Tar-Elenion on the Uruks/Uruk-hai
#21
I have some rebuttals to the above, but it will take a few days to devote the necessary time to do so properly.

B
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
Reply
#22
It's not like this has been a speed-rebuttal contest or anything....
Reply
#23
I would like to bring up a couple of points:

1) as I stated in the discussion last summer, by the time Sam and Frodo overhear this conversation, Isengard has been conquered for almost two weeks. According to Appendix B, the parley with Saruman took place on March 5. The Battle of Pelennor Fields is March 15. Frodo and Sam have only a couple pages previously witnessed the results of Alf's demise and looked on the plain and decided to go north, which is also March 15. A night has passed, making the day of the overheard conversation the 16th of March.

11 Days. Now Sauron knew by the end of business on March 5 that Saruman was toast. Remember that Nazgul that flies overhead that night, who undoubtedly saw everything and got a whole lot of Saruman even without the aid of a palantir. And a second Nazgul according to Gandalf would be dispatched to get Pippin after he looked in the palantir. And Sauron had other spies. I think we can safely assume that by the 16th of March Sauron and the Nine knew the state of Isengard.

So that leaves a question: if Uruk-hai refers ONLY to orcs from Isengard why would the Higher Ups be on the look out for a band of orcs from Isengard, even supposing that some have escaped the ents and the Rohirrim?

2) Second question is why would Sauron suppose that WITHOUT the RING Saruman would send his Uruk hai against Mordor, and do so BEFORE March 5? What possible expectation would there be for Saruman attacking or infilitrating Mordor at that time and in that place?

3) Supposing for a moment that the "Higher Ups" didn't say anything about Uruk hai and this is just the soldier talking. How would a soldier in the low ranks and a tracker know about Uruk hai a good week or more journey on foot away if they've never seen them? Surely we can not suppose that Sauron lets the rank and file orcs in on the new breeds of orc over at Isengard--so they must have had far more exchanges between Morodor and Isengard down in the lower ranks than the books lets us on they do. But isn't this a large and significant supposition, particulary given the uneasy relationship exhibited by orcs of the White Hand and the Orcs of Eye? And for what purpose? Hunting the Ring? Possibly, but it seems they knew pretty well where the Ring was and where to strike.

4) It seems to me that the clue here is in the use of "rebel Uruk-hai." If all Uruk hai were Isengarders (and why not refer to them then as Isengarders?) then if Saruman was considered a rebel as Gandalf says that he probably would be by Sauron, then all Uruk-hai are rebels too, and there is no need to call them "rebel Uruk-hai" as if to distinguish them from non-rebel uruk-hai. But since the opening chapters of book six do indeed let us see something of rebellion (as do the ending pages of book four), and since those are the ones who are of concern to the Tower rather than some surviving Isengarders attacking Mordor and getting in, then it seems to me that the best way to take the tracker's comment is a reference to a group of Mrodor's uruk-hai, like ol' Gorbag.

Just some thoughts.....

Giles
Reply
#24
Quote:Originally posted by Giles
I would like to bring up a couple of points:

1) as I stated in the discussion last summer, by the time Sam and Frodo overhear this conversation, Isengard has been conquered for almost two weeks. According to Appendix B, the parley with Saruman took place on March 5. The Battle of Pelennor Fields is March 15. Frodo and Sam have only a couple pages previously witnessed the results of Alf's demise and looked on the plain and decided to go north, which is also March 15. A night has passed, making the day of the overheard conversation the 16th of March.

And how well-informed of events outside of Mordor are we to assume that the tracker Orcs is supposed to be? What are his sources of information?

Shagrat and Gorbag are our only sources of information on what the Orcs of that particular region have heard concerning events outside:

Quote:'I'd like to try somewhere where there's none of 'em. But the war's on now, and when that's over things may be easier.'

'It's going well, they say.'

'They would,' grunted Gorbag. 'We'll see. But anyway, if it does go well, there should be a lot more room....'[/b]

Now, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields was just about to break open with the arrival of the Rohirrim, so all that the Orcs would have heard by this point could have been that Saruman had been defeated and that Minas Tirith was under siege.

But why would Sauron (who alone, besides the Nazgul) tell his Orcs that Saruman had been defeated?

Quote:So that leaves a question: if Uruk-hai refers ONLY to orcs from Isengard why would the Higher Ups be on the look out for a band of orcs from Isengard, even supposing that some have escaped the ents and the Rohirrim?

If we suppose that some of the Uruk-hai have escaped, why would they not choose to go to Mordor? It's a haven for Orc-kind, is it not? On the other hand, Aragorn points out that Orcs will travel far to avenge a captain.

We have no reason to suppose that the inference of a possible incursion of Uruk-hai by the Nazgul is not to be taken seriously.

Quote:2) Second question is why would Sauron suppose that WITHOUT the RING Saruman would send his Uruk hai against Mordor, and do so BEFORE March 5?

Your question implies many assumptions about the thinking of off-stage characters -- assumptions which are no more reasonable than any contrary chain of assumptions.

So, all you are proposing here is a straw-man argument. Tolkien is under no obligation to explain why a Nazgul or Orc-captain such as Shagrat (who had left Cirith Ungol) might tell underlings to keep an eye out for rebel Uruk-hai (from Isengard or anywhere else, assuming they could or did live anywhere else).

Quote:3) Supposing for a moment that the "Higher Ups" didn't say anything about Uruk hai and this is just the soldier talking. How would a soldier in the low ranks and a tracker know about Uruk hai a good week or more journey on foot away if they've never seen them?

The Uruk-hai had been in Isengard for quite some time by this point.

Quote:4) It seems to me that the clue here is in the use of "rebel Uruk-hai." If all Uruk hai were Isengarders (and why not refer to them then as Isengarders?) then if Saruman was considered a rebel as Gandalf says that he probably would be by Sauron, then all Uruk-hai are rebels too, and there is no need to call them "rebel Uruk-hai" as if to distinguish them from non-rebel uruk-hai.

You are equating the Uruk-hai with Saruman. The Uruk-hai were not obeying Sauron. That, provided with the context I cited above, follows with the Mordor Orcs' conception that anyone who didn't follow Sauron was a rebel.

[INSERTING A COMMENT MUCH LATER THAN THE ORIGINAL POST: I meant to write, "follows with the conception that the Mordor Orcs regarded anyone who didn't follow Sauron as a rebel" -- I was rushing out the door and didn't realize I had written something different.]

Hence, all Uruk-hai are rebels.
Reply
#25
As Michael says, the Uruk-Hai had been around for quite a while. We do not know how long it took for an Orc or an an Uruk-Hai to grow to maturity, but one has to reject the movie's contention that they were born trained and ready to fight. Some time is required for growth and training, so at least that long. Obviously Orcs gossip a lot, and the new Super Orcs would certainly be a valid topic of conversation and rumor.
"What song the Sirens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling questions are not beyond conjecture." - Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici
Reply
#26
Reply
#27
Are you suggesting that the White Council's ignorance of the employment of Orcs at Isengard implies the Orcs of Mordor should not have known about them?
Reply
#28
Maerbann's quote isn't hugely helpful, IMO. It can be used with equal facility to argue either side of the debate, and as such doesn't really get us any closer to a resolution.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
Reply
#29
Yes, that leaves 29 years until the disputed statement in T.A. 3019. Plenty of time for contact, and news and gossip to spread.
"What song the Sirens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling questions are not beyond conjecture." - Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici
Reply
#30
Is it possible that the suffix -Hai in Black Speech simply denotes a superior type of being, as in Olog-Hai, who were "New and Improved" trolls. Perhaps Uruk Hai simply means the best and toughest of the Uruks, and could thus be applied to any of the great warrior Orcs.

Does anyone have any information on Tolkiens use of "Hai" ?
Wrestling Darwin on a daily basis.

"Question boldly even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, He must more approve of the homage of reason than that of a blindfolded fear." -Thomas Jefferson
Reply
#31
On a side not, I wonder if the Third Age uruks were meant to replace (to a degree) the 1st Age Boldogs?

Of course, Boldogs are said to be only slightly less mighty than Balrogs, and Uruks don't come close to that, but without Boldogs, the only Orcs left it seems would bedwarf-sized Snagas.
Reply
#32
Quote:Originally posted by Mike of Quantum Muse
Is it possible that the suffix -Hai in Black Speech simply denotes a superior type of being, as in Olog-Hai, who were "New and Improved" trolls. Perhaps Uruk Hai simply means the best and toughest of the Uruks, and could thus be applied to any of the great warrior Orcs.

Does anyone have any information on Tolkiens use of "Hai" ?


There was a discussion here some months ago (or perhaps longer) about "hai". Tolkien linguists generally translate it as "folk". I think there may be a case where olog-hai is translated as troll-folk by Tolkien, but don't hold me to that.
Reply
#33
I don't recall the Boldog-style Orc-captains being compared that favorably to Balrogs. The original Boldog was supposed to be a famous Orc-captain who was slain in a raid on Doriath ("Lay of Lethien"), but Tolkien abandoned the idea. He later used the word Boldog to refer to the class of Orc-captains who appeared to be of a superior caste, I think.

But I doubt he intended them to be close to the Balrogs.
Reply
#34
I was just reading Morgoth's Ring today and he said the Boldogs were Maiar who took on the physical shape of superorcs and were servants of Sauron only slightly less horrible than the balrogs.
Reply
#35
Fair enough.
Reply
#36
Quote:Originally posted by Michael
There was a discussion here some months ago (or perhaps longer) about "hai". Tolkien linguists generally translate it as "folk". I think there may be a case where olog-hai is translated as troll-folk by Tolkien, but don't hold me to that.


If it does just translate as "folk" then all orcs would be entitled to the Uruk Hai title.

As far as I recall, "Hai" was only used to refer to big, strong, superior types of these races, the Olog Hai, who could stand the sun, unlike the trolls in the Hobbit, and were smarter and faster than the average troll. The Uruk Hai, whether exclusively Isengarders or not, were the biggest, toughest warriors among the orcs.

As such, it seems to me, and was my impression when I read the book, apart from any letters or discussion or lingusitic reasearch, that since the only two uses of "Hai" were in these cases, it was a term indicating superiority. Like saying Super Orcs.

I don't have any carefully annotated citations to back this up, just my impressions as a reader.
Wrestling Darwin on a daily basis.

"Question boldly even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, He must more approve of the homage of reason than that of a blindfolded fear." -Thomas Jefferson
Reply
#37
If Uruk-hai means all Uruks, it is pointless for the Isengarders to boast "We are the fighting Uruk-hai!" This seems to be there unique identity apart from other Orcs, in the context of the boast.

Michael, I looked up the quote for you.
Morgoth's Ring, Part 5, Text X, p. 418 hardcover, the footnote (written by JRRT himself_ to the text reads "Boldogs...the name of a kind of creature: the Orc-formed Maiar, on ly less formidable than the Balrogs." Obviously, these creatures were far deadlier than and Uruk, Isengarder or Mordorian (or MiMo Hobgoblin!).
Reply
#38
On a side not, pp 418-19 of the same book, in Text X, makes clear that the Men-orcs (half-orcs in LOTR) ARE separate and distinct from orc-men (something long debated). Men-orcs are "large and cunning," orc-men are "treacherous and vile." It is emplied both breeds are larger than Snagas.
Reply
#39
Quote:Originally posted by Unregistered
If Uruk-hai means all Uruks, it is pointless for the Isengarders to boast "We are the fighting Uruk-hai!" This seems to be there unique identity apart from other Orcs, in the context of the boast.


My point exactly. If Hai means "folk", then "We are the fighting Orc Folk!" is an unimpressive boast at best.

"We are the fighting Uber-Orcs" seems a more sensible translation, especially with the Olog Hai connection.

I still say Ugluk reminded me of my old Drill Instructor Sgt Nichols. All through boot camp we prayed for the day we'd be sent off to a nice safe foreign country where we'd be safe from him.

I guess the comparison occured to somebody else, as in the "Bored of the Rings" parody, the Uruk Hai sing a song based on the Marines Hymn.
Wrestling Darwin on a daily basis.

"Question boldly even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, He must more approve of the homage of reason than that of a blindfolded fear." -Thomas Jefferson
Reply
#40
Quote:Originally posted by Michael
And how well-informed of events outside of Mordor are we to assume that the tracker Orcs is supposed to be? What are his sources of information?

I guess I wasn't clear. My first point to which the above responds has nothing to do with what the tracker orc knows. If we assume that you are correct and that Uruk hai refers only to Isengarders, and we assume that the order to look for rebel uruk hai came from Higher Up, it occurs to me that we need to ask why. We're told that Higher Up (and how high?) knows quite a lot: whether from Shagrat who certainly hasn't seen any rebel Isengarders coming up the pass and getting by Shelob, only Gorbag's bunch. So it isn't likely that he is giving an order to be on the watch for Isengarders.

So if it comes from Higher Up, from the Tower (not Cirith Ungol, Baradur) then we really must ask why: By this point in the story we know that Sauron and the 9 have known about Saruman's fall for 11 days, have known that he emptied Isengard and that his attempts to both keep the ring when he captured the halflings and to overrun Rohan have utterly failed. Further, Sauron's army invading Rohan on the 12th of March was defeated by the Ents as well. Given all the information that Tolkien tells us Sauron has and knows, why would he be looking for a band of Isengarders to come into Mordor by Cirith Ungol?


Quote:Shagrat and Gorbag are our only sources of information on what the Orcs of that particular region have heard concerning events outside:


Not quite. The tracker states that there is bad news, things are not going well, and that they've got number 1. This is the day after the battle.


Quote:If we suppose that some of the Uruk-hai have escaped, why would they not choose to go to Mordor? It's a haven for Orc-kind, is it not?


Sure, a haven for orc kind who serve Sauron. Both the conversation between Gorbag and Shagrat and between the soldier and as you are at pains to establish yourself below, if a group of Isengarders is coming to Mordor they would be considered rebels and killed on the spot. Even orcs have some desire for self preservation....so if rebels or escapees, why go to Mordor?


Quote: On the other hand, Aragorn points out that Orcs will travel far to avenge a captain.

I don't remember this quote, but I'll take it on faith. So on the other hand, we now have a surviving group of Isengarders going to Mordor to avenge Saruman--but wouldn't they then be trying to get Sauron?

So on this story we have a group of Isengard orcs who escape the Ents and huorns, are able to get past Sauron's armies and spies along the east bank, but also get past the muster of Rohan and the movement and knowledge of the ents through the forest south to take care of Sauron's invading army on the 12th. And then they also get past Minas Morgul and know about the road up to Cirith Ungol and get past any watchers and guards up that way without any sign or report whatsoever? Stretches my credulity just a bit.

Regarding my point 2:
Quote:
Your question implies many assumptions about the thinking of off-stage characters -- assumptions which are no more reasonable than any contrary chain of assumptions.


No, my question assumes a level of consistency in a carefully constructed story. Tolkien has told us that Sauron knows about Saruman's fall--his own palantir, 2 visits by the Nazgul, the utter defeat of Saruman's army, the uttery defeat of his own both on Pelennor and further north in invading Rohan by the Ents. Further, in order to get from Isengard to Mordor is going to take some time particularly if they are trying to avoid all of Sauron's spies and armies, the Druadan, and the Hosts of the West--so that just supposes that if Sauron is expecting Saruman to attack him (and why would he, given what he knows about Saruman--they "converse" in the palantiri after all and Sauron has already ensnared Saruman undoubtedly through the latters lust for the ring. And Saruman is convinced that the West can not win against Sauron, because Sauron has also undoubtedly shown Saruman his might just as he did Denethor. So once again, if the Higher Ups means Sauron and the 9, why ever given the information that Tolkien gives us (and Sauron) in the text would Sauron and co. be looking for an attack sent by Saruman?

Thus, it seems to me that there is no reason to suppose that the "Higher Ups" would be expecting either a surviving group of Isengarders coming to Cirith Ungol for any reason, nor would they expecting them to have been sent by Saruman. If both of these conclusions are sound, and I'm sure you will not find them so, but if they are, then we must reexamine the conclusion that "uruk hai" here refers to orcs from Isengard.


Regarding my third point, that if the tracker is just spouting and that looking for uruk hai did not come from the "higher ups":

Quote:The Uruk-hai had been in Isengard for quite some time by this point.


So? It doesn't matter if they had been there since the First Age began. What matters is the level of knowledge about Isengarders a low level tracker orc is supposed to have....how much intercourse did orcs from Mordor have with orcs from Isengard. My impression is very little, that Grishnakh and Ugluk's adventure if not unique was nearly so. So if uruk hai applies only to Isengarders, how does a wee little tracker know about them....unless you posit a whole lot more contact AMONG THE ORCS between Isengard and Mordor.



Quote:[b]You are equating the Uruk-hai with Saruman. The Uruk-hai were not obeying Sauron. That, provided with the context I cited above, follows with the Mordor Orcs' conception that anyone who didn't follow Sauron was a rebel.
[/b/
I don't understand where you developed the idea that I'm equating the uruk hai with Saruman---they aren't the same thing. But if your argument is correct that uruk-hai refers to only Isengard orcs, then they followed Saruman's orders. And as you say, they would have been rebels, thus, why if uruk hai designates such a narrow category--Isengard orcs-- is it necessary to call them "rebel' uruk hai" when they are all already rebels?? Its kind of like saying "Dallas Cowboy players players."

I'll add another issue. The chapter in the Two Towers called Uruk Hai has more than one group of orcs in it. Fairly consistently throughout the chapter (ok, I didn't find an exception but grant that I might have missed something) TOLKIEN calls them Isengarders, not uruk hai. Only the Ugluk uses that term in that chapter and as we estbalished last summer, his references aren't conclusive by themselves. But what I'm driving at is that Merry and Pippin are not just int he clutches of Isengarders--in fact when the chapter opens and when the chapter ends they are threatened quite seriously by Mordor orcs, not Isengarders. So it seems to me that the chapter title is best taken as referring to all teh orcs in the chapter, at least from the author's perspective.

Add to this Pippin's thought in the Pyre of Denthor chapter that that was worse than being in the clutches of the Uruk hai--if that term only refers to Isengarders, how do we explain that the times Pippin was most in danger of dieing in that chapter, and is described as being the most horrible is when he is literally in the clutches of a Mordor orc? Again, this seems a more general term than specific.

Just my .02

Giles
Reply

MYCode Guide

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  What’s on the menu? Uruk hai know about menus? badlands 2 202 May 7th, 2022, 11:30 PM
Last Post: Mordomin
  hobgoblins ? The Uruk- Hai badlands 20 2,362 January 26th, 2009, 07:34 PM
Last Post: Doncoriel
  Does Uruk=Uruk-hai Unregistered 7 695 June 2nd, 2004, 01:33 PM
Last Post: Bacchus
  The Making of the Uruk-Hai ? FrodoFeet123 1 689 February 23rd, 2004, 11:53 PM
Last Post: Doncoriel
  hobgoblin on "Uruk-hai" and "Uruks" hobgoblin 5 1,068 July 14th, 2003, 03:31 AM
Last Post: Michael

Forum Jump: