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Perhaps seen in the closing years of the Second Age;1 certainly extant from Sauron's open reoccupation of Mordor in III 2942; largely destroyed in the War of the Ring, III 3019
Mordor, the Black Land directly to the east of Gondor2
Particularly associated with Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower
Orcs comes from the Old English for 'demons'; the 'Eye' refers to the Eye of Sauron
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 16 January 2021
  • This entry is complete

Orcs of the Eye

Soldiers in the service of Barad-dûr

Those Orcs who served directly under the command of Sauron and bore his sigil of the Red Eye. Known more fully as the Orcs of the Red Eye, these forces of Sauron dated back to the Second Age. They appear to have lasted through the Third Age (or at least been reformed in that Age) because they fought in the War of the Ring, especially in the final battle before the Morannon. The fact that they survived through the Third Age would imply that they were not always stationed in Mordor, which was occupied by Gondor during much of that Age. Before Sauron's return to that Dark Land, therefore, they would presumably have served at the lesser stronghold of Dol Guldur in southern Mirkwood. Indeed, it may be that many remained behind there and took part in the attacks on Lórien during the final War of the Third Age, though the origins of these attackers are not known for sure.



The origins of Sauron's 'Eye' symbolism are difficult to date, but it seems to have come into use as a reference to the new form he took after his return from the Downfall of Númenor in II 3320. There might therefore have been Orcs of the Eye fighting in the War of the Last Alliance at the end of the Second Age. If so, they are not named as such, and the only Orcs definitely identified in this way were found in Mordor in the closing years of the Third Age.


All our recorded encounters with Orcs of the Eye associate them with Mordor, though - in principle - they might have been found earlier at Dol Guldur. We know that Sauron had Orcs in service to him there, so the 'Orcs of the Eye' might theoretically date back to the establishment of Dol Guldur in about III 1050. The symbolism of the Eye seems to be much more closely connected to Barad-dûr, however, so the question of whether there were any Orcs of the Eye at his earlier abode remains, at best, an open one.

See also...

Orcs of the Red Eye


About this entry:

  • Updated 16 January 2021
  • This entry is complete

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