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First seen in c. III 2475
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  • Updated 12 October 2011
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Great Orcs

The fighting Uruk-hai

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"Great Orcs... that kind is stronger and more fell than all others."
Éomer, from The Two Towers III 2, The Riders of Rohan

A common name for the large soldier-orcs of Mordor and later also Isengard. These Great Orcs dated back at least as far as the end of the Second Age; some of them were present in the band that attacked Isildur, and indeed their losses were so grievous in that attack that they were not seen again for many years. They were clearly dangerous combatants, and with their loss the other Orcs, though victorious, made no further attacks of the same kind.

The Great Orcs that attacked Isildur cannot have been Uruk-hai - the first Uruks were far in the future at that point - but in the later Third Age, when the first Uruks appeared to trouble Gondor and Rohan, they gained the name 'Great Orcs' for themselves. It is uncertain whether these later Great Orcs were connected in any direct way with those seen thousands of years earlier, but they fulfilled the same role as ferocious warriors and leaders of bands of lesser Orcs.

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