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Topic: Difference between Orcs and Uruk-hai?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Aug 31, 2011
Difference between Orcs and Uruk-hai?

Im not sure about you but I am very confused about the creation of Orcs!  

 

  

 

Saruman say's they were once elves, but arent they supposed to be made of mud?

And what is the difference between Orcs and Uruk-hai?



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Estel Laviel.

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They were definatly not made of mud. I assume the film clip is where you got that impression but no, the origins of orcs is a long story. For the sake of keeping it short it goes like this.

In the first age a Valar named Melkor, renamed Morgoth, captured many elves and made in there liking the orcs. How he managed this feat is beyond my knowledge. The Uruk-hai were created in the third age by Morgoth's greatest servant, Sauron. He took the orcs and made them stronger. More liken to men than before. They were taller, stronger and could be out in the sun more easily then the orcs. They (the Uruk-hai) believed themselves to be superior to orcs in every way. And I tend to agree. Make sense?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Yes! Except what is a Valar? I have just started reading The Fellowship Of The Ring for the first time so Im not sure if it mentions that in the book, but it doesnt in the films.



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Estel Laviel.

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Oh I'm sorry I didn't explain that properly. In the begining before men or elves or evil there were the Ainur. They were became know as the lesser, the maiar. Those like, Sauron and Gandalf, and Saruman. And the other group of Ainur was the Valar. The greater. Beings so great and wonderful I can't properly explain. Their stories lie between the pages of "the silmarillion" personally Estel I like the silmarillion more then the lord of the rings. Truely a great book :)

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Is that Tolkiens work?



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And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

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Morgoth didn't create the Orcs (he had no power to create)

he could only destroy. The Orcs were most likely Elves that were somehow changed by Morgoth through the dark powers.

I'm still not sure about the Uruk-Hai, or Goblins for that matter.

As for the Valar; I wish I could quote the Silmarillion but I don't have a copy on hand. I'm sure someone else can help. But I would  suggest reading The Silmarillion, it's a wonderful book.biggrin

 

And yes, it is master Tolkien's worksmile

 

p.s. Huan, you explained it quite well



-- Edited by FirstBorn on Wednesday 31st of August 2011 04:38:18 AM



-- Edited by FirstBorn on Wednesday 31st of August 2011 04:40:24 AM

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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I agree with both FirstBorn and Huan on a few points...Orcs (to my understanding) were a perversion of Elves. I believe in the Silmarilliion it was said that many elves went missing in the days of twilight before Aule the hunter came through the lands in a chariot (Maybe Huan could help out here). I think those missing elves became thralls to Morgoth and through torture and dark arts became twisted and foul. As for Uruk-Hai: In the movies Gandalf says something to the affect of 'Saruman is creating an army. He is breeding Orcs with Goblin-men...' which I always found confusing since Tolkien stipulates that Goblins mentioned in The Hobbit were essentially Orcs in LOTR.
What say you?

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I say for starters that I did not mean to imply that Morgoth created the orcs but twisted and deformed the elves as you say into what became orcs. Also what Saruman did, to the best of my knowledge, was twist and morph the races of orcs and men with each other. So great was his skill that many of these so called half-orvs were in fact mistaken for men.

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I think I understand! Orcs were elves mutated and all that. Uruk-hai means Orc folk, i think and Im soooo confused about when they're in The Mines Of Moria. Legolas picks up an arrow and says: Goblins!. But then Frodo's sword glows blue and they're like: Orc's! So who were attacking them? Orc's or Goblin's?

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The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

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And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

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I have come to the conclusion that orcs and goblins are the same race

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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:O never! I think Goblins are shorter and have like pointy heads and pointy ears. Also they sound high pitched :P

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The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

Tom Bombadil
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Gandalf said that Sauron created the uruk-hai from"Orcs and Goblin man" if I am not mistaken. They were not light sensitive, which is strange, because Goblins turned to stone when the sun hit them in the Hobbit, and we know that Orcs are also not lovers of light. Maybe they added men, like the Dunlendings to the mix. Those guys looked nasty enough in the movie.
And the were in Breeding Pools, which was muddy, but they were definitely not made out of mud.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I dont know, you'll have to look in the books appendice (appendix?) :)

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The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Look in the appendix for what?

And Arwen I think it was the trolls that turned to stone in the Hobbit. Its been a while since I read it but I don't remember the goblins turning to stone in the light. They simply didn't like the light and would not venture into it

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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'The Orcs were first bred by the Dark Powers of the North in the Elder Days.' LOTR 50th anniversary edition, appendix F, pg. 1131 "Of Other Races"
This of course was written well after The Hobbit where I think Tolkien changes his mind about the use of the term Goblins.  Maybe the word Goblin implies that the creatures were a little impish and not as threatening as Tolkien intended (just a thought).

In the foreword of The Hobbit, Christopher Tolkien states: 'Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds). Orc is the hobbits' form of the name given at that time to these creatures, and it is not connected at all with our orc, ork, applied to sea-animals of dolphin-kind.'

That quote might me a little vague and inconclusive, but if I had my own way about it I would say that there are tiers of Goblins or Orcs (although essentially the same creature) and they would range in stature from smallest to largest thus:

Goblins
Hobgoblins
Orcs:
          a) Moria Orcs
          b) Mordor Orcs
Uruk-hai

I hope that helps a little Estel.



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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Hmm, well said. I have no problem with the conclusion. Maybe after Uruk-hai id say the half-orc but besides that its all well founded. I stand corrected sir :)

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Hmm, that text about the word orc in The Hobbit was written by JRR Tolkien not Christopher Tolkien...

 

... and I would say it explains that the English word 'goblin' has been used to translate the Westron word orc -- note the explanation includes that orc is not English and was the Hobbit's form of the name given at that time. Thus I see no  difference between an orc and a 'goblin' -- no more than there would be, for example, between a German hund translated 'dog' into English.

 

A hund is not different than a dog, one word merely translates the other, keeping in mind that The Lord of the Rings, according to Tolkien's conceit anyway, was not originally written in modern English of course.

 

Uruk-hai means 'Orc-folk' as already noted, but the 'argument' about what they are (exactly) goes on to this day. In my opinion thay are great soldier orcs, highly trained, especially Saruman's lot.

 

Also, the origin of orcs is a bit of a sticky issue: Tolkien had various ideas about how they came to be and what stock might have been used, but never himself published any of them in detail.



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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Galin, I do believe Tolkien did publish that the origins of orcs were tormented elves. What makes you say that it is still unknown?

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Huan the great hound wrote:
Galin, I do believe Tolkien did publish that the origins of orcs were tormented elves. What makes you say that it is still unknown?

That is what appears in the published version of the Silmarillion and thus is what is generally accepted however that doesn't mean it's set in stone. If there is substantial evidence that Tolkien changed his mind that was only discovered after CT put the Silmarillion together then that might change peoples minds.
Is there such evidence Galin?



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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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I would say if its in the silmarillion it can be taken as fact. There's only a certain amount of second guessing you can do before you drive yourself insane. If its in the Lord of the Rings series or the Hobbit, or the Silmarillion, it can most definatly be considered fact.

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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'If there is substantial evidence that Tolkien changed his mind that was only discovered after CT put the Silmarillion together then that might change peoples minds. Is there such evidence Galin?'

 

Not that you said otherwise, but Christopher Tolkien knew about his father's various orc-origins, including that 'Orcs from Elves' was neither Tolkien's first, nor last idea. The important thing was that Orcs from Elves was from Tolkien's pen, and thus could be considered a candidate for inclusion -- there is little in the 1977 Silmarillion that was invented by Christopher Tolkien or Guy Kay.

 

 

I'll note an example from The Children of Hurin: Christopher Tolkien knew that Turin wore the Helm of Hador when facing Glaurung at Nargothrond, yet since JRRT did not write 'enough' about the Helm of Hador for the entire story, CJRT did not incorporate its further history into the one volume version for readers, but rather the earlier (externally earlier) dwarf-mask instead. The purpose of the one volume version wasn't to inform the reader that Turin 'really' wore the famed Helm, as readers of Unfinished Tales already knew that that was where Tolkien was headed, but to create a consistent version, or at least as well as could be done, and present the tale as a tale, as it was meant to be experienced by the reader -- as compared to a scholarly presentation.   

 

With the Silmarillion material Christopher Tolkien has now also given both a scholarly presentation and a version for the reader who likes to read myth and history interwoven as a tale -- but constructing the latter kind of presentation meant a myriad of choices needed to be made, some of which were connected to others. Why did Christopher Tolkien choose Orcs from Elves for the constructed Silmarillion? He doesn't say, but obviously one can't choose them all for this kind of book; and I think he chose it because:

 

A) (for a somewhat obvious start) it fell in line with the 'great shift' in Tolkien's imagination about Evil and creation. Other beings and beasts could fit this idea of corruption too of course, but for quite a long time Tolkien imagined that Morgoth could, and did, 'create' the orcs without corrupting already existing beings, before he abandoned the notion; so CJRT could rule out that much at least.

 

B) Orcs from Elves is presented as a belief of the Wise of Eressea, not a fact that they themselves witnessed. And granted, they are the Wise... but still.

 

C) Orcs from Elves also fit, or was consistent with, the chronology Christopher Tolkien chose; and one of his aims with the one volume version was consistency. Thus, if true, it fits... or to put it another way, it could be true considering that it also fits the chronology, even though none of the good guys could ever really be certain this was the true origin of orcs.

 

But Tolkien himself however, wasn't sure that even the Wise of Eressea were right. He tinkered with a number of ideas (even at one point, at least, noted that Orcs cannot hail from Elves), and more than one chronology as well. Interestingly, one idea that seems consistent among the various orc essays was that of the orc-formed Maiar -- but they were never imagined as making up the bulk of 'regular orcs' in any event.

 



-- Edited by Galin on Thursday 1st of September 2011 05:26:14 AM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I was saying that maybe the creation of Orcs, Uruk-hai and Goblins might be in the Appendix in one of the books?

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The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Back to the original question, some think the Uruk-hai have mannish blood, or are the result of interbreeding Men and Orcs. There are citations that can be raised in argument for this notion, but nothing certainly conclusive, and the argument can get tangled up with terminology: Uruks versus Uruk-hai. Very complicated. I saw one thread go for pages and pages on whether or not Saruman's Uruk-hai are distinct from Sauron's Uruks, despite the meaning of Uruk-hai itself. The terminology argument goes (which argument I disagree with): all Uruk-hai are Uruks, but not all Uruks are Uruk-hai.

 

The other notion, which I hold to, is that the Half-orcs are the result of (Saruman) interbreeding Orcs with Men, while the Uruk-hai/Uruks are better trained, and generally larger type orcs -- who have been better trained to endure Sunlight than other orcs as well. This can't be proven for certain either, but for me, Uruk-hai is simply a way to pluralize Uruk in the Black Speech, and Uruks is another way to pluralize Uruk, just like Silmarils and Balrogs instead of Silmarilli and Balrogath. Thus my entries would go something like this (my opinion):

 

Snaga -- Black Speech word, translated 'slave' -- lesser type of orc, arguably smaller in general, and less trained.

 

Orc -- Westron word, translated 'goblin', but not always -- refers to any size or kind of orc/goblin. Appendix F notes that other peoples beside Hobbits used this word.

 

large orc -- translated 'Hobgoblin' -- obviously refers to larger types, but this term only appears in The Hobbit, where 'goblin' is most often used as a translation for orc. Tolkien apparently wanted one word for limited use in the story itself -- or used Hobgoblin in any case, and explained it later!

 

Uruk -- Black Speech word translated 'goblin' in English, but in usage this word came to mean 'great soldier goblin' compared to lesser types. Saruman's Uruks generally seem to be the best of the best, possibly because Saruman had less numbers to work with than Sauron, and so trained them even harder -- although the great Orc-chieftain in Moria appears to have been from Mordor, and was a huge (for an orc), well trained warrior himself, judging by his ability to get at Frodo.

 

Uruk-hai -- Black Speech word translated 'goblin-folk' in English, but in usage it would refer to 'great soldier goblin-folk', considering Uruk.

 

Confusingly enough, sometimes Tolkien will use 'orc' in translation, but as we see, technically orc is not an English word, so for consistency Uruk should really be translated 'great soldier goblin'. If you really look in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, one will find that 'goblin' is not reserved for only smaller types; it refers to all types (as does the word it translates), and is even employed in reference to Saruman's Uruk-hai.



-- Edited by Galin on Thursday 1st of September 2011 09:46:37 PM

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I thought the difference between an Uruk and Uruk-hai was that an Uruk was simply a big strong orc, while Uruk-hai implied a 'mannish' blood contribution - in other words Saruman's 'creation', an elite mannish Uruk.

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Were there Uruks aside from the Uruk-hai in Mordor? I was under the impression that before Saruman intervened there were only different variations of Orcs? Don't know....HELP?!?!?!

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There is no difference between uruk-hai and uruks Glor. They are one and the same.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Glorfindel1235 wrote:

I thought the difference between an Uruk and Uruk-hai was that an Uruk was simply a big strong orc, while Uruk-hai implied a 'mannish' blood contribution - in other words Saruman's 'creation', an elite mannish Uruk.


 

Some people do think that, but not me smile

 

And before we knew what -hai meant some debated that this also referred to a mannish descent, but we now know Uruk-hai means Orc-folk' (as was also theoried before the Tolkien-written information came to light).

 

In any case the Uruks first appeared out of Mordor (Appendix A), not Isengard; but as I say the debate goes on as to whether all Uruks are Uruk-hai. Those who say 'no' claim that while Uruk-hai still means 'Orc-folk' it is a special term that correctly refers only to Saruman's Uruks, in usage, and need not include anything about their mannish blood, if they have it (because they still look like 'Orc-folk' in general).

 

Again I disagree with that myself (and think the half-orcs are the half-breeds rathar than the Uruk-hai), but am familiar with the argument anyway.

 

 

 



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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Well said Galin my friend. I completely agree with your opinions on this matter

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Thanks Huan! Though as I say, not everyone agrees with me. It's strange, in Unfinished Tales Tolkien refers to Saruman's great soldier orcs as Uruks (and also at least once in The Lord of the Rings). So we have that part of the puzzle: Saruman's Uruk-hai are Uruks. But are Mordorian Uruks also correctly referred to as Uruk-hai? by its meaning 'Orc-folk' one would think so...

 

... although in The Lord of the Rings I don't think Tolkien ever uses Uruk-hai to refer to any great soldier-orcs of Mordor (he uses Uruks) -- well maybe not 'ever' actually -- as there is one citation where he seems to use Uruk-hai in a Mordorian context: in The Return of the King, in the chapter The Land of Shadow, Sam and Frodo overhear two orcs talking and one says: '... First they say it's a great Elf in bright armour, then it's a sort of small dwarf-man, then it must be a pack of rebel Uruk-hai; or maybe it's all the lot together.'

 

Did this orc really intend to mean that 'they' thought a pack of Orcs from Isengard were possibly involved here? Some claim they did think that, and so, if I recall correctly, so far no one can find a wholly unambiguous reference to Mordorian Uruks as Uruk-hai.

 

I think that's part of the confusion; but I think this is happenstance in any case: if one wanted a plural way, in Black Speech, to refer to Uruks in Mordor, then would Uruk-hai 'Orc-folk' be wrong because that term is (argued to be) exclusive to Saruman's Uruks?

 

I can't buy that myself; although that's only the 'nomenclature' part of the argument biggrin 



-- Edited by Galin on Monday 5th of September 2011 11:02:04 PM

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Tom Bombadil
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Me bad. It were trolls, not Goblins Galin.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I think that the missing wizard and become thralls Morgoth the dark arts of torture and become distorted and foul. Ulu Ridge: Gandalf said things in the film "Saruman's influence is to build an army.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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They are not light sensitive, which is strange, because evil spirits turned to stone when the sun hit the Hobbit, we know, the orcs can not just enthusiasts.

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natsuto,
First let me welcome you to the Tolkien Forums.
I hope you will find your welcome warm and encouraging.
I am just a member here but if I can help in anyway please ask.

 

Second, it is strange that light sensitivity of the Trolls in "The Hobbit" doesn't match the orcs and Uruk-hai in "The Lord of The Rings".

I think part of that question has to do with when Tolkien published his works; "The Hobbit" in 1937AD and "The Lord Of The Rings" in 1954AD.

The complexity seems to have evolved for many reasons; ie. "The Hobbit"  was written for children and  "The Lord of The Rings" was written for adults.

 

While on the Tolkien Forums you find many scholars of Tolkien's works with many view points.

Again, Welcome,

Bear an Elf-Friend



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Tom Bombadil
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Natsuto, kon banwa, I am glad you found our little corner of Middle-earth here in Cyberspace. I am Lady Arwen would also like to welcome you, although I am a Moderator, a rally low level one to be sure, but should you need any kind of special help, let me know.
And to run a printer on a 98 ink cartridge, you must have a really old printer. And here I thought my 11 year old printer was the oldest on this board.

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