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Orc hygiene & mental health?

Obbit Trifill

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Other than what was revealed in LOTR, do you ever find yourself wondering about Orcs, or having questions about them that the book did not answer?

J.R.R. Tolkien was very thorough in fleshing out most of the "characters" of Middle Earth. Especially complete were his descriptions of hobbits and their habits. In these areas, he more than adequately covered most bases and did not leave much to the reader's imagination or curiosity.

However, when it comes to Orcs...

Very bad teeth. Dirty faces. Lots of grunting. Horrible table manners. Unhealthly-looking eyes. Poor posture. Undoubtedly smelly. Stressful. Quick to anger. Always violent. And though muscular and fast, dozens seem to become easily butchered before they are able to defeat even one swordsman, which raises questions about their combative skills as well as their IQs.

How did Orcs survive childhood, let alone puberty with such obviously poor hygiene? Did they ever brush their teeth? And with the kind of teeth and wretched gums they had, would not decay and infections eventually spread and rot their brains? So how did they grow up to become adult Orcs?

And what kind of teenage or young-adult Orcs are we talking about here, thanks to an upbringing seemingly berift of emotional love and nurture?

Aside from meat, did Orcs enjoy up to five servings a day from the fruit and vegetable food groups?

And what motivates militant Orcs to so obediently attack and die--in such great numbers--especially when it is obvious so many of them will, indeed, die? And if only wounded? (Did Orc armies have medics or Orc hospitals for Orc verterans injured in battle?)

Just wondering what kind of questions others might have when it comes to Orcs?
 

Melian

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Indeed,Obbit Trifill,you have a point.This question touched my heart...Just imagine the death rate among sweet little orcs.(oh,I need to calm down before I go on).
Now,seriously speaking,did it never occurred to you that orcs were actually turned out in the black factories of Sauron and Saruman,and that they in fact were a masterpiece of genetic sciences?
First of all,there were no female orcs(that's enough to prove they did not reproduce like humans,for example).
I think it's logical that they were devoid of other hmm,essential systems of their organisms.In fact,I'm sure that they were directly turned out as matured orcs.Hence,as they were programmed as military units,I bet they were designed to live as robots with some emotions.
 

Telchar

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No female orcs? Hmm.. I do think there are female orcs, I haven't found anything that says the opposite, so i think the orcs breed as humans do.. And I do think they had some sort of medics when they went to war, but I don't know to what extend they tended the wounded.. As for why the Orcs served Morgoth and Sauron, the answer is; out of fear.. Remember that the orcs are evil, they are made in mockery of either men or elves, or both perhaps, and they know nothing but evil.. Morgoth used much of his will and power when creating the Orc, so their road is locked on an evil path..
 

Melian

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So you think there are females...Interesting,it may be so.Then they must be like the Dwarvish females who are always hidden .
But I think over it again.The first orcs were tortured Elves,right?I guess they were captured Elven soldiers.It's not very likely that Elven maids fought in the wars,hence they could not be captured.So how could female orcs be produced?I still think that my factory-theory seems more probable.
 

Telchar

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By what reason do you think it was soldiers that where first captured?
For by afterknowledge the wise declared that Melkor, ever watchful, was first aware of the awakening of the Quendi, and sent shadows and evil spirits to spy upon them and waylay them. So it came to pass, some years ere the coming of Oromë, that if any of the Elves strayed far abroad, alone or few together, they would often vanish, and never return; and the Quendi said that the Hunter had caught them, and they where afraid. -Silmarillion p. 46 -
So it is most likely that some of these had to be female Elves..

But of those unhappy once who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty. For who of the living has descended into the pits of Utumno, or has explored the darkness of the counsels of Melkor? 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 crueltywere corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breedther hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Iluvatar; and naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life, could ever Melkor make since his rebellion in the Ainulinfalë before the beginning; so say the wise. And deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the Maker only of their misery.. -Silmarillion p. 47-
 
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Wizdon

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Orcs originated as tortured and mutilated elves. There are no female orcs and I believe they breed in mud pits.

This information comes from 'A Guide to Tolkien'.
 

DGoeij

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Orcs tended their wounded at least to some degree. Remember that Merry was given some Orc-draugth, both to drink and smeered on his wound after he and Pippin were taken capture?
Orcs came in many different shapes and sizes. The smaller ones usually bullied in the front-lines by the bigger ones I guess. Orcs are rather primitive fighters, like in the middle ages here on earth, so I beleive someone with some skill with a sword could handle quite a number of them. And all members of the Fellowship (aside from the Hobbits) were seasoned veterans in figthing orcs.

Besides, because they were mutilated Elves (both male and female, if you take the Silmarillon into account) they hated anything else that lived. Killing was all they could think of. And sheer numbers compensated for the short live expectancy I guess.
 

Telchar

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Originally posted by Wizdon
Orcs originated as tortured and mutilated elves. There are no female orcs and I believe they breed in mud pits.
This information comes from 'A Guide to Tolkien'.
How can you say that for sure? Since there are no statment saying whitch gender there are among the Orcs are we to say that they where just males, or on the other hand just female? And it states in the silmarillion, as quoted above, that they breed like the children of Iluvatar.. ..and i don't think there are many among the humans that breed in the mud pits..
 
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ReadWryt

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Um, what part of "For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Iluvatar" made you think that Elves (Known through out the Silmarillion as The Children of Illuvitar) bred by sprouting out of Mud Pits?
 

Elanor2

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Another point concerning their health. If Orcs are corrupted Elves that Morgoth kidnapped, they might retain some of their elvish resistance to sickness, so they would need little "maintenance". Just some droughts to give strength and heal cuts, as they gave Pippin and Merry.

Another can of worms. Do Orcs die of old age or live like the Elves until they are killed? That would explain why they multiply so fast in times of darkness (fact mentioned several times in many books).

To add more confusion. The Uruk-kai of Saruman are a new brand of orcs, created (perhaps) following Morgoth's ancient recipe by Saruman (always the copycat). So what the movie shows might be the "old" way to create orcs, before they were released to multiply on their own.

The "old" orcs follow Sauron, the heir of Morgoth, their original creator. Saruman cannot hope to control the "old" orcs completely because of that, so he is trying to create his own. The Uruk-kai would follow Saruman, their "daddy", nor Sauron (or so Saruman probably believes).

Also, perhaps Saruman used Humans and nor Elves, since Elves there are now few and Humans are more handy (and more easy to control, apparently). Gandalf and Aragorn hint at that when talking of Saruman's work. That would explain the differences (besides Saruman's own improvements).


I hope I was clear here. Regards. Elanor2.
 

Telchar

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I don't think Orcs are imortal and it is said, that they in stature and body recemble Men more than Elves.. I can't give you a quote on that right now since I don't have all my books here. Know I've read something about Orcs and imortality somewhere.. hmm..

The "creation" of Orcs in the movie, the old way of making orcs? It still dosn't fitt in with the part that "Melkor could not create living beeings" so he had to breed them, generation by generation.. And The Children of Illuvatar don't lay eggs and wait for them to hatch(sp?)..
 
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Elanor2

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Telchar,

"create" is perhaps the wrong word in a sense. They do not really create (as in making something out of nothing as Iluvatar does) but create in the sense of transforming something into something new.

In the movie, they use a pit of mud, but in the book, that does not appear and we really do not know how is it done. Breeding can also be the way

If Morgoth/Saruman take and elf/human and bury it in an enchanted "pit of mud" (or whatever other method), over the time, with torture, etc, the original can be "transformed" into another creature.

Besides, if Saruman uses humans, it is possible that perhaps the process can be done faster than what Morgoth did with the elves. In the book they mention the strange looks of some of the human visitors from the south, that looked almost like orcs. Perhaps intermediate breeding stock?

It is all speculation anyway.

Regards. Elanor2.
 
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Telchar

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Originally posted by Elanor2
Telchar,

If Morgoth/Saruman take and elf/human and bury it in an enchanted "pit of mud" (or whatever other method), over the time, with torture, etc, the original can be "transformed" into another creature.
In my opinion, i don't think the defenition of breeding can support that view..

I'll have to get back to this when I have my books infront of the computer..
 

Lantarion

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I think Orcs did multiply 'normally', but I try to think of it like animals mating, because it's too sick otherwise.. :p
And I've never heard of or even pictured an Orc- baby. I had always pictured that they were born, and then transformed straight into the hulks they are by some weird machines or magic.. But I haven't really thought about it, it's not a pleasant subject to think about..
 

Elanor2

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Telchar

Quote from your own post:
>>>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,...<<< Sil, p47

You are focusing on the word "breed" and not in the previous bit "by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved". This might imply that there was some previous process of "corruption" necessary. That does not invalidate the breeding, but might imply a combined process.

Since it is not mentioned specifically how did Morgoth or Saruman create the old orcs or the Uruk-kai, it is not unreasonable to think that they used similar methods, whatever they were.

As I said, the pit of mud is the movie interpretation of the "making" of the Uruk-kai by Saruman. It is not mentioned in the book. In fact, breeding, as at least part of the process, seems to be a strong possibility in view of what they imply about the looks of Saruman's human spies in Bree.

Regards. Elanor2
 
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Telchar

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About Orcs and Imortality;
They could be slain, and they where subject to diseases; but apart from these ills they died and were not imortal, even according to the manner of the Quendi; indeed they appear to have been by nature rather short-lived compared with the span of Men of higher race, such as the Edain.

HoME X; Morgoths Ring p. 418
And for the breeding done by Saruman;
It became clear in time that undoubted Men could under the domination of Morgoth or his agents in a few generations be reduced almost to the Orc-level of mind and habits; and then they would or could be made to mate with Orcs, producing new breeds, often larger and more cunning. There is no doubt that long afterwards, in the Third Age, Saruman rediscovered this, or learned in lore, and in his lust for mastery commited this, his wickedest deed: the interbreeding of Orcs and Men, producing both Men-orcs large and cunning, and Orc-men treacherous and vile.
Home X; Morgoths Ring p. 418-19
That atleast clears out the mud pits in the movie..
 
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Telchar

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Originally posted by Elanor2
You are focusing on the word "breed" and not in the previous bit "by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved". This might imply that there was some previous process of "corruption" necessary. That does not invalidate the breeding, but might imply a combined process.
By corroption, in my opinion, i think more of the mind and fea(spirit) in this case..
It is true of course, that Morgoth held the Orcs in dire thraldom; for in their corruption they had lost almost all possibility of resisting the domination of his will. So great was indeed did its pressure upon them become ere Angband fell that, if he turned his thoughts towards them, they were conscious of his "eye" wherever they may be; and when Morgoth was at last removed form Arda the Orcs that survived in the West were scattered, leaderless and almost witless, and were for a long time without control or purpose.
HoME X: Morgoths Ring p. 419
 

Elanor2

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Aha! So inter-breeding explains the looks of both Uruk-kai and Saruman's spies. It also implies that the orcs were able of reproducing like humans, unless Saruman was playing with a glass tube like in Jurassic park.

Still, I am curious to know how the original orcs came to be. Inter-breeding does not explain it, since there was only one race then, the kidnapped elves. I have the feeling that the "corruption" mentioned is not only mental (that as well, of course), but somehow physical as well. Otherwise, orcs would look like elves physically, and it is not so.

Of course, Gollum does not look like a hobbit either, and he was not tortured (or thrown into a mud pit (c;), so, can we say that the external appearance is a reflection of the inner one?

Or is there, somehow, physical "corruption" inflicted externally?

Regards. Elanor2
 

Evenstar

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Hmm.. I don't think we can say that external appearance reflects the inside. Remember- Sauraman didn't look evil or corrupted, yet he betrayed The Council in the end. Also, in the matter of how the orcs were tortured I believe the torture was both mental and physical. Over time the elves appearanced changed along with their thoughts. -Evolution and adaptation- due to their living conditions in Mordor.
 

Telchar

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Saruman did change in a way he was Saruman the White, but became Saruman of Many Colours.... And remember that he was among the Istari, he was a Maia, so he could take the shape he wanted.. Even Sauron could, in earlier days disguise himself with fair looks, like he did in Eregion when he decived the Elves and called himself Anatar (sp?)..

Most likely the captured Quendi was tortured both mentaly and physicaly and I also think that their "outer looks" changes as their inner evil grew.. But there might also be that they where breed with other beasts, or, lesser spirits that had taken bodily form.

By lesser spirits I mean not spirits of the power of those who later became known as Balrogs. I mean spirits of less power, i found no deffenition of how powerful, and where they came from, just that they where corupted by Morgoth, so I asume they came with the Valar and Maiar to Arda. These spirits took the shapes of beasts, and Orcs and in that way many Men and Elves belived that some Orcs were imortal.

Evolution and adaptation- due to their living conditions in Mordor.
The Orcs excisted long before Sauron was Dark Lord, he was a Servant of Morgoth when the Orcs first appeared in Beleriand. Mordor didn't become "the dark land" until the Second Age, and by then most people of Middle Earth had encountered(sp?) the Orcs..

Still, I am curious to know how the original orcs came to be. Inter-breeding does not explain it, since there was only one race then, the kidnapped elves. I have the feeling that the "corruption" mentioned is not only mental (that as well, of course), but somehow physical as well. Otherwise, orcs would look like elves physically, and it is not so.
I agree with you partially. But don't you think also that the condition the captured Quendi lived in could also have helped this condition? As Evenstar said "evolution and adaptation"..
 
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