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Old 02-13-2011, 09:29 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
THANK YOU! Now I remember! - Ok, so lets pretend that an orc gets a human woman pregnant. And she has a girl orc (it's a 50-50 thing, unless its some misshapen creature who isn't developed enough to be either gender). Paradoxical, aint it?

I asked a friend of mine who's a doctor if it's possible to somehow change the genes of a person to make it impossible for girls to be born. This is what she told me:
Women have X+X chromosomes; men have X+Y chromosomes. An embrio always gets an X chromosome from its mother. It could get either a Y or an X from its father. The chromosome it gets from the father determines the gender. There is no known way to controll which chromosome will be given. Also, you cannot completely eliminate the X chromosome - you'd get a 'vegetable' person (such orcs are useless).

Conclusion: there must have been orc-girls, and therefore orc-women.
While that makes sense, the central claim this person Rumil quotes is making is that Orcs weren't bred by natural means at all, but were instead somehow grown in slime pits, as in the movies.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:53 PM   #42
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While that makes sense, the central claim this person Rumil quotes is making is that Orcs weren't bred by natural means at all, but were instead somehow grown in slime pits, as in the movies.
PJ seems to have thought Orcs were a cross between Aliens and Yoda.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:52 AM   #43
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THANK YOU! Now I remember! - Ok, so lets pretend that an orc gets a human woman pregnant. And she has a girl orc (it's a 50-50 thing, unless its some misshapen creature who isn't developed enough to be either gender). Paradoxical, aint it?
I still think it's unlikely. Hardly any race will actually give over their women. What's more, if they did, they'd die out pretty soon

I agree with Nerwen, that they were made in slime pits. Actually, I personally prefer the theory of them being corrupted elves. However, I can't see how Morgoth (or Sauron) could have got so many.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:58 AM   #44
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I agree with Nerwen, that they were made in slime pits.
Er- agree with me? I never said that in the first place– I said, "this person Rumil quotes" says so, not me. There is, after all, no actual evidence that Tolkien intended this– unless we accept at face value this fellow's claim to have read it in a previously unknown manuscript. If you'll read back through the thread, you'll see that I've in fact been putting forward reasons why we shouldn't.
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:18 AM   #45
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Actually, I personally prefer the theory of them being corrupted elves. However, I can't see how Morgoth (or Sauron) could have got so many.
I also like the "corrupted elf" theory. And if orcs are based on elves, they have to multiply the same way. Makes any sense?

I highly dislike the "mud pit theory" that is shown in the movies. Neither Sauron nor Morgoth could create, so how could they give life to a chunk of mud? Even Aule - who wasn't evil - couldn't do that without the helf of Eru.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:10 AM   #46
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I also like the "corrupted elf" theory. And if orcs are based on elves, they have to multiply the same way. Makes any sense?

I highly dislike the "mud pit theory" that is shown in the movies. Neither Sauron nor Morgoth could create, so how could they give life to a chunk of mud? Even Aule - who wasn't evil - couldn't do that without the helf of Eru.
True. But just imagine Orcs copulating. Ouch.

Mud-pit theory...never gave it much thought. Seems highly unscientific.

I vote either corrupted elves or cross-breeds. Maybe a bit of both?
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:50 AM   #47
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I think it's pretty clear that Orcs, Men and Elves biologically are the same species since they are interbreedable. The corruption that Morgoth achieved is mainly a moral one, he corrupted the souls of the to-be-Orcs you might say, yet, not even an Orc is born evil and they can potentially be saved, that Gandalf makes clear in LotR. I think I remember that Tolkien also makes it clear [in The Hobbit] that there are lots of Orcs around even today, and frankly, it hard to argue against that. Orcs aren't magically created monsters with long fangs and green skin. They are us, or rather, the worst examples of mankind.

I mean sure, you can see the difference between an Orc and a Man or an Elf, just as you can see the difference between say a Samoan and a Scandinavian and a West African, but those are "racial" differences and basically: Orcs are Men (and/or ex-Elves if you conscribe to that earlier theory) and they certainly have women because otherwise they simply could not multiply.

Could go further with this but no time for that now...
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:50 AM   #48
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True. But just imagine Orcs copulating. Ouch.

Mud-pit theory...never gave it much thought. Seems highly unscientific.

I vote either corrupted elves or cross-breeds. Maybe a bit of both?
Well, Tolkien played with different ideas of the origin of Orcs– while corrupted Elves seem to be the most consistent version*, and the one appearing in The Silmarillion, Men were another (although this presented some problems- cf. the strained attempt in "Morgoth's Ring" to make it fit the existing chronology). He even briefly speculated that they might have been beasts given humanoid shape (Morgoth as Dr Moreau)! The common thread in all this is that Orcs were distortions of natural creatures, not magical constructs– that Evil could only twist, not create life was for Tolkien a very important point. (The Trolls in "The Hobbit" gave him a nasty metaphysical headache later on, after he had decided they were purely artificial.)

The question of cross-breeding is different, though– it's pretty much official that the Isengard Orcs were hybrids, the result of mating Orcs with humans. (I think it's quite understandable that P.J. chose not to depict that.:eek ) I don't think these Half-Orcs need have been sterile– the Peredhil weren't, after all.



*Also, technically the "latest-known", I think, although by that stage we're talking about some very muddled fragments.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:10 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by skip
I mean sure, you can see the difference between an Orc and a Man or an Elf, just as you can see the difference between say a Samoan and a Scandinavian and a West African, but those are "racial" differences and basically: Orcs are Men (and/or ex-Elves if you conscribe to that earlier theory) and they certainly have women because otherwise they simply could not multiply.
It must be more than the difference between human ethnic groups, though– there are different breeds or races or whatever you like to call them among Men, Elves and Orcs (and Hobbits). And yet an Orc (of any kind) can be easily told from an Elf. So I suppose it would be closer to say they're subspecies.

Btw,, as I mentioned in my last post, it's not quite correct to talk about the "elf-origin" as an "earlier theory", since as far as I know Tolkien never exactly abandoned it– he just started playing around with others, and went back-and-forth. In the end I don't think you can say he left a clear "last word" on the subject.
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:13 AM   #50
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It must be more than the difference between human ethnic groups, though– there are different breeds or races or whatever you like to call them among Men, Elves and Orcs (and Hobbits). And yet an Orc (of any kind) can be easily told from an Elf. So I suppose it would be closer to say they're subspecies.
Yes, but that's really the same thing, isn't it? Two subspecies may look slightly different , and may have developed different habits and abilities (think Darwin's finches), but ultimately they belong to the same stem of creatures and would interbreed and eventually converge into one group if put in one place together. It may not be politically correct to call different groups of people subspecies, nor would I encourage it, but the point remains.

Don't get me wrong though, I wasn't trying to infer any parallel between Orcs and any existing ethnic group of people. My point is that Orcs are Men/Elves really (though the fea, or soul, of an Elf is different to that of a Man), not any fairy-tale monster, and what makes an Orc has more to do with what's inside than what you can tell by visual inspection.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:08 PM   #51
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Yes, but that's really the same thing, isn't it? Two subspecies may look slightly different , and may have developed different habits and abilities (think Darwin's finches), but ultimately they belong to the same stem of creatures and would interbreed and eventually converge into one group if put in one place together. It may not be politically correct to call different groups of people subspecies, nor would I encourage it, but the point remains.
It's actually not quite the same thing– a subspecies in biology is somewhat more distinct than a race, and in fact modern humans aren't generally considered to have any subspecies. (No, this is not just me being politically correct.)

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[/Don't get me wrong though, I wasn't trying to infer any parallel between Orcs and any existing ethnic group of people. My point is that Orcs are Men/Elves really (though the fea, or soul, of an Elf is different to that of a Man), not any fairy-tale monster, and what makes an Orc has more to do with what's inside than what you can tell by visual inspection.
Yes, but my point is that the purely physical differences between Elves, Orcs and Men do seem to be greater than that between real-world ethnic groups; at the same time they can all interbreed, so must be essentially the same species. "Subspecies" seems like a good compromise to me.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:27 PM   #52
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It's also possible that Tolkien emphasized the physical differences to demonstrate the inner differences. For example, we see how snake-like Grima really looks (and acts).

However, I can't say that big orcs are much different than small orcs except in appearance.
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:35 PM   #53
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Actually if the Uruk-hai are a crossbred species it could explain why they are bigger than normal orcs. It is a well reconized feature of biology that, if you cross two closely realted species and make a hybrid, the hybrid will often become unusually large (in plants it's called hybrid vigor) sometimes far larger than either parent.
Actually having female Uruk-hai might be important to long term plans since it might be neccecary if one wanted a long term population of Uruks. Interspecies sterility is often confined only to males of the line, female members often remain fertile. It usually takes about three generations to get fertile males in an animal crossbreed. Assuming Sauron/Saruman etc. wanted a permanent Uruk presence, (as opposed to exterminating the Uruks as soon as he had mastered the world) I'm not sure if he would have thoght it worthwile If he couldnt have a self breeding population.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:09 PM   #54
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Just a note– Alfirin, it's specifically the Isengarders who were crossbreeds, not Uruk-hai in general. Apologies if I sound pedantic here– it's just that this does have a bearing on this "unpublished manuscript" business– see my post here.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:41 AM   #55
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The question of cross-breeding is different, though– it's pretty much official that the Isengard Orcs were hybrids, the result of mating Orcs with humans. (I think it's quite understandable that P.J. chose not to depict that.:eek ) I don't think these Half-Orcs need have been sterile– the Peredhil weren't, after all.



*Also, technically the "latest-known", I think, although by that stage we're talking about some very muddled fragments.
Yes, but the Peredhil were of closer kin to humans than Orcs. Orcs, as far as we know, were almost entirely different to elves - aside from the fact that they might have been created from them.

Orcs seem much more 'animal-like' than elves or humans, so, at least in my opinion, a crossbreed would be sterile.

For example, if you mate a Negro with a Japanese (I'll just ignore the weird looks), the child won't be sterile. However, mating a human with a gorilla...not such a good idea.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:03 AM   #56
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)
Yes, but my point is that the purely physical differences between Elves, Orcs and Men do seem to be greater than that between real-world ethnic groups; at the same time they can all interbreed, so must be essentially the same species. "Subspecies" seems like a good compromise to me.
Fair enough. I've never seen the term "race" being used in biology or botany and therefore thought it was solely used on human ethnic groups, but clearly I was wrong. Subspecies sounds good.

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It's also possible that Tolkien emphasized the physical differences to demonstrate the inner differences. For example, we see how snake-like Grima really looks (and acts).
Yes, Tolkien does that quite a lot. Just think of Gollum, who is essentially a Hobbit. Also, if we see LotR as written by Frodo, he too is likely to have exaggerated the Orcs' beastly looks and behaviour in my opinion (though this is contentious, granted). I do think that the physical or visual differences between Orcs and Men are much smaller that what people typically believe.

When the Elves first came across the Orcs in the First Age they came to the conclusion that the Orcs must be Avari gone savage in the wilderness, or something to that effect.* This recognition of kinship suggests that the two peoples weren't all that different (at least not then). Also, isn't one of the Southerners in Bree (the squint-eyed?) suspected to be a half-orc, or having orcish blood? Yet he is a man, living among Men, and, as it can be assumed, looking like one.

Yes, I think that Tolkien's Orcs should be pictured looking much more like Men and much less like the standard image of an Orc that has been developed by popular culture long after the prof. left us (RPGs, Comp. games, the films etc etc). Not saying they look just like men, mind.

*don't remember exactly where this is written, but I do remember reading it.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:49 AM   #57
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The question of cross-breeding is different, though– it's pretty much official that the Isengard Orcs were hybrids, the result of mating Orcs with humans. (I think it's quite understandable that P.J. chose not to depict that.:eek ) I don't think these Half-Orcs need have been sterile– the Peredhil weren't, after all.

(... from a later post...) Just a note– Alfirin, it's specifically the Isengarders who were crossbreeds, not Uruk-hai in general. Apologies if I sound pedantic here– it's just that this does have a bearing on this "unpublished manuscript" business– (...)
To add my pedantry, I would add the distinction that the Isengarders could be, as I think is the case, a mixed bunch: Uruk-hai (great soldier orcs) -- as well as Half-orcs (results of interbreeding).

The debate goes on, but my point is merely that Saruman's orcs need not be half-breeds -- these are aguably his Uruk-hai. And in general (not that anyone said otherwise) we don't necessarily need a hybrid to produce a larger orc, but selectively breeding larger orcs in general should do the trick.

At least there is an arguable distinction in the text concerning the half-orcs and the uruks (the half-orcs being taller for example, and some being man-like enough to serve as spies).
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:56 AM   #58
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And another thing...

Compare:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumils's acquaintance
...the really awful part is that any such offspring would only be chopped up to be used as seed or fertilizer for other Orcs being grown in the pits of filth where they are farmed (with various other ingredients added during the gestation in their womb of filth in order to specialize the crop). This is where the addition of human remains would be important to the creation of your "Man-Orc" or Uruk-Hai, but even this would take many generations. Maybe 20 years for five to ten generations, depending upon the quality of Orc wanted, the longer the time, the better the quality of Orc. So, Uruks would probably be four to five years per generation. That is still a very short time to breed Orcs, as a HUGE Army could be raised in relatively short times.

Also, many of the Orcs in a batch might not make it, or they might be cannibalized as food by those "Hatching" early.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia, article on Warhammer 40k "Orks"
Their cross-breeding with fungi allows them to reproduce asexually, which explains the lack of Ork females. This reproductive process basically involves the dispersion of spores from a decomposing Ork corpse, such that killing an Ork literally creates more Orks, explaining why Orks are such a difficult enemy to combat and how, along with their extreme physical hardiness, they can very easily infiltrate and build up large populations virtually anywhere. The only known solution to this problem is to incinerate the entire area to destroy all Orks and Ork spores. Because Orks are so genetically similar to plants and fungi, their diets are extremely flexible - Orks can be used not only as meat, but also as yeast and phytochemical-containing fibrous plantlike sides. Thus, Ork Pie is a staple of Ork diets, particularly on the battlefield, where little other food is available, and dead Orks are in abundance.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:57 PM   #59
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I have long been a fan of Tolkiens work. I have also played MERP or Middle Earth Role Playing and there are no such things as female or male orcs for that matter.
Orcs were created by dark magics not typical sexual reproduction. Therefore any notions of ORCS having children and being social creatures is not true. They were created for the soul purpose of war and destruction nothing else. Various groups of ORCS were created to perform various tasks. Some were engineers crafting ugly but very sturdy machines of war. Others were armourers who job it was to create weapons of war for the Morgoth Horde. But they were all created to fight and kill anything that was against their masters (Sauron) wishes and desires of control.

The only notion that I see occuring here is so called Tolkien fans caught not by the true nature of the story itself but by social engineers attempt to label a group of real life people to fit the method of a fantasy story to make them feel liek the story is actually real when it is not.

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I know this is a little late, but your comment is false. Tolkein is quite clear in the books that they 'reproduce after the manner of men'. The Hobbit makes references to orc-imps (young orcs) and also states that they have their own crafts and skills. LOTR refers to Merry being healed by orc medicine. If you are such a fan like you claim, surely you will remember these parts?

Both the movies and the books also say that Saruman is crossing orcs and men to make his hybrids.

I'm pretty sure I'm not confused about orcs really existing, and I'll bet it's safe to extend that certainty to the other people viewing and commenting on this thread.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:32 PM   #60
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I still think it's unlikely. Hardly any race will actually give over their women. What's more, if they did, they'd die out pretty soon

I agree with Nerwen, that they were made in slime pits. Actually, I personally prefer the theory of them being corrupted elves. However, I can't see how Morgoth (or Sauron) could have got so many.

Why, if we're thinking they breeding naturally, would they get rid of their girls? They'd be pretty valuable. i don't go in for the slime pits because they're quite clearly not zombies, and I think Tolkein is clear that neither Sauron nor Saruman can give a being the spark of life on their own. They can't mold life out of mud. If they have a short gestation and maturation period (say 4-5 years as was suggested) you wouldn't need to deplete human nations of their women, you'd need at most a couple hundred, over a period of a couple years. If you base the rate of girls:boys on a human model you can have up 55 hybrid orc females the first year. I personally think this was what Tolkein had in mind but he was too much a gentleman concerned with the norms of his age to give us details.

I should have looked here first when i signed up, rather than asked my question.... u guys are experts =)
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:33 AM   #61
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Welcome to the Downs, Kyani!

And don't feel shy about asking questions– we all have many questions we'd like to ask Mr Bennington, but alas! We seem to have scared him away.

(Btw, in case there's any confusion on the issue: I never said I thought Orcs *were* bred in slime pits, as in the films– in fact I think that's just a typo in Galadriel's post.)
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:46 PM   #62
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:52 AM   #63
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Well, we know that Bolg is the son of Azog. Isn't that proof enough that orcs are born?
More than that, the fact that Bolg wants to avenge his father indicates that Orcs are not wholly evil and capable of affection for their families.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:51 AM   #64
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More than that, the fact that Bolg wants to avenge his father indicates that Orcs are not wholly evil and capable of affection for their families.
Or, at least, that the have some sort of loyalty to clan. Bolgs desire to avenge doesn't have to mean he actually cared for his father (it could just be that having a orc slain by a dwarf brought shame on the family/clan, and avenging it is a way to regain honor and status among orcdom. In orther words, not caring for Azog the person (orc) but for Azog the king. But that's still something
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:52 PM   #65
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:23 PM   #66
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Or, at least, that the have some sort of loyalty to clan. Bolgs desire to avenge doesn't have to mean he actually cared for his father (it could just be that having a orc slain by a dwarf brought shame on the family/clan, and avenging it is a way to regain honor and status among orcdom. In orther words, not caring for Azog the person (orc) but for Azog the king. But that's still something
I agree. For that matter, I think the Orcs just used any excuse for killing. Didn't the "Northerners" running with Saruman's Uruk-hai say something along the lines of killing to "avenge their folk"? And in that case the Orc-slaying had not been done by Dwarves.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:07 PM   #67
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I agree. For that matter, I think the Orcs just used any excuse for killing. Didn't the "Northerners" running with Saruman's Uruk-hai say something along the lines of killing to "avenge their folk"? And in that case the Orc-slaying had not been done by Dwarves.
Actually, since it is pretty clear that at least Uruk-hai like to EAT people, those excuses could even simply include "I'm hungry" or even (if Gothbog is right and orcs actually DO care about each other) "I'm just trying to put food on the table for my family." (that actually sounds really creepy, now that I've said it)
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:10 PM   #68
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Actually, since it is pretty clear that at least Uruk-hai like to EAT people, those excuses could even simply include "I'm hungry" or even (if Gothbog is right and orcs actually DO care about each other) "I'm just trying to put food on the table for my family." (that actually sounds really creepy, now that I've said it)
What I've always found odd about the Orcish cannibalism is that they use it both as an insult and as a threat. Sounds like Orwellian doublespeak to me. Maybe Sauron was really the Big Brother of Mordor.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:39 PM   #69
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Was Bolg actually trying to avenge the death of his father? What little is said of him seems to suggest to me that he was mainly interested in seizing the dragon-gold. Then again it also seems that he was at least somewhat motivated to avenge the death of the Great Goblin, which might have a similar connotation: "Ever since the fall of the Great Goblin of the Misty Mountains the hatred of their race for the dwarves had been rekindled to fury," (The Hobbit) so I suppose they did have a sense of loyalty or camaraderie, albeit a rather negative one based on shared hatred for other people and survival instincts. I think this is to an extent evident with the conversation between Shagrat and Gorbag in The Lord of the Rings as well. I don't think Orcs were wholly evil, although even the vestiges of positivity in them mostly manifested in evil ways.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:31 PM   #70
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Actually, since it is pretty clear that at least Uruk-hai like to EAT people, those excuses could even simply include "I'm hungry" or even (if Gothbog is right and orcs actually DO care about each other) "I'm just trying to put food on the table for my family." (that actually sounds really creepy, now that I've said it)
Well, they sure seem to be loyal enough to their masters - until they start caring too much about themselves, at least, but there's still some thread of loyalty. And they seemed to want to uphold the reputation of their own clan.
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