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Art by Steve Otis
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Half-orcs
"He looks more than half like a goblin."
Frodo Baggins[1]

Half-orcs were among Saruman's servants in the late Third Age, so named by Aragorn.[2]



The origin and nature of the half-orcs is unknown. Saruman's servants also included creatures known as Goblin-men who appeared to blend the traits of Men and Orcs. It is unclear if these beings are related to or synonymous with the half-orcs.[3] Treebeard speculated on the nature of such creatures, wondering if they were the result of Men ruined by Saruman or if he had blended the two races.[4]

Among the Dunlendings who came to Saruman's banner of the White Hand in Isengard, there were large men, lynx-eyed and evil, who were called half-orcs.[2] Many were counted among the strongest servants of Saruman. The half-orcs mostly perished at Battle of the Hornburg, either before the fortress walls or by the Huorns. Yet some lived beyond that day of doom and followed Saruman into exile, even to the Hobbit lands of the Shire, where they served the fallen Wizard until his last breath.[5]

Other versions of the legendarium

Concerning the origin of the half-orcs, J.R.R. Tolkien suggested late in his life that:

It became clear in time that undoubted Men could under the domination of Morgoth or his agents in a few generations be reduced almost to the Orc-level of mind and habits; and then they would or could be made to mate with Orcs, producing new breeds, often larger and more cunning. There is no doubt that long afterwards, in the Third Age, Saruman rediscovered this, or learned of it in lore, and in his lust for mastery committed this, his wickedest deed: the interbreeding of Orcs and Men, producing both Men-orcs large and cunning, and Orc-men treacherous and vile.

Portrayal in adaptations

Half-orcs in adaptations
Half-orc in the Middle-earth Role Playing  
Half-orc Bandit in The Lord of the Rings Online  

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Half-orcs (Sindarin Piryrch, sing. Perorch) are a crossbeed between Men and Orcs, being a distinct race in their own. Game statistics are given for players choosing to be a Half-orc.[7]

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

Half-orcs and Greater Half-orcs are Orc Factions, playable by Fallen Wizards.[8]

2007-: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Half-orc Bandits are found in the Lone-lands.[9]

See also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Knife in the Dark"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Flotsam and Jetsam"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Helm's Deep"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Treebeard"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Scouring of the Shire"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] X", pp. 418-9
  7. S. Coleman Charlton (1993), Middle-earth Role Playing (2nd edition, softcover) (#2001), p. 177
  8. "(Results from search for cards in the game Middle Earth)", (accessed 3 April 2014)
  9. "Lord of the Rings Online Half-Orc Bandit", (accessed 3 April 2014)