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Art by Steve Otis
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Half-orcs
"He looks more than half like a goblin."
Frodo Baggins[1]

Half-orcs were among Saruman's servants in the late Third Age, so named by Aragorn.[2]


Among the Dunlendings who came to Saruman's banner of the White Hand in Isengard, there were large men, lynx-eyed and evil, who were called half-orcs.[2] Many were counted among the strongest servants of Saruman. The half-orcs mostly perished at Battle of the Hornburg, either before the fortress walls or by the Huorns. Yet some lived beyond that day of doom and followed Saruman into exile, even to the Hobbit lands of the Shire, where they served the fallen Wizard until his last breath.[3]

The origin and nature of the half-orcs is unknown. Saruman's servants also included creatures known as Goblin-men who appeared to blend the traits of Men and Orcs. It is unclear if these beings are related to or synonymous with the half-orcs.[4] Treebeard speculated on the nature of such creatures, wondering if Saruman had imbued Orcs with Mannish traits or Men with goblin-like features. If these beings were indeed a mixture of Man and Orc (via alchemy or interbreeding), Treebeard stated that this was surely a "black evil".[5]

Portrayal in adaptations

Half-orc in MERP, by Liz Danforth

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Half-orcs (Sindarin Piryrch, sing. Perorch) are a crossbeed between Men and Orcs, being a distinct race in their own. Game statistics are given for players choosing to be a Half-orc.[6]

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

Half-orcs and Greater Half-orcs are Orc Factions, playable by Fallen Wizards.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Knife in the Dark"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Flotsam and Jetsam"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Scouring of the Shire"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Helm's Deep"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Treebeard"
  6. S. Coleman Charlton (1993), Middle-earth Role Playing (2nd edition, softcover) (#2001), p. 177