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Why does everybody seem to think the Orcs/Trolls are evil?

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Postby the enigma that is badger » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:19 am

Sir Kohran wrote:Possibly. Think of that bit in Gladiator when Commodus (villain)

Well firstly, I don't think many would hold up that portrayal of Commodus in Gladiator as that nuanced or subtle and frankly, he really doesn't fit the archetype I described. He's more more indicative of the corruptive influence of privilege and the misdirected expression of anger and frustration towards a distant father. By the time he ascends to the imperial throne, he's clearly giddy with the absolute power he's obtained as well as the ability he now has to unmake a good deal of what his father's accomplishments. He just doesn't fit the more noble archetype I was describing above.

If you liked Gladiator, I'd encourage you to watch Anthony Mann's Fall of the Roman Empire, of which Gladiator is practically a remake. Christopher Plummer plays Commodus in that version and treats the role much more deftly. Then again, he's given much more to work with the more epic nature (and length!) of Fall.

On the other hand you have characters like Darth Vader and MacBeth who are obviously bad and they know it, but they do it anyway simply because it's what they want. Selfish, really, rather than deluded.

Vader actually does somewhat fit the archetype I described above, at least up until his transformation from Skywalker to Vader. His fall, while certainly assisted by his own sense of pride, is for the most part a result of his single-minded desire to prevent the death of the woman he loves. His actions as Vader, however, at much more the result of his own self-loathing at murdering his wife and his failure as the "chosen one." There's actually a bit of the danger of privilege in his story as well, given the deference other jedi gave him during his training due to his incredible abilities. Certainly, some try to rein in his ego and sense of entitlement, but even those efforts are undercut by his "chosen one" status. Palpatine took advantage of this situation and encouraged the sense of outrage Anakin feels at being denied what he perceives he's owed due to his talents.

Spare the rod and spoil the jedi? :wink:

Regarding Macbeth, there a ton of literature out there regarding the motivations and psychology behind darn near every Shakespearean character. However, given the incredible guilt both him and his wife feel about the cost of his rise to power (seeing ghosts of murdered friends and imagined blood-stained hands), I'd say Macbeth and his Lady are hardly as cold to the brutal nature of his actions than you've described.

Makes me wonder how Hitler considered his actions

There's probably more post-hoc psychoanalysis of Hitler than any other figure in history with an incredible number of theories, both physical and psychological, that attempt to explain the reasons for his wordview and behavior. I'd frankly prefer the focus stay on fictional villains as I for one more comfortable musing about the nature and reasons of their crimes since they have no real human cost attached to them.

TLC seems to have decided on a simple black and white 'us vs them' mentality; the trolls are evil and must be defeated by the heroic and clever humans/dwarves.

And that's frankly to be expected with what is first and foremost meant to serve as a child's toy. Toy lines don't tend to dwell on issues of moral ambiguity given the young audience they're targeting. It's certainly understandable, especially given that TLC is quick to point out their product is a learning tool.

Then again, in today's marketplace, I wonder if the "greed = evil" is a sentiment LEGO shareholders would agree with! Here's probably the seminal counter-argument to that claim, not that I agree with it at all. I'd posit that cooperation and ability to sacrifice for a mutual good are one the cornerstones of human civilization right alongside individual accountability.

Sorry all if this is getting heavy for a discussion about if trolls are evil are not. Like I said, like many, I've always found villains to be some of the most fascinating complex characters there are. It just goes to show that even a seemingly simple storyline like that of the recent Castle sets can generate such conversation!

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Postby Falconer » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:54 pm

In Warcraft they were definatley evil just watch the Warcraft 2 Introduction.
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Postby HeartOfDarkness » Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:36 am

Orcs are created for evil. They don't have a culture, history, or purpose other than violence. They're simply faceless antagonists that you don't feel bad about killing, like zombies or robots.

At least, that's the traditional view. I imagine them as having a shallow, tribal culture that's centered on war. They don't have agricultural or mechanical skills, so they raid or enslave more clever races, or act as mercenaries. They aren't very dexterous, but have an intuitive grasp of strategy.
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Postby Sir Kohran » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:04 pm

Apologies; this post is only half finished.

Well firstly, I don't think many would hold up that portrayal of Commodus in Gladiator as that nuanced or subtle


Only in your opinion. I think Joaquin Phoenix did a fantastic job with the role.

If you liked Gladiator, I'd encourage you to watch Anthony Mann's Fall of the Roman Empire


I've seen that, a very good and rather underrated film, though I didn't find Commodus' portrayal to be that engaging (though in fairness, the role wasn't as prominent as it was in Gladiator.

of which Gladiator is practically a remake


And here was I thinking it remade Spartacus :wink:

HeartOfDarkness wrote:Orcs are created for evil. They don't have a culture, history, or purpose other than violence. They're simply faceless antagonists that you don't feel bad about killing, like zombies or robots.

At least, that's the traditional view.


Um, according to who exactly? Most fantasies show the Orcs as a distinct race of living creatures. Even LotR gives them plenty of history and some sense of culture. And I certainly can't think of any fantasy that puts them on par with zombies.
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Postby MoonCheese » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:58 pm

In my fictional world, the orcs aren't evil per se, but they tend to be crude and warlike.

Also, the dragons and witch are good in my world.
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Postby Chaotic Good » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:38 pm

Even though this topic's about two months old, I feel I have something to add.

I suppose all this depends on your first introduction to the Orcs. For me, this was Warcraft III - therefore, I see the orcs in that game as an opressed race who strike out against their human oppresors.

You orcs are in violation of the Alliance internment act!


This sort of reinforces that point. If the orcs in Warcraft III have been beaten back so badly by the humans that they are in internment camps (As is shown on a map in the game) then they seem opressed.

However, in terms of the general orcish race, then they mostly seem misunderstood; indeed, even the TLC Orcs are mercenaries. In Tolkein, they are Elves twisted and tortured beyond recognition; in D&D, they are pretty much the default monster.

However, there was a point somewhere in this topic that they must be evil, as they are ugly, green, and have big teeth. This sort of goes back to victorian Britain, where people thought they could tell if someone was a criminal by the shiftyness of their eyes and the furrow of their forehead. And hey, if we're going to get into that sort of idea, let's say all Dwarves are miners. That's a statement. I'm sure that there are some non-miner Dwarves. Admittedly, a minority, but I'm sure there are some good Orcs.

But as to the General Statement, "All Orcs are evil" I feel I must disagree.

Still, I can't really say that definitively; if an Orc came at me with a big huge knife, I'd be unlikely to consider his alignment.

However, as to alignment, I'd say most of them are chaotic good. As I am, heh.
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Postby BrianofBrick06 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:03 am

In my lego world, the orcs and trolls are one of several mercenary warbands, which have sided with a dark lord who has utilized such enslaving practices to amass an imposing army. The only other reason I suppose I generally perceive them to be rather brutal creatures would be because orks and trolls would not be opposed to eating what they kill in battle. I suppose they do not "need" to be evil, but as mercenary beasts they will remain quite evil in reputation...
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Re: Why does everybody seem to think the Orcs/Trolls are evil?

Postby Albatross_Viking » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:50 pm

I know this topic is old, but whatever.
The way i see the orcs pretty much depends on the situation etc.
F.x., in Warcraft III, they (as Brianofbricks said) appear to be opressed by the Alliance. So there, they are the downtrodden ones, and thus not completely"evil". in Tolkien, i oftenly think of them as evil, because of what theyve done to the free people of Middle Earth. but again, they started as tortured elves...
And, is the footsoldier who, on his generals order, kills a man on the battlefield evil?
In Mathiria, they appear to be quite peacefull shamanic nomads, who have constant troubles with the humans that live nearby them. At least, thats what i can tell from a piece of cowleather with text on i found resently, including this.

Henth 24, year 826, Ravens year.
The steelmen from Tiril stroke again today.An army of them slowly appeared on the horison early in the morning. Wac´nun was out, feeding his cows.He saw them before they could launch a surprise attack, and warned rest of the clan. About 30 of their so-called knights, all clad in shining steel and on large battlehorses. 12 of our clanmembers were on a hunt, so we stood only 53 against the steelmen. When they saw us gathering, they began charging forwards to attack us, before we could enter a defensive formation. That was just what Chieftain Toragnon had hoped they would do. Strong they are, but not very smart, these Tirilians. As they stormed forwards, they went strait into the place, where we had our cows walking untill a few weeks ago. Therefore, it was a downtrodden and muddy place, and their large, heavy horses sank deep into it. Then, it was much easier for our warriors to defeat them. The steelmen finally fled, leaving 9 dead, brave orcs behind them. Later that day, a tired messenger came from Tro´gvasul. The seelmen had attacked them too. And they had noit bean as lucky as we.The last few members of Tro´gvasul was hiding in the forrest now. It seems, that the Tirirlians new leader is much worse than those they´ve had before... Hargrol.

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Re: Why does everybody seem to think the Orcs/Trolls are evil?

Postby HbAvenger » Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:01 am

I beleive the Orcs and Trolls have become hell-bent by the thought of wealth. They may well have been peaceful creatures but now are so besotten by evil that yes they are cruel to humans but they see humans as evil horders who don't share their wealth.

A quote from Harry Potter : "There is no such thing as evil. There is only power and those to weak to seek it."
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Re: Why does everybody seem to think the Orcs/Trolls are evil?

Postby Blue Moon Knight » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:48 pm

HbAvenger wrote: They may well have been peaceful creatures but now are so besotten by evil that yes they are cruel to humans but they see humans as evil horders who don't share their wealth.

This sort of sums up my feelings about trolls. They are just poor desperate creatures trying to get what they need to survive. And the easiest way to do so just happens to be to take from the nasty humans who won't share. :cry:
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Re: Why does everybody seem to think the Orcs/Trolls are evil?

Postby Ceedubb of the Bulls » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:59 am

Good. Evil. Depends on your point of view. Here, in this world, its simply what a faction is prepared to do to survive and prosper. Orks, Royal Lions(Lions plus Crownies), Legion of the Danakites (Fright Knights, Vikings, Bandits, Death Knights) and the Dragonmasters are all factions that the Mighty Bulls need to stand against, and I will be the first to admit that getting tied down in ethical conduct when you are at war is a luxury that one cannot afford. Yes, help out the children of the orphanage, but on the same note, yes attack the poorly defended trader caravan, putting man, woman and child to the sword to steal their goods. Its not about good or evil, simply what is best for the clan, or faction.

The Orks are almost the barbarians of this world. They live in the forest, enjoying their "simple" existence. They do not hate humans, but realize the need to defend their people and lifestyle from the other clans. Hence this does not make them inherently evil.
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Re: Why does everybody seem to think the Orcs/Trolls are evil?

Postby troll » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:53 pm

well , trolls are known to be stupid, as we can see in the troll wagon set when the big troll goes after a piece of chicken, so maybe the evil wizard threats em lots of food or something ^^ :orc: :orc: :orc:
Look! it's a troll, it's a funny troll! ---> :orc:

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Re: Why does everybody seem to think the Orcs/Trolls are evil?

Postby Kevin1990 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:13 am

lol wow an whole thread

Orsc are always evil, trolls not, think of the wood trolls they are good but the in old legends orcs were the monsters of the underground so they were made bad. thats how the legend grows they had something agains human race so they attack them

attack human race = evil :P

Simple as that
thats what I think

and about trolls not all trolls are bad, you just have the find the right ones :D think of harry potter the big troll he wasn't bad he was just plain dumb :D scary but dumb so he wouldn't hit people if he wasn't so dumb so... not all trolls are bad :D
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Re: Why does everybody seem to think the Orcs/Trolls are evil?

Postby JoshWedin » Sat Aug 15, 2009 5:29 pm

Kevin1990 wrote:attack human race = evil :P

Simple as that
thats what I think


:lol: I think that's what I think too. They are just evil. 'Nuff said.

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Re: Why does everybody seem to think the Orcs/Trolls are evil?

Postby Albatross_Viking » Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:14 am

Well, from human perspective, yes, they are probably evil, but from orc perspective? probably not...
(I´dd at least not like to walk around felling i was an evil creature :wink: )

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