Of Orc counting and incomplete knowledge

I feel obliged to mention, in connection with the orc question, that human pilots fighting other humans have gleefully counted kills since the beginning of combat aviation (which was in WWI, and thus potentially within Tolkien's knowledge). Neither I nor Tolkien am completely comfortable with this, but I think it provides a possible real world precedent for the orc counting contest. I am not saying that Tolkien based Gimli and Legolas' contest on this phenomenon, but, before we dismiss their behavior as impossible in any world where orcs may possess free will "no matter how irredeemable, no matter how dominated" we should remember what our own species has proved capable of. Of course, this makes Gimli and Legolas into far more flawed heroes than they were meant to be, but it is still an interesting lens to view their conduct through.

Another assumption that seems to go unchallenged in these discussions is that, whatever the origin of the orcs is, everyone important must know it. I think it is actually highly plausible that there would be differing schools of thought on the subject. Thus, one can have one's cake and eat it too. Whether or not they are correct, Gimli and Legolas certainly seem to operate under the assumption that orcs are created and therefore wholly evil, wheras Frodo, when he makes the famous comment to Sam, is clearly operating under the assumption that they must be corrupted Elves (which, given that that explanation makes it into Bilbo's Translations was probably what Bilbo taught him to believe). In the end, however who can know for sure? The Valar might know, and through them, Gandalf, and through him, the Wise of Middle Earth, but I do not think this is nearly as much of a given as many seem to assume. After all, the Valar are, on multiple occasions, ignorant of the doings of Melkor, most notably in the lead up to the Darkening and in the time of the Dark Rider at Qui Vyenin, (sorry I have no idea how to spell that, one of the downfalls of a purely auditory exposure to the Silmarilion.) Furthermore, I think that the elves at least would have a vested interest in denying that any of their kind could ever be capable of the evil which orcs perpetrate.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
If Orcs are corrupted Elves, who still have 'souls', then the Halls of Mandos must be stuffed full of them (assuming they are not re-bodied to mingle with the other Elves in Valinor).
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Well... technically they do not HAVE to go there... they can say no and become poltergeists...
actually if i was an orc i would rather become a spook and continue to do some big mischief than go to hell.
 

Forodan

Active Member
Once again, it is clearly stated in the Ainulindale that Melkor shares in all of the gifts of his brethren. That includes Mandos, who had the power to control 'souls' to some degree. I posted an entire thread about this in regards to a part of LotR that we won't get to for a long time.

 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Well what does control souls mean? Mandon can clean or punish them and putbthem into new bodies... but control?
 

Forodan

Active Member
Good question. Tolkien does not go into any detail in any of his published writings. When a being with a 'soul' dies they are 'summoned' to Mandos somehow. It might be possible to refuse the summons, who knows?
 
Well... technically they do not HAVE to go there... they can say no and become poltergeists...
actually if i was an orc i would rather become a spook and continue to do some big mischief than go to hell.
Mandos Halls of Waiting are not Hell. That is very important to understand. Every human who goes to purgatory is redeemed and will go to heaven (eventually). Hell is when you refuse the summons and then follow Melkors summons. I think you cannot forever refuse both. But living the miserable life of someone who refused the first summons will more likely end in choosing Melkors summons
 
I wonder why Tolkien did not solve the Orc-Origin-Dilemma by making them Deamons. It is even the correct translation, so he must have had it in his mind. Can anyone tell me? Why did he not make them like Balrogs who were fallen before Arda was made and were therefore outside of scope of redemption as they chose evil outside of time, hence forever. Why not make them all Maiar who fell and then took a bodily shape or even take control of dead hroar?
In Christian tradition Deamons are fallen angels. Like Wormwood in the Screwtape Letters. I guess there is noone complaining of Jesus being mercyless with Deamons.
Similarly noone discusses whether Balrogs are redeemable.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I wonder why Tolkien did not solve the Orc-Origin-Dilemma by making them Deamons. It is even the correct translation, so he must have had it in his mind. Can anyone tell me? Why did he not make them like Balrogs who were fallen before Arda was made and were therefore outside of scope of redemption as they chose evil outside of time, hence forever. Why not make them all Maiar who fell and then took a bodily shape or even take control of dead hroar?
In Christian tradition Deamons are fallen angels. Like Wormwood in the Screwtape Letters. I guess there is noone complaining of Jesus being mercyless with Deamons.
Similarly noone discusses whether Balrogs are redeemable.
Again the reason is the Shagrat & Gorbag conversation in TLOTR. Those are not deamons speaking.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Mandos Halls of Waiting are not Hell. That is very important to understand. Every human who goes to purgatory is redeemed and will go to heaven (eventually). Hell is when you refuse the summons and then follow Melkors summons. I think you cannot forever refuse both. But living the miserable life of someone who refused the first summons will more likely end in choosing Melkors summons
Do Orcs know that? I doubt it.
 
Do Orcs know that? I doubt it.
They are certainly told that, together with the summons. Revelation of truth will reach everyone in the end. Otherwise eschatology would be most unfair and eternal life not a free choice. Can't be condemned to eternal Hell just because you didn't know what Heaven is. Also heathens must get a chance to avoid Hell
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Well allright.If somebody ever told them, then who? And then:Would they believe him?

The thing is, for example we don't really know what Morgoth or Sauron told them.Then by now my personal position is:Orcs aren't simply heathens, they are sick.Their mental state is a disease, they must be healed at first, then could be taught, and then maybe even experience salvation. Most likely rather a job for an exorcist...
 
Well allright.If somebody ever told them, then who? And then:Would they believe him?

The thing is, for example we don't really know what Morgoth or Sauron told them.Then by now my personal position is:Orcs aren't simply heathens, they are sick.Their mental state is a disease, they must be healed at first, then could be taught, and then maybe even experience salvation. Most likely rather a job for an exorcist...
I think the voice of the summons is the same who does the revelation. Maybe Eru or the Flame Imperishable.
I like your position because it integrates my guess. They are children of Eru but possessed by a fallen Maia (deamon). The demonic part of them is irredeemable while the rest is and will be summoned which makes Legolas and Gimlis contest resemble witch haunting in the middle ages. So killing them is kind of ok and Melkor is not a creator and the dilemma is solved.
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
What part exactly do you mean? I can't see why this conversation could not be between two Balrogs or Ungoliant and Sauron
Demon are not attacked by a "quite life" as they are not "alive". They are all about domination and exploitation of living beings. Hatred is their essencial and a purely destructive force. They are unable to enjoy anything. See Ungoliant.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I guess i'd have to second that.What Gorbag and Shagrat are talking about are the thoughts of evil men, not demons.Talking about exorcism... a thing like the jewish Dibbuk, a wraith, could it exist within catholicism? It should, right?
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I guess i'd have to second that.What Gorbag and Shagrat are talking about are the thoughts of evil men, not demons.Talking about exorcism... a thing like the jewish Dibbuk, a wraith, could it exist within catholicism? It should, right?
There is a principal difference in the degree to which an unbaptised person can be possesed compared to a already baptised one. We do not deal much with unbaptised persons when theorising about possessions, so while of course e.g. missionaries would try to exorcise also unbaptised persons when needed, nobody really cares much about exactly meassuring the extent of how far such a possession could reach. So it is hard to say.
 
As far as I understand a Dibbuk is a soul or spirit of a dead human. As far as I am concerned in catholic teaching deamons never were human but are fallen angels. But that there are deamons in catholic worldview is clear
 
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