Origins of Races

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Eldorion on Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:51 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:It seems Saruman's breeding produced everything from humans who were a bit orclike- the squint-eyed southerner at Bree- to orcs who were a bit humanlike -Ugluk perhaps?

I would agree with that. There certain appears to have been gradations of human/orc mixes.

I still think Hai implies 'better' in some fashion, even if stripped of any submeaning to do with breeding with Men. When Gandalf speaks of Saruman's army he notes its uniqueness over other orc armies, it can move in sunlight and at great speed. And the orcs which join Sarumans Uruk-Hai, orcs from Mordor, are far weaker and tire more easily.

I think the orcs from Mordor in that chapter are also Uruks. However, it's possible - I would say likely - that Saruman's forces (the self-described Uruk-hai) were in truth half-orcs, though I've wavered in that opinion over the years between various debates here and elsewhere. Laughing

And as I mentioned earlier the Olog-Hai are trolls who don't turn to stone in sunlight, an improvement on the originals who have a serious drawback as a useful force. Whereas trolls such as those in TH are just Olog.

Once again I find myself agreeing with you. What is this world coming to? Mad
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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:03 pm

"Once again I find myself agreeing with you."- Eldo

Don't worry I am sure it's just a temporary thing. Very Happy

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Tinuviel on Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:20 am

I'm kind of curious, how does one breed a man, an orc, and a goblin??? Something tells me that Tolkien didn't just leave it at that without some sort of explanation, but I'm not sure I want to hear it confused

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Eldorion on Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:39 am

Well, humans and orcs both reproduced sexually, so I think the implication is that human-orc reproduction happens more or less the same way as human-human reproduction. There are all sorts of other unfortunate implications surrounding it as well though. pale
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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:31 am

"I'm kind of curious, how does one breed a man, an orc, and a goblin?"- Tin

Very carefully I suspect. Very Happy

Unpleasant as it is to contemplate Saruman could have been doing what farmers do- if you can't get the bull to put its sperm in the female the natural way, you do it for it. I suppose Saruman could have got orc sperm and used it to impregnate human females or get human sperm (probably easier to obtain!) and impregnate female orcs with it, using a very, very long tube, thick gloves and a visor.

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Elthir on Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:48 am

Hello all!

I still think Hai implies 'better' in some fashion, even if stripped of any submeaning to do with breeding with Men.


Just to add, Tolkien noted this word twice in Words, Phrases and Passages as 'folk', and we also have Oghor-hai for the Woses. Anyway, in my opinion, I think it's the uruk part in Uruk-hai that, while it doesn't mean 'better' as a word of course, still uruk itself came to be applied to great soldier orcs compared to lesser kinds.

When Gandalf speaks of Saruman's army he notes its uniqueness over other orc armies, it can move in sunlight and at great speed. And the orcs which join Sarumans Uruk-Hai, orcs from Mordor, are far weaker and tire more easily.

Saruman's Uruks were no doubt well trained (there are a couple of references to training in the books), but actually the orcs from Mordor run very well under the sun. It's even implied that a few of the larger, bolder Northerners ran with the Isengarders under the sun, catching up to their 'cooked brethren' alongside the Uruk-hai -- or so it would seem, as at least we are never told they fell back or were cooked themselves.

As for size: perhaps we just happen to have a specific selection of Mordorians appearing in The Uruk-hai -- the huge orc that attacked Frodo in Moria was nearly man-high for example, and maybe there were more like him that might be as large or tall as some of Saruman's lot.


And as I mentioned earlier the Olog-Hai are trolls who don't turn to stone in sunlight, an improvement on the originals who have a serious drawback as a useful force. Whereas trolls such as those in TH are just Olog.

You might be thinking of Grey-elven torog 'troll'. The term olog is not explained (by Tolkien) anywhere, that I recall at least, but 'olog-folk' works well enough in any case, as a name for a kind of troll.
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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Eldorion on Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:03 am

Welcome to the forum, Elthir! cheers That was a very interesting post, especially to me since I've never gotten any work that contains Words, Passages, and Phrases. Sad I hope to see you around more! Very Happy
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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:42 am

Welcome Elthir.
Nothing there I can disagree with. I think when it comes to words, Tolkien more than others understood the fluidity of meaning in a living world. So a word like Hai can have a defined meaning as 'folk' and still find itself in use with subsidiary meanings, in this case Uruk and the meanings of being 'better', or 'bigger' or 'stronger'. One of the reasons I love LotR so much is that it has a subconcoous secondary layer so that even if the reader is no linguist it still gves the impression of coherence which makes the world seem entriley credible despite all the dragons and stuff.

I still think there is some question over exactly what, if anything, was different about Saruman's Uruks compared to say Mordor's or Moria's. There are Black Uruks in both those places, as you say the one which gets Frodo in Moria is man-high, but he does live in the dark. If I had to make a guess at it I would say Sarumans contribution to Uruk kind was to basically sunblock, either b selective breeding with men or magic or both.
Doesn't explain where the Olog-Hai came from however. There is I don;t think any indication of when trolls went form turning to stone during the day to not. But despite there being no clear indication by Tolkien of any other meaning it is odd that two of the races with the Hai designation are ones who have developed/been given a tolerance to sunlight.

I had forgotten the Woses were also called Oghor-hai. Anyone know if theres a translated meaning for Oghor? Not got he books to hand.

Hope you stick around Elthir.

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Orwell on Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:32 am

Welcome Ethir. Try not to be put off by some of the silliness on this forum. We do enjoy a serious Tolkien conversation here still! Smile

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:46 am

Yes. With news thin on the gorund and many of the Tolkien big debates already run it can be hard to find new Tolkien stuf to chat about- but when it does come along we do love to get our teeth properly into it. As the film moves along and news become a little more frequent I am sure their will be less silliness and more Tolkien- but until then let the buckie flow! Very Happy

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Elthir on Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:07 pm

Thanks for the welcomes!

There are Black Uruks in both those places, as you say the one which gets Frodo in Moria is man-high, but he does live in the dark. If I had to make a guess at it I would say Sarumans contribution to Uruk kind was to basically sunblock, either b selective breeding with men or magic or both.

I have a different idea. In The Battles of the Fords of Isen (Unfinished Tales) Saruman has Dunlendings, Orcish wolfriders, followed by two battalions of Uruks ' ...the fierce Uruks, heavily armed but trained to move at great speed for many miles.' No specific mention of the sun there of course, but training seems key. Back to The Lord of the Rings, when the Northerners complain about running under the sun: 'By the White Hand! What's the use of sending out mountain-maggots on a trip, only half-trained. Run, curse you!'

Of course that may be slim evidence to some, but it looms large enough to me, coming in direct response to this concern from the chief of the Isengarders himself, and considering also that, as I noted, the troop from Mordor run very well under the Sun too -- they run 'hour after hour' without complaint, and even when they drop back at one point, the text makes it clear that 'the writer of the tale' cannot know (or tell) the exact reason why, the story giving two options for the reader to entertain.

In Moria: 'There are Orcs, very many of them,' he said. 'And some are large and evil: black Uruks of Mordor.' I think the almost man-high orc-chieftain (who got to Frodo despite the Company's defense) was an Uruk of Mordor, and if the Mordorians and even a few of the larger, bolder Northerners appear to run well under the sun, it seems arguable that some of these Uruks probably could.

Doesn't explain where the Olog-Hai came from however. There is I don;t think any indication of when trolls went form turning to stone during the day to not. But despite there being no clear indication by Tolkien of any other meaning it is odd that two of the races with the Hai designation are ones who have developed/been given a tolerance to sunlight.

I don't know the internal origin of Black Speech -hai, but since it means 'folk' I also note Adûnaic kadar-lâi 'city folk' and Avarin Kinn-lai, where the second element might be related to Quenya lie 'people'. There could be some borrowing (with distortion) here -- I'm no linguist so I may be off track, but I recall this description as well (from War of the Jewels): 'The word uruk that occurs in the Black Speech, devised (it is said) by Sauron to serve as a lingua franca for his subjects, was probably borrowed by him from the Elvish tongues of earlier times.'

We differ a bit about Black Speech -hai I guess; but in any case the Olog-hai are described as a troll race appearing at the end of the Third Age (thus they are quite 'new' relatively speaking), and they could endure the sun so long as the will of Sauron held sway over them. I don't recall any specific explanation of oghor from JRRT, outside of its reference to the Woses.

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Ringdrotten on Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:26 pm

Looks like we've got another contender for the Loremaster award! Very Happy Welcome, Elthir!

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Elthir on Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:42 pm

Thanks Ringdrotten!

I think Uruks and Uruk-hai are the same basic thing, great soldier orcs; and terminology-wise it's kind of like anglicized plural Balrogs versus Balrogath. I think maybe Saruman hired some Uruks (promising them Man flesh), while possibly using *snaga-hai to breed with Men, producing half-orcs...

... and since Sauron had great numbers, Saruman needed greater discipline and training, and his Uruks could easily endure the sun by comparison to most of the Northerners they encountered. The half-orcs would be taller (man-high as Merry noted), and also better under the sun than some orcs, having mannish blood.

This would make for a confusing enough mix (arguably confusing Treebeard a bit); with some of the half-orcs being mannish-looking enough to 'pass' as spies among Men.


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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:51 pm

If Saruman did breed orcs with men then he probably wouldn't tell them that anyway. So they might eat man flesh and not even know they are being cannabalistic (not that I'm sure that would bother them anyway).
The squint-eyed southerner at Bree springs immediately to mind as someone Merry describes as looking more than half like an orc, even though the person in question seems to be a man, or at leat capable of passing off as a not very pleasant looking man. Wether he is snaga bred with man or uruk bred with man is a point. I would have thought the snaga are not large enough, they seem to have been short, Frodo and Sam can wear their armour for example and a male warrior, such as Boromir, seems to be expected to be able to deal with quite a few orcs singlehandledly, of Boromirs death Denethor says "And only orcs to withstand him" as if a bunch of orcs to fight should not habe been a problem.

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Elthir on Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:59 pm

Sorry Pettytyrant, it seems I was editing while you were responding. I decided to edit out a bit of the eating of man-flesh (part of my earlier post), since even I was unsure of it, and it was only a 'possible' scenario in any case.





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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:03 pm

Very Happy No worries. And do feel free to just call me Petty, (most folks do) its less letters to type. Very Happy

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Elthir on Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:13 pm

By the way you make a good point about the snaga-type orcs, they were probably smaller for the most part, not just weaker or less trained. That the Uruks were arguably used in Saruman's breeding program makes sense considering the stature of the half-orcs.
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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:20 pm

Theres a line which has always intrigued me, I will have to source it to be sure exactly where it is, but its somewhere around the Batttle of Helms Deep (I think its one of the conversations Aragorn has during the long night of the battle, and its about the Uruk-Hai). Soeone says "These goblin-men and half-orcs that the art of Saruman has breed, they will not quake at the dawn" (thats from memory and might not be exact but the bit about goblin-men and half-orcs I'm 99% sure of) Its always struck me as an odd way to put it and I've never been sure if there was a distinction between these two things or if they are just alternative ways to say the same thing.

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Elthir on Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:47 pm

Yes, I think Gamling said that. I tend to interpret this remark in a way which fits my larger theory... LOL

... not surprisingly Laughing
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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:03 pm

Ahh Gamling- now I'm gettig crabbit cause I liked old Gamling and PJ dumped him, probably to make room for Aragorn falling off a cliff!! Mad

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Ally on Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:01 pm

Yeah...but Aragorn falling of a cliff was a great scene. As was the Jesus like struggle he underwent to get back to Minis Tirith...and the subtle looks between Legolas and Aragorn...and anyway I swear Gamling is in the movies??!! Very Happy
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Re: Origins of Races

Post by odo banks on Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:48 am

Though one shouldn't swear, shouldn't one! Shocked

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Eldorion on Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:49 am

Ally wrote:Yeah...but Aragorn falling of a cliff was a great scene. As was the Jesus like struggle he underwent to get back to Minis Tirith...and the subtle looks between Legolas and Aragorn...and anyway I swear Gamling is in the movies??!! Very Happy

There was a character named Gamling in the movies, but I don't think he bore much similarity to the character in the book. The book version was, as the name implies (in Anglo-Saxon, the language Tolkien used to represent Rohirric) an old man, while the movie version was much younger. Another difference is that the movie character was an aide to Theoden while the book character was stationed at the Hornburg. Smile
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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:40 am

Could have been worse PJ killed poor old Hama off before he even got to Helms Deep and he certainly never got a name check from Theoden before Saruman either! No repsect at all PJ! Evil or Very Mad

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Re: Origins of Races

Post by Eldorion on Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:55 am

Yeah, I don't recall if Hama and Gamling were ever actually named in the movie (as opposed to the script). Still, they had it better then some of the Gondorian characters such as "Irolas" and "Madril", whose names are anagrams of book-characters (Iorlas, uncle of Bergil and Mardil the Good Steward, in these cases). Laughing
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