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"There's a great fighter about, one of those bloody-handed Elves, or one of the filthy tarks."
Snaga, The Return of the King, The Tower of Cirith Ungol

Tark is an Orkish word that was often used by the Orcs of the later Third Age to describe a Man of Númenórean heritage (such as the Gondorians). Considering the enmity between the Orcs and the Men of Gondor, the word tark tended to be used in an insulting way.[1][2]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

There exists at least two, only slightly different, etymological explanations of tark:

  1. a corrupted version of tarkil, a Westron borrowing from Quenya that literally meant "High Man".[3][4]
  2. unknown etymology, but "possibly a mere abbreviation of tarkil".[2]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Whenever a keep is flipped in favor of the Servants of the Eye, an orc calls out "look at the feeble târks run!"

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

Tharzog mentions Tarks in Fornost.

2014: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor:

Orcs and Orc Captains refer to Talion, a ranger of the Black Gates as "the Tark".

2017: Middle-earth: Shadow of War:

As in the previous installment, Orcs and Orc Captains continue to refer to Talion as a "Tark".


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  2. 2.0 2.1 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. 101
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age"
  4. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 603