So I was incredibly hungover Saturday and watching The Fellowship of the Ring when I had an interesting realization. Orcs get completely shafted in this trilogy. They’re basically slaves, cannon fodder, or forced to live in dank pits. Why the hell do they let all of this happen?
I know they aren’t the smartest creatures, I mean they get outsmarted by hairy-footed midgets like 342 times, but you’d think that at least one rebellious orc would be like “Hey, fuck you dad, I’m getting an education at Middle Earth Tech.”
Take the orcs that work for Saruman, for example. They spend their time creating a race of new, better orcs for him. Why the hell would you do that? I don’t want to build Joe Jensen 2.0. I enjoy not being outdated. But they’re creating these orcs, and not only are they way sweeter, but from the time they’re born, they start murdering the old orcs, just for the hell of it. I don’t know about you, but as soon as I start working in an environment where the product starts killing my co-workers, I’m out of there.
This is why I generally don’t support the plausibility of evil minions. Like, sure, at first it might seem like a good idea, sort of like joining a company like Enron. Everything’s going well, the powerful entity is doing work on the world, but then shit hits the fan. You wouldn’t try and go back to work for Enron after they imploded, so why would these orcs go back to Sauron after he got his ass handed to him by a dude with a broken sword and allow themselves to be treated like week-old dog shit?
It just doesn’t make sense. Are there no unions in Middle Earth? Elves, men, dwarves, hobbits, eagles, ghosts, balrogs; they’ve all got their shit together. At what point did the orcs think, “Oh, hey, you know what would be sweet? Being the bitches of other people!”
Here is the best answer I came up with: orcs are the victims of an incredibly racist society. Is it okay to enslave them? Yes. Who enslaves them? Saruman, the White. Every other race despises them and considers them universally evil (apparently, stereotyping is cool in Middle Earth). Frodo has a sword that lets him know when orcs are around. You can tell me it’s just a warning that he’s about to be attacked, but I’m pretty sure it’s to let him know if he should introduce himself to the new neighbors or not.
I want to see the orcs stand up for their rights through non-violent protest and throw off the shackles of their oppressors. I would hope Aragorn could be their Abraham Lincoln, but knowing his “decapitation policy” towards most orcs he meets, I highly doubt such a thing will happen. And based upon the success they’ve had so far in liberating themselves, I can only assume that the orcish Martin Luther King Jr. will not be coming around anytime soon.
So there you have it. The Lord of the Rings isn’t a movie about inner strength or badass epic battles, but rather an endorsement of segregationist policies. If you have greenish-brownish-blackish slimy skin, jagged rotting teeth, a predisposition to murder and eat your victims, or questionable hygiene, don’t expect to be warmly welcomed by the people of Middle Earth. Or Peter Jackson.