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The following is a list of Orcs of Middle-earth, created by fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien and considered to be part of the Middle-earth canon.


Azog was the name of an Orc chieftain who lived in Moria from about T.A. 2480 to 2799.

He precipitated the War of the Dwarves and Orcs in T.A. 2790 by killing King Thrór, who came to revisit the ruins of Khazad-dûm. By not only killing Thror but torturing him for some days, beheading him and branding his name on the Dwarf's head Azog ensured he earned the hatred of every Dwarf who united in desire to kill him.

In the following years, he was the common enemy of all Dwarves. Gradually the Orcs were driven back through the Misty mountains until they held only Moria and the war he started climaxed in the Battle of Azanulbizar, where he killed Náin, only to be himself slain by Náin's son Dáin. After killing Thror, Azog had thrust a small pouch of money into the Dwarf's mouth, and after his death the Dwarves returned the money, thrusting it into his mouth after beheading him, just as he had done to the old Dwarf.

His son, Bolg, inherited the rulership in Moria and continued it for another 150 years.


Azog the Defiler is portrayed by Manu Bennett in Peter Jackson's adaption of the Hobbit as the main antagonist. Originally the character was portrayed on set by actor John Rawls wearing prosthetics but Peter Jackson decided to have the character created digitally and added in to the already shot footage because he felt that it would have a much more lasting effect (Rawls does appear in the film as the Orc lieutenant Yazneg). In the films, his role is greatly expanded. In the Return of the King appendices he is described as being fully protected by iron armor, though Jackson portrayed him as bare-chested in the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. In the film trilogy's storyline, Azog hails from Gundabad and is considered the most vile of all the Orc race. During the Battle of Azanulbizar, Azog made it clear his intention to wipe out the line of Durin after beheading Thrór and then subduing Thráin II. Azog eventually fights Thorin Oakenshield, forced to fall back to Moria after the Dwarf prince cut off his left forearm. Thorin later believes Azog to have died from his wounds. Unknown to the dwarves, having his forearm replaced with a clawed metal prosthetic, Azog survived and secretly brought Thráin II and his ring to Sauron in Dol Guldur. When the dwarves set out on the quest to retake Erebor, Azog leads a large group of Orcs and Wargs in an attempt to hunt them down. In the climax of the film, Azog and his minions corner Thorin's company in the forest of the Misty Mountains. Thorin fights Azog again and is nearly beheaded. However, Bilbo Baggins saves him and appears ready to fight Azog; the Orc merely smirks and sets his minions on him. Bilbo defends himself and charges at Azog, who uses his Warg to throw him aside, nearly killing the Hobbit but for the Eagles' intervention. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, sending Bolg to continue the hunt in his place, Azog is ordered by Sauron to remain in Dol Guldur. When Gandalf enters Dol Guldur, Azog attacks him before given orders by Sauron to claim Erebor. In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, having his clawed prosthetic replaced with a large blade and now wearing armor, Azog orchestrates a pincer strategy with his primary force and the secondary army stationed at Gundabad to wipe out the dwarves, elves, and men in one fell swoop during The Battle of the Five Armies. Though Thorin planned to kill him to remove the Orcs' advantage with aid from Fili, Kili and Dwalin, the dwarves fell for Azog's trap and Azog murders Fili in front of Thorin. Azog finally battles Thorin on a frozen lake and is knocked underwater. However, he breaks through the ice and stabs Thorin, who allows the Orc to mortally wound him so he can finally kill his enemy by impaling him with Orcrist.

Video games

Azog is also a hero for the Goblins in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II 's expansion pack The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king.


Balcmeg was one of the Orcs killed in the Fall of Gondolin, according to The Book of Lost Tales. Tolkien wrote the story of the fall of the city in 1917 and never fully revised it, and Balcmeg does not appear in the published Silmarillion.


Boldog and Thingol
illustration by Tom Loback

Boldog is a formidable Orc-captain of a Host of Angband that is sent to attack Doriath and capture Lúthien mentioned in the The Lay of Leithian in The History of Middle-earth Vol. III, Lays of Beleriand.

The name Boldog was used by several Orc chieftains during the First Age. In a note ca.1960 Tolkien suggested that it is possible that Boldog was actually a title, given to lesser Maiar, servants of Morgoth, who had taken an Orcish hröa.[1] Several Orc leaders, such as the Great Goblin from The Hobbit, may have been Boldogs.


Bolg was an Orc chieftain, the son of Azog, who came to power in Moria after Azog was killed in the war with Dwarves. Bolg ruled Moria for some 150 years and led an army of Orcs in the Battle of Five Armies. He was killed by Beorn, where it says: "Swiftly he returned, and his wrath was redoubled, so that nothing could withstand him, and no weapon seemed to bite upon him. He scattered the bodyguard, and pulled down Bolg himself and crushed him."[2]


Bolg is portrayed by Lawrence Makoare in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Much of the action from the book involving Bolg in An Unexpected Journey is instead given to his father Azog, who, in the films, survives the confrontation with the Dwarves. In The Desolation of Smaug, when his father is summoned to lead the Necromancer's Orc army, Bolg resumes the prominent role, taking over the task of hunting down Thorin's company. In The Battle of Five Armies, he's portrayed by John Tui, and he leads a separate Orc army detachment raised in Gundabad to join his father's army at Erebor. Arriving with an advance force, he aids his father against Thorin Oakenshield's commando team on Ravenhill, nearly kills the Elf Tauriel, and slays the dwarf Kíli when he comes to her defense. Soon afterwards, however, he is confronted and killed by Legolas, who drives one of his battle-knives into his head; Bolg's body subsequently falls off the mountain and is crushed by a boulder falling on top of it.


Golfimbul was a chieftain of the Orcs of Mount Gram, who led his band in an invasion of the Shire. He was defeated at the Battle of Greenfields by a force led by Bandobras "Bullroarer" Took; the battle was only the first of two which were ever fought within the borders of the Shire (the second was the Battle of Bywater, the last battle of the War of the Ring, where his descendant Pippin fought). Bullroarer knocked off Golfimbul's head with a club and it soared into the air, finally falling into a rabbit hole. According to Hobbit folklore, this inspired the game of golf, which takes its name from the Orc. Golfimbul's name was probably specifically constructed for this pun; fimbul is Old Norse for "great".[3]

The Orc incursion in the northern Shire occurred during the reign of Arassuil as Chieftain of the Dúnedain, and the Orcs led by Golfimbul were but the most western pack of Orcs which had left the Hithaeglir. The only reason Golfimbul could make it all the way to the Shire was that the Rangers at the time were fighting many battles with Orcs, preventing them from settling all of Eriador.


Gorbag in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Gorbag was a vicious Orc captain of Minas Morgul.[4] He lived among the Nazgûl in the Dead City, but he found them disturbing so he moved to Cirith Ungol with an Uruk-hai captain called Shagrat.

After Frodo was paralyzed by Shelob, an Orc patrol led by Gorbag and Shagrat came across his cocooned body, taking him back to Cirith Ungol where they planned to torture him. While sifting through Frodo's belongings, a dispute began between the two captains after Gorbag claimed ownership of Frodo's mithril vest, which escalated into a vicious fight all over the fortress between Morgul Orcs and Uruk-hai. In this fight Gorbag was slain by Shagrat[4] who then escaped with the Mithril shirt.[5]

In the live-action film, Gorbag and Shagrat have a major role reversal. In the book, Shagrat informs Gorbag of the nature of Shelob's venom and how it functions, whereas Gorbag assumes this role in the film and explains it to his fellows upon finding Frodo. Also, Shagrat is the one to claim the vest for himself, while Gorbag insists it be taken to Sauron. After the fight, Shagrat flees to the Black Gate with the mithril shirt while the wounded Gorbag is left for dead in the tower. He is in fact still alive and is about to torture Frodo when Sam impales him from behind.


Gorgol was an Orc chieftain, also called the Butcher, who lived in Middle-earth during the First Age. He was slain by Beren.

The Great Goblin

The Great Goblin was an Orc leader who lived in the Misty Mountains during the Third Age, as recounted in The Hobbit. His followers captured Thorin Oakenshield, Bilbo and company during the Quest of Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, and took them to their underground stronghold, Goblin Town. He was slain by Gandalf.

The real-time strategy game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, chiefly based on the Peter Jackson films, invents a successor called Gorkil the Goblin King.

The Great Goblin (Referred in promotional material as the Goblin King) is portrayed by Barry Humphries in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. In the expanded edition, the Great Goblin is portrayed as egotistic and shallow with a love for singing. While he intended to torture the dwarves prior after sending one of his minions to contact Azog's hunting party that he has Thorin, the sight of Orcrist sends the Great Goblin in a fearful rage as he orders his cronies to kill the dwarves. In a departure from the book, rather than being killed immediately when Gandalf saves the company, the Great Goblin instead falls over the platform after Thorin blocks his staff with Orcrist. He later reappears to confront Gandalf and the dwarves, only for Gandalf to slash his neck and stomach, killing him. His carcass falls down onto the dwarves after the bridge collapses.


Grishnákh was an Orc captain in a group of Mordor Orcs that joined Saruman's Uruk-hai troops on the plains of Rohan.

After failing to convince Uglúk to lead the expedition east to safety in Mordor, he leaves and returns with 20-40 peers from Mordor, claiming a brotherly desire to help their fellow Orcs. However, Grishnákh's actual plans for the two captives, Merry and Pippin, were in conflict with Uglúk's orders to deliver them to Saruman unharmed. He was an Orc of considerable rank, as he had been to Barad-dûr itself and received specific orders from the Nazgûl. Grishnákh was also present at the torture and interrogation of Gollum, so he not only knew about the Ring, but suspected the Hobbits might have it after hearing them imitate Gollum's throat noise. Afterwards, he tried to smuggle the Hobbits away from the Uruk-hai and into Fangorn Forest, where he planned to kill them and take the Ring for himself, but he is killed by a spear from a Rohan rider.

In Ralph Bakshi's animated film The Lord of the Rings, Grishnákh is an Orc from Isengard with a fondness for the Uruk-draught that is force-fed to Merry and Pippin.

In Peter Jackson's movies, Grishnákh (played by Stephen Ure) is shown to be the captain of a band of Orc scouts, possibly from Isengard as they wear the attire of Saruman's warg-riders seen later in the film. He and his fellow Orcs meet Uglúk's group in the western Emyn Muil rather than at Amon Hen as in the book. That night he fights with Uglúk over the Hobbits, as he and his party want to eat the Hobbits instead of delivering them to Saruman. He is speared as in the book, but survives to chase Merry and Pippin into Fangorn Forest, where he is killed by Treebeard, who steps on him before he can kill Merry. His name is never actually spoken in the movie, and it is uncertain if he knows whether the captive Hobbits have the Ring. In the film it is not clear whether Grishnákh and his company have been sent by Sauron from Mordor or are workers from the mines at Isengard.

In Sierra Entertainment's War of the Ring real-time strategy game, he is a playable hero.

In Black metal music, Varg Vikernes of Burzum took the pseudonym of Count Grishnackh.


Lagduf was an Uruk of Cirith Ungol under the command of Shagrat. He and Muzgash were killed by Gorbag's troops in the battle over Frodo's mithril-shirt.


Lug was one of the Orcs killed by Tuor during the Fall of Gondolin, according to The Book of Lost Tales (written circa 1917). Lug does not appear in the published Silmarillion.


Lugdush was one of Saruman's Uruk-hai and a trusted subordinate of Uglúk. In the The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (film), Lugdush is the Uruk who smells "Man flesh" and warns the others. In the Extended Edition, Mauhúr is the one who smells "Man flesh" instead of Lugdush.


File:Mauhur 1.jpg

Mauhúr in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Mauhúr was an Uruk of Isengard who led a company of reinforcements through the eaves of Fangorn forest to come to the aid of Uglúk, whose company had been surrounded by a group of Rohirrim. When Mauhúr's company attacked, some of the Rohirrim rode to meet them while the others closed in around Uglúk's camp. Uglúk's captives, Merry and Pippin, found themselves outside the circle and were able to escape into Fangorn forest. In the film, Mauhúr is travelling with Uglúk's group from the start. He and all the other Orcs are slaughtered in their confrontation with the Rohirrim, and the head impaled on a pike seen the following morning is apparently his.


Muzgash was an Uruk of Cirith Ungol under the command of Shagrat. He and Lagduf were killed by Gorbag's troops in the battle over Frodo's mithril-shirt.


Ecthelion Slays Orcobal
illustration by Tom Loback

Orcobal was an Orc leader in the Fall of Gondolin, killed by Ecthelion. Tolkien wrote the story of the fall of the city in 1917 and never fully revised it, and Orcobal does not appear in the published Silmarillion.


Othrod was an Orc leader in the Fall of Gondolin, killed by Tuor. Tolkien wrote the story of the fall of the city in 1917 and never fully revised it, and Othrod does not appear in the published Silmarillion.


Radbug was an Orc of Cirith Ungol who was killed by Shagrat in the battle over Frodo's mithril-shirt (apparently by strangulation).

The name was used in the Jackson film adaptation for an Orc captain overseeing Saruman's mining operations at Orthanc. When the tree-like Ents attack Isengard in a revengeful rage after Saruman destroyed their brethren, all the Orcs are drowned when Treebeard breaks the dam holding back the river, flooding the mines with water.


Shagrat, leader of the Black Uruks of Mordor in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Shagrat was the captain in command of the Uruks at the tower of Cirith Ungol, a watchtower that guarded a treacherous pass into Mordor.

After the discovery of the unconscious Frodo near Shelob's Lair, Shagrat and Gorbag had Frodo put into the highest room of the tower. While the two were searching through Frodo's things, a dispute erupted over the highly valuable mithril shirt. The quarrel led to a battle between their respective units in the tower, where almost all were killed, culminating in Shagrat killing the wounded Gorbag.

Shagrat then fled with Frodo's possessions and gave them to Sauron, but his later fate is unknown.[5] The possessions were later presented by the Mouth of Sauron as supposed proof of Frodo's continued imprisonment.

In Peter Jackson's film trilogy Shagrat's role is somewhat confusing. He is portrayed as a large, Mordor Uruk and of clearly different stock along with the other orcs of the tower of Cirith Ungol from Gorbag, yet he claims Frodo's mithril shirt as his own. After the fight among the orcs however he smuggles the shirt past Sam and delivers it to the Dark Tower.

Cultural references

Steve Peregrin Took was credited as "Shagrat The Vagrant" on Mick Farren's 1970 solo album Mona – The Carnivorous Circus and the two formed a band called Shagrat, also featuring guitarist Larry Wallis. Farren soon quit, leaving Took in sole command of the band. Shagrat then recorded three demos at Strawberry Studios and later played the Phun City festival, promoted by Farren.

In Black metal music, Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir and Ov Hell took his stage name from Shagrat.


Snaga, translated as "slave" in the Appendices, is not a personal name but a term used by Uruks to describe lesser Orcs. Used among others by Uglúk to a scout of the Uruk-hai and by Shagrat to one of the Orcs of the tower of Cirith Ungol.

In Peter Jackson's film trilogy the name Snaga is associated with (though never mentioned by name in the movie) a particular Orc in The Two Towers, who is part of Grishnákh's company, and wants to eat Merry and Pippin to whet his hunger. He is decapitated by Uglúk and cannibalized by the Uruk-hai.


Ufthak was in the service of the Tower of Cirith Ungol, under the command of Shagrat. He was captured, poisoned, and then forgotten by Shelob. Nonetheless, his fellow Orcs who discovered him made no attempt to rescue him, for they were amused at his paralyzed predicament and did not want to interfere with Shelob. He is later presumed to have perished from starvation.


File:Ugluk 1.jpg

Uglúk in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Uglúk was the deep-voiced captain of the Uruk-hai band that attacked the Fellowship at Amon Hen and captured Merry and Pippin. He and his fellow Isengarders claimed credit for killing Boromir. He defended Merry and Pippin from Moria Orcs who wanted to eat them, citing orders to bring the Hobbits to Saruman in good health. He also objected to Grishnákh's accusation of cannibalism. When Grishnákh returned with two or three dozen other Mordor Orcs, Uglúk gullibly accepted their offer of help at face value. Uglúk was usually effective at instilling discipline, although this once required beheading a few Moria dissenters. He and the combined bands were tracked by Éomer's band of Rohirrim on their way to Isengard until, near the eaves of Fangorn forest, they were surrounded and annihilated, Uglúk being slain by Éomer personally. Uglúk's view of other Orc races as contemptible "apes from Mordor and maggots from Moria" was justified in this climax, since only his own doomed troupe maintained fighting formation while the lesser Orcs scattered.

In Peter Jackson's film version of the trilogy, the captain of the Orc-band is Lúrtz, who is slain by Aragorn at Amon Hen. Uglúk, played by Nathaniel Lees, then took command after his senior's death. When Grishnákh and his Orcs want to eat the hobbits, Uglúk and his Uruk-hai stop them. Uglúk then beheads "Snaga," a smaller Orc who was determined to eat them; his body is then cannibalized. The band is then attacked by Éomer's band and it is assumed Uglúk is slain by them.

See also

Gothmog, the deformed Orc general in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy


  1. Rateliff, John D. (2007). The History of the Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 711. ISBN 978-0618969197. 
  2. Template:ME-ref/TH
  3. Svenska Akademiens Ordbok, entry for Fimbulvinter
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Gorbag". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 10 April 1998. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Shagrat". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 7 November 2007. 

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