From Tolkien Gateway
Steve Otis - Greater Half-orcs.jpg
"Greater Half-orcs" by Steve Otis
General Information
LocationsDunland, Isengard
Physical Description
Average heightLarger than normal orcs[source?]
Skin colorSallow[1][2]
GalleryImages of Half-orcs
"Are they men he has ruined or has he blended the races of orcs and men?"
Treebeard in The Two Towers, "Flotsam and Jetsam"

Half-orcs were among Saruman's servants in the late Third Age. They were large men, lynx-eyed and evil.[1]

Saruman's servants also included creatures known as Goblin-men who appeared to blend the traits of Men and Orcs, but they were a different breed.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

The origin and nature of the half-orcs is unknown. In the Third Age, apparently Saruman learned that it was possible to mate Men with Orcs, producing stronger and larger Orcs, or vile and cunning Men. Thus he created half-orcs and goblin-men who served him.[4]

The Squint-eyed southerner from Dunland was possibly a half-orc.[2]

Half-orcs were among the Dunlendings who came to Saruman's banner of the White Hand in Isengard.[1] Many were counted among the strongest servants of Saruman. The half-orcs mostly perished at the Battle of the Hornburg, either before the fortress walls or by the Huorns.

More Half-orcs later followed Saruman into exile, and were among his Ruffians who occupied the Shire.[5]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

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.[6]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

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-orcs were categorized as one of the varieties of Orc-kind, along with Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins and Uruks. Half-orc Bandits were found in the Lone-lands.[9] They were affiliated with Saruman and could be found in almost every region he had influence in. His half-orcs in Eriador included many in Dunland, Enedwaith, Eregion, the Lone-lands, and Andrath in Bree-land. A small number of half-orcs could be found as far as Nan Gurth in Angmar. His half-orcs also could be found in Rohan as far east as the Sutcrofts in the Eastemnet.

See also[edit | edit source]