|The LOTR Movie Site
December 9, 2000
Here is the Tolkien Illustrated Encyclopedia's definition of Orcs. It is actually quite long, so I am just skimming through the description and any pertinent information regarding where and whence these goblins came from. "Orcs: Within the deepest Pits of Utumno, in the First age of stars, it is said melkor committed the greatest blasphemy. For in that time he captured many of the newly risen race of Elves and took them to his dungeons, and with hideous acts of torture he made ruined and terrible forms of life.
From these he bred a goblin race of slaves who were as loathsome as the Elves were fair"(214). It goes on to give a brief description: "Their stunted form was hideous: bent, bow-legged and squat. Their arms were long and strong as the apes of the south, and their skin was as black as wood that has been charred by flame. The jagged fangs in their wide mouths were yellow, their tongues red and thick, and their nostrils and faces were broad and flat. Their eyes were crimson gashes, like narrow slits in black iron grates behind which hot coals burn"(214).
Of course this was the very first race of Orcs. They have changed much adapting to their regions. In fact Sauron also made a new breed of Orcs, the Uruk-hai. These Uruk-hai were grown to the height of men, and were straight-limbed, not bent and twisted. They were much fiercer, and most importantly, they did not fear sunlight, unlike their kin. I recommend this encyclopedia to any Tolkien fan. It is a handy reference for names, people and places, and includes an in-depth history of Middle Earth.
PS. (*for Max B. No, I am not American)