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Topic: Difference between orcs and goblins?

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Date: Sep 30, 2006
RE: Difference between orcs and goblins?

they looked all similar to me...they just made strange noises
anyway, also off-topic, my favourite Orc in the movies has to be the Orc from the EE of ROTK, when Sam and Frodo reach Isenmouthe and a strange Orc comes to count them, and notices that Frodo and Sam look different from all other Orcs, and then makes such a funny screaming sound...

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Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Chief Maiar
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Oooh, interesting, thank you for your answers :).

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Soldier of the East - Rank 4
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TM, is that in the revised RotK movie? Because I don't remember that part.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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yes, it is in the extended edition.
I think that orc really looks and sounds funny...LOL
the extended edition is indeed better then the normal movie. of course there are again a lot of scenes that have nothing to do with the book, but at least the story is presented more clearly. for example in the ee you actually understand how Aragorn got in the corsair's boat in the first place (that is if you haven't read the book).

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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I did a little looking into the goblins of Macdonald, if anyone's interested. First JRRT with a mention of the 'soft feet'...
 

'They [Orcs] are not based on direct experience of mine; but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (goblin is used as a translation in The Hobbit, where orc only occurs once, I think), especially as it appears in George MacDonald, except for the soft feet which I never believed in.' JRRT letters

 
Some description about goblins from George MacDonald...

'Now in these subterranean caverns lived a strange race of beings, called by some gnomes, by some kobolds, by some goblins. There was a legend current in the country that at one time they lived above ground, and were very like other people. But for some reason or other, concerning which there were different legendary theories, the King had laid what they thought too severe taxes upon them, or had required observances of them they did not like, or had begun to treat them with more severity, in some way or other, and impose stricter laws; and the consequence was that they had all disappeared from the face of the country. According to the legend however, instead of going to some other country, they had all taken refuge in the subterranean caverns, whence they never came out but at night, and then seldom showed themselves in any numbers, and never to many people at once. It was only in the least frequented and most difficult parts of the mountains that they were said to gather even at night in the open air. Those who had caught sight of any of them said that they had greatly altered in the course of generations; and no wonder, seeing they lived away from the sun, in cold and wet and dark places. They were now, not ordinarily ugly, but either absolutely hideous, or ludicrously grotesque both in face and form. There was no invention, they said, of the most lawless imagination expressed by pen or pencil, that could surpass the extravagance of their appearance. But I suspect those who said so had mistaken some of their animal companions for the goblins themselves -- of which more by and by. The goblins themselves were not so far removed from the human as such a description would imply. And as they grew misshapen in body they had grown in knowledge and cleverness, and now were able to do things no mortal could see the possibility of. But as they grew in cunning, they grew in mischief, and their great delight was in every way they could think of to annoy the people who lived in the open-air storey above them. They had enough of affection left for each other to preserve them from being absolutely cruel for cruelty's sake to those that came in their way; but still they so heartily cherished the ancestral grudge against those who occupied their former possessions, and especially against the descendants of the king who had caused their expulsion, that they sought every opportunity of tormenting them in ways that were as odd as their inventors; and although dwarfed and mishapen, they had strength equal to their cunning. In the process of time they had got a king and a government of their own, whose chief business, beyond their own simple affairs, was to devise trouble for their neighbours. It will now be pretty evident why the little princess had never seen the sky at night. They were much too afraid of the goblins to let her out of the house then, even in company with ever so many attendants; and they had good reason, as we shall see by and by.'  Why The Princess Has A Story The Princess and the Goblin, George MacDonald


The feet of these goblins appears to be their weak point (the toeless goblin feet). According to some goblin conversation...



'Well, to be honest, it is a goblin's weakness. Why they come so soft, I declare I haven't an idea'.


'Specially when your head's so hard, you know father'


'Yes my boy. The goblin's glory is his head. To think how the fellows up above there have to put on helmets and things when they go fighting! Ha! Ha!' The Goblins


[there seems to be an issue concerning fingers too]  'Indeed, he had not been able even to satisfy himself as to whether thay had no fingers, although that also was commonly said to be the fact.' The Goblins


Anyway, more on 'goblin-heads'...



'For, while each knight was busy defending himself as well as he could, by stabs in the thick bodies of the goblins, for he had soon found their heads all but invulnerable, the queen...' The Goblins In The King's House


Other possible tales about goblins aside, about 'goblin-heads' in any case: I note that the Great Goblin in The Hobbit was a tremendous goblin with a huge head, and (The Return of the King) Azog was described as a great Orc with a huge iron-clad head. 



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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very interesting post Galin, I enjoyed reading it...it is indeed an interesting legend, though I also find the soft feet a little bit strange

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Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Thanks! And I might as well add my voice regarding the main topic of the thread (erm... cough... whether or not anyone wants to hear it at this point) 


No difference  


Tolkien's note on English 'goblin' (not a word spoken in Middle-earth of course) as a translation for Orc is indeed key.   



-- Edited by Galin at 14:19, 2006-12-05

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Slaves of Udun - Rank 1
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theres really not much diference in looks,but i think orcs were a bit smarter, orcs could also craft better weapons & Armor

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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There are different kinds of goblins just as there are different kinds of dogs, but if I merely translate the German word hund with English 'dog' (for example) I do not intend any distinction by that, and the same goes for English 'goblin' and Orc.

It's like Quendi and 'Elves' (for another Tolkien example): there are different clans of Elves but Quendi is just an Elvish word translated by 'Elves'.

-- Edited by Galin at 04:41, 2008-07-23

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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You are definitely right in what you say Galin, and Kadaj, please consider this a friendly advice, read the whole thread (even though it might take a while) before you post, some of your questions or uncertainties might get solved sooner

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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If I missed someone pointing it out already, apologies, but there is indeed an instance where Saruman's Isengarders (Uruk-hai of course) are referred to as 'goblin-soldiers'... after the death of Boromir and a look at the slain.

Galin

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Well aren't Uruk-hai a cross breed of Saruman from Goblins and Men? Or is this just something which the films say?

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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I'm not sure what the films say but the debate lives on regarding the Uruk-hai.

The short answer is: not necessarily smile


-- Edited by Galin at 12:15, 2007-04-20

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Men of Numenor - Rank 1
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goblins are smaller and weaker and like to fight in the dark
orcs are biggerand stronger and like to fight in the open
there is no differents in them but their size and fighting stile.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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kinganarion...if you take a look at the things already mentioned in this thread, I think you will also come to the conclusion that what you just said makes no sense.
Tolkien stated they are one and the same, goblin is just another name for Orcs.
There is no difference in size or fighting style...and actually, why do you say that?

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I can see what he means. He is thinking of the Goblins we saw in the films in Moria. They were smaller and more hunched and weaker than the Orc-warriors that we saw in Mordor. I also believed that there may be a subtle difference between the two but now I think that Orc is simply another word for Goblin.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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ROTK Appendix F, Of Other Races:

"Orcs and the black speech. 
Orc is the form of the name that other races had for this foul people as it was in the language of Rohan.  In Sindarin it was orch.  Related, no doubt, was the word uruk of the Black Speech, though this was applied as a rule only to the great soldier-orcs that at this time issued from Mordor and Isengard.  The lesser kinds were called, especially by the Uruk-hai, snaga 'slave'."

The only part of that appendix of consiquence here.  The rest goes on to talk about the Black Speech and its origins.  However, this does clarify where the term orc came from, though not the use of goblins in The Hobbit, (which I beleive, as mentioned earlier was because The Hobbit was geared more as a childrens novel).  I did not quite follow the differentiation between uruk-hai and half-orcs that was mentioned earlier in the thread...

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Right, more evidence in my opinion that Orc is an internal word. Tolkien's 'other races' here includes Hobbits.

Tolkien could have put the same information from the revised Hobbit in Appendix F 'On translation' (or somewhere), but well, he ultimately put it in The Hobbit where the translation 'goblin' (not an internal word) often appears.

-- Edited by Galin at 14:51, 2007-08-10

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Elves of the Third Age - Rank 1
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Well, I feel like I'm repeating what's already been said - but I'm new and I wnated to get involved and share my own opinion:

Goblins are definately the underground ones - they don't seem to respond to any Higher Evil Being - they are just there. I actually think that their bug eyes are cute!! Heehee - I love them in the FOTR film. (I'm so weird!!).

Orcs on the other hand were created for the purpose of slavery to another being - and are rarely underground. They don't really look the same. Of course we know, Orcs are mutilated elves. But the Orcs of Isengard were a Hybrid of Hobgoblin and Mountain Men weren't they? So different species of the same breed perhaps?

Orcs are definately repulsive - but I do find their converstaions quite funny!! The Goblins don't seem to have discovered the power of speech yet. Orcs are a lot more human than Goblins. Goblins seem more animal to me.

mj

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Mythical Melanie, surely your opinion is welcome but I think you maybe are being influenced by the films here. When you say, for example: 'The Goblins don't seem to have discovered the power of speech yet.'

But in The Hobbit the Goblins sing and talk; and in the chapter The Uruk-hai, the Northerners (described as smaller goblins) speak to the Uruk-hai. I don't know the films well, but maybe there is something in them that leads one to believe goblins can't speak?

Actually, this whole encounter (in the books) with the three 'kinds' of Orcs helps show the Reader that 'goblin' is used to refer to all of them, including the Uruk-hai (larger Orcs in the service of Saruman), the Northerners (many smaller orcs that came from the Mines for revenge), and Grishnakh himself (a Mordorian Orc) is also referred to as a goblin.

And the answer is simple enough: 'goblin' is just an English word sometimes used to translate Orc.

The thread title is kind of like asking what is the difference between the Quendi and the 'Elves' -- no difference, as 'Elf' is but an English word used in translation. No modern reader knows what Quendi means until it's rendered into the language of translation (English, French, Welsh, German etc) . The word 'Elf' was not the best word in translation, because it carried modern associations that Tolkien disliked (see Appendix F), but still he used it, and 'Elves' is also used to translate the word Eldar too.

Of course today, many people might know what an Orc is, but that's because the word is now sort of well known in certain circles. Tolkien himself stated in The Hobbit however, that Orc is not an English word and it has usually (thus not always, though 'usually' in The Hobbit at least) been translated with English 'goblin'. 

Keep in mind that Tolkien imagined the whole story to be written in ancient languages that no one today could understand, no one spoke English back in Frodo's day of course, and no one actually used the word 'goblin' -- actual words used in Frodo's day were Orch (used by Elves) Orc (used by Hobbits) for example, and uruk. These words could be translated with English 'goblin' (though by usage uruk came to refer to 'great soldier orcs' as opposed to lesser kinds).

Again I can't remember the films very well, but even when Tolkien mused on some Orcs being the result not of twisted Elves but of twisted animals, even then they had the power of speech, though of a certain 'kind' of talking...

'The Orcs were beasts of humanized shape (to mock Men and Elves) deliberately perverted/converted into a more close resemblance to Men. Their 'talking' was really reeling off 'records' set in them by Melkor.' JRRT, Text VIII Orcs Morgoth's Ring

Of course JRRT seems to have abandoned this idea that Orcs were perverted beasts (though this issue of Orcs is more complicated than the constructed Silmarillion suggests), but my point is, even here, when the Orcs were (essentially) perverted beasts, they could yet speak in some measure at least. 

Sorry to ramble on smile


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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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mj,
I found a wonderful little page on the web that specifically speaks of orcs in Tolkien's works and the roots from which they came. It prints out at 10 pgs.  But it also has wonderful links.

Here is the site address and the brief blurb as an introduction.;
Orc (Middle-earth)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orc_(Middle-earth)
    "In J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings, Orcs or Orks are a race of creatures who are used as soldiers and henchmen by both the greater and lesser villains of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings Morgoth, Sauron and Saruman. The Orcs also work independently as the common antagonists in The Hobbit, though in that work they are called Goblins.
    Although not dim-witted and even crafty, they are portrayed as miserable beings, hating everyone including themselves and their masters, whom they serve out of fear. They make no beautiful things, but rather design cunning devices made to hurt and destroy."


As the Bear, I eat orcs/goblins for breakfast with cream and honey.
They are my mortal enemies and I hunt them all the time.
I have a row of goblin skulls stuck on pikes outside my cave.

I hope the lead will help.

Bear an Elf-Friend


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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Remember though, that Wikipedia articles can change, and are not written by JRRT.

Well obviously, regarding that last part wink

I just went to the page Bear points to, and while I agree with the statement there that: 'The word 'goblin' is used to represent the original Hobbit Orc.' The same page also states: 'In The Lord of the Rings, Orc is used predominantly, and goblin appears mostly in the Hobbits' speech.'

But out of 12 instances of the word 'goblin' in The Lord of the Rings (if that is every instance anyway, but I counted 12 so far without the aid of a computer), only 3 are found to be a Hobbit speaking or thinking (Merry uses the word twice, and Frodo appears to be thinking his statement). The only chapter (so far by my count) to have more than one instance of the word goblin is The Uruk-hai, with a comparatively 'whopping' 4 examples. 

So while a goblin should probably be wary of bear(s) biggrin

I would add be somewhat wary of Wikipedia too, even though there can be helpful information there, as the good Bear no doubt intends.

-- Edited by Galin at 18:04, 2008-07-23

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Tom Bombadil
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In the movie, Sandman in or one of the others at the Table in the Green Dragon said:" The woods are fair teeming with Goblins" Did orcs really travel that far away from Sauron?

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Galin,
Thank you.  And I agree...Tolkien himself should be the ultimate authority.
But...

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Arwen, in The Shadow of the Past it was said: 'From there the power was spreading far and wide, and away far east and south there were wars and growing fear. Orcs were multiplying again in the mountains. Trolls were abroad...'

Later (The Old Forest) Merry says he doesn't believe the old bogey-stories Fatty's nurses used to tell him about the Old Forest -- the stories, at least, appear to have included goblins.

In any case, more generally speaking, there were Orcs at Greenfields in the Northfarthing, where (and when) Bullroarer defeated them.

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