Lurtz – The Uruk-Hai Leader

Lurtz.jpg

Lurtz was the first of Saruman’s Uruks to be bred, choking the first orc he sees to death within seconds of his birth. Attempting to intervene, other orcs (Snagae) move towards the newly born Uruk-Hai warrior, but Saruman halts their advance, intrigued by the malice and violence present in the Uruk’s blood, leaving the unfortunate orc to its fate. He became Saruman’s second-in-command, and led them into battle against the Fellowship of the Ring at Amon Hen. Lurtz was born from the first batch of Uruk-hai in Isengard’s pits, and so was much smarter and stronger than the later breeds which were bred more quickly, presumably so Saruman could amass an army more quickly; they likely developed to their fullest potential. Given that he gave orders to the other Uruks at the Amon Hen and given that he was given private audience with Saruman, he could presumably be called the strongest, smartest and most loyal of all of Saruman’s Uruk-hai warriors.

In the book-series, Boromir was slain by orc archers, described as having been “pierced by many arrows”. In the movie he was killed by Lurtz, who shoots him three times in the chest. Aragorn intervenes, tackling Lurtz to the ground before he could fire a close-range finishing shot at the Gondorian captain, and after a brief but intense fight, cuts off Lurtz’s right arm, stabs him in the stomach, and finally decapitates the Uruk leader. Boromir dies a few seconds later.  In the book, Uglúk was the leader of the orc-band from the beginning, with no mention of Lurtz at all.

The only notable personality trait he displays is a high tolerance to pain, shrugging off Aragorn stabbing him through the leg with a knife and slicing off his arm, and when stabbed through the stomach he actually pulls himself up to Aragorn in a last ditched effort to kill him – this shows that Lurtz, as the most powerful of all Uruk-hai, will never give up on killing his enemies.

The name “Lurtz” may have been derived by Jackson and his co-writers from the style ofTolkien’s Orkish language, specifically the name Lugburz, but it also sounds similar to Lurch from The Addams Family.

Lurtz’s name is never spoken aloud in the original film; it is only known from the franchise and credits.

However, in the extended edition of the film, Lurtz’s name is spoken by Saruman. Despite some initial fears that he was an entirely new character, he really wasn’t much different from other ‘generic Orc leaders’ already present in the book.

The character of Lurtz is one of the playable “heroes” for the Isengard faction in the computer game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, and the sequel The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, as well as a boss in the console game adaptions of The Two Towers, and ironically doesn’t appear in any of The Fellowship of the Ring video games. He also appears as a playable character in the video game The Lord of the Rings: Conquest and Lego: Lord of the Rings after he is unlocked.

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