Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
The Thiniking Orc by TurnerMohan The Thiniking Orc by TurnerMohan
Do orcs ponder their lot in life? what do they think about when they're not fighting eachother or the free people? It's a question Tolkien left largely unanswered in his books, and the role of the orcs as the all purpose "others" who are patently evil and may therefore be slaughtered indiscriminately by our tall, grim, piercing-eyed heroes is about the only thing in tolkien's vast legendarium that leaves me with some reservations. I always wanted to know more about the orcs (beyond their perpetual role as cannon fodder for various dark lords) cirith ungol and the uruk hai were two of my favorite chapters in LOTR because atleast we get some glimpses of orcish society (same reason I always liked the goblin town part of the hobbit)

I imagined for this piece a scene of an orcish chieftain like Azog or the Great Goblin, now a few years past his prime, living in some conquered city built centuries earlier by more advanced people (like Tol Sirion, Minas Ithil, or Moria) laying aside his weapons and pouring curiously over old tomes deep in an abandoned study. Maybe he cant even read, just pondering the very act of writing itself.

It's definitely a theme I will revisit in the future.
Add a Comment:
 
:icondaaku-no-tenshi:
daaku-no-tenshi Featured By Owner May 29, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I always felt this was covered. In both the books as well as the movies. Maybe not out rightly stated, but just common sense-wise.

When all of the creatures and living things of Middle Earth were created, the evil 'god(s)' felt life was there to serve them, that they were lessers rather than other beings. Certain 'gods' created Dwarves, or the Elves, etc. When the Orcs were created, I'm pretty sure that they were a perversion of Elf bloodline, bred to be barely human and only to serve.

Their role was never to think in the first place. Their role WAS to be cannon-fodder, as stipulated by not only the writing of the author, but the designs and machinations of the evil characters therein.

I always thought that was rather obvious. To see one sitting reading or acting peacefully is essentially a perversion of what they were intentionally designed for - aggression, bloodletting, warmongering, etc. An Orc would probably eat a book rather than read it, or even before contemplating what it could possibly be.
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Professional General Artist
I'd recommend you re-read 'the choices of master samwise,' or even 'the uruk-hai' and see if you cant mine from their text likely evidence of a little more capacity for humor, camaraderie and intellectual curiosity than you're currently giving the orcs credit for.
Reply
:icondaaku-no-tenshi:
daaku-no-tenshi Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Be that as it may, and I will certainly look through those parts again, surely the exception doesn't disprove the rule?

Even if one were to have Orc 'intellectuals', I honestly don't see them surviving long in Orc society in a more generalised sense, you know?
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2017  Professional General Artist
A moment like this is nothing if not exceptional, but I dont know how rare such exceptions would be, one of atleast a few small moments in any orc's life, i would imagine, where their underlying humanity (or elf-manity) long surpressed both by genetics and culture, comes to the surface, quickly to be buried under the hate and fear that seems to rule their lives

tolkien remarked that the orcs would likely be redeemable by god, though not by elves or men, make of that whatever ratio of good to evil in an orcs life is pleasing to your sensibilities
Reply
:iconwatchthenetkillitsel:
WatchTheNetKillItsel Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2017
Im not exactly sure about the books, but in the movies its kinda obvious that at least some orcs know how to write. For example, the mere existance of the goblin scribe in AUJ tells us that some orcs are devoted to writing.
Reply
:iconzanarnaryon:
ZanarNaryon Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
It's an interesting idea, and I'm open for it, but there's a reason orcs are "others"; They were literally created for it.
Morgoth, the self-apointed God created orcs as foot soldiers. Thus They still have the society they adopted from the torture that was their creation.
Reply
:iconcameosis:
cameosis Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2016
trollkien was a filthy bastard who twisted the history of middle earth. the valiant freedom forces of mordor fought the abominations called elves and hobbits and repelled them back to their western abyss, where they belonged.

great artwork, too!
Reply
:iconaloiinthesky:
AloiInTheSky Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Such an amazing concept I love it ^^
Reply
:icont-brand:
T-Brand Featured By Owner May 5, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
I like this. Everything you've said is very true, and it sucks that we don't get to see much of what they do outside of battle. This piece has got me thinking now lol
Reply
:iconthefieldalchemist:
TheFieldAlchemist Featured By Owner May 18, 2015   Traditional Artist
I really like your line of thought there. and the art. It's lovely.

I can't watch LOTR without frowning when there's orcs being killed - I tend to strongly sympathize with the victims of villains and antagonists, even if they are treated as cannon fodder from some overlord. I mean, do they really want to be "evil"? Were they ever asked? And don't get me started on how cruel many humans are when it comes to revenge on clans of orcs who have never done anything bad but live their life somewhere in the wild.

That's basically why I really love the game "Of Orcs and Men", which puts you in the role of some orc warrior and his sneaky goblin companion seeking revenge on the human empire for putting his kin into slavery, or the book series "Orcs" by Stan Nicholls that explores just that "What if the orcs decide to part from their evil Master and do their own thing from now on?" kind of thought. I LOVE it.
Reply
:iconzanarnaryon:
ZanarNaryon Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
They weren't Asked, because They were created for it
Reply
:iconwasserwaldnymphe:
Wasserwaldnymphe Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think that they must at least have some intelligence and discipline - otherwise they wouldn't be able to complex maneuvers on the battlefield or invent/use machineries of wars. Furthermore there must be some kind of meetings between the leading orcs (and their lord). I also enjoyed the chapters in which the orcs were actually talking about their lives. 
Reply
:iconwisdom-thumbs:
Wisdom-Thumbs Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is the best depiction of an orc I've ever seen, and all you had to do was take a standard orc and stick him in a library. But this is also one of my favorite poses. The shading on the floor looks like a black & white photo of an actual floor.
Reply
:iconpuella-januaria:
Puella-Januaria Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like this art, so natural)
Reply
:iconninkskoir:
NinkSkoir Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Great work and thoughts, I agree very much! Thank you for drawing this! :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconhelena-markos:
helena-markos Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've devoted so much time and energy into orcish culture and sub creation and the differences between Silm orcs and LotR/Hobbit orcs in the Tolkien world, it is almost (i.e. definitely IS) embarrassing.  I have over a quarter million words (and counting) of fan fiction written on the subject.

Head canon and discomfort with assigning "evil" to whole races of people aside: this is a marvelously done, illustrative piece.  I love the depth of light you've created, and the way the silhouette of the chandelier cuts into the brightness of the upper half of the image, thus breaking all that light and giving the scene a closed-in feeling.  It is a very intimate, contemplative moment, and whoever this orc is (Azog or Bolg or what have you...), I love the expression on his face.  The added helmet and sword in the bottom left corner is a thoughtful touch, and really adds to the storytelling in this image.  Well done.  And great pencil technique.
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Professional General Artist
I'm very glad you like it. I was quite pleased myself with this one, the whole concept of it, and it seems to be a favorite among people who visit my page. I think orcs are kind of fascinating to alot of people (they're the subject of a drawing I'm currently working on) and I've written, or attempted to do so, quite a bit about them in the past myself. do you post any of your writing? I'd be interested to read it.
Reply
:iconhelena-markos:
helena-markos Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I do post my writing.  It is linked on my DA account.
Reply
:iconzoop526:
zoop526 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014
I love you, man. :) I ponder the same thing. There has to be more to them, and you get a glimpse in the few scenes of their interactions in Tolkien's works. There's a culture there, just waiting to be discovered. :)
Reply
:iconillvetti:
Illvetti Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree. The glimpses we get from Tolkien's work points towards a civilisation the reader never gets to discover, and its a tantalizing thought that Tolkien had a good idea - however shifting throughout the work process - of what that civilisation was like. I've always wanted to see the orcs being described as cultural and psychological beings rather than as "the other" (perhaps a naive thought, considering that was their intended role all along). How could creatures as angry and hateful as orcs form a society? How was that society kept in check? Tolkien does hint of alliances with "wicked dwarves" in The Hobbit, suggesting that orcs are in fact capable of diplomacy and politics, which in turn demands an organised society with social ranking, a system of communication and economy. 
What really sets the mind going is what happened to the orcs after the events in RotK - that takes Sauron out of the equation, basically leaving the orcs bereft of the power binding them as slaves to the forces of evil. How did they cope with that? Did their society dissolve completely, or did they somehow manage to stabilise after the fall of Mordor? Personally, I've pictured the orcs becoming even more cultural beings after losing their status as sword fodder for Sauron. They would probably retain their brutal and warlike mindset, but at the same time the loss of a common master would force them to rebuild their civilisation pretty much altogether. What do you guys think?
Reply
:iconarchon89:
Archon89 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2014
You know, reading Tolkien or watching Peter Jackson's movies, I can honestly say that these are questions I made too. It's very interesting :)
And this is very good drawing, by the way!
Reply
:iconartkosh:
ArtKosh Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014   Traditional Artist
He said to himself like 'C'mon,c'mon... use your brains, old silly orc.!' %D good!
Reply
:iconerikgold:
ErikGold Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Now there's a sight hehe.  Excellent pencil work!
Reply
:iconrakhkhan:
RakhKhan Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2013
I always found it an interesting concept of a Tolkien Orc who had decided, to study a tome or book, or writing in general. Trying to decide if writing is useful, or to ascertain why other species write. Though, the Tolkien Orcs do have a language multiple in fact, the Orcish peoples serving Sauron, such as the Orcs of Gundaband and Minas-Morgul, spoke a bastardized form of Dark Speech, called Orkish.The Olog-Hai also spoke Orkish, and many Orcs had their own primitive writing system. However, we do not see any of this exhibited from any other Orc race, whether they have their own writing system (the Orcs serving Sauron once again, used a bastardized version) or stole it and twisted it from races they had fought. The very fact an Orc could contemplate the fact of writing, and to decide that "if it works for these peoples, it can work for us" is very interesting.
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2014  Professional General Artist
Azog atleast seems to be semi literate, and in dwarvish characters no less (though how far his ability to read and write goes beyond being able to write his own name is questionable) it seems likely that the orcs of moria, being exposed to plenty of examples of dwarvish runes might have developed their own version of orcish, better suited to use of the dwarvish/sindarin characters, though it seems unlikely that Khuzdul would have had any influence. with language being such an important thing for Tolkien, and the languages of his fictional cultures playing as big a part in the world of middle-earth as they do, it seems that the orc's use of language (so much of which, it seems, when translated into english, turns into insults or terms like "pig guts" "cesspool" or "dung heap") tells the story of their own debased culture. our guy here is definitely tableing that orcish impulse to vulgarity if he's trying to give a book a chance, whether or not he understands what he's looking at, there's a curiosity that reigns in, if only for the moment, that natural orcish "ugliness." I like to think that orcs (being in origin children of Illuvatar, however ruined) would be capable of the odd moment like that.
Reply
:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013
Tolkien does not seem to have embraced the concept of the orcish intellect, which was one of the reasons he later regretted his initial descriptions of them. After all, orcs were originally bred to be a slave race of warriors and laborers, without the need to do anything else but obey orders and carry out the tasks assigned to them. And that would have defined their outward demeanor, aided by the fact that it would always be easier to play the stupid slave than the clever underling, especially if Gothmog was about to crack the whip! And yet, they learned skills, since their armor, weapons and other gear did not make themselves. So orcs had enough ability to make things, and maintain them, and to assemble some rude semblance of operations and order when no stronger agency was not around to do so. But orcs don't seem to really have gone into intellectual pursuits, because it was not expected of them, and their usual brutish existence forbade it, for the most part. It's still an interesting & engaging picture, though. It would get a lot of comments at a convention.
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
tolkien changed his mind several times about both the origin and characterization of the orcs/goblins, as he did with many aspects of middle-earth over the course of the 50 odd years he was concieving it. relatively early portrayals of them like in the hobbit or even lotr might have been too humorous, too conversant, and too human for his later taste, when he seemed to become increasingly preoccupied with getting all middle-earth's moral, rational and theological ducks in a line (he kept trying to reassign galadriel a more sympathetic role in the kinslaying, and even played around with having finrod speculate upon the nescesity for a christ-like savior to redeem men). it's a process he never finished and personally i'm glad he didnt, as i feel like alot of his later, post-lotr musings and re-assesments of his own stories were those of an author who is trying to retroactively make his whole world make sense with itself, and what you loose when doing that sometimes is the spark of originality that endeared people to your work in the first place. i feel like there's a bit of "silmarillion snobbery" amongst hardcore tolkien fans, who often feel like casual readers (or even loving fans) of the hobbit or lotr can't possibly understand how vast, complex and melancholy tolkien's world really is, and while it's not that i think they dont have a point (you definitely gain a very different perspective of what middle-earth is "all about" from reading the silm and his other posthumous works) i'm inclined to lend more weight to those works that saw publication in his lifetime (basically because the have had a much greater influence on the popular view of tolkien's world) than those that didnt. there's a lot of behavior from the orcs in the hobbit and lotr that is too intelligent, reflective, and borderline sympathetic to match his later, more theologically downcast musings on their lot in life, but i feel like in so doing he sort of robs them of the variety and "humanity" (an extremely relative term here) that makes them interesting, or even really possible as creatures and characters, not as just some broad theological construct.
Reply
:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013
It is an unusual trait of Tolkien as a writer that he did feel the need to justify the character and actions of all his characters, including the Dark Lords' brutal sword fodder. He ended up pitying the Orcs, and made them altered beings with tortured souls and twisted minds instead of mere Sea Monkey-bred critters created only to slay and be slain. So his later Silmarillion POV of the Orcs does make them more savage and vicious than the clevery cruel but lazy Goblins of The Hobbit, but at the same time preserves the ability for the Orcs to act as true beings of thought and deed as well. Even if thought and deed are already bent towards wickedness.... The ability for Orc and Man to cross-breed was one of Tolkien's judgements on modern warfare, and to a lesser extent on modern society too. The Edain of the Three Houses and their true-bred descendants would never have bombed Guernica flat or sent chlorine gas wafting towards enemy lines. The orc-taint in the blood of men would result in beings who could readily design, deploy, and accept those horrors, and rejoice in their effect on the enemy. If Elves are what Men could have been, then Orcs are what Men too often devolve towards. So in the end maybe we should not ask if Orcs can be clever and understand and use knowledge and items of craft. Maybe we should ask instead, to what ends the Orcs would direct them, given the chance?  
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
one logistical question - about orcs as a living breathing species - that always bothered me was "how in the hell do orcs have children?" are they raised by their parents? by the community? are they abandoned, straight out of the womb, to fend for themselves? and if so how could any survive into adulthood? it would seem that, without the protection and providing of parents, elders or the community at large, orc children would be near unanimously starved to death by competition with adults for food (if not taken for easy prey and eaten themselves) but this appears not to be the case, atleast in the few, scattered areas where such elements of orcish social life are given a window; Bolg is the son of Azog and seems to function as his heir aswell, suggesting atleast the acknowledgement of parentage in orcish society, and, as we learn during "the uruk hai" orcs attach a stigma to cannibalism (though it seems most likely common enough nonetheless)

I tried writing a comic book once about the war of the dwarves and orcs, seen largely from the perspective of a young bolg. the project was meant mainly as an opportunity to explore some of my thoughts about orcish society and interpersonal relationships, which is such a beast to try and wrap your head around. I see orcs (close to what you say above) as kind of representing the bad side of human psychology and human-on-human cruelty (certainly when tolkien talks in the hobbit about the influence of goblins among us he is referring to the horrendous war machinery of WWI, and humanity's lack of scrupals about deploying it on eachother)

I'm glad you think this is a good piece for sparking conversation. Alot of people have written some really interesting thoughts/insights down below, which I think you'd probably enjoy.
Reply
:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013
The question has not been an easy one to answer. We only really know that Orcs increase "after the manner of the Children of Iluvatar" and their numbers are prone to multiply to bursting given enough time and "encouragement". The best explanation from MERP is that Orcs do not mate and form family units as such. They breed, using groups of desirable (for Orcs anyway) females that are housed separately from the barracks of the males. These breeding chambers are guarded, and visited only by the chieftain, his officers, and those of lesser rank that are rewarded for some deed. The offspring of such alpha-male visits are raised (refereed?) by the orc-women until they are old enough to leave and carry out tasks for the men. Eventually the older male imps join the war-bands, and the older female imps become drudges, or join their mothers in birthing the next generation. Under the influence of the Dark Lords or their chief servants, the Orc-men feel "the urge" more often, and childbirth goes through the roof! Oops! A powerful leader like Azog could create his own personal harem, and therefore have readily identifiable male offspring who could form a rudimentary "line of succession". (George R R Martin has nothing on Orcish power politics. :o (Eek) ) It's all very social-Darwin, but it gets the job done of creating fierce, tough warriors who have no loyalty to anything except the tribe, the chief, their own selfish desires, and (at a remove) the Dark Lord. For the Mordor units, I suspect the process is even more mechanical, with the units of soldiers lining up to service the women with as much intimacy as a cannery. :P
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
sounds about right. i had always pictured azog as being somewhat like priam of troy, with many "recognized" sons by several official wives, along with more than a few bastards scattered around. I would think the orc mother-and-child relationship would have to be central, with the adult male orcs not taking much interest in the kids until they reach around seven or so (or the orcish equivalent thereof) but it's so hard to visualize orcish childhood or any kind of parental bond for such unloving creatures (bolg's mother and their relationship was a primary focus in some of my earlier drafts for a webcomic)
george rr martin is kind of the direction you'd have to go in terms of foul-mouthedness and sexual nastiness, i think, in order to do full justice to orcs as characters, not simply line-em-up,-knock-em-down villains.
Reply
:iconvylinius:
Vylinius Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Perhaps the interest that a Male Orc has in its offspring would be similar to that of having a valued weapon or other item. With the basis of the relationship being on the usefulness of the offspring rather than any kind of parental bond as we'd recognize it. Which would be why the offspring are secluded with their mothers till they reach an age of usefulness to their male parents or orc society as a whole as they'd otherwise be seen as nothing more than a waste of space by the majority of orcs.
Reply
:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013
Yeah, I do not see the Orcs having "childhood" as it is recognized. Sort of like highly aggressive preschool for a couple years, then it's time to learn what to do, perform some scut work, and stay out of the way as much as possible unti the teen years bring adult or near-adult duties. The parental link of orc leaders to a strong father or predecessor would be primarily for status and authority, with any sort of kindness taking a definite back seat! Also, tenderness would be out of place in the wolf-pack mentality of the Orcs, where in true Jack London style the alpha holds the post until his might or cunning fail him. Still, until the time of challenge, a son who is a captain might make a truer subordinate than someone who is not. 
Reply
:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2013
This drawing is cool. I like the idea that "he cant even read, just pondering the very act of writing itself". Really cool :) In general I like a lot your "chimp-orcs", they are really cool, the way Orcs should be (and not skinny lepers, neither hulk-like). I will just do their facial attributes more humans (if I could draw like you) : smaller ears and teeth especially (saying that I just realize my orc's teeth are like this in most of my drawings).

On this part :
"It's a question Tolkien left largely unanswered in his books, and the role of the orcs as the all purpose "others" who are patently evil and may therefore be slaughtered indiscriminately by our tall, grim, piercing-eyed heroes is about the only thing in tolkien's vast legendarium that leaves me with some reservations."
In fact Tolkien did say (in the HOME 11 or 10 you can find it) that Orcs should not be killed for the Eldar when they are captured or when they surrender but that this advise was not followed most of the time. I guess the reason for it is cause in times of war it's difficult to spare the life of an ennemy who will show no gratitude and who will try to stab you as soon as you show your back to him.
This part makes me think that Orcs were mostly victims for him : opposite to Morgoth, or Sauron, who did choose to do evil while they could have done great things, Orcs are born to do evil. Their freedom is conditionned by their inhability to do good, except against their own will. They are not robots, neither free-men and their main feelings are anger and hate. May be the most intelligents among them are able to understand their situation and try to deal with it, otherwise their couldn't be Orc-Kings (except if Azog and the Great Goblin are the heirs of the ancient Maiar who took the shape of Orcs in Morgoth's time).
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
i'm not the biggest fan of warcraft style "orc tusks" myself, though I do tend to think many depictions of orcs (including the movies) stay too close to 'human' for my taste; I'm rather drawn to the idea that orcs (being essentially debased, devolved humanoids) would be rather ape-like physically (they are remarked on a few occasions for their long arms and powerful, gripping hands) and so i kind of dig the idea of (atleast some of) their species having really big mouths, with big rubbery gums and some savage looking choppers (look at the teeth on chimps or baboons, they're practically like leopards)

I agree on the impracticality of letting captured orcs go (damn orcs, they don't give you many options). the elves in particular are noted (at least once, in the hobbit) as possessing a burning, virulent hatred for the orcs (that worked well with the rather fairy tale-like, though surprisingly brutal, simplicity with which tolkien describes peoples and histories in that more juvenile work; when we get scenes, like in the simlarillion, of orcs cutting the arms and legs off of elvish prisoners we get some context for that "burning hatred") and it seems the feeling is pretty well mutual. Oddly, the elves' near-automatically murderous inclination toward orcs is one of the few elements (for me) that "humanizes" them; they dont seem quite so lofty, or so morally 'above it all' as they usually do. It's kind of refreshing to see elves not portrayed as all-wise, all knowing, and saintly; they are the "children," like men are, and dont always do what "god the father" would want, ideally.

you make some very good points about the orcish lot in life, neither as lifeless drones, nor as free individuals capable of "choice." I got into some pretty interesting back-and-forth about orcs with Bladescream down below, throw your two cents in if you feel like it.
Reply
:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
I regret I still don't have enough time to discuss everything (Numenorean Queen ! :D ) But I think you'll like this :

« “I can’t understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.”
“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

(LotR, I.2)
Reply
:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
You make some really good points about the Orcs being like apes, I didn't get all the similarities in Tolkien writing. Also the other reference he admitted was the middle-age way to see mongols : like monsters or demons, with pale or yellow/green skin, thin eyes, etc.
But yeah you really changed my vision of Orcs though ^^

I agree on the hartred of the Elves toward the Orcs. But in fact almost everybody in ME hates them : The Dwarves with the war of the Orcs comitted, you said it, almost a genocide. The Druedain only want the Rohirrim to kill the "Gorgn". A king of the Rohirrim exterminate all the orcs in his kingdom cause they killed his father (forgetting that they were running away from the dwarves), etc...
Poor orcs ^^

And Elves are not that perfect either : remember Fanor and his sons (some of my preferred characters since I discovered Jenny Dolfen), El the black elve and his son Maeglin. And even Thingol is a very arrogant and anthipatic character sometimes, not forgetting the pusillanimous Orodreth.

I also agree on the way Bilbo makes more difference between races and create more complicated alchemy. Like in the War of the Ring everyone has to choose his side but in Bilbo the tale is about a gigantic treasure and not involving the fate of the world. That's why the Elves and the Goblins threaten the dwarves equally and men and elves are about to fight dwarves for gold, etc.
The description of the dwarves as : "fine fellows but not warriors, neither heroes" (with the exception of Dain) is interesting (especially for me as wargame rules amateur-conceptor).
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
oh and PS, in case you havent seen them yet, here's a few "orc figure study" pieces in my gallery that were specifically me trying to explore a more ape-like orcish figure turnermohan.deviantart.com/art... turnermohan.deviantart.com/art... they're not perfect (a little beefy, as I remark in the comments) but I'll probably do some more before too long.

also, check out these orc face studies by Artigas artigas.deviantart.com/art/Orc... (he's a really good tolkien concept artist, a friend of mine on deviant) we found eachother's work a few months ago and couldnt believe what similar concepts we'd come up with (actually now, having seen his orc faces, it'll be damn hard for me to picture orc faces without atleast partially ripping him off)
Reply
:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
I love the "ambiguous elf douche" concept (even if it took me a few seconds to understand the meaning as I'm more familiar with the word "douchebag" and with the french word "douche", just meaning shower). I imagine that Elves are in their craft like in their feelings : they go much further than humans. So their personnalities are a lot more "visible" than, let's say, a Boromir, a Denethor or even a Thoden, much more ambiguous in fact, in my eyes. Arrogance and pride seems to be much more dangerous for an Elf than for a man, and going much further.

Another interisting fact is that men (including Hobbits) are "wiser" in general when they live in the woods or close of nature than when they are sophisticated (like Numenoreans). Eomer is not intelligent, he is a young warrior with a lot to learn, but he has this natural feeling which push him to do the right thing : attacking orcs against orders, following Aragorn, etc. While Boromir and Denethor, thinking too much about strategy and about themselves, more about their people than about honor (which is not a bad thing in my mind but probably quite bad for Tolkien), are condamning themselves.
In the opposite Elves are wiser when they are more "technologically develloped" (which also means : closest of the Valar). Thingol was exactly like Thranduil in the beggining (it is possible than in Tolkien's mind, when the Hobbit was concieved, Thingol and "The King of the Wood" in the Hobbit were in fact the same character) but when he became the first of the Teleri and grow as the king of the Sindar (those Elves becoming different than the green Elves) he became wiser and more intelligent.

Your vision of the Orcs is definitely great and much better than the leppered colored humans of the movies, the frogs with teeth of the first Hobbit cartoons or the Hulks of World of Warcraft. The mix of influences make definitely good results. For your discussion on Orcs' noses the "ape-like" noses of the movies were not choking. I think you can make the difference on the nose between the different kind of Orcs. Like with the group which took Merry and Pippin away : the Uruks are breed with humans so they can have more human's noses, while the wild Orcs of the North are more savages that you can draw with apes' noses when Grishnak's Orcs of Mordor have something in-between. It fits to me :)

I saw all your drawings on Deviant Art (didn't check if there are more on your website though). I like also the drawings of Artigas but I don't go with the tusks, not human enough for me. Orcs have Elvsih origins and I like the idea of Orcs regressing to a "pre-human" condition in ape-like creatures (even if : 1/ It's a little more complicated 2/ For Tolkien Humans and apes are definitely not in the same tree).

Wow : DevianArt afternoon ! :D
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'm not so sure about there being necessarily and equal sign between men being wise and living more humble, in-touch-with-nature lives. certainly that is a theme in tolkien's work, and we see examples of it (the numenoreans up in their stone towers do seem to have "lost touch" with some of that humble, "hobbit sense" wisdom their forefathers had, and indeed the very primitive, neanderthalic Druadan seem to live and breathe in harmony with the world around them, taking time to count all the leaves and the stars) but it must be said that the hobbits, while rustic enough to the modern reader, seem to be, in many respects, oddly modern and anachronistic in the otherwise very archaic world of middle-earth.

As for the men of rohan vs the men of gondor, I dont think that tolkien really intended the rohirrim to be "wiser" per se, younger and perhaps more "virile" as a culture, and certainly between Theoden and Denethor (and tolkien seems to intentionally set up comparison between the two) Theoden comes off the wiser (if not the smarter or more educated) but when it comes to the equally intentional comparison between the first meetings with Faramir (Frodo and Sam) and Eomer (A.L.G.), I'd say the point goes to gondor on that one (both men go with their gut and have good instincts, but faramir seems a lot more reserved, patient and less of a cowboy) When it comes to Boromir, he is in character a middle-man of sorts "more like to the swift sons of Eorl than the grim men of gondor" (as eomer says about him) and it seems that his brother faramir, who is more a more classic "man of westerness" in personality (faramir, denethor and aragorn are frequently remarked as being similar to eachother, and unlike boromir) is more subtle and more sober in judgement, which stands him in much better stead against, for example, the temptation of the ring. I think tolkien had a passionate and very personal love and admiration for that "noble northern spirit" of the rohirrim (and his own anglo-saxon forebears, for whom they are a stand in) and he certainly seemed very critical of the isolated, joyless, thanatophilic Denethor, but he puts great emphasis and esteem on the Gondorians as being the culture of superior authority; that authority being, as i'd mentioned in another post, a spiritual authority, not dissimilar to the spiritual authority of Christian Rome over the "virtuous pagan" northmen, who Tolkien greatly loved and admired, but whom he thought needed (and once having it, were improved by) the taming and moralizing influence of christianity (of course in Middle earth, that "spiritual authority" comes from having had friendship with the elves, and from that, being brought one step closer to the powers of the west)

I think this same dichotomy I'm describing (between the more advanced and enlightened "high men" and the more primitive men of middle earth) applies also to the elves, but i dont think that coming "closer to the gods" (which the high elves experienced much more directly than the dunedain) had the opposite effect for men that it did for elves. they were both made "high" and it seems like the loftier you get, the more of a risk you run of veering off into evil, and both the high elves and the dunedain seem capable of greater evil than their more rustic cousins; both pragmatically, through their more advanced weaponry, and also morally, because having "seen the light" (of the valar and the actual two trees in the case of the high elves, and of the elvish "faces that have looked upon the light" (as hurin puts it) in the case of the Dunedain) the "high people" of both races aught to know better, and are more easy to hold responsible for their actions because (to put it in biblical terms) they have superior "knowledge"(of good and evil). It seems like this is a constant theme in middle-earth, that the more powerful a person is (whether a man, elf, maiar or Valar) the more good or evil they can really be. Certainly one of the "greatest" men (in terms of ascending above his original station) in middle earth's history was the Witch King. he "lived" for thousands of years longer than his natural lot, commanded vast armies, was a powerful sorceror, and even contested gandalf at the gates of minas tirith, but it was all as a slave of Sauron, and in the name of evil. Granted, there is really no elvish equivalent of the witch king, or the mouth of Sauron, or the vast populations of men that fall under his sway, but take feanor, the "mightiest of the noldor" as great as he is (and made by god to be so, it seems) he's also a real bastard, and his "fall" causes so much suffering for so many.

I like what you have to say about the elves having more "personality" than men, as they are not fleeting like men are, they are here forever, so it seems right that they would be infinitely more themselves than a man (working with about a 70 year life expectancy) really could be. there's a quote from george orwell that I'm very fond of: "at fifty, everyone has the face they deserve" by which I think he means that that's the age when a person has lived long enough to really be his or her self, and have that written on their face, but before old age sets in, that's kind of the phase elves live in for eternity.

Thranduil is indeed very much like Thingol, and his halls very much like menegroth (there's this pen & ink drawing of the elvenking's halls that shows up in some editions of the hobbit, that was originally a drawing of either Menegroth or Narogthrond, apparently) I think that's a case of tolkien just chopping off a piece of the work he'd already done on his private fantasy world, like the eagles or the gondolin name drop, or the arkenstone, which is described so similarly to the silmarils I've heard people theorize that it was the one maethros plunged into the earth with) to use for the kid's book he was wiriting (alot of writer's i think, have their own little "universe" of stories and characters and archetypes, that they'll recycle for different projects)

Oh and I hear you on the tusks, they were never my favorite ornament for orcs, and artigas' go a bit too far out for my taste, though as I said before, I like the idea of some really vicious chimp like teeth for orcs. And yeah, I'm pretty damn sure that the apes in middle earth are creatures of Yavanna with no relation to the children of iluvatar, but i think the "regressed humanoids" design cue for orcs works well nonetheless.
Reply
:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013
You know what ? I was in my house last evening (it was the afternoon fo you probably) and I was just thinking "Gosh Faramir !" and then I thougt about all that and realize how much wrong I was :D

Shippey did say about the Rohirrim, and especially Eomer, that the best way to describe their personnality is "panache". A french word, difficult to translate, meaning in the same time "bravery", "pride" and "nerve", lack of reason. The fun part being that "panach" is also synonimous of "crest", like the horse-tail on Eomer's helmet.
But Tolkien did make a difference between intelligence and sagacity/shrewdness, as being two different kind of wisdom and the later not the lesser. Samwise (which means "half-wise") is called by Aragorn "fullwise" (or something like that), showing that his rural guts is the real wisdom.

So yeah you are right, in many occasion the Gondor prove its wisdom to be equal, if not superior, to Rohan's. You put some order in my thoughts, thanks for that ;) What you say about the lack of Elvish equivalent of the Witch-King or the Mouth of Sauron is oining Tolkien when he says that in the War of the Last Alliance "all races fought on both sides, except the Elves, knowing Sauron too much".
And thanks also for Orwell's quotation :) (damn : Melville, Tolkien, some Miller and now Orwell : we do have some lectures in common)

Thranduil's hall are in fact like Menegroth in Tolkiens' first writings but in the end, while the Halls stays as some confortable caves in the woods, Menegroth became the beautifulest city in Arda with Tirion and Gondolin. Being like the perfect combination of dwarven architecture and elven arts, could be awesome to see some drawing of it (I just say that...), some kind of architeural equivalent of the Nauglamir with the Silmaril in it.
But the Arkenstone being a Silmaril ? Hum... why not, after all Erebor is drawn like a volcano by Tolkien and could be a former one so it will fit. And the effects are similar. But it's difficult for me to imagine, it's probably more some literrary lesser Silmaril with only external connections (in their role in the text). But I keep the idea.

Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Professional General Artist
Man I love tom shippey (I met him once at a lecture in new york, where i got my copy of author of the century, but it's been years since i read it, wonderful book on tolkien, as i remember)

Thanks for clearing that up about thranduil's halls. I could never get a descent picture of what "elven caves" would look like, i suppose because the setting seems so un elven, and alan lee's light ethereal "elf architecture" style doesnt really work for caves. maybe i'll try some myself.

I tend to think of the arkenstone as not a silmaril (one of those coming to light would be a little too much of a "big deal" for the events in the hobbit) but kind of a literary prototype.
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
ahh the ambiguous elf douche (It's a term me and a few friends came up with some years back) despite how elves are supposed to be all wise and fair and have eternal life and all that, some of them (a decent number actually) are just kind of douchey, like feanor, his sons (to varying degrees) thingol, eol, maeglin, saeros, thranduil, even haldir (though he's probably the minor-est offender of the bunch)

as for the orcs, I don't see the dual references to apes and to the "least lovely mongol-tyes" as mutually exclusive; europeans had considered other races; blacks, asian/mongoloids, australoids, and even, as I touched on in an earlier comment, the irish (see this old "scientific" illustration comparing the features of the "celtic type" to the "negroid type"upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia... as being ugly and inferior compared to themselves, pretty much since the first time they encountered them, but it wasn't until the 19th century and the influence of darwinism - when we started to understand evolution and understand apes as being not just animals that happen to look like us but actual distant cousins - that western racists began to entertain ideas of the other races as being (from an actual, biological point of view) less advanced, less human even, than themselves (pretty much all the above mentioned peoples have been compared to monkeys or apes by white racists, the political cartoonery of the 19th and early 20th century is rife with depictions of irish immigrants, blacks, and chinese rail workers as ape-like creatures) It was (and is) of course completely ungrounded scientifically, and merely promulgated on contempt, but in the fictional world of middle-earth it finds fairly suitable (and safely inhuman) representation in the form of the orcs, creatures who kind of bleed the line between ancient racism and scientific racism. they are like the huns, as described by the writers of antiquity, but understood (in more modern terms) as being actually, scientifically "inhuman monsters" (you see a lot of very orc-like subhuman figures depicted in Frank Frazetta's artwork, usually fulfilling racist "black brute" stereotypes like carrying off screaming naked white women frankfrazetta.org/viewimage.ph...

I don't see orcs as a direct reference to either of their influences (tolkien often made a big deal about how much he disliked allegory) but rather a perfect blending, they are both (mongolids and apes) and they are neither;  a more serious, unified explanation of the popular fairy tale "goblins," one that works from many perspectives; historical, mythical, evolutionarily, truly one of his more brilliant creations (or rather "syntheses")
Reply
:iconbladescream:
Bladescream Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree, orcs have always fascinated me, and my favorite chapters in the LOTR series were always those involving orcs. I think my personal favorite chapter is "The Choices of Master Samwise."
I think it's hard for us, as humans, to imagine a creature that doesn't have a light side to the dark. Even when it comes to evil people, you still often get a glimpse of the yin in their yang - but not with orcs, and somehow, even though they are not real creatures, it is hard to imagine.
This is a pretty choice piece of artwork - it leaves a lot to think about, like the orc. :)
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
well thank you so much! it's always great to hear that one of my pieces is really doing it for someone.
Orc psychology is indeed a tough one to wrap your head around for the reason you said, they dont really have a "light" side. for that reason, I think some degree of falling back on 'bad' human psychology is necesary. I tend to think of orcish society as functioning a bit like prison society (or many animal societies for that matter) where everyone is constantly trying to assert their place in the pecking order (kind of an "I'm bad so dont fuck with me," attitude) effectively turning almost every social interaction among themselves into a series of aggressions and withdrawals.
Reply
:iconbladescream:
Bladescream Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's actually a pretty interesting way of looking at it, I can definitely see that mindset. And I still often wonder if there is anything that could bring out a hint of "light" in an orc, if indeed there is any hint of light in them - which, from the books, it doesn't look like there is. But then you have the famous quotations by Tolkien that "orcs were not evil in their own right" and used as tools of Morgoth, which brings on another question concerning their will, and such. They're just an altogether fascinating species to me, and I've spent years (not without stop, mind you) kinda wondering and speculating about them, when I read about them (even when I watch the movies.) XD
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
they seem atleast capable of being friendly with eachother, though their "friendships" can devolve into emnity very quickly, like gorbag and shagrat, and they are remarked to laugh several times, although it's usually at another's (even another orc's) pain or misfortune.
they're pretty low on the totem pole, I think, as the forces of evil in middle-earth go. from a theological point of view (which would have been very important to tolkien, as his conception of evil is very much a catholic one) the orcs are low-level evildoers, not powerful "evil causers" like Morgoth or Sauron, and tolkien speculated once that it would be possible for orcs' souls to be "redeemed," though only by god when they meet him (they could not be redeemed by elves or men, like, one would suppose, errant men such as the easterlings or southrons could be).
Not being especially religious myself, I've always been more interested in orcs psychologically than theologically, and I tend to think of instances like the ones I listed above as evidence that there is some small glimmer of "hope" for orcs; a hint of a buried better nature, or atleast the capacity for one, but in that endeavor the whole of their society (and their own brain-chemisty) is working against them.
Reply
:iconbladescream:
Bladescream Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That is true, I think the 'relationship' between Shagrat and Gorbag shows us the most 'humanity' (or whatever it may be called) that orcs have ever possessed, at least as far as what's shown in the books. That's part of why that chapter is one of my favorites (and also because Gorbag is my favorite orc!)
Yes, that's actually a pretty interesting phrase Tolkien put there. It'd be interesting to read about what it would be like, for Middle-earth's God/Eru to redeem an orc. It does make sense in the fact that, again, "orcs are not evil in their own right." It also mentioned, I think somewhere in "The Silmarillion" or "Lost Tales" that the orcs despised Morgoth, in that he was the cause of their unhappiness. Really, they had no choice either way but to be what they were and live how they did.
I'm not what you'd call "religious," but I do believe in God - however, I too am more interested in orcs psychologically. All the religious debates over orcs have been done, and I don't think there's much left to discuss in that area that would interest me. But the orc mindset is like..."a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma," or whatever Churchill's quote about Russia was. :)
To most people it probably seems clear: that they're "just evil creatures who do evil things," but for some reason that concept has never satisfied me.
Reply
:iconcinemajack:
cinemajack Featured By Owner May 22, 2013
Love it!
Reply
:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013  Professional General Artist
I've heard about it. it was called the last ringbearer, written by some russian dude, i think because of copyright there isnt even an (legal) english translation. though from what i've heard, mordor is portrayed as the villified "evil empire" while in truth it's an enlightened, industrial society coming up against the entrenched, backward feudalism and mystical tyranny of the West, lead by machiavellian schemers like gandalf and aragorn. It sounds like it's based pretty much on a reading of LOTR as purely a WWII/cold war analogy (which I agree with Tolkien is kinda blunt and doesnt get it) But if i ever get my hands on it i'd like to read it. I heard "orc" in that book is a racist word that the elves and western men give to men of other races, interchangeable with "easterling" or "southron," basically the "other" (which is a little dissopointing, but i suppose not so far from what i was shooting for in this drawing, at least in spirit)
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×




Details

Submitted on
April 16, 2013
Image Size
2.1 MB
Resolution
1984×2797
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
8,474 (3 today)
Favourites
280 (who?)
Comments
52
Downloads
93

Camera Data

Make
Canon
Model
Canon MX890 series Network
Software
QuickTime 7.7.1