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Thread: Orc Population?

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    I'm thinking the operative word would be 'pits', there
    Unless you're proposing pits with some form of underground construction I reckon you're having a movie moment there.
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  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Beleg-Of-Doriath View Post
    Unless you're proposing pits with some form of underground construction I reckon you're having a movie moment there.
    Nah I think by pit's he means Jersey Shore. I mean being unfortunate enough to see the "Reality TV" show once was enough for me to recognise Mordors Finest in action.
    Last edited by Azrayel121; Aug 23 2012 at 09:20 AM.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beleg-Of-Doriath View Post
    Unless you're proposing pits with some form of underground construction I reckon you're having a movie moment there.
    Of course underground. Tolkien's always going on about pits

  4. #29
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    I think alot of the time it's used to exaggerate. Either that or he is refering to pits as in the ones we see in Isengard in the film (though maybe not as extensive). When I think of 'pit' I just think of a bare ditch in the ground. Not alot of orc farming could take place in that set up. However beastly they are they have to have a basic level of civilisation.
    [b][color=lightblue]"[i]'Ai! ai!'[/i] wailed Legolas. [i]'A Rune-Keeper! A Rune-Keeper is come!'[/i]

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  5. #30

    Too Far

    Is it possible that at some point Tolkien thought about orcs mating, then decided that no sane person would invest an entire forum thread into trying to determine the logistics of such an unholy act?


    That being said, if anyone has pics or even sketches that shed light on this biological mystery, I'd like to snag a few copies. Purely for scientific research.
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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irishpubber View Post
    That being said, if anyone has pics or even sketches that shed light on this biological mystery, I'd like to snag a few copies. Purely for scientific research.
    Always remember Rule 34, and be careful what you wish for even in jest

  7. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Irishpubber View Post
    Is it possible that at some point Tolkien thought about orcs mating, then decided that no sane person would invest an entire forum thread into trying to determine the logistics of such an unholy act?



    That being said, if anyone has pics or even sketches that shed light on this biological mystery, I'd like to snag a few copies. Purely for scientific research.
    You said sane person tee hee hee hee!!

    I think a reasonable explanation as to why Mordor wasn't bursting at the seems with Orcs was given, more or less, when Sam rescued Frodo from the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Orcs in large numbers when not killing other beings, rats, mice, stray dogs, etc tend to kill each other.

    As for breeding? I would imagine they are either like Dwarves where you can't tell them apart or perhaps the females are more like slaves, kept in chains because of their "weakness" and used strictly for breeding purposes which i imagine would be a pretty as the rest of their lifestyle.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firemane0 View Post
    You said sane person tee hee hee hee!!

    I think a reasonable explanation as to why Mordor wasn't bursting at the seems with Orcs was given, more or less, when Sam rescued Frodo from the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Orcs in large numbers when not killing other beings, rats, mice, stray dogs, etc tend to kill each other.

    As for breeding? I would imagine they are either like Dwarves where you can't tell them apart or perhaps the females are more like slaves, kept in chains because of their "weakness" and used strictly for breeding purposes which i imagine would be a pretty as the rest of their lifestyle.
    The problem with orcs is that they can interbred with other species (man and elves maybe), female orcs are something not too far off but were on those pits, did they encounter one? or maybe like someone said they have both sexes at once, the thing is that there are different "tribes of orcs" so its more than likely female orcs exist somewhere in some pit.

    The do breed too fast at least faster than the children of Iluvatar, they use numbers against the free peoples.

  9. #34
    The free peoples do not breed they mate. Orcs breed. I would assume the females are kept as a possession by the most dominant males away from the others. By doing so only the most hardy offspring would be produced. I also assume that orc breeding would be a violent affair with orcs being orcs and all, and orcish infants being a tasty treat as well.

    As far as population is concerned, if the orcs are indeed decendants of Elves (which is the best theory since Melkor could not create only pervert, and Elves battled orcs before men entered Middle Earth), then I could assume gestation would be similar to Elves unless Melkor and Sauron somehow changed this aspect. Also remember that Orcs tended to be tribal and fight other orc tribes unless driven by a will. Without Saurons will driving and directing orcs, breeding probably isn't high on the orcish lists of things to do. When Sauron returned to Mordor after being driven from Dol Gildur in the TA, it is fair to assume he bent his will on orcs multiplying until he had enough for an army.

    If orcs have Elvish blood it is safe to assume orcs live hundreds of years. They would not be immortal like Elves due to inbreeding and mixing of blood (men). I would feel that it would be rare though for an orc to live past fifty due to their warlike nature.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dollinda View Post
    I would feel that it would be rare though for an orc to live past fifty due to their warlike nature.
    It seems Tolkien had no idea how long Orcs lived for either.

    Azog's son Bolg lived for around 150 years, giving them at least a "manish" life span. Nothing saying that Bolg wouldn't have lived longer had Beorn not ripped his head off.

    I'm sure somewhere I've read though that he said they had a short life span in comparison to Men, so that doesn't seem to add up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    It seems Tolkien had no idea how long Orcs lived for either.

    Azog's son Bolg lived for around 150 years, giving them at least a "manish" life span. Nothing saying that Bolg wouldn't have lived longer had Beorn not ripped his head off.

    I'm sure somewhere I've read though that he said they had a short life span in comparison to Men, so that doesn't seem to add up.
    It seems to have been another of those things that he changed his mind about in later years. He eventually binned the idea of Orcs having been created from Elves, at least for his own benefit, and adopted the idea that they'd been bred solely from Men, with the added thought that they'd then have shortened lifespans (through having been debased, and through being subject to disease, and so on).

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neiloz View Post
    Frodo said this to Sam as they were escaping the Tower of Cirith Ungol, whilst they wondered what orcs drank and ate. It confused me the first time i read it a while back.. But; if read in context. I believe it means "the shadow" that created them, could not sustain them, giving them "life" but at the same time, not a real "life" at all.. just; to go fend for themselves.

    The reason for my confusion over this particular section is that i'm not entirely sure what the "shadow" is in refrence to, it seems to me that Tolkien was being purposely vague here because lets face it, the details would probally be horrific and quite long winded..
    It's a vague reference to things which appear in more detail in The Silmarillion. 'The shadow' would be evil collectively, but in this case Melkor (a.k.a. Morgoth) in particular (the original Dark Lord, Sauron's former boss). To cut a long short, Melkor was extremely powerful but there was one thing he couldn't do, which was making real living things from scratch (he could only have made things which were sort of alive but which couldn't act independently of his will, and so couldn't do even the simplest things by themselves). If he wanted anything which could act of its own will and survive by itself, he had to take existing forms of life and twist them to suit his own purposes. As Tolkien imagined it at the time, the ancestors of the Orcs had been luckless Elves who'd been captured and had horrendous things done to them by Melkor and Sauron. That's all left to our imagination, of course. If you've seen the movie of FOTR, this is what Saruman is on about when he explains to Lurtz:

    'Do you know how the Orcs first came into being? They were Elves once, taken by the dark powers, tortured and mutilated. A ruined and terrible form of life.'

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    It seems to have been another of those things that he changed his mind about in later years. He eventually binned the idea of Orcs having been created from Elves, at least for his own benefit, and adopted the idea that they'd been bred solely from Men, with the added thought that they'd then have shortened lifespans (through having been debased, and through being subject to disease, and so on).
    But that would have required a massive reworking of the history, since Orcs existed before Men.

    As to their lifespan, I always thought they were very long lived, if not immortal. Various moments in the Hobbit and the LotR have Orcs hint at seeing things that happened ages ago. For example, the Goblins in Goblin Town recognised Glamdring and Orcrist and an Orc in Mordor mentioned a battle with Gondor years ago (I think it might have been Gorbag or Shagrat, I don't have the books to hand).

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorothir View Post
    But that would have required a massive reworking of the history, since Orcs existed before Men.
    More that the Orcs were around before Men were supposed to have awoken but yes, he realized that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorothir View Post
    But that would have required a massive reworking of the history, since Orcs existed before Men.
    He was no stranger to reworking his chronology to fit stuff in to be fair, he just never got around to the Orc/Men thing.

    He seemed to have toyed with all sorts of weird ideas about what they could be (as soon as he decided that he didn't like his corrupted Elves idea). Corrupted Men was one of his less "story breaking" ideas, I seem to remember something in one of his letters suggesting that he was thinking of some sort of lesser fallen Maiar explanation, briefly, at least for Orc "leaders".

    A mix of corrupted Men and Elves was one he went for at some point, which would fit both temporal rules and the apparent variety among Orcs' attributes. It seems he abandoned even this though in favour of purely corrupted Men.
    Last edited by Curandhras; Oct 10 2012 at 12:50 AM.
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  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    He was no stranger to reworking his chronology to fit stuff in to be fair, he just never got around to the Orc/Men thing.

    He seemed to have toyed with all sorts of weird ideas about what they could be (as soon as he decided that he didn't like his corrupted Elves idea). Corrupted Men was one of his less "story breaking" ideas, I seem to remember something in one of his letters suggesting that he was thinking of some sort of lesser fallen Maiar explanation, briefly, at least for Orc "leaders".

    A mix of corrupted Men and Elves was one he went for at some point, which would fit both temporal rules and the apparent variety among Orcs' attributes. It seems he abandoned even this though in favour of purely corrupted Men.
    Yes, but the point is he didn't manage to change it, so we're stuck with what is official. Therefore, we cannot include Men as a possibility for the creation of Orcs, despite what Tolkien probably would have done with more time... but even with more time he'd probably have ended up changing even more things than just that.

  17. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    I'm sure somewhere I've read though that he said they had a short life span in comparison to Men, so that doesn't seem to add up.
    Yes, but wasn't it because of their violent life?

    And about the corruption of other races, this is what Tolkien writes in 'Letters':
    "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: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types."

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorothir View Post
    Yes, but the point is he didn't manage to change it, so we're stuck with what is official. Therefore, we cannot include Men as a possibility for the creation of Orcs, despite what Tolkien probably would have done with more time... but even with more time he'd probably have ended up changing even more things than just that.
    I dunno, given that Tolkien repeatedly reminds us that the books are to be taken as "translations" and interpretations of some fictitious lost texts and myths perhaps his later comments should be taken as more "canonical" than what's written in his published books.

    When Tolkien says something it's coming directly from him, an "exact" description of his world as he imagined it (at whatever point he gave whatever comment), whereas the books come with an (admittedly, entirely manufactured, fictitious) degree of uncertainty.



    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBeard View Post
    Yes, but wasn't it because of their violent life?
    You're probably right here. I always took it to mean that "life-span" or whatever referred to the expected natural life, sans violent death or whatever, probably not though, given how angry Orcs always are...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    I dunno, given that Tolkien repeatedly reminds us that the books are to be taken as "translations" and interpretations of some fictitious lost texts and myths perhaps his later comments should be taken as more "canonical" than what's written in his published books.

    When Tolkien says something it's coming directly from him, an "exact" description of his world as he imagined it (at whatever point he gave whatever comment), whereas the books come with an (admittedly, entirely manufactured, fictitious) degree of uncertainty.



    You're probably right here. I always took it to mean that "life-span" or whatever referred to the expected natural life, sans violent death or whatever, probably not though, given how angry Orcs always are...


    First, the books are the most realiable source we get also tolkien comments on his books, concepts and ideas, the "Might have been different" doesn't exist really, that is why books are official sources when speaking about middle earth, he could of changed his mind but he didn't in the end, the book got published and the official "word" is orcs are twisted elves.

    Lifespan is life expectancy, so yes a violent lifestyle means lifespan is less.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    First, the books are the most realiable source we get also tolkien comments on his books, concepts and ideas, the "Might have been different" doesn't exist really, that is why books are official sources when speaking about middle earth, he could of changed his mind but he didn't in the end, the book got published and the official "word" is orcs are twisted elves.
    He changed his mind after the book was published, not before. Yes, it's canon as far as LOTR goes that Orcs came from Elves but that wasn't how we came to be talking about it. The Silmarillion is another matter, what we got from Chris Tolkien was the most coherent 'snapshot' of his father's work that he could put together at the time but it's not the 'official', final word. There is no such thing.

    he could of changed his mind
    'could have...'

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    First, the books are the most realiable source we get also tolkien comments on his books, concepts and ideas, the "Might have been different" doesn't exist really, that is why books are official sources when speaking about middle earth, he could of changed his mind but he didn't in the end, the book got published and the official "word" is orcs are twisted elves.
    Hi did change his mind in the end, though, that's the point.

    Tolkien's story was constantly evolving and changing, the published LotR books are a snapshot of how he imagined his work at that given point. Similarly the Silmarillion is a heavily edited collection of snapshots that (with varying degrees of accuracy) reflect how he felt at various points.

    If we're discussing something so "metastory" as the origin of the Orcs then to limit the discussion to published works is to pretty much completely ignore what Tolkien decided upon.

    EDIT: I just read Radh's post and now realise I've shamelessly plagiarised the use of the word "snapshot" to describe the books. Sorry about that.
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  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    He changed his mind after the book was published, not before. Yes, it's canon as far as LOTR goes that Orcs came from Elves but that wasn't how we came to be talking about it. The Silmarillion is another matter, what we got from Chris Tolkien was the most coherent 'snapshot' of his father's work that he could put together at the time but it's not the 'official', final word. There is no such thing.
    Although Tolkien himself had written about not favoring orcs from elves anymore, he died before he could change LOTR or writings that became the Silmarillion to reflect that, and his son had to put together the Silmarillion from his existing work and thus orcs being a twisted form of elf became canonical as far I'm concerned.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    Hi did change his mind in the end, though, that's the point.

    Tolkien's story was constantly evolving and changing, the published LotR books are a snapshot of how he imagined his work at that given point. Similarly the Silmarillion is a heavily edited collection of snapshots that (with varying degrees of accuracy) reflect how he felt at various points.

    If we're discussing something so "metastory" as the origin of the Orcs then to limit the discussion to published works is to pretty much completely ignore what Tolkien decided upon.

    EDIT: I just read Radh's post and now realise I've shamelessly plagiarised the use of the word "snapshot" to describe the books. Sorry about that.
    The story is not constantly evolving, basically is the same thought time take LOTR and Silmarillion they are the "final snapshot" as far as we readers are concerned they are the facts of the story.

    We are discussing btw something that is part of the story of the Silmarillion, I think like many others that those books take priority over other material, doubts or no doubts those books got published and they give the "broader vision" of tolkien sub-creation.

    to Rad: "final words" do exist that is my only correction, I agree with you on the rest. Final means its end, for orcs we have an official version (final), just like the ring bearer was frodo some things don't change.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    The story is not constantly evolving, basically is the same thought time take LOTR and Silmarillion they are the "final snapshot" as far as we readers are concerned they are the facts of the story.
    They're not the "final snapshot" at all, he changed his mind about a fair few things. As far as I am concerned the facts are what Tolkien decided upon, at whatever time. I take his rather convenient explanation that he wrote the books from the position of a historian/translator, and in that the books might not be entirely accurate. When he says something "out of character" though, like in a letter or interview, that is as close to a fact about his world as we can get.

    Also, Frodo was not always the ring bearer, he was Bingo Baggins to start with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    They're not the "final snapshot" at all, he changed his mind about a fair few things. As far as I am concerned the facts are what Tolkien decided upon, at whatever time. I take his rather convenient explanation that he wrote the books from the position of a historian/translator, and in that the books might not be entirely accurate. When he says something "out of character" though, like in a letter or interview, that is as close to a fact about his world as we can get.

    Also, Frodo was not always the ring bearer, he was Bingo Baggins to start with.
    You know what I find funny, tolkien in his letters and other sources he usually describes what he wrote in his books, so to me you are completely and utterly wrong in many ways I don't have time to explain, you probably have some "residual logic" but you still far off of comprehending Tolkien works.

    I meant frodo as ring-bearer of the fellowship, he was the one charged to bring the ring to mordor.

    you look at things backwards, literally.

 

 
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