There has been a resurgence in all things Lord of the Rings ever since Amazon's announcement of a new series. The Uruk-hai are known as being the elite soldiers of ultimate evil, yet we don't really know all that much about them. The Uruks are primarily loyal to whoever wields power over them. Sauron and his minion Saruman have both been leaders of the Uruk-hai at different points in time.
Their true origins have long been debated and questions arise as to whether they’re purely a creation of Sauron or his predecessor Morgoth. Morgoth is considered the true source of evil within Middle-earth, though there is some speculation that there was a greater darkness that corrupted him as well. Given Tolkien's views on the nature of good and evil, it is likely that the evil does not stem from a specific physical being in the realm of Middle-earth.
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Despite the Uruk-hai’s extensive role in Lord of the Rings, many people view all orcs as being the same. They seem to be scary-looking creatures that do nothing but grunt and kill. However, what isn’t often realized is just how detailed J. R. R. Tolkien was when it came to creating the orcs. In fact, the Uruk-hai are considered a step removed from the rest, engineered to be more ruthless and efficient warriors in the war of good vs. evil.
Here are the 15 Things You Never Knew About The Uruk-hai.
15. They Have Their Own Runes
Runes are an ancient type of alphabet, used mostly today for their use in fantasy fiction and visual artwork. They play a significant role in Tolkien’s work and the Uruk-hai, like the other races of Middle-earth, had their own set. While it might seem like they would use their set extensively, there were many times that Uruks used other runes.
In fact, the “S” written on their armor was an Elvish rune that marked them as belonging to Saruman. There were other Uruks that had the symbol of Sauron’s eye on their armor. Tolkien invented several types of runes, likely based on Elder Futhark, Younger Futhark, and Anglo-Saxon runes.
The main runic-based alphabet in LotR is known as the Cirth, which Tolkien invented himself. By some accounts, the runes used by the Uruk-hai were an amalgamation developed by Sauron for Black Speech, the official language of Mordor.
14. They Have Their Own Language
Tolkien had a love for history and languages, which is apparent in his meticulously detailed works. He invented several languages for LotR, including the dialect spoken by the Uruk-hai. The Black Speech was created by Sauron to guarantee only one language was spoken amongst his hordes of troops.
This served as a means for Sauron to more easily keep the orcs and Uruks under his control. However, according to the literature, some of the Black Speech was lost and was later combined with previous versions of the orc’s language.
Studies of the work indicate the speech was derived from ancient Mesopotamian. This is likely because Tolkien wanted the Black Speech to sound harsh, and ancient languages are said to be more guttural.
13. They Have Traditions
While the Uruk-hai are often depicted as brutish warriors, they also had definitive cultural traditions. Since Tolkien's work is fundamentally about the nature of good vs. evil, it makes sense that the characters who embody the corruption of good would not be all bad.
The Uruks have interests and traditions that are relatable, but that are twisted toward the darker aspects of human nature. There are examples of Uruk-hai traveling for miles to bury their fallen as they have specific rituals.
Not only does this make them more well-rounded villains, but it also builds upon the idea that even the best aspects of humanity can be corrupted. Like most literature that examines this, it appears that Tolkien wanted to emphasize what he saw as the folly of unrestrained power and bloodlust.
12. They Love Machinery
The Uruk-hai are not only more intelligent than orcs, they are also incredibly inventive. Uruks are capable of building siege weapons that had previously not been seen by the other factions of Middle-earth. An example of this can be seen at The Battle of Isengard, where the machines built by the Uruk-hai were used in attempt to fight off the Ents.
The Uruks also build excellent strongholds. The manifestation of this skill could be due to Sauron’s corruption, which imbued them with a strong drive to destroy. This pursuit of destruction is a top priority for them, as they kill and pillage anything they get their hands on.
Tolkien was an adamant environmentalist and there is an undeniable connection between the chaos perpetuated by the Uruks and our own destruction of Earth.
11. They Are Stronger And Smarter Than Orcs
While some Tolkien scholars are unclear about the exact origins of the Uruk-hai, it’s clear that they’re stronger and smarter than the other types of orcs. The Uruk-hai are not harmed by sunlight like most orcs. They’re more capable of speech and self-directed planning.
They’re also good at figuring out battle plans and anticipating the cruel wishes of Saruman. The Battle of the Hornburg showcases their use of strategy, as they place explosives in the weakest spot of the Deeping Wall.
Peter Jackson also uses one Uruk-hai in particular to illustrate this. When Saruman is creating his army, one of the Uruk-hai bursts forth from his encasing and strangles the first orc it can reach. This is our introduction to Lurtz - the vicious Uruk-hai leader that later kills Boromir.
10. They Have Custom Weapons
Another distinction of the Uruk-hai is that they used different kinds of weapons, though it’s not clear if this was for practical or aesthetic reasons. Throughout The Lord of the Rings, every group within Middle-earth used distinct weapons. Even the different classes of warriors use various weapons based on their skillset.
In the books and the movies, they used broad-bladed swords as well as crossbows. According to the LotR Wikia, “As the Isengard Uruk-hai were an army that was being rapidly grown, mass production of arms was required to equip them quickly."
This was also a distinct scene in The Two Towers, when orcs can be seen pouring molten steel in to molds, hammering them out as they cool down, and distributing them to the waiting Uruk-hai.
9. They Fought For Sauron First
There are various accounts of when Uruks first appear in the Tolkien history, but they were initially the result of breeding and magic. They were used for war by Sauron and later by Saruman, though both of them bred their own Uruks.
The LotR Wikia states, “Uruk-hai were first created by Sauron late in the Third Age. There are suggestions that the Uruk-hai were the result of crossbreeding Orcs and men." There are multiple points in the movies as well that describe the Uruks as ruined or tortured elves.
While the most notable use of Uruks in the films is Saruman's army, Sauron used them to capture the city of Osgiliath long before the forming of the Fellowship.
8. Their Physical Attributes Sparked Racial Controversy
Because of the descriptions of the Uruk-hai being black and also slant-eyed, many have questioned if latent racism is present in J. R. R. Tolkien’s work. From the time that the first LotR book was published until now, this has been a topic of discussion.
Tolkien was fervently against apartheid, Antisemitism, and any claims of superiority or inferiority between cultures - to the point of wanting to prevent German-language versions of the books from being published because of his disgust for Nazis. He despised the racists who tried to claim his work and felt that they sullied anything noble about European history and culture. He wrote about it in his letters and spoke out publicly against racism.
Despite this, some have wondered why he chose the descriptions he did for a group as evil as the orcs and Uruk-hai. There have been numerous pieces written about this, many of which can be found at the Tolkien Gateway.
7. There Have Been Several Interpretations Of Uruk-hai
According to the Tolkien Gateway, Uruk-hai were portrayed differently in various adaptations of the work. For instance, in the earliest films, they were exactly the same as other orcs. However, Jackson’s trilogy took things further in building the Uruk-hai lore.
There are pikemen, swordsmen, archers, and berserkers that can all be distinguished just by watching the movies. In order to create a believable army, it was necessary to qualify each Uruk with a specific role. Most notably are the Berserkers, who are the armorless Uruks that manned the tops of ladders during The Battle of the Horrnburg.
These Uruk-hai are likely derived from the Norse Berserkers who were known to fight ruthlessly and without fear during battle. Notably, Jackson’s version of the Uruk-hai are the most extensive, likely because he wanted to create as clear a visual representation of war as possible.
6. They Are One Of Seven Type Of Orcs
The Tolkien Gateway lists seven types of orcs: consisting of the Snaga-hai, snufflers, orcs of Mordor, orcs of the Misty Mountains, half-orcs, Uruk-hai, and hobgoblins. The Snaga-hai are the lowest of the orcs and are primarily used as slaves, workers, and as a disposable line of defense. The Uruk-hai were the elite warriors.
However, even Snaga-hai were frequently used in the Peter Jackson trilogy, and they were capable killers. As stated at Tolkien Gateway, “The Fellowship usually encountered the large soldier-Orcs bred for war, and sometimes the snaga variety which were more geared towards being labourers."
While every type of orc has been on-screen when including The Hobbit films, none of them can come close to the sheer power of the Uruk-hai.
5. The Word Orc Is Derived From Old English
The word orc is considered by many to be an invention of Tolkien’s. However, variations of the word have existed in one form or another for centuries. In medieval times, the word was at times used to mean a general demon.
There was also an interpretation of the word which meant that one was cursed by an oath or for breaking an oath. While it appears that orcs, by that name, were not depicted in literature before Tolkien, there are many examples of orc-like figures throughout history.
In Peter Jackson's LotR, the Uruk-hai are born from mud-like casings in the earth, which could be a nod to the etymology. Though the nature of the orcs was already pretty well-established throughout the movies and books, Jackson creates a specific Uruk-hai character to exemplify the more demonic nature of the Uruk-hai in particular.
4. They Were Inspired By The Mythic God Orcus
As with the rest of LotR, Tolkien was inspired by older myths. When specifically talking about the appearance of the Uruk-hai, there’s evidence to suggest that Tolkien was inspired by Beowulf. Other works of literature that inspired him included The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald.
Tolkien also used mythical legends such as the ancient god Orcus. In Italian history, Orcus was once considered a god of the underworld who later became known as a demon of the wild. He’s described as being tall and having wild features.
A stone depiction of him is located in the Garden of Bomarzo. These, along with other well-known depictions of ogres and goblins, are where Tolkien drew his inspiration. Pulling from long-established legends allowed him to put together the Urk-hai, who have now become an established part of fantasy literature.
3. The Uruk vs. Uruk-hai Debate
In the books, Uruk means orc and Uruk-hai means orc-folk. However, there’s clearly a distinction between the two, even though the words can still be used interchangeably. Is it because as elite soldiers, adding “hai” gave them a higher status? Or is it because of their further refinement by Saruman?
In either case, Uruk was a real city in ancient Mesopotamia, and the home of the legendary King Gilgamesh. This points to another of Tolkien’s literary influences in creating LotR. Tolkien seemed to be concerned with how an obsession with power of any kind could corrupt even the most innocent minded.
Given the mysterious origins of the Uruk or Uruk-hai, it’s possible that they go back further in the history of Middle-earth.
2. They Were Controlled By Saruman Before He Was Suspected Of Betrayal
While some accounts say that Sauron created the various Uruks, Saruman himself is said to have created his own Uruk-hai. By further refining Sauron’s creation, Saruman made them incredibly loyal to him alone.
In creating the Uruk-hai, Saruman made them invulnerable to sunlight, which is something that was still a problem for normal orcs. This allowed them to travel great distances, as they also need far less rest. This can be seen when the Uruks have captured Merry and Pippin and are able to stay well ahead of the rest of the pursuing Fellowship.
Saruman’s Uruk-hai are considered an improvement over Sauron's and seem to be used more frequently in battle from the time that they’re created. Despite these advanced warriors, Saruman loses control of Isengard since he sent all of his Uruk-hai to Helm's Deep.
1. How They Are Born
It’s a surprise to many that despite the detailing of the world of Middle-earth - from languages to clothing, customs, traditions - one thing Tolkien is not specific about is how the Uruk-hai are born. In all seriousness, there are no female orcs. They appear to be made of organic material, as they are proven able to bleed.
The clue behind their origin might be in Tolkien’s overall vision of LotR, since it is about the fight between good and evil. While the movies say the Uruk-hai are ruined elves, the books say they were destroyed men.
While he wanted to establish that elves could only be corrupted to a certain degree, Tolkien makes a point of just how deeply men could be corrupted by greed. It makes sense then that the Uruk origins are less about physical birth and are instead symbolic of the birth of evil in mankind.
Do you have any trivia to share about the Uruk-Hai from The Lord of the Rings? Leave it in the comments!
They were faster than normal Orcs and could travel during the day without being weakened. They were not only faster but smarter, stronger and larger, though they were still shorter than Men. The Uruks in the service of Barad-dûr, the folk of Mordor, used the symbol of the Red Eye of Sauron.What makes Uruk-hai different? ›
The Uruk-hai are stronger, larger, and can take the sunlight much better than the Orcs. In the Peter Jackson films, the Orcs actually conspire with Saruman at Isengard to create the Uruk-hai, as there are scenes of them overseeing the physical creation of the new soldiers.What are Uruk-hai a mix of? ›
There are suggestions that the Uruk-hai were the result of crossbreeding Orcs and Men. There were other creatures in Saruman's armies, and under his command in the Shire, that appear to have been hybrids. "Half-orcs" were as tall as Men and are never described simply as Orcs, as the Uruk-hai frequently are.What are the Uruk-hai born? ›
History. The Uruk-hai were created by Sauron late in the Third Age. There are suggestions that the Uruk-hai created by the fallen wizard was the result of crossbreeding Orcs with Men or with Goblin-men.Why can Uruk-hai be in sun? ›
Like any sort of subterranean creature, they were less accustomed to light and weren't built for it. Therefore, any contact with light would prove harmful to orcs as they thrived underground in caves and pits and the like.Why can't Orcs be in sunlight? ›
Regardless of the theory you ascribe to, Orcs were created in the depths of time by Morgoth, the original Dark Lord of Middle-earth. Because of that, it makes sense that Orcs would despise the Sun -- they were created by evil for evil purposes. Thus, they belonged in the darkness, which is a common literary motif.Are Orcs fallen Elves? ›
The orcs appear (especially in The Lord of the Rings) as a brutish, aggressive, ugly, and malevolent race of monsters, contrasting with the benevolent Elves. They are a corrupted race of elves, either bred that way by Morgoth, or turned savage in that manner, according to the Silmarillion.Are Uruk-hai half Elves? ›
The Uruk-hai are simple crossbreeds of human and orc, equivalent to a corrupted version of half-elves.How did Elves become Orcs? ›
The first Dark Lord Melkor took hostage some Elves from Cuiviénen. He tortured them, beat them, and broke their bodies into the first deformed and twisted beings known as Orcs.Are Orcs immortal like Elves? ›
It is unknown if the Orcs were immortal like the Elves. There is, in any case, a hint for a long lifespan in the story of two of the most famous Orc-chieftains: Azog and Bolg. Bolg, being the son of Azog, was the chieftain of the Orcs who attacked Erebor in the Battle of Five Armies in T.A. 2941.
In The Book of Lost Tales, it is said that Orcs were "bred from the heats and slimes of the earth" through the sorcery of Morgoth. Again, Tolkien later changed this, as Morgoth could not create life on his own. This led to the most popular theory that Orcs were created from corrupted Elves.Can Orcs breed with humans? ›
Orcs and humans can interbreed, and in this union create half-orcs. Humans and orcs have been enemies for decades and half-orcs represent something both races prefer not to think about.Are there female Orcs? ›
Yes, female orcs do exist in Middle-earth.
In a letter to one, Mrs Munby, JRR Tolkien wrote that female orcs do exist but that we've not seen them because they don't fight in Sauron's armies. “There must have been orc-women,” Tolkien wrote.
In short, orcs aren't made from mud but rather incubated in it. According to Tolkien's extensive backstory, the first orcs were fallen elves, corrupted and tortured into these horrific new forms.What is the lifespan of Uruk-hai? ›
Uruks likely live eternally. They are not immortal because they are still vulnerable to physical harm. Though since bred for war fail to achieve their long lives. In other words they do not ever truly age.What killed the Uruk-hai in the forest? ›
The Uruk-hai scouts were massacred by Éomer's cavarly of Rohirrim during the War of the Ring. They killed all of the Uruks while the Hobbits Merry and Pippin escaped into Fangorn Forest.What are the Orcs digging for? ›
The orcs might be looking for Narsil's evil counterpart as they dig under the ground, so it can once again corrupt the minds of men into following a Dark Lord to war. And that's more than possible. We've already seen that broken sword calling out to Theo, who is enchanted by its power.Why are Orcs so weak in lotr? ›
The conditions of Mordor were far from hospitable, so Orcs were left malnourished and overworked. Sauron also focused on numbers rather than skill, so his forces got churned out by the thousands without any training or suitable gear.Why did the orcs turn red? ›
Upon their second consumption of Mannoroth's blood, the orcs were transformed into fel orcs, turning red skinned and larger.Why do the orcs rip down the trees? ›
Throughout the War of the Ring, Gazmog and a group of orcs built a Lumberjack Camp near the edge of Fangorn Forest. They were given orders by Flizpot to cut down as many trees from the forest in order to have enough armor and hanksars to be constructed.
As such, the Orcs were literally born in the dark, fighting and thriving in the black of night. When the sun rose over Middle-earth for the first time years after their initial creation, the light traumatized the Orcs, burning and blinding them after so many years shrouded in darkness.Who turned the elves into Orcs? ›
As Galadriel explains, in the First Age, the Dark Lord Morgoth captured and tortured elves, turning them into twisted, ruined creatures that would later become the orcs as we know them.Who is the father of Orcs? ›
In the Silvan Elvish language "Adar" is Sindarin for "father." Adar is the father of the Orcs, in a sense.Is Aragorn half elf? ›
Aragorn is not half Elf, although he is a descendant of Elros, who is half Elf (and the brother of Elrond, the half-Elf who raised him), which explains why Aragorn's life span is unusually long.Could Halbrand be Sauron? ›
Galadriel immediately becomes suspicious and soon confronts Halbrand. He concedes that, yes, he is Sauron, and hopes to restore order to Middle-earth. He offers her a place alongside him as his queen.Why is Gothmog deformed? ›
Peter Jackson wanted to show a hideously deformed orc, one that would aptly convey the "ugliness" of Mordor. The upper left side of Gothmog's body is swollen and pock-marked from a disease of some sort, as described by the design department. His pale, yellow skin may also be a consequence of this illness.Who is AZOG's master? ›
The movies decided to make Sauron the puppet master behind all events, from ordering Azog to kill the dwarves to attacking the armies of good with massive hoards of orcs in The Battle of the Five Armies.How do Elves reproduce? ›
Elves view the sexual act as special and intimate, for it leads to the birth of children. Elves who are married cannot be forced by other Elves to have sex; before that they will lose the will to endure and go to Mandos. Elves have few children, and there are long intervals between each child.Who created Elves? ›
The first appearance of modern fantasy elves occurred in The King of Elfland's Daughter, a 1924 novel by Lord Dunsany. The next modern work featuring elves was The Hobbit, a 1937 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien.How long do Elves live? ›
Age: Although elves reach physical maturity at about the same age as Humans, the elven understanding of Adulthood goes beyond physical growth to encompass worldly experience. An elf typically claims Adulthood and an adult name around the age of 100 and can live to be 750 years old.
Uniya is the term used in Jrusar for people in Exandria who have both elvish and orcish lineage and so are both half-elf and half-orc. Another name for uniya is elf-orcs.What happened to the orcs after Sauron was defeated? ›
The orcs don't fare well at the end of The Lord of the Rings. Their armies shattered with the fall of their master Sauron. Aragorn became king of Gondor, prompting resurgent humanity as the power to push what was left of them into the shadows forever.How long does a dwarf live in Lord of the Rings? ›
Dwarves were long-lived, with a lifespan of some 250 years. They breed slowly, for no more than a third of them are female, and not all marry. Tolkien names only one female, Dís, Thorin's sister. They are still considered children in their 20s, as Thorin was at age 24; and as "striplings" in their 30s.Who was the first person to create orcs? ›
They were conceived of by Morgoth during the Years of the Lamps, serving him and later his successor, Sauron, in their quest to dominate Middle-earth. Before Oromë first found the Elves at Cuiviénen, Melkor kidnapped some of them and cruelly deformed them, twisting them into the first Orcs.What do orcs eat in Mordor? ›
Still, the fact that the Orcs make bread implies they have at least some basic culinary skill. It may very well be that Orcs eat cooked food when they can get it but they are not above eating raw flesh, blood, and other gruesome things when need presses them — or to show their domination over vanquished enemies.Why do orcs have a pig? ›
This is possibly drawn from the fact that "orc" is Welsh for "pig", and Welsh was the inspiration for Tolkien's Sindarin; alternately, it comes from the illustrators misunderstanding Gary Gygax who supposedly told them to make the orcs look "pig-headed"; or, simply, that "orc" rhymes with "pork".What happens when an Orc becomes deranged? ›
Deranged - Upon your next encounter, the Orc will become Crazed, and sometimes adopt a new title like "The Mindless" or "The Mad". This can either lower his level further, or raise it, and give the Orc a new bizzare personality, and add or lose certain traits.Why is Jakoby not blooded? ›
Biography. Nick Jakoby comes from a family of unblooded Orcs, those who do not belong to any blood clan and live among humans. Receiving the rejection of both humans and Orcs all his life, Jakoby wished to be a policeman, finally became the first Orc to do so in the United States.Can orcs and elves mate? ›
Traditionally no, but it may be possible, if rare. According to AD&D-era lore, elves cannot breed with orcs at all.Can half-orcs reproduce? ›
Orcs and humans have both held the Armlet of Strength and half-orcs are capable of interbreeding with both orcs and humans and continuing to produce fertile children. Interestingly, half-orcs like half-elves can also breed with other half-orcs and have created a fairly stable half-orcrace.
Cattle and Game would make the most sense. There is a possibility the animals may even include horses, as it is known that horses are bred in the dark lands. These are the black horses that the Ring-wraiths ride as they pursue the hobbits from The Shire to Rivendell.Are there any half-orcs? ›
Half-orcs were categorized as one of the varieties of Orc-kind, along with Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins and Uruks. Half-orc Bandits were found in the Lone-lands. They were affiliated with Saruman and could be found in almost every region he had influence in.Why did the orcs turn green? ›
Green Orcs are Orcs who were influenced by demonic magic - the blood of Mannoroth and the passage through the dark portal. And their descendants are green too (that's why Thrall, born already in Azeroth, is green).How did Sauron get so many orcs? ›
Due to his corrupting influence, he swayed many of the Maiar, lesser divine beings including Sauron himself, to his cause. After the Earth was created, Melkor was the first to learn of the awakening of the Elves, and before the other Valar can find them, he kidnaps and cruelly tortures some, twisting them into orcs.Who is the oldest living creature in Middle Earth? ›
Tom Bombadil is the oldest, as are other Maiar and Varda listed above. The Ents came from the thoughts of Yvanna (a Varda), who is the same age as Tom Bombadil. Also, the Ents were not resistant to Saruman's evil, but Tom Bombadil was unaffected by Sauron's evil ring.What is Uruk called now? ›
But most archaeologists agree that it is fair to claim Uruk (pronounced OO-rook) as one of the world's first cities (Uruk is its Akkadian name; its own people called it Unug; the Hebrew Torah called it Erech; and its current name, Warka, is Arabic.)What does Uruk look like today? ›
The remains of the city of Uruk lie today in a dusty, featureless desert, several kilometres east of the River Euphrates in southern Iraq. Five thousand years ago, however, it was surrounded by freshwater reed marshes, fertile alluvial soil, and waterways giving access to neighbouring towns and the Persian Gulf.Why is Uruk so important? ›
The city of Uruk is most famous for its great king Gilgamesh and the epic tale of his quest for immortality but also for a number of firsts in the development of civilization which occurred there.Why are Uruk-hai stronger than Orcs? ›
The Mordor orcs are Uruk-hai. Saruman's Uruks were the same species. He simply treated them better and fed them human flesh to make them stronger; and so they loved and served Saruman willingly; while Sauron's orcs were slaves of fear, who turned against him whenever they could.How was Uruk advanced? ›
The First City
Between approximately 3600 and 2600 BCE, the people of Uruk created the innovations characteristic of cities ever since: social hierarchies, specialized occupations, coercive political structures, writing, religion and literature, and monumental architecture.
Uruk was the first major city in Sumer built in the 5th century BC, and is considered one of the largest Sumerian settlements and most important religious centers in Mesopotamia. It was continuously inhabited from about 5000 BC up to the 5th century AD.How did Uruk fall? ›
The decline of Uruk may have been in part caused by a shift in the Euphrates River. By 300 AD, Uruk was mostly abandoned, but a group of Mandaeans settled there, and by c. 700 AD it was completely abandoned.How long did Uruk last? ›
The ancient city of Uruk is located in present-day Iraq, on an abandoned channel of the Euphrates River. Uruk gave its name to the Uruk period, spanning circa 4000 to 3100 BCE. At its height around 2900 BCE, Uruk had more than 50,000 residents, making it the largest city in the world.What gods did Uruk worship? ›
The sky god An and his daughter Inanna were worshipped at Uruk; Enlil, the god of earth, at Nippur; and Enki, lord of the subterranean freshwaters, at Eridu. This association of city with deity was celebrated in both ritual and myth.Why did Elves become orcs? ›
In The Book of Lost Tales, it is said that Orcs were "bred from the heats and slimes of the earth" through the sorcery of Morgoth. Again, Tolkien later changed this, as Morgoth could not create life on his own. This led to the most popular theory that Orcs were created from corrupted Elves.Are orcs fallen Elves? ›
The orcs appear (especially in The Lord of the Rings) as a brutish, aggressive, ugly, and malevolent race of monsters, contrasting with the benevolent Elves. They are a corrupted race of elves, either bred that way by Morgoth, or turned savage in that manner, according to the Silmarillion.Why did goblins become orcs? ›
Tolkien said that one of the reason of choosing "Orc" over "Goblin" was the similarity with his fictional languages. Indeed most Elvish, Mannish and other words for Orc, are similar to the English word.