"Is Saruman the master or the Great Eye? We should go back at once to Lugbúrz."

Lego Grishnakh

Grishnákh was an Orc captain from Barad-dûr in the service of Sauron in the Third Age, who led a host 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-legged 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 somehow aware of the existence of the One Ring (having been implied to have participated in the torture of Gollum), 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.[1]

Portrayal in Adaptations

Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings

Morgul rats

Grishnákh amongst fellow Orcs of Mordor, near Fangorn Forest

In Ralph Bakshi's films, the Orcs and Uruks look the same and are all from Moria. Grishnakh is apparently an Orc soldier under Ugluk's command who is punched by the latter after being caught with an Orc draught which he is then forced to give to the hobbits. Indeed, his role seems to have fused with Lugdush, as he appears to have been placed in charge of the hobbit captives. 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. (The Lord of the Rings (Animated, 1978))

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

In The Two Towers, 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 to escort him and his Uruk-Hai to Isengard. When the Uruk-hai and the Orcs soon begin arguing amongst themselves over lack of food to eat, Grishnákh is vexed by Uglúk's insistence that the captive Hobbits not be killed or maimed. While it unknown if he knew of Uglúk's mission, Grishnákh attempts to kill the captive Hobbits before he is hit by a Rohirrim rider's spear. Though he survives to chase Merry and Pippin into Fangorn Forest, Grishnákh is crushed to death by Treebeard stepping on him. Though he and his group were sent by Sauron from Mordor in the book, they wear the same attire as Saruman's Warg riders.

Other adaptations

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.

Voice Dubbing actors

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
German Ekkehardt Belle

Name in Contemporary accounts

"Count Grishnackh" used to be the stage name of Varg Vikernes, a notorious musician who was part of the Norwegian Black Metal scene.



  1. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter III: "The Uruk-hai"

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