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Topic: orcs life span and another ?

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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Date: Mar 3, 2013
orcs life span and another ?

Do any of the books state the natural life span of an orc? By natural life span, I mean assuming that they aren't killed in battle, by each other or any unnatural death.

Second question is, what do people think about the way orcs are visually presented in the movies. If the orcs were originally elves, but twisted and deformed, are they done well by PJ?



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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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In regards to their age - I think it depends on their origins. If you go for the Elf origin theory then it seems that as well as losing their immortality their lifespans probably diminished so much as to be comparable to ordinary men.

If you go for the Man orgin theory then I guess their lifespans are probably about the same and wouldn't have altered.

I don't remember any specific numbers given though.


I think the orcs are slightly over done in the films - artistic license I suppose. I think they need to be slightly less monster-looking to be more in keeping with the lore. There were some orcs - like the goblins in Moria - that were clearly way overdone.

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Tom Bombadil
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I definitely agree with you my dear Bilbo. If they would have shown the movie with orcs the way PJ portrays them when I was a kid, my mother, on doctor's orders, would not have allowed me to see them because of the horribly graphic content.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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To me the Man idea does not fit the timeline. Orcs appear in Beleriand before Men awakening, during Morgoths captivity. If we assume only Morgoth among the dark powers can create a new race, what he has had an opportunity to corrupt before are Elves. Also the Man awakening correlates with the appearance of the Sun, why would Morgoth then afterwards make them vulnerable to the Sun (a weakness). 

On the other hand when one compares the generally shorter height of the Orcs, what I like better is a dwarven origin. That would also explain the mutual hatred they usually are said to have, compared to the more indifferent Elves. If Morgoth created Trolls as a counterpart to the "artficial" Ents of Yavanna, then he may have been "allowed" to create Orcs as a counterpart to the "artficial" Dwarves of Aule as well. I like the symmetry, but someone is sure to point out CT's interpretations of the material does not support it.

The Orcs could maybe have used some more special effects in the movie, my impression is they all seem like Uruks (that would have cheapened production as well I assume, making room for more content). I was on the other hand a bit disappointed with some of the FX such as Ents, somehow too obviously computer generated.



-- Edited by Mandos on Monday 4th of March 2013 07:42:36 AM

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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Date: Mar 4, 2013

I agree, Mandos, that the Man theory doesn't really work for the reasons you stated. But, I don't think that the Elves were indifferent towards the orcs. I just feel like the Dwarves are more intense in vocalizing how they feel about people/things they hate. But, I had never heard the Dwarf origin theory either. I'll have to look into that one.

Glad to hear that I'm not the only one that thought the orcs were overdone in the films. I, like Arwen, agree that they are a bit much for younger audiences which is why I was so surprised to see such young children in the theatre. But, I thought the Uruks were done pretty well, in that they were more a blend of orc/man things that are described in the book. I do wonder though, were they all destroyed after the battle at Helm's Deep and at Isengard with the Ents? Did the Huorns get the all because we don't see them after these two battles?



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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Tolkien was aware he needed to alter the timeline to allow for a Mannish origin, and adjusted it to do so.

 

Also, in my opinion the blend of orcs and men resulted in the Half-orcs not the Uruk-hai... but that is a debate in itself wink

 

As MOS noted there's not a lot of clarity here. Tolkien even asked himself if orcs were 'immortal' in the Elvish sense: 

'It also seems clear (...) that though Melkor could utterly corrupt and ruin individuals, it is not possible to contemplate his absolute perversion of a whole people, or group of peoples, and his making that state heritable. [added later: The latter must (if a fact) be an act of Eru.]'

'In that case Elves, as a source, are very unlikely. And are Orcs 'immortal' in the Elvish sense? Or Trolls? (...)'

JRRT, Myths Transformed, Morgoth's Ring

 

But in the same text, JRRT goes on to conclude (at least here) that Orcs were beasts, but:

 

 


'It remains therefore terribly possible there was an Elvish strain in the Orcs. These may then have been mated with beasts (sterile!) -- and later Men. Their life-span would be diminished. And dying they would go the Mandos and be held in prison till the end.'

 

In another text, where Orcs are said to be corrupted Men rather, it is said that the Orcs were not immortal (not surprisingly) and: '... indeed they appear to have been by nature short-lived compared to the span of Men of higher race, such as the Edain.'

Tolkien had a bit of trouble deciding about the ultimate stock of 'regular' Orcs, but a fairly consistent idea in these various 'orc musings on paper' (published in Morgoth's Ring, as noted already) is that of the long lived Orc-formed Maiar -- Maiar who had taken on the visible forms of orcs.

How old is Bolg son of Azog, by the way biggrin



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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Thank you, Galin. And I have no idea how old Bolg is. But, I had also wondered about orc procreation and decided that was a subject that was kinda foul to think about.

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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'... indeed they appear to have been by nature short-lived compared to the span of Men of higher race, such as the Edain.'

Judging from that wouldn't this place the average age for orcs somewhere between that of common Men and Dwarves? Maybe 100-150 years?

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