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"Rings of Power - Orcs as misunderstood refugees" Topic

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707 hits since 21 Jun 2022
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
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SBminisguy21 Jun 2022 8:30 p.m. PST

Reading the recent IGN article revealing the Rings of Power Orc costumes, it is revealed that they want to dive into the "story" of the Orcs… we get to see:

…Orcs are low in numbers, down on their luck, and fighting for survival.,,,

It was really important to them to treat them as their own culture and explore their world on its own two legs in its own right….

"We spent a lot of time talking about what it would mean to be an Orc in the Second Age," said Weber. "It felt appropriate that their look would be different, part of a wilder, more raw, Second Age, Middle-earth, closer to where the First Age ends. As we meet them, they're not yet organized into armies, they're a little more scattered and they've been scavenging. So it's just a different time in their total story."

And we get to meet…Orcish Warrior Princess!! That's right, we get to see female Orcs taking a main role, eh?

"There's some female Orcs that I truly loved," she said. "But there's one Orc in particular, who's very, very tall and strong, who has a particularly enjoyable fight with one of our Elven characters that I suspect will be, or hope will be a favorite among fans."

Some of these Orcy-Orcs will end up being led by the new Arondir elf character…so a black elf gets to lead the misunderstood Orc refugees??? So the leading black elf character is a gang leader -- am I reading that right???

Btw, what should Arondir be, if he's an Elf "touched by the Dark Lord." Why that's called an Orc! But remember that the Elves were so resistant to the corruption of Morgoth that he had to use torture and brutalize them, and use fell magic to twist and warp Elves into his genetically-bred loyal Orc warriors. They were magically bred to hate all other beings, to see them as food prey, and to revel in pain and violence. They also worshipped Morgoth first, and then Sauron as a god and had a cult based around Sauron that included sacrificing Orcs and other beings. So if Adar falls in with the Orcs, who should see him as an ancient enemy and meat for their cookpots, he's pretty dang weak-willed, isn't he? No fell magic needed, just "touched" and some feelz.


Wackmole921 Jun 2022 8:38 p.m. PST

Oh for a power transformer around JRR Tolkien's coffin.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2022 9:15 p.m. PST

One orc vs one elf in Tolkein would be a short fight. The more I read about this series the clearer it becomes that this has nothing to do with Tolkein's world. This is modern fantasy tacked on to his world to try to get some viewers.

SBminisguy21 Jun 2022 9:28 p.m. PST

One more thought – IIRC the Orcs were always aware of Sauron's presence, as he was of theirs. So they wouldn't have been truly leaderless, would they? At worst it would be like a leader in exile sending radio messages to loyal partisans behind the lines, more likely he would visit his more important units to instill deeper devotion. So the whole premise of "leaderless Orcs" is wrong.

Martin Rapier21 Jun 2022 11:57 p.m. PST

I'm sure it will be an amusing thing to watch. There are so many great stories in the Silmarillion, I hope they don't butcher it too much.

Lucius22 Jun 2022 2:42 a.m. PST

"Forget it, Jake. It's Amazon."

JLA10522 Jun 2022 6:26 a.m. PST

+1 Dn Jackson. I was looking forward to this series at first, but the more I read about it the more it looks like 'more of the same'. I'll likely give this series a pass now.

Stryderg22 Jun 2022 6:36 a.m. PST

You and close to 100% of Tolkien fans.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 7:11 a.m. PST

Go wok… never mind.

The first trailers made this thing look like a steaming pile of Mamuk dung. Now I'm going to remove the Mamuk, because that would actually be including Tolkien's vision. This isn't Tolkien, it's really bad D&D fan-fic written by social media wannabe "influencers."
No, I haven't seen any of it, and won't. But in this case, they've informed me enough to know that I should waste neither my time nor my money.
Christopher Tolkien should have made certain he had "kill" rights on derivative works. But that ship sailed to Valinor a long, long time ago.

Perris070722 Jun 2022 7:18 a.m. PST

Think of it as Warhammer-based instead of LOTR or the Silmarillion and then you may want to watch it. I will spend my time elsewhere, perhaps getting some painting done.

SBminisguy22 Jun 2022 7:32 a.m. PST

Think of it as Warhammer-based instead of LOTR

More like World of Warcraft based…but good point!

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 9:21 a.m. PST

Perris0707, that really doesn't make me want to watch it. It may make me want to not watch it just marginally less…

Mister Tibbles22 Jun 2022 10:41 a.m. PST

This new series is getting brutalized by the entire online community, from forums to youtube.

I just want to know how the Tolkien estate is letting this travesty happen? I thought his estate was very protective of the IP? Or is it just $$$ they care about?

BTW remember that in the new edition of D&D, orcs are people too. How dare we looked at them as just something to kill for easy XP. Now we must have an open dialog with them about their oppression, maybe pay some reparations for the being oppressed by old school RPG players like myself--then kill them for the XP.

Stryderg22 Jun 2022 11:40 a.m. PST

My guess is that they won't have to pay Tolkien's estate because they are not using any of his characters. They just took his setting, marginally, then sprinkled in their own vision of who his characters should have been. And in my games, we jump straight to the gaining XP part.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 12:28 p.m. PST

In the classic Tom Wham game Kings-n-Things (aka King of the Tabletop), the "history" of the fantasy world includes the appearance of a barbarian tribe that vandalizes the kingdom "Because we was bored and had bad childhoods."
This idea pretty much is that, without the intentional humor.

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 1:56 p.m. PST

Oh, for Pete's sake Orc aren't real!!! They are fictional beings from a popular book. "We spent a lot of time talking about what it means to be an Orc" give me a break. Geez.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 5:32 p.m. PST


Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 9:04 p.m. PST

This show wasn't green lit until after Christopher Tolkien died. That's pretty much all you need to know about why his Father's legacy lost much of its protection. Also, the entire series is based on the Appendices in Return of the King, not the Silmarillion. That both limits them and gives them more freedom to make stuff up. (There are two sets of rights when it comes to Tolkien, held by two different groups, this series is being overseen by the group that doesn't own the Silmarillion.)

I did some work with the Tolkien franchise (not film or tv) a few years back under the same limitations and my team and I went to great pains to ensure everything would be considered of the Tolkien canon and honor his vision. Where we didn't know Tolkiens vision, we talked to Tolkien experts who had the same goal and made sure we weren't stepping over the line. We knew a large and vocal fan base expected no less. I don't think these folks are taking those same great pains, or have twisted the vision to match their world view.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine23 Jun 2022 1:40 a.m. PST

To be honest I coped with the LoTRs movies a few things annoyed me but overall they were sound and the charge of the Rohan at Pellenor fields is still a great bit of cinema.

I freaking hated the Hobbit movies turning what should have been one movie into three and then filling the thing up with crap like Radagast the bunnyman. Whole thing just left me cold.

This new thing I have no interest in. It's just going to be a GoT clone set in some world vaguely resembling Tolkien's work.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 3:29 a.m. PST

Paramount, (I think), is working on an animated film about Helm Hammerhand that looks like it might be tolerable, or even decent.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 8:16 a.m. PST

I will note that while the creators clearly think they are being "sensitive to modern cultural issues," in fact they are essentially equating certain ethnic groups with orcs— else why would the "feelings" of the orcs be of any consideration? If orcs aren't real (and they aren't) then there is no reason to assume they possess either the elements nor rights of humanity, or to assign them the same, unless one has decided that orcs are a stand-in for actual human beings, and that the human beings they stand-in for are from specific ethnic groups. And by equating these groups with orcs, doesn't that mean that one is saying the characteristics of the group are the same as the characteristics of orcs? Can one not see how ultimately offensive and presumptive such an equivalency is? And further more, when one makes that equivalency based on terms like "Dark" and then applies darker makeup to actors playing the roles of orcs, how is that not in and of itself even more offensive? And then to take an actor with actual darker skin playing an elf and make him assume the same characteristics and behaviors of the orcs, isn't that essentially implying that dark-skinned people are inclined to violence and evil? If you're saying "no, no— he's sympathetic to the plight of the orcs," why does he have to be dark-skinned, and why does he have to become evil? Couldn't a fair-skinned actor be the character who is misguided and shifts his support to evil?
It's a mess, fraught with peril and confusion, and is insulting to real people who face real struggles based on race and culture.

Minority people are NOT orcs!
(Or vice versa.)

Orcs are embodiments of evil; they are not beings with Free Will. They are a literary, philosophical and fantastic construct meant to convey the desire, compulsion and intent to do evil that exists within human beings— "Monsters of the Id" to borrow from another source. But they are not human beings themselves. They are literally beings of destruction— actual demons, if you will. They are NOT the "demonization of the other," but the demons themselves. They are not redeemable, they have no capacity for repentance or reconstruction or rehabilitation— if they did, they would not be orcs. The have no capacity to do or be good in any way shape or form. They have no desire for freedom, no desire for "better lives," and they are not in anyway "misunderstood." THEY AREN'T REAL. THEY AREN'T PEOPLE. They are simply evil personified for the purposes of a fantasy story. The need no redemption and they need no defense and they have no excuse. They are literally and literaturely monsters. And that's all they are.
I realize that this is a very difficult thing for some minds to grasp, but not all imagined things are making a statement about real people or are intended, even subconsciously, to be seen as analogs or allegories of real people. Of real human actions? Yes. Of real humans? No. Orcs are the worst of us, personified; there is no "best" to them. They are the evil natures within us that we must fight and reject and defeat, if not destroy— and hence, the orcs exist to be fought and destroyed. Literally they are the Evil which Good must overcome.

And for those who still don't get it (*sigh*): "Orcs are Nazis."
There. Now you can feel good about imaginary heroes imaginarily killing imaginary foes.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 8:29 a.m. PST

On a literary note: In Tolkien there is never any depiction of a female orc. Personally, I put this down to the good professor not really wanting to deal with such things, and knowing he was writing a fairy tale. He had no reason to nor inclination to include female orcs or deal with the questions of orc biology and reproduction. He does state that Saruman is "breeding orcs with goblin men" whatever that's supposed to mean, and (in The Hobbit) that Dain slew Bolg's "father" Azog— but neither statement really means that there are orc women, as Tolkien doesn't deal with where new orcs come from. They "multiply" (he states this), but is he really saying there are orc women? No. It's an assumption of the filmmakers, but it's not actually a thing in any of the books.
(I will confess that I have *not* read any of the collected "notes" and manuscripts posthumously published by Tolkien's family. Perhaps Tolkien did explore the issue there, and then (wisely) decided to ignore it in his final works, and thus these notes should not be considered his final word on the matter, if he even dealt with it at all.)

Dragon Gunner23 Jun 2022 12:38 p.m. PST

Hollywood has decided it has a holy (AHEM unholy…) mission to enlighten the masses with its story telling. There are no evil or bad people in the world just misunderstandings and circumstances. Everyone can be redeemed no matter how vile or dangerous they are. Everyone deserves a second chance regardless of their crimes and to have more victims in the future. In fact, give them third and fourth chances there is no limit to our dingbat enlightenment… Only Hollywood can show us the way to Nirvana…

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 1:31 p.m. PST

Well, I do believe that each individual is capable of remorse, repentance and redemption, and that examining another culture to understand its beliefs, attitudes and drives is important, but I don't believe in moral equivalencies among cultures or views. Some views and actions and cultural practices and attitudes are evil. And if people are bent upon evil, they have earned the consequences of their choices; if they don't wish to experienced those consequences, they need to change their choices.
But that's the real world, not fiction. Orcs are fiction, not people— that's my sole point. If they serve a message it is "don't behave as these creatures do; their behavior is evil, and evil is meant to be fought."
And that's all.

Dragon Gunner23 Jun 2022 1:45 p.m. PST

"Orcs are fiction, not people— that's my sole point".

Hollywood using a fictional story and race to peddle its enlightenment…. Hollywood implies things and hides behind fiction, but I cannot comment further without getting dog housed.

Zephyr123 Jun 2022 9:39 p.m. PST

"but neither statement really means that there are orc women, as Tolkien doesn't deal with where new orcs come from. They "multiply" (he states this), but is he really saying there are orc women? No. It's an assumption of the filmmakers, but it's not actually a thing in any of the books."

Well, can't have the "Orc Princess" being stuck in a breeding pit and having litter after litter of baby Orcs, after all. ;-) (Although they are missing the chance to have a cute lil baby Orc character, much like Baby Yoda… ;-)
And, IIRC, there was a mention of breeding pits somewhere in the volumes of Tolkien material published later, just not sure where…

Martin Rapier23 Jun 2022 11:46 p.m. PST

"Hollywood has decided it has a holy (AHEM unholy…) mission to enlighten the masses with its story telling."

Amazon isn't Hollywood. It is a global mega corporation which subsidises its physical and digital delivery business by renting out server facilities to other global mega corporations. It sells things which sell. Welcome to 21st Century capitalism.

Dragon Gunner24 Jun 2022 1:21 a.m. PST

"Amazon isn't Hollywood"

Amazon Studios HQ located Santa Monica California that is Hollywood! Amazon's other products and services are not relevant to this topic.

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