Asked • 07/20/19

Why are Orcs associated with the colors red, yellow, and black in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?

In Tolkien's *The Lord of the Rings* series, Sauron, and characters allied with Sauron, are frequently associated with the colors red, yellow, and black. For example, here is a description of the Haradim -- a group of men allied with Sauron -- from *The Two Towers*. > They the are fierce. They have **black** eyes, and long **black** hair, and **gold** rings in their ears; yes, lots of beautiful **gold**. And some have **red** paint on their cheeks, and **red** cloaks; and their flags are **red**, and the tips of their spears; and they have round shields, **yellow** and **black** with big spikes. Not nice; very cruel wicked Men they look. Almost as bad as Orcs, and much bigger. Sméagol thinks they have come out of the South beyond the Great River’s end. Another example: the eye of Sauron is described in *The Fellowship of the Ring* as "rimmed with **fire**, but was itself glazed, **yellow** as a cat’s, watchful and intent, and the **black** slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothingness." I could list more examples of this, but suffice it to say, the more you read the story, the more obvious this pattern becomes. Is there a reason behind this?

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