The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Born before III 2799; slain III 2941
Probably Mount Gundabad1


About this entry:

  • Updated 4 July 2008
  • Updates planned: 1


The heir of Azog


The son of Azog, who succeeded his father as leader of the northern Orcs. He led one of the five armies that fought in the famous Battle of that name, and was slain there by Beorn.



We're not told for sure where Bolg had his seat, but Mount Gundabad is recorded as the capital of the northern Orcs, and as their leader it seems reasonable to guess that Bolg ruled his people from that mountain. His father Azog, however, seems to have been associated with Moria, so there is a possibility that Bolg also ruled from there.


Most of Tolkien's orc-names are simply meaningless, but there is a slight possibility that Bolg's name derives from Old English. The word gebolgen in that language comes from the verb 'to be made angry', and indeed that exactly describes Bolg's role in the story of the The Hobbit.

In an early name-list given in volume 4 of The History of Middle-earth, 'Bolgen' is given as an Old English name for Melkor, using the same verbal root. It's clear, therefore, that Tolkien had already considered this as a name for an evil being, so there's at least a possibility that Bolg inherited his name from this source.

Another possibility is that the name comes from an early example of Tolkien's invented languages, known as Mágol or Old Mágo. That language was by no means as developed as the better known Elvish tongues, but it is known that Tolkien at least considered using it as the Orkish language, and that it contained a word bolg that meant 'strong'.

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