The Orcs In The Latest Rings Of Power Might Have Made A Sly Nod To The Animated Return Of The King Movie

In the third episode of Prime Video's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," we follow captured elf Arondir through the tunnels under the land where the orcs are digging. They're not big fans of sunlight, which burns them, so they've taken humans and elves prisoner to dig for them. 

The tunnels aren't just for protection from the glowing orb in the sky. These orcs are also searching for something. One would assume it's the broken hilt of the sword that Bronwyn's son found last week. You know, the one that sucked up his blood like a sponge. To keep their unwilling workers in line, these orcs have several techniques: they have axes, snarling creatures called wargs, and a few have whips, as you can see above. 

Does that immediately put a song in your head? If you saw the 1980 animated film "Return of the King" from Rankin/Bass, it probably did. If not, there is a link below. I apologize in advance for your "Where There's a Whip, There's a Way" earworm. 

The orcs with whips in the series was probably a sly nod to the animated television film. Whips are a weapon of choice for those guarding prisoners in many fantasy epics, allowing punishment from afar, but it would be a surprise if it weren't a deliberate addition. I can't be the only one who gets this stuck in my head. 

Where there's a whip, there's a way

"Return of the King" aired on ABC in 1980. It's sort of a sequel to the animation team's 1977 TV film "The Hobbit" by the same creators. (Don't get this confused with the Ralph Bakshi 1978 animated film "The Lord of the Rings." Hobbits were all the rage back then.) The film mostly told the story of "Return of the King," the third part of author J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" books, but included elements from "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers." 

If you remember anything from "Return of the King," it was probably that song, which takes place when Frodo and Samwise infiltrate a company of orcs. The film was a musical, and that song was pretty funky for an animated movie at the time. It's also a little weird. The orcs in the song are complaining about having to fight, which doesn't seem very orc-y. One of the lines is, "We don't wanna go to war today, but the Lord of the Lash says, 'nay, nay, nay!'" 

Let me help you with "The Lord of the Rings" musical rabbit hole you're about to go down. If this made you happy, check out Leonard Nimoy's video for "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins." You will not regret it.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is currently streaming on Prime Video.