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DarkLord Of Naggaroth
10-04-2007, 18:18
ok, lots of people have very different thoughts about whether orcs are actually evil, are men the good guys they appear to be, are the evil men just mislead, and are the free peoples actually free.

So are orcs and goblins harmless without an evil leader?

was aragorn out of character and stupid to behead the 'inocent' mouth of sauron?

and how does the democracy and morals of middle earth reflect our world?

What are your thoughts?

Brandir
10-04-2007, 18:38
I am a republican and am vehemently against hereditry leaders ruling.

However, LOTR is in a time before the concepts of a moden democracy.

On the subject of Aragorn and the Mouth of Sauron, it was completely out of character. Aragorn did not kill for the sake of it. He had a sense of justice. He was fair.

I suppose that the Shire is closest to our modern democracy, and especially the democracy from Tolkiens point of view. A mixture of elected and unelected officials; the Mayor and the Thain.

Other 'free peoples' were rules be an absolute monarchy. Yes, Rohan/Imladris/Gondor may have had councils but Tolkien doesn't really talk much about them.

Dr Death
10-04-2007, 19:07
Well there is a question that needs asking straight off- is democracy the only means of freedom? Now obviously democracy does allow you to choose the head of state bu you can have an authoritarian democratically elected head of state as much as you can have an authoritarian monarch or dictator. If my memory and education hasnt failed me completely Hitler came to power through a democratically elected system (give or take a few complexities (biggest understatement of the century:rolleyes:).).

My point is that you can be just as free under an arbitary head of state as you can under one elected by the people- it's not the nature of the head of state that allow's freedom but rather the choices of that head of state. In any case no state is in complete freedom (see anarchy) so freedom is a relative value. In Tolkien's case i beleive he simply refers to freedom as a counter to slavery as would surely be the case under Sauron or any other 'evil' individual. I dont recall any references to any of the 'free peoples' utilising slaves but then i may be wrong.

In regards to orcs i was talking about this with a friend recently and he actually reminded me of a quote which i dont quite have to hand (and dont really know where to look) but says that 'good' races were not to treat orcs in the same manner as they would be treated by orcs so torture and all such nastiness was rather out of the question for treatment of orcs. For that reason i do beleive that orcs and other servants of the dark powers are meant to be treated with some degree of kindness if not honour. If anyone knows the quote i'm talking about and can post it up i'd be much obliged.

Dr Death

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
10-04-2007, 19:19
I do not believe that democracy is freedom for the reasons you said, so what is freedom?

It might have been out of character for Aragorn, but lets be realistic, we're not all pure good guys. If I was aragon I would have done the same, and something else that anoys me every time I see it, is when Aragorn stops grima's death and gives him a hand. Does this prove that grima was evil? he was given a chance of changing his ways and rejected it very disrespectfully. If aragorn hadn't stopped grima's death then a lot of bad things could have been avoided. Was aragorn just being too 'good'?

Horus84
10-04-2007, 19:27
Well sorry to be a bit of a downer but I never understand why people (no offence) look at the LOTR and like to try and break it down in a political, philosophical or litriture etc... manner.

I just think that Tolkin wrote because he like to write. More pointently he like to write for his kids and family and himself. I don't think he was trying to make or put in any particular message.

My two penny

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
10-04-2007, 19:45
it's what it represents (wow, dont want to sound all hippy) but it's just good to see peoples different opinions because the same sort of things are happening here or in other stories.
and besides I set up this thread because that's clearly what other people wanted to talk about.

Gondorian
10-04-2007, 20:05
From my understanding of Tolkien's LOTR, and bear in mind these are only my opinions, the forces of good are meant to be absolutely good. This is reflected by there being no report of crime of any kind within rohan or gondor. There is not one thief mentioned in Rivendel nor any gondorian who has slain his neighbour in anger. While there are bandits and such these are isolated ruffians led by Sharky, thus it implies that the so called free peoples do not have such problems. Just my view perhaps.

When I said free peoples in the other thread, I meant in the sense of they have certain basic freedoms orcs and goblins do not.
They will not be punished out of hand unless they have comitted some offense.
They have the option of choosing to become soldiers, they're not conscripted from birth as orcs are.
They can trust that any of their neighbors will usually be punished by his society or fellows should they commit an offense against another. This is not complete freedom but they're important ones which orcs lack.
An orc in many aspects is a slave. A warrior of the free is also a slave but a slave of society rather than chains and whips.
There's a great bit about this subject in Terry Pratchetts 'Going Postal' and how complete freedom could well drive a man mad.

QUOTE=DarkLord Of Naggaroth;1458394]I do not believe that democracy is freedom for the reasons you said, so what is freedom?

It might have been out of character for Aragorn, but lets be realistic, we're not all pure good guys. If I was aragon I would have done the same, and something else that anoys me every time I see it, is when Aragorn stops grima's death and gives him a hand. Does this prove that grima was evil? he was given a chance of changing his ways and rejected it very disrespectfully. If aragorn hadn't stopped grima's death then a lot of bad things could have been avoided. Was aragorn just being too 'good'?[/QUOTE]

Not the point. The mouth of Sauron may well be annoying but that's no grounds for killing him under a flag of truce. If you do not follow the rules of engagement in taking prisoners of war and caring for them to the best of your ability and agreeing to suspend arms under periods of truce, you basically invite your enemy to ignore them aswell.
It's underhand and dishonourable to attack and kill an opponent who is in parley or during a truce.
Granted the orcs use such tricks during their parley, at Helm's Deep where the parely ends with aragorn jumping away from the arrows fired at him, but this is not justification for the free people to sink to their level.

In regard to sparing Grima's life, remember in the book Grima was given a choice by Theoden. He could regain his honour or flee. He chose to flee.
The films have noble Aragorn step in, interupt the system of law and order of Rohan (given he's king of gondor, guess that's OK) and stay Theoden's hand.
Also, Aragorn did not know at the time the damage Grima would go on to cause, in the same way that gandalf did not know what Gollum's final part would involve. It comes under the 'Many live that deserve death, many die that deserve life...' philosophy.

Chainaxe07
11-04-2007, 07:18
Well, i dont know how much it has to do with democracy or freedom, but i suppose not killing an ambassador is simply a matter of chivalrous code, and Aragorn is meant to be an exemplar chivalrous figure, not unlike the knights of the round table.
Once again i do not know how much it has to do with democracy, it is rather a matter of not being a dishonoured backstabber who loses control when on drugs. Not that i hate watching a movie featuring the latter, but this is lotr not pulp fiction. As to orcs i guess they could be put to the sword, probably in a "clean" way (not after pointless torture), but human servants of the dark lord (haradrim, easterlings and black numenoreans, mouth of sauron included) are probably to be set free if their particular crimes are not proven to be too atrocious (something more than nasty speaking when under truce i am afraid).

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
11-04-2007, 10:14
Gondorian, I seriously doubt there isn't any crime in gondor or Rohan. It doesn't say anything about crime in these places because you would only do so if the crime was relevant to the story. and I'm not suprised there aren't any theives, nobody has anything worth stealing,(villagers in Edoras) and anybody who does will have it heavily guarded (great hall)

but even if they were portrayed as absolutely good, then why did the rangers happily torture golum simply because he looked a bit shifty?

Gondorian
11-04-2007, 11:11
I guess that it's difficult to cover everything about a particular culture within a novel. I would also think it likely that there is crime in Gondor and Rohan, I guess Tolkien didn't have time or couldn't see the point of elabourating on it.

The rangers totrured gollum to extract information from him. While they were somewhat cruel they didn't resort to permanent damage or maiming. I don't recall this happening in the book, I think they bound him but didn't torture him.
However, Gandalf also says that he had to be cruel with gollum when interigating him in Mirkwood. It's one of those grey areas.

HeraldOfTheFree
12-04-2007, 12:30
I do not think any culture in the Lord of the Rings represent 'absolute good'. Individuals maybe, but not cultures. (On a similar not I hate having a 'good' or 'evil' army in the game).
To find evidence to support this claim we have to look back into the history of Middle-Earth. Most of my points here are about how the cultures people treat each other, but I still think its relevant.

The Kin-slaying of the Elves. When Feanor and his followers kill the Elves to get boats in the First Age they do not represent 'absolute good' do they? If I remember rightly the Elves of Doriath are quite xenophobic and callous when dealing with humans wishing to enter their realm.
The Elves and the Dwarves. The ancestral friction between these races is another thing that is not 'absolute good'.
Gondor in the early half of the Third Age.
Xenophobia. If you read the appendices in the back of the Return of the King the Gondorians hate and fear the North-men, even though they are not allied to Sauron. When the heir of Gondors throne marries a daughter of a Northern king, it causes dissent amongst the Gondorians. I think an 'absolute good' culture wouldnt behave like that.
The Kin-Strife in Gondor. After the marriage between the Northern tribes and Gondors heir, the 'barbarians' are welcomed into the realm for the war-effort, but soon after the Kin-Strife breaks out- effectivly the Gondor Civil-War. The neighbours 'happily' fight each other.
The treatment of the Dunlendings. The Dunlendings are living in Calenardhon at the time its given to Eorl, and the Rohirrim proceed to push them out of the country and spend the next 5 centuries fighting the the Dunlendings. Not really fair or 'good' is it?

Thanks for reading, I hope this contributions useful!
By the way Gondorian, I'm not specifically picking on your point about 'absolute good', Im talking about classifying the Free Peoples as good at all.

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
12-04-2007, 13:02
very useful, I'm not expertly familiar with the events or beings of the 2nd age and especially not the 1st, but I understand what you mean, and I'm sure others are.

so what about absolutly evil?
I disagree that orcs are harmless without their leader. Sure, they only ever cause trouble at the whim of their leader; but the same sort of thing can be said for anything. It's difficult to explain. Orcs will always have a leader, so when they do something at the leaders command is it only the leader's fault? sure the leader was responsible, but that's how they are. It's a bit like saying people will only steal if there are rich people around, is it the rich person's fault?
sorry if I'm not making sense.

HeraldOfTheFree
12-04-2007, 13:34
When an Orc does something against the warband leaders wishes it will be dealt with violently I expect. If a leader is in complete control, it is his fault what his followers do. Does an Orc leader have complete control over his warband?

Gondorian
12-04-2007, 14:23
By the way Gondorian, I'm not specifically picking on your point about 'absolute good', Im talking about classifying the Free Peoples as good at all.

Cheers, some good points. I hadn't considered some of this. I'm begining to rethink my opinions on this topic.

On the subject of orcs, its interesting to see how quickly even friends turn on each other. Shagrat and Gorbag were happily marching back with Frodo talking about how they might one day take a few trusted lads and set up a little orc encampment somewhere of their own, free of the eye.
Enter the mithril shirt and they fight each other to the death, some friendship.
From this it does seem to me that orcs have a concept of comradeship and honour, just that they never bother with it when they can twist something to their advantage.

Dr Death
12-04-2007, 15:29
I completely agree with HeraldoftheFree- There is remarkably little in the way of 'absolute good' and even 'absolute evil' in the earlier ages of middle earth. Lord of the Rings is quite misguiding in that regard because it really picks up on a time where everyone in middle earth had to stand up and be counted as either being on the side of the free peoples or a servant of sauron- neutrality wasnt really an option. For that reason i suppose you can be forgiven for the 'good vrs evil' notion people take from lotr but it certainly doesnt apply to the other thousands of years of middle earth history.

I dont beleive anyone in tolkien's entire mythos acts out of sheer evil intent- even Morgoth, Tolkien's 'Satan' had his reasons for his actions (jealousy mainly) but certainly people are judged by their deeds rather than their intent and there are a whole lot of evil deeds throughout the mythos and in that sense those 'serial offenders' can be called evil with some qualifiers.

Probably the most famously evil deed committed by someone who you wouldnt expect was Ar-Pharazon's assault on Valinor which triggered the Downfall of Numenor (i'm suprised you didnt mention this HotF:p). But he was acting based on the lies spread by Sauron, who in himself was acting out of jealousy and spite of Numenor's power.

Numenor's decendant realms Gondor and Arnor maintained in the background a moderate level of genophobia as HotF says. This was taken to such an extent that Gondorian propagandists fabricated a genealogical link between the Gondorians and their emergent allies the Eotheod. And indeed the entire kinstrife was fought over the purity of the blood of Numenor.

In addition isnt it striking how the 'free peoples' always offer their defeated enemies a chance to repent? I've mentioned this before, (i think in the other thread) but when Saruman stands defeated at Bag End, even after a grevious act of petty spite towards the defenceless shire, Frodo still offers him forgiveness. Both Morgoth and Sauron have won forgiveness before the feet of the valar- why would Manwe accept if he knew either were beyond redemption?

Evil deeds do not an evil individual make i suppose is the point.

Dr Death

HeraldOfTheFree
12-04-2007, 20:48
Numenor- knew I missed one! :p

Cpt_NinjaPants
12-04-2007, 22:42
Orc's are nesseraly evil, they are bad, but not evil. They only do what they do because they are enslaved by truely evil masters.

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
13-04-2007, 09:53
for grima, what do you think would have been the right thing to do, what would you have done?
I would have had him killed, even if aragorn didn't know what damage he would go on to cause, he had already commited treason. Even today in England, if such a thing (or equivalent) happened, he would be sentenced to death, or at least sent to the US to do so.

He strongly helped take over his kings mind, enslaving his power and controlling his country!!!!!

even if aragorn knew what he would later do, do you think he would kill him? No, he would keep him prisoner at the very most.


Cpt_NinjaPants, orcs enjoy causing pain to the incocent. They believe in world domination!

HeraldOfTheFree
13-04-2007, 10:19
Didnt Tony Blair get rid of all the death sentence laws?
Anyway, Grima. I dont think he should have been killed, but I dont think he should have been set free either. He wasnt a danger to anyone on his own, so if he was locked up I believe he would have been unable to do anymore damage. But the chances of that are slim- Theoden refuses to accept that they are at war with Isengard and would be unlikely to take measures like that.

Brandir
13-04-2007, 12:25
Esgaroth is another area that elect their leaders:

In the Lake-town we have always elected masters from among the old and wise, and have not endured the rule of mere fighting men. Quote taken from The Hobbit Chapter 14 Fire and Water.

However, the people of Esgaroth follow the new King Bard to Dale rather than stay with the Master of Lake Town. One get the impression that Tolkien is rather in favour of hereditry rulers over elected rulers.

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
13-04-2007, 13:13
well that was what it used to be like, electing your own leaders is quite a modern thing.
You said about the Shire having hereditry and elected, well isn't England just the same? (queen and primeminister) So is england not free?

Dr Death
13-04-2007, 13:52
I'm afraid you're wrong on the death sentence DarklordofNaggaroth. However henious the crime we would not be able to execute or even send someone away to be executed, that would be a complete perversion of all human rights and would be an utter hypocrisy- You cant just send away your criminals to another country so they can serve a harsher sentence- the defendants lawyers would have a field day.

Rasputin who is a pretty good parrallel for Grima had to be murdered outside the law and he practically brought down the russian monarchy, they just didnt have the evidence to slap any kind of charge on him.

In the case of Grima its kind of Theoden's fault for allowing himself to become so dependant on Grima for advice. Now obviously Grima was the driving force behind this and it was done with intent but all he was doing at the end of the day was saying the 'right' things to produce an effect. You couldnt imprison someone for that under modern law, let alone execute them.

Dr Death

Gondorian
13-04-2007, 14:57
Also bear in mind that Grima was once a loyal servant of Rohan, it was saruman who first led him on the path to corruption. That doesn't make him blameless by any means but one of Saruman's greatest powers is his voice.

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
13-04-2007, 15:13
I'm afraid you're wrong on the death sentence DarklordofNaggaroth. However henious the crime we would not be able to execute or even send someone away to be executed, that would be a complete perversion of all human rights and would be an utter hypocrisy- You cant just send away your criminals to another country so they can serve a harsher sentence- the defendants lawyers would have a field day.

Dr Death

Yes I just realised, I was getting confused with something. sorry

Brandir
13-04-2007, 16:20
.......Rasputin who is a pretty good parrallel for Grima had to be murdered outside the law and he practically brought down the russian monarchy, they just didnt have the evidence to slap any kind of charge on him......

That is a very good analagy. I don't know how much Tolkien would have known about Rasputin as much of the interest in him is relatively recent (well, after Tolkien wrote LOTR) so I don't think He was 'inspired' by Rasputin.


well that was what it used to be like, electing your own leaders is quite a modern thing.
You said about the Shire having hereditry and elected, well isn't England just the same? (queen and primeminister) So is england not free?

I agree, England is not free until we can elect our own head of state and have an elected upper chamber. Many other countries still have a constitutional monarchy so we are not unique here.

Professor Tolkien was very much an establishment figure who accepted the system we have in England as appropriate. During his time when he was forming his views about things, he probably saw turmoil in countries with elected head of states and comparitively little turmoil in England. Therefore I think he felt there was nothing wrong with a constitutional monarchy or a 'good' king to rule his people.

But he also highlighted what can happed when the wrong person becomes king - such as the Kin Strife in Gondor or Ar Pharazon the Golden.

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
13-04-2007, 17:15
I agree, England is not free until we can elect our own head of state and have an elected upper chamber. Many other countries still have a constitutional monarchy so we are not unique here.


but the queen's not stopping us from doing anything at all. So what difference would her presence have to England's freedom?

Brandir
13-04-2007, 18:02
but the queen's not stopping us from doing anything at all. So what difference would her presence have to England's freedom?

The monarch in the UK has many powers, particularly of issuing statutory instruments and patronage. Far too many powers to be in the hands of an unelected person. Although these powers are only used on the advice of the PM they are far more than any other nation in the EU. The monarch's position also allows for 90 hereditry peers to sit in the House of Lords and make laws.

It is also symbolic. What sort of country has an unelcted head of state? A country that has hereditry peers making laws? A country which no citezen can aspire to the top job? A country that relies on an accident of birth to get a leader.

EDIT: Crikey, I never thought I'd see the day when I actually agreed with Tony Benn:confused:

As you can probably tell, I am a Republican:)

However, I am also a historian and don't judge people from history by the standards of today. As Middle-earth is in a sort of medieval setting, it correctly has hereditry rulers and the ideal of benign kings with the wisdom of Soloman to rule the 'free peoples'.

In LOTR I can only find the term 'free peoples' used twice. The first is when Elrond is telling Frodo who will be in the Fellowship:

`For the rest, they shall represent the other Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Legolas shall be for the Elves; and Gimli son of Glóin for the Dwarves. Quote taken from LOTR Book 2 Chapter 3 The Ring Goes South.

and when Treebeard is singing to Pippin & Merry:

Learn now the lore of Living Creatures!
First name the four, the free peoples:
Eldest of all, the elf-children;
Dwarf the delver, dark are his houses;
Ent the earthborn, old as mountains;
Man the mortal, master of horses:
Quote taken from LOTR Book 3 Chapter 4 Treebeard

Rykion
25-04-2007, 19:29
I don't think Tolkien had government or individual rights in mind when he talks about the free peoples of Middle Earth. It could simply be that to those peoples who are not enslaved by Sauron are the free peoples. But, from Treebeard's words, I suspect it is about the concept of free will granted to the races at their creation. Men, elves, dwarves, ents, and hobbits (though they are just an offshoot of men) have the freedom of choice between good and evil. Not every race has this advantage.

Orcs, trolls, etc. were created by Morgoth through corruption. They are inherently evil. Even without leadership from Morgoth or Sauron, they will kill, rob, or enslave anyone weaker than themselves. They are slaves to their own nature.

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
27-04-2007, 17:25
Orcs, trolls, etc. were created by Morgoth through corruption. They are inherently evil. Even without leadership from Morgoth or Sauron, they will kill, rob, or enslave anyone weaker than themselves. They are slaves to their own nature.

so if an orc or troll was trying to kill you, would you feel guilty to kill them?
The same goes for the Haradrim etc. did they choose to be evil or not? do they deserve to die if they tried to kill you?

Rykion
27-04-2007, 19:54
so if an orc or troll was trying to kill you, would you feel guilty to kill them?
The same goes for the Haradrim etc. did they choose to be evil or not? do they deserve to die if they tried to kill you?
I would kill in self defense, but would feel sorry afterwards. Some Haradrim chose to be evil, but even good people could follow their leaders into the service of Sauron. The elves were tricked to help make the rings afterall.

schoolcormorant
27-04-2007, 20:22
Well there is a question that needs asking straight off- is democracy the only means of freedom? Now obviously democracy does allow you to choose the head of state

you make a good point, in ancient athens, people were forced to vote, they were coraled into the polling chambers by soldiers, which means that you have to support one of them, even if you disagree with all of them.

i think orcs are evil, but only because they were made that way, i mean, they are solidly evil now; but were elves once (duuuh) - theres no way of 'bringing them back' if that makes any sense.

i think Aragorn was a tosser for killing the mouth of Sauron, it was pointless really.

Haradrim are not exactly evil, the chieftains and stuff are tempted by gold and booty. if you remember the FotR, Farmer Maggot bit, when the Wraith turns up and says "if you see them, will you tell me? i will return with gold"
so the chieftains use power to force them into war, theres probably a point to be made about where the haradrim live, being infertile and whatnot, and being jealous of verdant north Middle earth.

Tolkine must have had a local govt system in mind, theres a postman in the Shire, theres a mayor and stuff.

SC

Gondorian
29-04-2007, 14:29
Don't listen to Rykion, he's a darlec! He'd kill any orc he had no reason to keep alive! Lol.

schoolcormorant, It's interesting that you say the orcs can never be brought back. Perhaps with time, we're probably talking centuries, and the help of the more civilised men of middle earth, the orcs could be gradually brought back to light. The men of middle earth would have to show the orcs how they live their lives and how living honestly can reap greater rewards then thieving and villany. Given that orcs only know their culture of hatred because every orc from birth to death lives in the grip of a bigger meaner orc, perhaps when shown another way, they could flurish.
How the men of middle earth would achieve this, I have no idea. Perhaps a start by healing the wounded orcs of a battle, taking them prisoner and speaking to them as if they're also men regardless of the insults thrown back. Those prisoners that begin to stop insulting their guards and cooperate with them could perhaps be taken on heavily guarded walks throughout the cities of men to see how their culture is so vastly different. Such steps may eventually bring the orcs back to their former ideals and maybe alter the race completely, re-educated orcs having to bring the light to the wild orcs.

However, such a scheme would also require the men of middle earth to alter their own somewhat xenophobic hatred of the orcs. Personally I think this is the biggest flaw in the plan and that the armies of men would rather eradicate the orc race than go through the more harder path of showing them the right way of living. Perhaps in this way, Sauron has made men evil by making orcs evil. By making orcs so cruel, he has made men hate them, meaning they will kill orcs without mercy, meaning they never give the orc a chance for redemption.
Just some thoughts.

Rykion
30-04-2007, 16:19
Wow Gondorian, that's definitely an interesting way to think. Though you forgot to mention how evil dwarves, ents, and the giant eagles were. They weren't any friendlier towards orcs then men were. Also, by your reasoning, the valar, maiar, and elves must have been absolutely abominable. :eek: They were killing orcs well before men came around, and the orcs were former members of the elven race. Surely the elves, of all the races, had the biggest moral duty to try to redeem them. The valar and maiar had the power and plenty of chances to try to turn some orcs to good. I'm sure they attempted kindness towards captured orcs several times. The compassionate treatment Gollum received after being captured by Aragorn indicates this. Any hand extended in friendship towards orcs likely got bitten off.

Nothing in any of Tolkien's writings indicates orcs had any chance of redemption. Every human society contains people that think and act contrary to the values of the group as a whole. There is no indication in the history of Middle Earth that there was ever an orc that acted in a good and decent way. If there was such an orc, I'm sure many elves would have made it their mission to redeem as many orcs as possible.

I also think xenophobic isn't an accurate word to use when talking about the men of Middle Earth. They seemed to be the most accepting of the races. Hobbits didn't want anything to do with anyone outside the Shire. The dwarves and elves generally kept the other races at arms length by the time of the Third Age.

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
30-04-2007, 16:37
mmmmm. so do you think Tolkien intended orcs to be seen as truly evil monsters there to make a good story and for the good guys to kill? Or are we suppoed to think about orcs the same way as Golum?

Gondorian
30-04-2007, 16:48
I was just throwing out the idea really.
Overall, I do think the orcs were really just written to be all out bad guys, without badies you can't have goodies.

Rykion, yeah looking back xenophobic isn't really the best term. I'd mostly left out elves because by the end of the war, when men would have to choose what to do with the remnants of the orc race, most of the elves had gone. Dwarves also have a fierce hatred of orcs, similar to their former hatred of elves, and in comparison, men do seem to be more accepting.

Rykion
30-04-2007, 17:40
mmmmm. so do you think Tolkien intended orcs to be seen as truly evil monsters there to make a good story and for the good guys to kill? Or are we suppoed to think about orcs the same way as Golum?
I think orcs are just meant to be the baddies. They are not meant to be viewed in the sympathetic way Gollum was. I think the story of the orcs' creation gives them a tragic light, but that is more for the poor elves corrupted near the dawn of time rather than the current orcs.

Revlid
30-04-2007, 21:03
I find it amusing that people are talking about proper truce conduct and prisoners of war, when the Orcs basically tortured, killed and ate those prisoners they captured.

But yes, Aragorn shouldn't have killed him. Which is why, I imagine, they put it in the Director's Cut rather than the actual film.

schoolcormorant
30-04-2007, 23:46
Don't listen to Rykion, he's a darlec! He'd kill any orc he had no reason to keep alive! Lol.

schoolcormorant, It's interesting that you say the orcs can never be brought back. Perhaps with time, we're probably talking centuries, and the help of the more civilised men of middle earth, the orcs could be gradually brought back to light. The men of middle earth would have to show the orcs how they live their lives and how living honestly can reap greater rewards then thieving and villany. Given that orcs only know their culture of hatred because every orc from birth to death lives in the grip of a bigger meaner orc, perhaps when shown another way, they could flurish.
How the men of middle earth would achieve this, I have no idea. Perhaps a start by healing the wounded orcs of a battle, taking them prisoner and speaking to them as if they're also men regardless of the insults thrown back. Those prisoners that begin to stop insulting their guards and cooperate with them could perhaps be taken on heavily guarded walks throughout the cities of men to see how their culture is so vastly different. Such steps may eventually bring the orcs back to their former ideals and maybe alter the race completely, re-educated orcs having to bring the light to the wild orcs.

However, such a scheme would also require the men of middle earth to alter their own somewhat xenophobic hatred of the orcs. Personally I think this is the biggest flaw in the plan and that the armies of men would rather eradicate the orc race than go through the more harder path of showing them the right way of living. Perhaps in this way, Sauron has made men evil by making orcs evil. By making orcs so cruel, he has made men hate them, meaning they will kill orcs without mercy, meaning they never give the orc a chance for redemption.
Just some thoughts.


thats an awesome way to think, really i love it

it;s a fair point either way, but surely the elf that an orc once was has totally gone for an orc to do what an orc does, and orcs have no immortality, orcs have become more like men than elves, which is sort of a point you made.

you've made me think, i'll not sleep tonight, ta ;)

SC

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
01-05-2007, 16:03
I know it's a bit off topic but how long do orcs live for? on the top trumps cards :D they were something like 300 IIRC.

Gondorian
01-05-2007, 17:34
I find it amusing that people are talking about proper truce conduct and prisoners of war, when the Orcs basically tortured, killed and ate those prisoners they captured.

But yes, Aragorn shouldn't have killed him. Which is why, I imagine, they put it in the Director's Cut rather than the actual film.

My point wasn't to make truce with the orcs, as they'd basically just try to get you to put down your sword and kill you, due to their culture and nature.
I meant heal those orcs from the field no longer strong enough or capable of fighting and try to show them the way while still keeping them as guarded prisoners. Who knows, it might work with time.

ORKY ARD BOYZ
02-05-2007, 11:54
Maybe orcs could be 'good', but its seems to me that orcs are meant to be the 'bad guys', they exhibit the same traits that most bad guys in fairy tales have, they're vicious, they're ugly or horribly scarred and are quite willing to kill their own comrades if it helps them achieve their own aims, one can say men are evil, but in the simplest sense the orcs are evil because of the acts they commit, it isn't neccesarily their fault, they were made that way but they evil, in the generally accepted sense, regardless.

In the books, movies or game however it wouldn't feel right, can you imagine ranks of shiny elves, with intricate armor and gleaming weaponry and next to them is an orc, wearing animal skin and carrying a club. The contrast just doesn't 'feel' right.

Dr Death
02-05-2007, 14:52
I think orcs are to a large extent 'beyond redemption' in regards to rehabilitating them and turning them into allies. I think this is made clear by just how ugly and deformed they are- they are fundamentally (however unwillingly) corrupted beyond any hope of return, much like Gollum really.

Dr Death

HeraldOfTheFree
03-05-2007, 21:45
I just cannot imagine Orcs being saved. I doubt there is anything that could be done.
And I doubt anyone would do anything.

Hobbits- isolationist, and too weak to actually force an Orc to 'see the light'
Elves- Quit Middle-Earth. I see the Elves as hating the Orcs for once being Elves. Ashamed that they have any relation to them.
Dwarves- Stay in their holds, too proud and stubborn to help orcs.
Men- hate each other enough, no relation to Orcs like Elves, so why would they help?

verydarkshadow
04-05-2007, 22:34
According to Tolkien's theology, Orcs cannot be saved. Fact. Allow me to explain why (at the risk of sending this to the wastes).

Disclaimer: I'll try to explain in as objective a way as I can, but have a mind that certain 'trigger' words will pop up.

Tolkien was a Catholic.
The Lord of the Rings was a 'fundamentally Catholic work'.

Men in the LotR can be parralled with men in this world.
Elves can be (indeed, were by tolkien) paralled with angels, again, in the Catholic Christian understanding of angels.

Catholicism understands that men have the possibility of turning from good to evil and back again, any number of times, over the course of their life. They were created good, but are fundamentally weak because of sin. Tolkien dipicts this by having the good (Gondor, Rohan) and the evil (Haradrim, etc)races of men. Catholics understand that men have their entire lives to choose whether they will side with the good or the evil, after that, their decision is set for all eternity.

However:

in Catholic doctrine, angels were given one moment in which to choose whether they would follow God or not. Many choose not to, following the example of Lucifer ( Lucifer was the greatest of the angels just as Morgoth had been the greatest of the Valar). It was not an issue of them, the angels, choosing over the course of their lives (they're immortal anyways). They were given one instance to choose their "destiny" (so to speak) for eternity.

If the elves are to represent minor angels, then the corruption of the orcs from the elves who were decieved by Morgoth would be irreversable, if the analogy is consistent.

Bear in mind that Tolkien "hated allegory", so his characters and races (including the elves and orcs) do not always hold fast to their real-world counterparts, in behavior or otherwise, though it is safe to say that they do each principly represent one thing predominatly, even if there are exceptions made for the sake of the story.


***
Also, to Tolkien, Freedom had less to do with the political system under which one was govenred, and more to do with whether one allied himself with Illuvatar (God) or with Morgoth. The affects of either decision he made painfully clear in his trilogy.

Hope that made some sense.

Dr Death
05-05-2007, 19:31
Personally i think theology has very little bearing on the orcs. Whether or not they are corrupted elves (something Tolkien himself wondered greatly). Regardless, had they been elves (which is the most commonly taken view by Tolkien fans) there was no choice in their degradment into orcs- does a servant or captive have choice or the ability to exercise free will? My answer, and i beleive many others would be 'no'. Therefore the elves would not have been able to choose but slowly by the torture and madness and whatever hell you wish to imagine the creation of the orcs entailing they were broken, physically, spiritually, morally until the race of orcs was created.

Another very important point to note is how the race of orcs actually was 'maintained', once it had been created. One of the most profound philosophical issues in Tolkien is how Morgoth as opposed to Eru Iluvatar could not create without drawing the matter to create from himself, thus diminishing his relative substance. In the case of orcs that's exactly what he did- sacrificing a measure of his own being to allow his creations to spawn themselves (thus orcs are not merely horrible mutilated elves but destinct from them). So that fact itself renders any notion of the 'choice' of the ultimate fall into nothingness since all orcs but for the first 'generation' if you like were born into the form and nature Morgoth embued in the race through the sacrifice of his being.

One can only assume that the unfourtunate fate of orcs, however innocent they may be in the manner of creature into which they are born are an unfourtunate byproduct of 'Arda Marred'. Morgoth in his creation of the race ensured they they were incapable of being reverted to happy form- mentally, spiritually or physically, doomed to remain in a kind of moral limbo between potentially good intent and redemptive impossibility and thus the only way of dealing with them if they were ever to be captured would be to put them to death and let their unhappy souls go wither they will- either to Mandos for him to judge or to resist the call, fleeing in fear to places where they might lurk: It's this possibility which i like to think accounts for the 'haunting' of such places as Minas Morgul and Dol Guldur- the disembodied and disowned spirits of orcs left with nothing but to cling to the abodes of the masters they despise.

Dr Death

DarkLord Of Naggaroth
06-05-2007, 10:21
verydarkshadow, everybody says that tolkiens world reflects this one, even though, as you say, he hated allegory. It was the last thing tolkien wanted to do, so is it impossible for it to be avoided or something? did he make these conections by an acident? I myself believe that his work was uninspired. It get on my nerves how we have to explain all different hidden meaning in English texts in comprehension. can people not just write without doing so?

so we've established now that orcs cannot be redeemed yet they are not to blame.


I'd like to go back to the mouth of Sauron. I seem to be the only person that thinks that his action was well justified.
The mouth was a servant and leutentent, not a slave. he could have left Sauron if he wished, in fact he had many chances to. he helped carry out evil deeds and therefore was evil. ok, he wasn't armed, he probably went out unarmed so that he wouldn't be killed, but men's weakness was overestimated (or strength was underestimated). if he wanted to, and he was armed then he wouldn't have hesitated to kill Aragorn.
You also seem to be forgetting that he had just taken pleasure in telling the untruth (in order to cause mental pain) that Frodo was dead. Aragorn is only a man (or Dunedain) no man can controll such anger that any one of us would have experienced.

verydarkshadow
07-05-2007, 04:12
Personally i think theology has very little bearing on the orcs. Whether or not they are corrupted elves (something Tolkien himself wondered greatly). Regardless, had they been elves (which is the most commonly taken view by Tolkien fans) there was no choice in their degradment into orcs- does a servant or captive have choice or the ability to exercise free will? My answer, and i beleive many others would be 'no'. Therefore the elves would not have been able to choose but slowly by the torture and madness and whatever hell you wish to imagine the creation of the orcs entailing they were broken, physically, spiritually, morally until the race of orcs was created.

Ah. That does make sense, but I understood the origin of the orcs slightly differently (I ran with idea a little more :rolleyes: ). If memory serves me right (it often doesn't...) I think Tolkien uses the word "taken" to describe how the elves fell under the control of Morgoth. I don't remember exactly, however. If that was the word he used, I tend to think he meant to imply a sort of enrapcherment, rather than being taken captive. Or at least, if they were taken captive, their wills were not fully set against him (but that's even more speculative). If he meant that Morgoth lured the elves to himself, then it does mean that they had some choice in the matter.

If Tolkien meant that Morgoth just went and captured some elves against their will, then I agree with you 100% on that bit, they would not have had a choice.



Another very important point to note is how the race of orcs actually was 'maintained', once it had been created. One of the most profound philosophical issues in Tolkien is how Morgoth as opposed to Eru Iluvatar could not create without drawing the matter to create from himself, thus diminishing his relative substance. In the case of orcs that's exactly what he did- sacrificing a measure of his own being to allow his creations to spawn themselves (thus orcs are not merely horrible mutilated elves but destinct from them). So that fact itself renders any notion of the 'choice' of the ultimate fall into nothingness since all orcs but for the first 'generation' if you like were born into the form and nature Morgoth embued in the race through the sacrifice of his being.

One can only assume that the unfourtunate fate of orcs, however innocent they may be in the manner of creature into which they are born are an unfourtunate byproduct of 'Arda Marred'. Morgoth in his creation of the race ensured they they were incapable of being reverted to happy form- mentally, spiritually or physically, doomed to remain in a kind of moral limbo between potentially good intent and redemptive impossibility and thus the only way of dealing with them if they were ever to be captured would be to put them to death and let their unhappy souls go wither they will- either to Mandos for him to judge or to resist the call, fleeing in fear to places where they might lurk: It's this possibility which i like to think accounts for the 'haunting' of such places as Minas Morgul and Dol Guldur- the disembodied and disowned spirits of orcs left with nothing but to cling to the abodes of the masters they despise.

Dr Death

Oh. Wow! I always thought that the maintaining of the orcs as a race was just a liberty he took for the sake of the story. Didn't know there was so much behind it. Thanks for that!