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Fighting orcs and uruk hai

Morwen Greenleaf

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Why do orcs, uruk hai and goblins seem so easy to defeat? For example, there are moments in the movies that the orcs and the uruk hai already fall/die after one small hit. They are bred to be strong fighters, right?
 

Galin

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Hullo. I can't really recall the films, but for example there's a black uruk in the books...

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... a huge orc-chieftain, who with a thrust of his shield turned Boromir's sword and bore him backwards, throwing him to the ground, then dove under Aragorn's blow with the speed of a striking snake, and thrust his spear into Frodo.

Aragon slew him then... but still.

Or, in the last years of Denethor I, the race of uruks first appeared out of Mordor and swept across Ithilien, taking Osgiliath. Although again, Boromir (a different Boromir than the one in the Fellowship) later defeated them. And granted, I'm not sure we know the numbers of either side in these battles, in any case.

Anyway, after all... the heroes have to win eventually :)


In the books orcs/goblins/uruks/ are just different words for the same exact thing, except that uruk came to refer to "the great soldier-orcs that at this time issued from Mordor and Isengard." (an uruk is still a goblin, it's just a better trained, greater goblin). Lesser kinds were called snaga "slave"

In general orcs were not that tall, which could prove problematic in battle, but they could use numbers to prevail sometimes. Uruks were better trained and greater, but even the great ones (in my opinion) appear to be less that man-high. You might also get bigger, stronger orcs, generally speaking, due to breeding or whatever. It was said that a few of the larger, bolder "Northerners" ran with the Uruk-hai when they had Merry and Pippin, for instance.

Half-orcs (the result of Orcs bred with Men) were seemingly (at least generally speaking) man-high. Theodred son of Theoden was hewn down by a great Orc-man.

I would guess that there were plenty of snaga-types who probably could be somewhat "easily" dispatched by great heroes. Along with better trained orcs of course (or some elite troops), like the Uruk encountered in Moria, or Bolg's bodyguard. When considering orc-origins, Tolkien also considered adding some Orc-formed Maiar into the mix, although I won't go into details about that for now.

I keep in mind too, in the tales orcs aren't just fighting (for instance): men from Bree, some of whom could maybe afford swords -- but heroes like Imrahil, Eomer, Boromir, Aragorn, well-trained riders, and so on. Although at Minas Tirith the orcs arguably killed a number of stalwart heroes from both Rohan and Gondor, with names we don't know but who were trained in the art of war.

I'm guessing. Anyway, drat their evil orc-hides!
 
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