Azog The Defiler
“Do you smell it? The scent of fear? I remember your father reeked of it… Thorin, son of Thrain.”
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Azog was an Orc-chieftain of Moria, who slew King Thrór and ignited the War between the Dwarves and the Orcs. His origin is unknown. Some believe he was sent to Moria by Sauron in 2480 of the Third Age to seize control of Khazad-dûm and plunder what remained of its treasure hoards. He may have been sent from Mordor or Dol Guldur, or perhaps he came south out of Mount Gundabad, either way he soon became the chief Orc who ruled the lands of the North.
After the sack of Erebor by Smaug in the year 2770 of the Third Age, Thrór led the surviving dwarves to Dunland to try and carve out a living, but after 20 years in exile Thrór traveled with his companion Nár to their long lost ancestral home of Khazad-dûm. They traveled over the mountains to the East-gate of Moria and finding it open Thrór entered the Black Pit alone and was never seen alive again.
Nár too fearful to enter the darkness of Moria himself, waited in hiding near the door. Days later the body of Thrór was flung down the steps and his severed head followed. Branded across the forehead was the name AZOG in Dwarvish runes. A small purse of coins was thrown down upon the body, and a deep voice named him a beggar at the door. Nár fled and when darkness came Orcs emerged to hack and hew the body, feeding what remained to the crows.
When Nár returned and told Thráin, his anger was set on fire and he mustered the Seven Houses of the Dwarves to seek revenge on Azog. So began the War of the Dwarves and Orcs which lasted for nine years, finally ending in 2799 with the Battle of Azanulbizar, before the East Gate of Moria.
Dwarves hunted Azog through the tunnels of the Misty Mountains and finally met him in battle before the East Gate of Moria. King Thráin II and his son Thorin fought together in battle and it was there that Thorin was given the name Oakenshield.
Azog himself emerged from Moria and fought with Thráin’s cousin Náin upon the battlefield. After killing Náin with his bear hands his son Dáin II, who was only 32 years old at the time, severed the head of Azog and helped win the day for the dwarves. Azog’s head was impaled on a spike, with the same coin-filled purse stuffed in his mouth that he had been flung from the gate nine years before after killing Thrór. And so the dwarves had their vengeance.
The Dwarves made no attempt to press their advantage into Moria, because Dáin had glimpsed the Shadiw and flame of Durin’s Bane through the open gate and warned the Dwarves not to attempt to enter thier fallen Kingdom of Khazad-dûm.
Azog’s dominion in the north came to an end, and what remained of the Orcs of the Misty Mountains fell to his son Bolg, who ruled for more than 150 years until he too met his end at the Battle of Five Armies.
Others tell a different tale about Azog the Defiler. The account above comes directly from the Red Book of Westmarch, which made its way into the archives of Gondor to the south, taken there by one Peregrine Took, where many additional chapters where added over the years. Some with varying accounts that tell a different version of the events surrounding the death of Smaug and the Battle of the Five Armies.
One such tale says that Azog was not killed during the Battle of Azanulbizar. Some believe that Azog lived, that it was there that the Pale Orc of Gundabad took the head of King Thrór right in front Thráin and Thorin, before the East Gate of Moria. In his wrath, Thorin engaged in battle with the defiler and severed the arm of Azog, who never forgave Oakenshield and swore to destroy the line of Durin forever. He retreated back into the darkness of Moria and gathered his strength. Over many years, he once more grew the Orcs of the Misty Mountains and Mount Gundabad into a large fighting force to take vengeance on the dwarves.
In the Black Pit of Moria, Azog the Defiler bided his time, waiting for the moment to arise when he could once more take his desire for vengeance to the Dwarves of Middle-earth.
They say that Azog, during this time was in the service of Sauron, who was then under the guise of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur. Sauron became aware that Thorin was gathering a group of dwarves intent on taking back Erebor from the Dragon Smaug, and so he sent Azog over the Misty Mountains to waylay the company and kill Thorin Oakenshield. In this version of the tale Azog was said to have hunted them East of the mountains in the wilds of the Enttenmoors and the lands of Rhudaur, searching for the heir of Durin as far west as the Weathered Hills and Amon Sûl.
Failing to find the dwarves, who somehow slipped out of his grasp by means of an Elvish trick, Azog sent scouts into the Misty Mountains to find them. Word came from Goblin Town that the Great Goblin sought to claim the bounty put upon the heads of the dwarves. Azog mounted his White Warg and drove his Warg Riders relentlessly until they reached the Goblin Tunnels. Once they reached the Tunnels, his scouts reported the Goblin Town was in an uproar and the Great Goblin was dead. The Dwarves has escaped!
Azog knew they would try and flee the mountains before nightfall and so he drove his Warg Riders over the Mountain Pass in full daylight and found the company fleeing down the mountainside. Even as the sun was setting, they trapped the dwarves upon a precipices leading down through the broken hills.
And once more the Pale Orc of Gundabad was cheated of his prize, when much to his dismay the Eagles descend out of the skies and snatched the company of Dwarves out of his grasp, even as vengeance was at hand. Among the dwarves was the Grey Wizard, who once to often had meddle in the affairs of his Master in Dol Guldur. His time would come soon enough. There also was another creature unknown to Azog the came out of the West, a spy of the Dwarves more than likely. Azog had no doubt, that they would soon all squeal in agony, under the knife of the Pale Orc for their treachery, for the power of Darkness was rising once more in Middle-earth.
Azog sent out his scouts once more and they picked up their trail across the Great River upon the eves of Mirkwood, but they did not dare attack them because of the mighty bear-creature that hunted those lands and took no mercy upon orcs. Even as Azog plotted his next move, Bolg was sent from Dol Guldur to take his place and he was summoned before his Master.
When Azog returned with his War Riders to the Hill of Sorcery, he was told that he should prepare his armies in Dol Guldur to march East through Mirkwood, cross the the River Celduin and enter then take a hidden road through the mountains east of the Long Lake. Sauron has sent countless emissaries north in secret to the Lonely Mountain in hopes of bring the Dragon Smaug into his service. Not one had returned to report, perhaps it was time to persuade the dragon by other means.
Orcs of Middle-earth have been gather once more and in secret under the a viel of Shadow in Dol Guldur the Dark Lord had summoned a vast army ready to march upon which ever foe their Master called them to fight.
The Dark Lord coveted the treasure that lay beneath the mountain, which he could use in his long planned war against the West. The time was not yet ripe, for the Dark Lord to reveal himself and return to his ancient realm of Mordor, however he sensed that events were unfolding that would necessitate a change in his stratagems. The Lonely Mountain held a strategic position in the North, which he greatly desired and he did not want it’s wealth and power to fall back into the hands of the Dwarves, but more importantly then all of these things combined was his desire to bring the Fire-drake into his plans to dominate all of Middle-earth. The great worm Smaug was one of the last of his kind, created by his fallen Master Morgoth and if he could be used in war, there would be none now in Middle-earth who could defeat him.
So Sauron who had long prepared for war, now decided to strike to the north in order to bring the Lonely Mountain under his dominion, for he knew there were other forces at work in Middle-earth that stood against him and even now sought his defeat.
So it was that Azog was made commander of the armies of Dol Guldur to march North and Bolg would command the armies of Mount Gundabad and they would march east, both converging on the ruins of Erebor. However, even as his armies marched on the Mountain, word came to Sauron that the Dragon was defeated and lay dead in the waters of the Long Lake. He sent messages to his dark captains to move on the mountain with all speed.
And so it was that Azog and Bolg came upon Erebor to find armies of Men, Elves and Dwarves and they fought for possession of the mountain. It is believed that Azog died at the hands of Thorin Oakenshield, even as he took the life of the Dwarven King.
This version of the tale of Azog cannot be verified for none now live who remember the great Gundabad Orc, who once fought for his Master, the Dark Lord of Mordor and died among the ruins of Raven Hill.
However, no one can deny that Azog the Defiler, whether he died at the feet of the East-gate of Moria or in the ruins of the fallen Kingdom of Erebor was a mighty Uruk of great power, who commanded vast armies and made an indelible mark upon Middle-earth.
“Moria had been taken by legions of Orcs lead by the most vile of all their race.
Azog ~ the Defiler. The giant Gundabad Orc had sworn to wipe out, the line of Durin.”
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