcs were in ME before the Men, so can they be men? well I think we are discussion something that Proffesor Tolkien didnt finished....
 

Lantarion

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I don't think Tolkien actually states anywhere that Elves are 'immortal': they just can't be killed by old age. Orcs are used for nothing but fighting and harsh slavery, so it's incredibly unlikely they will live over the age of recruitment.
And I think it was the grand scheme of Ilúvatar that Elves were the only race who were allowed to be 'semi-immortal'. Elves could basically live forever, Men died and went to some kind of 'Heaven', and Dwarves... Well, just try to figure them out. :)
Anyway, Melkor couldn't make anything, as has been stated before: he CORRUPTED some ELves to make Orcs. He bred all the good features out of them and brought out the bad parts (and discovered a few on the way). And nothing in the universe can go against the word of Ilúvatar, so the only possible answer to this question is that Orcs were not immortal, because Elves already were.
 

Kelkorian

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I would like to strengthen Pontifexs' point about Elves 'immortality'.

According to the standards of Men, Elves are immortal. But, they do infact age. Tolkien states in 'Letters' this:
"The Elves were sufficiently longeval to be called by Man 'immortal'. But they were not unageing or unwearying"

Just wanted to point that out.
 
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Bill the Pony

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Just wondering: Elves could, when they grew weary of middle earth, lay down and go to the halls of Mandos, right?
So, if orcs were indeed tortured elves, how come they did not go to Mandos early in the torturing process? Surely Mandos would have received them? Or is this option only for the elves that saw the light of the trees?
 

aragil

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Getting metaphysical

In the metaphysics of Tolkien's world, all rational incarnates had a soul (fea?) and body (hrato?). The fea of the Elves were bound to Arda. Because of this, the fea would be in big trouble if it lost it's body, so it behooved the elves fea to hold on to their hrato, so to speak. Tolkien wrote that early on the elven fea were not all that capable of holding on to the hrato, so some did 'die of old age', which left their fea roaming around the Earth without a body.
Every time that an Elven fea loses it's hrato it is summoned to Mandos. The fea can refuse the summons, and is then left to wander as a spirit. If the fea goes to the halls of Mandos then it is judged, and spends some time there (probably like Catholic Purgatory) until it is allowed to be 're-born' and given a new hrato.

So what about Orcs? Well, I haven't read the HoME thread, but I have read the relevant sections of Morgoth's Ring. Tolkien went back and forth on whether Orcs were bred from men (rational incarnate), elves (rational incarnate), or beasts (non-rationale incarnate). If the latter is true, then they posess no fea and have no possibility of continuing beyond death. If the orcs came from Men, then their fea would be free after death, and would wander around with Luthien, Beren, and whoever else they cared to until the second music. If the orcs came from elves, then their fea would be summoned to Mandos, but they'd probably refuse the summons and wander around as spirits.
I prefer to think of the orcs as corruptions of elves. They certainly seem to be rationale, so they could not come from beasts. In Morgoth's ring we learn that Tolkien's last thoughts on the matter (~1960) were that the orcs came from men. However, this required some pretty convuluted (IMO) warping of the time frame, and the only reason I see for this is that Tolkien felt it was distasteful for orcs to be in any way related to elves. However, if we remember that Morgoth was able to warp the perceptions of someone as inherently noble as Hurin in a relatively short amount time, it was in my opinion possible for him to corrupt the elves into something totally unrecognizable over the course of 100's of years. One last thing to note is that ~1970 Tolkien ammended his 1960 essay in a way which conflicted with all of the tortured timeline to get orcs from men. This leaves the possibility that towards the end of his life Tolkien was leaning back to the Orcs from Elves theory.
A further reason that I like this theory is that it allows for interesting fea-hrato relationships in the orcs. Your average primitive orc would have a weak fea much like the original elves did, and these early elves had hrato which died of old age. However, an Orc with an especially strong will (fea) would be able to keep their hrato around longer. Hence my favorite example Bolg, which Tar-Elenion pointed out earlier.

A final note on the Silmarillion: CT had to publish it by selecting what he felt to be his father's most consistent bits of narrative. For every passage he had several alternatives to choose from. It appears that he picked the Orcs from Elves passage because he felt it was the most consistent with the rest of the work. It certainly was not the only possibility available (although it's my favorite).
 

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