, a story about a dying Orc mother and her cubs.
When I read that story I found a beast-like mother loving and protecting her offspring. But this attitude I could not reconcile with the demonstrations of hate and disdain within the Orcish hordes as described by Tolkien. And then I remembered the Elven origin of the Orcs, which in my mind would result in self-hate as much as in hate of the Elven brethren. To bolster my feelings I perused LotR, Tolkien’s Letters, Silmarillion, and HOME for information on the origin of Orcs. Tolkien's description changed with time, but the Elven part in the origin of the Orcs seems to enhance with time.
Book of lost tales, Fall of Gondolin
(very early version of Orc origin)
Of the Elf Meglin it was whispered that he had Orc's blood in his veins (Book of lost tales, Fall of Gondolin). This whisper is only possible if Orcs could procreate with Elves.
LotR, RotK, The Tower of Cirith Ungol, Frodo to Sam
Pondering the origin from Elves, and maybe subterranean heats and slime, I think Orcs could live as long as Elves. But as they lead a much more dangerous life (battles, skirmishes, brawls between themselves, hunting and slaying their own kind, slaving for Melkor or Sauron, accidents in the youth) I think they mostly die after a few hundreds years. Yet, there might be some revered ones who become really ancient. And being at least in part of Elven origin they surely have also the Elven capability to procreate.
As Men and Elfs can procreate together surely the same applies to Orcs and Men. But the faerie Elfs and Orcs have probably much less offspring than the short-lived Men.
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