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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 28th, 2015, 11:19 am 
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Makes sens Healic. I don't think wither of them planned on keeping the other around and they both probably knew that. So yeah, it was complicated for sure. At the same time as they did not want to include the other they probably knew that standing alone (or worse... Against eachother) neither of them stood much of a chance of taking over middle earth.




Tinuviel-Luthien wrote:
I pity the original orcs, as the Silmarillion suggests that they used to be Elves, taken and tortured beyond recognition. The orcs in the story are difficult, though. I want to pity them, because cruelty and pain is all they know, but at the same time, I can't. Their desirableness makes me shudder as I read about them, and their lack of conscience is terrifying. :hide:



Yes, that is what the silmarilion suggests and I agree. I do pitty them. I have always wondered what their culture would be like. Would there be any remnants of elvin structure or likings? Interesting to contemplate.

As for the urukai they are pretty cool but I have never understood how you can cross an orc with a goblin(small critter) and come up with this large beast bigger than either parent's potential.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 29th, 2015, 2:30 pm 
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Well, actually it was orcs and goblin men. I don't know if that's different or not, but I guess it would imply that they are bigger... I'm really not sure though. That's a valid point though. Maybe he just chose the obscenely large ones to breed. Breeding obscenely large orcs with obscenely large goblin men would probably result in something obscenely large.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 29th, 2015, 3:27 pm 
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I always assumed the go blin men were just like all the ones you saw in the movies. Not sure how you can tell the difference... I don't know that there are any goblin women on screen in amy of the movies.

That could be. Selective breeding would be a reasonible explination. A recesize gene, might be a possability, as well. Recesize genes are so far removed that they only show up in minute traces but individuals with those traces can be crossed to build the quality back up. *shrugs*

Or it could be something as simple as the evil that was poured into them changed them.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 30th, 2015, 9:30 am 
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As for the urukai they are pretty cool but I have never understood how you can cross an orc with a goblin (small critter) and come up with this large beast bigger than either parent's potential.


According to Tolkien Saruman interbred Men and Orcs (the idea of crossing orcs and goblin-men is from the films rather, not the books), but in my opinion the result was not the Uruk-hai.

Also, I don't think the term goblin denotes smallness in Tolkien's world. "Goblin" is an English word used in translation, a bit like "Elves" for Quendi (or Eldar). And even Saruman's larger uruks are once referred to as "goblin-soldiers" for example. Azog is referred to as both an orc and a goblin, just as I could refer to Fingolfin as either an Elda (singular of Eldar) or an "Elf".

Although the external history of this matter is almost humorously confusing, in my opinion Tolkien finally settled on orc being a Westron word, sometimes translated with English "goblin" (and almost always translated with "goblin" in The Hobbit). Westron orc is not that far away from Sindarin orch in sound (ch as in German ach not as in English church), and both words were imagined as actually spoken in Frodo's time.

A difference in size or greatness (or training) is illustrated by the two words uruk and snaga rather, noting that neither of these words are English. While uruk essentially means "orc" and Uruk-hai means "Orc-folk" ("Orc-folk" is now attested by Tolkien himself in Words, Phrases and Passages) the word uruk came to refer to the greater orcs in comparison to the "snaga types" (snaga means "slave").

Or to say a bit of that again, but this time using more English: "While uruk essentially means goblin..." When I said the same thing using orc rather than goblin, I was using a Westron word to translate the word uruk, but that's because I know you know what an orc is, essentially!

If I went up to someone in the street, someone who was quite unfamiliar with Tolkien and other literature in which the word orc is used (and someone who spoke English) and ultimately said: uruk means "orc" (or refers to an orc), he or she might respond: huh? But if I say uruk means "goblin" then he or she would probably be familiar with that term, even if what this person imagines isn't exactly the kind of creature in Tolkien's books (like might happen with the word "Elf" too).


Anyway, for myself I believe that the Uruk-hai are big (well, big for Orcs at least), well trained Orcs. The Uruks first came out of Mordor according to Appendix A.

And I think the goblin-faced beings that Merry describes (in the army of Saruman) are the result of Saruman breeding Orcs with Men, or as Aragorn refers to Merry's man-high goblin-faced warriors, the "Half-orcs". And I think some of these Half-orcs looked enough like Men to be employed as spies, while others were too goblinish.

Theodred was hewn down by a great Orc-man at the battle of the fords of Isen (Unfinished Tales) for example, in my opinion thus not an Uruk, but a Half-orc.


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 30th, 2015, 12:25 pm 
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I see. So the orcs and goblins really are not a different race. Interesting I didn't realize that. I asumed they were different knowing that the orcs came from elves. I did not associate that history with the goblins. The movies portray them so different from eachother.


The half orc half man thing makes a lot more sense. Now that you mention it I have heard that idea but just not in connection to the urukai. Interesting.

So the Orc-Men would be extremily varying in looks. All the way fom a straight up goblin looking creature (small and spindly in use of the movie terminology) to men themselves or somewhat like Lurtz.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 30th, 2015, 12:37 pm 
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Wow, I am so confused right now. Elthir, if I'm understanding you right, you basically just said that orcs, uruks, and goblins were the same thing. I thought that goblins were smaller, sneakier creatures that lived in the mountains, while orcs and uruks were the majority of Sauron's army. I'm pretty sure gobins and orcs aren't the same thing, but I will defer to your greater resources. :)

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 30th, 2015, 3:10 pm 
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Yep you read me right :-D

A good example I like to employ: if we have a German text with the word hund the English translator would chose "dog"; and while there are different kinds and sizes of dogs (just like with orcs), by merely translating hund with dog that would hardly mean that one is bigger than the other, or different in some way. And Tolkien is the translator of Bilbo and Frodo's tales, which idea is set out in Appendix F, On Translation.

Westron Orc
Sindarin Orch
Black Speech Uruk

But Modern English, which no one spoke in Frodo's day of course: goblin

We do know that when Tolkien wrote English "Hobgoblin" he meant "larger kind" (The Hobbit, third edition), but he only used this term once in The Hobbit in any case (and admitted it should probably refer to smaller kinds in the Primary World). And uruk and snaga denote something different, as the orcs themselves used snaga to refer to lesser kinds.

I think Tolkien actually made this matter fairly confusing until the Third Edition of The Hobbit in the 1960s, and he also clarified things in his written advice to translators of The Lord of the Rings (folks translating the book into Swedish, French, Italian, whatever). I'll gather the quotes later if I have time, but Tolkien basically told other translators not to translate the word orc in The Lord of the Rings, even though according to his own system, as he admits, it should be translated "goblin" (or some word in the language of translation)!

And as noted, even the Uruks are referred to as "goblin soldiers" in one place, and after the fight with the Rohirrim, there is a "goblin" head on a stake...

... Eomer had slain Ugluk... the goblin, the uruk, the orc :-D


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 30th, 2015, 7:38 pm 
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I asumed they were different knowing that the orcs came from elves. I did not associate that history with the goblins. The movies portray them so different from each other.


I don't have a citation but I recall someone from the films stating (or suggesting) that they intended to make a distinction between goblins and orcs.

And with respect to Orcs being Elves in origin, that was only one of several of Tolkien's ideas. The full story of orc origins is a bit complicated.


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 31st, 2015, 3:00 pm 
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Hm... I see. So it is not a garanteed thing that they came from elves who had been tortured and mutated etc... I always understood that as an accepted origion. Very interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: October 31st, 2015, 5:28 pm 
Gondorian
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Some folks take the constructed Silmarillion as canon, and some accept the Elvish idea because they accept the chronology of the constructed Silmarillion (in which orcs appear before the awakening of Men). Or the idea is popular or accepted for other reasons I guess.

But anyway Tolkien fiddled with this over time. So, if you really need to get some sleep, here's my "brief" (ahem) summation.


1916-17 (Fall of Gondolin, later read at Exeter College in 1920): Melko made the Orcs 'bred of subterranean heats and slime' and they were the 'foul broodlings of Melko'

1920s: Tolkien was largely concerned with poetry in these years. His poetry includes references to orcs, but not necessarily any that indicate origin. Or that is, I'm too lazy at the moment to try any find any such references.

;-)

1930 (Qenta Noldorinwa): the Dark Lord now makes Orcs 'of stone' with 'hearts of hatred'

Mid to late 1930s: (Quenta Silmarillion) Melkor still makes Orcs: 'yet the Orcs were not made until he had looked upon the Elves.' (...) 'The Orcs Morgoth made in envy and mockery of the Elves, and they were made of stone, but their hearts of hatred.'

1940s and finishing up The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien, perhaps while writing The Lord of the Rings, possibly shifts from Morgoth creating Orcs to Morgoth needing to pervert something already living -- as Frodo thinks might be the case -- although right now I'm unable to exactly date this passage from Frodo (The Tower of Cirith Ungol); 'No, they eat and drink Sam. The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don't think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them;...'

Appendix F merely states that the orcs were first 'bred' by the Dark Power in the Elder Days. Also Treebeard notes a few things that might speak to chronology, but I'll ignore these here.

early 1950s: in The Annals of Aman as first written Melkor still 'made' orcs from something, but the idea now enters 'Silmarillion related texts' that Melkor cannot create a true living being, as the Elf Pengolod will argue, and a darker tale is noted among the Wise of Eressea, one that says Morgoth captured and perverted Elves, twisting them into orcs. Christopher Tolkien chose this idea for the constructed Silmarillion published in 1977.

1954: in both letter 144 and (draft) letter 153 Tolkien essentially explains that Morgoth cannot create a spirit, and the orcs are corruptions -- leaving open the possibility of other kinds of makings, which would be puppet-like by comparison.

later 1950s (or around this time anyway): Tolkien will question whether it could be true that Orcs were actually Elves in origin, and if they could be 'immortal' if so, for example, and he writes various origins in order to figure out things. I'll call these (collectively) the Myths Transformed Orc-related Essays, and use Christopher Tolkien's numbering of the texts. The various ideas include:

A) Orcs possibly created out of the discords of the music (text VII). Tolkien writes: 'Hence Orcs? Part of the Elf-Man idea gone wrong. Though as for Orcs the Eldar believed that Morgoth had actually 'bred' them by capturing Men (and Elves) early and increasing to the utmost any corrupt tendencies they possessed.'

B) Orcs created from beasts; also some Maiar early on (Text VIII) -- possibly an Elvish element too, but seemingly JRRT then reverts to orcs simply being perverted beasts.

C) Orcs from Elves (probably later from Men), some Maiar early on (text IX)

D) Orcs created from Men, some Maiar early on (text X) in this essay, soon after Morgoth's return he will have a great number of Orcs to command -- as it was left to Sauron to produce great numbers of Orcs (from Men) while Morgoth was in captivity. Tolkien is aware of the chronology concerns in order to allow the possibility of this origin from Men.

1969 or later: two notes on Orcs now accompany one copy of text X -- that is, the Orcs from Men essay (or D above)

1) one of these notes carries a statement that denies an essential conception found in D -- and I have tried to explain this conception under D above -- the denial hails from the detail that this later note suggests Morgoth had great numbers of Orcs at the height of his power and still after his return from captivity. And to muddy things further here, this may be a draft version for a variant passage that does not include this detail!

2) this short note concerns the spelling of the word orc: here Tolkien notes that he will spell it ork -- just as he had noted in text IX (or C above), where Orcs were from Elves (and 'probably later also of Men').


I think Christopher Tolkien's point with these notes is that they might throw some measure of doubt upon the seemingly 'final' idea that 'regular Orcs' were bred from Men (text X). That said, there is another late text which appears to have Elves stating that Men are the source for Orcs:

Late text (lacks date other than final period of Tolkien's writings): author's note (note 5) to The Druedain, published in Unfinished Tales: 'To the unfriendly who, not knowing them well, declared that Morgoth must have bred the Orcs from such a stock the Eldar answered: 'Doubtless Morgoth, since he can make no living thing, bred Orcs from various kinds of Men, but the Druedain must have escaped his shadow;...'

I can't really tell if this description is later or earlier than the two notes dated 1969 or later.

As I say... in brief :-D


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 1st, 2015, 11:55 am 
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Lol brief, I suspect, in regards to the entirety.


So, then... It sounds to me like Morgoth had to start with something living. The dwarves were made out of stone correct? So is there something that indocates some stone has life? We see rock giants in the Hobbit... *shrugs*


Perhaps Morgoth, theough his evil and twisting, could take nearly any living beast and contort it into an orc. And this would also give a logical explination to the diversity between the small spindly creatures the movies call goblins, all the way to the ones like Lurtz and everything in between. Having no specific origions they would have no confined size.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 1st, 2015, 4:43 pm 
Gondorian
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It's interesting, because if one is inventing a race of beings that Morgoth simply creates -- which appears to be the idea for some time at least before Tolkien began The Lord of the Rings -- we might ask why Morgoth did not make really large beings, at least relative to the size of the Elvish and Mannish heroes.

Of course that gets tricky due to Tolkien changing his mind about the stature of Elves, and about their stature relative to Men. And you want to give your heroes "a chance" too (I mean Morgoth will have Balrogs and Dragons too, for two examples)! But in any case before he began The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien noted: "Orcs 'Gnomish orch, pl. eirch; Quenya ork, orqui borrowed from Gnomish. A folk devised and brought into being by Morgoth to war on Elves and Men; sometimes translated 'Goblins', but they were of nearly human stature.' JRRT, list of names, The Lost Road And Other Writings

... "but" they were of nearly human stature; almost as if to say (as I interpret this anyway): think of goblins but not really small goblins like in some modern fairy tales, but goblins of "nearly" human stature. And I note that even the "huge" Uruk in Moria (book not film) was himself yet almost or nearly "man-high" while the goblin-faced warriors that Merry described were simply "man-high".

So in a sense, I think Tolkien's Third Age larger uruks represent his pre-Lord of the Rings version of Orcs, generally speaking anyway, with even the big ones not being quite as tall as the average man, and with plenty of smaller orcs too, in the "snaga group" (I think Saruman's Uruk-hai in the films are too tall, but I realize that the films wanted to make them an obviously imposing threat to mortals)

Some might say that "man high" equals 6 foot 4 due to a late description in Numenorean Linear Measures, published in Unfinished Tales, but in my opinion that is "man high" according to the measure of the Dunedain and the men of old -- as the text itself qualifies before giving 6 foot 4.

In other words, in my opinion it wasn't regular "man high", by which I think Tolkien means the stature of average men.


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 1st, 2015, 5:07 pm 
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That would make sense. And man - high is a telative term after all. Humans come in all shapes and sizes so it would stand to reason that orcs would too.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 1st, 2015, 6:24 pm 
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"Orcs 'Gnomish orch, pl. eirch; Quenya ork, orqui borrowed from Gnomish. A folk devised and brought into being by Morgoth to war on Elves and Men; sometimes translated 'Goblins', but they were of nearly human stature.' JRRT, list of names, The Lost Road And Other Writings

By the way, just to point this out in the orc versus goblin arena (not that anyone is disagreeing so far, but it gives me a chance to blather on). Well before Tolkien wrote out Appendix F or even began The Lord of the Rings, the word "goblin" appears to be a translation of these Elvish words. And while Tolkien doesn't really say what "orc" is specifically, here ork (same sound) is an actual Quenya word!

That said, in my opinion, when Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and when he began the chapter about the Fellowship in Moria (for example), there does (did) appear to be a distinction between "orc" and "goblin", with orc being greater in some sense. That might explain the original intention behind the two Hobbit "orc quotes" (one being added to the second edition Hobbit), and at least some of the draft text for The Lord of the Rings, including even a draft text for one of the Appendices!

As I say, I believe that conception was abandoned however, and the latest idea not really set out until the mid to later 1960s (which idea can arguably explain the two Hobbit "orc quotes" in any case).

I promised to collect the quotes that I think help support this "final" solution, and here they are. These next three texts are all 1965-ish or later. Example A was actually published by JRRT of course; and B was intended to be read by folks rendering Tolkien's book into other languages, so I think it carries a lot of weight compared to "private" draft material (of which there is plenty), if a bit "lesser" than author published material.

A) '(2) Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds). Orc is the hobbits' form of the name given at that time to these creatures, and it is not connected at all with our orc, ork, applied to sea-animals of dolphin-kind.' JRRT The Hobbit, Third Edition


B) 'Orc This is supposed to be the Common Speech name of these creatures at that time; it should therefore according to the system be translated to English, or the language of translation. It was translated 'goblin' in The Hobbit, except in one place; but this word, and other words of similar sense in other European languages (as far as I know), are not really suitable. The orc in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, though of course partly made out of traditional features, is not really comparable in supposed origin, functions, and relation to the Elves. In any case orc seemed to me, and seems, in sound a good name for these creatures. It should be retained.' JRRT Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings, or Nomenclature

'C) '... Also the spelling of what, in the later more organized linguistic situation, must have been a Common Speech form of a word or group of similar words should be ork.' Orcs Myths Transformed, Morgoth's Ring, 1969 or later

Again I especially note B here, as Tolkien basically seems to be saying that although orc should really be translated "goblin" (or some word in the language of translation, in Swedish or whatever), according to his own system, he asks that translators retain orc (don't translate it)... as it seems in sound a good name for these creatures.


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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2015, 8:44 am 
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Very interesting indeed. It is neat to learn all this stuff about the orcs.

So any culture the orcs might have attaines would have been deceloped theough their lifestyle and not a remnant of any kind of previous existence.

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 Post subject: Re: The Orcs and Uruk-hai
PostPosted: November 4th, 2015, 2:26 pm 
Gondorian
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Well, as I have some time before my laundry dries, let me argue with me for a moment... I usually win when I argue with me.

goblin versus orc (what again?)

Does translation alone solve the problem? In other words, if you translate German hund (Westron orc) with English dog (English goblin), while that alone might be sufficient to argue "no difference", we could have the possibility that the translator, in theory, intends to suggest some sort of difference by leaving the original word in the English translation, but translating it into English in other places...

... in other words, when one sees hund (orc) in the otherwise translated English text, and dog (goblin) as well, one might wonder what the translator means by doing this (and we do see both goblin and orc in the same book -- although people also see Quendi and "Elves" in the same book too, and do not seem to wonder if Elves are smaller or different in some way from Quendi; although granted the word Quendi does not appear relatively that much in works published by JRRT himself).

And while it's possible that a translator (even a fictional one) might do such a thing, yet what is the intention or meaning? Is there some consistency to this that will let the reader know what the meaning is?

large and small

Again, if by not translating orc meant larger kinds, and if by translating orc with "goblin" referred to smaller kinds, one would think there is some distinction in the (imagined) Westron text written by Bilbo or Frodo, and one would think the translator's system would be consistent in order to make the meaning known to the reader.

So we turn to the examples: is "goblin" only used to refer to smaller orcs? What about the Great Goblin, or Azog the goblin (and the orc), or Bolg's bodyguards, or Ugluk's goblin head, or Saruman's larger "goblin soldiers" slain at the breaking of the Fellowship (obviously his uruks). Or: "Out jumped the goblins, big goblins, great ugly looking goblins, lots of goblins, before you could say..." The Hobbit

We have "big goblins" here. If in theory the Westron text says (although I don't know the word for "big" in Westron) "big orcs", one wonders why Tolkien did not "leave orc" in the English here, if he was trying to (at least consistently) make this distinction. And concerning all these goblins, in The Lord of the Rings it was said that Bilbo was assailed by orcs: "The party was assailed by Orcs in a high pass of the Misty Mountains,..."

All these goblins appear to be orcs.

Now granted, for the first edition of The Hobbit Tolkien had a character refer to 'goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs' as if these are distinct things (and even in the Third Edition, Tolkien noted that Hobgoblins refers to larger kinds). And perhaps more confusingly, for the second edition Tolkien added this reference: "A bit low for goblins, at least for the big ones," thought Bilbo, not knowing that even the big ones, the orcs of the mountains, go along at a great speed stooping low with their hands almost on the ground."

So the "big ones" appear to be the "orcs" of the mountains, at least here, despite that in other places we have big ones referred to as goblins, especially here: "Day drew on. The goblins gathered again in the valley. There a host of Wargs came ravening and with them came the bodyguard of Bolg, goblins of huge size with scimitars of steel."

Here we have goblins of huge size! Arguably (if the theory is correct and consistent that is) the word orc(s) should not have been translated here, or at least translated with Hobgoblins (again, imagine some Westron word for "huge" and the proper Westron plural for orc in Bilbo's original text). So in my opinion these two references from The Hobbit -- despite what they seem to say, and even if they were at the time meant to suggest that orcs were larger or different -- are arguably inconsistent with various other passages.

And I think Tolkien later looked for an idea that explained all references.

Moreover, in Tolkien's letter to other translators, he is talking about the system of translating the Westron (Common Speech) word orc with goblin. In other words, he doesn't indicate that he was doing something fancy by leaving orc in certain places and using "goblin" (a number of times) in other places: he merely generally notes that orc should be translated with goblin, as if to say "always".

So in my opinion, for The Lord of the Rings Tolkien wants orc left alone (don't translate it) not because of some fancy scenario he is trying to achieve about size or greatness, but because he thinks the word orc is a good name in sound for these creatures (as he says). And because the "translation conceit" that had arrived in 1955 in Appendix F provided a way to explain all references.

Or do you have further argument right now Elthir? If so, I (Elthir), await it ;-)


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