- Gandalf: "Your grandfather Thror was killed, you remember, in the Mines of Moria by Azog the Goblin."
Thorin: "Curse his name, yes."
- —The Hobbit, Chapter 1: "An Unexpected Party"
Azog was a powerful Orc who claimed rulership over the abandoned Dwarvish mines of Moria, during the late Third Age. He became the leader of the Goblins of Moria and initiated the War of the Dwarves and Orcs in TA 2790, by beheading King Thrór, who had come to revisit the ruins of the ancient dwarven Kingdom of Moria. At some point he had a son named Bolg. In the following years, Azog was the common enemy of all dwarves, and the war he started had its climax in the Battle of Azanulbizar, where he killed Náin, only to be himself slain by Náin's son Dáin, who would later become King of Durin's Folk. His son, Bolg, inherited the reign in Moria and continued it for decades until his death at the Battle of the Five Armies.
Azog entered history in the year TA 2790 due to King Thrór's desire to revisit and perhaps restore the lost realm of Khazad-dûm. When Thrór was found in the armories of Khazad-dûm he was brought before Azog being accused of thieving. He tortured Thrór for two days until he was informed of a second dwarf outside of Moria. He decided to kill Thrór after he defied him with the words "These are the Halls of Durin!" He beheaded Thrór and carved his name in Thrór's head, then threw Thrór's body over the stairs. Azog then called out to Nar, the other dwarf, from the gate, demanding that he deliver a message back to Thrór's people, warning that beggars who dared to enter Moria and attempted thievery would meet a similar fate.
Azog then called out that he had killed Thrór, and that he now ruled Moria as king. His name in runes was carved onto the brow of Thrór, forever branding his very name into the hearts of the Dwarves. Nár was barred from retrieving the head of Thrór, and the orcs threw him a small pouch of coins of little worth as a final gesture of scorn. Nár took the pouch, turned, and fled. When he looked back, Orcs had emerged from the Gate and were hacking apart Thrór's body and flinging the pieces as carrion for the ravens. 
When news of this reached Thrór's heir Thráin, he was greatly angered and mustered a force of Dwarves to seek revenge on Azog. So began the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. The dwarves hunted Azog, and many battles were fought beneath the earth. After nine years of war, before the gates of Moria itself the climactic Battle of Azanulbizar was fought. In that battle Azog was killed and beheaded by Dáin, son of Náin. His head was impaled on a stake, and the pouch of coins he had thrown to Nár was stuffed into his mouth.
Except for Thrain, the dwarves made no attempt to press their advantage by pursuing the orcs into the mines. They warned Thrain against entering Moria. Dáin had glimpsed Durin's Bane deep within and warned the Dwarves to not attempt entering Moria. Azog's underground realm's population had been greatly reduced in the War and his reign passed to his son Bolg for the next 150 years, until Bolg's death in the Battle of the Five Armies.
Azog is mentioned briefly in the novel The Hobbit by Gandalf, who says to Thorin, 'Your grandfather Thrór was killed, you remember, in the mines of Moria by Azog the Goblin,' to which Thorin responds 'Curse his name, yes'. Incidentally, this is the only place that Tolkien refers to Azog as a "goblin"; in other books such as The Lord of the Rings Tolkien describes him as a "great Orc." This is not a discrepancy however, since as far as Tolkien was concerned goblin is merely the English translation of the word orc, not a different type of creature, and in The Hobbit he almost always referred to orcs as goblins.
Appearances in the Books and FilmsEdit
In the booksEdit
In the filmsEdit
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (First appearance)
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Portrayals in adaptationsEdit
The Hobbit film trilogyEdit
- "Moria had been taken by legions of orcs led by the most vile of their race... Azog the Defiler. The giant Gundabad orc had sworn to wipe out the line of Durin. He began... by beheading the king."
- —Balin, in The Hobbit: An Unexcpected Journey
In his Hobbit trilogy, Peter Jackson greatly changed the story line concerning Azog, having him survive the Battle of Azanulbizar, losing his arm to Thorin instead of his head to Dáin, and thus living to become the main antagonist in the first film. He pursues and attacks Thorin and Company on their way to the Lonely Mountain, apparently out of vengeance.
In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), Azog is the orc chieftain of Moria, and is called The Defiler or The Pale Orc. When Balin tells the story of the Battle of Azanulbizar, Azog is shown in the flashback battling King Thror and beheading him; this drives the king's son Thrain mad with grief but enrages the king's grandson, Thorin Oakenshield. Azog engages Thorin in combat and has him beaten, until the dwarf prince grabs a fallen oak branch and uses it as a shield against the orc's mace. As Azog swings his weapon down with his left arm, Thorin grabs a fallen dwarf's sword and slices off Azog's left arm. Badly wounded and enraged, Azog is dragged back into Moria by his fellow orcs, while the dwarves rally and drive back the remainder of his forces, though at great costs to themselves. Azog is believed by Thorin to have died of his wounds but he survives and plots against the dwarves again, this time seeking revenge on Thorin Oakenshield for cutting off his hand, in contrast to his death at the hands of Dain Ironfoot.
Azog now hunts Thorin and Company, having taken an oath to break the line of Durin. He leads a band of Hunter Orcs and rides a huge white Warg. He is also shown wearing a prosthetic hand and forearm in place of his missing left arm. In a climactic scene of the film, Azog and his band of Warg riders finally catch up with Thorin and Company, who are forced to climb trees to escape the wargs. Thorin cannot hold back his anger and charges at Azog, who easily fells Thorin with his mace. Azog then orders one of his orc followers to bring him Thorin's head, but the wounded Dwarf lord is saved by Bilbo Baggins, and Thorin and Company are rescued by Great Eagles. Most of the orcs and wargs are killed by the Eagles, but Azog and his white Warg are left alive.
In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Azog continues his vengeance against Thorin, tracking the dwarves to Beorn's house. However he is unable to attack them due to Beorn patrolling the area in his bear form. Bolg arrives and tells his father 'The Master' summons him, to which he reluctantly agrees. Azog arrives at Dol Guldur where it is revealed that he is in league with the Dark Lord Sauron, who was in disguise as the Necromancer. Given command of his army, Azog demands the promise of Thorin's head, to which Sauron tells him all will die anyway. Frustrated, he gives his son Bolg the task of hunting the dwarves.
When Gandalf investigates Dol Guldur later in the film, he discovers the ruins are actually from a concealment. As he removes the spell Azog leaps out and knocks him down in a surprise attack, taunting the wizard he comes too late. He prepares to kill him, but Gandalf uses his staff to keep the Defiler at bay, who still makes several attempts to strike. Gandalf escapes before the Dark Lord subdues him. Azog leads the army out towards the Lonely Mountain, determined to fufil his oath in the upcoming battle against Middle Earth. His further fate is unknown.
Unlike any other orcs played yet in the Peter Jackson films, Azog and his band speak using the dark Orkish language rather than in English. Azog is also a very large orc, as tall if not taller than an Uruk-hai and far more bulky. Unlike other orcs, his skin is bone-white, compared to other orcs whose skin color generally ranges from sickly green to a dark brown or lighter peachy colours. Further differentiating Azog from other orcs are his piercing blue eyes and smoother skin, with deep, tattoo-like incisions covering his face and torso. He also looks arguably less barbaric than other orcs, save for the wicked-looking metal claw replacing his severed forearm; the aft end of the prosthetic ends in a spike protruding near his elbow, heavily suggesting that the limb was crudely implanted by driving the spike through Azog's arm stump. Azog's body is a collage of battle-scars and combat-tattoos, and is possibly designed to intimidate his enemies on the battlefield. When riding a Warg, he is forced into a combative stoop.
Azog is depicted in the Hobbit film trilogy as the iron-fisted, pitiless, sly, insidious, cynical, bitter, malicious, arrogant and merciless chieftain of the orcs of Moria and leader of the warg riders. He is portrayed to be cunning, ferocious and very, very ruthless, with a bitter and hateful obsession for vengeance against Thorin Oakenshield for cutting off his arm in battle. He is also shown to be extremely sadistic, gleefully mocking Thorin in their second confrontation by saying that his father "reeked of the smell of fear" (which apparently made Thorin think that Azog killed his father) to goad him into attacking. He also seemed to enjoy watching the wargs attacking the dwarves.
His ruthlessness is displayed when he murders his own allies when they displease him. A vengeful, megalomaniacal psychopath, Azog is easily frustrated, even by his Master and by his own followers. He is extremely hot-tempered and elitist. He is also highly intelligent and cerebral, displaying excellent hunting skills and experience in combat. He is also vindictive, highly idealistic and unfailingly loyal to Sauron.
Azog as depicted in the Hobbit film trilogy is an incredibly proficient and skillful warrior with a brutal fighting style that includes keeping his distance from his opponent and using psychological warfare to anger his enemy. He is a callous, ruthless, idealistic and tenacious leader of the Warg cavalry of his battalion, being highly intelligent and showing tactical ability when he corners Thorin and Company in the trees in his second battle with Thorin.
He even briefly holds his own against Gandalf in The Hobbit; The Desolation of Smaug, though seemed powerless against his magic that could have easily killed him, though he still put up a good fight. He is also shown to be an adept Warg-rider, able to tirelessly pursue Thorin & Company during the first film. He is an excellent hunter and has almost limitless determination.
- Azog is a playable character in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king. Azog was not featured as the goblin leader in BFME2, being replaced by Gorkil the Goblin King. Although he appears in the expansion pack, it is still unclear who the leader of the goblins is.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, III: "Durin's Folk"
- ↑ King Thráin and his son Thorin were in that battle, and it was here that Thorin gained the surname Thorin Oakenshield.
- ↑ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king