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Orcs first settled in the Misty Mountains after the end of the First Age; they were greatly reduced in the Battle of Five Armies, III 29411
Orcs of Morgoth fleeing the destruction of the War of Wrath
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 26 March 2012
  • This entry is complete

Orcs of the Misty Mountains

Creatures of cavern and pass

In the War of Wrath that brought the First Age to an end, most of Morgoth's Orcs were destroyed, but some of his vast army escaped eastward across the Blue Mountains. Some of those crossed Eriador and found their way to the Misty Mountains, where they settled in caverns beneath the peaks. At first leaderless and wild, Morgoth's lieutenant Sauron soon arose again in Middle-earth and took at least some control over them. By the end of the Second Age, Orcs of Mordor had come among them, and under their command the Orcs of the Mountains ambushed and killed Isildur after the War of the Last Alliance.

With Sauron's defeat in that war, the Orcs of the Misty Mountains again fell back to their wild ways. At least some bands had their own leaders, especially large Orcs like the Great Goblin, who were perhaps descendants of the Mordor-orcs sent to command them in the Second Age. After the fall of Khazad-dûm in III 1981, Orcs of the Misty Mountains entered and occupied its ruins. Long afterwards, Moria became the seat of an Orc-chieftain named Azog. It was Azog who slew King Thrór of the Longbeards, and so started the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, in which Azog himself was slain.

After that War, the Orcs lurked among the Misty Mountains, nursing a hatred of the Dwarves,and in III 2941, a group of these Orcs captured a band of travelling Dwarves in the High Pass. Those Dwarves - led by Thrór's grandson Thorin - escaped, killing the Great Goblin in the process. So began a chain of events that led to Azog's son, Bolg, uniting the Orcs of the Misty Mountains and leading them east to fight the Battle of Five Armies. That battle ended in defeat for the Orcs, and left the Misty Mountains free of them for many years afterwards.

By the time of the War of the Ring, the Orcs of the Mountains had started to recover their numbers, at least sufficiently to reclaim Moria. As the War came on, they fell under the command of Sauron and Saruman. There were Orcs from the Misty Mountains, for example, in the party that captured Merry and Pippin at Parth Galen. Of their fate after the War, nothing is known, but legend says that the Longbeards eventually succeeded in recapturing Moria, so the power of the Orcs in the Misty Mountains must have waned considerably after the Third Age if they survived at all.



The Hobbit tells us that '...three parts of the goblin warriors of the North perished on that day, and the mountains had peace for many a year' (The Hobbit 18, The Return Journey). Nonetheless they were clearly not entirely extinguished by the Battle (the Company of the Ring still found many of them in Moria nearly eighty years later), and the fact that the Mountains are only said to have had peace 'for many a year' implies that the peace was not permanent, and thus that the Orcs eventually regained some of their former strength.

See also...

Orcs of the Red Eye


About this entry:

  • Updated 26 March 2012
  • This entry is complete

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