Let’s chat about Azog, the Orc-Lord also known as the Pale Orc or Azog the Defiler.

It should probably go without saying, but I’ma have spoilers below. If spoilers for an 80-something-year-old book, 60-something-year-old books, and 10+-year-old movies are an issue for you, you have been warned.

Still from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 2012.

Part 1: What is Azog, anyway?

First off, just so there’s no confusion: Tolkien refers to Azog only once in The Hobbit and calls him a goblin, but calls him an orc throughout Lord of the Rings. So I’m going to call him an orc. It doesn’t matter anyway because they’re synonyms according to Tolkien, but I’m nothing if not nit-picky about this stuff. You definitely didn’t notice that, right?

A person holding a second person's lips shut and saying "Shhh"
From the webcomic Books of Adam by Adam Ellis


Part 2: Book Azog

In the book, after he killed the dwarven king Thrór, Azog proclaimed himself the King of Moria, essentially beginning the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. Thráin II, son of Thrór, gathered an army to march on Moria to reclaim it for the dwarves. After a long and bloody conflict, Azog himself emerged from the Gates of Moria and killed Náin, the king of the Iron Hills. His son Dáin Ironfoot II ended up beheading Azog during the final battle of the war, the Battle of Azanulbizar, ending Azog’s reign, and the war, in TA 2799.

Part 3: So WHY the FUCK is Azog chasing B Dawg and Co. around Middle Earth in TA 2941, which is when they begin their “unexpected journey”?

Because we needed a villain, dammit! Apparently the trolls, wargs, Great Yarble Goblin, Gollum, the Nazgûl, The Necromancer, giant spiders, Thranduil and the Wood-elves, a MOTHERFUCKING DRAGON, the ring, and just, like, so many armies weren’t enough villains. 

How does the movie “finesse” Azog, a 142-years-ex-dude, into the story? Well, in the movie, Thrór was still alive at the Battle of Azanulbizar! Boy howdy!

Movie Thorin saw his dad Thráin II go mad with grief when Azog cut down Thrór. Thorin attempted to get revenge for his granpappy, but Azog wasn’t killed – Thorin was only able to cut off Azog’s hand. This led Azog to vow to break the line of Durin, hence all the chasing like 150 years later (now that’s a grudge).

As an aside, Book Thorin was, in fact, at the Battle of Azanulbizar, which is where he earned the nickname “Oakenshield”. But Book Thrór was 9 years dead and dismembered (Rest in Pieces, Thrór) by the time that battle happened.

(I’m very sorry, Thrór. I couldn’t help myself.)

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