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canucklhead
14-09-2010, 02:33
It's an odd question, I know, but hear me out.

Morgoth, (Melkor), created the orcs out of his petty desire to create a life form of his own. Denied the ability of Manwe to do so, he instead corrupted captured elves until they became brutal, barbaric, anarchistic maniacs.

This is all well and good for Morgoth, who was more of a power mad megalomaniac/ petulant spoiled 5 year old, than anything else.

Enter Sauron as head honcho. Sauron, unlike his boss, was a maia of aule, dedicated to craft, and creation, order and building. He was corrupted by the big M, who used the lure of possessing mighty and beautiful things, rather than aule's path of making and sharing.

But Sauron would still have been, and in fact was portrayed as a dictator. Devoted to his vision of imposing his order upon the world, arranging all things to his desire. One would think that his armies would be made up of extremely well trained, well equipped, and incredibly well disciplined troops. None of which describes Orcs very well.

So was it a question of convenience? Take the forces that are already willing to follow you? It seems a lazy path for a "grand builder and schemer".

ForgottenLore
14-09-2010, 03:31
That is a pretty good question.

I suspect it was a combination of factors. When building a power base the orcs would be an easy source of cannon fodder. While the viewpoint we are given is primarily in the west where he was not easily able to corrupt men, Sauron did use highly disciplined troops from the lands he could sway to his side, easterlings, haradrim, black numenoreans. Who knows what he told them. Perhaps he promised them that after the immediate threat of the "evil men of the west" was dealt with that the orcs would be exterminated next.

canucklhead
15-09-2010, 01:16
I think you probably have the right of it there. Sauron would have used the orcs for as long he needed large shock troops to wage genuine wars, but they likely would have been purged after his victory, in favour of black numenoreans and other harsh but better focused groups.

I suppose it is also possible that the orcs are a representation of Sauron's corruption. His fall from first among brilliant minds and craftsmen, to a being so driven by the desire to rule and dominate that he lost all of his original character. Even had he been victorious against the 'wise', he would likely have been doomed to a never ending cycle of dissatisfaction with his lackeys, leading to purges and constant conflict.

ForgottenLore
15-09-2010, 06:04
I figure, if he had won, he would have been endlessly experimenting on ALL of his subjects to try and make them "better".

Forced breeding and eugenics programs, culling of the weak and malformed. Perhaps eventually getting to the steampunk/horror trope of magical/mechanical prosthetics and augmentations.

Whitwort Stormbringer
16-09-2010, 18:58
I think part of it is that orcs by nature rule and are ruled through fear - they were a ready-made army at Sauron's disposal. He sends them about the world to set up their own little colonies, harass humans, elves, and dwarves, and stimey some of their progression, etc. However, even going back to before the downfall of Numenor, Sauron was working away at the men native to Middle Earth, corrupting them to his cause. In both major wars - the Last Alliance and the War of the Ring, he brings in his many human allies. I think that for Sauron orcs are a tool at his disposal, and he uses them for what they're worth, but all the while he's getting his real army ready for the big strike.

Also, remember that Sauron bred his own Uruk-hai (debatably before Saruman), indicating that he was already lookin to improve on his existing mediocre stock.

ForgottenLore
16-09-2010, 19:27
Also, remember that Sauron bred his own Uruk-hai (debatably before Saruman), indicating that he was already lookin to improve on his existing mediocre stock.

Can someone provide a reference for this? I just recently re-read the trilogy again specifically looking for this and could only find references to Sauron using Uruks, meaning big orc, not Uruk-Hai.

canucklhead
16-09-2010, 22:56
I think that may be what was meant. Sauron had orcs, which were really more of a Goblin, at least from a WFB perspective. Then he also had Uruks, although I can't say for certain whether they were his idea, or whether they had existed from the days of Morgoth.

Saruman then took uruks and crossed them (bred?) with the savage dunlendings, to breed a species of Half Ork, or Uruk Hai.

ForgottenLore
17-09-2010, 00:18
I think that may be what was meant. Sauron had orcs, which were really more of a Goblin, at least from a WFB perspective. Then he also had Uruks, although I can't say for certain whether they were his idea, or whether they had existed from the days of Morgoth.

Saruman then took uruks and crossed them (bred?) with the savage dunlendings, to breed a species of Half Ork, or Uruk Hai.

That has always been the (very strong) impression I get when I read LotR, but apparently not everyone agrees with it. I haven't found any evidence contradicting it though (although I haven't looked too hard).

Whitwort Stormbringer
17-09-2010, 02:00
Can someone provide a reference for this? I just recently re-read the trilogy again specifically looking for this and could only find references to Sauron using Uruks, meaning big orc, not Uruk-Hai.

This is the way I have always understood it:

The only appreciable difference between "uruks" and "uruk-hai", as Tolkien uses the terms, is that "uruk-hai" seems to mostly be used by Saruman for his "fighting uruk-hai" and entailed certain improvements that Sauron had not introduced, such as resistance to sunlight. Otherwise, you're looking at the same basic creature, and any of the larger, more disciplined soldier breed that they both employed could be referred to as an "uruk".

So, I have a tendency to think of the two as interchangeable but there are some differences between them.

I'm not certain, but I want to say that the uruks that Sauron used were his own improvement on Morgoth's orcs, which Saruman then further refined into the uruk-hai.

I think the uruk-hai being a crossbreed between uruks and dunlendings was speculated by Treebeard, and that certainly may be how Saruman worked in those "improvements".