Are There Female Orcs in The Lord of the Rings?


The young and naive hobbit Frodo Babbins is running away from the evil army of Orcs created by Saruman. While he is required to destroy the One Ring and prevent it from getting into the hands of the Dark Forces, the Orcs are on a mission to kill him and take it away from him. 

Devoted to the Evil powers, they were an ugly, destructive, and monstrous creation like goblins, but meaner and uglier. Very often, the internet is torn apart over the discussion of their origin, gender, and whether the female orcs exist or not. So, let’s conclude the debate of female orcs forever in this article.

Do Female Orcs Exist?

Yes, there are female Orcs in the Middle Earth. Their existence was confirmed in the Munby letter sold at an auction in 2002. Mr, Tolkiens declared to Mrs. Munby that the female orcs indeed exist in the LOTR universe. They were not very prominent in the whole narrative as they did not travel often or went on wars.

We will use various examples from the text to support this statement, although the Munby letter pretty much confirms it. But before we delve into this discussion, here is a brief introduction to the story to catch the new readers up.

Summary

Set in the fictional land of Middle Earth, the saga of Lord of the Rings is a fantasy novel created by J.R.R Tolkien in three parts. The story revolves around a 33 years old hobbit named Mr. Frodo and his companions Sam, Merry, and Pippin, who set out on a quest to destroy the One Ring, whose creation traces back to the Second Age of Middle Earth. When men, elves, and dwarves acquired Rings of Power. However, the Dark Lord Sauron managed to devise a ring that can dominate the rest in order to rule the Middle Earth.  

Later in the battle of Mordor, the alliance of Men and Elves battled him where Isildur killed Sauron by severing his finger, thus gaining access to the One Ring. Like its previous owner and creator, the Ring ends up corrupting Isildur and turns him into a despotic, thus initiating the Third Age of Middle Earth. But during a clash between the Orcs and his army, the Ring falls into the River Anduin. 

After almost 2500 years, it was discovered by Smeagol, who belonged to hobbit like race, and stayed with him for five centuries while One Ring turns him into a creature known as Gollum. Eventually, Bilbo Baggins (Frodo’s Uncle) found it in the Misty Mountains and kept it with him, unaware of its history. That is how it landed in the hands of Frodo, who ventured to Mordor to destroy the Ring. 

But did he end up destroying the Ring? Did the Ring eventually corrupt him like its previous owners? Don’t worry! There are no spoilers ahead since we are very well aware of the joy these books and movies bring. Instead, this article will focus on the humanoid army of Orcs entitled with the task of killing the Fellowship and finding the One Ring.

Are There Any Female Orcs In Lotr?

As previously mentioned, the writer himself answered this question in a letter by acknowledging their occurrence. Moreover, he also hinted upon this idea in The Silmarillion as following “For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Iluvatar.”

Here the author has indirectly referred to the method of their breeding, which requires both female and male counterparts. Later in The Silmarillion, it is implied that they are a modified race of elves mutilated by Saruman. Since elves reproduce sexually, fans like to believe that orcs copulate as well. Hence the confirmation that female orcs are present in Middle Earth.

Additionally, in The Hobbit, the prominent leader of Northern Orcs named Azog had a son Bolg. Bolg led the army of orcs in the Battle of Azanulbizar in the Third Age after his father’s death. This fact further supports the idea that female orcs were indeed present in the saga. However, the writer did not shed enough light on them throughout the whole fiction.

Do Orcs Have A Gender?

The one thing famous about the writing style of Mr. Tolkien is that he kept changing his mind with time. When it comes to the gender or breeding of Orcs, he never fully settled on one definitive answer. 

There have been some inconsistencies in this matter in the text. For Example, according to the text, in The Fall of The Gondolin from The Book of Lost Tales, they were created by Morgoth. The passage goes like, ” For all, that race was Bred by Morgoth from the subterranean heats and the slimes of the earth. 

Their hearts were of granite, and their bodies deformed.” One can easily infer that they were genderless and did not reproduce sexually. 

But later in The Hobbit, he talks about how they had elven blood and were a part of their race. The elves fell into darkness and bred with beasts, thus turning them into the malevolent race of orcs. As we all know that elves exist as male and female, the orcs would continue to be the same as their descendants. As a result of these contradictions, it is difficult to conclude an absolute answer to this question.

How Are Orcs Spawned In LOTR?

To answer this question, we will refer to Mr. Tolkien’s notes published by Christopher Tolkien as Morgoth’s Ring. In part 5 of this series Myth’s Reformed, from page 409-410, he implies that evil is incapable of creating a new species on its own. Therefore, they had to come from something pre-existing. The most common belief is that Saroun contaminated some beings with elvan blood and turned them into orcs through his magical powers.

“For they were made in hatred and with hatred they were filled” Morgoth’s Ring, Page 194-195.

Their creation is somewhat a mystery as the writer was not consistent with one idea. He left this as an open question with multiple possible answers. For Example, in The Tale of TinĂºviel, he introduces them as “foul broodlings of Melkor who fared abroad doing his evil work.”  

Then in the Fall of Gondolin, they were an outcome of Morgoth’s sorcery, and they composed of heat and slime. In the film adaptation of the books, they were coming out of the mud, thus complementing the previous narrative. 

There is also some evidence of half Orcs (a hybrid of man and orc) found in the books. such as “They were beasts of the humanized shape.” So once again, we are at a lack of a conclusive answer to their spawning.

Why Are There No Female Orcs In The Shadow Of War?

In the game Shadow of War, there are no females in the entire gameplay. It raises a lot of questions regarding their gender, breeding, and creation. Fans have been contemplating various theories on this subject. The most common being the restriction of female roles to nursing, birth, and house chores. 

Orcs were a patriarchal society, and they only considered women as baby breeding stocks. Think of them like Handmaids in Gilead; used only for reproduction and possibly killed when they are no longer fertile.

Some fans think that they are locked up inside harems and used for sexual as well as breeding prospects. This theory holds a lot of weight because their lifespan was very short due to the consumption of Orcish biomass on battles. In addition to this, most of the orcs died in Samuron Orc Academy, where they were preparing to join his army. 

Accordingly, it was highly unlikely that they participated in battles and traveled alongside men. The female orcs were most likely working in the kitchens and raising the baby orcs. So, this could be the primary reason they did not receive enough limelight in the LOTR universe, including the Shadow of War video game.

What Happened To Orcs After Sauron Died?

Sauron died in the War of the Ring that took place in the Third Age of Middle Earth. After his death, most of his Orc army was destroyed at the Black Doors as well as in Mordor. However, in some areas of the Middle Earth, such as the Misty Mountains and natural caverns, they survived. Mostly because they were not much dependent on the Dark Lord Sauron. 

The orcs could procreate on their own hence making them self.sustaining. They survived until the Fourth Age but lost the direction and purpose of their lives. Mainly because they were deprived of the magic (his Vala and Maia energy) of Sauron. Some believe that they were confined to a piece of land assigned to them by King Aragorn near Lake Nurn in Southern Mordor.

This zone was their homeland and denied them access to Gorgoroth. 

The bottom line is that orcs were not inherently an evil race rather transformed into one. They did not know any other way of living since their only purpose was to fight for their dark lords. So, it is believed that they improved morally after being away from the satanic influence.

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