Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Gamorrean Guards -- Inspired by Orcs?

When I was younger, I was particularly struck by an image in a storybook I owned about Return of the Jedi.  Despite the disappointing movie overall, there was a pic of a Gamorrean Guard.  The Guard himself reminded me of nothing more than a classic 1e orc!

Now, Gygax himself has gone on record as saying that he didn't like the pig-faced orcs, but nonetheless it's an iconic image -- one that I didn't like 2e and 3e changing, thank you very much.

For anyone who doubts what I'm saying, here's a pic of the Gamorrean Guard:





And here's a pic from the first edition AD&D Monster Manual:




Note that for Star Wars, the G. Guard seems to be rather low tech, something you would find in a more medieval/Hyborian Age culture.  What do you think?

6 comments:

  1. Australian illustrator Graeme Base did a book called 'Animalia' which was very popular in Australia. He has a page with armoured warthogs on horses who look very Gamorrean/orcish as well.

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  2. Interesting -- I'll have to take a look at that book...sounds like fun!

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  3. The orcs from Warcraft look particularly similar to the Gamorrean Guard.

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  4. I had the TV running in the background, where some Clone Wars animated series was running, a scene in Jabba's palace, with some gamorrean guards standing around, and I was suddenly thinking, don't they look like orks? Let's check the internet, if someone else has noticed...
    Why haven't I noticed before? I was casually playing AD&D almost 20 years ago, I'm a fan of fantasy and sf, yet never realised it as in that moment.

    Thinking back, I realised that my visual idea some years back was more like a brownish/blackish hairy mixture of monkey and wolf, probably shaped by stories and games (Gothic's orks were pretty much what I had in mind for a long time, LOTR-orks were close, both nowhere like gamorreans).

    So, what happened to my ork pattern? For once, as someone has mentioned, WoW - although I didn't play it - was playing its part in the 'public' idea of orks, and probably more important in my case, Orcs Must Die: lot's of green, leather dressed orks, hordes of gamorreans...

    TLDR: It may be due to the changing image in the media which surrounds us, which makes the gamorreans appear similar to orks on some other context (game, movie).

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    1. Your post was nowhere near long enough to warrant a "TLDR" postscript, even by today's short attention span standards. It's an idiotic meme as it is without you forcing it. If you're old enough to have been playing D&D 20 years ago then you really should know better.

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  5. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of kids in the 80s who liked LJN's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons toyline used the Kenner Gamorrean Guard toy as an Orc.

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