Eastern Orcs

From Tolkien Gateway
Eastern Orcs
John Howe - Orc Swordsman.jpg
"Orc Swordsman" by John Howe
General Information
OriginsOrcs of Morgoth fleeing the Battle of the Powers
Physical Description
DistinctionsUnruly; various stronger kinds
"But further east there were more and stronger kinds, descendants of Morgoth's kingship, but long masterless during his occupation of Thangorodrim, they were yet wild and ungovernable, preying upon one another and upon Men (whether good or evil)."
The Nature of Middle-earth, Note on the Delay of Gil-galad and the Númenóreans

The Eastern Orcs were Orcs inhabiting the far eastern regions of Middle-earth, answering to no one for a long time ever since Morgoth made the fortress of Angband his seat of power. They were an unruly folk, as prone to troubling Men as they were to in-fighting, yet stronger than their northern brethren that had escaped Morgoth's disastrous defeat. Though initially apprehensive of him, the Eastern Orcs eventually came under the sovereignty of Sauron.


Scions of the Orcs that had presumably evaded the Valar when they took Melkor prisoner in the aftermath of the Battle of the Powers, the Eastern Orcs were among the sturdiest of that foul race, certainly more fearsome than those that remained hidden in the North. Becoming accustomed to this autonomous way of living throughout the time of Melkor's captivity and far away from his dominion, they became an unmanageable rabble by the time he returned and settled in Thangorodrim. They were as likely to hunt Men, regardless of their allegiance, as they were to turn on one another owing to the lack of a singular will to organize them.

Due to their remote location they survived Morgoth's defeat in the War of Wrath, thus being more numerous than other remnants of evil forces. Even by the time of Sauron's early rise, the Eastern Orcs were still a disorderly faction and did not immediately bend the knee to him, ensuring his grip on the southern and eastern lands was not as firm he would have hoped. While Sauron assumed a fair hue to deceive the Elves, they held him in disdain and laughed at him.[1] Nonetheless, the Dark Lord ultimately succeeded in uniting all of the Orcs including these petty tribes in the East in a centralized vassalage through their common hatred of both Men and Elves.[2]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XVIII. Note on the Delay of Gil-galad and the Númenóreans", p. 370
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", "[Text] VIII", pp. 419-420