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 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 Thror 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 hatred of every Dwarf 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 and the war he 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's son, Bolg, inherited the rulership in Moria and continued it for another 150 years.


Azog the Defiler is portrayed by Manu Bennett in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Trilogy as a major and one of the main antagonists. Originally the character was portrayed on set by actor John Rawls wearing prosthetics, but Peter Jackson decided to have the character created digitally and added in to the already shot footage because he felt that it would have a much more lasting effect (Rawls does appear in the film as the Orc lieutenant Yazneg). In the films, his role is greatly expanded. In the Return of the King appendices he is described as being fully protected by iron armor, though Jackson portrayed him as bare-chested.

In the film trilogy's storyline, Azog hails from Gundabad and is considered the most vile of all the Orc race. During the Battle of Azanulbizar, Azog made it clear his intention to wipe out the line of Durin after beheading Thrór and then subduing Thráin II. Azog eventually fought Thorin Oakenshield, and was forced to fall back to Moria after the Dwarf prince cut off his left forearm. Thorin believes Azog to have died from his wounds, but he in fact survived and secretly brought Thráin II and his ring to Sauron in Dol Guldur.

When the dwarves set out on the quest to retake Erebor, Azog leads a large group of Orcs and Wargs in an attempt to hunt them down. In the climax of the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Azog and his minions corner Thorin's company in the forest of the Misty Mountains. Thorin fights Azog again and is nearly beheaded. However, Bilbo Baggins saves him and appears ready to fight Azog; the Orc merely smirks and sets his minions on him. Bilbo defends himself and charges at Azog, who uses his Warg to throw him aside, nearly killing the Hobbit but for the Eagles' intervention. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Azog sends Bolg to continue the hunt in his place. Sauron orders him to remain in Dol Guldur. When Gandalf enters Dol Guldur, Azog attacks him before given orders by Sauron to claim Erebor.

In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Azog moves to wipe out the dwarves, elves, and men in one fell swoop during The Battle of the Five Armies. Azog murders Fili in front of Thorin, and finally battles Thorin on a frozen lake and is knocked underwater where he appears to drown. However, he breaks through the ice and stabs Thorin, first through the foot and then the chest, but Thorin stabs Azog through the heart, resulting in a mutual kill, just as Bilbo arrives on the scene.

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 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 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, 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]


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 "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 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 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 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 onto the dwarves after the bridge collapses.


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 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 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 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.


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.


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 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 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. When the tree-like Ents attack Isengard in a revengeful rage after Saruman destroyed their brethren, all the Orcs are drowned when Treebeard breaks the dam holding back the river, flooding the mines with water.


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 however 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, 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 .[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 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. 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


  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]