Making or creating Orcs: How Thorinsmut’s Free Orcs AU writes back to Tolkien

— Robin Anne Reid

11 February 2021 | Journal of Tolkien Research, Volume 11, № 2, 3

Making or Creating Orcs” is a close reading of an Alternate University fan fiction, The Free Orcs AU, by Thorinsmut, which is based on the premise that Erebor was not attacked by Smaug and that some Orcs have fought and freed themselves from Sauron and have established a homeland in Gundabad. Working in the context of the scholarship on racist stereotypes relating to Tolkien’s Orcs, I argue that Thorinsmut is able to write back” to colonial narratives (Baker) through the AU premise and the associated deletions and transformations of Tolkien’s characterizations, plot, setting, and themes in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The narrative focus on trade and political alliances between Dwarves and Orcs (and the removal of Elves and Men) transforms Tolkien’s plot from a quest to destroy Sauron’s Ring to a story about Dwarf and Orc relationships, personal and cultural, and the experiences of Orcs who were enslaved by Sauron and fought for their freedom.

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date recorded 📅2021-07-15
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