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Middle-earth air force

Mixel
The Shire

Jan 28 2013, 10:20pm

Post #1 of 8 (1208 views)
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Middle-earth air force Can't Post

Why were the eagles not used to drop rocks onto enemies in every battle? A large portion of enemies would have been killed before the battles would have begun. The eagles may not have been obliged to help, but they should have, as like the ents, they would at some point have been killed, or driven across the ocean, if Morgoth or Sauron would have won.


CuriousG
Valinor


Jan 28 2013, 10:45pm

Post #2 of 8 (354 views)
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Eagles are a last resort [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe they should have been more involved, but Tolkien made them a rescue force of last resort, like the cavalry riding over the hill when all seems lost. We speculate a lot on his reasoning (as Elizabeth pointed out, it's a hot topic for everyone http://newboards.theonering.net/...rum.cgi?post=536726;).

One perspective is that the Valar/gods don't get directly involved in fights anymore. That's what wizards are for. The eagles represent the Vala of the Air, Manwe, and he exercises a lot of self-restraint while waiting for wizards to inspire people to fight for themselves.


(This post was edited by dernwyn on Jan 29 2013, 12:24am)


Mixel
The Shire

Jan 28 2013, 11:25pm

Post #3 of 8 (339 views)
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Lost potential [In reply to] Can't Post

The eagles have so much potential and could have been used to quite easily defeat Sauron, so the Valar are quite annoying, as they let thousands of lives be lost. Beleriand was destroyed because Valar helped, but similar consequences could not occur in this case, as the eagles do not have enough power to destroy lands.


CuriousG
Valinor


Jan 28 2013, 11:42pm

Post #4 of 8 (370 views)
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As arm races go [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Sauron would have matched the eagles with more flying beasts that the Nazgul rode, and recruited or spawned some dragons to fight for him. I don't think he would have left the air uncontested.

The Ents don't regularly participate in battles either, though in destroying Isengard and appearing at Helm's Deep they showed they could be an awesome army. Treebeard was well aware that the Orcs were chopping down his trees, but it took Merry & Pippin to spur him to action.

Overall, it seems like Middle-earth is full of hobbit-like/Bombadil-like creatures who stick to their own lands and own concerns, giving Gandalf a tough job in making everyone see the big picture of what needed to be done. It seems the opposite view of the world today, where countries mobilize all their forces when they go to war.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jan 29 2013, 1:14pm

Post #5 of 8 (388 views)
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Ghan-buri-ghan is another example [In reply to] Can't Post

Ghan-buri-ghan is another example - he and his people help the Riders of Rohan find an unexpected route to get to Minas Tirith, slipping past the forces sent to prevent them raising the siege. Without them, the war would probably have been lost. But the Wild Men don't take any further part in the war once they have relieved the immediate threat to themselves.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Jan 29 2013, 2:48pm

Post #6 of 8 (307 views)
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I've just realised we never "see" the eagles fighting [In reply to] Can't Post

The Eagles turn up at the climactic point of the climactic battle in both the Hobbit and Return of the King. But in each case, the arrival of the Eagles is just causing a lot of excitement among our brave lads when our point of view character gets knocked out. And in both cases that is the end of the description of the fighting. So I don't believe we get any description of what the Eagles actually do by way of tactics. I wonder whether there is a reason for that?

It certainly leaves the field open for anyone to "wargame" it any way they want - are the Eagles fairly feeble fighters, only able to seize and injure individual warriors in the manner of an eagle hunting? They would be readily injured by an archer or a warrior with a spear. Or could they potentially "bomb" with rocks or other projectiles? Or some other tactic? (In The Tales of Narnia films, eagles fly over the battlefield carrying dwarf bowmen, which I thought was ..........interesting.) Depending upon what you imagine, eagles might be horribly devastating, or barely effective. And so it's either a plot hole that they won't get involved, or it barely matters. There's probably no way of coming to any conclusion!

Or, maybe as the eagles are associated with the chief Valar, their role is to symbolize that the Valar are now lending their force or blessing to one side in a metaphysical way. In that case the Eagles represent a manifestation of divine help rather than them being Middle-earth helicopter gunships.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...


CuriousG
Valinor


Jan 29 2013, 8:20pm

Post #7 of 8 (309 views)
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The Battle of Five Armies [In reply to] Can't Post

Isn't it said, after the fact, that the Eagles cleared the goblins off the higher slopes so that the Elves were no longer encircled? (At work; no book handy.)

But you may be onto another conspiracy theory: what if they really don't fight, and "eagle" is just a euphemism? They might really be vultures, who come to feast on the wounded and dying. Though despicable, that demoralizes then enemy, so they help in their own way.

Next up: "The Maggots and Roaches are coming!"


Mim
The Shire

Jan 29 2013, 10:38pm

Post #8 of 8 (1159 views)
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A bit above it all [In reply to] Can't Post

The eagles are aloof, literally as well as more abstractly. Like the other more natural figures, they aren't totally engaged with the political struggles of the world.

 
 

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