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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Just figured out why the "eagle" plan doesn't work


Oct 10 2012, 2:21pm

Post #1 of 18 (1431 views)
Just figured out why the "eagle" plan doesn't work Can't Post

Last night while watching "Family Guy" I heard Chris Griffin raise the whole, "Why didn't the eagle just fly the ring (or Frodo) to Mordor?" I thought about this a lot and read some stuff online, including a fairly convincing argument for why the eagle plan would have been the best method. I haven't read everything on the subject, so please forgive me if I'm making an argument that has already been used...

Now, the point of my post isn't to argue that the eagle method wasn't the best or most "prudent" method, just to point out why I don't think it would have worked.

The only reason the quest actually "succeeded" was because Gollum was there. No Gollum at Mount Doom = the ring isn't destroyed.

Some have argued that the ring seems to take time to ensnare an individual, but that doesn't seem to be the case with Smeagol, Deagol, and Isildur.

Remember when Frodo mentioned to Boromir (in the books) that he felt a warning against the path that seemed easiest? This seems to be a recurring theme in the books...

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.

(This post was edited by aruman on Oct 10 2012, 2:29pm)


Oct 10 2012, 2:27pm

Post #2 of 18 (971 views)
The main reason why they couldn't use the eagles is because ... [In reply to] Can't Post

the eagles didn't want to take it!

And since the Ring draws in all races and creatures (excluding Bombadil), who's to say the eagles wouldn't have claimed the Ring for their own ...

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Oct 10 2012, 2:31pm

Post #3 of 18 (887 views)
Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed that it could have tempted the eagles, but how do you know they didn't want to take it? I can't recall reading that anywhere.

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


Oct 10 2012, 2:51pm

Post #4 of 18 (926 views)
It's never explicitly mentioned, and Tolkien always used the eagles sparingly [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps I was wrong to say they didn't want to take it. But neither did they offer to take it Wink- they only helped in dire situations.

Any anyway, it would have been one boring story if the eagles had taken the Ring!

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Oct 11 2012, 12:02am

Post #5 of 18 (839 views)
And let's not forget... [In reply to] Can't Post

... that the sky over Mordor was filled with ash and Nazgûl, while its plains were littered with thousands upon thousands of orcs with bows at their disposal. I doubt they would have made it.

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Oct 11 2012, 3:40am

Post #6 of 18 (825 views)
And also... [In reply to] Can't Post

the fact that the Eagles appear for only two reasons, either in LOTR or the Hobbit.

1. They come to help Gandalf, who healed the Lord of the Eagles of an arrow wound some time prior to the events of The Hobbit.

2. They come to battle a gathering of orcs/goblins, who are their particular enemies.

Other than that, they seem to take no interest in the concerns of other races. So the short answer might be that Gandalf was the only one who had even a chance of getting them to do it and he didn't think it was a good idea. We delved into the question in some detail in this thread, if anyone wants to do more reading on the subject.



Oct 11 2012, 6:33am

Post #7 of 18 (809 views)
Secrecy [In reply to] Can't Post

Although perhaps not at his full strength without the ring, Sauron is a formidable enemy with many powerful allies (some powerful individually, others powerful through sheer weight of numbers).

The advantage that the 'good guys' have is what Sauron doesn't know: he doesn't know for certain where the ring is (or perhaps even 100% that it's really been found), nor does he have any idea what the good guys' plan is.

Even if the eagles were willing, to fly the ring to Mordor to try to drop it into Mount Doom would be a complete reveal of the good guys' hand. Which is fine if the plan worked, but catastrophic if it failed.

Once Sauron was aware of precisely where the ring is, he would throw everything he had into the surge to get it, and wouldn't stop until it was recaptured... or until he ran out of Nazgul, orcs and anything/one else he had available.

(Incidentally, this is why the low point of PJ's movies for me was the Nazgul discovering that the ring was in Osgiliath in TTT.)

(This post was edited by RoseCotton on Oct 11 2012, 6:37am)


Oct 11 2012, 6:53am

Post #8 of 18 (834 views)
Excellent point about Osgiliath [In reply to] Can't Post

You know, I've never thought about it, but you're absolutely right! I seem to remember (in the book) Gandalf saying somewhere that Sauron assumes that the Fellowship, which he had become aware of through spies, was going from Rivendell to Minas Tirith. Later on, the hope was that Sauron thought they would try to use the Ring, although in "The Last Debate" Gandalf says "He (Sauron) is not yet sure..." but, of course, when they attacked the Black Gate with a force that was not nearly big enough he would assume they must have the Ring.

In the films, Sauron would be aware that a Hobbit possessed the Ring at Osgiliath, of all places. What could he make of that? For one thing, I imagine he would probably be surprised as he might expect Aragorn or Gandalf to be carrying it, if anyone, and probably would have poured all his strength into attacking and searching that area (much sooner than he did).

He still may not have realized, "Oh my gosh, they are trying to destroy it!" but I agree with you. This is one of many changes to the book in TTT that I'm not really crazy about.
I had similar qualms to the way the whole "Last Debate"/Aragorn using the Palantir were treated.

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.

(This post was edited by aruman on Oct 11 2012, 6:54am)


Oct 11 2012, 7:02am

Post #9 of 18 (743 views)
Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

I will look at that thread.

I actually have to kind of agree with some people that say Tolkien never himself never thought of this, or chose to ignore it for whatever reason. I don't know, or course, but I suspect that that is what happened.

We could of course also say that no one at the council thought of it, and therefore it is an oversight on the part of the characters, as some "pro-eagle/plot hole" theorists have pointed out that the council was trying to explore every possible avenue (sending it across the sea, giving it to Bombadil, using it), although I'm sure there are many avenues that still haven't been thought of...no one is perfect, and those at the council may simply not have thought of this possible solution to the problem, which turned out to be a good thing.

In my mind, this so-called "plot hole" becomes a lot less of a problem when we consider the fact that such a plan almost definitely would not have worked. It DOES seem worthy of discussion at the Council, I feel, but it doesn't create any problems at all in any enjoyment of the story, since it wouldn't have worked anyway.

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


Oct 11 2012, 7:05am

Post #10 of 18 (755 views)
Like the ash explanation [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that's the best practical reason I've heard for why this plan may not have been considered. The only potential problem with this theory is that the eagles DID fly over Mordor to rescue Frodo and Sam...BUT I'm thinking they may not have been sure if they COULD originally do so, and didn't want to take that chance while carrying the Ring.

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


Oct 11 2012, 9:46am

Post #11 of 18 (805 views)
Except that [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo doesn't reveal the Ring to the Nazgul, because Sam stops him just in time...

This reminds me of the scene in the book as the Lord of the Nazgul rides out of Minas Morgul. The Nazgul seems to sense the Ring and turns towards Frodo, but when Frodo manages to prevent himself putting the Ring on, the Nazgul seems to decide it was a false alarm and moves off. It's true that in the movie, this all happens out in the open where you might think the Nazgul would actually see the Ring, even if Frodo isn't wearing it. But we know from the book that the Nazgul don't see well in the "real world" and rely on their steeds to get about, although I'm not sure that's made clear in the film. Still, I think we're meant to read the scene that way - very much like the scene at the very start when the hobbits are hiding under the tree roots. If Frodo is able to resist putting the Ring on, then the Nazgul seems to get a "this is not the ring you're looking for" vibe and moves on.

(On the other hand, even if in the movie the Nazgul do realize that the Ring is in Osgiliath, it doesn't really spoil the story, since as you say Sauron is attacking there already, and also he may assume that the allies plan to use it, and that it's on its way to Minas Tirith for that very purpose - which it was, of course, in movie-verse, until Faramir had his change of heart. Since Osgiliath was a (movie only) detour for Frodo and Sam anyway, it doesn't really give away any clue to their future direction of travel!)

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings

Ereinion Nénharma

Oct 11 2012, 12:25pm

Post #12 of 18 (777 views)
I don't understand... [In reply to] Can't Post

why I never see anyone coming up with the most clear reason: Sauron. I mean, if Saruman could 'set up a mountain' against the fellowship miles and miles from his own location, then clearly Sauron would be able to knock a few eagles out of the air in the very heart of his power.

''Do not fear the shadows, for seeing them means light is near...''


Oct 11 2012, 12:36pm

Post #13 of 18 (738 views)
Good points [In reply to] Can't Post

I was assuming that the Nazgul could see the Ring, maybe it could not. And you're right, even if it did that doesn't reveal the whole plan. At some point I should just enjoy the movie and stop comparing it to the books!

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


Oct 11 2012, 12:39pm

Post #14 of 18 (778 views)
Definitely [In reply to] Can't Post

I know this is the movie discussion, and I agree that based on Saruman's powers in the movie we would expect Sauron to be able to do a great deal to at least try to prevent the eagle's flight to Mount Doom.

In the books, I don't think it's ever made clear what exactly Sauron IS, so I think it would also be reasonable to assume that he could also do a lot of prevent such an "attack."

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


Oct 11 2012, 8:34pm

Post #15 of 18 (737 views)
One cannot fly [In reply to] Can't Post

with a thing that both changes weight and torments the mind.

Carrying the mostly dormant One Ring with Bilbo was a very different task than carrying the active One Ring near Mordor. The poor chosen eagle would have fallen to the ground head-first still thinking it had become Thorondor and was gliding around Taniquetil.


Oct 12 2012, 8:04am

Post #16 of 18 (1038 views)
I think the Winged Nazgul posed too much of a problem [In reply to] Can't Post

Air travel was too visible and easily intercepted by the Nazgul.

There was a man.
There was a lady.
There was a Dragon Lord.

Tol Eressea

Mar 15 2013, 1:33am

Post #17 of 18 (413 views)
Good point. [In reply to] Can't Post

I never thought about it this way. This scene always bothered me (even though it looks frickin' insanely awesome!), and now i can let that go. I thank you.

Tol Eressea

Mar 15 2013, 1:51am

Post #18 of 18 (489 views)
Ha Ha... [In reply to] Can't Post

One does not simply *fly* into Mordor!


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