The Thinking Orc by Turner Mohan
Do orcs ponder their lot in life? what do they think about when they’re not fighting each other or the free people? It’s a question Tolkien left largely unanswered in his books, and the role of the orcs as the all purpose “others” who are patently evil and may therefore be slaughtered indiscriminately by our tall, grim, piercing-eyed heroes is about the only thing in Tolkien’s vast legendarium that leaves me with some reservations. I always wanted to know more about the orcs (beyond their perpetual role as cannon fodder for various dark lords) Cirith Ungol and the uruk hai were two of my favorite chapters in LOTR because at least we get some glimpses of orcish society (same reason I always liked the goblin town part of the hobbit).
I imagined for this piece a scene of an orcish chieftain like Azog or the Great Goblin, now a few years past his prime, living in some conquered city built centuries earlier by more advanced people (like Tol Sirion, Minas Ithil, or Moria) laying aside his weapons and pouring curiously over old tomes deep in an abandoned study. Maybe he cant even read, just pondering the very act of writing itself.
I really like this piece. It’s been in my favorites on Deviantart for years at this point, the piece itself having been published in 2013. The artist’s comments make for an interesting bit of thought. Conceptually, an orc doing something besides being a ravaging dickhead obviously speaks to me. Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do.