What do YOU think?
It’s one of those questions from Middle-earth that keeps cropping up, as there is no definitive answer yet.
In The Silmarillion Tolkien writes that Orcs came into being before the First Age in mockery of the Elves. Does the fact that Elves do not die a natural death imply that orcs embody the same immortality? Or do they age and die quicker due to their corrupt origin?
Let us not forget that in The Hobbit, the goblins of Goblin-Town are terrorised by Orcrist, which was last used during the Siege of Gondolin in the First Age. To some it indicates that these same goblins (or Orcs) were present during that conflict and have been living under the Misty Mountains for thousands of years.
Others challenge this claim by stating the simple fact that Orcs, like Men, Elves and Dwarves, have their own tales that are passed from one generation to the next. The fear of the swords of Gondolin may have descended through the ages from father to son till the time of The Hobbit.
Then there’s the other issue.
The only orc for whom we can estimate a specific age is Bolg. Following some quick calculations, we know that Azog was killed in TA2799. His son would, presumably, already have been born at that time (or conceived, at least … ugh). He appears during the Battle of Five Armies in TA2941. This means that bolg was at least 142 years old at the time of the Battle, well beyond the normal lifespan of men.
So we may cautiously conclude that, if not immortal, orcs certainly embody some of the qualities that make Elves ageless.
Now I pose the question to you. What do you think about Orcs and immortality? Do the drafts in Morgoth’s Ring convince you otherwise?
Share your thoughts with us!