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animal behavior

So I've been reading about the spotted hyena. This is a species where the females are bigger, stronger, and more dominant. They form unusually large social groups, and they're good at tactics, but they seem to quarrel a lot over standing within the group. And as I read this, I found myself thinking of the conversation in The Lord of the Rings where one orc, inside Mordor, suggests to another that the two of them go off together and find a territory of their own as a large dominant female making overtures of courtship to a smaller male.

We aren't told much about orc social behavior, and almost nothing about their reproduction (and just as well, I can imagine some readers saying). As far as we can tell, we only see male orcs. But what if that's like hyenas, where the sexes look very much alike, even in their genital anatomy? Maybe some of those orcs, especially the big, pushy ones, are actually orc-women. That would explain some things. . . .


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 17th, 2019 05:21 pm (UTC)
Now that's a unique and fascinating notion.
Sep. 17th, 2019 06:04 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like it.
Sep. 18th, 2019 01:38 am (UTC)
The Books and the movies
It's been probably two decades since I last read Lord of the Rings, so my memory is vague. I just remember the orcs' hardiness and fondness for uncomfortable footwear. In the films Peter Jackson showed Saruman growing them in the pit beneath Orthanc. If my library were not boxed up in the garage, I might make a quick browse.

Wikipedia has this to say:
According to the oldest "theory" proposed by J.R.R. Tolkien (found in The Fall of Gondolin, from The Book of Lost Tales, circa 1917—the first tale of Middle-earth to be written in full), Orcs were made of slime through the sorcery of Morgoth: "bred from the heats and slimes of the earth".
Sep. 18th, 2019 04:19 am (UTC)
I tackled orc reproduction in my novel The Lost War. I considered the portrayal of orcs in the LOTR movies and decided they lacked sexual dimorphism. Extrapolating from there gave them a life cycle similar to some parasitic wasps.
Sep. 18th, 2019 05:20 am (UTC)
That was one of the parts of the movies that really clashed with my sense of what Tolkien is about.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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