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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferdinanda View Post
    While Tolkien didn't discuss female orcs going to war, he did write that some elf women were warriors, and that "there was less difference in strength and speed between elven-men and elven-women that had not borne child than is seen among mortals" ("Laws & Customs Among the Eldar", Morgoth's Ring, p. 213). I think there may be another reference in The Silmarillion, but I'm not sure.

    If orcs are descended from corrupted elves, then it's likely that there would be strong female orcs and that some of them would go into battle, if they wanted to. The bulk of the orc forces would be male, though, as someone would have to take care of the food preparation, clothing creation (probably no laundry chores), and children, and it probably fell primarily to the females.

    *shrugs* Interesting question!
    With a dictator such as Sauron and his absolute power, I don’t think it is a matter of wanting to go into battle or not wanting to go into battle. You do as you are told. Food and clothing preparation need not take place during a battle so the beings doing those things are not necessarily excluded from fighting. And children who need to be taken care of would probably be at home and not at the battles. Even if Sauron cared about what happened to the children back at home, the elderly and infirmed could take care of them.

    I enjoyed your “probably no laundry chores” line. That gave me a good chuckle. Plus rep for that.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    You can't say that given that Tolkien doesn't mention even a single one. Pure speculation, based on nothing.
    I can’t say that “it would seem likely”? Guess again. Not only can I say it. I did in fact; say it.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    I can’t say that “it would seem likely”? Guess again. Not only can I say it. I did in fact; say it.
    You used the word 'likely', you used the word 'probably', and you've got nothing to suggest it's either likely or probable given that in Tolkien's actual writing, female Orcs are nowhere to be seen. It's baseless speculation.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    You used the word 'likely', you used the word 'probably', and you've got nothing to suggest it's either likely or probable given that in Tolkien's actual writing, female Orcs are nowhere to be seen. It's baseless speculation.
    I don’t consider it to be baseless. It is based on Tolkien’s writings as to the nature of Sauron. I then put myself in Sauron’s shoes (so to speak) and imagine what I would do if I had absolute power, had no feeling at all for my subjects and was evil. (if evil is the correct term, use any word you want in its place) I then express my opinions on what would seem likely and probable actions on my part. (given the fact that I am not actually in the position) You of course, are free to express your opinions on the matter, as you have done. Your opinions are certainly as welcome as anyone else’s. (as a general rule)
    Last edited by RKL; Feb 21 2013 at 06:22 PM.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    I don’t consider it to be baseless. It is based on Tolkien’s writings as to the nature of Sauron. I then put myself in Sauron’s shoes (so to speak) and imagine what I would do if I had absolute power, had no feeling at all for my subjects and was evil. (if evil is the correct term, use any word you want in its place) I then express my opinions on what would seem likely and probable actions on my part. (given the fact that I am not actually in the position) You of course, are free to express your opinions on the matter, as you have done. Your opinions are certainly as welcome as anyone else’s. (as a general rule)
    You have no actual evidence on which to suggest it's either likely or probable, and it doesn't match what's seen in the books either (where Orc warriors are evidently male throughout). It's baseless, it's just you making stuff up rather than any legitimate extrapolation. Tolkien gave no indication of having even considered what you're describing - he said that nothing much was known about Orc-women because in the tales, Orcs 'seldom if ever' appear as anything other than soldiers in the service of evil lords and hence we don't ever see what the Orcs' everyday lives were like. So by clear implication, the Orc-women would be off behind the scenes somewhere; we don't ever see them. Your idea of having them all thrown into battle just doesn't fit with that.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    You have no actual evidence on which to suggest it's either likely or probable, and it doesn't match what's seen in the books either (where Orc warriors are evidently male throughout). It's baseless, it's just you making stuff up rather than any legitimate extrapolation. Tolkien gave no indication of having even considered what you're describing - he said that nothing much was known about Orc-women because in the tales, Orcs 'seldom if ever' appear as anything other than soldiers in the service of evil lords and hence we don't ever see what the Orcs' everyday lives were like. So by clear implication, the Orc-women would be off behind the scenes somewhere; we don't ever see them. Your idea of having them all thrown into battle just doesn't fit with that.
    In the absence of proof one way or the other, I will have to say: you are welcome to your opinion on the matter but I don’t happen to agree with you in this particular instance.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    In the absence of proof one way or the other, I will have to say: you are welcome to your opinion on the matter but I don’t happen to agree with you in this particular instance.
    We've got Tolkien saying that there must have been Orc-women, but that not much was known because the Orcs people actually encountered were 'seldom if ever' anything other than (male) soldiers. Like Dwarf-women, the Orc-women are off in the background somewhere and are never seen, although for different reasons. Tolkien wasn't much given to the idea of women fighting (it's by exception, when it happens) and the idea of Orc-women fighting en masse just doesn't fit with what little he says about them. If people didn't encounter them, then they can't have been out there fighting. What you're saying is simply insupportable, and blustering about it won't change that.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    We've got Tolkien saying that there must have been Orc-women, but that not much was known because the Orcs people actually encountered were 'seldom if ever' anything other than (male) soldiers. Like Dwarf-women, the Orc-women are off in the background somewhere and are never seen, although for different reasons. Tolkien wasn't much given to the idea of women fighting (it's by exception, when it happens) and the idea of Orc-women fighting en masse just doesn't fit with what little he says about them. If people didn't encounter them, then they can't have been out there fighting. What you're saying is simply insupportable, and blustering about it won't change that.
    You are too funny dude. These are the exact same opinions that you posted in your last post, in slightly different words. Repeating your opinion over and over again will not change it into truth.

    Or, perhaps you are not trying to assert that what you are saying is true. If that is the case, then we can simply agree that we have different opinions on the matter and move on to greener pastures.

    Are you speaking truth here, or are you simply stating opinions?

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    You are too funny dude. These are the exact same opinions that you posted in your last post, in slightly different words. Repeating your opinion over and over again will not change it into truth.

    Or, perhaps you are not trying to assert that what you are saying is true. If that is the case, then we can simply agree that we have different opinions on the matter and move on to greener pastures.

    Are you speaking truth here, or are you simply stating opinions?
    What I'm saying is that Tolkien had an opinion on it himself and it differs from yours. He evidently didn't imagine Orc-women appearing on the battlefield*, whereas you do. Given that he's the author, that means you haven't got a leg to stand on.

    *This is why he'd been asked if there even were any Orc-women, since none ever appear in the tales.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    What I'm saying is that Tolkien had an opinion on it himself and it differs from yours. He evidently didn't imagine Orc-women appearing on the battlefield*, whereas you do. Given that he's the author, that means you haven't got a leg to stand on.

    *This is why he'd been asked if there even were any Orc-women, since none ever appear in the tales.
    Ah, so you are saying that Tolkien merely had an opinion on the subject and was not asserting that it was part of the true lore.

    Since (if what you say is true; which is unproven opinion on your part) the author was indecisive about the issue, I can feel free to think that he meant the subject to be open to the imagination of the reader.
    Last edited by RKL; Feb 22 2013 at 01:07 PM.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    Ah, so you are saying that Tolkien merely had an opinion on the subject and was not asserting that what he said was part of the true lore.
    He's the bloody author. The least word from him counts for infinitely more than anything you have to say.

    Since (if what you say is true; which is still unproven opinion on your part) the author was indecisive about the issue, I can feel free to think that he meant the subject to be open to the imagination of the reader.
    Not when your conjecture ends up contradicting the author! He confirms their existence, and then says why people hadn't seen them. They weren't the ones who went out to fight as soldiers for the Dark Lord and so people didn't get to see them. Not much was known about the home life of Orcs at all because the Free Peoples didn't hang out with them, oddly enough.

    'There must have been orc-women. But in stories that seldom if ever see the Orcs except as soldiers of armies in the service of the evil lords we naturally would not learn much about their lives. Not much was known'

    - Tolkien, from a letter written in 1963

    That's decisive enough. There were Orc-women, and there was a reason why they didn't feature in the tales. Your way, everyone would have seen them and they would feature in the tales, because they'd have been involved in the fighting. Plainly contradictory.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    He's the bloody author. The least word from him counts for infinitely more than anything you have to say.


    Not when your conjecture ends up contradicting the author! He confirms their existence, and then says why people hadn't seen them. They weren't the ones who went out to fight as soldiers for the Dark Lord and so people didn't get to see them. Not much was known about the home life of Orcs at all because the Free Peoples didn't hang out with them, oddly enough.

    'There must have been orc-women. But in stories that seldom if ever see the Orcs except as soldiers of armies in the service of the evil lords we naturally would not learn much about their lives. Not much was known'

    - Tolkien, from a letter written in 1963

    That's decisive enough. There were Orc-women, and there was a reason why they didn't feature in the tales. Your way, everyone would have seen them and they would feature in the tales, because they'd have been involved in the fighting. Plainly contradictory.
    Yes, I understand that these are your opinions. Repeating the same opinions over and over again does not make them true.

    This pretty well sums it up. “not much was known”. The author is leaving it up to us to speculate as we so desire.
    Last edited by RKL; Feb 22 2013 at 02:14 PM.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    Yes, I understand that these are your opinions. Repeating the same opinions over and over again does not make them true.

    This pretty well sums it up. “not much was known”. The author is leaving it up to us to speculate as we so desire.
    Tolkien doesn't have Orc-women running around fighting*. You do. Your speculation doesn't fit in with anything he wrote, so it's just so much hot air. There's a reason he never once mentions female Orcs in any of the tales - they didn't fit in with the role Orcs play in those tales as soldiers of the Dark Lord. That's what he says.

    There's a difference between colouring in neatly between the lines and just making a big ugly scrawl. Speculation is all very well but when it starts crossing the lines then it's gone awry. 'Not much is known' doesn't mean you can contradict things we do know at will, it just means there's a big question mark off in the distance to do with how Orcs lived their everyday lives.


    *Something which is fully consistent with how seldom he includes female warriors at all. That makes you suddenly proposing umpteen female warriors demonstrably un-Tolkienesque - it's just not the way he writes.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Tolkien doesn't have Orc-women running around fighting*. You do. Your speculation doesn't fit in with anything he wrote, so it's just so much hot air. There's a reason he never once mentions female Orcs in any of the tales - they didn't fit in with the role Orcs play in those tales as soldiers of the Dark Lord. That's what he says.

    There's a difference between colouring in neatly between the lines and just making a big ugly scrawl. Speculation is all very well but when it starts crossing the lines then it's gone awry. 'Not much is known' doesn't mean you can contradict things we do know at will, it just means there's a big question mark off in the distance to do with how Orcs lived their everyday lives.


    *Something which is fully consistent with how seldom he includes female warriors at all. That makes you suddenly proposing umpteen female warriors demonstrably un-Tolkienesque - it's just not the way he writes.
    Interesting opinions. Mine are different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Your way, everyone would have seen them and they would feature in the tales, because they'd have been involved in the fighting. Plainly contradictory.
    These are misconceptions due to poor comprehension and false assumptions on your part. Where did I say that female orcs actually got into battle? Here is the post in question (which you have apparently taken such exception to) in full.

    Originally posted by me:

    Since Sauron is making a final push to once and for all “eat all of Middle Earth” it would seem likely that many of the females Orcs would also be going to war. He cares little for them. It is a matter of numbers in wars of this type. He has little need for large numbers of birth-ers to repopulate after a successful war. His need for birth-ers was to swell his ranks and that is now over.

    Probably the females have been schooled in the art of fighting for a decade or more at this point. Of course he might have an eye on the possibility of an unsuccessful war, and repopulation in that event, but I doubt it. I think he was putting all his eggs in one basket.
    The time frame for female orc warriors is clearly defined. i.e. the war of the ring.

    Sauron sent X number of soldiers to Gondor for the battle there. He did not send them all. If he felt that the female soldiers were inferior to the male soldiers, he might not send them to this initial key battle. He sent force enough (in his opinion; I would guess) to win the day. Turns out he was wrong. Perhaps (if there were in fact no females orcs present at this battle) he should have sent females along, we will never know.

    Would Sauron have engaged his female soldiers at the start of the final, very brief battle before the gate? Maybe; maybe not.

    The battles up north, I know very little about. I am not sure that anyone knows much about them.

    As I said: “it would seem likely that many of the female orcs would also be going to war”. Whether they got there and engaged the enemy or not, is another question.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    Interesting opinions. Mine are different.
    And also rubbish, because Tolkien never shows any inclination towards having female Orcs be warriors. That's where the doubt about the existence of female Orcs came from in the first place, because they're never seen in the books as all the Orcs we do see are warriors (and very evidently male, characterised as such). Including during the War of the Ring. There is no plausible gap within which you can invent them, given what he says, and besides which Tolkien doesn't EVER include female warriors in any numbers. There's no way you can spin it to make it sound like anything he'd have come up with; it's not the way his thinking ran at all (demonstrably), it's yours.

    Conjuring up the idea of there being umpteen female Orc warriors and then pretending nobody ever saw them because they didn't actually fight is the weakest possible excuse. You're not discussing Tolkien here, in effect you're writing fanfic (since all this is purely a flight of fancy, based on nothing) and this is the wrong sub-forum for that.

  16. #41
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    Originally Posted by RKL

    Interesting opinions. Mine are different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    And also rubbish, because Tolkien never shows any inclination towards having female Orcs be warriors. That's where the doubt about the existence of female Orcs came from in the first place, because they're never seen in the books as all the Orcs we do see are warriors (and very evidently male, characterised as such). Including during the War of the Ring. There is no plausible gap within which you can invent them, given what he says, and besides which Tolkien doesn't EVER include female warriors in any numbers. There's no way you can spin it to make it sound like anything he'd have come up with; it's not the way his thinking ran at all (demonstrably), it's yours.

    Conjuring up the idea of there being umpteen female Orc warriors and then pretending nobody ever saw them because they didn't actually fight is the weakest possible excuse. You're not discussing Tolkien here, in effect you're writing fanfic (since all this is purely a flight of fancy, based on nothing) and this is the wrong sub-forum for that.

    What part is rubbish? Did you mean to say that your opinions being “interesting” is rubbish; or did you mean that the idea of my opinions being different from yours is rubbish?

    Yes, you have restated your same opinions again. (for the fourth time) This does not make them any more true than the other three times you stated them. I did notice that you left out the part that claimed that I said; “Orc-females were running around fighting” so, perhaps we are making some small measure of progress.

    As for this last part: you are welcome to your opinion on these ideas, but I must say in all honesty that you probably should step back for a while and regroup.

  17. #42
    Tolkien's view of the world did not include female warriors at all. That is why he excluded women from many parts of his books.

    Think of the hobbit women: there is only Rosie we know of a bit more because she became Sam's wife. There is not a single meeting with Lobelia if I remember correctly (she died before the hobbit-fellowship got back to remove Saruman's thieves).
    The women of Dale are hardly mentioned in The Hobbit.
    The female elves are - except for Galadriel - kept in the background. Even Arwen has to wait as her role in PJ's films is slotted by the Elven-prince Glorfindel in LOTR.
    The women of Methuseld are background workers who supply the male Rohirrim, only Eowyn is daring enough to escape her cage, and chooses to fight instead to live as a housewife.
    We hardly know of the hardships of the women in Minas Tirith, Iorliel (if I remember correctly), the herb-master's assistant is only portrayed because she knows about "King's foil" aka Athelas.
    The Ent-wives are lost. The tree-shepherds truly long for them.
    Dwarf-women should exist, but somewhere else (maybe in the far-away Iron Hills?)
    Goldberry, Tom Bombadil's wive is his match but obviously without his power (does anyone know where she comes from?)

    There is only one female evil character I know of that is deeply evil. And that is the spider Shelob at Cirith Unghol (yes, and of course Ungoliath in the Silmarillion).

    So, you all see, Orc-women are not in Tolkien's range of writing as he prefers to focus on male history (which fits his utterly conservative and Catholic point of view in the 1930's, working against the new forms of literature in and after the Roaring Twenties. USA).

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    What part is rubbish? Did you mean to say that your opinions being “interesting” is rubbish; or did you mean that the idea of my opinions being different from yours is rubbish?

    The part that's rubbish is you making stuff up and then trying to pretend it's in some way valid even though it's quite plainly not the sort of thing Tolkien would ever have written about. As he has it, it's almost inevitably the men who go off to fight, with women only doing so by rare exception or not at all, in some cases. That's the way it is for everyone, in the books, on either side of the conflict - so where's this sudden exception for Orcs come from? You've just pulled that out of thin air, and that's putting it politely.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    The part that's rubbish is you making stuff up and then trying to pretend it's in some way valid even though it's quite plainly not the sort of thing Tolkien would ever have written about. As he has it, it's almost inevitably the men who go off to fight, with women only doing so by rare exception or not at all, in some cases. That's the way it is for everyone, in the books, on either side of the conflict - so where's this sudden exception for Orcs come from? You've just pulled that out of thin air, and that's putting it politely.
    In the absence of proof one way or the other, these opinions are as good as any other.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgebob View Post
    Tolkien's view of the world did not include female warriors at all. That is why he excluded women from many parts of his books.
    Eoywn refers to herself as "shieldmaiden" a number of times. It is reasonable to believe that such people exist, although she is prevented from doing so left and right (possibly it really isn't open to highborn women, or perhaps it exists only in theory), but in Tolkien's "language based world" I would not dismiss something that a character may mention to another character and expect them to be familiar with the word.

    Think of the hobbit women: there is only Rosie we know of a bit more because she became Sam's wife. There is not a single meeting with Lobelia if I remember correctly (she died before the hobbit-fellowship got back to remove Saruman's thieves).
    The women of Dale are hardly mentioned in The Hobbit.
    Lobelia is cheered when she leaves her cell. She went down with a greater struggle and more spirit than many favorites of the resistance.
    The female elves are - except for Galadriel - kept in the background. Even Arwen has to wait as her role in PJ's films is slotted by the Elven-prince Glorfindel in LOTR.
    Glorfindel can be completely described as "an elf lord (who brought a horse) who can openly ride against the nine". He has almost no characterization, and the requirement "ride openly against the nine" is the only reason Arwen shouldn't be there. He is one of the most throwaway characters in the Lord of the Rings (can't remember him from the Silmarillion, but I suspect he may be filled out there. Does he fall slaying a Balrog or something?
    The women of Methuseld are background workers who supply the male Rohirrim, only Eowyn is daring enough to escape her cage, and chooses to fight instead to live as a housewife.
    We hardly know of the hardships of the women in Minas Tirith, Iorliel (if I remember correctly), the herb-master's assistant is only portrayed because she knows about "King's foil" aka Athelas.
    You could argue how this fails the Bechtel test depending on how their discussion centers on Aragon (can't be talking about a man. Looks like it fails to me). I don't think there are any other woman-woman discussions in any of the books used here.
    The Ent-wives are lost. The tree-shepherds truly long for them.
    [spoiler]When I found the flowers in the old forest I knew I would be doing that deed.[/spoiler]
    Dwarf-women should exist, but somewhere else (maybe in the far-away Iron Hills?)
    Goldberry, Tom Bombadil's wive is his match but obviously without his power (does anyone know where she comes from?)
    She is the river's daughter. Presumably some type of nymph (don't make any assumptions based on traditional usage of that term. Pre-Tolkien elves are completely different, Goldberry should just be seen as Goldberry).
    There is only one female evil character I know of that is deeply evil. And that is the spider Shelob at Cirith Unghol (yes, and of course Ungoliath in the Silmarillion).

    So, you all see, Orc-women are not in Tolkien's range of writing as he prefers to focus on male history (which fits his utterly conservative and Catholic point of view in the 1930's, working against the new forms of literature in and after the Roaring Twenties. USA).
    Not a bad guess, but the "new fangled literature" that Tolkien is trying to overthrow (well, at least revive works from before it) began with Chaucer and the Cantebury Tales. He was a medievalist, not just trying to restablish (less rural) Victorian attitudes. The world he grew up in (and longed for) looked very similar to medieval life and probably pretty close to pre-pneumatic Amish life (and he also claimed that the Chief's depredation of the Shire is based on the "modernization" of his village in his youth and not on any post-WWII actions). Claiming he is deliberately writing traditional roles for women as a reaction to flappers and suffragettes is a huge stretch.
    filler
    filler
    filler
    Last edited by yawumpus; Feb 23 2013 at 03:19 AM.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    In the absence of proof one way or the other, these opinions are as good as any other.
    Not when you've provided no evidence of any sort in the first place and simply made something up. What next, are you going to claim these invented female Orc warriors of yours ride around on giant pink flamingos and then claim there's no proof they couldn't? You have no argument, you're just doing what you always do and dodging the issue. Tolkien doesn't include female warriors in any numbers, it's always by exception no matter who it is - he's fully consistent about it. That's readily observable in the books for anyone who cares to look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Not when you've provided no evidence of any sort in the first place and simply made something up. What next, are you going to claim these invented female Orc warriors of yours ride around on giant pink flamingos and then claim there's no proof they couldn't? You have no argument, you're just doing what you always do and dodging the issue. Tolkien doesn't include female warriors in any numbers, it's always by exception no matter who it is - he's fully consistent about it. That's readily observable in the books for anyone who cares to look.
    Of course I made it up. That was never in question. I speculated on the activities of the Orcs since Tolkien said; (as you yourself pointed out) not much was known about the Orc-females. He leaves it up to us to speculate on the matter.

    I freely admit that I am stating opinions. The real question here is: (as I asked before) Are you stating opinions or are you speaking truth. This seems to be a question that you are dodging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    Of course I made it up. That was never in question. I speculated on the activities of the Orcs since Tolkien said; (as you yourself pointed out) not much was known about the Orc-females. He leaves it up to us to speculate on the matter.

    I freely admit that I am stating opinions. The real question here is: (as I asked before) Are you stating opinions or are you speaking truth. This seems to be a question that you are dodging.
    Enough trolling, already. It isn't legitimate speculation, as Tolkien never, ever includes armies of female warriors of any description; that's observable fact, not mere opinion. Reasoned extrapolation would be fine but that's not what you're doing, you're just making up stuff of your own without any regard to how the guy wrote. And then, as usual, you try to hide behind that word 'opinion' as if it were some magical talisman that can lend validity to anything. Sure it's 'opinion', but it's also utter BS and I'm calling you on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Enough trolling, already. It isn't legitimate speculation, as Tolkien never, ever includes armies of female warriors of any description; that's observable fact, not mere opinion. Reasoned extrapolation would be fine but that's not what you're doing, you're just making up stuff of your own without any regard to how the guy wrote. And then, as usual, you try to hide behind that word 'opinion' as if it were some magical talisman that can lend validity to anything. Sure it's 'opinion', but it's also utter BS and I'm calling you on that.
    Still dodging the question? Is there some reason that people here should not know whether you speak for the truth or whether you just state opinions? The simple truth (as stated by others) is that asserting something to be true requires a person to prove it. Is this why you won’t answer the question? Do you only require proof from other people and not require it from yourself? If so, then I am calling you on BS.

  25. #50
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    As Rad points out.

    There must have been orc-women. But in stories that seldom if ever see the Orcs except as soldiers of armies in the service of the evil lords we naturally would not learn much about their lives. Not much was known

    - Tolkien, from a letter written in 1963

    Since we do not see the Orc females during the War of the Ring years, we cannot know what Sauron had them doing. Not even Tolkien (by his own admission) knew what the Orc females were doing. (or, he is unwilling to tell us the little he knows about them) He leaves it up to the reader to speculate if the reader so desires.

    That is one of the things that I like about him. He leaves room for the reader to imagine. Purposely leaving some elements vague is probably a writer’s trick to keep their stories in the mind of the reader long after the stories have been read. Tolkien left some things vague for many decades after the stories were written. This allows for speculation and discussion; as this thread demonstrates.

 

 
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