adventures in dysthymia

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Of Orcs

One sees a fair number of fantasy novels (and RPGs) using Orcs as characters. I would never employ that word nor that ‘race’ in my work. Why? Because, one, it belongs to the ‘world’ of Tolkien and, two, the word was essentially invented by him and is not traditional.

But it does derive from a Latin word for a sort of demonic creature. From that word, via French, comes the name ‘ogre.’ In other words, orc equals ogre. So ogre is my choice, not that I have used it much. In fact, there is only one appearance in any of my stories so far, in ‘The Song of the Sword,’ my first book of ‘Donzalo’s Destiny.’

There a lone individual takes part in the attack on Sir Paren’s keep, along with a group of kobolds and trolls who are aiding the human outlaw band. I describe him as an over-sized kobold, which is pretty much where ogres fit into my scheme of fairy-folk.

And what are kobolds, you might ask? Another name for goblins, essentially (the words are related, linguistically). I have used kobold instead of goblin to avoid certain connotations of the g-word. Note that Tolkien originally used ‘goblin’ to name the beings he later called orcs.

One may, of course, use whatever words one wishes, however one wishes. That is your choice. I do want to keep my stuff reasonably consistent with tradition and, therefor, never have and never will write an orc into any of my tales. But expect ogres and kobolds and trolls and dragons and plenty more.

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