Tolkien Gateway

Talk:Half-orcs

Can anyone back up the statements of this article? Where does Tolkien speak of those who he said looked like half-orcs were actually part orc? --Narfil Palùrfalas 16:52, 30 May 2006 (EDT)


Is there any evidence that the men actually mixed with orcs? I know that some of Saruman's men were said to "look like half-orcs", but is this because of their looks, or because they actually were half orc, half man. It is mentioned that it was possible, but I don't recall any other evidence for it. --Narfil Palùrfalas 19:05, 27 May 2006 (EDT)


Half-orcs were similar to Goblin-men and while "half-orcs" are mentioned in The Lord of the Rings I will look for some further evidence. EoA also has an article on them and Mark Fisher is pretty strict canon-wise on what he adds. --Hyarion 22:35, 30 May 2006 (EDT)

A quote from The Two Towers:
"Most of them were ordinary men, rather tall and dark-haired, and grim but not particularly evil-looking. But there were some others that were horrible: man-high, but with goblin-faces, sallow, leering, squint-eyed. Do you know, they reminded me at once of that Southerner at Bree: only he was not so obviously orc-like as most of these were.
'I thought of him too,' said Aragorn. 'We had many of these half-orcs to deal with at Helm's Deep."
This passage would speak in favour of treating the half-orcs as more than merely "possible" race, as Aragorn's words are to be taken seriously. --Morgan 23:37, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I entirely agree. I might have to do some more research, but the impression I've always been left with is that there are half-orcs (just as there are half-elves). --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 23:44, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
I somehow feel that quoting David Day as a source is worse than quoting no source at all. David Day is the laughing stock of serious Tolkien studies, he at least cannot be trusted to represent the primary sources accurately. My position is that everyting he says that cannot be backed up by quoting primary sources or reliable secondary sources is to be treated as fanon. — Mithrennaith 16:02, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I see what you mean and I agree that Day's texts aren't reliable sources. Before I started editing on the page (see [old version]), the sentence about the origin of the half-orcs was expressed as "fact". When I couldn't find any info in Tolkien's texts, I started to look around in my other books and the idea about the "Saruman sorcery-stuff" seems to have come from David Day. I gave the reference (and added the "Perhaps") since at that time I thought that it was better than nothing. But I wouldn't really mind if we remove the theory and just keep the "The true nature of the half-orcs is unknown"-part. On the other hand, the "Saruman sorcery-idea" does perhaps carry some plausibility, and might therefore be worth noting (unless there are more reliable sources which discuss the nature of the half-orcs).--Morgan 18:32, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I find your explanation completely understandable and I certainly did not want to criticise the clear improvement over the old situation. I think the idea may indeed have some plausibility, but should we then also give other plausible options, such that Saruman simply had a mixed-breeding programme? Maybe the way to go is to have a separate section on ‘Fanon theories of origin’ or something similar, giving this theory, for which David Day would then be an appropriate source. But is that received practice on TG, or should it be? I’m just in doubt.
Only thing I am convinced of is that David Day should not be quoted in such a way that he seems to taken as a reliable source for statements that are not clearly distinguished from canon. Sorry for replying with more question marks than answers; I can see that it’s not a great help in deciding what to do. — Mithrennaith 02:59, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I moved the statement to a footnote, to make it less noticeable. But as I said, I really don't mind if we remove the reference altogether. ;-) --Morgan 10:26, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I think that’s a good solution and we should leave it there, certainly now. Maybe we should have another attempt at discussing a more appropriate policy on canon — I feel increasingly uncomfortable with the apparent tendency to throw outdated stuff from the Histories, speculative tertiary sources, fanon and adaptations all on the same heap .... — Mithrennaith 14:20, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I am similarly reluctant to see any referencing or quoting of David Day's work at all (unless revealing his unreliable status); I'd like to see it removed. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 18:35, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I see that the origin of half orcs appears as unknown in the article. There is however this passage in Morgoth's Ring, Myths Transformed, text X:
"It became clear in time that undoubted Men could under the domination of Morgoth or his agents in a few generations be reduced almost to the Orc-level of mind and habits; and then they would or could be made to mate with Orcs, producing new breeds, often larger and more cunning. There is no doubt that long afterwards, in the Third Age, Saruman rediscovered this, or learned of it in lore, and in his lust for mastery committed this, his wickedest deed: the interbreeding of Orcs and Men, producing both Men-orcs large and cunning, and Orc-men treacherous and vile."
Judging from this, it seems that they were the product of normal crossbreeding, and not some sorcery.
Another question: the table at the side says that their skin colour was dark, but they're always described as "sallow". Isn't sallow something like pale-yellow, quite the opposite of "dark"?Unsigned comment by 95.22.101.220 (talk • contribs).
All good points -- thanks. I've tried to amend the article accordingly.--Morgan 21:23, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
(restoring identation) I would put the "Myths Transformed" excerpt in the article prose. Usually this text is treated as non-canon, but this particular reference isn't about rewriting the legendarium, but giving some background. Sage 10:22, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with you, Sage.--Morgan 20:28, 6 April 2014 (UTC)