Essay Concerning Orcs and Goblins in the Tolkien Universe

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Concerning Orcs and Goblins in the Tolkien Universe

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, or simply J.R.R. Tolkien as he was commonly called, is the author of a widely known series of books which take place in the fictional land of Middle Earth. Of these books, the ones which garner the most attention are those of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and their prequel, The Hobbit. Seeing as these are novels of the fantasy genre it may come as no surprise that many of the characters or creatures described within their pages are those of fiction. Occasionally Tolkien would draw his characters from other sources or medieval texts. Halflings for example, or Hobbits as Tolkien called them, were a race of people short in stature but bold in spirit.
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Their origins are not known, but one tale has claimed that they hail from the British Isles, and consequently traveled by ship to the rest of Europe and the known world. Even the roots of the word “Goblin” remain foggy and unknown. Some speculate that “goblin” is a distant derivative of the word “kobold” of Germanic tongues, which is another form of small mythical creature ("Online Etymology Dictionary"). Throughout history goblins have been depicted as tricky and mischievous, yet clever creatures. It was not uncommon in stories of old to have children or women tricked by goblins. A modern example might be David Bowie's role as Jareth, the Goblin King, in the 1986 classic, Labyrinth. Bowie's character fools Jennifer Connelly into entering the Labyrinth to find her kidnapped brother Toby. Bowie continues to trick her, and create traps and obstacles which she ultimately overcomes. A common misconception with Tolkien's goblins is that they are a separate race from orcs. Ironically, Tolkien used the terms interchangeably despite the fact that they are classified as two different beings. In The Hobbit, orcs are referred to regularly as goblins, where as in later novels, Tolkien almost entirely replaces “goblin” with the term “orc”. The word orc finds its roots in English language with its inception occurring in ancient times. The term has essentially always meant the same thing; an

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