Orc is as you see him. Green or black skin, big sword in hand, fangs and stinking breath. That was when pop culture modeled the orc from Tolkien's books. But over the years, these creatures have undergone a really significant evolution.
This text was funded by the "Equality Has a Green Color" campaign. "Equality Has a Green Color" is a social initiative, the result of peaceful cooperation between orcish groups from Durotar, Mordor, Orsinium and Warsaw. The aim of the campaign is to accelerate the assimilation processes of the green-skinned community, counteract the negative image of orcs in the media and introduce the study of the Black Speech in secondary school additional courses.
Say STOP to elven propaganda!
Disgusting, filthy mix of races with green, grey or black skin, cowardly, bloodthirsty monsters who live only to make life miserable for noble humans, elves and dwarves. Anyone who has read The Lord of the Rings knows who they are. In Tolkien's universe, the orc is a despised creature, devoid of higher feelings, its own culture and any good traits.
In Middle-earth, created by the British writer, this race was mainly cannon fodder in Sauron's army; the author focused more on the characters of humans, hobbits, elves or Mayans. Nevertheless, the orcs invented by Tolkien became a part of pop culture as a permanent element of fantasy novels, films and games. And they have evolved. For more than half a century after publishing The Lord of the Rings they have evolved from despicable minions of evil into creatures with their own culture, motivations and faith. Tolkien probably didn't even imagine how big a career these unpleasant creatures would make.
The orcs in Jackson's film trilogy are monsters to the core. Tolkien would be proud! (Still from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers movie).
Chaotic evil by nature
Nevertheless, Tolkien would probably be proud of himself. Unlike elves, dwarves and dragons, known to humans for centuries, orcs were an original creation of the British writer. He was inspired by goblins already present in medieval folklore and in his works he often used these two terms interchangeably. However, while goblins in European legends were rather malicious vermin with a penchant for trinkets, in the universe of Middle-earth they functioned as dangerous warriors. The inspiration of folk tales and works based on them can be still clearly seen in The Hobbit. The goblins there, though very dangerous, are rather clumsy and starry-eyed.
In The Lord of the Rings there is no trace of this comical face. Orcs are bloodthirsty monsters with a particular fondness for poisoned weapons. Their origins are uncertain; the writer himself claimed that they were fallen elves and humans who had been tricked by the sinister Morgoth. He also put forward other theories: orcs could have arisen from the earth and mud by dark magic or be a soulless form between an animal and a conscious being, driven only by the will of their master. In Tolkien's prose there is no certain explanation for their presence in Middle-earth, but since the dawn of time these creatures have always sided with evil. They formed the core of the armies of first Morgoth, and later Sauron and Saruman, but when their rulers were defeated or weakened, orcs continued to attack humans and elves, and occupied Moria, the underground stronghold of the dwarves.
Tolkien's orcs were far more often distinguished by aggression, cowardice, and scheming than by cunning.
And while the hosts of orcs were numerous and aggressive, these orcs never established any headquarters of their own: they settled in places they conquered, but created nothing themselves. Apart from one song, there is no mention of orc culture or art in The Hobbit. They are an extremely evil race, with cannibalistic tendencies (though, as Gollum mentions, their meat tasted awful), a simple, nasty-sounding language, and a love of war. Even on the battlefield the orcs fared mediocrely: a single individual stood no chance against a well-trained human or elf, so the creatures had to make up for their lack of skills by sheer numbers. Tolkien limits himself in their case to a number of negative traits, making the orcs the collective "total antagonist". And while this fits the world he has created, it is hardly surprising that some have chosen to alter this characterization somewhat.
Although Tolkien is rightly considered the father of orcs as a race in fantasy, the name has appeared before. It appears, for example, in William Blake's 18th-century poem America, and hides under it a positive character - a spirit of change and rebellion - as well as in Tyrolean folklore as a term for a malevolent demon. However, the British writer took inspiration from another source: the medieval poem Beowulf, where creatures called orcneas are mentioned as descendants of the biblical Cain. The name Orcus was also used by the Roman demon of death and ruler of the underworld.