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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » Why didn't Eagles just fly the Ring to Mt. Doom? (Page 2)
Author Topic: Why didn't Eagles just fly the Ring to Mt. Doom?
Arathoron
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For the same reason why Aragorn or Elrond didn't brought it to Middle-Earth?
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Arathoron
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Mt Doom I mean
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Eorl the Young
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Arathoron, you can edit your post by pressing the "feather button" over your post!

One of the reasons why Aragorn or Elrond didn't do the job is that they were afraid of what might happen if they got the ring. Hobbits were far more resistant to the rings power.

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Disclaimer: If this was a touchy subject, then I'm so sorry and hope you won't take anything I have said or done or in any way referred to personally; nor do I hope you get mad and have the urge to give me a good thrashing. Thank you for your patience.


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Hardraada
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If the eagles took the ring they would be in contact with the ring, making them invisible, but making them visible to the eye of Sauron!!
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Roll of Honor TheGentleman
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That's a very good point Hardraada! It also raises some questions:

Would animals and/or beasts turn invisible if they were to use the ring?

If so is it just the finger that the ring needs to be placed on to work in that respect?


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Roll of Honor Thorondor
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Ah, but the eagles are not "creatures" any more than Gandalf is a man. They are powerful beings, serving Manwe, as Gandalf does, and if it is perilous for Gandalf to carry the ring, it is probably equally so for the eagles to do so.

The eagles also seem to operate under some restricted "rules of engagement". They never act on orders, nor does anyone expect their help. They only help those who have made a courageous stand in the face of certain defeat and death. (Galdalf, I think, gets special treatment because of his relationship to Manwe) The rest of the time they stay out of it.

Many of the powerful entities in middle earth operate on their own set of rules. The ents don't get involved until trees are threatened, and of course the Valar themselves have decided to remain on the sidelines, sending emissaries like the Ishtari.


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Eol the Dark Elf
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Good question TG (IMO).

Because if so (i.e the ring only took effect when placed on a finger), it must have had some way of realising what a finger was. Strictly for birds this would be their wings, but considering they hold things (Gandalf etc.) with their claws and and can use them to attack with (Thorondor against Morgoth for example), could their talons be counted as hands? And how 'lenient' would the Ring be if it could differentiate?

[ 12-01-2001: Message edited by: Eöl the Dark Elf ]


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erinhue
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the Eagles were Maiar associated with Manwee and as such they would have been tempted by the One Ring. It may have seen the Eagle as a quick way home and therefore exerted more power in tempting it.

Being Maiar more aligned with Good and that their initial purpose was to watch and report but not to interfere,I think the Eagles would have been reluctant to become involved with the ring when they realized just what it was.


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Roll of Honor TheGentleman
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I don't know erinhue - Gandalf was a Maiar sent to encourage the enemies of Sauron. When he discovered the One Ring he saught to destroy it. Why would the eagles not get invloved if asked? I know that that was not their purpose, but Saurman ignored his purpose without any trouble, why not the eagles?
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Forn
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Maybe the eagles are like crows, they like shiny stuff and therefore they wouldn´t throw it away.
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Roll of Honor Lord Mithrandir
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ok now heres why they didnt just go flying in, see, when they are flying and blah blah blah the Nazgûl would have been all like "BLAH" and like flown at the eagles and killed them and taken the ring and been all like "yeah we got the ring yeah were cool" and then Gandalf would be like "DAMN" so see the whole point is so that Gandalf isn't all like "DAMN" okay? or maybe that the ring would have been taken so that Gollum couldnt go swim with it in Mount Doom yeah thats it so that Gollum could go swimming

or maybe it was just so the nazgûl wouldnt get the ring ... that seems much more likely

what you have just witnessed is my stream of thought pretty interesting huh?

[ 01-04-2002: Message edited by: Mithrander ]


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I am still awesome.


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Orome
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I havent seen a post yet that really challenges my previous argument, so i will continue to play devils advocate.
As for how the eagles would carry the ring they certainly need not wear it on their claws. It could be put in pouch or more reasonably the eagles could carry the bearer.
As for stealth, Mordors perimeter was hundreds, probably thousands (though i dont know off the top of my head) of miles long. Certainly Sauron and the Nazgul were not watching all of it. As we know they were more interested in Gondor, Rohan, and the Shire.
As for arrows the Eagles could certainly stay far above their range and because of their keen eyesight they would have spotted trouble long before it spotted them, lest it be the eye, which as we know was pointed east.
The only plausable argument i have heard as to why not is that they were possibly maiar(which i have seen no evidence of) and that the could not interfere.
As to those who say there would be no story had they "Just flown in" i disagree. There might have still been a compelling one. the fellowship of the ring certainly would be the same and many elements of the other 2 chapters would as well.
What boggles my mind is the possibility that Gandalf nor any other character,did consider this and if they did why didnt we hear about it.
Had they chosen this approach certainly tolkien would have written as many compelling mishaps and trials as the other route, perhaps more.
SO!
I ask you why could not the Eagles bearing the company who bore the ring flown north and then east and then south skirting the border of Mordor and then come west to mount doom where frodo plops the ring into the fiery abyss?

I am not saying i beleive Tolkien missed a step by not addressing the eagle situation. I am in fact quite sure that there is an explanation for why they did not try this. Yet noone has offered it up!

[ 01-04-2002: Message edited by: Orome ]


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Orome

"The strongest hand uppermost!" Brian Boru, Lion of Ireland.


From: Somewhere east of the brandywine | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Thorondor
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quote:
I am not saying i beleive Tolkien missed a step by not addressing the eagle situation.

Tolkien may well have been a bit too vague on the nature and "rules" governing the eagles. Here is his most clarifying comment from the Letter # 210;

quote:
The Eagles are a dangerous "machine". I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness.

Beyond that we are reduced to speculation and the collection of vague clues. That Gandalf does not suggest what you propose seems to indicate that it is out-of-the-question. Gandalf has a relationship with the Eagles, and would have used them had he the right or the power.

My personal theory is that the Eagles are very much the personal servants of Manwe, and they obey only his edicts. Manwe has chosen not to become directly involved in the battle against Sauron, if he can avoid it. He instead sends emissaries with severly limited powers, the Istari or Wizards. I would guess that Manwe desires that his Eagles remain aloof. Perhaps he knows or suspect something of Illuvatar's ultimate plan and realizes that the "Children" must accomplish this themselves.


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The Bard
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There's one aspect no-one has yet brought up. The ring wasn't just any object that had to be thrown in to the depths of Orodruin, though you mentioned that it tempted the ringbearer and prevented him from throwing it away. The ring had a will of it's own, and it could have behaved unexpectedly. Remember that it slipped from Isildurs finger, thus resulting in his death and also abandoned Gollum when it found a more suitable bearer.

It would have been risky to send an eagle flying over Mordor to throw the ring in. If it had slipped from the eagles claw then, what would've happened? Most certainly by then Saurons will had noticed the Eagle or he had been informed and he might have noticed the ring too. There was quite a bunch of people in the ground inside Mordor and it might have been impossible to dive in and get it back. (also because of the arrows and defences) And the ring wanted to be found, so most certainly an accident, or luck would have instantly brought a creature to drop-site to take the ring.

[ 01-05-2002: Message edited by: The Bard ]


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Roll of Honor Círdan
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Exactly, Bard. Stole my point.
Who's to say the ring wold let itself be manipulaed so easily? It, being a spiritual extension of the being of one of the most powerful Maiar, would certainly alert it to the prescence of its peers, and would have undoubtedly found a way to 'escape'. (Of course if that's my argument, how do I explain Ólorin..?)

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In Autumn most of all do they come out, for Autumn is their season, fallen as they are upon the Autumn of their days. What shall the dreamers of the earth be like when their winter comes?

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Shador
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If I may be permitted a digression, I would like to speculate on the literary genesis of the eagles. Tolkien, even as he rejected allegory (and by extension symbology in general) remarked that one cannot avoid being affected by the critical experiences of a lifetime. He went on to identify the Great War as the formative event of his youth.

It's frightening to think how close we came to losing Tolkien at the Somme. It affords some perspective on what the world actually did lose in those trenches.

In the context of the First World War, I believe that the eagles can reasonable be seen to represent the United States. Beyond the obvious fact that the eagle is our national bird; and their distant nature, powerful but removed, consider their repeated nick-of-time arrival: At the Battle of Five Armies, before the gates of Mordor, and of course at Mount Doom.

I submit that this is exactly the situation at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day: The last minute arrival of the U.S. Marines at Chateau-Thierry to stop the Storm Troopers short of Paris, and the overall strategic salvation of the Allies in 1918, with Russia out of the war, the French army in mutiny, and England and her Empire strained beyond endurance.

Perhaps at this point you are thinking, "Shador, you may not be TOTALLY correct. In fact, you're full of shit". Wouldn't be the first time. Nevertheless, I'd like to hear from those inclined to humor me, particularly from those across the water, and most especially from those old enough to have a personal perspective on this theory.

[ 01-17-2002: Message edited by: Shador ]


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Roll of Honor Thorondor
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Shador...

If you say, "those old enough to have a personal perspective on this theory" to mean participants in the First World War, I would not expect to find any. My grandfather, born in 1899, participated in that conflict but, alas, is no longer with us. Even participants in the second war are becoming scarce.

As might be noted from my choice of Display Name, I have an interest in Tolkien's eagles and have some ideas on their nature and their role in the story. I have to be honest and tell you that the theory you propose is not one of those ideas. Tolkien makes only a few mentions of the Americans in his letters, and those are generally not favorable. He sees much that is "orcish" in America, or at least an over-eagerness to use Sauron's Ring.

I believe the Eagles to be more closely linked to Tolkien's religious beliefs. You can read many of the scenes concerning the eagles, replacing the word "eagles" with "angels", and capture some of the meaning I think Tolkien intended.


But some of the many 'Brits' on this board might have another perspective.


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Shador
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Your input is to-the-point, Thorondor, and quite likely correct. Nevertheless I was not actually looking for comments from veterans, who are now few enough that the French recently awarded all of them the Croix-de-guerre. Perhaps we have some participants who grew up between the wars, however, or maybe some who do not associate their unusual longevity with a ring they found long ago.
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Dingalen
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"Full of shit" is not the term, I would use. Rather: You're an american with a noticeable pride in the military exploits of his country. (I hope you didn't get all that detail fed during a term in the Army). Just to foil your point a bit: The german and austrian 'national bird' is also the eagle - which runs a bit cross to your argumentation, as germany was the main enemy in both wars. So Prof. Tolkien might not have intended the eagles allegorical after all.

And apart from the Valar's intention to remain aloof of the war and Sauron's machinations (and not to abuse the eagles as airborne strike troops as the Dark Lord doubtlessly would have - their interest was preserving the world: So turning their animal allies there into warbeasts against Sauron, would have been as serious infraction to nature.), the most convincing argument is so far the one of Bard (respect to you):

That although the borders of Mordor where huge, an eagle trying to cross them - especially a giant eagle - would have been noticed by his spies, if not by the Dark Lord himself. And that Sauron had the tools to stop even a giant eagle (not to speak of the far more fragile ringbearer riding it), is obvious from to encounter with the crebain in Dunland (Fellowship of the Ring, beautifully depicted in the movie) and his manipulation of the weather (a thunderstorm might do an eagle, don't you think) - not to speak of the flying Nazgul.

From the narration of the war of the ring, it is obvious, that the eagles only dared to/did cross into Mordor after the flying Nazgul had turned back to Mount Doom/Barad-dur (and were destroyed), i.e. at the point of Sauron's imminent distruction.


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Shador
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Since you mention it, Dingalen, my pride in the United States Army does not stem from a term of service. From my grandfather, who was just shipping out to Europe when the armistice came in 1918, to my father who fought through World War II, to my own service after Vietnam, I've had an opportunity to acquire a certain pride. None of it came close to the gratification I felt when I watched my son take the oath last month, however. He's now leading a platoon of tanks at Fort Knox. So yes, I think I can identify with the military aspects of Tolkien's fine work. Not to brag or anything.
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Dingalen
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I think, I see your point, Shador. After all Tolkien was also involved in both World Wars - so some impressions would doubtlessly have carried over into his work. But I would reject any allegorical connection between the United States and the "lands in the west' or the american eagle and the eagles of middle earth.

The "lands of the west" are derived rather from the celtic "avalon" or "isles in the mist" than any existing continent (although this geographical association is tempting, if you see a map of Arda of the first age).

The only parallel I see between the american eagle and the eagles of middle earth, is that they are associated with the same ideal (the power, freedom and aloofness of the idealized mythic image of the eagle).


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Galion The Tipsy Butler
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Permit me to stray from the thread topic a bit...

Shador,

On behalf of many Americans, I thank you and the other three generations of your family for your service to our nation.

Dingalen,

What's with the ?

[ 01-24-2002: Message edited by: Galion The Tipsy Butler ]


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Shador
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That's extremely kind of you to say, Galion. The truth is, I wasn't fishing for complements, rather taking another opportunity -- however oblique -- to brag about my son.

So, getting back to the topic. I never meant to argue that Tolkien was intentionally representing the U.S. by the eagles. At most I think it may have been one of those experiences which become part of one's personality, and so affect one's writing. Unfortunately I am again in the position of trying to read Tolkien's mind. Until we have a chance to ask him, we can't expect to know for sure.


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Dingalen
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The means, we are straying of topic.
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Roll of Honor Marcho Blackwood - MSS
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I think that if the Eagles were supposed to be representative of the American, it was more of the neutral stance we so often seemed to take. "Let Europe figure it out, we don't want any part of it." "Okay, we'll sell you some stuff, but we're not going to join in." "Ouch, now look what they did! Guess we'll have to kick some butt!"

They seldom seemed to participate because it didn't affect them that much. So what did they really care who won? I do kind of like the Angels=Eagles thought, it would explain the similar aloofness to what is going on, only arriving at the last minute.

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Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » Why didn't Eagles just fly the Ring to Mt. Doom? (Page 2)
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