Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Orcish Society: Democracy/Dictatorship

For much of second age the orcish society had a democratic form of government. In the second age even if some leaders seized power, it was always through democratic means and by loopholes in the law.
Democracy first came to the Orcs after the end of the reign of Shah-rookh. After his death, and Lazog’s victory, no leader could claim the throne bye the virtue of birth. So the orc clans choose their central leader by way of polling. It was the first recorded democratic exercise in the history of middle earth, though the early clans choose their leaders by popular vote.
It had a trickle down effect and soon almost all public offices were decided by popular vote. It had a deep impact on the orcish psyche that it made them believe in equality of all irrespective of birth. It probably also made them more cunning and wary as they had to live with the deceits of politicians.
The path to democracy was perilous and democracy was achieved at cost of many lives, and when no one intended it. After the war between Lazog and Shah-rookh, Lazog enlisted the help of prominent people of various orcish clans, who were not chiefs but prominent people in their own right. The chiefs generally supported the king, Shah-rookh, being old and natural allies. When Lazog won over, he made his supporters chiefs and other high officials, but that right and title was not to be hereditary but rather to be won over. Lazog took the title “Ruler by the Will of the People”.
With democracy and the meritocracy it bought, the orcs made great progress in all fields. When Melkor was released from prisons, he was both astonished and pleases to find the Orcs not in need of help, but rather ready to lend it to him.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Story of the Orcs in the First Age, part two.

About the same time humans arose in Middle-Earth. From the very beginning there was dispute in the human race about the side to take. Just before the capture of Melkor, the human camp broke up in two. Some of the humans joined the Elves while others joined the Orcish side. The prominent group of the Humans which went to the Elvish side was called the Edain. After most of the elves move away, the Edain keep on the war against the Elves. With the war machinery of the Valars and supplies from Aman, it was not hard to keep up the fight against the Orcs.
However the Edain and Elves didnot launch any major offensive against the Orcs. So in the meantime the Orcs nursed their dwindled strength and strengthened their army. The orcs launched a major offensive against the Orcs. However in preparation for this war the Orcs had become too top heavy. They had the army and the firepower against the orcs but not the resources to support it. The Orcs had no fertile lands or rich mines or big cities. The Edain, however had no scarcity of resources, coming from the Aman. Rook's grandson Shah-rookh was the king at that time. He launched fast and major offensives against the elves, but in his vengeful wrath, he destroyed and razed all the citieds of the Edain that he could lay his hands upon, instead of milking and profiting from them. He didnot have the resources to pay for and maintain his arme. So a part of the army led by Lazog rebelled. This was an era of much kinstrife and kinslaying among the orcs. This gave rise to the legend in the middle earth that the Orcs are always fighting amongst theselves. It also had a major impact on the Orcish pchyse that the Orcs became wary of all, even a cvlose kin. It also allowed the Edain to fight back.
At this time Melkor was released on parole. He stopped the Orcs from fighting the Edains. With his coming, the Elves got a strong central figure and the wars among Orcs stopped. However by that time Lazog and his allies were clear winners, and the reign of the Rookh dynasty came to an end. Melkor allied with the Noldorian elves. But before this alliance could be cemented, the Noldorians elves betrayed the Orcs and Melkor and went to Valars. Valars wary of growing power and influence of the Melkor attack him. Melkor runs away to Middle Earth amongst the Orcs. They attack Noldor and destroy the two light trees and take away the three silmarils. Their is darkness in the world, and so power of Orcs and Dark Valars increases. They make war upon the Elves remaining in Middle earth. The valars are unable to send any help to elves due to darkness in the world. The orcs set up a huge empire in middle earth. But they grow too confident and donot crush the remainants of Elvish resistance.
The elves cement their friendship with the Edain through intermarriages. A new race of the half elven is born. They take back the silmarils and sail back to aman where they ask for and get aid against the Orcs. The valars sensing their chance send all their might to the support of the Elvish alliance in middle earth. The Orcs unprepared for this lose on all fronts. Melkor is overthrown.
This marks the end of the first age.

Jeejewisha of the Orcs

Have you seen a wild boar being hunted? It is said that ten spear wielding men will not suffice as long as they have any care for their bones. For the boar will keep on fighting, till one drop of life is left in him. So keen is the desire to live, that the boar just wont say die.
This quality is called "jeejewisha", the will to live. And this no one, not even the Elves, can deny that Orcs have in plenty. Though the elves will put it differently and say that the orcs live like animals and wild boars.
This is one quality which every Orcs is proud to have and values above all other quality. For it is this quality which has allowed to live in such trying circumstances. It is this quality which has enabled them to stay put in middle-earth in spite of all efforts and treachouries of the Elves. It is this quality which has stopped the Elves from exterminating them.
Were the Orcs left any choice? He that is down need fear no fall. When their cities were destroyed, not once but many times, in course of long history of middle earth, they fought back with whatever weapons they were left, ate what food they could raise and slept in lands they could go. But all these efforts of theirs were left unsung and unpraised, for their kins and friends were fighting or dead. And after this they were called no better than wild beasts by men and Elves. But this also made them hardy like wild beasts. It gave them the Jeejewisha of the wild boars. In spite of all hardships life seemed fair to them.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The rise and rise of Orcs

When did Orcs begin their rise in Middle earth?
After the fall of Sauron, Orcs were left leaderless. But it also freed them from many shakles. The Elves had no pressing need to move against them. For all his help, Sauron was a laibility to the Orcs, with the entire machinery of the Valars and the Elves geared against him. With Sauron gone the Orcs were able to forge new allainaces. Being governed by one of their one also allowed them more freedom in choosing their friends, allies and policies.

Popularity of Tolkien

How popular is Tolkien? Many consider him to be the leading story teller of the 21st century. His books have been read by millions. Movies on his books are amongst the top grossers of all times. A quantitative measure is the number of pages Google indexes for various middle earth terms. So I did some googling and came up with these reults.
middle earth:1,510,000
In comparision some other fantasy writter have these many pages referencing them.
"frank herbert":813,000
"isaac asimov":686,000
Please notice that the last two terms have been quoted before searching. This had to be done because frank/herbert are common names and all references will not necsessarily refer to the writter of Dune. But Tolkien is such an uncommon name that it usually will be reffering to the writter.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Was Tolkien a racist?

Before commenting on this question I would like to make a disclaimer. I am a really big fan of Tolkien. Have read and reread most( all?) of his books, and owe some of my best time to them. But yet, yes Tolokien was a racist. This is a accusation often labelled against him. And this question has been discussed to death. So what you read here might not be very new or novel.
In all of his writing, in all of middle earth, the bad people are from the east( Asia?) and the good are from west(Europe?).
As you move west the people get better. The Valars live in the west of middle earth. The Qwendy live on the western coast of . And their undying lands, where they go after they are tired of life on middle earth, oh yes west. The orcs, the other evils, east obviously. Where is that stronghold of evil mordor? The eastmost part of middle earth. The more east you go the worse they become.
All the evils, the orcs, the Goblins in The Hobbit have dark skin. Notice how tolkien describes Orcs in one of his letters. "The Orcs are stated to be curruption of the human form seen in Elves an Men. They are squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes;in fact, degraded and repulsive versions of the least lovely Mongol types". The Orcs so are either Mongoloids or Dark skinned.
Having said this, I would like to say that Tolkiens thoughts were the products of his time. The concept of race equality was not as common as it is today. The Europeans were thought to be racially superior. And so the racism would not be shocking as it is today.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Lord of the Rings Fanatics Tour: Mordor

I am writing "the OrcStory" because:

  • Tolkien wrote his story damn stark black and white. Elves are good Orcs are bad. Tolkiens story is told from the side of Elves. To greyen this story a little, to put forward the Orcish perspective, I write this Story.

  • Tolkiens story is undemocratic and dynastic. X was great coz he was the son of Y. No one became great by their works, they all inherited it. And democracy does not even get a passing mention. To bring some democracy to middle earth I write this story.

  • The story is castist. Best are the valars. No elf is bad. Then come the humans and dwrafs. At the bottom lie orcs. Why this segmentation of society. The orcs would be much more cosmopolitan. All orcs would be equal without castist feelings.

  • Because to be civilised you need to love music,etc. And it is even more important than working hard or anything.

  • Coz Tolkien was a racist. Ha-Ha. But more on that later.

Chronology of Ages, Orcish perspective: Second age

This does not match exactly with Tolkien as they are the Orcs accounts of the story.

1. Sauron with the leftover of the dark citcle returns to the desolate lands of Mordor and starts making a stronghold there. Orcs, on the run on alll sides retreat to Mordor.
2. Stronghold of Barad-dur in Mordor completed.
3. Middle earth has relative peace for a long time with both sides nursing their dwindled strength.
4. Sauron proposes peace to Elves. Gil-gilad, the high king of the Elves, refuses to have anything with him. But the smiths of Eregion are won over.
5. As a tribute to peace between the two warring people, the Rings of Power are started to be formed. The ring was to have powers of both light and dark side.
6. Strife over ownership of ring ensues. Sauron realises that the elves still didnot trust him and would never allow him to have a ring of power.
7. Sauron starts making the one ring to be mastor of all rings, in secret.
8. Open war between Elves and Orcs over ownership of the rings.
9. With the power of the one Ring behind him, Sauron attacks the elves of eriador and overuns it.
10. Gil-gilad sends Elerond to Eriador. He retreats with the remainants of the Elves to Rivendell.
11. Numenoreans send a great army to the help of the elves. Unpreapared for this sudden onslaught, Sauron retreats to Mordor.
12. Mordor is besieged for a long time.
13. Numenorians attack Mordor. Sauron is caught and is taken to Numenor.
14. Sauron is presented before the King of Numenor, and tells him the truth that those with the mastery of Aman will have unending life. Numenorians sure of their powers and jealous of their allies infinite life plan to attack Aman.
15. Numenor breaks into two camps over the plan to attack Aman.
16. Numenorians attack Aman. Valars call upon the Illuvatar and cast down Numenor into the sea. The numenorians loyal to the Valars are given safe passage to Middle-Earth where they form two kingdoms in exile; Gondor and Arnor. Sauron comes back to mordor.
17. Sauron attacks Gondor.
18. Numenorians and Elves form the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and march on Mordor. Sauron is defeated and the one Ring is lost. Sauron is rendered powerless.

*end of Second Age*

Here are some maps of middle earth. I have not made these maps and claim no cpyright over this. They were with me for a long time and if they infringe any copy right let me know and I will remove them.

Chronology of Ages, Orcish perspective: First age

This is not from Tolkien. Using his story as a base I am telling Orcs view of Middle Earth.

1. Arose in middle earth at the same time as Elves
2. Both were just small tribes in the beginning. Orcs preferred day while Elves preferred day.
3. When both grew large enough, the nearby resources were not large enough to maintain both tribes. As a result fighting broke out between them. At this time Valars came to know that the children of Illuvatars thought had arisen in the middle earth.They came searching for them.
4. Being diurnal they first met the Elves and first heard their viewpoint. The Elves ask them to arbitrate in their wars on their behalf.
5. By this time the Orcs had became wary of all day creatures. They refuse to meet the Valars.
6. The Valars lend their aid to Elves in war against the Orcs. Greatly outmatched Orcs retreat to their underground cities. in the darkness of the underground ,the Valars powers were greatly lessened and Elves not very sure about the powers of the Orcs in the underground, did not pursue the Orcs to the underground. At this time, Orcs become underground creatures.
8. Orcs meet the dark Valars and forge an alliance. The powers in the middle-earth now being more matched the Orcs launch an offensive against the unprepared Elves. First war of the races begins.
9. Both sides suffer great losses.
10. The Valars attack Utumno itself and destroy it. The league of Dark Valars is broken. Melkor captured and brought to prison.
11. Outmatched again, Orcs suffer great reverses.
12. Around this time, humans arise in middle earth .Both sides ask for help in their war. Human camp breaks in two. Edain join the Elves and Rodain join the Orcs.
13. Weary of war and wanting peace in Middle-Earth the Valars ask the Elves to cease the war and to live with them in Aman.
14. Elves in large numbers leave middle earth. Edain are left allyless but hold on with the war machinery created by the Elves and those who remained back.
15. Elves advance a great civilization in Aman .Under the tutelage of the Valars and free of any threat, they become great philosophers, musicians and learners. Orcs meanwhile, always busy in war and besieged are left a primitive civilization.
16. Melkor is released on parole. (Some say under direct intervention from the Illuvatar, who was moved with pity on the poor condition of the Orcs). A ceasefire is signed between the Orcs and the Elves. Orcs gather their dwindled strength.
17. Orcs win over a group of Elves (Noldor) to their side and to their friendship. A treaty of friendship and alliance is signed between them. The circle of Vark Valars is formed again.
18. The Noldor betray the Orcs and inform the Valars of Melkors designs.
19. Wary and aware now of the increasing strength of the Orcs the Valars attack Melkor and Orcs.
20. By now the strength of the Orcs and the Council of Dark Valars was great enough for the Elves and the Valars. They hold off the attack and Melkor launches an offensive against the Noldor.
21. He destroys the two light trees and takes the three Silmarils with him. There was darkness in the world with the Silmarils gone and so power of the Council of Dark Valars and Orcs increased, while that of Elves and Valars decreased.
22. Orcs make war upon the Edain and Elves living in the Middle-earth..
23. Without the light of the trees and the Silmarils, the Valars are unable to send any help to middle earth.
24. Under the guidance of the Council of Dark Valars, the Orcs have their first major win. They setup their largest empire yet in the middle-earth.
25. The win lulls them to be too sure of themselves and they do not crush the ruminants of the Elvish or the Edainic resistance.
26. The Rodain for their help are given large areas of land as their own.
27. Elves and the Edain cement their alliance through intermarriage. A new race of the half elven is born.
28. The half elven recover the one Silmaril and with its help sail back to Aman. There they plead and win aid, for the Elves and Edain of the middle earth.
29. Valars send all their might to the aid of the Elves. Melkor is captured and cast away in the darkness of EA. The strongholds of the Orcs and the Rodan are captured or destroyed.
30. For interfering too brazenly in the war of the races the Valars are reprimanded by Illuvatar and asked not to interfere again ere the need be too great.

*end of first age*

Story of the Orcs in the First Age.

This is NOT from Tolkien. I am using his story as base and then telling the Orcs view of the story.

Orcs arose in the middle earth about same time as the Elves. They all claim descent to one of the of the eight Orc fathers. The chief and the mightiest amongst them was Gorukh and as homage to him the orcs call themselves Oruk or Orc to outsiders.
It was a member of his tribe that first met the Elves and formed relationships with them. Soon there was trade and even bonhomie between Orcs and the Elves.
By chance or by design, there was a long winter in middle-earth and the supply of food and resources dried up. A war erupted in middle earth for the control the resources and what was left of fertile lands. Gorukh not wishing to make war and to stop more hardship in the hard winter negotiates a ceasefire with the Elves. To complete the formalities he goes to the Elven capital. But not all amongst the Elves, wished peace. A group of rebels led by Golmandu assassinated Gorukh. Thus, ceasefire breaks and full-fledged war breaks out. Gorukh’s heir Moorukh succeeds him. This is a time of long stalemate with no side being able to force a decisive victory. The Elves make advances in the day but had to suffer reverses in the night.
Sometime during this time, the Valars enter middle earth, looking for the children of Illuvatar. Being diurnal, they first meet the elves. They wish to meet the Orcs too and arbitrate in their disputes and bring the war to an end. To this end, they call the king of orcs Moorukh. But by this time orcs were wary of all day creatures and remembering the treachery of the Elves to Gorukh, Moorukh refuses to meet the valars.
Valars wrathful at this high handedness of the Orcs, lend their aid to the Elves in their wars against the Orcs. Orcs are greatly outmatched and suffer great reverses. Moorukh is slain in the battle of Barad. Moorukh’s heir Rookh realizes that he could not fight against the combined forces of the Elves and the Valars. He with the remainder of the Orcs retreats to his underground cities. The Elves could not pursue the Orcs in darkness and so give up the chase.
In the safety of their undergrounds, they first meet Melkor and forge an alliance. With his help, the Orcs launch an offensive against the unprepared Elves. Rookh regains his lost territories. The news reaches the Valars and they worried over the Elves seek to cut off the supply from Melkor to the Orcs. With this end in mind, they attack Utumno itself.
As Melkor had sent all his might to the help of the Orcs, he could not hold on against the might of the Valars. Melkor is caught and Utumno is destroyed.
The supply from Melkor to the Orc dries up, while the Elves get new war supply from the valars. Orcs suffer reverses again and had to retreat again. But this time, Elves attack the underground cities too, with the help of the newly forged Silmirils (pebbles of light). Rookh dies in the siege of Un-barad. Left leaderless and outmatched, Orcs run away on all sides. Heirs of Rookh and his household move away in secret.
This was a time of great suffering and hardship for the Orcs. They were left leaderless and homeless and were on run on all sides. It is a testament to the “jeejewisha" (the will to live) of the Orcs that they survived this time and came out stronger out of all this. At this time, all their cities were destroyed or besieged. They were being hunted down like wild beasts.
The Orcish horde now destroyed and diminished, the valars got confident that the Middle-Earth was safe against the Orcs and the league of the dark valars. So they asked the Elves to come to aman and to live with them. Most of the Elves go to aman, but some remain behind and easily fend off against the weak orcish horde.

The races.

Tolkien has described elves as the epitome of goodness. They are loving, caring, fond of art, music, dancing and the like. On the other extreme are the orcs .they represent all that is bad. They are jealous, squabbling, fighting amongst themselves and have no care for arts and music. Between them lie humans, dwarves, hobbits and the like. They have shades of grey. Humans have helped both dark and the light side in their wars. Dwarves have never helped the dark powers but have always been allied with the elves. However, they have no love for the plants and songs so there has been much strife between them and elves.

However, the point is that the history of middle earth as told by Tolkien is the history from the side of elves. It does not take into account the views of orcs. The history of middle earth is not the story of fight between good and evil. It is the fight between two camps. It is the fight between the creatures of day and the creatures of night.
In this story, the orcs lost and so Tolkien’s story has a happy ending. If the story is told from side of the orcs it will be a tragedy, but it will be a story alright. It is the story that I tell.
Were the elves loving and caring. Did they love music and arts so much? Yes they were. They should be. Because they had all the resources for themselves. They were sitting on all the good things the world had to offer. The most fertile lands, the most precious gems, the most profitable mines. And an infinite life to enjoy it. And a haven to sail away when they got bored of all this good life.
Orcs were jealous and fighting amongst themselves. But what choice did they have. All the resources were taken from them. There never was enough of anything. If one is hungry, he will try to get food from whatever source he had, by any means, beg, borrow or steal. It could not matter if the other person was his own kindred. So there was strife amongst orcs. They did not care for music. They could not. The first priority was living. The elves never let them care for anything else.
Humans sometimes saw the viewpoint of the orcs and sometimes they did not. Therefore, humans have helped both the dark and light in the wars. The dwarves never saw their viewpoint and never helped them.

Story of the Middle Earth as told by Tolkien.

It is in chronological order. Though I have tried to keep all facts correct some may be wrong.
1. Valar, children of gods thought created.
2. Discord amongst the valar,dark and light sides , led respectively by melkor and manwe divide.
3. God shows them a dream,the craetion of the world. Valar want to realise it.
4. Both dark and light sides join to realise this great dream.
5. Second strife amongst the sides.both sides are estranged for ever.
6. Manwe casts Melkor and the Valars on his side away from the circles of the valarar and he along with his allies finishes the remaining part. Melkor finishes his great fortress Utumno. While the Valars rest he gathers his strengths, calls the Ainur who sang with him in the notes and assails the valarar. He strikes down the two lamps of Valar and returns back to Utumno.
7. Valars retreat to a new land, Aman and fortify it against Melkor.
8. Elves arise in middle earth
9. Valars learn that Melkor had found out about elves, and fearing he might currupt them they attack him. Melkor is captured and Utumno destroyed.
10. Melkor kept in prision in valarinor. Qwendi advance a great civilisation.
11. Melkor released on parole.
12. Melkor wins some of the qwendi (noldor) to his side.
13. Valars find out about it and seek to punish him.
14. Melkor runs away and eludes his pursurers. He regroups and attacks king of the noldor for betraying him to the valarinor.
15. The two light trees are destroyed again. Melkor takes the three Simarils with him.
16. Melkor restablishes his kingdom in the middle earth. He wages war upon the elves living there.
17. One silmaril recovered by the half elven.
18. Half elven sail back to valarinor. They obtain help from valarar.
19. Melkor is caught and cast into the darkness of ea. Highly weakened he could not return.
20. The edain are given a new piece of land to dwell in, away from the worries of middle earth. They are also given a long life, thrice that of ordinary men.
21. Sauron, an ainur who had sung with melkor in the notes ,leads rest of melkor's followers back to middle earth. He makes a new strong hold in the lands of Mordor.
22. Sauron stives with the elves for mastery of middle earth. He completes his stronghold of Barad-dur in Mordor.
22b. Sauron joins the eldar for forging the rings of power. Gil-gilad refuses to deal with him, but the smiths of Aregion join him.
22c. Elven smiths craft three rings. Sauron realising he will not get any of these rings forges one ring to be their master, secretly.
23c. War between Sauron and the Elves over claim of the rings.
24d. Sauron attacks and wins over the elves of Eriador. Gil-gilad sends Elrond to Eriador. He retreats with remainants of elves.
24e. Numenoreans send a great army to help of elves. Sauron is forced to retreat to mordor.
24f. Civil war in numenor.
23. Numenoreans attack Mordor and catch Sauron. He is taken to numenor.
24. Sauron tells to the Numerorean king that those who have mastery of Aman have unending life. Numenorians become jealous of unending life of Elves and Valar. Numenoreans believe him.
25. Numenoreans attack Aman.
26. Valars lay dsown their guardianship over the wotld. Numenor cast down into the sea. Aman taken away from circles of earth. Numenorians who had opposed attack on Aman given a chance to get away.
27. Numenorians-in-exile form two kingdoms in middle earth- Gondor and Arnor. King of Numenoreans who was faithiful to the valarar-
Elendil becomes king of north kingdom, Arnor. His sons Isildur and Anarion oversee Gondor.
28. Sauron wishing to strike before numenorean-in-exile have taken roots attacks Gondor. Isildur escapes. Anarion defends the fortresses of Gondor.
29. Last alliance of elves and numenorean men is formed. Gil-gilad and Elendil march towards Mordor. Sauron defeated in all of his strong holds exept Barad-dur. Anarion is slain.
30. Siege of barad-dur begins.
31. Sauron captured and overthrown. Gil-gilad and Elendil perish in this siege. Isildur captures the one ring.
This marks the overthrow of Sauron and end of the first age.

Top reasons why Orcs are beter than Elves

  • They are faithful. Never in any age did they change sides, or betrayed their allies. The elves on the other side, had dealings with the dark valars many times. The Noldeian elves were won over. The rings of power were formed by the elves themselves.

  • They are not treachorous or cunning. They didnot take away the gifts Illuvatar had meant for all of his children; Orcs, Elves, Humans all and grow rich and powerful at the expense of other races.

  • They are not boastful. When elves got all of riches, lands, knowledge, lore they indulged in merry making and songs, not work for new inventions. This they passed off as proof of their being very civilised. The orcs lived on whatever little they had, yet with their hard work were as strong as the Elves.

  • They had *jeejewisha*. This is a hindi term which tells about the extreme will to live even in highly trying situations. The orcs had this in plenty.

Were the orcs so bad?

In the novel LOTR ( If you donot know what LOTR is, donot read any further), Tolkien portrays, the orcs as the most vile of all the races. They are epitome of all that is bad, and Elves are the epitome of all that is good. But here I will tell the Middle earth as the Orcs saw it. The Middle Earth which was as theirs as of the Elves or Humans. The Middle Earth which was a hell for them coutsey the *kind-good-honourable* elves.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Blogger: Dashboard

Here I will post the orcs view of the middle age life.