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Old 03-08-2002, 10:19 PM   #1
littlemanpoet
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Pipe Could an orc be uncorrupted?

In The Silmarillion, The Wise say that those Eldar who fell into the hands of Melkor were corrupted and turned into Orcs, that they have life as do the Children of Iluvatar.

Now, I know that nowhere in the entirety of Tolkien's mythos does an Orc ever become uncorrupted. But is there room within the structure of his mythos for such a thing to occur? Why or why not? (The writing of a fan-fiction may hang in the balance on this one)

[ March 08, 2002: Message edited by: littlemanpoet ]
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Old 03-08-2002, 10:56 PM   #2
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The only thing that Tolkien really said along those lines was that even the orcs were not unredeemable.
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Old 03-08-2002, 11:44 PM   #3
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Maybe if you got one young? Are there baby orcs?

Since Tolkien addressed the subject, however briefly, I wander if he had intention to write something on the subject?

As for any adult orc, can't see it happening. They're too mentally unbalanced and suspicious to be saved by another race. Look how they behave towards each other!

[ March 09, 2002: Message edited by: Birdland ]
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Old 03-08-2002, 11:47 PM   #4
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I think it is possible but it may take several generations.
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Old 03-09-2002, 04:31 PM   #5
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I have seen baby orcs! They are the demon children that live next door! There is no hope for them to become uncorrupted!
I think it could be possible, as anything is, but it would be a laborious endeavor and I don't know if you would want to expend the effort to do so.
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Old 03-09-2002, 04:57 PM   #6
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littlemanpoet: First, I suggest you read Myths Transformed in HoMe - X - Morgoth's Ring. The origin of Orcs is not as simple as the Silmarillion explanation.

Also, Bruce, I would say that statement probably referred to the fŽar of Orcs. Their corrupted bodies were bound to Morgoth's hateful will, and I highly doubt any of them could ever escape that. If Orcs had Quendian fŽar, they would go to Mandos at death. What happened to them next is unclear. Myths Transformed says that they would be held there until the End, but I don't believe this should be taken as a certainty considering the uncertainty of the topic in general. That's my take on it.
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Old 03-09-2002, 10:26 PM   #7
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Here's what I'm thinking on this.

Orcs are corrupted Elves. The basic structure of what they are cannot be changed by Melkor or Sauron, only currupted.

Therefore, I figure that if they don't get killed (which is probably impossible for Orcs) they don't die.

If that is the case, then Elves could conceivably capture an orc of whatever age (won't be too old as they keep on killing each other off or get killed by their enemies), and the Elves have years and years to accomplish their task. They'd need it, but if I understand the STRUCTURE of Tolkien's mythos, un-corruption of an orc is possible.
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Old 03-10-2002, 09:24 PM   #8
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I agree with littlemanpoet. Orcs=corrupted Elves. If they were once Elves, there surely must be some of the good and light left in them from their Elven days.
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Old 03-11-2002, 12:24 AM   #9
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Not necessarily; immortality aspects could have been corrupted just like any others, I would think.

And would a corrupted being such as an orc be allowed the life span of an elf?
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Old 03-11-2002, 02:58 AM   #10
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along with the possibility of 'redemption' for orcs - what about the possibility for Morgoth?

i was just re-reading the 'valaquenta' - one of the passages struck me: ""Among them[the Valar & Valier]Nine were of chief power and reverence; but one is removed from their number." that one, of course, is Melkor[Morgoth], who through his greed, jealousy and anger, broke the original fellowship of the 9 and fell into darkness.

in addition to this fellowship, i started thinking about the fellowship of the 9 in LOTR, & about the fall of boromir into darkness; his eventual understanding of the wrongness of his thinking about the fate of the Ring; and, finally, his eventual redemption & death. i wondered if this were a re-cycling of the breaking of the original fellowship of the 9 mythos. & if so, did it leave room to suppose that Melkor could eventually experience the eroors of his dark ways and be redeemed?
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Old 03-11-2002, 05:35 AM   #11
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I suggest reading the thread "are orcs immortal" and the one from September 2000, orcfear (which means orc spirits). Apparently, the nature of orcs is far more complex than just being corrupted elves, although I still hold that there has to be some elvish in the mix of at least SOME orcs. But I must admit that their immortality is corruptible in theory.
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Old 03-11-2002, 10:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
But I must admit that their immortality is corruptible in theory.
That is exactly the theory that is dealt with in Athrabeth. According to Andreth, it was believed among some Men that they were also immortal in the beginning, but Morgoth ensnared the Fathers, and all Men from then on inherited death. However, a significant point, made by Tolkien himself, is that if Men were immortal, they would be Elves.

Regarding Orcs, Kate makes an excellent point, though it is simpler than she puts it:
Quote:
As for Elves being 'immortal': they in fact only had enormously long lives, and were themselves physically 'wearing out', and suffering a slow progressive weakening of their bodies.
Myths Transformed

Even if Orcs were Elves in origin (which, it seems, conflicts with Tolkien's latest ideas), their lifespan would decrease over the years, a process hastened by their corruption, and late generation Orcs would probably not live very long at all (compare Numenorean lifespans). In other words, it wasn't a corruption of immortality, it was just a quickening of this already inherent Elvish fading. Therefore, the question is not whether they would be allowed the lifespan of Elves (Tolkien says that Iluvatar would not necessarily step in to abrogate this degree of corruption by Morgoth), but would it be genetically possible for the race to sustain such a lifespan over the generations.

Tolkien seems fairly certain in MT that some of the Orc chieftains were actually lesser Maiar, which, through breeding, would also add to the longevity of the species.

Quote:
They could be slain, and they were subject to disease; but apart from these ills they died and were not immortal, even according to the manner of the Quendi; indeed they appear to have been by nature short-lived compared with the span of Men of higher race, such as the Edain.
This last point was not well understood in the Elder Days. For Morgoth had many servants, the oldest and most potent of whom were immortal, belonging indeed in their beginning to the Maiar; and these evil spirits like their Master could take on visible forms. Those whose business it was to direct the Orcs often took Orkish shapes, though they were greater and more terrible. Thus it was that the histories speak of Great Orcs or Orc-captains who were not slain, and who reappeared in battle through years far longer than the span of the lives of Men.
We could speculate that the idea (rumor?) that Orcs are corrupted Elves was initially just the Eldar's reaction to new, evil beings of 'humanoid' physiology. They knew Morgoth could not create independent creatures, and they made assumptions. After all, some of their buddies had been missing ever since they left Cuivienen. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Wow, my posts end up quite tedious reading. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

[ March 11, 2002: Message edited by: obloquy ]
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Old 03-11-2002, 10:15 AM   #13
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And especially for our new friend piosenniel, I provide the following from Osanwe-kenta:
Quote:
If we speak last of the "folly" of Manwe and the weakness and unwariness of the Valar, let us beware how we judge. In the histories, indeed, we may be amazed and grieved to read how (seemingly) Melkor deceived and cozened others, and how even Manwe appears at times almost a simpleton compared with him: as if a kind but unwise father were treating a wayward child who would assuredly in time perceive the error of his ways. Whereas we, looking on and knowing the outcome, see now that Melkor knew well the error of his ways, but was fixed in them by hate and pride beyond return. He could read the mind of Manwe, for the door was open; but his own mind was false and even if the door seemed open, there were doors of iron within closed for ever.

How otherwise would you have it? Should Manwe and the Valar meet secrecy with subterfuge, treachery with falsehood, lies with more lies? If Melkor would usurp their rights, should they deny his? Can hate overcome hate? Nay, Manwe was wiser; or being ever open to Eru he did His will, which is more than wisdom. He was ever open because he had nothing to conceal, no thought that it was harmful for any to know, if they could comprehend it. Indeed Melkor knew his will without questioning it; and he knew that Manwe was bound by the commands and injunctions of Eru, and would do this or abstain from that in accordance with them, always, even knowing that Melkor would break them as it suited his purpose. Thus the merciless will ever count on mercy, and the liars make use of truth; for if mercy and truth are withheld from the cruel and the lying, they have ceased to be honoured.
Manwe could not by duress attempt to compel Melkor to reveal his thought and purposes, or (if he used words) to speak the truth. If he spoke and said: this is true, he must be believed until proved false; if he said: this I will do, as you bid, he must be allowed the opportunity to fulfill his promise. (Note 8)

The force and restraint that were used upon Melkor by the united power of all the Valar, were not used to extort confession (which was needless); nor to compel him to reveal his thought (which was unlawful, even if not vain). He was made captive as a punishment for his evil deeds, under the authority of the King. So we may say; but it were better said that he was deprived for a term, fixed by promise, of his power to act, so that he might halt and consider himself, and have thus the only chance that mercy could contrive of repentance and amendment. For the healing of Arda indeed, but for his own healing also. Melkor had the right to exist, and the right to act and use his powers. Manwe had the authority to rule and to order the world, so far as he could, for the well-being of the EruhŪni; but if Melkor would repent and return to the allegiance of Eru, he must be given his freedom again. He could not be enslaved, or denied his part. The office of the Elder King was to retain all his subjects in the allegiance of Eru, or to bring them back to it, and in that allegiance to leave them free.

Therefore not until the last, and not then except by the express command of Eru and by His power, was Melkor thrown utterly down and deprived for ever of all power to do or to undo.

(Author's Note 8)
For which reason Melkor often spoke the truth, and indeed he seldom lied without any admixture of truth. Unless it was in his lies against Eru; and it was, maybe, for uttering these that he was cut off from return.
Welcome to the board, piosenniel!

[ March 11, 2002: Message edited by: obloquy ]
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Old 03-11-2002, 12:04 PM   #14
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quote: <<So we may say; but it were better said that he was deprived for a term, fixed by promise, of his power to act, so that he might halt and consider himself, and have thus the only chance that mercy could contrive of repentance and amendment. For the healing of Arda indeed, but for his own healing also. Melkor had the right to exist, and the right to act and use his powers. . .

. . . Therefore not until the last, and not then except by the express command of Eru and by His power, was Melkor thrown utterly down and deprived for ever of all power to do or to undo.>>

the right to act and use his powers was taken from him according to the quote - but what i am wondering is if we are meant to consider him as forever fatally flawed and incapable of reconsidering himself and his course of action, & so outside the possibility of redemption. are we meant to always see him as a counterpoint to the theme of harmony in Eru's creation? & did Eru's harmony require the counterpoint to be completely revealed?

& btw: i am unfamiliar with 'Osanwekenta' - can you point me toward it! thank you!!
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Old 03-11-2002, 12:13 PM   #15
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Osanwe Kenta, an essay about speaking mind to mind without words, was published a couple of years ago in Vinya Tengwar a periodical printed by the Tolkien Linguistic Society. It was authored by Tolkien and published with the permission of his Estate.
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Old 03-11-2002, 08:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Wow, my posts end up quite tedious reading.
Nonsense, Obloquy! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
Quote:
...what i am wondering is if we are meant to consider him as forever fatally flawed and incapable of reconsidering himself and his course of action, & so outside the possibility of redemption. are we meant to always see him as a counterpoint to the theme of harmony in Eru's creation? & did Eru's harmony require the counterpoint to be completely revealed?
I do believe this was Tolkien's point of view, Piosenniel (by the way, I love your inclusion of Elvish in your posts - what does your name mean?). Only by knowing darkness and evil can we see the beauty of light and good. It's hard to argue with it, but somehow it doesn't entirely sit well with me. For example, Manwe, as Obloquy helpfully quotes for us, knows better than any other the heart of Iluvatar and has no need to perceive the beauty of good through its contrasts with evil. Maybe that's because he's a Valar, though. Maybe this is part of the Doom of the Children of Iluvatar. Somehow that seems sad to me.
[img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]

[ March 11, 2002: Message edited by: littlemanpoet ]
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