What Ho, Wee Readers and Welcome to the Third Post in The Nine Glories of the Rings of Power blog series. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it – and remember to sign up for the Wee Mailing List, if you haven’t already, to catch the final post in this blog series on February 27th.
Adar and his Many Children
Orcs, one of the enemies of the free people of Middle Earth. Orcs, one of the horrors that the Lord Morgoth released onto the world. Orcs, they were elves once you know? Tortured by the dark lord until they became something else, something twisted. Wow, what a tragedy – what a story to tell, so we ever going to really explore it?
Yeah Orcs are one of those things that have a really fascinating backstory. But because most of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth work was either set in the Third Age (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) ; or from the perspective of characters with no real motivation to see them as anything but the minions of the dark Lord (The Silmarillion, The Lost Tales, and so on) – they’ve always kind of stayed in their little minion box.
Heck the Peter Jackson films were so uninterested in exploring that side of them, they literally killed them all at the end. Which by the way, didn’t happen in the books. Yeah, this isn’t just me picking at a small flaw in one of my favourite author’s works. Tolkien himself, eventually grew uncomfortable with the depiction of orcs in his stories. As it went against his Catholic belief, that anyone could be redeemed. Or at least so I’ve heard – but correct me if I’m wrong.
Enter the Rings of Power.
While the show certainly doesn’t lean away from the villainy of the orcs – they are still the antagonists, and basically assholes through and through. Yet nuance is added both by the revaluation of the identity of their mysterious leader “Ada” as one of the first elves that was “ruined” by Morgoth; and the reveal of the Orc’s underlying motivation.
Namely, to find a home for themselves. What they’re doing is still evil – killing, burning, awakening a dormant Volcano to blanket the sky in ash – but it’s not in the service of a Dark Lord. Nor is it evil for evil’s sake, as so often has been the case with other Tolkien adaptations.
Instead we have an actual societal motivation for the evil the orcs do. It’s nuanced, it’s somewhat sympathetic and most of all…it’s interesting!
If you’ve enjoyed this little gem from a Tolkien obsessed fan girl, and would like to see the rest of them why not follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. And check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Mastodon, Tumblr, TikTok, Facebook and Kofi. And don’t forget to sign up to the Wee Mailing List to get the final post of this blog series on February 27th. Until next time Wee Readers, keep safe and have a very bonny day.
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