- "Is Saruman the master or the Great Eye? We should go back at once to Lugbúrz."
Grishnákh was an Orc captain from Barad-dûr in the service of Sauron in the Third Age, who led a clan of Mordor Orcs to join Saruman's Uruk-hai soldiers who were taking Merry and Pippin across the plain of Rohan to Isengard, in The Two Towers.
Grishnákh is described in the book as "a short crook-ligand creature, very broad and with long arms that hung almost to the ground," and as having a voice that was soft but evil sounding.
Grishnákh's plans for the two captives, Merry and Pippin, were in conflict with Uglúk's orders to deliver them to Saruman unharmed. Grishnákh wanted to take them northward to the east-bank of the Great River where a Nazgûl atop a Fell beast would take them to Barad-dûr. After Uglúk refused his plan, Grishnákh slipped away while the Orcs and Uruk-hai argued amongst each other. Grishnákh soon returned with other Orcs like himself, Orcs with drooping arms and shields with the red eye painted on them.
Grishnákh was aware of the existence of the One Ring and suspected the two Hobbits of possessing it. When the Orcs holding the two Hobbits were attacked by the banished Éomer's Rohirrim, Grishnákh used the distraction to search the Hobbits for the Ring. Pippin tried to negotiate with Grishnákh, asking for himself and Merry to be freed in exchange for information about the Ring, but instead Grishnákh tried to carry them away. When it seemed a Rohirrim rider had discovered him, Grishnákh drew his sword to kill the Hobbits lest they be rescued or escape, but before he could act he was shot in the hand by a Rohirrim arrow and dropped the sword, at which point he tried to run but was ridden down and run through with a Rohirrim spear.
Portrayal in AdaptationsEdit
In Ralph Bakshi's films, the Orcs and Uruks look the same and are all from Moria. Grishnakh is an Orc with an Orc draught and Ugluk punches him before taking it and giving to the hobbits. Later when the Rohirrim surround them he blames Uglúk for it. His conversation with Merry and Pippin is similar to the book, except the main battle hadn't started yet. He is killed by a Rohirrim.
In The Two Towers (film), Grishnákh is played by Stephen Ure and is an Orc captain. He has more screen time in the Extended Edition, which shows Grishnákh and his Orc clan joining Uglúk. He does not seem to be interested in the Ring, and it is uncertain whether he thinks the captive Hobbits might have it. Before he can kill the Hobbits he is hit by a Rohirrim rider's spear, but he survives to chase Merry and Pippin into Fangorn Forest, where he is killed by Treebeard, who steps on him. Though he and his group were sent by Sauron from Mordor in the book, in the film they wear the same attire as Saruman's warg riders.
In Sierra Entertainment's War of the Ring real-time strategy game, Grishnákh is a playable hero for the Minions of Sauron faction, where he is an Orc commander. He is also playable as a mini-hero in the Gameboy 3 Third Age game.
In the Top Trumps card game, Grishnákh's age is listed as 761 years.