Orcs of Isengard
|Orcs of Isengard|
|"Orcs of the White Hand" by John Howe|
|Origins||A mix of Orcs bred by Saruman and of Orcs of the Mountains|
The Orcs of Isengard or Isengarders were the Orcs that had settled in the pits within the Ring of Isengard, serving the fallen Wizard Saruman. They made up the bulk of his manpower, as well as a significant part of the forces he sent to assail the neighboring kingdom of Rohan.
The wizard's own breeding of Orcs must have began at earliest around T.A. 2990 and these troops were kept in the muddy pits tunneled beneath Isengard in preparation for Saruman's attack on Rohan. This programme included the cross-breeding of Orcs and Men, and the making or improving of the perilous Uruk-hai, the fiercest and largest of those in the service of the White Hand.
After renouncing the White Council and secretly becoming the duplicitous servant of the Enemy in T.A. 3000, Saruman began to harass the kingdom of Rohan by throwing in with its enemies. As the Shadow of Sauron extended, Orcs began to pillage the eastern villages of the Rohirrim and were joined by others from the Misty Mountains, some being in the service of Saruman such as great Uruks.
During the War of the Ring, Saruman sent a large force of Orcs backed by Dunlendings and two battalions of Uruk-hai in T.A. 3019 in the First Battle of the Fords of Isen, with Prince Théodred being slain per his orders. This was done both to allow him and his master, Sauron, full control over Rohan as part of the latter's war on the West, but also to more easily allow Saruman himself to dispatch parties of Orcs on routes the Fellowship of the Ring was likely to take. Such a troop joined by Orcs of Mordor and "northerners" ambushed the company at Amon Hen, mortally-wounding Boromir and capturing the halflings Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. Near the eaves of Fangorn Forest however, the Orcs were attacked by the Riders of Rohan led by Éomer and slain to the last.
Saruman's host overwhelmed Rohirrim defenders in the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen, allowing his army of ten thousand Orcs (mostly Uruk-hai) reinforced by Dunlending hordes to push through towards Helm's Deep where King Théoden had chosen to make his stand. Though initially gaining the upper hand due to superior numbers and the machinery they had, the Battle of the Hornburg ended with the crushing defeat of Saruman's forces. Bitter at the destruction the wizard had dealt to their forest, the Ents of Fangorn set out towards Isengard, laying down the walls, crushing the Orcs and flooding the fortress.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Uruk-hai"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Palantíri"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Riders of Rohan"