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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Eagle plothole revisited ... and an invitation to have fun with it! :D
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Aug 11, 7:58pm

Post #26 of 37 (734 views)
Of course, you know... [In reply to] Can't Post

...this means that someone is going to have to actually put this up on YouTube, sung karaoke-style. Angelic

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)


Aug 11, 10:50pm

Post #27 of 37 (726 views)
How bold of you [In reply to] Can't Post

It does make sense, actually.

It reminded me that the Council makes takes great pains to bring up Bombadil--his absence, and why he should be there, and why he's a candidate for guarding the Ring, and all those refuted quite pointedly. So Tolkien covered that topic in anticipation of plotholes, it seems.

I was thinking that the Ents, Lorien, the Eagles, and even Ghan-buri-ghan are left out probably because Tolkien wanted to them to enter the stage by surprise later rather than spills ALL his beans in one place. Lorien, it turns out, is safely on the Good Side (Boromir's suspicions to the contrary), but the others are granted a sense of doubt about their loyalties. The Fellowship was in doubt to see the eagle spying the land as they went down the river--they didn't automatically say, "Oh, good, it's one of our aerial scouts." I think keeping some doubt in the story is necessary for an atmosphere of danger and tension, even when these unknown people met along the way turn out to be Goodies also.


Aug 11, 10:52pm

Post #28 of 37 (715 views)
Have we ever definitively established that Eagles even have wings??? // [In reply to] Can't Post



Aug 12, 9:45am

Post #29 of 37 (675 views)
Yes, they kidnapped them during the video shoot for 'Mull of Kintyre' ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

Swooped down and plucked them right off the beach. It took some time for the other ex-Beatles to pay the ransom.

"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Aug 12, 10:37am

Post #30 of 37 (672 views)
bold, unjustified (?)* [In reply to] Can't Post

It still leaves the question, of course, why spend tine in the Council chapter eliminating Tom as a possiblity for guarding the Ring, and yet remain silent on Eagles? My own guess is that Tolkien either didn't think of the Eagle option, or it was so out of bounds in his own head (for reasons we've discussed above) that he didn't think a refutation was needed.

I'll speculate further that Tom is eliminated because doing that might refect on a Tolkien theme -

I might put it this way. The story is cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side, beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object except power, and so on; but both sides want a measure of control, but if you have, as it were taken a ‘vow of poverty’ renounced control, and take your delight in things themselves without reference to yourself, watching, observing, and to some extent knowing, then the question of the rights and wrongs of power and control might become utterly meaningless to you, and the means of power quite valueless.It is a natural pacifist view, which always arises in the mind when there is a war. But the view of Rivendell seems to be that it is an excellent thing to have represented, but there are in fact things with which it cannot cope; and upon which its existence nonetheless depends. Ultimately only the victory of the West will allow Bombadil to continue, or even to survive. Nothing would be left to him in the world of Sauron.

Tolkien Letters #144

By contrast, we're already agreeing (or some of us are) that using the eagles as handy airlifts would undermine a theme - of the need to fix things through heroism rather than whizzy fixes.

* "Bold, unjustified" - I'm thinking here of the old story about the cub newspaper reporter who has just finished typing his first ever story. It's back in the days when these thigs were done on typewriters and then set in lead type. Our newbie reporter now has to take his story to be read by the fearsome personage of The Editor. The Editor whips out a red pen, underines the story's heading with a wiggly line and writes "bold, unjustified" next to it. The Cub's about to defend his work when he realises that the Editor's only adding instructions for the typesetter....

"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Aug 12, 4:22pm

Post #31 of 37 (664 views)
That letter, in a way, equates Bombadil with hobbits [In reply to] Can't Post

Bombadil had a lot of power; the hobbits didn't have much. Both were pacifists and dependent on others to win the war against Sauron so they could live in peace. I guess that's his thematic mind at work.

That letter also hearkens back to your post about leadership and whether it's devoted to the common good or narcissistic (in my paraphrasing). Leaders of the first sort are rare in human history, but they stand out as quite remarkable when they do. They're never as pure as Aragorn and Elrond, of course, and will still exhibit human flaws, but it is a strong dichotomy in one's world view. (Provided one really knows what the common good is and the moral path to it; the counterexample that sticks in my mind is that Pol Pot thought the killing fields of Cambodia really were for the common good and weren't a tyrannical whim or excess.)


Aug 12, 10:56pm

Post #32 of 37 (635 views)
I thought Peter Jacksons movies presented a decent impression of why flying into Mordor wouldn't be the greatest idea [In reply to] Can't Post


And who knows. Perhaps in his spare time old Sauron was a devoted ornithologist?

(This post was edited by InTheChair on Aug 12, 10:56pm)


Aug 13, 2:23pm

Post #33 of 37 (618 views)
Another [In reply to] Can't Post

possibility is that at the time he thought of the Eagles as being merely a "regional power;" in The Hobbit they carry Thorin & Co just as far as the Carrock, not to Lake-Town. Confined to their own territory rather like Bombadil.

Here one may object "but Gwaihir rescued Gandalf from Orthanc!" True- but that whole story only entered in a late draft of the chapter.

Or one can simply raise the coconut issue, and whether these were European eagles or African eagles. They only have the endurance to carry a dwarf-sized burden from the east-gate of Goblin-town to their eyries, and from there to the Carrock in a second lift. Gwaihir can only haul a feather-light near-dead Gandalf from Moria to Lorien. In other words, we aren't talking airliner operating radius here.

Mari D.

Aug 13, 3:02pm

Post #34 of 37 (604 views)
I'd find it great if someone made a song out of all the theories we're collecting here ... [:)] [In reply to] Can't Post

... to counter the "How the Lord of the Rings should have ended" video on Youtube :-)
I mean ALL the theories Angelic

Here's a little beginning:

Oh sharpest eye on the mountain above
their council watching, you little love
that soon this world be filled with fire and smoke
Still you won't fly in-to Mordor

Feel free to craft your theories into the stanzas that'd follow =D

And here's a possible refrain:

"For I see fire
inside Oro-druin
I see fire
burning my beak (ouch)
I see fire
bellowing guards
I see fire
deep in my dreams
And I hope Elrond you don't ask ME!"

Mari D.

Aug 13, 3:04pm

Post #35 of 37 (607 views)
Great theories so far [In reply to] Can't Post

both the serious and the others Cool
Thanks to all for joining the discussion Heart


Aug 14, 9:47am

Post #36 of 37 (531 views)
The Coconut Issue - I fear it! ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
Or one can simply raise the coconut issue, and whether these were European eagles or African eagles.

I fear it because I have been the kind of person who might sit down with a map, the text and a calculator and try and work out the logistics of getting to Mordor by Eagle. But as Monty Python show so well by having their coconut cound-effects rendered on screen by an actor, making the incidental prominent is the height of Foley.

Or is The Coconut Issue like the Swimsuit Issue, only coir?

"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.

Mari D.

Thu, 10:20pm

Post #37 of 37 (376 views)
Or actually ... [In reply to] Can't Post

upon further consideration, I think it better to have two songs: one with the fun theories and one with the real ones. It came to my remembrance that ABBA actually sang a song about eagles (named "Eagle"), that might make a nice second template. I don't know Hotel California well enough... but that I could do :-)

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