Tar-Elenion on the Uruks/Uruk-hai
#1
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#2
I see that Bacchus closed the other thread, and that you and Hobgoblin have followed my suggestion. Thanks. However, it's already midnight here and I'm swamped. I promise to followup within a few days, but I still have to write an essay for MERP.COM (it will not be about Uruks and Uruk-hai) this week.
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#3
Have not forgotten you guys. It just took two weeks longer to write that Numenor essay than I thought it would.
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#4
bump
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#5
C'mon Michael, I've been waiting over two months for your comments on what I think is an excellent essay.
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#6
About two weeks ago, I posted a new essay to MERP.COM. I have yet to announce it anywhere besides the Middle-earth mailing list.

While I appreciate people's curiosity regarding how I would respond to Tar-Elenion and Hobgoblin's essays, I just haven't had the time to write anything on that subject.

I'd rather make no effort at all than launch a half-hearted attempt I cannot follow through with.
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#7
I 'bumped' it because I wanted to use some of the info in it elsewhere, and did not want to keep 'diving' for it, as it were. No intent to rush you.
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#8
Feel free to bump every few weeks. I'm sure people appreciate reading what you have to say on the subject.
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#9
bump
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#10
Fascinating, Tar. Good bit of work.

So if Uruk and Uruk-hai are the same, I wonder why Olog and Olog-hai are different. AM I in error believing olog is any troll, and olog-hai are the special breed?

Michael, I know Orcs don't turn to stone, I meant sun-resistant in that most orcs are wearied by the sun and demoralized by it, but not the late Third age Uruks of Mordor and Isengard.

Interestingly, a book I recently found about the weapons of the LOTR movies said Saruman's Uruk-hai were based on the pattern of Sauron's Uruk-hai in Mordor, so the author of the book must have reached the same conclusion as TarSmile
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#11
Quote:Originally posted by Tar-Elenion There are two other occurances of the term Uruk-hai within the main narrative, once in narrative format when reporting Pippin's feelings in the chapter Minas Tirith ("No hours so dark had Pippin known, not even in the clutches of the Uruk-hai"), and once in the chapter Land of Shadow when Sam and Frodo overhear a conversation between a soldier-orc and a tracker in Mordor in a passage which reads: " 'Whose blame's that?' said the soldier. 'Not mine. That comes from Higher Up. First they say it's a great Elf in bright armour, then it's a sort of small dwarf-man, then it must be a pack of rebel Uruk-hai; or maybe it's all the lot together.'" Up until this last use all references in LotR to Uruk-hai have been to the Isengarders.

Before the last statement can be made in a logical argument, it must first be shown that it is supportable. You cannot just say, "Up until this last use all references in LoTR to Uruk-hai have been to the Isengarders."

It is precisely because all previous uses have been applied to the Isengarders that the average reader must be given explicit clarification if the new use has a different application.

That is, it is incumbent upon the author himself to provide the reader with a clear context which says, "THIS use of 'uruk-hai' is different from all previous uses."

The citation you offer does not provide such a context.

...snip cites of four uses of "uruks" with reference to Mordorian Orcs...

Quote:In App. A we have two uses of the term 'uruks' once in reference to Mordor ("In the last years of Denethor I the race of uruks, black orcs of great strength, first appeared out of Mordor"), and once in reference to Saruman ("Others [Orcs] also came down from the Misty Mountains, many being great uruks in the service of Saruman, though it was long before that was suspected"). With this second we have the first use of the term 'Uruks' for Saruman's Uruk-hai.

Going no further than this, your citations so far only establish that Uruk-hai are Uruks (but not that all Uruks are Uruk-hai).

Quote:In App. F there is also the following passage: "Orcs and the Black Speech. Orc is the form of the name that other races had for this foul people as it was in the language of Rohan. In Sindarin it was orch. Related, no doubt, was the word uruk of the Black Speech, though this was applied as a rule only to the great soldier-orcs that at this time issued from Mordor and Isengard. The lesser kinds were called, especially by the Uruk-hai, snaga 'slave'."

Here, you have skipped over the fact that Tolkien singles out the Uruk-hai (so far identified in the previous citations as being ONLY Uruks from Isengard) for a special mention. His usage in this passage in no way implies that uruk and uruk-hai are used interchangeably.

In fact, this passage indicates quite the opposite because Tolkien DOES single out the Uruk-hai for special comment.

Quote:In the essay Battles of the Fords of Isen, published in Unfinished Tales there are nine (if my count is correct) uses of the term 'uruks' for the Isengarders. There are a few other uses of the term 'Uruks' and 'Urukhai' in the available corpus,

Which is irrelevant to the use of uruks and uruk-hai in "The Battles of the Fords of Isen". After all, since all Uruk-hai are Uruks, it is perfectly acceptable to refer to them as either Uruks or Uruk-hai within a story which is concerned ONLY with Uruk-hai.

What must be shown, in order to prove that Uruks is interchangeable with Uruk-hai, is one or more occasions where Tolkien makes such reference with with respect to non-Isengarders.

Quote:...including App. B, Letter 66 and the essay Quendi and Eldar in War of the Jewels (and the LotR Index).
From the Fords of Isen narrative and the App. A statement as well as App. F, it is undoubted that the great soldier-orcs of Isengard can be called 'Uruks' or 'Uruk-hai'.
But what of the great soldier-orcs of Mordor? We have one instance of an Uruk using the term 'Uruks'; as cited above Gorbag refers to 'poor Uruks' in a converstion with Shagrat, but that is not necessarily what he said, but rather what Sam 'heard'. Both Shagrat and Gorbag are captains in Mordor's armies and they do not seem to have been speaking Westron. It is possible that they were speaking the Black Speech...

Your citation shows that it was highly probable the two Uruks were speaking in a language other than Westron.

Quote:It is _possible_ that Gorbag actually used the term 'Uruk-hai'...

No.

This is equivalent to saying, "It is possible both orcs were carrying hand grenades."

Why?

Because the strengh of this so-called "possibilty" is the absence of denial, which never, ever proves anything. Tolkien never said the Orcs were NOT carrying hand grenades (and we have evidence of Orc use of gun-powder and other blasting technology in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings). Hence, it is "possible" they were carrying hand grenades.

However, they were NOT carrying hand grenades in Tolkien's story.

Tolkien was not under any obligation as an author to anticipate that someone would suggest it is possible for something not mentioned in the text -- something contrary to all textual references -- to be his intention. Hence, we are not under any obligation to find a citation from Tolkien which denies the so-called "possibility".

If Tolkien doesn't put something into the story, it is NOT in the story. Period.

What is required to prove that Uruks = Uruk-hai is a very simple citation of any text written by Tolkien where he uses the term Uruk-hai so indisputably in reference to a non-Isengarder that it simply shuts down all contrary arguments.

If such a passage existed in the published corpus, I feel certain it would have been found and cited long before now.

So, this so-called "possibility" is just fluff. It adds nothing to the discussion and is therefore discardable.

Quote:...We also have one instance of a Mordor Orc explicitly using the term 'Uruk-hai'. Frodo and Sam overhear a soldier stating his orders to his tracker companion:"First they say it's a great Elf in bright armour, then it's a sort of small dwarf-man, then it must be a pack of rebel Uruk-hai; or maybe it's all the lot together" which a "Higher Up" has sent them out to look for. These relate back to the events at Cirith Ungol.

What relates back to the events at Cirith Ungol (both the fortress and the pass) is what is being searched for. The Orc's statement does not associate the name rebel Uruk-hai with any of the Morgul Orcs who fought with Shagrat's company for possession of the mithril coat.

Are those Orcs called "rebels"? Yes. Are they called Uruk-hai? No.

Now, what we do know is that Sauron's enemies included Elves, Tarks (Numenoreans), Dwarves, and "dwarf-men" (apparently, the Orcs of Mordor had no proper name for "hobbit").

The reader is not told how well informed the Orcs are about Saruman's status, but the reader has already been told that the Uruk-hai (that is, the Uruks of Isengard) have clashed with Orcs from Mordor. Grishnakh reported back to his superiors along the Anduin when he was driven off from the raiding party by Ugluk. He returned with about 40 Orcs from Mordor.

The reader is free to infer -- but cannot know -- that everyone in Mordor was told not to trust Saruman's followers. That is because the connection has been made. That is, the reader knows that Grishnakh went back for help and got it. The reader also knows that Grishnakh was caught off guard when Ugluk insisted on taking the prisoners back to Isengard, rather than to Mordor.

Hence, Isengarders do not have to be present in Cirith Ungol in order for Orcs who are searching for an unknown assailant to guess that "rebel Uruk-hai" (from Isengard) may be what they are looking for.

There were no Elves, Numenoreans, or Dwarves at Cirith Ungol. So, unless Gorbag's company is supposed to include members of those races as well as "rebel Uruk-hai", there is no textual connection between "rebel Uruk-hai" and Gorbag's company.

The Uruk-hai of Isengard have already been shown to be acting against Sauron's wishes -- and therefore "rebels".

Quote:...There are two other passages I find relevant to this. One is from Letter 78 where in JRRT writes to his son, Christopher, in part:

"Urukhai is only a figure of speech. There are no genuine Uruks, that is folk made bad by the intention of their maker; and not many who are so corrupted as to be irredeemable (though I fear it must be admitted that there are human creatures that seem irredeemable short of a special miracle, and that there are probably abnormally many of such creatures in Deutschland and Nippon - but certainly these unhappy countries have no monopoly: I have met them, or thought so, in England's green and pleasant land)."

Here JRRT uses the terms 'Urukhai' and 'Uruks' interchangeably and is using them to refer, in particular, to (some) of the Germans and Japanese during WWII (and also to some of his own countrymen).

No, he is using "Urukhai" (sic) as a metaphor for certain kinds of soldiers (in both the British and enemy armies). He is using "Uruks" to refer to the literal Uruk-hai of the story -- that is, he is using the terms to refer to the Isengarders, who are the only creatures so-named in any context Christopher would have been familiar with (to the best of our knowledge -- it is well documented that Tolkien sent chapters for The Lord of the Rings to Christopher to critique).

However, Tolkien had used the term "Urukhai" figuratively in a previous letter, No. 66:

"...Well, there you are: a hobbit amongst the Urukhai. Keep up your hobbitry in heart, and think that all stories feel like that when you are in them."

So, we have a clear precedent where Tolkien is using the term figuratively (metaphorically) and the reference is clearly to the chapter where the Uruk-hai have captured Merry and Pippin and are taking them to Isengard.

So, returned to Letter 78, since Tolkien provdes no further context for his usage, we can only refer back to the previous letter.

Therefore, all that can be shown by using these letters is that Tolkien used the terms Uruks and Uruk-hai interchangeably only with respect to the Isengarders -- and such use is perfectly natural and acceptable, since all Uruk-hai are Uruks, even though not all Uruks are Uruk-hai.

Quote:There is also an entry in the Index to UT:
"Uruks Anglicized form of Uruk-hai of the Black Speech; a race of Orcs of great size and strength."

It doesn't matter who wrote this passage, although all indications are that it comes from Christopher rather than his father, since the story is ONLY concerned with Isengarders.

We have already established that Uruks may be used to refer to the Uruk-hai when the context (in this case, the entire story "The Battles of the Fords of Isen") provides for no confusing regarding which Uruks are being referred to. No Mordor Orcs are mentioned in the story, only Isengarders.

Quote:A brief post script, Letter 78 and the essay Quendi and Eldar in WotJ provide the possiblity of an attested to translation for 'Uruk-hai'. Letter 78 says "Urukhai is only a figure of speech. There are no genuine Uruks, that is folk made bad by the intention of their maker". The pertinent portion of this is "folk made bad". In Q&E we learn that 'uruk' was borrowed by Sauron from the Elvish tongues when he was devising the Black Speech in the Second Age,
and was related to words meaning 'horrible'.
If Uruks are "folk made bad" and 'uruk' is related to horrible, and 'horrible' and 'bad' are synonmous, then it could very well be that a reasonable translation of Uruk-hai (which is used interchangeably with its anglicization 'uruks') is:
Uruk-hai: *bad-folk, *horrible-folk.


However, Tolkien frequently utilized tribal names which -- when translated literally -- meant "the people", "the folk", etc. The various Elven group names have similar meanings, especially the words which various Avari groups used to refer to themselves:

"This resentment on the part of the Avari is illustrated by the history PQ *kwendi. This word, as has been shown, did not survive in the Telerin languages of Middle-earth, and was almost forgotten even in the Telerin of Aman. But the Loremasters of later days, when more friendly relations had been established with the Avari of various kinds in Eriador and the Vale of Anduin, record that it was frequently to be found in Avarin dialects. These were numerous, and often as widely sundered from one another as they were from the Eldarin forms of Elvish speech; but wherever the descendants of *kwendi were found, they meant not 'Elves in general', but were the names that the Avari gave to themselves. They had evidently continued to call themselves *kwendi, 'the People', regarding those who went away as deserters -- though according to Eldarin tradition the numbers of the Eldar at the time of the Separation were in the approximate proportion of 3:2, as compared with the Avari (see p. 381). The Avarin forms cited by the Loremasters were: kindi, cuind, hwenti, windan, kinn-lai, penni...." (Source: Author Note 9 for "Quendi and Eldar" in The War of the Jewels).

Clearly, Tolkien did not hesitate to use a racial name for a tribal name, and there are other examples. The word Edain, the Sindarin form of Atani, originally referred to all Men, but after the First Age became associated only with those three tribes of Men who specifically allied themselves with the Eldar of Beleriand against Morgoth.

Also, the name Eldalie originally applied to all the Elves, but became associated only with those who undertood the Great Journey.

Thus, the fact that Saruman's Uruks referred to themselves as Uruk-hai, which probably meant "Orc-folk", in no way suggests that all Uruks were called (or called themselves) Uruk-hai.

In the final analysis, there is still absolutely no evidence to support the contention that Uruk-hai -- when used by Tolkien -- referred to any Uruks other than those of Isengard.
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#12
Quote:Originally posted by Unregistered
Fascinating, Tar. Good bit of work.

So if Uruk and Uruk-hai are the same, I wonder why Olog and Olog-hai are different. AM I in error believing olog is any troll, and olog-hai are the special breed?

Well, for the first time in months, I have actually had both the time and the energy to respond to Tar-Elenion's essay, and I have now done so.

Uruk and Uruk-hai can only have the same meaning when referring to the Uruks of Isengard. Hence, there should be no reason for confusion over the uses of Olog and Olog-hai.

Quote:Michael, I know Orcs don't turn to stone, I meant sun-resistant in that most orcs are wearied by the sun and demoralized by it, but not the late Third age Uruks of Mordor and Isengard.

Orcs are NOT "wearied by the sun". They most likely ARE "demoralized by it" (I have seldom seen anyone put it that way). You must be thinking of the passage in "The Uruk-hai" where the northern Orcs are running along in apparent exhaustion. Tolkien comments that the sun is not very bright that day, but he implies they are worn out by the task.

However, they've also been running straight for about 36 or 48 hours. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli were unable to maintain that kind of pace.

So, I think it's forgivable that the northern Orcs were just not up to Uruk standards.
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#13
Great rebuttal, MIchael. :clap: I can see why it took so long to produce.
"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
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#14
Demoralization often results in premature wearying; it is a psychosomatic thing.

Your points are valid, Michael, but the reference to rebel Uruk-hai in ROTK could refer to either Isengarders or Cirith Ungolians.

There were no elves or Dunedain, but the Hobbits wore Elf cloaks and carried Elf and Dunadan weapons. Dwarf-men, b/c of statute--not to mention the mithril-coat might have given the impression of a dwarf or elf. So we can see why their apparel and weaponry would cause Orcs to suspect Elves, "tarks", "or dwarf-men." But why suspect Isengarders?
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#15
I disagree. There had been clashes between Uruk-Hai and the Uruks of Mordor, hence "rebel Uruk-Hai." The Uruks of Cirith Ungol were not rebels, just scrapping over plunder. Tolkien never specifically refers to non-Isengard orcs as Uruk-Hai. Gandalf himself says that Sauron viewed Saruman as a rebel.
"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
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#16
Quote:Originally posted by Unregistered
Demoralization often results in premature wearying; it is a psychosomatic thing.

Your points are valid, Michael, but the reference to rebel Uruk-hai in ROTK could refer to either Isengarders or Cirith Ungolians.

No one has been able to show how so far, but I am still open to suggestion.

Quote:There were no elves or Dunedain, but the Hobbits wore Elf cloaks and carried Elf and Dunadan weapons.

Where again does the book say that the Orcs saw Sam with an Elven-cloak, Dunadan weapon, and standing about yay-tall?

Frodo was the only hobbit the Orcs saw as a hobbit. They took his clothing and gear, so they did indeed know what he had with him.

However, what the tracker Orc says is: "‘Whose blame’s that?’ said the soldier. ‘Not mine. That comes from Higher Up. First they say it’s a great Elf in bright armour, then it’s a sort of small dwarf-man, then it must be a pack of rebel Uruk-hai; or maybe it’s all the lot together.’"

If we're going to infer things from this, let's infer that there was some confusion. The tracker was probably first told to look for a great Elf warrior. That is, after all, what the snaga thought he saw when he met Sam.

Afterward, they must have discovered that Frodo was missing. So, now the tracker has to look for "a sort of small dwarf-man".

OR, maybe since they had already seen Gollum earlier, they want to get hold of him to find out what was going on. But Sam could not have been the "small dwarf-man" because no one had seen him in his normal appearance.

Which leads us back to "rebel uruk-hai". Since no one has referred to Gorbag's company as Uruk-hai, there is no basis for associating the phrase "rebel Uruk-hai" with them. The snaga Orc calls them "stinking Morgul-rats". Gorbag only refers to himself, Shagrat, and their soldiers as Uruks. Shagrat calls Gorbag a "filty rebel" and a lot of unprinted named, but he never refers to Gorbag or Gorbag's soldiers as "Uruk-hai" or "rebel Uruk-hai".

On the other hand, we can see where the notion of Elves and Tarks comes from. That is provided in the text. First, Gorbag theorizes there is an Elf on the loose:

Quote:'Who cut the cords she'd put round him, Shagrat? Same one as cut the web. Didn't you see that? And who stuck a pin into Her Ladyship? Same one, I reckon. And where is he? Where is he, Shagrat? '

Shagrat made no reply.

`You may well put your thinking cap on, if you've got one. It's no laughing matter. No one, no one has ever stuck a pin in Shelob before, as you should know well enough. There's no grief in that; but think-there's someone loose hereabouts as is more dangerous than any other * * * *ed rebel that ever walked since the bad old times, since the Great Siege. Something has slipped.'

`And what is it then? ' growled Shagrat.

`By all the signs, Captain Shagrat, I'd say there's a large warrior loose, Elf most likely, with an elf-sword anyway, and an axe as well maybe: and he's loose in your bounds, too, and you've never spotted him. Very funny indeed! ' Gorbag spat. Sam smiled grimly at this description of himself.

Note, too, that Gorbag says "more dangerous than any other * * * *ed rebel that ever walked since the bad old times, since the Great Siege."

Now, while Tolkien never explains what the Great Siege is, many people speculate Gorbag is referring to the siege of Barad-dur, which occurred at the end of the Second Age (about 2400 years before the Uruks first appeared in Ithilien).

If that is so, then either Gorbag is suggesting there were Uruks around at the end of the Second Age, or else he is referring to all outsiders as "rebels".

And since the Uruk-hai serve Saruman in Isengard, they are clearly outsiders. "Rebels" apparently refers to anyone who doesn't follow Sauron's orders (and that in itself implies something interesting about how the Orcs see the world and Sauron's place in it).

But Shagrat's snaga repeats the idea that Gorbag has put forth:

Quote:`Well, you put his back up, being so high and mighty. And he had more sense than you anyway. He told you more than once that the most dangerous of these spies was still loose, and you wouldn’t listen. And you won’t listen now. Gorbag was right, I tell you. There’s a great fighter about, one of those bloody-handed Elves, or one of the filthy tarks. He’s coming here, I tell you. You heard the bell. He’s got past the Watchers, and that’s tark’s work. He’s on the stairs. And until he’s off them, I’m not going down. Not if you were a Nazgыl, I wouldn’t.’

So, we've got an explanation for where the Orcs got the idea of an Elf or Tark (Dunadan) being on the loose; it had nothing to do with Frodo's clothing (or Sam's). While we don't know exactly what the "dwarf-man" reference is to, we do know that "rebel Uruk-hai" can ONLY refer to the Uruks of Isengard because ONLY those Uruks have ever been called Uruk-hai.
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#17
Very interesting point on Gorbag's Great Siege comment. I need to consider the implications of that, as it may alter my conclusion in this question.

However, my gut feel at this point is that the main thrust of MM's argument is slightly flawed. I will stipulate that Tolkien never used the precise term "Uruk-hai" in a way that unequivocally referred to non-Isengarders. I will further stipulate that all usages of the term "Uruk-hai" save one unequivocally referred to Isengarders in the specific usage. Where the logic fails for me is in the inference that the one disputed usage must unequivocally refer to Isengarders because all other recorded usages did so. One may certainly conclude that this is possibly (or even probably) the case, but it is merely suggestive, not dispositive.

My professional background in is commodity trading. One of the fastest ways to go broke in that business is to assume that history is fully predictive of future events. Assuming that something will not happen merely because it never has is the root of many an ugly portfolio.

Now MM is fond of using the reducio ad adsurdium in refuting this line of thought. Since Tolkien never specifically stated that Orcs did not carry Uzis (or hand grenades), maybe they did. It's an effective debate technique, because it's difficult to answer. But again, the argument is only suggestive. Tolkien never explicitly discussed a number of things. Are we to assume that none of these things occurred? Sex is the most obvious example. We should be fairly safe in assuming that it occurred in ME, despite the fact that T never goes into gory details.

As to the instant case, MM claims that there is no basis to infer that "rebel Uruk-hai" could refer to Gorbag's band of Uruks. I disagree. As he points out, Gorbag has been called a rebel, and a uruk. The only basis for inferring that the rebel Uruk-hai comment must refer to Isengarders is a painstaskingly precise parsing of language, coupled with the (IMO) flawed logic discussed above. It is commonly pointed out that Tolkien was painstakingly precise in language, and I certainly don't disagree. However, how painstakingly precise are Orcs? Are we really to believe that Orcs would be so careful in their use of terminology to always follow the posited usages? Perhaps so if only Isengarders used the term in self-reference. But the fact that a Mordor orc uses the term suggests to me that the term was in fact more general than MM argues.

Finally, in order for the term to exclusively apply to Isengarders, we must swallow the unlikely proposition that the tracker believed that a group of Isengarder commandos was responsible for events at Cirith Ungol. While it's theoretically possible, that argument just rings hollow to me. The confusion over Sam and Frodo is understandable. The thought that the grapevine somehow confused a group of Morgul orcs (with all of the disfigured Moon accoutrements) with Isengarders (with the sigil of the Hand) just doesn't fly for me.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#18
Well, I can only think of one link between Frodo, Sam, and the Isengarders: Merry and Pippin. A weak link, though. If word of their capture and the dispute between their Isengarder captives and the Mordorians got out, maybe that would establish a link in Mordorian orcs' minds between halflings and Isengarder Uruk-hai.

Yeah, it IS a weak idea, but the only link I can think of.
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#19
Quote:Originally posted by Bacchus

However, my gut feel at this point is that the main thrust of MM's argument is slightly flawed. I will stipulate that Tolkien never used the precise term "Uruk-hai" in a way that unequivocally referred to non-Isengarders. I will further stipulate that all usages of the term "Uruk-hai" save one unequivocally referred to Isengarders in the specific usage. Where the logic fails for me is in the inference that the one disputed usage [b]must
unequivocally refer to Isengarders because all other recorded usages did so. One may certainly conclude that this is possibly (or even probably) the case, but it is merely suggestive, not dispositive.[/b]

I am going to address this one point here, because it is an objection to my qualification which others have expressed.

It would go a long way to supporting the view that the tracker Orc's comment is ambiguous if anyone could show that some other word or expression is used by Tolkien in the same way.

Let me illustrate with a hypothetical example. Suppose that, for 90 per cent of the story, Tolkien used the word hobbit strictly to refer only to Bilbo Baggins. Then we are introduced to Frodo and, in a yet later scene, while speaking about Frodo without actually naming him, some character refers to that hobbit.

We would have to know from the context of the scene that that hobbit referred to Frodo, and not to Bilbo (who -- up to this time -- would be the only character referred to as a hobbit).

Tolkien clearly uses the word Uruks to refer to Orcs in various parts of Middle-earth. So, Saruman's Isengarders have no monopoly on the use of that name. But Tolkien ALWAYS, and I mean he is completely consistent, uses the word Uruk in the narrative form to refer to a character who is acting in the story at that time.

That is, the narrative does not refer to Uruks in the past tense (whereas it DOES refer to the Uruk-hai in the past tense). I point to the consistent distinctions between Tolkien's past tense use of Uruk-hai and the present tense use of Uruks or Uruk.

Tolkien has restricted himself by determining that there are many different Uruks out there. So, he cannot use the term ambivalently. That is, he cannot refer to "the Uruks" because the reader would have no idea of who "the Uruks" were.

But he CAN refer to The Uruk-hai because the reader IMMEDIATELY knows who they are.

Here is an example:

Quote:No hours so dark had Pippin known, not even in the clutches of the Uruk-hai. It was his duty to wait upon the Lord, and wait he did, forgotten it seemed, standing by the door of the unlit chamber, mastering his own fears as best he could. And as he watched, it seemed to him that Denethor grew old before his eyes, as if something had snapped in his proud will, and his stern mind was overthrown. Grief maybe had wrought it, and remorse. He saw tears on that once tearless face, more unbearable than wrath.

This paragraph comes from "The Siege of Gondor" in The Return of the King. We have already seen Gorbag and Shagrat. We have not yet seen the tracker Orc. At this point in the story, we know who the Uruk-hai are: they are the Isengarders who captured Merry and Pippin, and they are the Isengarders who led the assault on the Hornburg.

There is no other usage of the Uruk-hai in the past tense in the narrative. The only occurence of this phrase in the past tense comes in the paragraph from Appendix F, where Tolkien uses it to distinguish them from the other Uruks:

Quote:Orcs and the Black Speech. Orc is the form of the name that other races had for this foul people as it was in the language of Rohan. In Sindarin it was orch. Related, no doubt, was the word uruk of the Black Speech, though this was applied as a rule only to the great soldier-orcs that at this time issued from Mordor and Isengard. The lesser kinds were called, especially by the Uruk-hai, snaga 'slave'.

It cannot be stressed enough that this paragraph shows conclusively that Tolkien distinguished between the Uruk-hai and all other Uruks. He identifies uruk as a word "applied as a rule only to the great soldier-orcs that at this time issued from Mordor and Isengard". The word uruk itself is a name, in fact it is the Black Speech name for ALL Orcs -- not just the ones we refer to as Uruks.

No one seems to have a problem identifying all greater Orcs (as distinct from all lesser Orcs) as Uruks, even though all Orcs are, technically, Uruks.

But some of you stop short of allowing Tolkien to use Uruk-hai to refer only to the Isengarders. So, you are trying to have it both ways, saying that Uruk-hai cannot be a tribal name while allowing Uruk to be exactly that (or a super-tribal name, within the context of a larger race).

There is no difference between Tolkien's use of Uruk to refer only to the greater soldier-Orcs in the story and his use of Uruk-hai to refer only to the Isengarder (greater) soldier-Orcs in the story.
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#20
Quote:Originally posted by Bacchus
Now MM is fond of using the reducio ad adsurdium in refuting this line of thought. Since Tolkien never specifically stated that Orcs did not carry Uzis (or hand grenades), maybe they did. It's an effective debate technique, because it's difficult to answer. But again, the argument is only suggestive. Tolkien never explicitly discussed a number of things. Are we to assume that none of these things occurred? Sex is the most obvious example. We should be fairly safe in assuming that it occurred in ME, despite the fact that T never goes into gory details.

Let's use some of my speculative essays to discuss this point a little further. For example, in a couple of them, I argue that Elvish regret is somehow bound up with the Rings of Power. I even go so far as to speak of Elvish shame.

Tolkien never, in any published text I have read, refers to this shame. He does refer to their sense of regret, and he ties it to their lengthening years.

Is it enough to say that getting older should cause regret? I don't think anyone would conclude that. The accumulated experience of all those years leads to the regret. The nature of Elvish regret, being nowhere explained, is ambivalent. So, I have proposed one cause for that regret which is arguable based on the texts.

Elrond says the Elves are willing to suffer a great loss -- virtually the loss of their delight in Middle-earth -- in order to bring about the defeat of Sauron. His words imply a sense of burden or obligation which Tolkien doesn't explore. So, even if my deductions are wrong, we know from this and other passages (such as Gildor's exchange with Frodo) that the Elves have their own concerns.

Therefore, it is reasonable to infer what those concerns might be. We don't have to fall back on the "Tolkien never said they didn't have concerns" argument, because (in fact) he DID say it, just not in that way.

Where Orcish Uzis and hand grenades come in, Tolkien did NOT say they had them indirectly. The argument that "Tolkien didn't say they did NOT have them" still fails because all it does is rewrite Tolkien.

It's not what Tolkien fails to deny, it is what Tolkien fails to imply, that determines whether an inference is genuinely acceptable.

If he fails to imply that the Elves did something wrong, that they might be atoning for something in their past, then we have no basis for inferring what that wrong thing might have been. (Of course, my essays do have the advantage of including passages from Tolkien's Letters, where he indicates that creating the Rings of Power was wrong.)

So, we cannot say, "Tolkien didn't deny that rebel Uruk-hai applies to Gorbag's company". There is nothing to that argument.

The real question is, can we say, "Tolkien implies there is something more to rebel Uruk-hai than the Isengarders?"

There is nothing in the tracker Orcs' speech which suggests such an implication is intended. It is just one passing comment, and there are no others like it.

Quote:As to the instant case, MM claims that there is no basis to infer that "rebel Uruk-hai" could refer to Gorbag's band of Uruks. I disagree. As he points out, Gorbag has been called a rebel, and a uruk. The only basis for inferring that the rebel Uruk-hai comment must refer to Isengarders is a painstaskingly precise parsing of language, coupled with the (IMO) flawed logic discussed above.

No, the only basis for inferring that the comment refers to the Isengarders is the fact that all previous uses of Uruk-hai refers only to the Isengarders.

To suggest that, suddenly, the phrase now applies to a different group of Orcs without any supporting evidence, is equivalent to suggesting that "Ent" applies to a nearby tree in Gondor -- a tree incapable of self-animation, speech, or thought, but which sort of looks like Treebeard.

There is no need for Tolkien to be painstakingly careful in his use of either Uruk-hai or Ent. He is quite liberally spreading these terms throughout the story, but they always consistently refer only to specific creatures. He doesn't use these words interchangeably to refer to other creatures.

Now, a good word which Tolkien uses more generally is "man"; and another example is "elf". He refers to "the Elves" and "the Elves", and he refers to "men" and he refers to "men".

In some cases, "the Elves" are High Elves, in some cases they are all Elves, and in some cases they are Elves of Lothlorien.

In some cases, "men" are men of Rohan, in some cases they are all men, and in some cases they are men of Gondor (or of Bree, or wherever).

How is it that we are not confused by Tolkien's casual uses of these words to refer to various sub-groups as well as their entire races?

We are provided with enough information in each usage to know whom Tolkien is identifying.

He offers absolutely nothing in the text to sugest that "rebel Uruk-hai" shoudl refer to any group other than the Isengarders. No one else is ever explicitly identified as a member of the Uruk-hai: not Gorbag, nor any of his company.

So, no special considerations or parsings are required to determine that the rebel Uruk-hai are, indeed, the only Uruk-hai who have ever been named: the Uruk-hai of Isengard.

On the other hand, a great deal of Tolkien's writing must be ignored in order to justify the use of Uruk-hai to refer to Gorbag's company, who are never identified as Uruk-hai.

It is the same as if we suddenly apply the word "men" to Elrond's people. There is no textual support for making such an identification. Neither is there any textual support for identifying "rebel Uruk-hai" with Gorbag's company.
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