Orcish Portrait
I was playing around with a self-portrait like this.

Orcs are probably my favourite fantasy creatures. Since I’m not a gamer as such, but more of an academic scholar, I see things in them that many hardcore gamers or fans of particular fantasy authors do not see. For example, myself…

Tolkien’s Orcs were the minions of Evil, and it’s easy to fall in the opposite trap and “redeem” them as misunderstood noble savages. I would like to avoid that, but who knows?

Finnen och Finlandssvensken
Orcs fascinate me for pretty much the same reasons as all stereotypical images of “the Other” or “the Enemy”. We are all somebody’s Other. As a child of emigrants and multiple immigrant myself, I have grown up with a sense of doubt towards those images every time they are presented as fact as well as fiction. Here is an inspirational cartoon from the 1910’s, depicting the two major linguistic groups of Finland from the point of view of the smaller one. As you can see, the threatening majority (the Finnish-speaker) is dressed like a peasant and looks more “Eastern” (cheekbones, slanted eyes, brushy hair – note also the full lips and broad nose, visual cues for “un-European”), pretty Orcish in spite of his blond hair (the ears!), while the small and desperately waving Finland-Swede has parted his hair neatly and wears a civilized western jacket.