of the Rings : Book 3, Chapter 3
A Discussion Led by Blue Wizard
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- Book III, Chapter 3:
The Uruk Hai - #1 "I
don't suppose you have much notion of where we are" - Blue
The point of view of the majority of Chapter 3 is that of Pippin, until the
very end of the chapter, at which point Merry asserts himself as the leader
of the two, and Pippin defers to him "Lead on, Master Brandybuck". Had this
chapter been told from Merry's POV, it seems that he might well have been
more analytical - knowing where it was they were going, and having a better
sense of where they were. How does it add to the sense of Pippin's
characterization of himself a a piece of baggage that he is in the dark
about where in the world they are and are going, even as he devises a plan
for their escape?
- It illustrates the good side of Pippin's personality - Idril
He's the risk-taking Hobbit who acts first and thinks later. Although
his rash actions have generally caused problems until now, his escape
attempt and ability to take advantage of the orcs' fight to loosen his
bonds showed the good side of having poor impulse control! If he'd have
thought about what the Orcs could do to him, he might have been so
paralyzed with fear that he'd have done nothing. As for Pippin thinking
of himself as a piece of baggage, isn't that what he's been all along?
He wasn't involved in any of the planning, hadn't contributed very much
to the group, and had just come along on the quest out of loyalty to
Frodo and perhaps a wish for adventure. Being dragged across the plains
of Rohan by unfriendly uruk-hai is far less pleasant than, say, floating
down Anduin on an elven boat, but Pippin's lack of control was the same
in both situations! His abortive escape from the orcs was one of his
first attempts to gain some control over what was happening to him.
- I look upon Pippin as a foil ... - Nenya
... that Tolkien used to explain his plot lines. Rather than just write
paragraphs of third person explanation, he created a naive Pippin who
would ask all the questions the reader would ask, giving the other
characters a chance to tell him (and through him, the reader) what was
going on. By telling the chapter through mostly Pippin's eyes, it
allowed the chapter to unfold as events happened, making for a better
story. Giving Pippin the chance to "save the day" (as it were) was
therefore the equivalent of allowing the reader a role in the action.
The average Lord of the Rings reader isn't going to use magic or sword
play to win the day; even though they enjoy reading about that and may
fantasize themselves in such a situation, they would far more easily
visualize themselves using patience and calm wits to save themselves
(something all of us do virtually every day in some form or another).
Which is all a long winded way of answering your question by saying that
Pippin's actions tell us he is an "everyday man" caught up in events
beyond his making and mostly beyond his ken, who is still managing to
rise to the occasion.
- Exactly! And also... - Eomund's
...Pippin's grass-roots semi-oblivious success, his simple plan, are
another example of the small and weak doing what the strong cannot,
of his very "hobbitness". (Though younger and less mature than
etc., he shares that "dragon-in-a-pinch" quality, as does Merry.)
'I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun', she said; 'And
behold! The Shadow has departed!'....
- *points up* I agree with both of these
ladies. - Frodo
- Pippin's unquenchable optimism - Kimi
serves him well in their current grim situation. Pippin doesn't seem to
be someone who's had to do things for himself during his short life, and
that includes not having to make decisions for himself. But he manages
surprisingly well when he has to. We're seeing another example of the
unexpected strength of hobbits and also, I suspect, Pippin's strong
sense of self-preservation. He's a reactive person rather than a
planner, but when there's no one around to do things for him (including
thinking), he's capable of more than anyone realised.
- Well put, Kimi--a reactive person instead of.. - Patty
a planner. He has shown himself in the past to be a person who
doesn't plan or think of the consequences of foolish actions. Yet
here he rashly puts in a very successful escape plan. There are
more facets to this young hobbit than show up in the FOTR.
Return to Book III Discussion Index
- Book III, Chapter 3:
The Uruk Hai - #2 "You seem to know a
lot" - Blue
That is Ugluk's comment to Grishnakh, but it would seem that these two
captains know a great deal more than one might expect of them. Sauron
supposedly entrusted only the Nazgul at first with the task of siezing
"Baggins", because they alone of his servants, being entirely under his
thrall, could be trusted. But Grishnakh seems to know about the Ring!!! Is
there any other explanation for his reaction to Pippin's ruse? How could it
be that he could come to know of the Ring?
- were the Uruk Hai a crossbreed - Maggot
between men and orcs for sure?
- Well, and like some evil men listen at... - Patty
keyholes in order to know more than they're supposed to I be the
Uruk Hai listened there,too.
- yes - Steve
I think that's made clear. Also, Treebeard mentions it.
- Well, Grishnakh did know a lot... - Malbeth
but perhaps not about the ring. Here's a theory. At least Grishnakh and
Ugluk, and probably the other orcs from both Mordor and Isengard knew
this much: they were to capture hobbits alive and bring them back
quickly. The two captains also had specific orders not to search them or
take anything. There were also rumors of the hobbits having something
important to the war, but those may have been just vague rumors. But
Grishnakh clearly knew more than this. From his statements, I would
guess he may have been stationed at Minas Morgul and/or Cirith Ungol
before this mission. He had been around the Nazgul, that's for sure. He
also knew something about Gollum, which makes sense; the soldiers at
both locations would have been told to allow Gollum to 'escape'. Perhaps
Grishnakh knew or suspected that Gollum was important because he had
once possessed something of great importance to Sauron. That would be
enough information for him to get Pippin's hints about 'it' and Gollum.
- I agree, Malbeth - Kimi
I don't think Grishnakh specifically mentions the Ring. But he does
seem to know that the hobbits may have some item that had been
Gollum's and that Sauron wants. If Grishnakh doesn't actually know
what he's looking for, he probably knows that he'd struggle to find
it without some sort of co-operation (possibly unwilling) from Merry
- What Grishnakh knew . . . - Annael
It makes sense that a captain of Sauron's orcs would know that:
1. Sauron had a Ring that he lost, which would give lots of power to
anyone who used it
2. Gollum found the Ring but lost it to a Hobbit
3. Saruman wants power & doesn't care how he gets it So here he is with
some Hobbits captured between Lothlorien and Minas Tirith, that are not
to be despoiled, but brought straight to Saruman who is SUPPOSEDLY
acting on Sauron's orders. I think he just put two and two together. He
may also have picked up that the Nazgul had been sent to the Shire to
find the Ring but had failed.
Return to Book III Discussion Index
- Book III, Chapter 3:
The Uruk Hai - #3 Three Merry Bands - Blue
What a lovely bunch of lads Merry and Pippin find themselves among. It
appears that there are three distinct groups of Orcs here: A group of the
Uruk Hai, led by Ugluk, out of Isengard; A group of orcs out of Mordor, led
by Grishnakh; and a group of orcs out of the Misty Mountains, with no
identified leader. Ugluk and Grishnakh have their own, and rather similar
orders: capture Hobbits and bring them back unharmed and unsearched. The
group out of the Mountains seem to have no agenda other than pursuing the
Fellowship to avenge the deaths of their comrades who died during the battle
in Moria. Does this make any sense to anyone? Why would they travel
hundreds of miles, over more than a month, for that purpose? Or, is there
another purpose or set of orders at work? Also, this is our first real look
at orcs as individuals instead of as nameless, faceless, "bad guys". Does
the reactions and loyalties of the three groups indicate that, underneath
the nasty exterior, there is something of more substance, and some hint of
distant nobility not entirely ruined, among the orcs?
- another orc question - Steve
Why did the evil powers even bother with orcs when they seem so
ineffective in everything they do? Wouldn't it be better to use evil
men, which they also had?
- The creation of the orcs - Idril
Orcs were originally created by Morgoth, possibly from debased
Elves, debased men, and/or animals. (Tolkien changed his mind on
this at various times during his life.) The reasoning behind their
creation remained constant, however. Morgoth corrupted life out of
jealousy of the power of Illuvatar to create it and of the other
Valar to shape it. The creation of Orcs -- ruining the Children of
Illuvatar -- can be viewed in this light as a work of malice against
his rivals. I also think that Morgoth created the Orcs because he
wanted an intelligent race under his control. Men, however evil,
were apt to act in their own interests -- which were not necessarily
the same as his -- and could not be depended upon to remain loyal.
(For instance, some of the Men whom Morgoth intended to betray the
Elves at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad instead were loyal to them.) I also
think that Morgoth feared and envied the fact that the spirits of
Men to leave the world after death. While he used them as his tools,
he knew that they had a freedom which he lacked (being bound to the
circle of Arda) and he therefore did not entirely trust them. Sauron
picked up the Orcs as the discarded tools of his old master. I
think he continued using them precisely because of the control issue
-- Sauron was a much bigger control freak than Morgoth. While
Morgoth created the Orcs out of a sense of nihilism, Sauron
encouraged their spread out of a sense of utilitarianism. Also,
Sauron initially gave some thought to improving the lot of the
people of Middle-earth before his power seeking became an end in
itself. Perhaps he had wanted to improve and reclaiming the Orcs
before he decided merely to use them in his quest for power.
- Whoa. - GaladrielTX
Where'd you read the last bit, about Sauron wanting to improve
the lot of the people of Middle-earth? Probably one of those
History of Middle-earth books that I never got around to
- Yes, it was in one of the Histories - Idril
There's a lot of background information about Sauron's and
Morgoth's motivations in Morgoth's
Ring and some
of the other volumes.
- Thanks, very thoughtful answer :) - Steve
- my favorite orc - Steve
One orc that I admire is the tracker-orc who got into an argument with a
larger soldier-orc in Mordor and then shot him in the eye. I thought he
had the courage to say what he thought was true in the face of danger.
This might show some nobility. Also he seemed to take pride in his work
which showed why he became such a good shot, which the other orcs didn't
or they would have done better in the battles.
- Wasn't that a movie with Peter O'Toole? Oh, never
mind. - Bullroarer
- as for the Misty Mountain-orcs... - leo
Aragorn himself said that Orcs would often chase ther enemies for days
to avenga a fallen leader, however that doesn't really explain why...
I'm not gonnacomment on the other questions, that has been done very
- Orcs are difficult (warning: may contain Tolkien
heresy) - Kimi
To me, Tolkien didn't fully succeed in creating a cohesive,
fully-convincing description of orcs. But I think that's because the
issues involved in an almost hopelessly corrupted race of rational
beings are so complex that a large chunk of LOTR would've had to be
devoted to descriptions of orcish origins, social structures, what they
do when they're off-duty, etc. And it wouldn't be a book with great
appeal, IMHO. Tolkien himself struggled with the whole orc issue; in
some of his later writings, he leaned towards making orcs derived from
twisted Men rather than Elves. If he had trouble with resolving these
issues to his own satisfaction, it's not surprising that this reader, at
least, has a bit of trouble being fully convinced by orcs. That aside:
much of the time we see orcs as nameless, faceless members of an
innumerable mob (why do the bad guys always have the biggest armies?
Yes, I know: the story would be over too soon otherwise). In this
chapter, as you say, Blue, we do see some traces of individuality. Orcs
are not automatons, they are "a race of 'rational incarnate' creatures,
though horribly corrupted, if no more so than many Men to be met today"
to quote Tolkien ("Letters"). Part of their "rationality" is shown by
their innate dislike and distrust of anyone from outside their own
immediate group. All orcs are not equal. As for why the Misty Mountain
orcs are there: I don't know. I agree that revenge seems an inadequate
motive. Perhaps they've somehow been summoned by Sauron, and were
heading for Minas Tirith but fell in with the other two parties of orcs.
- Actually, I'm glad you bought this up, Blue. I like
to... - Patty
put people (or beings) in fiction in an all good or all bad category,
based on their goals and how they go about them in order to have someone
to root for. But the fact of the matter is that all beings have some
inherent good features and some bad--yes, there is something of
substance about these orcs, as you pointed out.
- The Orcs' vritues seem to be Courage and Some
sense of Loyalty - dudalb
to their comrades. They might very well fear and hate Sauron (read
the dialogue between the orcs that capture Frodo on about how "even
the Big Bosses can make mistakes" and later, in Mordor, how some of
them are nostalgic for the period when Sauron was dormant and the
Orcs seem to have had a independent political structure.
- Orcs - Ophelia
Giving the orcs names and faces really didn't change my opinion of orcs.
Instead of just robotic servants, they become dynamic underlings. But
they are still clearly not good, they are greedy and self-serving, and
controlled mostly by fear.
I think the Moria orcs weren't necessarily out after vengence. There has
to be another reason- other people passed through Moria and killed orcs
before (I'm guessing) and weren't pursued to the ends of Middle-earth.
You're right, it doesn't make sense at all- but I can't think of any
other reason why the Moria-orcs would be there.
- I did not mean to attack your question BLue. - dudalb
It is just that the nature of Orcs has been really raked over and
written about extensively. I meant it more a a humorous remark then
anything else. For my two cents worth Orcs are not inherently evil
but their upbringing and training by Sauron and Saruman and the
dislike of them by the other inhabitents of Middle Earth are so
great that the chances of them turning "good" is practicaly
- Here comes the "are Orcs inherently Evil" discussion
again..... - dudalb
- I sincerely apologize - Blue
if the discussions which I lead here do not live up to the high
standards of scholarship, sophistication, and originality which your
own contributions to this board have evidenced. Better yet, sign up
to lead a chapter yourself if you don't think that we're setting the
bar high enough.
- Right on Blue! - Steve
I think it's important to include everyone in the discussion.
And if topics have been brought up it shows they're important.
Return to Book III Discussion Index
- Book III, Chapter 3:
The Uruk Hai - #4 "Uglúk u
bagronk sha pushdug Saruman-glob búbhosh skai" - Blue
There aren't many extensive passages of the Black Speech in LOTR. The
inscription on the Ring is the longest, but here we have what is probably
the second-longest. And, a lovely language it is! Grishnakh's curse is
translated in "Peoples of Middle Earth" as "Uglúk to the cesspool, sha! the
dungfilth; the great Saruman-fool, skai!", and alternately in Vinyar Tengwar
as: "Uglúk to the dung-pit with stinking Saruman-filth, pig-guts, gah." Take
your pick. Which is the "better" translation? But, getting to my real
question. Grishnakh seems, as we've seen earlier, to have a better grasp of
what is going on than most people do. He doesn't seem to think that Saruman
is a terribly trustworthy servant of Mordor. Is he reflecting the attitudes
of his superiors in Mordor, or is this just an example of the inability of
different orc "tribes" to get along?
- The way Ugluk has taken charge - Kimi
seems to have taken Grishnakh by surprise. I don't think he realised how
independant a path Saruman was taking until this happened. I prefer the
second translation as it's the more vulgar! I've no idea which is more
- Fits in with Grishnakh's general perceptiveness - Idril
Grishnakh is clearly more intelligent and well-informed than your
average orc commander. Possibly he's overheard some privileged
information and put it together with some of the rumors flying around
Sauron's army. And, as Narya points out, his opinions are colored by his
loyalty to the Sauron team. BTW, I think this "orcs as sports fans"
metaphor is pretty useful. Many die-hard sports fans exhibit orc-ish
behavior. And it would be difficult to distinguish the behavior of a
band of orcs from, say, British soccer hooligans. :-)
- And we saw some pretty orc like behavior from LA
Lakers fans following their championship.... - dudalb
- Only too true I fear. - Narya
One is hard pressed to tell the difference between an orc and the
average English soccer hooligan, as we know only too well over here.
Even the wise cannot see all ends.
- Grishy is just supporting his own team - Narya
A bit like the average English soccer hooligan, really. Ugluk is his
rival, and is working for Saruman. Saruman is a Cesspool! Sauron Rules!
You'll never walk alone! Etc, etc, etc. What we have here is the same
kind of rivalry that we see in everyday life, be it between Manchester
United and Leeds United Fans, or Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins (?
that's right isn't it?) fans, only taken to a more depraved level. The
political reality of the Sauron/Saruman situation is not of immediate
concern to either Grishnak or Ugluk (despite it's obvious actual
influence). All that matters is that they hate each other because they
belong to opposing teams. Even the wise cannot see all ends.
- And the fact that Grishy expects a nice reward
from "Sharkey" - dudalb
for bringing in the Hobbits.
- Ooops I meant reward from Sauron.... - dudalb
I admit I get the Grishnak and Ugluk confused as to who is
working for who....
- But that is a nice insult. Have to use it
on LA Dodgers fans...."Dodger Stadium is a cesspool".... - dudalb
- LOL! But I had nothing to do with it,
OK! - Narya
Return to Book III Discussion Index
- Book III, Chapter 3:
The Uruk Hai - #5 "All the
pay and praise in Lugburz" - Blue
We very rarely have any mention of money in LOTR. In "Strider", Frodo is
concerned that he has fallen in with a rascal, and realized uncomfortably
that he had only brought a little money with him, certainly not enough to
satisfy a rogue. In "A Knife in the Dark", Bill Ferny insists on 12 silver
pennies to sell Bill the Pony, and Barliman gives Merry 18 pence more as
compensation for the other lost animals. This is one of the few other
passages in which I can recall any reference to money. Ugluk refuses to
follow Grishnakh's plan to meet with the winged Nazgul on the other side of
the river, because he knows that the prisoners would simply be taken from
him, and the others would get "all the pay and praise in Lugburz", while he
and his men would be forced to return alone to Isengard across Rohan. Can
anyone think of any other instance in which money is mentioned? Clearly,
there has to be money in a world like Middle Earth - it can't operate solely
on barter. In addition, isn't it interesting that the Orcs are not merely
slaves - fed and housed, and undoubtedly permitted to keep the less valuable
spoils of war to themselves, but otherwise uncompensated. They are
apparently paid as well. How does this fact alter, in any way, our
conception of what orc society in Mordor is all about?
- And what on earth could you spend money on in Mordor? - Kimi
Gambling? Opium dens? Perhaps orcs sign up for a certain term, and get
to retire to the shores of Lake Nurnen in their old age, so in the mean
time they're saving for their retirement. If they're immortal like
Elves, it'd be a long retirement. It's interesting that the other
mentions of money are in Bree (and possibly in the Shire, though I can't
think of any at the moment), which is more like our modern world than
the rest of Middle-earth.
- I bet off-road racing is pretty popular... - Bullroarer
Bottled Natural Spring Water? Lawn chairs? Mutual Funds? I have
feeling that if I was Mordor I'd be perfectly willing, nay, eager to
spend LOTS of money on LOTS of things.
- I bet there's quite the black market there. - Annael
For one thing, food can't be grown there and has to be brought in -
I bet a nice steak is worth a lot in Mordor!
- And for another, I'll bet the more ambious
orcs... - Patty
want bigger, nicer housing, more ritzy clothing, etc. just like
we all want. As we discussed in the "are orcs all bad"
discussion I'll bet they have many of the same wants we have,
but a nicer hovel is still a hovel...
- "Black" market -- ar ar - Bullroarer
- a way out of mordor? - Aiya
Seriously- the only thing I can imagine spending money on in Mordor
is something to make it bearable- for Orcs I'd imagine alcohol,
drugs, etc... my biggest problem is picturing orc towns and whatnot
where they would spend the money- I know that towns of men were
mentioned- but even under these circumstances (sauron in a bad mood)
I can't imagine orcs & men tolerating each other enough to trade &
live together. I know Saruman forced them too- but it seems that
Mordor is 'home' (sad to say) and that men and orcs would be more
- Yes, drugs/alcohol/gambling seem the most
likely to me - Kimi
As you say, ways to make their lives a little more bearable.
They're also things often resorted to by soldiers. And then
there's sex, but that's too tricky a subject when it comes to
orcs. Or when it comes to LOTR, at that.
- With the powers that exist in Middle-Earth - Bullroarer
It seems to me that acquiring wealth is less important than making the
proper alliances. Is an orc's position going to be materially altered
because of more money? I tend to doubt it, since they still live in
Mordor, they still slave for Sauron and they still get hunted down and
killed by any elves they run across. Racial characteristics, ancestry
and having the right overlord are far more influential in people's
- Tolkien does not seem interested in economics
much..... - dudalb
And that is the weakest most underveloped part of Middle Earth. Like
he never mentions the food sources for RIvendell and Lorien.They
must have farms somewhere....
Return to Book III Discussion Index
- Book III, Chapter 3:
The Uruk Hai - #6 "His treatment
worked swiftly" - Blue
In the course of his capture, Merry is wounded - cut fairly seriously in the
forehead. In addition, Pippin is whipped about the legs. When the orcs need
to have them run, Ugluk treats them. He gives Pippin a drink from a flask of
liquid, which makes the pain in his legs and ankles vanish. He smears a
dark substance on Merry's wound, and gives him a drink as well. We are told
that the treatment worked swiftly, and the gash on Merry's forehead never
troubled him again, although he was left with a brown scar. We had several
long discussions about Aragorn's healing abilities, and those of Elrond in
Rivendell. But, it occurred to me that this healing episode with Ugluk,
Merry and Pippin is nearly as remarkable as any of those. We are told a
little later that the warmth of the orc-draught wears off, and Pippin feels
cold and sick again, but the instantaneous nature of these "cures" seems
almost as magical as Aragorn's use of Athelas. Could it be that a bit of
the original elven heritage of these orcs is preserved in their skill in
healing? Any thoughts? Other theories?
- I almost hate to bring this up. - Steve
Tolkien's description of the effects of orc-draught seem awfully
realistic. Do you think he had personal experience with drugs?
- What he did have experience of, Steve, - Kimi
was being ill and in a field hospital in WWI. I imagine that painful
but brutally effective antiseptics were commonly used. The orc-draught
certainly doesn't sound like a narcotic; more like a very rough
brandy than anything else.
- kind of what I thought - Steve
That's what I was thinking. About the time he was wounded in
the war. I have the feeling he was addicted to heroin for a
time after this and was able to quit. (before he wrote LOTR)
This is just a feeling on my part. For one thing the power the
Ring has over its victims is like the power that drugs have.
- Different goals - Idril
Orc healing is geared toward getting a wounded fighter back in action.
Elvish and Numenorian healing is geared toward making the injured person
whole again. These are very different philosophies. The lotion that
healed Merry's gash is a case in point. Orcs would care only that the
cut had stopped bleeding and would be proud of their scars. (Besides, a
brown scar would not show up so prominently on darker Orc skin.) An
Elvish healer, on the other hand, would probably feel like a failure if
a patient was healed of a deep cut but left with a scar that was so
visible. I also like Nenya's point that the corrupted and incomplete
nature of orc healing is part of their general debasement and fall.
They seem incapable of true healing; it's either a temporary palliative
or a rough, incomplete patch job. I also suspect that seriously
wounded Orcs -- ones who are too badly injured for these temporary
measures to work -- are put out of their misery by their comrades. (And
by their enemies, since nobody ever seems to take pity on the Orcs,
least of all themselves.) I can't envision Orcs taking the time to
collect their seriously wounded comrades, and neither Saruman nor Sauron
seems like the type of tyrant who would provide field hospitals and the
like (beyond having Orc commanders carrying the kind of rough and ready
medicines we see used on Merry).
- "put them out of their misery?" Um...I guess.. - Patty
there's a kind of humanity there...
- Orcs have no Elvish "Heritage!" They are a race of
their own, and any connection to Elves was lost at the moment they were
corrupted by Melkor. This "healing" phenomenon is little different than
a modern homeless person gaining "warmth" from a bottle of cheap
whiskey. - FingonOfPittsburgh
- And I'd like to add this: We have no definitive
evidence as to the EXACT origin of Orcs. It would be imprudent for
us to assume that they are actually a corruption of Elves, though
Tolkien himself suggests that this was the common theory at the time
of their first appearance. - FingonOfPittsburgh
- I respectfully disagree - Blue
While one may raise the valid point that no-one except Morgoth
"knows" what the origin of orcs really was, we have both the
statements in the Silmarillion that the Eldar believed that the
orcs were corrupted elves, as well as Treebeard's statement on
the origins of both orcs and trolls as corrupted elves and ents,
respectively. And, one must, proceed from the assumption that,
although there is a possibility that these accounts are
mistaken, there is within them the kernel of truth that Morgoth
is incapable of creating life ex nihil - these creatures must
have their origin in other incarnate beings. Now, later in life,
JRRT proposed an alternate theory for the origins of orcs, which
is contained in HOME X "Morgoth's Ring". He found the elven
origin or orcs to be problematical in several respects, and
posited a human origin instead. This posed its own problems,
particularly in the area of life-spans. Many of the orcs have
extraordinary lifespans and appear to be immortal - consistent
with an elven origin and quite inconsistent with a human origin.
This he attempts to solve by suggesting that since Morgoth had
many maiar-level followers, some of them could have adopted
corporeal form similar to that of the orcs, which would explain
the apparent immortality of some of them. One problem that is
not solved is that orcs first appear in the Silmarillion long
before the awakening of men. Unless all of these early orcs
(who, it should be noted, seem to die a lot more easily than I
would imagine a fallen maiar would) are embodied fallen maiar,
the human origin theory has a pretty major problem. My own
theory is that both explanations are equally valid and not
inconsistent or mutally exclusive. Tolkien says in his letters
that orcs are corrupted beings, but no more so than many men are
today (or, rather as of his writing - though I doubt that he
would assess modern society any more favorably). So why not
multiple origins? Orcs could be corrupted elves, and humans, and
hobbits...maybe dwarves too. I have expressed several times my
pet theory that one of the reasons that Sam and Frodo are not
discovered in Mordor when made to march with the other small
Snaga-orcs is that at least some of them are bred from the
proto-hobbit folk along the Anduin who were Smeagol and Deagol's
forefathers. And, maybe the reason that the Misty Mountain orcs
are so stubbornly bent on avenging themselves against the
Fellowship is that they have inherited the stubborness of
dwarves, from whom some of them may have been bred. Just a
theory, but a darned good one. But, I also don't think that the
process of turning elves, men, hobbits or dwarves into orcs can
fundamentally change what they are. They are corrupted beings,
to be sure. The elves love for the evening and starlight is
turned into an inabilty of orcs to endure the sunlight, for
example. And, in the example above, I suspect that the elvish
ability and capacity for healing is perhaps preserved, although
in corrupted and debased form, in Ugluk's rather remarkable
abilities. By the way...I doubt a swig from a bottle of MadDog
20-20 would enable any wino I've ever met to run all night
cross-country until the buzz wore off! There's something more at
- "Remarkable" abilities? - FingonOfPittsburgh
I saw little remarkable in Ugluk's "healing" of the hobbits.
He merely pulled back their heads and poured down their
throats his foul elixir. I sincerely doubt that he had spent
previous evenings at home brewing this potion, pouring his
love, attention, and own being into it (as the Elves do with
Lembas, for example). Thus, he should not be seen as
"healing" them, as Aragorn and Elrond were able to heal
people. I would also question the notion that the Orcs'
hatred for the sunlight is a corruption of their "Elvish
heritage." My own theory is that the "corruption" of natural
beings into orcs was not an ongoing process. I believe
Melkor took one original group of captured, enslaved Elves
and twisted them, as Tolkien says, into orcs. At that
moment, I believe, they were then a race apart. Other than
their humanoid forms, I do not see them retaining any other
Elvish characteristics. To be sure, there was later evil at
work, such as the mysterious origins of the Uruk-Hai, but to
suggest that there were hobbit-orcs, dwarf-orcs, etc is, as
you've admitted, merely a speculative pet theory, as one
might expect Tolkien to have mentioned something this
extraordinary at some point. By the way - I certainly did
not mean to draw any comparisons between the orc draught and
"Mad-Dog 20-20." I doubt that one would drink the orc
draught to achieve the same purposes. Thus, one would be
hard-pressed to expect a wino's intoxicated reaction to
Mad-Dog to be at all similar to a hobbit being driven by
- Assuming that by "Mad Dog 20-20" Blue
means whiskey... - Bullroarer
Which, unless this is some weird Michigan thing I don't
know about, is what I assume, then your statement: ****
By the way - I certainly did not mean to draw any
comparisons between the orc draught and "Mad-Dog 20-20."
I doubt that one would drink the orc draught to achieve
the same purposes. Thus, one would be hard-pressed to
expect a wino's intoxicated reaction to Mad-Dog to be at
all similar to a hobbit being driven by terrible orcs.
**** Is a direct contradiction of what you said in your
first message. If the above statement is in fact your
opinion, then this whole discussion has been pointless.
Which is it?
- Mad Dog 20/20 - Blue
is a sweet, highly fortified, very cheap wine made
by Mogen David (MD = Mad Dog). Along with similar
products like Richard's Wild Irish Rose, the cheap,
sweet buzz makes it a fave among winos...and other
- I'll try to avoid being
pointless... - FingonOfPittsburgh
Post #1 Summary - Orc draught may provide temporary
strength and endurance, yet fails to heal; Alcohol
may provide temporary "warmth," yet fails to
ultimately warm. Post #2 Summary - People drink
Mad-Dog to get drunk, not run all night; Orcs drink
orc draught to run all night, not get drunk Clear?
As for Michigan, I can't help you there.
- I misread your post. - Bullroarer
I see now the analogy you were drawing and
apologize. However, I do think the analogy is
flawed. You're saying that the orc treatments
did not in fact heal the hobbits but simply made
it possible for them to ignore their wounds and
run. But Tolkien clearly states that Merry's cut
was healed. It never troubled him again. So
obviously the treatment is in fact healing them.
There's nothing illusory about it, unlike the
"warmth" of our good old Mad Dog 20-20. Nobody
can help me with Michigan. It's just my cross to
- Er Fingon, could you put your message in the
message box? - Annael
Thank you. Otherwise the thread becomes hard to see.
- i've wondered about this before.. - Aiya
And it seems like a necessity for orcs to have. That is not a society
that cares for the wounded by letting them rest & heal in their own
time. They would need a way to heal almost instantly- or if not heal-
be able to fight well enough as no matter.. It always seemed (to me
anyway) that this instanto-healing was something the orcs devised
themselves as a way to try & survive beyond the battle. Sauron &
Saruman both seem to have enough orcs to spare- so they wouldn't be
concerned with saving a few.
- A mimicry of the Elves - Ophelia
There's no reason why the orcs shouldn't retain some of the Elvish
skill of healing and making potions to do so. The orc-draught seems
a lot like miruvor to me. Perhaps the orcs lost the real ways of
healing, but still had the inner abilities of healers and saw the
need to use them
- It was a corrupted mimicry of true healing. - Nenya
Although the orc's healing worked on open cuts, it left scar tissue
behind instead healthy flesh. This "healing" craft only left the
ill with a temporary feeling of improvement, not cured. It was an
art built much like the orcs themselves, which were meant to be
copies of Elven kind, but ended up only as grotesque parodies. The
magic in the healing was the dark magic of Sauron or Saruman, who
(pardon the inevitable Star Wars simile here) followed the same path
to the Dark Side. The magic was neither as strong nor as potent as
Aragorn's healing because of it's debased origins
- These might both be Saruman's recipes - Kimi
and therefore somewhat "magical", in the same sense as you're using the
word. They would be useful recipes to send out with an army.
- So, orc draught and miruvor are like... - Patty
Mad Dog versus M and R asti spumonte--the buzz is the same, but did
you enjoy it going down?
Return to Book III Discussion Index
- Book III, Chapter 3:
The Uruk Hai - Summing Up - Blue Wizard
Here we have a change in POV, having seen all of FOTR through Frodo's eyes,
and the first two chapters of TTT through Aragorn's. Pippin, the youngest of
the travelers finds himself quite literally a piece of baggage at the hands
of the orcs. He finds, to his amazement, that the orcs, far from being a
faceless, nameless horde, are quite different from group to group and
individual to individual, and that their leaders at least have a great deal
more information and knowledge about the strategies and politics of the
upcoming war that we might expect from them. Almost without thinking, and by
happy accident of the strife among the orc factions, he devises an escape
plan. Grishnakh, one of Sauron's orc captains, attempts to escape with the
captives and avoid the Roherrim attack, but is slain in the process. Merry
and Pippin make their way to the edges of Fangorn Forest as the battle comes
to its climax. Post of the week goes to Idril for her post on the origins of
orcs. Thank you all and sundry for your participation this week. I
apologize for the shortened discussion, but other Wizardly duties took
priority. As always, it is a privilege and a pleasure to lead a discussion
- Thanks Blue - Steve
I think we had a really interseting discussion and covered some very
- as always a great summing up, thanks Blue! - leo
no worries about the shortened discussion, all the interesting points
- Thanks, Blue! - GaladrielTX
- Thanx blue- - Aiya
It's interesting to see this chpt through other peoples eyes- I'll admit
that this is probably my least favorite chapter- so kudos to you for
actually making me interested in it again :)
- Thank you, Blue, for your thought-provoking
questions. - Kimi
- Thanks, Blue, for leading this real "he-man"chapter! - Patty
- Thanks for leading. Not bad for a short week and a
busy schedule! - septembrist
- What in the world are you apologizing for? - Nenya
The discussions were wonderful, thanks in no small part to your
questions. I may not have posted much, but I didn't miss a submission.
Thanks for leading, Blue.
- Thanks for leading the discussion, Blue! - Idril
I never realized there was so much to this chapter!
Return to Book III Discussion Index