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An ogre in LOTRO

Ogres were monstrous and destructive creatures of legend and folklore. In fact, it is doubtful whether Ogres ever existed in Middle-earth.

During the Riddle-game with Gollum, Bilbo Baggins in his attempt to solve Gollum's fifth riddle, he sat thinking of all the horrible names of all the giants and ogres he had ever heard told of in tales.[1].

No ogre is ever mentioned in the annals of the Elder Days and none played any role in the wars and battles. It is entirely possible that they were a mythical race.

It is also possible that Ogre were just another name for the Trolls.[2]


Other versions of the legendarium

Ogres were used by J.R.R. Tolkien in early drafts of the legendarium as a name for one of the monsters bred by Melkor along with Gongs and the other Úvanimor.[3]

They are mentioned as cannibal giants. Those of the north were known as Hongwir while the southern ones were named Sarqindi.[4] Sarqindi is glossed as "Cannibal-ogres".[5]

Tolkien mentioned again ogres out of context in analyses of the name Orc: "...the gloss Þyrs 'ogre'..." , and of the name Ettendales: "This is meant to be a Common Speech (not Elvish) name, though it contains an obsolete element eten 'troll, ogre'."[2]


In his childhood, Tolkien and his brother Hilary gave a miller and a farmer, who frightened the boys and lived near the Sarehole Mill in the Moseley area of Birmingham, the nicknames "White Ogre" and "Black Ogre", respectively.[6] These characters also appear in stories written by Hilary Tolkien.[7]

Tolkien enjoyed reading E.A. Wyke-Smith's The Marvellous Land of Snergs (1927) to his children. The book recounts the adventures of two children and a Snerg ("a race of people only slightly taller than the average table"), and their tale include meeting the vegetarian ogre Golithos.[8]

Portrayal in adaptations

2007-: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Ogres, also known as the Jorthkyn, are unfriendly Earth-kin, related to Giants. They are predominantly found in Nan Amlug East in the North Downs.[9]

External links


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Riddles in the Dark"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pp. 762, 770
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Early Qenya and The Valmaric Script", in Parma Eldalamberon XIV (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), "The Creatures of the Earth"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part II", p. 347
  6. Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography
  7. Hilary Tolkien; Angela Gardner (ed), Black & White Ogre Country: The Lost Tales of Hilary Tolkien
  8. Douglas A. Anderson (ed.), Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy, pp. 359-60
  9. Ogres at (accessed 20 November 2010)
Legendary Races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Great glow-worms · Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Giants · Gongs · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Two-headed Trolls
Fairies:  Dryads · Mermaids · Sprites · Sylphs · White cow
Other:  Badger-folk · Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless Things · Spectres
Individuals:  The Hunter · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · River-woman · Tarlang · Tim