Thread: Cannibal Orcs?
GIVE ME A BUCKET!!!!
Anyway...Could licking a sword be something they just did when they thought they were alone? And would an orc eat their own blood/flesh/bodily fluids?
In Guide to Tolkien's World: a bestiary (David Day, copyrighted '79) it says of orcs:
They were cannibals, ruthless and terrible, and often their rending claws and slavering fangs were gored with the bitter flesh and the foul black blood of their own kind.
And in the Tolkien Companion (J.E.A. Tyler, copyrighted '86) it says:
the creatures [Morgoth] made were evil, filled with his dark will, cannibalistic and cruel, and they abhorred the light of the Sun from their Beginnings...
How does this fit in with the fight over Merry and Pippin? Was Tolkien indecisive, or was it wrong for someone besides an orc to kill orcs to give it to other orcs?
Soylent Green is people!
Information wise-he seems to make a lot of his own false conclusions, he never mentions Maeglin, (In my version anyway) and I'm sure you'll find other mistakes.
Although I agree with you Anilorak....they just might be THAT evil that they eat their own kinds flesh and drink their blood(why stop at cannibalism )
Orcs liked blood and raw flesh and ate, among other things, Men, ponies, and their own kind.
I agree with Grondy. I would not be very practical for orcs to be routine cannibals.
Because they are idiots ? OK good answer
I wouldn't trust Day, but Taylor is O.k, though remember it is there interpretation.
I wouldn't trust Day that much either. He's okay, and on the money with some things, but I've found a lot of mistakes in his work, and a lot of things that just don't have any factual basis whatsoever. He leaves many things out, and some of his information is very incomplete.
Licking the blood off one's sword is just an uncouth action dedicated to lowering the morale of one's watching enemies. I expect that is why Tolkien used this devise to show the Orcs and Uruk-hai were both uncouth and evil.
Grondy's right on the mark with this explanation, and just throwing in my two cents, I think Orcs only ate each other on occasion. For example, if some Orc was a traitor, or a deserter, or crossed, or challenged one of his superiors, that Orc might get eaten to show the ultimate form of disrespect, and to make an example of said Orcs treason.
Does orcflesh taste like chicken
Naw, tastes remarkably like venison...er...not that I'd know anything about that at all...just heard it off a friend I had...round for dinner...yeah. *tries to look innocent whilst picking out her teeth with what looks suspiously like a shard of bone.*
"Got you Gorbag!" he cried, "Not quite dead, eh? Well, I'll finish the job now." He sprang on to the fallen body, and stamped and trampled it in his fury, stooping now and again to stab and slash it with his knife. Satisfied at last, he threw back his head and let out a horrible gurgling yell of triumph. Then he licked his knife, and put it between his teeth, and catching up the bundle he came loping towards the near door of the stairs.
From "The Tower of Cirith Ungol- Chapter 1 Book 6, The Return of the King.
For all of you who think Peter Jackson invented the orc knife licking.
I've always said that i'd eat anything except cockroaches and spiders. I think i have to include orcs in this list. Even if it does taste like chicken...
Huh, personaly I don't see what the problem is. They go great with a bit of curry sauce...maybe some chips on the side...a bit of salad perhaps. *drools*
I don“t they were STUPID....
-Amarië, Planet Tolkien Council Member
Wait, just remind me how did the topic cannibal orcs go to the theologic future of the orcs and the elves and all those people. but I do think that after mordor fell, there is still a lot of orcs creeping around the mountains if that is what you are talking about.
^^Celeborn likes to interpret Tolkien stories in his own, special way, then share it with everyone on PT. Just make sure you take everything he says with a grain of salt...
Just a couple of points in reply to some questions raised in this thread: AFAIK, the only time Tolkien refers specifically to the idea of orcs eating each other is in TT, 'The Uruk-hai'. There are three groups of orcs present: those from Isengard under Ugluk; those from barad-dur under Grishnak, and a bunch of smaller orcs from Moria. Ugluk tells the revolting members of the other two warbands that he serves Saruman, who gives them man-flesh to eat. To which Grishnak nastily replies 'It's orc-flesh they eat, I'll warrant', thus leading to a punch-up, in which several orcs lose their heads. But note: none of them get eaten. The movies are not a safe source for lore..
Later in the TT, Sam finds traces of 'a dreadful feast and slaughter' amid the loveliness of Ithilien ('Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit). Burned and broken bones and skulls in a ring of scorched earth; but not an ancient site. Tolkien tells us there were other signs of despoilation by orcs and other servants of the Dark Lord. My guess is that orcs killed and ate Men in that place; most probably men of Gondor.
As to how Sauron fed the armies of Mordor: later still, we're told of the great slave-worked fields in the south of the country, around 'the sad inland Sea of Nurnen', and the roads going off south and east to tributary lands, which brought in food and booty and fresh slaves.
Tolkien would have had some training in logistics as an officer in an infantry battalion during the Great War. He'd have known about this sort of thing, and indeed (as attentive readers have noted) all of his characters' movements are affected by several factors; food supplies being one.
i think that orcs were just happy getting meat no matter what meat ,
i mean you want to survive to even if you have to eat other humans ,elves,hobbits or dwarfs
dwarves. also i think that ors ware a little more happy at cannibalism than humans but still prefered other food.
Actually in the Two Towers movie one of the orcs in the pack that were taking Pipin and Merry to Isengard was killed and "LOOKS LIKE MEATS BACK ON OUR MENU BOYS" was yelled then all the orcs are seen ripping the orc carcass apart and eating it(: So they literally will eat each other if given the chance! Nasty
I can't [at the moment] remember any clear examples of cannibalism as a common practice among Orcs, but there are some suggestive passages, so to speak.
First I'll note Tolkien's description about eating captives...
'Few Orcs ever did so [surrendered and asked for mercy] in the Elder Days, and at no time would any Orc treat with an Elf. For one thing Morgoth had achieved was to convince Orcs beyond refutation that the Elves were crueler than themselves, taking captives only for 'amusement', or to eat them (as the Orcs would do at need.)'
JRRT, footnote to text X, Myths Transformed, Morgoth's Ring
We know that sometimes Orcs fought among themselves, and might have orc captives at these times, but to my mind, considering the context here, this more specifically suggests that the Orcs would eat Elves [or Men] at need.
And with respect to the passage geordie referred to above, I interpret that to mean something like: 'Ha, you believe [or say] you are eating man-flesh, but I'll bet it's really orc-flesh' -- and so to me it seems part of a derisive comment to suggest that the Uruk-hai are more likely eating 'themselves' in a sense, in that they are eating other orcs [including that I also think the Uruk-hai are great orcs rather than partly Mannish].
Anyway Robert Foster is generally reliable [keeping in mind his guide includes the 1977 Silmarillion but not The History of Middle-Earth volumes nor Unfinished Tales], and I think his statement is probably based on Shagrat's words to Snaga for example:
'You must go, or I'll eat you.'
Of course one could argue that maybe this is just an extreme threat, or that even if Shagrat meant it [noting that after Shagrat killed Gorbag he licked his knife in triumph in any event], this might not necessarily speak to a 'common practice' among the Orcs in general.
Still, if you are Robert Foster and trying to describe something about Orcs...
Guys, I don't want to sound too weird, but many human cultures were cannibalistic until the last century. In WW2 people ate the dead because they were starving, my great-grandfather who fought near Stalingrad told my family these horrible stories from the war.
So, if humans can do those things , I see no reason why orcs wouldn't do something even more evil and eat their own for simple pleasure , if not necessity.
Sorry if this post was too weird.
maybe the orcs and uruks were of differant tribes,so they really didn't care what they ate