List of Middle-earth Orcs

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For original Orcs from the New Line films, see List of original characters in The Lord of the Rings film series.

The following is a list of the Orcs of Middle-earth, created by fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien and considered to be part of the Middle-earth canon, which were given an individual name or title by the author. While the Orcs tend to appear as an anonymous mass in his works, a few individuals among them were mentioned by name or other personal identifying characteristics.

Azog[edit]

Azog was an Orc chieftain who lived in Moria until his death in 2799. He is referred to in a single remark of Gandalf's in The Hobbit: "Your grandfather Thrór was killed, you remember, in the mines of Moria by Azog the Goblin."[1]

He precipitated the War of the Dwarves and Orcs in T.A. 2790 by killing King Thrór, who came to revisit the ruins of Khazad-dûm. By not only killing Thrór but torturing him for some days, beheading him and branding his name on the Dwarf's head, Azog ensured he earned the universal hatred of Dwarves, who united in desire to kill him.

In the following years, he was the common enemy of all Dwarves. Gradually the Orcs were driven back through the Misty Mountains until they held only Moria. The war Azog started climaxed in the Battle of Azanulbizar, where he killed Náin, but while fleeing back to the gates of Moria he was caught and beheaded by Náin's son Dáin. After killing Thrór, Azog had given a small pouch of money to Thrór's companion, as payment for him to tell the other Dwarves of the murder. The Dwarves returned the insult by setting Azog's severed head on a stake and sticking the money pouch in his mouth.

Azog the Defiler was a powerful orc who claimed rulership over the abandoned Dwarvish mines of Moria during the Third Age. He became the leader of the Goblins of Moria and initiated the War of the Dwarves and Orcs in TA 2790 by beheading King Thrór, who had come to revisit the ruins of the ancient dwarven kingdom of Moria. At some point he had a son named Bolg. In the following years, Azog was the common enemy of all dwarves, and the war he started had its climax in the Battle of Azanulbizar, where he killed Náin, only to be himself slain by Náin's son Dáin, who would later become King of Durin's Folk. His son, Bolg, inherited the reign in Moria and continued it for decades until his death at the Battle of the Five Armies. Azog entered history in the year TA 2790 due to King Thrór's desire to revisit and perhaps restore the lost realm of Khazad-dûm. When Thrór was found in the armories of Khazad-dûm, he was brought before Azog, being accused of thieving. He tortured Thrór for two days until he was informed of a second dwarf outside of Moria. He decided to kill Thrór after he defied him with the words "These are the Halls of Durin!" He beheaded Thrór and carved his name in Thrór's head, then threw Thrór's body over the stairs. Azog then called out to Nar, the other dwarf, from the gate, demanding that he deliver a message back to Thrór's people, warning that beggars who dared to enter Moria and attempted thievery would meet a similar fate.[2]

Azog then called out that he had killed Thrór, and that he now ruled Moria as king. His name in runes was carved onto the brow of Thrór, forever branding it into the hearts of the dwarves. Nár was barred from retrieving the head of Thrór, and the orcs threw him a small pouch of coins of little worth as a final gesture of scorn. Nár took the pouch, turned, and fled. When he looked back, orcs had emerged from the gate and were hacking apart Thrór's body and flinging the pieces as carrion for the ravens.[2]

When news of this reached Thrór's heir Thráin, he was greatly angered and mustered a force of dwarves from the House of Durin and others to seek revenge on Azog, though it took three years to muster their dwarves. So began the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. The dwarves hunted Azog, and many battles were fought beneath the earth. After nine years of war, before the gates of Moria itself, the climactic Battle of Azanulbizar was fought. In that battle, Azog was pursued through the Gates of Moria, killed, and beheaded by Dáin, son of Náin. His head was impaled on a stake, and the pouch of coins he had thrown to Nár was stuffed into his mouth.[2]

Except for Thrain, the dwarves made no attempt to press their advantage by pursuing the orcs into the mines, many of them having been slain. They warned Thrain against entering Moria. Dáin had glimpsed Durin's Bane deep within and warned the dwarves to not attempt entering Moria.[2] Azog's underground realm's population had been greatly reduced in the war and his reign passed to his son Bolg for the next 150 years, until Bolg's death in the Battle of the Five Armies.

Films[edit]

In The Hobbit film series, Azog is depicted as a seven-foot tall, pale white orc hailing from the city of Gundabad, and having a white warg as his steed. He is portrayed by Manu Bennett in all three films and is one of the primary antagonists of the films. Azog is also, unlike most orcs, shown to only speak in the black speech of Mordor and has sworn to wipe out the line of Durin.

In the first film, Azog first appears at the battle for Moria as the leader of the orc army, in which he kills Thror by beheading him and captures Thrain, stealing his ring of power for Sauron as part of his plan to wipe out the line of Durin. Azog then faces off against Thorin, and disarms him, leaving the young dwarf prince to fight with nothing but an oak branch as a shield. Thorin manages to defeat Azog by slicing off his left arm with a recovered sword, forcing him to be carried to safety by his soldiers, vowing revenge. Thorin then led the dwarves in defeating his army.

Azog eventually recovered, replaced his hand with a claw-like prosthesis and spent many years hunting Thorin, placing a bounty on his head, and sends his hunter orcs and their warg mounts after him and his companions when he learns that they intend to retake Erebor from the dragon, Smaug. His warg riders led by Yazneg pursue the dwarves, Gandalf the grey and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins until they are driven away by Elrond's elven warriors upon pursuing them to the hidden entrance to Rivendell. When Yazneg reports their failure to him at Amon Sul, the furious orc warlord kills him by feeding Yazneg to his wargs, before sending scouts to spread word of the bounty on Thorin's head.

Azog and his hunters pursue the dwarves through the Misty Mountains and eventually corner them in trees at the edge of a cliff, before facing down Thorin in battle. He and his warg gravely wound Thorin before Bilbo comes to his rescue, followed by the other dwarves. Before Azog can fight them, eagles summoned by Gandalf swoop in and rescue the company, denying Azog of his prize and causing him to roar out in anger.

In the second film, Azog and his hunters continue pursuit of Thorin's company but cease chase once the dwarves reach the house of the skin-changer Beorn. Azog's son Bolg then arrives to tell him that the Necromancer (Sauron) has summoned him to Dol Guldur. Upon arriving and hearing that he is to lead the armies of Dol Guldur, Azog vents his frustration at being denied Thorin's head, with Sauron replying that war is coming, and that death will come to all. To continue the hunt, Azog sends Bolg to kill the dwarves.

When Gandalf enters Dol Guldur to find Sauron and remove the spell of concealment, Azog ambushes him, revealing his army, and pursuing the wizard before Sauron captures him. With Gandalf captured, Azog then marches with his forces upon Erebor, intent on claiming the kingdom from Thorin as well as its treasure.

In the third film, Azog (now armed with a bladed prosthetic limb for battle) meets with Bolg as his army marches on Erebor, and upon learning that Legolas has discovered their mission, tells his son to ride to Gundabad and bring forth their second army. Azog marches upon the mountain, and, intending to take them by surprise, uses creatures called wereworms to dig tunnels to the human city of Dale, allowing them to attack Erebor and Dale undetected. Upon arrival, he attacks the hosts of Dale, Mirkwood and Erebor, led by Bard, King Thranduil and Dain Ironfoot. Azog then instigates a two-pronged assault, attacking the mountain and city, and causing the defenders to fall back. It is only when Thorin and his company enter the battle that the tide turns in the defenders' favor. Azog then sets a trap for Thorin and his nephews Fili and Kili atop the area of Ravenhill. Azog captures and kills Fili to goad Thorin into attacking, and engages him in battle before sending his guard to finish the dwarf king. Azog returns to face Thorin once more and fights him with a flail made from a chain and masonry on the frozen river, with Thorin besting him by tricking the orc commander into breaking the ice and sliding into the river off the ice sheet they were standing on when Thorin throws the flail into Azog's arms. The pale orc then pretends to drown and stabs Thorin from beneath the ice with his sword-arm before erupting from the water and trying to kill him. Thorin then lets Azog fatally stab him, before stabbing Azog with his own sword, Orcrist, before using it to pin him to the ice, killing Azog once and for all.

Video games[edit]

Azog is a hero for the Goblins in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II 's expansion pack The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king.

Balcmeg[edit]

Balcmeg was one of the Orcs killed in the Fall of Gondolin, according to The Book of Lost Tales. Tolkien wrote the story of the fall of the city in 1917 and never fully revised it, and Balcmeg does not appear in the published Silmarillion.

Boldog[edit]

Boldog and Thingol

Boldog is a formidable Orc-captain of a Host of Angband that is sent to attack Doriath and capture Lúthien mentioned in The Lay of Leithian in The History of Middle-earth Vol. III, Lays of Beleriand.

The name Boldog was used by several Orc chieftains during the First Age. In a note ca.1960 Tolkien suggested that it is possible that Boldog was actually a title, given to lesser Maiar, servants of Morgoth, who had taken an Orkish hröa.[2]

Bolg[edit]

Bolg, the secondary antagonist of The Hobbit, was an Orc chieftain who came to power in the Misty Mountains after his father, Azog, was killed in the war with Dwarves. Bolg ruled for some 150 years and led an army of Orcs in the Battle of Five Armies. He was killed by Beorn during the battle: "Swiftly he returned, and his wrath was redoubled, so that nothing could withstand him, and no weapon seemed to bite upon him. He scattered the bodyguard, and pulled down Bolg himself and crushed him."[3]

Films[edit]

Bolg is portrayed by Conan Stevens in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Lawrence Makoare in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and John Tui in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Originally Conan Stevens was to portray him through prosthetic makeup, but once Lawrence Makoare replaced him, Bolg was revamped into a completely CGI character. Much of the action from the book involving Bolg in An Unexpected Journey is instead given to his father Azog, who, in the films, survives the confrontation with the Dwarves. In The Desolation of Smaug, when his father is summoned to lead the Necromancer's Orc army, Bolg resumes the prominent role, taking over the task of hunting down Thorin's company. In The Battle of Five Armies he leads a separate Orc army detachment raised in Gundabad to join his father's army at Erebor. Arriving with an advance force, he aids his father against Thorin Oakenshield's commando team on Ravenhill, nearly kills the Elf Tauriel, and slays the dwarf Kíli when he comes to her defense. Soon afterwards, however, he is confronted and killed by Legolas, who drives one of his battle-knives into his head; Bolg's body subsequently falls off the mountain and is crushed by a boulder falling on top of it.

Golfimbul[edit]

Golfimbul was a chieftain of the Orcs of Mount Gram, who led his band in an invasion of the Shire. He was defeated at the Battle of Greenfields by a force led by Bandobras "Bullroarer" Took; the battle was the first of only two which were ever fought within the borders of the Shire (the second was the Battle of Bywater, the last battle of the War of the Ring, where Bullroarer's descendant, Pippin, fought). Bullroarer knocked off Golfimbul's head with a club and it soared into the air, finally falling into a rabbit hole. According to Hobbit folklore, this inspired the game of golf, which takes its name from the Orc. Golfimbul's name was probably specifically constructed for this pun; fimbul is Old Norse for "great".[4]

The Orc incursion in the northern Shire occurred during the reign of Arassuil as Chieftain of the Dúnedain, and the Orcs led by Golfimbul were but the most western pack of Orcs which had left the Hithaeglir. The only reason Golfimbul could make it all the way to the Shire was that the Rangers at the time were fighting many battles with Orcs, preventing them from settling all of Eriador.

Gorbag[edit]

Gorbag was an Orc captain in the service of Minas Morgul.[5] He and his company are based with the Nazgûl in the Dead City, but have been ordered to patrol towards the fortress tower of Cirith Ungol where the garrison is commanded by another Orc captain; Shagrat.

After Frodo was paralyzed by Shelob, a joined Orc detachment, led by Gorbag and Shagrat, came across his cocooned body. They take him back to Cirith Ungol where Gorbag suggests torture but Shagrat insists that their prisoner be sent to the city for interrogation. While sifting through Frodo's belongings, a dispute began between the two captains after Gorbag claimed ownership of Frodo's mithril vest, which escalated into a fratricidal battle throughout the stronghold between the Morgul and Cirith Ungol companies of Orcs. In this fight Gorbag was slain by Shagrat[5] who then escaped with the Mithril shirt.[6]

In the Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Gorbag and Shagrat have a major role reversal. In the book the locally stationed Shagrat informs Gorbag of the nature of Shelob's venom and how it functions, whereas Gorbag assumes this role in the film and explains it to his fellows upon finding Frodo. Also, Shagrat is the one to claim the vest for himself, while Gorbag insists it be taken to Sauron. After the fight, Shagrat flees to the Black Gate with the mithril shirt while the wounded Gorbag is left for dead in the tower. He is in fact still alive and is about to torture Frodo when Sam impales him from behind.

Gorgol[edit]

Gorgol was an Orc chieftain, also called the Butcher, who lived in Middle-earth during the First Age. He led the Orcs that slew Barahir and his companions, and took Barahir's hand as a trophy. He was slain by Barahir's son Beren.

The Great Goblin[edit]

The Great Goblin was a Goblin leader who lived in the Misty Mountains during the Third Age, as recounted in The Hobbit. His followers captured Thorin Oakenshield, Bilbo and company during the Quest of Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, and took them to their underground stronghold, Goblin-town. When he found the group was carrying an Elf-made blade which had killed many Goblins, he gave orders for them to be imprisoned and tortured. He tried to attack Thorin, but was slain by Gandalf. His death incites the Goblins to go after the company.

In letters written later in his life Tolkien suggested that the Great Goblin and other highly influential leaders among the Orcs may not have been mortal Orcs, but lesser Maiar who had taken orkish form, or "hröa".

The real-time strategy game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, chiefly based on the Peter Jackson films, invents a successor called Gorkil the Goblin King.

The Great Goblin (Referred to in promotional material as the Goblin King) is portrayed by Barry Humphries in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. In the expanded edition, the Great Goblin is portrayed as egotistic and shallow, with a love for singing. While he intended to torture the Dwarves after sending one of his minions to inform Azog's hunting party that he has Thorin, the sight of Orcrist sends the Great Goblin into a fearful rage and he orders his cronies to kill the Dwarves. In a departure from the book, rather than being killed immediately when Gandalf saves the company, the Great Goblin instead falls over the platform after Thorin blocks his staff with Orcrist. He later reappears to confront Gandalf and the Dwarves, only for Gandalf to slash his neck and stomach, killing him. His carcass falls down among the dwarves after the bridge collapses.

Grishnákh[edit]

Grishnákh was an Orc captain in a group of Mordor Orcs that joined Saruman's Uruk-hai troops on the plains of Rohan.

After failing to convince Uglúk to lead the expedition east to safety in Mordor, he leaves and returns with 20-40 peers from Mordor, claiming a brotherly desire to help their fellow Orcs. However, Grishnákh's actual plans for the two captives, Merry and Pippin, were in conflict with Uglúk's orders to deliver them to Saruman unharmed. He was killed when the Orcs were attacked by Éomer's Men. He tried to smuggle the Hobbits away from the Uruk-hai and into Fangorn Forest. A Rohirrim rider shot him in the hand before killing him with a spear.

In Ralph Bakshi's animated film The Lord of the Rings, Grishnákh is an Orc from Isengard with a fondness for the Uruk-draught that is force-fed to Merry and Pippin.

In Peter Jackson's movies, Grishnákh (played by Stephen Ure) is shown to be the captain of a band of Orc scouts, possibly from Isengard as they wear the attire of Saruman's warg-riders seen later in the film. He and his fellow Orcs meet Uglúk's group in the western Emyn Muil rather than at Amon Hen as in the book. That night he fights with Uglúk over the Hobbits, as he and his party want to eat the Hobbits instead of delivering them to Saruman. He is speared as in the book, but survives to chase Merry and Pippin into Fangorn Forest, where he is killed by Treebeard, who steps on him before he can kill Merry. His name is never actually spoken in the movie, and it is uncertain if he knows whether the captive Hobbits have the Ring. In the theatrical version of The Two Towers, it is not clear whether Grishnákh and his company have been sent by Sauron from Mordor or are workers from the mines at Isengard but there is an added scene in the extended edition explaining that Saruman sent them to push the Uruk-hai to hurry up with the halflings.

In Sierra Entertainment's War of the Ring real-time strategy game, he is a playable hero.

Lagduf[edit]

Lagduf was an Uruk of Cirith Ungol under the command of Shagrat. He and Muzgash were killed by Gorbag's troops in the battle over Frodo's mithril-shirt.

Lug[edit]

Lug was one of the Orcs killed by Tuor during the Fall of Gondolin, according to The Book of Lost Tales (written circa 1917). Lug does not appear in the published Silmarillion.

Lugdush[edit]

Lugdush was one of Saruman's Uruk-hai and a trusted subordinate of Uglúk. In the The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Lugdush is the Uruk who smells "Man flesh" and warns the others. In the Extended Edition, Mauhúr is the one who smells "Man flesh" instead of Lugdush.

Mauhúr[edit]

Mauhúr was an Uruk of Isengard who led a company of reinforcements through the eaves of Fangorn forest to come to the aid of Uglúk, whose company had been surrounded by a group of Rohirrim. When Mauhúr's company attacked, some of the Rohirrim rode to meet them while the others closed in around Uglúk's camp. Uglúk's captives, Merry and Pippin, found themselves outside the circle and were able to escape into Fangorn forest. In the film, Mauhúr is travelling with Uglúk's group from the start. He and all the other Orcs are slaughtered in their confrontation with the Rohirrim, and the head impaled on a pike seen the following morning is apparently his.

Muzgash[edit]

Muzgash was an Uruk of Cirith Ungol under the command of Shagrat. He and Lagduf were killed by Gorbag's troops in the battle over Frodo's mithril-shirt.

Orcobal[edit]

Ecthelion Slays Orcobal

Orcobal was an Orc leader in the Fall of Gondolin, killed by Ecthelion. Tolkien wrote the story of the fall of the city in 1917 and never fully revised it, and Orcobal does not appear in the published Silmarillion.

Othrod[edit]

Othrod was an Orc leader in the Fall of Gondolin, killed by Tuor. Tolkien wrote the story of the fall of the city in 1917 and never fully revised it, and Othrod does not appear in the published Silmarillion.

Radbug[edit]

Radbug was an Orc of Cirith Ungol who was killed by Shagrat in the battle over Frodo's mithril-shirt (apparently by strangulation).

The name was used in the Jackson film adaptation for an Orc captain overseeing Saruman's mining operations at Orthanc.

Shagrat[edit]

Shagrat was the captain in command of the Uruks at the tower of Cirith Ungol, a watchtower that guarded a treacherous pass into Mordor.

After the discovery of the unconscious Frodo near Shelob's Lair, Shagrat and Gorbag had Frodo put into the highest room of the tower. While the two were searching through Frodo's things, a dispute erupted over the highly valuable mithril shirt. The quarrel led to a battle between their respective units in the tower, where almost all were killed, culminating in Shagrat killing the wounded Gorbag.

Later Sam, carrying the One Ring, infiltrated the Tower of Cirith Ungol and soon realized that the garrison was effectively wiped out. Unfortunately, Shagrat managed to get past him carrying Frodo's armor and other personal items and escaped to take them to Lugbúrz as ordered.The possessions were later presented by the Mouth of Sauron as supposed proof of Frodo's continued imprisonment.

In Peter Jackson's film trilogy, Shagrat's role is somewhat confusing. He is portrayed as a large Mordor Uruk and of clearly different stock along with the other Orcs of the tower of Cirith Ungol from Gorbag, yet he claims Frodo's mithril shirt as his own. After the fight among the Orcs, he smuggles the shirt past Sam and delivers it to the Dark Tower.

Cultural references[edit]

Steve Peregrin Took was credited as "Shagrat The Vagrant" on Mick Farren's 1970 solo album Mona – The Carnivorous Circus and the two formed a band called Shagrat, also featuring guitarist Larry Wallis. Farren soon quit, leaving Took in sole command of the band. Shagrat then recorded three demos at Strawberry Studios and later played the Phun City festival, promoted by Farren.

More recently in music history, in Black metal music, Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir and Ov Hell took his stage name from Shagrat

Snaga[edit]

Snaga, translated as "slave" in the Appendices, is not a personal name but a term used by Uruks to describe lesser Orcs. Used among others by Uglúk to a scout of the Uruk-hai and by Shagrat to one of the Orcs of the tower of Cirith Ungol.

In Peter Jackson's film trilogy the name Snaga is associated with (though never mentioned by name in the movie) a particular Orc in The Two Towers, who is part of Grishnákh's company, and wants to eat Merry and Pippin to sate his hunger. He is decapitated by Uglúk and cannibalized by the Uruk-hai. He is acted by Jed Brophy and voice Andy Serkis .[citation needed]

Shagrat, leader of the Black Uruks of Mordor in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Ufthak[edit]

Ufthak was in the service of the Tower of Cirith Ungol, under the command of Shagrat. He was captured, poisoned, and then forgotten by Shelob. Nonetheless, his fellow Orcs who discovered him made no attempt to rescue him, for they were amused at his paralyzed predicament and did not want to interfere with Shelob. He is later presumed to have perished from starvation.

Uglúk[edit]

Uglúk was the deep-voiced captain of the Uruk-hai band that attacked the Fellowship at Amon Hen and captured Merry and Pippin. He and his fellow Isengarders claimed credit for killing Boromir. He defended Merry and Pippin from Moria Orcs who wanted to eat them, citing orders to bring the Hobbits to Saruman in good health. He also objected to Grishnákh's accusation of cannibalism. When Grishnákh returned with two or three dozen other Mordor Orcs, Uglúk gullibly accepted their offer of help at face value. Uglúk was usually effective at instilling discipline, although this once required beheading a few Moria dissenters. He and the combined bands were tracked by Éomer's band of Rohirrim on their way to Isengard until, near the eaves of Fangorn forest, they were surrounded and annihilated, Uglúk being slain by Éomer personally.

In Peter Jackson's film version of the trilogy, the captain of the Orc-band is Lúrtz, who is slain by Aragorn at Amon Hen. Uglúk, played by Nathaniel Lees, then took command after his senior's death. When Grishnákh and his Orcs want to eat the hobbits, Uglúk and his Uruk-hai stop them. Uglúk then beheads "Snaga," a smaller Orc who was determined to eat them; his body is then cannibalized. The band is then attacked by Éomer's band and it is assumed Uglúk is slain by them.

See also[edit]

Gothmog, the deformed Orc general in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tolkien, The Hobbit, ch. 1: "An Unexpected Party".
  2. ^ Rateliff, John D. (2007). The History of the Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 711. ISBN 978-0-618-96919-7. 
  3. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1937), Douglas A. Anderson, ed., The Annotated Hobbit, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 2002), p. 260, ISBN 0-618-13470-0 
  4. ^ Svenska Akademiens Ordbok, entry for Fimbulvinter
  5. ^ a b "Gorbag". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 10 April 1998. 
  6. ^ "Shagrat". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 7 November 2007. 

External links[edit]