Forum: Prospective Challenges

Discussing: Life and Times of the Orcs

Life and Times of the Orcs

A recent story of mine, Enmities, which took a look at the life of an Orc mother during the Ringwar, sparked quite a lot of discussion in the story forum. My portrayal was (obviously) based on several presuppositions regarding Orcs and their background, mixed with conjecture, some real life examples in animal species and a dash of imagination. In the discussions that ensued others proposed ideas that, if taken as the basis to build upon, would lead to totally different stories, ideas that are completely different and very fascinating. So I wondered if the subject could be turned into a challenge. I see opportunities for both essays as well as fiction. Below is a *very* preliminary proposal for a challenge. Orcs, in Tolkien's writing, are rather one-dimensional characters. They are evil embodied, utterly violent, obscenely cruel and only interested in where their next meal of man-flesh can be obtained. They are easy to hate, easy to kill, easy to disregard as living beings. But is it possible to add other dimensions to this rather simplistic portrayal? Are Orcs really just evil killing machines and cannon fodder? Or is there another side, one we have not seen? What is it like, everyday life among the Orcs? How do they treat their women, their children? Do they have some sort of culture? A society? Loyalties beyond those enforced by fear? Are they capable of caring for anyone but themselves? Might they even *gasp* have the capacity to love? Write a story that tells us about what it was like to be an Orc in Middle-Earth. I am very curious to hear what you guys think. Amanda (newbie nuzgul breeder)

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Hi Amanda, This is a really intriguing idea. It'd be great to have a bunch of fics portraying the "baddies" in a positive manner. Do you see this challenge extending to fics dealing with friendly interactions between men and orcs? It'd be interesting for example, to have a story examining a single instance of friendship between traditional enemies. Do I see any takers for this lovely little nuzgul? cheers, nrink

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Ok...I would do this, except whenever I write stories they turn into (a) romance or (b) humour. Especially when writing about the "baddies" it always comes out humourous. Hmm... *scratches head* maybe I can write an orc man/human woman romance - you know - beauty and the beast... no...no...NO. that has Mary Sue written all over it. (But then again - when has that stopped me in the past?) Sorry guys...I'm going to have to pass on this one. My results would just be too horrid! Good luck and all, though! -Arandil

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

portraying the "baddies" in a positive manner Positive would be good (but very disconcerting to a poor writer's mind, trust me!), but not necessary for a fic to fall within the scope of the challenge, I think. As long as the story gives the Orcs more than one dimension, I'd be very happy. Even if evil through and through, they must have some sort of organization within their communities. There seem to exist different tribes, and different ranks among the Orcs we have seen. How did those come about? What makes one Orc higher ranking than another? Strength? Cunning? etc. Do you see this challenge extending to fics dealing with friendly interactions between men and orcs? LOL, just when I said it doesn't necessarily have to be a positive story, here she goes suggesting friendly interaction between men and orcs. Kudos to the author who can pull that off! But yes, I would assume the challenge extends to such fics. After all, a friendly interaction would add dynamic to the Orcs as characters and would tell us something about them. Especially when you would consider how such friendly relations came about. Especially when writing about the "baddies" it always comes out humourous And that would be bad how? Humour would be another good angle. It's a difficult enough subject that it could do with some lightheartedness. Hmm... humour among the Orcs... what would that entail? Ugh, this thread is giving me far too many new ideas! Amanda (fearing the nuzgul is starting to backfire)

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

I'd be interested in this one! It's really intrigueing. Anyone else? CLF

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

I will not write an orc man/human woman Mary Sue. I will not write an orc man/human woman Mary Sue. Get away from me, foul creature! *beats at bunny* Get away! *looks around for Nuzgul spray* You know I'm going to end up in this thing...

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Sounds like a good idea to me. Some Mary Sues annoy the crap out of me, and other ones are pretty good. The one you're thinking of would be an interesting one. CLF

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Ugh, this thread is giving me far too many new ideas! Amanda (fearing the nuzgul is starting to backfire) May I sell you a set of mithril armour for 1,000 pounds? Now, how would you like to write another orc story? CLF, Arandil - do we count the two of you in? ;-) nrink (scrabbling for the victim list)

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

I'm in. CLF

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Hi all, as nobody here seems to think about the Elven origin of the Orcs and what that did to their psyche, their self-esteem, their culture of hate, their bio-sociological development I will take my thoughts from Amanda's discussion on Enmities and write them into an essay as I am not very good with stories, especially with moving dialogue ;-) So you could count a small essay in. Best wishes Elanor P.S. Question from a newbie: do essays count in a challenge ? Or has it to be a story ?

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

I will take my thoughts from Amandas discussion on Enmities and write them into an essay Elanor, great! I was hoping you would enter the Challenge. And nrink, look, we have three takers already (Elanor, CLF and myself), and hopefully Arandil too (she sounds as if she can be easily convinced in any case ) do essays count in a challenge Hmm. Speaking for myself, I can't think of a reason why not, as long as the essay meets the Challenge requirements. The FAQ on Challenges doesn't say anything on this. I did envision essays as fitting with my prompt, but admittedly I didn't give it much thought as to whether it was within HASA's policies... I guess we'll have to wait for one of the CMs to shed some light. Now, how would you like to write another orc story? Seeing how much I struggled the last time I tried that, and seeing that the previous attempt is still in beta, not very much! But this whole thing has sparked several ideas to be added to my personal nuzgul hutch, so who knows. They are at the bottom of the list, though. Amanda.

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Hi Amanda, you should somehow try to induce Sulriel to enter the challenge. She has written two stories involving Orcs ~ Adventures in the Ettenmoors ~ ~ Third Age ~ and ~ Sinde Envinyanta ~ Fourth Age ~. The first one is also to be found in HASA: Adventures in the Ettenmoors. The second one is rather large and has Orcs only in the side-lines. Nevertheless there are still many hints on Orc culture. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Actually, I have a story that fits this bill in my To Do file, so I'd be willing to jump on board (assuming a reasonably long deadline.) Karri

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

elanor wrote: ...as nobody here seems to think about the Elven origin of the Orcs and what that did to their psyche, their self-esteem, their culture of hate, their bio-sociological development... Oh, dear. Another long-eared, fanged spawn of Morgoth is sitting under my desk. And I really, really don't like the way it's eyeing my lower legs. *sigh* Given a long enough deadline (Nuzguls collected recently: innumerable. Stories pulled into presentable form: 0), I think I could manage this. Meril

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

CLF, Arandil - do we count the two of you in? ;-) *sigh* oh all right - with a long enough deadline and the promise that i can do romance with an orc and not get hate mail...

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

And that makes five, assuming essays are allowed! Or six, since I forgot to count myself And quite a wide variety of ideas too, it seems. Great. Elanor, good suggestion on contacting Sulriel. I'll do that tomorrow. I really should head for bed now, but am too excited Amanda.

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Karri wrote: Actually, I have a story that fits this bill in my To Do file, so I'd be willing to jump on board (assuming a reasonably long deadline.) Not that it appears to need me to help qualify the challenge, but I too have a homeless story in my nuzgul notebook that would fit this one: just what would a bunch of supposedly noble Numenoreans - who've been fighting Orcs all their lives - do if, while trying to clear orcs out of post-War Ithilien, they come across a group of refugee Orc mothers and children trying to make it to safety.... Hmm, so I guess I'm offering to write this one. I'd like a long deadline too, please! Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Hmmm, this could be very interesting indeed. Count me in, too. Beruthiel

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Hmm. Speaking for myself, I can't think of a reason why not, as long as the essay meets the Challenge requirements. The FAQ on Challenges doesn't say anything on this. I did envision essays as fitting with my prompt, but admittedly I didn't give it much thought as to whether it was within HASA's policies... I guess we'll have to wait for one of the CMs to shed some light. Hi, nrink lighting a small candle here - yes essays are definitely in if the challenge originator's happy with it. I for one would love to see an essay on orc society. Well - now to the counting house: *Ticks off victim list:* Amanda, CLF, Elanor, Arandil, Tanaqui, Beruthiel, Karri, Meril. 8 victims and counting! Congratulations Amanda, on a job well done! Since there have been requests for longer deadlines, shall I make that 1 year? Your call, Amanda - once you confirm the time frame, I'll have the challenge put up. Let me know if you'd like to tweak the challenge text before it goes in. If you don't mind, I'll just add in a small note to say that essays are welcome, so that it clarifies things for everyone. cheers, nrink

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Arrrgggghhh!! I feel the sharp bite of nasty teeth!!! Okay, if there is a reasonable deadline (read here - LONG) you can count me among your victims...ahem... Vistula

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Yeeehaaaa! (Molly jumps up and down in obvious glee then gathers her self-composure) I would like to sort of apologize to those of you who've gotten sucked into this rather interesting thingy. Elanor and I were discussing the elvish vs animalistic charecteristics of orcs and I see we created a rather large Plot Mammal. A Plot Otter ( why? I just really like Otters) I was sooo happy to see that eight of you brave brave soulsare going to attempt this! I'm rather looking forward to reading all of the entries...just please don't ask me to beta read anything. Oh..by the way...otters are notorious for clinging on to things they really want to hold onto...anklets won't work......anyone for tea?

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

8 victims and counting! *beams happily at crowd, shocked and pleased with large turnout* Since there have been requests for longer deadlines, shall I make that 1 year? That's perfectly fine with me -- though I'll admit to feeling very curious to see what sort of stories will be entered. But patience is a virtue, right? Let me know if you'd like to tweak the challenge text before it goes in. If you don't mind, I'll just add in a small note to say that essays are welcome, so that it clarifies things for everyone. To be honest, I was sort of expecting/hoping that the discussion itself would lead to amendments in the prompt. A note about essays sounds like a very good idea. And perhaps something should be added that the entry shouldn't necessarily be putting a positive spin on orcs? The current text might be read that way, I believe. Amanda. P.S. Molly, I'm depending on you to sustain everyone with tea and cookies while writing their Orc-stories

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Hello all, "Life and Times of the Orcs" is now up here. Deadline is: a year from today. Amanda, I've weaved your suggestions in. cheers, nrink

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Um, would a drabble qualify? And is it okay if it's already written, or do you just want new works? - Barbara

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Hi Barbara, I'll put on my rarely donned CA hat and respond to this. There is not in the rules that disqualifies Drabbles, so it should be fine to enter it. Also, it is no problem at all to use an old story that fits the specifics of the challenge. Karri

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Thank you, Karri! I'm absurdly pleased that someone came up with a challenge that fit a random drabble that I wrote... Thank you, AmandaK! - Barbara

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

Be happy to supply all the tea and goodies everyone might want, considering they're doing me a favour as well! I am sooo looking forward to this!!! Thanks all you brave brave souls!

 

 

Re: Life and Times of the Orcs

I'm absurdly pleased that someone came up with a challenge that fit a random drabble that I wrote... Thank you, AmandaK! You're most welcome, Barbara. Glad to have been of service Amanda.

 

 

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