How Long Do Orcs Live In LOTR?


If you are a fan of adventure, fiction, and high fantasy genres, chances are you have probably watched the Lord of the Rings movies.

Even for nonfans, the movie franchise is not something that they haven’t heard of. At least they must have come across “My Precious ” at least once in their lifetime, right?

Well, fans or not, the Lord of the rings series, although released almost two decades ago, still remains one of the best adventure movies of all time.

The films were based on the novel of the same name, written by J. R. R. Tolkien with slight modifications from the original storyline of the novel.

However, although many minor and several changes were made in the movies, the major characters like Elves, Hobbits, Dwarves, and Trolls remained the same.

Just like the rest of the characters, there remained a race that was prominent throughout the series and was seen in almost all three films. They were the Orcs.

Not really liked by the fans, the Orcs were definitely not the audience’s first choice of favorite characters, which just proved that they did their job as the antagonist very well.

Even though not much is talked about the Orcs, there are still some fans of the series that bring the topics about them and have kept them alive in our memories for all these years.

Recently, well not really recently, but for a very long time, there has been some serious discussion regarding the Orcs, especially about their lifespan.

Perhaps because not much is known about them, it is very natural and understandable to get curious about these creatures.

So let’s dive a little deep and take a look at these monsters and what is the secret behind their lifespans. Make sure you read the article to the end.

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Who were the Orcs?

The Orcs were one of the primary races of the Lord of the Ring series. They were the main soldiers of the Dark Lords and the most common of their servants.

The Orcs, just as in Tolkien’s writings, were these broad, flat-nosed, dark-skinned creatures with wide mouths, long arms, and animal-like fangs.

These creatures had short stature, and a humanoid shape, and were generally cruel, sadistic, vicious, and hateful of those who were snug and successful.

Being the armies of the Dark lords, they were under the supervision of the Dark lord, Morgoth. During the Years of the Lamps, they served him and later served his successor, Sauron in their quest to dominate Middle Earth.

The first Dark Lord was the rebel Vala first known as Melkor and then as Morgoth. The second Dark Lord was the Maia and former lieutenant of Morgoth known as Sauron.

The History of the Orcs and their existence

The Orcs were surely an essential part of the whole Lord of the Rings series. However, it is still not clear about their origins as even the author has not really revealed anything.

Yet, many believed that it was Melkor who created them. As we all know, Eru Ilúvatar, was the one who created the supreme beings, The Elves, and The Men.

The awakening of the Elves was very important to Ilúvatar as he wanted The Elves to be his firstborns. Even Melkor was aware of this as he was the first to learn of the Awakening of the Elves.

Although Melkor was the most powerful of the Ainur created by Ilúvatar, he rebelled against his creator and wanted to corrupt Arda.

In order to do so, he soon started to send his evil spirits among the Elves, who planted the seeds of doubts against the Valar.

In the series, it was rumored that those Elves, who wandered too far away were captured by a “Rider”. Turned out that the infamous Rider was none other than the Dark Lord, Melkor himself.

Before Oromë first found the Elves at Cuiviénen, Melkor kidnapped some of the Elves, who strayed way far from their homes, and took them to Utumno.

There they were cruelly tortured by Melfor and he turned them into the Orcs. These Elves turned into Orcs and were known as the First Orcs.

Melkor (Quenya; “He who arises in might”), predominantly known as Morgoth (Sindarin; “Black Foe of the World”), was the first Dark Lord and the primordial source of evil in Eä.

After the War for Sake of the Elves, many Orcs along with fallen Maiar and other evil servants of the Dark Lord, Melkor, survived in the deep cave, chambers, pits, and even tunnels of Melkor’s underground fortress Angband.

This was where the Orcs were believed to have multiplied and later spread across the northern parts of Middle Earth.

They were later first discovered by the Dwarves, who reported them to the King of Doriath, Thingol. Upon hearing about the Orcs, Thingol sought weapons of war for the first time.

For over a millennium, the Orcs were not much of a threat. However, when Melkor return with the Silmarils, he took full charge of them and unleashed them on Beleriand.

During the First Age, Melkor bred thousands of Orcs and made them participate in the Battle of Beleriand which lasted for 587 years. The Orcs appeared in the Battle of the Lammoth as well but they were defeated by Ñoldor.

In the Second Age, during the War of the Elves and Sauron in SA 1700, the Orcs formed the main host of Sauron’s power. Still, the Elves got the victory over the immeasurable number of Orcs present all thanks to their united force, superior weapons, and greater strength.

Orcs remained the backbone of the armies of Mordor. They were also there in Isengard when Saruman was its ruler.

However, with the downfall of Saurons in the Third Age, after the War of the Last Alliance, Mordor was left alone and the surviving Orcs were concentrated in the Misty Mountains.

After Sauron returned to Mordor, he rebuilt his fortress and created a massive army of Orcs. His servant, Saruman was also able to create the Uruk-hai, a breed of Orc which was stronger than the rest of the Orcs.

However, during the Fourth Age, the Orcs scattered and were hunted down to extinction after the One Ring was destroyed.

So, now that you know exactly who these monsters were let’s get back to the main topic and discuss how long did they live?

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How long did they live?

orcs 1

Neither of their origins was revealed properly in the series, except for the fact that they were created by the original Dark Lord, Morgoth (Melkor) so that he could rebel against the Children of Ilúvatar.

The Orcs were merely used for only war reasons as even their creation was done only for war purposes. So, we could say that they might not have had a very long lifespan as they were very susceptible to death on the battlefield.

The inherently evil creatures, Orcs were present for more than thousands of years as they formed armies of the dark lords for the three most prominent ages of Middle Earth.

This brought us to think that if they were present for such a long time, they must have had the ability to breed and multiply among themselves. So, over the years they continued to roam Middle Earth waiting for their masters.

This brings us back to their lifespans. Just like how unclear their origins were, the truth about how long they lived is still a mystery to this day.

Tolkien and the filmmakers did show us their powers and just how strong they were but sadly they did not really do well in the elaboration part about their overall physiology and longevity.

While most of the characters of different races of Middle Earth had dates of birth and even death, the Orcs had nothing of such kind.

Either Tolkien himself was biased towards them or maybe he just didn’t want to cross so many dates on his calenders, he didn’t really write anything regarding the birthdates of his Orcs.

Some beings like the Elves were immortal whereas the Hobbits and the Dwarves lived for more than hundreds of years.

While there were some who believed that if the Orcs were created from the race of Men, they would have had lifespans probably above average than the humans as they were the modified version and the Dark lord himself created them.

In the series, there was one Orc who was believed to live for about 150 years, which gave rise to the possibility that the Orcs had a lifespan that was quite long and probably longer than that of the Men and the Hobbits.

So, if we take the average lifespan of Men to be 80 or 90 something that means the Orcs could have lived up to more than a hundred years.

The fact that they had a longer lifespan could be proved by Bolg, the son of Azog, who died 142 years after the death of his father. There were also some orcs who were believed to have survived the fall of Morgoth.

During Frodo’s encounter with the Orcs, Gorbag and Shagrat, they referred to the Great Siegeas the bad old times”, which could have been a hint to their presence at the time of the War of Alliance that took place three thousand years ago.

But it could also just be their normal conversation talking about the folklore of their people and Shagrat and Gorbag were not immortals as they both died within days after their encounter with Frodo.

Were they immortal?

orcs 2

One of the most prominent questions asked about them was whether or not they were immortal. Considering the fact that they were created by the Elves, it was no surprise for such a question to arise as the Elves were immortal beings.

By now, you know that Morgoth bred the Orcs not because he wanted to be their rulers but because he wanted them as his soldiers that he could use for the wars.

So, the Orcs were made for quantity rather than quality, which showed just how lowly their lives were considered.

The fans believed that the author wanted evil and vicious monsters, who followed power and could be cut down without conscience by his heroes, so he created the Orcs.

So, they were portrayed just as mere pawns between strong powers with their lives on the line, yet not for themselves but for their masters.

The life of the Orcs might have not been so valuable but the author had different views on them. Since he was a Catholic, he believed that every being had a soul including the Orcs.

He also thought that although the Orcs were evil, just like any other being with a soul, they too had the potential to return to being good.

So, although he believed in such things, the Orcs weren’t really given any unique treatments. This could be the reason why they weren’t immortals like the other beings in the series.

Furthermore, just because it was believed that they had the elvish genes in them didn’t mean it was one hundred percent true. Even if it was true it didn’t mean that just like their original form they would become immortal.

Moreover, the line of Elros, who also had the elvish genes didn’t really get immortality like the Elves, which further proved that the Orcs might have not gotten immortality as well.

Also, immortality was not some mere power that anybody could just give to anyone. The Elves received the power of immortality because they were the firstborns of the mighty creator. However, the Orcs were created by Melkor, who himself was a creation of Ilúvatar.

So, Melkor, the strongest Dark Lord was less likely to have the powers such as the creator to bestow the power of immortality to his mere soldier of Orcs. Plus, he never really wanted the Orcs to gain such powers as he only regarded them as disposable soldiers

As far as their natural lifespan was concerned, they were very much likely to be slain and were also vulnerable to diseases that could have actually killed them. So yeah, although they were believed to be once an Elve, they weren’t immortal and they did die.

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Who was the oldest Orc?


Since the dates of birth and death weren’t really disclosed in the series, it was difficult to estimate the ages of the Orcs.

Nevertheless, among thousands of Orcs in the Lord of the Ring, the father-son duo, Blog and Azog stood out the most in the series.

Also, among them, only Blog’s age could be estimated. According to Tolkien’s words, Blog’s father, Azog was slain on TA 2799 and Bolg was there during his death.

Now, Bolg was there when Azog was slain by Dáin II, and it was Bolg who led the Orcs in the Battle of Five Armies, which was his last battle as he took his last breath in the same battle.

He died in the battle that took place on TA 2941, which was almost 142 years after his father’s death. Considering the fact that he was present with his father at the time of his death, Bolg must have died when he was somewhere around 150 years.

Hence, for now, he is considered to be the oldest Orcs in the whole Lord of The Rings as the births and deaths of the other Orcs couldn’t be estimated.

So till now, not much is really known about these creatures and with their extinction in the Fourth age, they were very rarely talked about. However, with the new series of the Lord of the Rings franchise, The Orcs are all that people could talk about.

The series made its return in September 2022 with its new movie, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and the Orcs have appeared in a form you have never seen before. So make sure you check out the series and get your minds blown by the magnificently evil Orcs as well as the other amazing characters. 


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