Snaga (orc of Mordor)

From Tolkien Gateway
"Snaga" by Randy Gallegos and Quinton Hoover
Biographical Information
LocationCirith Ungol
Death14 March, T.A. 3019
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Snaga

An Orc, addressed as Snaga, was part of the garrison of the Tower of Cirith Ungol. He was one of the few survivors of the Battle of Cirith Ungol[1] on 14 March T.A. 3019.[2]

Snaga was running down the stairs of the tower when he encountered what he thought was a "Great Elf-warrior" on the stairs. Spinning around, he fled back the way he came. The "Great Elf-warrior" was actually Samwise Gamgee who followed the Orc, although being tired he fell behind his foe.

Snaga came upon Shagrat, who ordered him to send word to Sauron that they captured a Halfling. Snaga refused, and after a short chase, made his way to the top of the tower. There, he lashed the prisoner, Frodo Baggins, with a whip. He was quickly overcome by Samwise Gamgee, and fell through the trap door to his death.[1]


Snaga was a contemptuous term for the lesser Orcs of Mordor and Isengard, used especially among the larger and stronger Uruk-hai. It comes from a word in the Black Speech meaning 'slave' or 'servant'.[3]

Portrayal in adaptations

1980: The Return of the King (1980 film):

Two Orcs appear in the role of Snaga, though none are called or credited as such. Sam encounters one on the stairs, who runs, trips and falls to his doom. A second orc is lashing Frodo. After a short fight, he too falls to his doom.

1981: The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series):

Snaga was voiced by Gordon Reid.

1989: Crack of Doom Software Adventure

Snaga is simply referred to in-game as a "small rat-faced Orc", and is armed with a short knife. Like in the book, he will flee upon first seeing Sam, leading the player on a short chase through the tower until he reaches the "large angry Orc". He can be killed by Sam.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Like in the animated film, Snaga's role is seemingly filled by more than one Orc. First, Sam encounters a trio of Uruk-hai on the stairs, before slaying all three of them. Later, Gorbag (who survives the battle in this adaptation) fulfills the latter role as the Orc that threatens Frodo before being killed by Sam.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 79