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Some time ago I was exchanging comments with huinare about Huan, Hound of the Valar (who I now firmly see as a borzoi) and Sauron, and said that I thought that Sauron was the kind of person who carefully obeys a certain kind of rule, and reads manuals, and sticks within those parameters even when it would make more sense to creatively explore outside of them.

Hence Sauron and Morgoth's reaction to a wolfhound who cannot be slain, save by the greatest wolf that has ever walked the earth, which is basically :  We're Going To Need A Bigger Wolf.

I was thinking about that this morning  while making coffee, and particularly about orcs.  Orcs cannot abide the Sun. It's not just that they hate it,  it appears to be physically impossible for them to operate in sunlight for long.  Until Saruman got to work on them, at any rate.

But why?  Surely it is monstrously inconvenient to have a workforce and army that can only operate at night? Saruman clearly thought so.   In Northern latitudes in the summer, the hours in which they could be in operation must have been annoyingly short.  But if it is possible to fix this, whether by genetic engineering or by blending the races of Orcs and Men, why didn't Sauron do this previously?  He had thousands of years to work on it.

I have two possible theories :

1) Sauron considers the technical specifications of Orcs, as created by Morgoth, to be in some way sacrosanct.  Possibly fiddling with them is forbidden under a license agreement.  The fact that Orcs seem to be degrading and becoming less and less effective as a fighting force over the Ages is no doubt a source of much woe to him, and he probably spends a lot of time virus-checking them and defragging their hard disks.

2) Sauron thinks on a grand scale.  He confidently expects the Great Darkness to return at any moment, and can't see the point in carrying out fiddly small modifications to fix what is clearly a temporary problem which will soon be fixed by large-scale modification of the environment.  Saruman's orc-modification program, to Sauron, is like someone who makes a channel for the stream that is annoyingly flowing through their living-room, whereas Sauron's approach is to simply re-route the watercourse.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
21st Jul, 2016 09:42 (UTC)
Or 3), Sauron is an alter-identity of Sheldon Cooper:-

But once you open the box, you’ve voided the warranty. The warranty is a sacred covenant we’ve entered into with the manufacturer. He offers to stand by his equipment, and we in return agree not to violate the integrity of the internal hardware. This little orange sticker is all that stands between us and anarchy!

21st Jul, 2016 19:45 (UTC)
I bet the orange sticker would have a red eye on it...
21st Jul, 2016 16:56 (UTC)
Or orcs are not his primary tool, and not worth the expenditure of effort.

Or orcs do not play well with the Southerners and it's more convenient to have them operate during different times.

Or orcs fight just fine in the day time (I don't remember the siege of Gondor being interrupted for daylight) and simply do not like it, and Sauron couldn't care less what they like.
21st Jul, 2016 20:00 (UTC)
The siege of Gondor was under cover of a layer of smoke from Mount Doom, which blocked the sun. Presumably the trolls, at least, would not have been able to fight if the sun had been shining, since they would turn to stone...

21st Jul, 2016 23:38 (UTC)
Well, if one can generate a layer of smoke whenever one wants it there's no point in providing sunscreen :)
21st Jul, 2016 17:21 (UTC)
But would it really have taken a fiddly modification to fix the problem? Couldn't the problem actually have been fixed by issuing a parasol to every orc, and inventing sunscreen? Anyone who can forge a One Ring can surely forge a parasol. So for that reason, I vote for Theory No. 1.
21st Jul, 2016 17:32 (UTC)
Someone (who could otherwise be making weapons) would need to make parasols out of wood, cloth, and metal that can be used to make weapons. It's a question of priorities.
21st Jul, 2016 18:16 (UTC)
But parasols could BE weapons. If poisoned umbrellas work for spies, they can work for orcs. With a bit of clever Sauronesque crafting, the fabric of the parasol could probably serve as a fairly effective shield, and the pointy spike at the top could easily be used as a weapon. So you have sword, shield, sun-protection AND fashion accessory, all in one device. I'm quite amazed Sauron never considered it, actually. ;-)
21st Jul, 2016 18:42 (UTC)
Good point. Perhaps he planned on having perpetual darkness descend and didn't like temporary solutions.
21st Jul, 2016 20:09 (UTC)
Hmmm. Our information on this topic comes, I think, via Treebeard
"It is a mark of evil things that came in the Great Darkness that they cannot abide the Sun; but Saruman's Orcs can endure it, even if they hate it."

So I think the vital question would be *could they 'abide' the sun if under a parasol???

They seem to 'abide' it under the shade of the roils of smoke from Mount Doom, so clearly shading is sufficient to provide protection.

But somehow parasols do not seem on-brand for Sauron, who is after all so keen on enforcing consistent use of the company logo that he will not tolerate his own name to be said or written...
21st Jul, 2016 21:03 (UTC)
While the word "parasol" sounds rather wishy-washy and elvish, surely it can just be rebranded as, say, a "ShadowMaker," and all is well and good in the world of Sauron? "Wheresoever the forces of Mordor march, yea, the very shadows of the Dark Lands themselves go with them, and though the sun shines high upon the sky, its light touches not the faces of the orcs, because the power of Sauron is stronger even than the power of light itself."
21st Jul, 2016 21:05 (UTC)
By the way, did the elves suffer from sunburn, since there was no sun when they got invented, and suddenly the sun popped up out of nowhere, and shone upon their sun-unaccustomed complexions?
21st Jul, 2016 21:12 (UTC)
Doubt it. Elvenskin. Tough stuff. There's a reason Sauron made banners out of it. :-D
21st Jul, 2016 21:11 (UTC)
Ooooh you're good. TOO good. Have you got any embarrassing rings hidden about the place at all...?
21st Jul, 2016 21:42 (UTC)
You're a fine one to talk about embarrassing rings, Mr Angruin. :-P
21st Jul, 2016 21:48 (UTC)
You've just reminded me of the Monster In The Dark from Order Of The Stick:
22nd Jul, 2016 08:31 (UTC)
Hah! I hadn't see that before but yes, that seems to be what ladyofastolat has invented!
21st Jul, 2016 21:35 (UTC)
A combination of both, I suspect.
The orcs of the Misty Mountains (in the chase through Rohan) have an air of being less recently defragged than those of Lugburz--as well as the Uruk-hai, of course, who boast of their major upgrade...
But also, Saruman as Istari is less likely than Sauron to have sentimental memories of the Great Darkness. He may not even remember it that well at all.
22nd Jul, 2016 08:32 (UTC)
I bet the orcs of the Misty mountains are crawling with viruses and unnecessary advertising toolbars :-D
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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