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Old 05-29-2017, 04:15 AM   #1
Aaron
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Orc intergration after the War?

So, this is a subject which really intrigues me. Tolkien, in no small part thanks to his sincere Christian convictions, did not seem to cast the Orcs as being wholly evil and capable of good - though this was obviously difficult thanks to Sauron's malignant influence over them.

But, after the War of the Ring, do you think any Orcs could have become integrated into societies such as Gondor or Rohan? Would the people there have accepted this? As King, would Aragon have allowed it? Certainly, from what we see of their speech patterns and character, they seem to have far more in common with men in Tolkien's world than the more aloof and scholarly Elves.

Judging from what we saw of The New Shadow, it seems clear that in Gondorian society, Orcs were not present, and took on the role of a boogeyman. Allowing naughty children to "play Orc" and act like delinquents.

But do you believe it was ever possible for them to join human societies once Sauron was defeated?
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:53 AM   #2
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I think there's too much memory for Men/other races to accept orcs into their society, and orcs didn't particularly want to mix in with Men either (particularly on the terms of being worst enemies who now live as... equals? That would never happen). Neither side would be happy with the arrangement.

I'm fuzzy about the Shagrat-Gorbag dialogue, which is the root of these speculations, so if my memory is playing tricks I would stand corrected. But I imagine that they were unhappy with their situations more because they were in a "fetch this, fetch that" sort of relationship with the higher-ups. All creatures are prone to laziness, and even orcs don't particularly like to be bossed around. Much better to be your own boss, and only do those things of which you see the benefit for yourselves. I wonder how they would compare to the "free" orcs of the Misty Mountains.

It is curious, though, if orcs that were far enough to the East not to be cleared and slaughtered immediately formed their own communities that did not live off looting/killing/other orcish occupations. Would they even like the idea of something like that. I always imagined surviving orcs to be more individual hideouts, or small bands at most, hiding in the farthest corners of the Mountains of Mordor and living on small skirmishes and whatever mean food could be found in Mordor. Eventually they'd be cleared out, but I allowed in my imagination for one or two hermit orcs to remain alive and successfully hidden, to be discovered only many years later (or not at all). The idea on entire communities that would be 1. alive and 2. peaceful is a curious investigation.

The reason I don't see such larger groups of orcs forming up where Gondorians would be in control is that there seems to be something fundamental about orcs that makes them unforgivable. Enemy Men can be pardoned - perhaps still hated, but pardoned. Are orcs ever pardoned in the history of the legendarium? For that matter, have orcs ever surrendered, to be held captive? It may simply be a vicious cycle, where Men wouldn't offer, and orcs wouldn't ask, so no one even considered it. Or it may have something to do with their nature being so fundamentally different. Men of different races are still Men, but orcs are orcs. Perhaps the implication of "good" orcs is more that Morgoth could not even corrupt absolutely - some human desire and thought still remained.

So to conclude - the simple answer is most likely no, orcs wouldn't integrate into Mannsih communities, but this still leaves the question for speculation whether orcs could form peaceful communities of their own. And perhaps they would be more successful in the East, which we know less of (so can imagine more) and which was friendlier with Sauron and probably had more allied contact with orcs.
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Old 05-29-2017, 07:05 AM   #3
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It is curious, though, if orcs that were far enough to the East not to be cleared and slaughtered immediately formed their own communities that did not live off looting/killing/other orcish occupations. Would they even like the idea of something like that. I always imagined surviving orcs to be more individual hideouts, or small bands at most, hiding in the farthest corners of the Mountains of Mordor and living on small skirmishes and whatever mean food could be found in Mordor. Eventually they'd be cleared out, but I allowed in my imagination for one or two hermit orcs to remain alive and successfully hidden, to be discovered only many years later (or not at all). The idea on entire communities that would be 1. alive and 2. peaceful is a curious investigation.
This is somewhat how I imagined things in the aftermath of the War of the Ring as well, with tiny enclaves of Orcs scattered across the world, to eventually die out or mingle with Men long after their reputation was forgotten.

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The reason I don't see such larger groups of orcs forming up where Gondorians would be in control is that there seems to be something fundamental about orcs that makes them unforgivable. Enemy Men can be pardoned - perhaps still hated, but pardoned. Are orcs ever pardoned in the history of the legendarium? For that matter, have orcs ever surrendered, to be held captive? It may simply be a vicious cycle, where Men wouldn't offer, and orcs wouldn't ask, so no one even considered it. Or it may have something to do with their nature being so fundamentally different. Men of different races are still Men, but orcs are orcs. Perhaps the implication of "good" orcs is more that Morgoth could not even corrupt absolutely - some human desire and thought still remained.
It might be worth recalling this remark from the essay on Orcs found in "Myths Transformed":
But even before this wickedness of Morgoth was suspected the Wise in the Elder Days taught always that the Orcs were not 'made' by Melkor, and therefore were not in their origin evil. They might have become irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men), but they remained within the Law. That is, that though of necessity, being the fingers of the hand of Morgoth, they must be fought with the utmost severity, they must not be dealt with in their own terms of cruelty and treachery. Captives must not be tormented, not even to discover information for the defence of the homes of Elves and Men. If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost. This was the teaching of the Wise, though in the horror of the War it was not always heeded.
Professor Tolkien adds as a footnote:
Few Orcs ever did so [ask for mercy] in the Elder Days, and at no time would any Orc treat with any Elf. For one thing Morgoth had achieved was to convince the Orcs beyond refutation that the Elves were crueller than themselves, taking captives only for 'amusement', or to eat them (as the Orcs would do at need).)
Thus it seems like while Orcs ought to have been treated with mercy, they almost never surrendered. It might be worth noting that at the Morannon after the Ring was destroyed, the Orcs of Sauron's personal armies, which were almost totally under the thraldom of his will, slew themselves or fled "far from hope".

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And perhaps they would be more successful in the East, which we know less of (so can imagine more) and which was friendlier with Sauron and probably had more allied contact with orcs.
This is my thought also. It seems to me that, given the fissiparous nature of evil, and without a singular will directing them, Orcs such as those of the Mountains would either destroy each other or become mingled with Men who, as we know, could be altogether Orc-like themselves. Professor Tolkien certainly seems to have thought, in my reading at least, that in the Ages leading to the modern day there came to be little, if anything, to differentiate Orcs from Men in many places and situations. In saying this I also mean to propose that this would not be a quick process; I scarcely think you would see Orcs mingling in the societies of Men during Aragorn's reign, but very slowly and gradually in the centuries that followed, perhaps.
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:44 AM   #4
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It's true that Tolkien seemed to struggle with reconciling his religious beliefs with the fact that his Orcs are presented as irredeemable cannon fodder, just bad guys for all the good guys to kill without remorse.

In a draft to a letter, he tosses up the thought that since Eru accepted Orcs into the world, they can't be irredeemable, however he never sends the letter saying he was probably thinking himself too important:

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They would be Morgoth’s greatest Sins, abuses of his highest privilege, and would be creatures begotten of Sin, and naturally bad (I nearly wrote ’irredeemably bad’; but that would be going too far. Because by accepting or tolerating their making - necessary to their actual existence - even Orcs would become part of the World, which is God’s and ultimatly good.)~Letter #153
This Letter was intended for Peter Hastings, one of Tolkien's Catholic friends, and there is a note added that he never sent it. So, yes, in Tolkien's grappling of the subject on his Orcs and redemption, he really muddled it.
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:28 AM   #5
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This question also relates to the complimentary topics of the origins and nature of the orcs.

The first question to my mind seems to be if orcs were even capable of rationality or sentience without the guiding will of a Dark Lord. Even this question is ambiguous. The rout of the orcs, and the way it is described, on the face of it tend to say that orcs sink to the level of beasts and are no longer sentient without the will of their master. Eru's interactions with Aule with regard to the creation of the dwarves lend support to this theory. At least to some extent this passage indicates that something of the sort was part of Tolkien's thinking. However, during a long portion of the Second Age there was no active Dark Lord and yet orcs persisted.

It is also interesting to note that without the active engagement of a Dark Lord the orcs seem to be few and don't breed rapidly. Perhaps there is something of a socio-economic component to this. Do Dark Lords overpopulate their minions deliberately making them more aggressive in a competition for scarce resources whereas when orcs are left alone their population and aggression are low?

There is also leads to the question of what was the nature of a Dark Lord's control over his minions. They certainly appear to be rational actors in their own right. They are capable of sedition and acting against their master's interests. If a Dark Lord acted like an absolute puppet master one would think orcs would not be capable of acting this way. Did Morgoth literally split off thousands of pieces of his own "soul" and place them in his orcs and that is what animates them? It would explain many aspects of them...but then leaves us with the question of their despair and witlessness when their final Dark Lord was overthrown.

Let's assume for the following items that orcs are wholly rational actors.

For more bestial conceptions of orcs, like what has become the popular conception of them and to some extent Peter Jackson's version of them, it is hard to see how such creatures could have integrated into any society other than their own.

However, I don't think that Tolkien's conception of them was as bestial or grotesque as later ideas of orcs have come to make them. They bred "after the manner of the Children of Illuvatar" and Saruman, at least, successfully bred them with humans. Sauron might have as well. Orcs don't seem to have been a different species so much as a degraded version of elves or men. However, this is muddled by Tolkien's thoughts that orcs might be derived from animals in some way...although I'm not sure what animals could have been used to create such creatures.

Of course, this also even opens the door to questioning if Elves and Humans were really different "species" or just different types of the same "species."

So to finally get around to answering the question, I think orcs might be able to integrate into human society because they were more or less "human" to begin with.

Or perhaps not. It all depends on one's opinions on the exact nature of the orcs.

Or (to really get out into the weeds) there might be different orcish strains that might integrate better because of being more human but orcish strains that would not due to being more bestial in origin.
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:58 PM   #6
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So to finally get around to answering the question, I think orcs might be able to integrate into human society because they were more or less "human" to begin with.~Kuru
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Professor Tolkien certainly seems to have thought, in my reading at least, that in the Ages leading to the modern day there came to be little, if anything, to differentiate Orcs from Men in many places and situations. In saying this I also mean to propose that this would not be a quick process; I scarcely think you would see Orcs mingling in the societies of Men during Aragorn's reign, but very slowly and gradually in the centuries that followed, perhaps.~Zigur
I agree, and certainly by WWII in a letter to Christopher, Tolkien writes there were "Orcs on both sides."

It could be argued that the beginning of the integration begins with Saruman's breeding of Men and Orcs. I don't think it's a coincidence, that the Men guarding Isengard's gates are described as resembling an Orcish appearance. I don't think this integration is meant to be a positive thing though. I mean, just as there will always be the "Saurons" of the world, to a lesser degree, people who seek power control everyone else, there will always be a healthy population of Orcs serving the "big bosses."

And all this gets you wondering about Orc-women, as Tolkien says there must have been. After the destruction of the Ring, what happened to them?
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:49 PM   #7
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And all this gets you wondering about Orc-women, as Tolkien says there must have been. After the destruction of the Ring, what happened to them?
I would presume the same thing that happened to the males.

An unpleasant thing to ponder is what the lives of orc-women would have been like at any point.

However, I don't know that bears any examination in detail.
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Old 05-30-2017, 03:59 PM   #8
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We're talking about two main branches of orcs, right- those of the Misty Mountains-Gundabad, and those of Mordor?

As far as Mordor orcs, I doubt any of them stayed close enough to Rohan or Gondor after the war to attempt any kind of assimilation in the first place. It would make sense for them to have fled east, where their allies originated and where they, too retreated, after being defeated.

Orcs, being orcs, would then "orc it up" in their new eastern homes, and they would quickly find out (the hard way) that Easterlings, like the Variags of Khand, were just as cruel and genocidal as they were.

As far as the Misty Mountain orcs, I had the impression that most of their power was broken in the Battle of Five Armies. By the LoTR, they seemed to be, at best, a local threat, and probably faded away as a society relatively quickly.
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:08 PM   #9
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And all this gets you wondering about Orc-women, as Tolkien says there must have been. After the destruction of the Ring, what happened to them?
Have you seen the film, "Bone Tomahawk"? Picture that.
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Old 05-31-2017, 03:51 AM   #10
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So, this is a subject which really intrigues me. Tolkien, in no small part thanks to his sincere Christian convictions, did not seem to cast the Orcs as being wholly evil and capable of good - though this was obviously difficult thanks to Sauron's malignant influence over them.

But, after the War of the Ring, do you think any Orcs could have become integrated into societies such as Gondor or Rohan? Would the people there have accepted this? As King, would Aragon have allowed it? Certainly, from what we see of their speech patterns and character, they seem to have far more in common with men in Tolkien's world than the more aloof and scholarly Elves.

Judging from what we saw of The New Shadow, it seems clear that in Gondorian society, Orcs were not present, and took on the role of a boogeyman. Allowing naughty children to "play Orc" and act like delinquents.

But do you believe it was ever possible for them to join human societies once Sauron was defeated?
I'd say that Orcs would have been somewhat integrated into human societies already by the Third Age and earlier. After all, some of the Southerners in Bree were described as half-Orcs I recall, so the idea of Orcs and Men coexisting and even interbreeding didn't seem far fetched to the Bree-landers (though how informed are they?). In some of the Eastern societies under Sauron one can presume that Orcs and Men coexisted in relative peace and commerce (Orcs valued money: who would they trade with?). And isn't there a throw-away line in The Hobbit that says that there are still Orcs a plenty in modern times? That they are ingenious and prolific inventors of weapons among other nasty habits?

I think what separates Orcs from Men is to be found inside much more than in physical appearance. Clearly there are distinguishing physical traits as well, but I don't think they go that much further than the different appearances of the Human races, something that the Half-Orcs in Bree seems to confirm. Also, when the Eldar first espied Orcs in Beleriand they took them for Avari gone wild.

No, I'd say that Orcs are Children of Illuvator, i.e. Men, though deep under the Shadow. An Orcs is one who does Orc work and if an Orc is redeemed it is no longer an Orc. Clearly many Men are no better than Orcs too.

Hard to see Orcs integrated into Gondon or Rohan early in the 4th Age though. Aragorn would probably accept an earnest request by Orcs to stay in´peace somewhere within the borders but I can't see how any band of Orcs would make that request. They would've been far too deep into fear and hatred to ever consider that.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:49 AM   #11
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Kuruharan: Of course, this also even opens the door to questioning if Elves and Humans were really different "species" or just different types of the same "species."
This issue was addressed, to an extent, by Tolkien. In his "philosophical" writings, published in Morgoth's Ring, he suggests that Elves and Men are, physically, indistinguishable. This explains why the unions of Elves and Men resulted in the birth of children. The difference between the two races is found in the strength of the bond between their "spirits" (the feär) and their bodies (the hroär). In Elves, the bond is strong so that the spirit and body remain joined for the life of Arda, or at least until the body fades leaving only the spirit. For this reason, Elves do not generally suffer from disease and recover from injury far faster than Men. In Men, the bond is weak, so that the spirit and body are easily separated over time or as the result of injury or disease (death).

Morgoth's Ring also contains musings regarding the origin of Orcs. The Silmarillion seems to give Orcs an Elvish origin; that Morgoth corrupted Elves, making the race of the Orcs. Tolkien appears to have later disliked this concept, and suggested that Orcs were of a Mannish origin or perhaps were even corrupted beasts. He never truly resolved this conflict. If Orcs were of Mannish origin, the Silmarillion would require substantial revision as Orcs clearly pre-dated the awakening of Men.

At any rate, if Orcs were of either Elvish or Mannish origin, they would have consciousness and possess spirits, leading to Tolkien's thoughts on redemption. They would also have been able to breed with Elves or Men as is implied in LOTR. So, theoretically, Orcs might have, at least biologically, been able to become integrated with Men after Sauron's fall. Whether they actually did is a matter of speculation. Perhaps, after the passage of time, any physical corruption might have faded so that they appeared to be more like Men. Again, rank speculation.
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:21 AM   #12
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Also, when the Eldar first espied Orcs in Beleriand they took them for Avari gone wild.
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Perhaps, after the passage of time, any physical corruption might have faded so that they appeared to be more like Men. Again, rank speculation.
I have to wonder just to what degree orcs were physically different from Elves or Humans.

They couldn't have been all that dissimilar if the Elves in the First Age originally thought that orcs were wild Elves.

Of course, Elves in the First Age seemed to suffer from an odd form of myopia because they also mistook the Petty-Dwarves for animals...

Still, the instances of specific description that we get seem to indicate that orcs could be expected to be short and squat with proportionally longer arms than one would find on an Elf or Man. If one is following the bestial theory of orcish origin, this clearly suggests an ape as being the original breeding stock.

I can only recall one specific place where an orc (and it was just one that seemed to be described this way) was described as "fanged." That was by Pippin during the first stage of his captivity where the "yellow-fanged" orc was one of Pippin's guards and was subsequently killed by the Isengarders.

Out of this one passage the idea that all orcs have massive fangs or tusks seems to have grown in the popular imagination to the point that when one says "orc" that is just part of the mental image.

Does anybody else recall another instance where an orc is described as "fanged?"
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Old 05-31-2017, 05:33 PM   #13
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Goblins could fit into human society, all it would take is a bit of well-timed orcestration.

In The Hobbit (the "Over Hill and Under Hill" chapter), Tolkien writes of Orcs:

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It is not unlikely that they invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and engines and explosions always delighted them, and also not working with their own hands more than they could help; but in those days and those wild parts they had not advanced (as it is called) so far.
The emphasis above is mine. Interesting Tolkien sees them as advancing technologically, which would indicate a period far beyond the War of the Rings it seems to me, particularly with Tolkien inferring that in some future era would rise the Orkish invention of weapons of mass destruction, engines and explosives.
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:45 PM   #14
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So, this is a subject which really intrigues me. Tolkien, in no small part thanks to his sincere Christian convictions, did not seem to cast the Orcs as being wholly evil and capable of good - though this was obviously difficult thanks to Sauron's malignant influence over them.

But, after the War of the Ring, do you think any Orcs could have become integrated into societies such as Gondor or Rohan? Would the people there have accepted this? As King, would Aragon have allowed it? Certainly, from what we see of their speech patterns and character, they seem to have far more in common with men in Tolkien's world than the more aloof and scholarly Elves.

Judging from what we saw of The New Shadow, it seems clear that in Gondorian society, Orcs were not present, and took on the role of a boogeyman. Allowing naughty children to "play Orc" and act like delinquents.

But do you believe it was ever possible for them to join human societies once Sauron was defeated?
Yes.

The Uruk Hai were Saruman's blending of races, implying sexual contact in procreation between humanoids. It seems to me, then that the two races were I) sentient (as we know), ii) birthed by womb iii) intermingle-able.

The Elvish precedents on Imrahil, etc remind us that Elves and Men were, as children of Illuvatar, able to blend. We seem to be told that Morgoth somehow 'made' the Orcs, although I have been told here that the "warped Elf" theory a.k.a. "abducted Cuivinen Elves" is not Tolkien's final word here.

In any case, it is only hatred that divided the races of Eru (and I'm betting Eru had mercy for the Orcish sentience). I do not think well of Elvish hatred of Orc and vice versa, and obviously as sentient races, they had potential to see life, birth, death, hunger and suffering in the other race. Whatever happened to empathic capacity and Elvendom?

I do not support any view that essentialises a race as 'wholly' good or evil, and the evil is to blackball any race, en bloc. We also know the Elves certainly had a psycho streak. Eol, for example, tossed of precipice in overt vengeful ideation, for the death of Aredhel. She was not very interesting anyway.

Cheers
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:30 AM   #15
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I was going to post this in the Sauron's Great Miscalculation thread but as I feel I've already contributed sufficiently to going off topic there, I've reworked this to fit this topic more closely.

Orcs and spirituality
Professor Tolkien observed the possibility of Orcs considering Morgoth to be their 'father', in a spiritual sense, but this was blasphemous and spiritually deleterious: "Any creature that took him for Lord (and especially those who blasphemously called him Father or Creator) became soon corrupted in all parts of its being" (Morgoth's Ring). This also suggests that it would take many generations for Orcs to even begin to mingle with Mannish society, as Gondor after the restoration of the King appears to have also resulted in the restoration of what constituted their religious practices, as stated in Letter 156. The Orcs, deluded about their spiritual origin, would not have been an easy fit into this society, and I imagine it would have only occurred in days when, I assume, the fortitude of the Númenóreans in Middle-earth again waned, as it appeared to already be doing late in Eldarion's reign if The New Shadow is any indication, and by extension I imagine the worship of God again faltered, as it had in the king's absence.
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Old 06-06-2017, 03:34 PM   #16
skip spence
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isn't there a throw-away line in The Hobbit that says that there are still Orcs a plenty in modern times? That they are ingenious and prolific inventors of weapons among other nasty habits?
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Goblins could fit into human society, all it would take is a bit of well-timed orcestration.

In The Hobbit (the "Over Hill and Under Hill" chapter), Tolkien writes of Orcs:
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It is not unlikely that they invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and engines and explosions always delighted them, and also not working with their own hands more than they could help; but in those days and those wild parts they had not advanced (as it is called) so far.
The emphasis above is mine. Interesting Tolkien sees them as advancing technologically, which would indicate a period far beyond the War of the Rings it seems to me, particularly with Tolkien inferring that in some future era would rise the Orkish invention of weapons of mass destruction, engines and explosives.
Yeah that's the quote I was thinking of! And yeah, one certainly gets the impression Tolkien felt Orcs were both prolific and well integrated into human societies during the 20th century, if not in Rohan or Gondor during the 3rd Age.
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:39 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Zigûr View Post
I was going to post this in the Sauron's Great Miscalculation thread but as I feel I've already contributed sufficiently to going off topic there, I've reworked this to fit this topic more closely.

Orcs and spirituality
Professor Tolkien observed the possibility of Orcs considering Morgoth to be their 'father', in a spiritual sense, but this was blasphemous and spiritually deleterious: "Any creature that took him for Lord (and especially those who blasphemously called him Father or Creator) became soon corrupted in all parts of its being" (Morgoth's Ring). This also suggests that it would take many generations for Orcs to even begin to mingle with Mannish society, as Gondor after the restoration of the King appears to have also resulted in the restoration of what constituted their religious practices, as stated in Letter 156. The Orcs, deluded about their spiritual origin, would not have been an easy fit into this society, and I imagine it would have only occurred in days when, I assume, the fortitude of the Númenóreans in Middle-earth again waned, as it appeared to already be doing late in Eldarion's reign if The New Shadow is any indication, and by extension I imagine the worship of God again faltered, as it had in the king's absence.
Animals have sentience and any being with (aural) sentience (language) and secondly as evidencing capacity for biological intermingling, and thirdly with trace to the same Pantheon suggests intermingling should be not slow, but as rapid as migration or interactions occur.

By analogy, Satanists blend with Christians in the world of monotheism. Eru and the parable of Vanity makes Morgoth and Sauron same same. E.g. on Numenor, Morgoth was worshipped, and this did not slow the mingling of Men and Men. We also know Men were more vulnerable to being made worshippers of Evil, so again, Orc and Man have a common dinner table.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:03 PM   #18
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I imagine orcs survived for quite some time in the Fourth age though any bands that got aggressive enough or large enough were hunted down and destroyed.

I personally don't believe there would be a conscious policy of extermination but eventually with there would no orc females remaining and they eventually died out.
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