Thursday, April 17, 2014

A-Z: Classic Monsters: O is for Orcs

The A-Z Challenge letter today is O.  It wouldn't be a classic monster feature if I didn't mention at least one of J. R. R. Tolkien's monsters.  And boy are there plenty.  The first one that comes to mind is an Orc.

What is an Orc?

Orcs (orcneas) have been mentioned in classics like Beowolf and are as termed in Old English dialect, evil infernal deities from the Underworld.  I love that.  The word, Orc, has also been spelled as orke and even orge and  centuries ago orges were referenced as giant beasts and were usually written about in fairy tales.  Every one is quite familiar with orges, but orcs as Tolkien created, are essentially goblin monsters.

"Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places [in The Hobbit] but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds)."

Tolkien's Orcs

The most common orc we think of today, it Tolkien's.  He has two that I'd like to point out.  One is a weaker, smaller one called the Orcs snaga--which means orc slave according to Wikipedia.  The other which I believe fits the classic monster realm is the Uruk-hai orcs.  These beasts that Tolkein created and that Peter Jackson brought to life are an amazing breed.  They are oversized, menacing goblins who eat man-flesh.  Yikes!  Remember that?  If I saw one of these creatures, I would run.  FAST!  These beasts were created or unearthed rather from Saruman, the White Wizard.  From there many fans and fantasy historians speculate about the Uruk-hai orcs origins.  I found some discussions on Saruman's cross-breeding with men, and then another mention of them cross-breeding elves.  Honestly, I couldn't find anything definitive.  The bottom line is their scary-cool.  I'm not sure if you think Orcs are a classic monsters, but I do.


Did you have another idea for the letter O?  A different Ogre, Oscar the Grouch, perhaps? 


Sophie Duncan said...

I'd consider orcs a classic monster by now - they're embedded in the common psyche and most folks would know what you meant it you mentioned orcs :)
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Crystal Collier said...

Orcs are good. I like mean, they're a great monster. Of course, I probably would have gone with Ogre, but that's because I'm a Shrek fan. ;)

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Timothy Brannan said...

I remember when I saw that b/w picture of the orcs above. 1979.

Orcs are great, I love using them. I think the Peter Jackson LotR and Hobbit movies did a lot to remind us that these guys are really evil monsters.

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Laura Clipson said...

The orcs in the Lord of the Rings movies are done so well, great monsters.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

I didn't know they were mentioned in Beowulf. How cool :D

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The orcs in LOTR were awesome.
They are a common creature in D&D. Happy to say I've slayed my share of them over the years.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

If the monster if recognised by many then it's a classic I think. Tolkien brought them to life in his pages and they have stuck and that's how classics are created :).
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klahanie said...

Hey Mina,

There are Orcs living in this English town I've decided to live in. Yes, I'm in good company.

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shelly said...

Creepy is what I think.

S. L. Hennessy said...

Tolkein did them best!

mshatch said...

I thought Peter Jackson did a great job bringing Tolkien's orcs to life.

Carolyn Brown said...

Hi Mina, I haven't stopped by for a while. Thought I would check out your A-Z post. Orcs are really creepy monsters - good "O" choice.

Ava Quinn said...

Peter Jackson definitely made these guys classic monsters!

djinnia said...

Loved the orcs and Uruk-hai. They were cool. What's fun is that the main Uruk was killed fifty times in the movie and was also the witch king that eowyn faced.

Udita Banerjee said...

Orcs are so evil!