In the Enemy’s Camp

The newly gathered Mordor army gathers within its walls. There are no motivational speeches, not encouraging sentiments and definitely no battle cries. There is just degradation and belittlement. They work together within the confines of fear and punishment. And although this cause and effect may be an effective way to follow orders, it does not really motivate the soldiers. They are not a unit that needs no orders to join the cause, they are there to serve the master whether they like it or not.

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Mordor Orcs

By the looks of things, they are not fierce warriors eager to do battle. Which in itself is surprising. On the whole, they are the “bad” guys, who live off the pain of others and revel in their suffering. They do so with their own kind, so it is only expected they would do the same with their enemies. However, these Mordor Orcs do not come off as even motivated to take action against anyone. 

They have been born and bred with the knowledge of their place in the world, a role which the rest of Middle-Earth is desperately trying to eradicate. The Men, the Elves or the Dwarves in the course of the last age have not taken on the Orcs to destroy them. It was only when the Orcs spread their evil across their lands, they intervened, for the sole purpose of protecting their own. 

The Orcs only meaning in life is to seek and destroy, and while there haven’t been trespassing on their lands, that does not halt them in their mission. As we have seen in the Fellowship of the Ring, the Uruk-hai were born enraged, craving man-flesh and blood. This thirst for the kill was somehow embedded in them before their “birth”. So, in a sense, they had no choice but to listen to Saruman’s orders and their own instincts. 

However, their behavior was different than that of the Orcs. For all their joy in other’s pain, they aren’t as menacing and as bloodthirsty as the Uruk-hai were. This is of no surprise since the Uruks were bred purposefully for one mission. 

These Orcs seem docile in comparison. Maybe the only way to motivate them into action is to treat them as derelicts, which begs the question, if they weren’t goaded into battle would they still have gone on their own?

Whatever the answer to that question might be, their superiors still dispatch orders.

Some luck

Orc: “To the gate, you slugs! Move out! To the gate!”

Sam: “Look, the Orcs! They’re moving off. You see, Mister Frodo, some luck at last.”

As Sam and Frodo look out over the plains of Gorgoroth, they hear the Orc horn blows with the army moving toward the gate. Seeing as how Sam and Frodo must pass the plains and reach a place on the opposite side of the land, this seems like the break they needed. While the Orcs gather together to exit the gate once Aragorn and his troops arrive, Sam and Frodo can stealthily move across their lands to the slopes of Orodrúin. 


The path to the gate, however, for at least a fraction of the army leads directly past the slopes down which the two Hobbits walked. They were going to use the same path to go in the opposite direction. Frodo and Sam hear the Orcs march toward them, so they huddle behind a rock. 

Come on! Faster! Come along you scum! I’ll whip you down to the bone, you. Come on! What have I told you? Now move it! Get up! Come on, you slugs! You two are going straight to the front line! Now, move it! Go on! Fall in! Move it! To the Gates, you slugs! Now move it!

Orc Captain

The Orc Captain discovers the two Hobbits hiding against a rock face. Taking them for their own, he takes the whip to their back forcing them to join the march to the Black Gate. 

Don’t you know we’re at war?

Orc Captain

At the same time, Aragorn leads his army of Men toward the other side of the Black Gate. The two opposing sides approach their destination at the same pace. 


Within the Orc company, Sam and Frodo shuffle along with the rest of them. They are easily recognizable since one of them does not have the strength to walk let alone march at a speedier pace. 

Company Halt! Inspection!

Orc Captain

It is an interesting concept that an Orc army would need a checkpoint for inspection. Most of them have either some kind of disease or have been deformed in some other way. So, why would there even need to be an inspection? It is not like those who aren’t at their best would not be sent to war, they wouldn’t be spared, destroyed maybe, but certainly not held back and given time to heal. At least I don’t think so. 

Frodo: “Sam, help me!”

Sam: “Mister Frodo! Stand up, Mister Frodo! Stand up!”

Frodo: “It’s so heavy!”

As the company halts, Frodo cannot stand on his two feet, the Ring is dragging him down. The weight of its power, being so close to its master grows with every step they take. Sam helps Frodo stand. He catches him before Frodo falls to the ground, his knees giving out on him. 

A brutal-looking Orc sergeant without a nose and compromised eye-sight looks around the troop. 

There is no escaping the brutal force of the Ring on not only the psyche of the carrier but also his physical countenance. Sam is a witness to the Ring’s boring nature. He can see the Ring’s chain cutting into Frodo’s neck. The weight and the power of this single gold band mean to literally implement itself as part of Frodo’s body. To take it off now would be like peeling one’s own skin off. 

The fight to flee

Seeing the two “Orcs” consolidating over something or other gives rise to suspicions. No other two Orcs care about one another. By focusing on Frodo and Sam, the sergeant can see that something isn’t right with these two. Helping each other with their eyes not as black as those of others raises an alarm. He growls at them and moves through the troop to get to them.

Sam: “Oh no! What do I do? What do we do?”

Frodo: “Hit me!”

Sam: “What?”

Frodo: “Hit me, Sam! Start fighting!”

Sam: “Get off of me!”

Sam initiates the fight by shoving Frodo away and subsequently hitting him. Frodo easily falls to the ground, creating commotion within the troop. 

Nobody pushes me, you filthy maggot!


As with any street fight, the by-standers are a common sight. No one dares to intervene or stop it, they rather stand around and watch. As it is, the Orcs are no different. 

Sam: “Get off of me!”

Orc Captain: “Break it up! Break it up.”

Orc Sergeant: “Oy! I’ll have your guts if you don’t shut this rabble down!”

Frodo: “Go, Sam. Now!”

With all the Orcs shouting and encouraging the fight, the commotion around the two Hobbits rises. This helps Frodo and Sam escape unseen. They sneak out of the Orc troop and into a tent. The sergeant looks around for them, but after a quick look gives up. 

Orc Sergeant: “Argh. Move along scum!”

Orc Captain: “Back in the line!”

Frodo and Sam are now undisturbed by the troop and out on their own to walk slowly across Mordor toward Orodrúin. Follow me to my next post. 

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

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