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Old 10-28-2002, 11:34 AM   #1
Matthew2754
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Sting immortality

orcs were mad from elves. elves are immortal. so would it be right to think that orcs are also immortal. i never heard of an orc dying of old age. they may not have the grace and power of elves and are a cheap mockery, but do you think they could be immortal. True Morgoth had the power to corrupt, but could he truly take somethings immortality away from it, and would he want to. orcs that dont grow old sound like a pretty could attribute of an army.
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Old 10-28-2002, 11:45 AM   #2
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Sting

I don't think orcs were immortal. I'm not exactly sure why I think that, but I do. It just doesn't seem right. Immortality was a gift given to the elves, so after Morgoth corrupted them and made them orcs, I'm pretty sure that the Valar (or whoever) would have taken that gift away. Can you imagine trying to fight an immortal enemy? They also had other weaknesses such as they couldn't be in light (they hated it), etc.

I've always thought that orcs are the OPPOSITE of elves in everything.

[ October 28, 2002: Message edited by: TolkienGurl ]
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Old 10-28-2002, 01:04 PM   #3
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I would say that they also had immortal Fae, but their body's were weakened and could not live indefinatly, so eventually they would die and their spirits would go to Mandos for healing.
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Old 10-28-2002, 03:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
orcs were mad from elves.
Nope.

Quote:
Orcs are not Elves. --Tolkien
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Old 10-28-2002, 03:43 PM   #5
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i read (i think in the silm) that orcs multiply after the manner of elves.
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Old 10-28-2002, 08:12 PM   #6
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Sting

I thought it said orcs were captured and tortured elves cruelly formed into these horrible creatures. They aren't now elves but they were elves at one time. I find this very sad and I do hope they die eventually and go to a healing place. I would guess they are somewhat immortal like the elves if they were once of elves. Probably weaker due ot their torture and evil existance.
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Old 10-28-2002, 08:19 PM   #7
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I thought it said orcs were captured and tortured elves cruelly formed into these horrible creatures.
It does, but it's wrong. Tolkien changed his mind about the origin of Orcs later in his life. Pretty much everything doesn't reflect that, though, as pretty much everything was written before he changed his mind. Orcs aren't Elves, so orcs aren't immortal. I can think of some other interesting questions that follow from this, though, and some even more interesting answers.
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Old 10-29-2002, 04:13 AM   #8
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It is said in the Silmarillion that the Elves believedthat orcs were originally made from captured elves.
They believed ; they did not know.

The Valar didn't tell the Elves about the origin of the Orcs because they didn't know themselves or they wanted everyone to believe their propaganda that Melkor Morgoth was was incapable of creating anything for himself.
If Melkor did create the Orcs, not just corrupt them, then they would lack the spark of The Flame Imperishable that would give them real life. They would have no immortal soul. They would be wholly evil and irredeemable.
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Old 10-29-2002, 04:37 AM   #9
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Sting

This is the summary of conclusions reached upon orcs in another debate (here):

12 Orkish Statements:

1. Orcs have different origins, including beasts, men and elves. Great orcish leaders (Boldog) were orcish hroa inhabited by corrupted Maiar.

2. Those of beast origin need direct control of evil mind (i.e. Morgoth or Sauron) to act with some purpose, otherwise they “stray aimlessly”.

3. The elvish and mannish orcs are capable of independent action in those “good old days”, when Sauron is out of the stage.

4. The elvish and mannish orcs definitely have fear.

5. The elv-orcish fea has a right of elvish one to go to Mandos, repent and rebuild its hroa, yet it is not certain what would be it’s physical appearance – that of an orc, for hroa is rebuild out of fea’s memories of it, or, repenting, it acquires ability to rebuild for it proper purely elvish hroa. On the other side, is has the right to refuse the summons and remain in Hither Lands as houseless ghost or wraith.

6. Mannish fea goes out of the confines of the world

7. Orcs are capable to be interbred with men even in the third age, thus acts Saruman, as well as Sauron, producing new type of “man-orc”

8. Beast-orcs must be considered innocent in a way, for they are just tormented and perverted animals, Kevlar with no free will

9. Elvish and Mannish orcs posses free will, as all the Children of Eru, however suppressed by horror of Dark Lord, therefore they are not irredeemable and must be considered sinners, even those natural born ones, thus being distinguished from beast-orcs. Elvish and Mannish orcs know the Good from the Evil and appreciate the good (see Shagrat and Gorbag converse, were “elvish trick” of leaving companions is evaluated to be bad, and generally ascribed to the other side)

10.All the Orcs hate the Dark Lord for what was done to them, but the hatred is suppressed by horror, and they hate peoples of free and good will still more.

11.Elven-Orcs especially dislike the elves proper, and receive the same feeling from the other side

12.Elven-orcs have usual elven longivety, therefore , for instance, some of them can recall and recognize items of several thousand years of age (Orcrist and Glamdring recognized by orcs in “The Hobbit&#8221 [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]


Entry 5 of the above must be altered though, since:

Quote:
HoME XII, LATE WRITINGS.

'houseless' fea was enabled to rebuild its hroa from its memory became my father's "firm and stable view of the matter", "as appears from very late writing on the subject of the reincarnation of Glorfindel of Gondolin". This is erroneous. This last discussion of Elvish reincarnation refers only to the "restoration", "reconstitution" of the former body by the Valar, and makes no mention of the idea that it could be achieved by the 'houseless fea' operating of itself
and instead of for hroa is rebuild out of fea’s memories will read somehow thus:

The decesion to rebuild its hroa lies with the Valar

[ October 29, 2002: Message edited by: HerenIstarion ]
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Old 10-29-2002, 11:26 AM   #10
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Tolkien

I personally like the idea of Orcs (or at least some kinds of Orcs) coming from Elves, even if Tolkien changed his mind later in life. And seeing as LotR wasn't re-written to reflect his change of mind, there's really nothing wrong with holding to that idea. If I were writing fanfic or adapting the book for movie purposes, I'd probably stick with the "they were once Elves" concept. My reason being that it goes nicely with the concept that there are fates worse than death, which Tokien uses in other places in the story (i.e. Gollum & Ringwraiths).

(BTW, H-I, I consider your above post to be "the last word" on the subject, I just wanted to add my 2¢ worth.)
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Old 10-29-2002, 11:41 AM   #11
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Tolkien

no. orcs are not elves. but they were made from elves. i belive that is what the quote meant. i don't think JRR changed his mind at all. I never said orcs were elves. That would be like saying Trolls are Ents. But Trolls were made from ents and orcs were made from elves.
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Old 10-29-2002, 02:45 PM   #12
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Sting

No-one really knows where the elves come from (except perhaps Morgoth himself), but i would say corrupted Elves is a good enough bet. I bought up the idea of how valid all the ideas are in another topic, but it depends under which context you look at it. If you want to know what the Elves thought, Orcs were fallen Elves. If you want to know what other ideas were there in the context of the Histories, you see Men as well. If you want to know what was going on in the mind of Tolkien good luck. Burrahobit that quote only gives his thoughts at one time, and for his thoughts at other times just read some of the histories. But i swear he states they are Elves in a number of his letters.

[ October 29, 2002: Message edited by: Galorme ]
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Old 10-30-2002, 09:40 AM   #13
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Whether you think he changed his mind or not, he did.

Reality is not altered by your "opinion" about this fact.
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Old 10-30-2002, 11:57 AM   #14
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Well, yes, he changed his mind, but did he do anything about it? In LotR he never refutes Treebeard's statement about the Orcs. If, later in life, he changed his mind and said, "The Ring wasn't really evil", would you believe it? Not unless he went back and re-wrote the book.
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Old 10-30-2002, 12:04 PM   #15
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i dont think orcs were imotrta; beacause if they were they would still be in middle earth in some hidy-hole drinking their beer, smoking the pipeweed all that stuff.
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Old 10-30-2002, 01:08 PM   #16
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Sting

Quote:
i dont think orcs were imotrta; beacause if they were they would still be in middle earth in some hidy-hole drinking their beer, smoking the pipeweed all that stuff.
How do you know they're not?? [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 10-30-2002, 02:54 PM   #17
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Diamond18:

Quote:
Well, yes, he changed his mind, but did he do anything about it? In LotR he never refutes Treebeard's statement about the Orcs. If, later in life, he changed his mind and said, "The Ring wasn't really evil", would you believe it? Not unless he went back and re-wrote the book.
In his letters, he states that Treebeard is a character, not Tolkien himself, and does not understand everything...his knowledge is limited.

From Letter No. 153:

Quote:
Treebeard is a character in my story, not me; and though he has a great memory and some earthy wisdom, he is not one of the Wise, and there is quite a lot he does not know or understand. He does not know what 'wizards' are, or whence they came.
Because of this, you miss the point. The quotes provided earlier were from The Silmarillion, a work compiled and published by Christopher Tolkien without his father's supervision. What CT presented were the most complete ideas, and other writings later on indicate he changed his mind about the matter of orcs and elves. They, too, are published. What do you believe? Logically, the most recent writing.

Your point is valid about Lord of the Rings and the ring, but that analogy does not fit here. Lord of the Rings was a complete work, sent to press by Tolkien himself, thus it was a finished matter. We saw the indications of the ring's evil power. We do not see indications of the orcs' origins, except for Treebeard's comment. Treebeard's comment is not definitive in what was actual in Middle-earth.

Tolkien still had not finished The Silmarillion, therefore we are left with his rough drafts, and the more recent writings that address the matter say orcs were not originally elves.

Quote:
If, later in life, he changed his mind and said, "The Ring wasn't really evil", would you believe it? Not unless he went back and re-wrote the book.
He obviously intended for the concept of orcs being corrupted elves to be taken out of The Silmarillion, and what we have is, as stressed before, not his final version.

[ October 30, 2002: Message edited by: Legalos ]
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Old 10-30-2002, 03:14 PM   #18
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Sting

Another thing is that orcs would probebly kill each other before they got very old.
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Old 10-30-2002, 03:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
Burrahobit that quote only gives his thoughts at one time, and for his thoughts at other times just read some of the histories. But i swear he states they are Elves in a number of his letters.
That quote only gives his thoughts at one time after what he wrote in his letters. To put it differently, it was Tolkien's final word on the matter. To put it more glibly, have you read some of the histories? Because that's where I got the quote from.
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Old 10-30-2002, 04:57 PM   #20
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Tolkien

Legalos, that was a good answer. I can't argue with it. It really is too bad that we don't have a "true and finished" Silmarillion to consult, but that's the way it goes, I guess.

I am now reminded of Chapter 5 of "The Hobbit" which was revised before the LotR was published. It's sort of along the same lines...he changed his mind on the matter and we now view the latter version as "the true version" though his initial ideas were different.
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Old 10-30-2002, 08:49 PM   #21
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Burrahobbit and Legolas,

I don't really know if orcs were eternal or not but I'm still of the opinion that orcs were made from elves. I don't know what Tolkien said at the end of his life but if you know some information about his thoughts before death then please tell us where we can find this quote. I don't know if I want to just take peoples word on something that has turned into such a heated debate.

I don't say this as an insult but as a request for information which you seem to have and which no one else seems to have heard of.
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Old 10-30-2002, 08:53 PM   #22
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OOPS

Forgot one thing. Just because some one doesn't agree with you doesn't give you the right to be rude. Legolas and Burrahobbit have been pretty snippy and I am definitely not inclined to read anything they write when they disrespect the rest of us.
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Old 10-30-2002, 09:03 PM   #23
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Sting

I do not intend to be snippy, nor does burrahobbit, but I will let him speak for himself.

His responses might appear that way because he is concise.

My responses might appear that way because I take the time to address all questions and/or false notions. I don't mean to offend anyone ever. That's not what any of us are here for, is it?

Diamond18 - I agree. It's such a shame that we have only an incomplete portion of such a great work. At least we can be thankful he left enough behind and shared thoughts with Christopher that we may have what has been published. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

elvenchristian - where were we rude? We only negate opinions with actual facts given to us by the author. Such issues are addressed in Unfinished Tales and the History of Middle-earth.

When Tolkien says Fingolfin has dark hair, and your opinion is that he had blonde hair, how can you hope to be right? We're simply teaching the misguided. We wouldn't make up quotes. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

[ October 30, 2002: Message edited by: Legalos ]
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Old 10-31-2002, 01:23 AM   #24
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Quote:
I don't know what Tolkien said at the end of his life but if you know some information about his thoughts before death then please tell us where we can find this quote.
HoMe 10, Myths Transformed
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Old 10-31-2002, 01:31 AM   #25
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elvenchristian ~ I love the screen name and the signature!!
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Old 10-31-2002, 01:32 AM   #26
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About the Orc-Elf thing, when Morgoth mutilated the elves( [img]smilies/mad.gif[/img] ) all of their beauty and majesty and all the things that distinguished them as elves went out the window, so if imortality is also an Elvish trademark then perhaps that went bye-byes as well (?) Well, thats my theory anyway! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 11-01-2002, 04:34 PM   #27
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Ah, It may have gone out the window, but how come we read nothing of orcs dieing except in battle? And, too bad about a week ago i was going to do this same topic... bah
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Old 11-01-2002, 05:12 PM   #28
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Sting

Hard to argue with Legolas and burrahobbit. Regardless of what we may think, if JRRT said orcs are not elves, then they aren't. I personally like the idea of them being corrupted elves, or bred from elven stock. It would have been a supremely evil thing to do. Of Melkor's acts perhaps the one most hated by Illuvatar, to paraphrase the Silmarillion. Elvish orcs present a more twisted opponent, perhaps one more able to compete with The Firstborn. Unworthy opponents detract from the story in my opinion.
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Old 11-01-2002, 05:38 PM   #29
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I also think the point of the Great Goblin recognizing Glamdring and Orcrist is a good one. Do orcs pass that kind of information along or did he actually recognize the Elvish weapons?
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Old 11-02-2002, 02:01 AM   #30
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Sting

Oroginal post being not appropriate and not quite polite is removed. Sorry for inconvenience

[ November 04, 2002: Message edited by: HerenIstarion ]
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Old 11-04-2002, 08:19 AM   #31
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Original post removed by author due to inappropriate remarks. My apologies.

[ November 05, 2002: Message edited by: Keneldil the Polka-dot ]
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Old 11-04-2002, 09:16 AM   #32
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Ok, here we go with my "theory." Hopefully, it makes sense. I don't have any of the books in front of me, so I am working off of memory, forgive me, if I stray.

Orcs are not Elves, Trolls are not Ents. Orcs and Trolls were designed by Melkor as the antithesis (the opposite likeness)of Elves and Ents; their creation is the most heinous of Melkor's acts in Iluvatar's eyes.

Orcs were not of Iluvatar; therefore, immortallity was a gift that could not be received by them (Melkor could not give that which only Iluvatar can give), but they could have extremely long lives (nearing immortallity) if there were an agent of evil that would bind their fear and hate to Middle Earth (during the battle at the Black Gate, those creatures bound to Sauron lose their will when the ring is destroyed). As they were not of Iluvatar their will and strength was not as great as the First- or the Second-born; their strength is in their numbers, and they are easily swayed by fear; they are not defiant to their overlord.

In summary, Orcs are not Elves, but were designed in the anti-likenss (for lack of a better term) of them. They were not immortal, but could have been perceived as immortal.

One final note, in the earlier versions of Sim, Elves who were captured by Melkor were not physically twisted to evil (unless they were already evil at heart, ie Maeglin), but were tortured and their wills were bound to Melkor's, which continually led them astray. This caused a general distrust by the Noldor to any of their brothers who escaped from Angband.
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Old 11-04-2002, 09:58 AM   #33
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A good theory, Palan. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

[ November 05, 2002: Message edited by: Legalos ]
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Old 11-04-2002, 10:10 AM   #34
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This discussion reminds me of Saint Augustine, who definitely changed his mind numerous times and on numerous subjects. However, the fact that Augustine changed his mind in later life as regards free will and predestination didn't make his later conclusions correct!

There is merit in tackling the former ideas of thinkers, even though they change their mind. From a speculative stand point there is certianly nothing wrong with the conjecture that orcs were derived from elves. The fact that this theory is derived from Tolkien, himself, indicates that it is at least in the spirit of Tolkien, and still deserves a hearing.

The essential nature of orcs, as the antithesis of elves, as well stated above, does not change whether they are derived from elves or not. The fact that they are a corruption does not change either.

From the essential nature of orcs, as the antithesis of elves, it should be apparent that orcs are not immortal. The origins of orcs is margin gloss to the whole discussion.

[ November 04, 2002: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 11-04-2002, 10:11 AM   #35
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Legalos: Point taken. I am not an administrator. However, what I said in point 3 still applies (or should).

I don't have the referrence material for burrahobit's quote of JRRT about orcs not being elves. Anyone know where that came from? I don't think saying "orcs are not elves" precludes the possibilty that they are of elvish origin.
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Old 11-04-2002, 11:02 AM   #36
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Bill Ferny...

Tolkien was the creator of his fictional world, and thus, whatever he thought is how it was.
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Old 11-04-2002, 04:46 PM   #37
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From the essential nature of orcs, as the antithesis of elves, it should be apparent that orcs are not immortal. The origins of orcs is margin gloss to the whole discussion.
Bill Ferny, whether that idea provides the right answer or not, dismissing the origin of orcs due to there nature as the antithesis of elves is a great oversimplification. When the orcs were, in Tolkien's mind, corrupted elves, they would only be able to become mortal at Eru's bidding, because he was the only authority who could change the nature of the Children. Thus, Melkor's intention of making them the opposite of elves cold not effect orcs being mortal because only Eru could do this.
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Old 11-05-2002, 12:48 AM   #38
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Legalos,

Tolkien also said that orcs were corrupted elves. Maybe its my training in philosophy and history, or maybe its my staunch anti-fundamentalism, but I do not take any statement as definitive at face value, nor do I accept any fact as a fact until it is thoroughly analyzed. A more engaging discussion would be an analysis of why Tolkien changed his mind. That’s what I mean by leaving the discussion open. Perhaps my example of Saint Augustine should read “the fact that he changed his mind latter in life, doesn’t make his former arguments any less valid.” I think Tolkien’s former arguments are valid points for discussion, just as I think the term “gnome” as used by Tolkien is a valid point for discussion.

WW,

Good points to bare in mind. I’m sorry, my reply was flippant. I liked Palan’s post because it was an argument that transcends dependence on origin. It probably in the end supports Tolkien’s later notion that orcs did not come from corrupted elves; if orcs were polar opposites of elves they could not have their origin from elves (and thus orcs would, of course, be mortal). However, an antithesis need not be a polar opposite. An antithesis can merely be something in opposition to; in this case orcs could be corrupted elves (and thus orcs could, of course, be immortal for the reason you state in your post). Maybe the solution lies somewhere in the middle.

The emphasis in Tolkien, especially in his late letters was that orcs did not come from Iluvatar, as Palan notes. At least I surmise as much from the fact that Tolkien changed his mind about the corruption of elves theme. It seems then, that he is building an opposite type antithesis. Based on this assumption (and I admit its a very speculative assumption) it seems logical to conclude that orcs were not immortal, because immortality would never have been granted to them by Iluvatar in the first place.
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Old 11-05-2002, 01:08 AM   #39
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it seems logical to conclude that orcs were not immortal, because immortality would never have been granted to them by Iluvatar in the first place
Bill, it seems to me you evaluate immortality here as some kind of a prize. I read somehow - "and for they were evil, Eru would never have granted them immortality". Maybe I err, correct me if I do. Still, if I don't, I think this is not the case. Elvish immortality is not prize, it's a given feature of elvish nature. So not giving orks immortality in case they were not corrupted elves was not the case of punishment or reward. Being mortal does not matter if they are not elves, and being immortal (within the confines of Arda) is just normal if they are.
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Old 11-05-2002, 07:36 AM   #40
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HI,

Accepted. That's basically what I was getting at. "Granted" is confusing. Orcs are mortal, under the observation of orcs as an opposite model of antithesis, simply because they are not elves, and only elves seem to naturally be immortal.
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