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If you haven't read Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings yet, please do so now. Otherwise the following might spoil your experience slightly.

The Story of Uglúk

'I am Uglúk. I command. I return to Isengard by the shortest road.'

Poor Uglúk. Heading a motley crew of uncooperative Orcs, he's trying to bring a couple of hobbit captives unharmed to his master in Isengard without arousing the suspicions of Mordor. His situation is not made ligther by the closing in of a horde of horseriding Men and the angered remnants of a broken Fellowship who are all out to get him. In this situation, his particular talents for commanding, by insults and confrontations, prove insufficient.

'Curse the Isengarders! Uglúk u bagronk sha pushdug Saruman-glob búbhosh skai'

His mission starts out well. Uglúk the Uruk-hai is a loyal servant to the White Hand, or Saruman, the Wizard who has renounced white for ever. He is given a quite simple task: Surprise a small band of travellers, kill all except the ones among them that look like children. Bring these halflings back in an acceptable condition, for they carry something valuable.

'Pick up those prisoners!' shouted Uglúk. 'Don't play any tricks with them! If they are not alive when we get back, someone else will die too.'

It all seems to go remarkably well in the beginning. The three parties of Orcs, gathered from Moria, Mordor and Isengard, find the halflings almost by accident. They defeat a strong warrior who comes to the rescue of the little ones, and are off. After running for a while, however, trouble starts brewing. Grishnákh, leader of the Mordorian party, wants to take the hobbits south instead of north. After a row where Uglúk kills two of his soldiers, he goes off to consult his superiors. Meanwhile the Cave-Orcs of Moria have been muttering about their harsh leadership and their dangerous conditions. Finally Uglúk loses his temper, and sends them all off.

'Let the fighting Uruk-hai do the work, as usual. If you're afraid of the Whiteskins, run! Run! There's the forest.'

Uglúk feeds his prisoners some foul orc-draught to get them on their feet, and forces them to run along with his Orcs. This enables Pippin to make a daring dash for freedom, shortlived but helpful: he manages to put down a clue for his rescuers. Grishnákh returns, having reconsidered, his company catches up with Uglúk and his Isengarders just as they find themselves overtaken by horseriders.

'Well, here we are,' sneered Grishnákh. 'Fine leadership! I hope the great Uglúk will lead us out again.'

The Orcs find themselves surrounded by hostile Men who will not let them escape. Uglúk, in his usual confrontational manner, goes off to fight them, leaving his hobbit captives behind. Pippin, his hands free from a previous opportunity, loosens Merry's ties as well and they make a lucky escape to the forest. Uglúk is less fortunate. He will never get to taste his favourite dish of man-flesh again.

So it was that they did not see the last stand, when Uglúk was overtaken and brought to bay at the very edge of Fangorn. There he was slain at last by Éomer, the Third Marshal of the Mark, who dismounted and fought him sword to sword.


Then when they had laid their fallen comrades in a mound and had sung their praises, the Riders made a great fire and scattered the ashes of their enemies. So ended the raid, and no news of it came ever back either to Mordor or to Isengard; but the smoke of the burning rose high to heaven and was seen by many watchful eyes.

In Peter Jackson's movie The Two Towers, Uglúk is played by Jay Laga'aia. He is depicted as a black-skinned, grey-haired and balding monster with bad teeth. This amiable creature can be purchased as several different action figures:

Uglúk the Orc (with sword, dagger, helmet and medicine bottle),
Uglúk on the Hunt (with bow, three arrows, quiver, and medicine bottle),
Uglúk at War (with shield, sword, dagger, helmet and hexagonal stand), and
Uglúk in His Cave (with chest, three arrows, dagger, shield and hexagonal stand).

Now ain't that just what you always wanted.

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