Middle-earth Orc characters
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.
- 1 Azog
- 2 Balcmeg
- 3 Boldog
- 4 Bolg
- 5 Golfimbul
- 6 Gorbag
- 7 Gorgol
- 8 The Great Goblin
- 9 Grishnákh
- 10 Lagduf
- 11 Lug
- 12 Lugdush
- 13 Mauhúr
- 14 Muzgash
- 15 Orcobal
- 16 Othrod
- 17 Radbug
- 18 Shagrat
- 19 Snaga
- 20 Ufthak
- 21 Uglúk
- 22 See also
- 23 References
- 24 External links
Azog was an Orc chieftain who lived in Moria until his death in T.A. 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."
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.
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 in an expanded role from the original tale, 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.
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 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 Volume III: The 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.
Bolg, a secondary antagonist in 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."
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 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 Took, who 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".
During the War of the Ring they were ordered to patrol towards the fortress Tower of Cirith Ungol where the garrison was commanded by another Orc captain, Shagrat, who was an old acquaintance. Shagrat was leading a patrol back in the opposite direction; when the patrols met they simultaneously discovered the body of Frodo Baggins, who had been paralyzed and cocooned by Shelob.
They took Frodo back to Cirith Ungol where Gorbag suggests torture, but Shagrat insists that their prisoner be sent to Barad-dûr 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 who then escaped with the mithril shirt.
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
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 Orcrist, 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".
After failing to convince Uglúk, the Uruk-hai captain, 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 Peter Jackson's movies, Grishnákh is played by Stephen Ure.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
Shagrat was the captain in command of the Uruks at the Tower of Cirith Ungol, a watchtower that guarded a treacherous pass into Mordor. He was an old acquaintance of Gorbag, his equivalent in Minas Morgul.
Shagrat and Gorbag were leading separate patrols when they simultaneously discovered the unconscious Frodo Baggins near Shelob's Lair. They took Frodo to the highest room of Shagrat's 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.
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.
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.
Snaga, translated as "slave" in Appendix F of The Lord of the Rings, 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 the film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers the name Snaga is associated with (though never mentioned by name in the movie) a particular Orc, 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 .
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 was the deep-voiced captain of the Uruk-hai band that attacked the Fellowship at Amon Hen and captured Merry and Pippin. The Uruk-hai were accompanied by contingents of Orcs from Mordor and Moria, but Uglúk 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 accusations of cannibalism made by Grishnákh, the leader of the Mordor contingent. 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.
Gothmog, the deformed Orc general in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy
- Tolkien, The Hobbit, ch. 1: "An Unexpected Party".
- Rateliff, John D. (2007). The History of the Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 711. ISBN 978-0-618-96919-7.
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1937), Douglas A. Anderson, ed., The Annotated Hobbit, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 2002), p. 260, ISBN 0-618-13470-0
- Svenska Akademiens Ordbok, entry for Fimbulvinter
- "Gorbag". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 10 April 1998.
- "Shagrat". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 7 November 2007.