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Old 10-15-2002, 08:45 AM   #1
Rimbaud
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Pipe A Rough Draught Of A Topic

The homophone is deliberate, I assure you.

Orc-Draught

There are food-stuffs and potables within Middle-Earth that have a mysterious effect upon body and soul. Lembas and orc draught are the two most often mentioned and it is the latter of these I wish to highlight. Not so much its regenerative powers or even its dubious recipe (although that will doubtless form part of any prospective discussion) but the reactions of Meriadoc and Peregrin to its libation. Incidentally, there are enjoyably light-hearted discussions of these 'performance-enhancing chemicals' here and here, although nothing too serious.

The short term effects of the orc draught appear similar to those of lembas, although a little more rough on the drinker.

Quote:
Uglúk thrust a flask between his teeth and poured some burning liquid down his throat: he felt a hot fierce glow flow through him. The pain in his legs and ankles vanished. He could stand.
(TTT)

Perhaps more like a dram of brandy to the traumatised victim than lembas. In any case, we discover later (sticking to TTT here) that the effects are quite remarkable. The Hobbits keep up with a terrible pace and show startling stamina (mayhaps I should laud their inherent and hitherto unexpected strength at this point)...yet more than all this, they show a layer of cunning beyond that which had been evident before. From this point in the tale, they become far less hapless than before. I find it tricky to describe precisely what I am driving at, but if you bear with me, I shall endeavour to clarify.

The two seem more, for wont of a better phrase, orc-like. More akin to the twisted ones, as it were. Pippin has the cunning to slip away from the guards at one point - an action that of which he had previously not appeared capable. Then they deceive the unfortunate Grishnákh with quite some skill. There is an additional dark undertone:

Quote:
For a moment Pippin was silent. Then suddenly in the darkness he made a noise in his throat: gollum, gollum. 'Nothing, my precious,' he added.
This is clever deceit, a capacity not seen prior to the orc-draught incident. Tolkien adds to the confused nature of the substance when he questions its recipe -
Quote:
Merry got up. 'Yes,' he said. 'I can manage it. Lembas does put heart into you! A more wholesome feeling, too, than the heat of that orc-draught. I wonder what it was made of. Better not to know, I expect. Let's get a drink of water to wash away the thought of it!'
- when just previously, they had refused the "strip of raw dried flesh" because they "dared not guess what creature" had supplied it. Leaving it to our imagination, the author allows us to imagine some quite foul orgins for the draught. The blood of some fell creature perhaps. This suggests to me that the substance is something considerably different to a strong shot of alcohol. What then? For it has, as we have seen, a tremendous effect on our diminutive heroes.

Am I imagining things? Or do they appear a little less 'merry' than before? Perhaps I am being overly playful - an experience such as they had been through would be a sobering experience for anyone - yet I cannot escape the thought of the draught and a subsequent change in their personalities.

[ November 22, 2002: Message edited by: Rimbaud ]
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Old 10-15-2002, 09:14 AM   #2
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Good post Rimbaud - but I think you're speculating, which of course is not a bad thing.

Until the captivity of Merry and Pippin they are shown as young, gay, at times foolish, hobbits. They evolve very much in the chapters directly after the breaking of the Fellowship - yes. Why? Because of the Orc-draught? Not likely to me - at least I would say that it doesnt seem likely to me that this was JRRTs intent. Much rather to his likening would be the explaination that Merry and Pippin for the first time is on their own! They have no guardians - not even their elder cousin Frodo (idol). So they have to take things into their own hands. The firts time they are really alone (just after Boromirs death) we hear Merry taking a new role - 'the fighter' - he chops of hands and even kills orcs for the first time. They grow the moment they are alone. (mind you this is of course before they get orc-draught)

OK so why the groth in stature/mind/cunning? I see two possibilities: 1: Its the authers intent that figures left en charge of their own fate/situation should grow - that caracter 'grow with the assignment' ... or 2: The fact that LOTR is Frodos memoires partly told to Bilbo, partly written on his own - where do we have the information about Merry and Pippins Deeds in these chapters? From themselves! So maybe the part where there are no witnesses to Merry and Pippins deeds beside themselves can be directly related to the fact that they were glorifying their own doings - specially so when you take into consideration that they were telling their favorite and older cousin (idol) and wanted to impress him???

just my thoughts on the topic - Cheers T
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Old 10-15-2002, 09:52 AM   #3
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Sting

Interesting.

(What about Miruvor, speaking of draughts?)

Frodo was given some Orc-draught in Cirith Ungol, was he not?

Merry and Pippin were not incapable of subterfuge prior to Amon Hen; recall "A Conspiracy Unmasked, " and Merry spying on Bilbo to learn about the Ring.

Still, interesting topic. If your theory is true, I wonder if Frodo's orc-draught might have weakened his resistance to the darkness in some way.

On scriptural principle, I would argue against the negative spiritual eefects of the orc-draught-- were it not for Tolkien's clear intent to show the positive spiritual effects of the Lembas.
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Old 10-15-2002, 10:09 AM   #4
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Pipe

Thank you Helen, for saying what I could not. I do not believe that the Hobbits' growth as characters is the responsibilty of the orc-draught, rather that "it weakened (their) resistance to the darkness" and that it had "negative spiritual effects".

By standing on the shoulders of giants, we may see as far as they.
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Old 10-15-2002, 11:48 AM   #5
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But Rimbaud. You are forgetting the "other draught" in the equation. Ent-Draught! I credit it with M&P's change in character. Nothing like growing six inches taller to put life in another perspective. I'm quite sure it must have similar effects on other parts of the body, as well (No, not that part!) Maybe it increased the volume of their ol' grey matter. The combination of Ent Draught and lembas must have turned these two into some kind of uber-Hobbits, and more than likely counteracted any effects of that nasty ol' Orc-Draught.

An also, remember that Frodo became much more of a pacifist after his adventure, even declining to wear a weapon anymore. Not the effect you would want Orc Draught to have.

As to what it was made from; it must have been some form of plant based liquor. I don't think animal parts will ferment, thank goodness.
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Old 10-15-2002, 11:51 AM   #6
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Pipe

As you drink, be sure to keep your tongue firmly in cheek.

Also, über-hobbits wins phrase of the day.
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Old 10-15-2002, 12:36 PM   #7
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Boy, Rimbaud, your tongue must of been stickin' clear out of your ear when you came up with this one! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 10-15-2002, 01:55 PM   #8
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Sting

Birdland, the ent-draught is interesting! In my opinion ent-draughts are not "light", but "earthy", anchoring one in Middle-earth. So in Merry and Pippin's case, they had Lembas and they had Orc-draught; maybe those balanced each other in the long run, perhaps; but then the Ent-draught anchored them to the earth.

Frodo had the Lembas and the orc-draught, but with no such anchoring ent-draught-- he sailed, in a bit of a hurry. (Of course, there was that bauble he carried that might have had some effect.)

And Sam, having had lembas, no orc-draught and no ent-draught, stayed on in the Shire til he sailed at the end of his life.

So of the four hobbits, the ent-draught-drinkers neither sailed nor carried the ring. (echo of Bombadil's disinvolvement? Big stretch)

Maybe somebody else will rescue me with a profound conclusion to all this.
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Old 10-15-2002, 04:53 PM   #9
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White-Hand

Orc Draught is obviously vodka-red bull and either an invention of Satan or Sauron! The caffeine stimulant with a big slug of booze would surely get the hobbits back on their hairy feet, does the staggering and falling over not give the game away?

Incidentally, I'm convinced miruvor is a particularly smooth single malt whisky, distilled using the magical waters of Elrond's river.
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Old 10-15-2002, 05:24 PM   #10
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It seemed to me that orc-draught, Miruvor and lembas all had temporary effects. Ent-draught is the only thing that stayed with the consumers enough to cause permanent change.

This is quite a fancy idea you had, Rimbaud! I like it for it's creativeness. But as a totally biased Pippin fan, I like to believe that he was simply growing up; growing wiser, stronger and coming into his own.

As for Merry and Pippin embellishing their tale to impress Frodo, I don't think so. Tolkien may have pretended that he was recording a history, but unlike real historical records, we can safely assume that everything he said was pure blessed fact. If he says Merry chopped off orc hands, then by gum Merry did chop off orc hands.
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Old 10-15-2002, 06:41 PM   #11
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All right, form what I understand of lembas...it restored ones spirit. It didn't add anything to you, it just made you draw upon you inner strength. This accounts for both the increase of physical stamina and the apparent increase in wits. The orc-draught allows one to draw upon your physical reserves of strength but dulls ones spirit. I think Merry and Pippin started acting crafty because they were forced into a situation that required craftiness and maturity, not because they were "drugged." The frolicsome Merry and Pippin couldn't have survived the Orc captivity. They needed to be more responsible.

Jeeez! I have GOT to stop ranting! [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old 10-19-2002, 12:29 PM   #12
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Pipe

*Members of The Academy of Thread Names file into the room, to get a first-hand look at the topic which has stirred such a controversy in their hallowed halls.

"Well, gentlemen - and madam President - does this er, 'Rough Draught Of A Topic,' meet the criteria for a proper thread, and moreover, excellence in thread names?"

One suppresses a titter at Birdland's 'uber-hobbits,' but others remain dignified. And stern. Outside, the press gathers, jostling eachother for a better view. By court order they are not permitted in the thread itself.

As the Academy members exit, they are mobbed by 'Draught' fans, pressed by the press (why else is it called the 'press'?) for a statement:

"No comment!" was the disappointing answer.*
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Old 10-19-2002, 11:14 PM   #13
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Boots

However, Betty the cleaning lady found several crumpled sheets of paper, in at least four different styles of handwriting, in the garbage can and sold them to Middle Earth Inquirer. They were subsequently published under front page headlines and attributed to a source known as Deep Bucket. They read as follows:

The death of the subject makes the case of the orc-draught moot. The thread is predicated upon obsolete presuppositions and therefore...

Excerpt the second:

Howth. Give us a squint. Give us a draught. Of whatever you've got.

Mulligatawny, Mulligan Mortensen.
Merry O'Day
St. Pater Jackson
ain't worth a hill o' beans.

Lemme see your bas.
Wash entirely around our ears.
Orcestrate your answer.

The third was the most complete.

There are enough signs to make it possible to read ( donant a lire) the tromper in it, but more often the recit displays itself, so there is a proximation of leurre. Thus the text constitutes a dé-bordement not often seen, maintaining its legitimacy even while transgressing the (normal) laws of reading. The Academy must decide for itself if it accepts this transgressive in lieu of a legitimized code.

The fourth appeared to be a concluding fragment:

... and you remember how tiring that got. So, it will be the smoking threads all over again. Only this time with the temperance types. Just you wait.

There was an immediate uproar, with the Academy President at first denying that the papers represented any of the deliberations of the Academy members. Finally, however, she stopped taking any calls.

[ October 20, 2002: Message edited by: Bethberry ]
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Old 10-20-2002, 08:08 AM   #14
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Pipe Fëar and Loathing

*Pushes through the debate about the debate in order to join in with the original debate*

"Deep Bucket" indeed. What is the world coming to?

I think that Telchar's point about separation from the Fellowship demanding more cunning and stamina of the two Hobbits is more convincing than the idea that a couple of mouthfuls of the Orc-draught could work a change on their personalities. Even the Elves don't make something that potent.
It also occurs that it wouldn't fit with the apparent ethos of The Lord of the Rings for characters to mature and develop spiritually as a result of eating and drinking things. I think that Tolkien much preferred to show personal growth as the result of experience, and who had more opportunity and room for growth than Merry and Pippin?

My view is that the effects of Lembas were indeed largely spiritual: Gollum, for example, wouldn't touch it, which in my opinion is a result of his having carried the Ring for so very long. Essentially the impoverishment of his spirit makes the virtues of the Waybread seem unpleasant to him. In fact all things made by the Elves seem to have some sort of spiritual virtue about them that the spiritually impoverished find off-putting (note the disturbing effects of the Elven rope); and I think that it's true to say that all items seem to reflect the inherent characteristics of the person, and therefore the race, that fashioned them.

This being so, in my view the defining nature of Orcs is an absence of spirit: they seem concerned only with earthly desires and drives, which to my mind is an argument in favour of the Orc-draught being a physical rather than a spiritual stimulant, and as temporary as one might expect of something that takes immediate effect. What do Orcs need with something that refreshes their spirits? Sounds like pansy Elvish talk to me.

Another case in point for the idea that draughts and foodstuffs reflect the natures of the races that produce them is that of the Ent-draughts. Like the Ents, their effects are slow and patient; but they are also strong and long-lasting. My thought is that to an Ent these effects might seem temporary as well, but I'm sure that most things seem a little rushed and short-lived to an Ent.
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Old 10-20-2002, 09:50 AM   #15
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Pipe

Rimbaud finds all of this vastly amusing.
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Old 10-20-2002, 10:01 AM   #16
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Pipe Unimportant

You would, you sicko. That's the last time I post something serious on one of your threads.
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Old 10-20-2002, 10:12 AM   #17
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Boots

Destablizing discussion. A transgressive for sure. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] I rest my case.

[ October 20, 2002: Message edited by: Bethberry ]
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Old 10-20-2002, 10:27 AM   #18
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Sting

Well, I, for one, take this discussion very seriously, Rimbaud.

(Birdie slinks back to the laboratory, continuing her work to duplicate Ent Draught and take over the world!)

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Old 10-20-2002, 11:40 AM   #19
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Sting

I would tend to agree with Telchar and Squatter. People are like tea; you don't know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.

As for the recipe for orc-draught, I don't know about anyone else but if the alcahol content was too high I would fall asleep, not wake up. I would therefore have to follow Rumil's opinion that it would have to have some caffine in it; perhaps a Middle-earth kahlua.
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Old 10-20-2002, 01:50 PM   #20
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1420!

Unsweetened chocolate! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 10-20-2002, 02:51 PM   #21
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Pipe

Under intense scrutiny, and out of embarassment at 'Deep Bucket's' expose of their rough drafts, the Academy is forced to reverse their original intention. They declare 'A Rough Draught' an "appropriate candidate for excellence in thread names."

Madam President read her statement carefully on air, trying not to look as though she had just swallowed an onion. Raw.

"However," and here a faint smile played about her lips before she carefully schooled her face, "however, we find that 'A Rough Draught Of A Topic' has been hitherto misclassified. It's nomination will be moved to the Middle-Earth Mayhem category. Thank you. No further questions."

Cameras flashed, capturing Mr. Rimbaud's dumbfounded shock.

"It's not easy being green," he said, confusing the press. The next day tabloids ran the titles 'Academy Accused of Racism!' and 'Rimbaud's Draught gets the Shaft! - Author Green with Envy.'

-Maril (Associated Press)

[ October 20, 2002: Message edited by: Marileangorifurnimaluim ]
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Old 10-20-2002, 03:16 PM   #22
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Sting

Excuse me, Madam President; but I should just like to point out the inherent irony of the fact that the activities of the Academy itself are entirely responsible for the mayhem in this thread. I for one was planning on an exploration of the rôle of the spirit in craftsmanship across Tolkien's works, but I have been thwarted by the idiocy of this trumped-up popularity contest that calls itself the Academy.

Perhaps this has been a deliberate attempt to sabotage a thread because its title is too original, too ground-breaking to be the sort of crowd-pleaser of which the Academy is so infamously supportive. I tell you now that it is not only the reputations of Mr. Rimbaud and his thread that are at stake here, but that of the Academy itself as well. Whilst I for one have no objections to this becoming a mayhem-esque thread, I feel compelled to point out that where we go, the Academy may soon follow.

(Times, please copy)
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Old 10-20-2002, 03:42 PM   #23
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Boots

An irate member of the Academy jumped forth to remonstrate over this scandalous slur to the valuable efforts of the Academy. He wove a little on his feet, as if he had had first-hand experience of this spirit of which the remonstrator spoke.

How dare you, Sir, cast such miserable aspersions on the efforts of the Academy. Why, would you have us all believe these faddish French notions on problematic productions and surfeit of meaning? This author, Mr. Rimbaud, is not yet dead, and as he is one of the green persuasion, it is even more imperative that he not be submitted to even more oppression. Blame not the readers, Sirrah, but look to the author, although perhaps he himself is guilty of not looking closely to his author. A little more Tolkien purity could be called for. In his text lies his signifying monkey. You are attempting to suppress his discourse, silver-tongued Saruman that you are.

At this point, the honourable member of the Academy tilted a little too close to the flayling arms of the media microphones and fell into the crowd, indeed, tumbling right into the man who had first remonstrated with Madam President. Yells of Fight, fight. Bastille! Bastille! could be heard from members of the Press not at closest range to the debacle, at which point the local constabulary's whistles were loudly blown, thus rousing another Academy adjudicator, the honorable member from The Shire, West Farthing, a staunch empiricist called Hamfast Bull, who shouted loudly, A Elbereth Gilthoniel! before exiting stealthily by the rear exit.

The fracas was not reported by the next day's Press, who deemed Mr. Rimbaud's earlier remarks more topical.

[ October 20, 2002: Message edited by: Bethberry ]
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Old 10-21-2002, 08:47 AM   #24
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Rimbaud debates the formation of a topic, Orc-hestras of the Soul, which would study the long-term spiritual effects of orcish singing. He decides that a three way asault of Squatter, Bethberry and Maril would be too much for his fragile corporeal form to absorb and slinks away, muttering Radical imprecations in French under his breath.
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Old 08-21-2016, 01:18 AM   #25
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A theoretical Orc Draught....

1 oz sambuca
1 oz sweet vermouth
1½ oz absinthe
1oz strong black coffee
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:46 AM   #26
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Recipes

The most nourishing meal in Middle-earth has to be:

Sméagol's Spectacular Sushi

Ingredients: Nice fishes
Teeth (6)

Enjoy!
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:01 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Snowdog View Post
A theoretical Orc Draught....

1 oz sambuca
1 oz sweet vermouth
1½ oz absinthe
1oz strong black coffee
Hmmm...too sweet, and far too dainty.

I'm thinking that, based on descriptions, the orcs were not much into refinement, but would get their libations as quickly and easily as possible; therefore, straight turpentine (the oil, not the resin), which can be got from any pine and was ingested for medicinal purposes up until recently, fermented potato mash (potatoes, because they grow underground and in very hostile climates), and a chaser of chicory.
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Old 05-29-2017, 07:52 AM   #28
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1420!

Thinking the thread title was a mere typo, I was about to post it in "Questionable Titles" with an oh-so-witty pun on orc-draughts... then luckily I decided to check what the thread was really about...
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:07 AM   #29
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There is not only the Orc-draught but the Orc-neosporin...

Quote:
...Then he smeared the wound with some dark stuff out of a small wooden box. Merry cried out and struggled wildly.

The Orcs clapped and hooted. "Can't take his medicine," they jeered. "Doesn't know what's good for him. Ai! We shall have some fun later."

But at the moment Ugluk was not engaged in sport. He needed speed and had to humour unwilling followers. He was healing Merry in orc-fashion; and his treatment worked swiftly. When he had forced a drink from his flask down the hobbit's throat, cut his leg-bonds, and dragged him to his feet, Merry stood up, looking pale but grim and defiant, and very much alive. The gash in his forehead gave him no more trouble, but he bore a brown scar to the end of his days.~The Uruk-hai
I agree about the physical vs. spiritual healing. Lembas and miruvor's healing is spiritual, and the effects of their healing will restore one's strength/will/energy. But there is no nasty side-effects; it's refreshing and there is no "crash" when the refreshment wears off.

Orc-draught and the orc-medicine physically heals, and it works "swiftly." Merry and Pippin get healed in "orc-fashion." Elf-fashion is spiritual, orc-fashion is physical. And orc-fashion is like big pharma, the treatment will temporarily relieve the physical symptoms but you wonder 1. what are the nasty side-effects? and 2. what happens when the drug wears off?

Quote:
Neither Pippin nor Merry remembered much of the later part of the journey. Evil dreams and evil waking were blended into a long tunnel of misery, with hope growing ever fainter behind. They ran, and they ran, striving to keep up the pace set by the Orcs, licked every now and agan with a cruel thong cunningly handled. If they halted or stumbled, they were seized and dragged for some distance.

The warmth of the orc-draught had gone. Pippin felt cold and sick again...~ibid
Anyone else think about a sugar crash, or caffeine crash after reading this? Only, of course, the orc-draught crash seems much worse.
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Old 05-29-2017, 12:03 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Birdland View Post
An also, remember that Frodo became much more of a pacifist after his adventure, even declining to wear a weapon anymore. Not the effect you would want Orc Draught to have.
I do not think a swig of Orc Draught would have such long-lasting effects. Particularly in Frodo's case, given all that he went through, the Orc-draught was among the smallest of the evils and would have very little effect on him in comparison.

The idea of becoming orc-like is an interesting one, but I can only see it happen from prolonged use. Are orcs just drug addicts?

I agree most with the spiritual vs physical theme. But the most interesting thing about it as a drug is the quickness with which it comes into effect. It clearly messes with the nervous system (which is what caffeine does too), and it takes time for substances to be absorbed and transported to the brain, or the tissues where it can act on peripheral nerves. But the effect is almost immediate. I know I'm mixing Tolkien and science again, which never ends well for me, but speculating on real-world mechanisms doesn't bother my peaceful imagination that allows it to be a trick of orc-magic. Lembas is different, because as we know eating something, particularly something tasty and sweet, feels very good even without any magical properties. That alone can be enough to lift spirits - though, of course, lembas does way more than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog View Post
A theoretical Orc Draught....

1 oz sambuca
1 oz sweet vermouth
1½ oz absinthe
1oz strong black coffee
I'd say alcohol mixed with quinine and orc-magic... Though strong coffee also wouldn't be out of place.
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