While we're discussing half-orcs hooking up, I would like to take a moment here for an interesting sidebar -- that being, how much biodiversity and variation of traits we've seen between the two half-orcs in this world, and how very interesting this is to consider in context of social mores about ethnically-variagated children. (I use "varigated" to emphasize the "zone" nature of trait acquisition in the child, how some features come from mother, some father, some a mixture or "genetic compromise," not simply to toss around brobdnignagian linguistic cabers for sport.)
In most fantasy-world, RPG-esque fiction I've read, there is a certain uniformity of traits passed on to the generally-favored children of mixed ethnicity. Half-elves are, of course, the classic example of this -- human sturdiness and perhaps hirsuteness, yes, with elven eyes, cheekbones, jawline and of course ears. One half-elf looks as much like another half-elf as one human looks like another human, suggesting that the genes combine in a stable, recurring, and thus predictable way.
It is the benighted races, the so-accused "crimes against nature" and "unholy unions," where a much greater variegation of racial traits, and thus, a broader spectrum of possible combinations, tend to occur in our literature. I wonder if this isn't part of the reason why these unions, and their resulting children, aren't benighted in the first place -- the child's genetic code is unpredictable, making baselining "a healthy, normal child" much more difficult, and leading to curious and unforeseen interactions of genes which, some fear, will result in a "defective" child, one less than capable of survival, maturation, and assimilation into society.
There is racism, yes, certainly. There is humanocentrism. There is a kneejerk "our face good, their face bad!" instinct that the simpler folk of our story worlds exhibit. But I can't help but wonder if it isn't "evil," but rather, chaos that's to blame for some of the kneejerk aversion to children of multiple-race parentages. Chaos in the birthing process is a problem; it's something all concerned hope will go smoothly, predictably and without incident -- that is to say, most lawfully. Surprises in the birth, or in the child who is born, are seldom looked upon favorably by a society familiar with deaths in childbirth and horrible complications, in which procreation is a risky thing even with perfectly-compatible genetic structures. Think of how many stories speak of a "different child" ostracized by his or her peers, whose difference proves later to be a bllessing, and we can but agree this is a most common and downright universally accessible literary theme!
And so, while certainly some of the prejudice Glon and Jone weather through in their lives is due to the traits of one parent being considered aesthetically ugly to their single-stock peers, I wonder if part of Maula and Madame White Eye's burden comes from the wide range of trait combinations human and orcish DNA bring to the reproductive table, and the widely varied appearances of half-orcs. Predictable, constant features are baselineable, but a non-baselineable trait can only be a "defect." Thus, when orcs and humans look at them, they see "a near-human/near-orc with some ugly defects," rather than "a healthy, normal half-orc."
A shame, really. One wonders if elves look at half-elves and think "heavens, what awful birth defects that child has." Because the traits are predictable and generally aesthetically favorable to humans, they tend to look upon half-elves warmly, as being "blessed" with their elven parent's genes.
But then, Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic is nothing if not also a superb and eloquent love letter to the amazing biological diversity of the RPG-inspired fantasy world, and the many, many meanings of beauty as related to its many and widely diverse inhabitants. Indeed, I came here for the first time during a conversation with a lovely lady from Finland, when she pointed out Nike to me, during a discussion on the beauty of harpies, and my categorical disbelief on the matter prior to the referral.
How delightful it is to see through the eyes of a "god" so clearly and truly in love with everything he creates!
Ah, but I digress. Forgive me, oh Dungeon Master and Morgana; this seemed the necessary starting point for the exploration. Back to Jone, of course.