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Old 05-15-2003, 07:45 AM   #1
the witch king
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Sting Orcs and Goblins!

I know that for along time it has been argued that orc and goblins are one and the same thing and I for one believed this to be true but i came across this.

Quote:
"A bit low for goblins, at least for the big ones," thought Bilbo, not knowing that even the big ones, the orcs of the mountains, go along at great speed stooping low with their hands almost on the ground.
It looks as though Tolkien is talking about the big ones as orcs and the little ones as goblins, once and for all orcs, goblins are they the same?

[ May 15, 2003: Message edited by: the witch king ]
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Old 05-15-2003, 02:22 PM   #2
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Where is that from exactly?
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Old 05-15-2003, 02:52 PM   #3
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I believe that it's from the Hobbit, Burra.
And as for the quote, I've always read it interpreting "even the big ones" to be referring to the goblins earlier in the statement, as if they were the same thing. To the best of my knowledge goblin was the first title to orcs that Tolkien used when he first started to form the mythologies; the name orc came along later as a more formal title for the creatures. Also, being that orcs were a new creation of Tolkien's, the pseudonym goblin gave a bit more description to the readers, who most likely would alreay have a view on what a proper goblin should look like.
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Old 05-15-2003, 03:17 PM   #4
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That sounds about right, I just wanted to see it on paper so I could see what else was going on.
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Old 05-15-2003, 05:20 PM   #5
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I don't know if they are different species of orc or two completely different... things. I was always under the impression that they are both just orcs, just described differently by Bilbo. I mean, it's not like he's an orc expert or anything.
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Old 05-15-2003, 05:35 PM   #6
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Although that quote, which I rediscovered myself recently, suggests that Orcs are a large variety of Goblin, I have always thought the converse to be the case: that Goblins are a small variety of Orc. I imagine that this results from a combination of coming across Goblins first (in reading the Hobbit) and the traditional portrayal of Goblins as short creatures (and, of course AD+D [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] ).

But it does make sense, in that the term most commonly used throughout JRRT's works is Orc. This suggests to me that Orc is a generic term used to describe different varieties of the same creature that have come about through cross-breeding, habitation of different environments etc (just as the term Man is used to describe different "varieties" of human: Numenorean, Druadan, Dunlending, Easterling etc).

So, I see Goblins as a small variety of Orc living in cave complexes in mountainous regions. Uruk-Hai, on the other hand, are a larger variety of Orc bred by Sauron (not Saruman as, thanks to the films, is now a quite common misconception) to be lean, mean (and more sun-resistant) fighting machines.
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Old 05-15-2003, 05:56 PM   #7
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So is the question less 'are orcs and goblins different varieties of the same creature' than 'is it an orc which is a variety of a goblin, or the other way around'? Just wondering, because I find that whenever I assume something on a thread, I'm always proved wrong...

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Old 05-16-2003, 03:51 AM   #8
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Its from the Hobbit 'Riddles in the dark' I just would like to know if orcs and goblins are the same thing or if they were different subspecies of of the same species, if you know what i mean.
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Old 05-16-2003, 05:40 AM   #9
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I have too say I always assumed that Goblins and Orcs were one in the same. I thought the word Goblin was just another name used by the hobbits. Just as the Eldar called them Glamhoth, the Sindar called them Orch, Uruk/Snaga in the black speech, Gorgūn in the Launguage of the Woses and of course Orc in Rhohirric.
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Old 05-16-2003, 02:09 PM   #10
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Sting

Here is description of some Uruk-hai:
"There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature, swart, slant-eyed, with thick legs and large hands. They were armed with short broad-bladed swords, not with the curved scimitars usual with Orcs: and they had bows of yew, in length and shape like the bows of Men. Upon their shields they bore a strange device: a small white hand in the centre of a black field; on the front of their iron helms was set an S-rune, wrought of some white metal."
LotR, The Two Towers
Note that they are called 'goblins'.

From the Foreword to The Hobbit:
"Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds.)"

The terms 'goblin' and 'orc' are essentially interchangeable.

[ May 17, 2003: Message edited by: Tar Elenion ]
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Old 05-16-2003, 10:33 PM   #11
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Thank you Tar-Elenion! Finally proof that they are the same thing this has been a most interesting debate that has happpened in many and varied places. I also thought they were interchangeable terms, but some people come up with great arguements... and I'm glad to have the matter finally put to rest. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 05-17-2003, 09:12 AM   #12
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I didn't even know there was a debate over whether they were the same- I just assumed they were. I need to get out of the habit of assumptions. To me Goblin sounds like the kind of name a race like the Hobbits would give to Orcs, sort of more fairy-taleish and unreal. In the film (I know, I know) PJ obviuosly assumes they are, as Legolas says "Goblins!" and "Orcs!" in Moria. What I always thought was disturbing was the idea of Goblin men and Half-Orcs. Which is an incredibly scary thought. What a horrible thing it would be to force men (well, women I guess) to breed with Orcs!
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Old 05-17-2003, 10:13 AM   #13
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Sting

I've always thought Goblins were a type of Orc, possibly ones that evolved from living in caves and such. I know that there are many species have branched out because of the creatures evolving to adapt to their chosen habitat, or the habitat forced upon them. I was thinking it was that way for goblins, but, I'm not sure.

Short, but to my point. Can't think of much else...
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Old 05-17-2003, 07:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
The terms 'goblin' and 'orc' are essentially interchangeable.
Well that may be, but having formed my view on this at the age of 11 (when there was no such thing as the world wide web, let alone sites such as this one), I will always see the term 'goblin' as pertaining to a diminutive variey of orc residing in mountainous caves. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 05-17-2003, 11:48 PM   #15
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You are, of course, entilted to your veiw. Just remember what the veiw of the author was as well.
[img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 05-18-2003, 01:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
You are, of course, entilted to your veiw. Just remember what the veiw of the author was as well.
Very true!
Quote:
I don't know if they are different species of orc or two completely different... things. I was always under the impression that they are both just orcs, just described differently by Bilbo. I mean, it's not like he's an orc expert or anything.
Thats the way I always saw it.. but now I dont know...
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Old 05-18-2003, 06:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
You are, of course, entilted to your veiw. Just remember what the veiw of the author was as well.
Well, it's not so much my view formed independently from the author's view, but the view inspired in me by the author's writings. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Quote:
There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature, swart, slant-eyed, with thick legs and large hands.
I obviously didn't really pick up on this when I first read LotR (or in the numerous times that I have read it since [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] ). I agree that it does suggest "goblin" as being inter-changeable with "orc". But it still sounds strange to me to describe Uruk-Hai as being of goblin-kind. I suppose that it's just difficult to shake the impression that you first form.
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Old 05-19-2003, 10:31 AM   #18
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Sting

Just found this:
I have an edition of "the Hobbit" with a foreword by Tolkien himself and it says:

"This is a story of long ago. At that time the languages and letters were quite different from ours of today. English is used to represent the languages. But two points may be noted. 1(not important for this thread)

2: Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated to 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.

I think the question should be answered with that.

[ May 20, 2003: Message edited by: Balin999 ]
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Old 07-18-2003, 12:06 PM   #19
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Also remember that the Hobbit was written more as a children's book, and I always considered Goblins of the Hobbit and the Misty Mountain orcs to be one and the same. the Uruk-Hai were different.
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Old 07-18-2003, 12:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
From the Foreword to The Hobbit:
"Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds.)"
It is now...it's in the Oxford English Dictionary...

Yes, I always assumed that goblins and orcs were one and the same...also remember that Tolkien did not originally mean 'The Hobbit' to be part of the Middle Earth mythology he was also writing. He later connected the two by use of the Ring and having the Necromancer be Sauron. Or something like that, and no, I can't remember where I got that from, but I read it somewhere...
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Old 07-18-2003, 03:21 PM   #21
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So.... if Morgoth created the first orc by mutilating an elf, then how were the short goblins created? did he mutilate midget elves? (JOKE) [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img] Just to add my two cents, I believe that they are one in the same also.


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Old 07-18-2003, 04:27 PM   #22
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So the description of Uruk-Hai given in the films (I can't remember if it was also in the books), Orcs bred with Goblins, is a load of piffle, because if Orc is the Hobbit word for Goblin, then breeding orcs with goblins is in effect encouraging the one and only species to breed amongst themselves, which they would anyway?
So perhaps the Uruk-Hai were the result of a natural mutation? Now that is a question worth discussing. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 11-24-2003, 03:52 PM   #23
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Uruks were orcs mated with humans.
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Old 11-24-2003, 05:14 PM   #24
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Wasn't the idea that Saruman had crossed orcs and men a speculation made by characters in LOTR? I don't recall a definitive 'authorial' statement to this effect, or even an authoritative confirmation by, say, Gandalf. Tolkien may well have meant the reader to accept this, but he liked in some areas to keep a degree of uncertainty, simply to increase the sense of authenticity to his created world.

On another aspect of the thread, I was of the impression that orc or ork was a real Old English word for monster or something similar - in fact I'm pretty sure about this. As a term it certainly wasn't invented by Tolkien (William Blake uses it, for instance), so I'm not quite sure what he was saying in the Hobbit prologue, unless it was just that the word 'orc' is not a synonym for 'goblin'.
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Old 11-24-2003, 11:35 PM   #25
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Lost One - in HoME 10, Morgoth's Ring, there is a text which gives Tolkien's final (or latest) view on the nature of Orcs and in it Tolkien himself states that Saruman had bred Orcs and Men.

And Orc is indeed real Old English word meaning evil spirit (and is also used to refer to the orca, or whale). Tolkien, however, is using the word for his own use, somewhat independent of the word's real meaning. Orc is a Westron word derived from Elvish and later Mannish tongues, which explains his comment in the prologue.

[ November 25, 2003: Message edited by: Westerly Wizard ]

[ November 25, 2003: Message edited by: Westerly Wizard ]
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Old 11-25-2003, 04:08 PM   #26
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Tolkien states in the prologue of the Hobbit, that orc,ork in his story has nothing to do with the dolphin or whale, as you can read a few posts upwards. (Posted by me)
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Old 11-25-2003, 06:38 PM   #27
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my english teacher has a book and it says that there is no difference between Goblins and Orcs. Orc is the hobbit word for goblin so they are the same
 
Old 11-28-2003, 11:19 AM   #28
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Quote:
Westerly Wizard wrote:
Lost One - in HoME 10, Morgoth's Ring, there is a text which gives Tolkien's final (or latest) view on the nature of Orcs and in it Tolkien himself states that Saruman had bred Orcs and Men
However he does not say that these "Men-Orcs" and "Orc-men" are Uruk-hai.
Sauron also had Uruk-hai and there is no indication that he interbred Orcs and Men to 'create' them.
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Old 11-28-2003, 12:17 PM   #29
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The fact that these "Men-orcs" are called "large and cunning" (HoME X,5,x), juxtaposed against the smaller and less cunning orcs (i.e. snagas) as well as the "goblin-men" (such as the Southerner in Bree) does however seem to imply that Saruman's Uruk-Hai had human blood in them.
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Old 11-28-2003, 01:29 PM   #30
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In the passage referred to the two types of Half-orcs are juxtaposed against each other, not against Orcs: "Men-orcs large and cunning, and Orc-men treacherous and vile", and we do have two _possible_ types of Half-orcs in LotR, those described by Merry in Flotsam and Jetsam (and acknowledged by Aragorn as being at Helm's Deep) (and differentiated from the Uruk-hai as per Battles of the Fords of Isen in UT), and those less Orc-like such as the "Southerner" in Bree (and perhaps some of the 'ruffians' mentioned in 'Scouring' might fall into one category or the other).
Whether or not the Uruk-hai in Saruman's service had Man blood is perhaps beyond the scope of my post, and though I tend to believe it so, I would not make definitive statement one way or the other. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

[ 2:32 PM November 28, 2003: Message edited by: Tar Elenion ]
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Old 11-28-2003, 06:24 PM   #31
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I give the paragraph in question here in full. My stresses mean to indicate how I came to the interpretation that Saruman's men-orc-hybrids could also be considered a superior breed of orcs.

<font size="-2">"Finally, there is a cogent point, though horrible to relate. It became clear in time that undoubted Men could under the domination of Morgoth or his agents in a few generations be reduced almost to the Orc-level of mind and habits; and then they would or could be made to mate with Orcs, producing new breeds, often larger and more cunning. There is no doubt that long afterwards, in the Third Age, Saruman rediscovered this, or learned of it in lore, and in his lust for mastery committed this, his wickedest deed: the interbreeding of Orcs and Men, producing both Men-orcs large and cunning, and Orc-men treacherous and vile." (HoME X,5,x)

I wholeheartedly agree that it is impossible to draw anything really definite about this question from the text, especially given its nature. Also, I have to admit I seemed to recall a statement to the effect that the southern spy in the Pony had orc blood in him, but was obviously wrong.
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Old 11-29-2003, 10:28 PM   #32
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However, in light of Treebeard's speculation that the Uruk-hai are a mix of orcs and men, the passage from Morgoth's Ring is doubly indicting of Saruman.

The southerner at Bree does not have orc-blood in him. In FotR he looks "more than half-like a goblin" and in UT Tolkien writes that because he was a wild-man from Dunland it made people speculate that he might have had orc-blood. Neither of these seems to actually mean that the squint-eyed southerner is anything more than a barbaric man. The only real evidence would be Merry's relating of him to the half-orcs at Isengard, but even then, he states that the man in Bree was not so apparently orc-like. Aragorn also does not mention the Southerner being a half-orc, just a spy of Saruman when he responds.

Finally, the half-orcs Merry mentions at Bree would hardly fit into the description of "Men-orcs, large and cunning." They are described to be almost men, but with orc-like faces. They seem to fit much better into the description of "Orc-men, treacherous and vile."

This leaves the Uruk-hai as the only things that could really fit (and they do so very perfectly) into the description of "Men-orcs, large and cunning."
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Old 11-30-2003, 04:16 PM   #33
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Quote:
However, in light of Treebeard's speculation that the Uruk-hai are a mix of orcs and men, the passage from Morgoth's Ring is doubly indicting of Saruman.
Treebeard's speculation is just that, it is not a statement of fact from the author.

Quote:
The southerner at Bree does not have orc-blood in him.
This would be be your speculation, not a statement of fact from the author.

Quote:
In FotR he looks "more than half-like a goblin" and in UT Tolkien writes that because he was a wild-man from Dunland it made people speculate that he might have had orc-blood.
No, he did not write that. What was written in UT was:
"Some while ago one of Saruman's most trusted servants (yet a ruffianly fellow, an outlaw driven from Dunland, where many said that he had Orc-blood) had returned from the borders of the Shire, where he had been negotiating for the purpose of "leaf" and other supplies."
This is something different than what you have inferred. The Southerner was driven from Dunland and it was said in Dunland that he had orc blood in him. Why would the Dunendings say that? Probably because of his unusual appearance.

Quote:
Neither of these seems to actually mean that the squint-eyed southerner is anything more than a barbaric man. The only real evidence would be Merry's relating of him to the half-orcs at Isengard, but even then, he states that the man in Bree was not so apparently orc-like. Aragorn also does not mention the Southerner being a half-orc, just a spy of Saruman when he responds.
What Aragorn actually says is:
"[Merry speaking]'...And there were battalions of Men, too. Many of them carried torches, and in the flare I could see their faces. Most of them were ordinary men, rather tall and dark-haired, and grim but not particularly evil-looking. But there were some others that were horrible: man-high, but with goblin-faces, sallow, leering, squint-eyed. Do you know, they reminded me at once of that Southerner at Bree: only he was not so obviously orc-like as most of these were.'
'I thought of him too,' said Aragorn. 'We had many of these half-orcs to deal with at Helm's Deep. It seems plain now that that Southerner was a spy of Saruman's; but whether he was working with the Black Riders, or for Saruman alone, I do not know. It is difficult with these evil folk to know when they are in league, and when they are cheating one another.'"
Aragorn says the Half-orcs (Men with goblin-faces) made him think of the Southerner at Bree.

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Finally, the half-orcs Merry mentions at Bree would hardly fit into the description of "Men-orcs, large and cunning." They are described to be almost men, but with orc-like faces. They seem to fit much better into the description of "Orc-men, treacherous and vile."
Bree? Do you mean Isengard?. But the goblin-faced men are large. In UT Theodred is described as being slain by a "great Orc-man", Grimbold slays the Orc-man and later fights two "great axemen" for Theodred's body (these are from the "company of men or Orc-men... ferocious, mail-clad and armed with axess"). These are not Uruk-hai, and are distinguished from the Uruks in 'Fords of Isen'.
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This leaves the Uruk-hai as the only things that could really fit (and they do so very perfectly) into the description of "Men-orcs, large and cunning."
I think the half-orc axemen, who are described as 'great', fit in with the description of 'large and cunning' better than they do with 'treacherous and vile', despite the possible reversal in terminology a decade later (though the MR essay and the 'Isen' narrative are not necessarily related). Perhaps more telling is that the Uruk-hai are not described as 'half-orcs' directly, though Treebeard speculates that Saruman's Orcs may be either ruined Men, or blended Orcs and Men. Gamling refers to 'these half-orcs and goblin-men' which can be taken to refer to Saruman's Uruk-hai yet in the narrative voice they are always referred to as Orcs (or sometimes goblins). And then there are also Sauron's Uruk-hai.

[ 5:17 PM November 30, 2003: Message edited by: Tar Elenion ]
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Old 11-30-2003, 09:03 PM   #34
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Just some more on Orcs and Goblins being interchangable: as mentioned before
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There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature, swart, slant-eyed, with thick legs and large hands.
and also later "Cautiosly Pippen rolled over, hoping to see what would happen.His gaurds had gone to join the fray. In the twilight he saw a large black orc probably Ugluck, standing facing Grishnakh a short crook-legged creature, very broad and with long arms that hung almost to the ground." they both discribe Uruk-Hai but the first as Goblins and the second as orcs.

[ 10:08 PM November 30, 2003: Message edited by: Elassar 516 ]
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