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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » Why didn't Eagles just fly the Ring to Mt. Doom? (Page 5)
Author Topic: Why didn't Eagles just fly the Ring to Mt. Doom?
Dark Lord Andúril
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The Maiar are certainly corruptable. Didnt Gandalf fear to take it, and what of Saruman?
From: In Imladris I dwell... | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Thorondor
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Goodness, is this ancient thread still going? I guess it would be easy to just dismiss this point but it's important to a full understanding of the book, in a way.

One of the most important "message threads" running through Tolkien's writing is the contrast between power in use and power restrained. There are many very powerful entities in Arda. The "bad" ones use their great power to get their way and "bend others to their will" while the good ones have learned to restrain their power. By the time of LOTR, Manwe has declared a hands-off policy concerning Middle-Earth. The Eagles have always been loyal to Manwe alone, and they respect his instructions. Unfortunately most of this is not revealed in LOTR, so the role of the Eagles is not clear to someone who has not read the other sources.

I feel quite sure that the Eagles are themselves quite uninterested in the ring, or even in the fate of man. It's also quite possible the the Eagles would be completely unaffected by the ring, were one to get a hold of it. Like Bombadil, they have no interest in using power to rule, and it is this ambition that gives the ring its grip on someone. (Bombadil is another who "could but won't"). Certainly maiar *could* be corrupted, Sauron is the perfect example, but others are less easily effected. The wizards are fully embodied and have aquired some of the weaknesses on men as well as their form, so they are a special case. Gandalf might be considerably more suseptible to the ring that he would be as Olorin.

It's important not to think of Tolkien's mythology as a computer game, where power is accumulated and put to immediate use. And where beings are "rated" on their power. Tolkein came from a different experience.

Consider that he had personally experienced one of the most horrific battles ever fought, had witnessed the deaths of many, including his closest friends, and had probably done some killing himself. He had later sent his own sons off to an even greater war, and had lived to see news of the death camps and Hiroshima. Thoughout it all he retained a firm belief in an all-powerful and all-loving God, who allowed all these things to happen. In Tolkien's personal world God and his angels hold back their power (out of love for man!), while man is quick to use his (and look at the result!)

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Legolas TrueShot
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i agree with most people, that would make the story way to fast and dull, im sure many other people in the world would think well thats how i would do it, which would be logical to do it if it was a real life scenario, but Tolkien wanted to make a whole series of books of long adventure, action and a quest of people. not just make a 1 book that once they got to rivendell frodo just gave the ring to the eagle and the end, he dropped it in the mountain
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Natasha
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Ringwraiths in the Sky.. They would have more of a chance of killing the eagles than killing the hobbits...... Right?
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Roll of Honor TheGentleman
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quote:
I think that the main reason is the risk. The eagles would have been too obvious, and would have been taken down one way or the other; Nazgûl, Archers, magic winds, will of Sauron, etc. Then the peoples of the west would have been either enslaved or there be a situation similar to where Isildur lost the ring.
A quote from Post #6 in this very thread. []
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Viscount Værtalion
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the fact is that the Eagles weren't much bothered witht the doings of those with 2 legs.
remember in 'The Hobbit'they wouldn't take Gandalf & co to anywhere where men lived?

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Fool, prate not to me about covenants.
There can be no covenants between men and lions,
wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but
hate each other out and out and through.


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BalrogsGuardTheSilmarils
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To me the eagle's role almost seemed to be one of indifference. You will have to excuse me as I have just returned from the pub. But did not Gandalf say something about not needing their help again after a third time. This may be the influence of Robinsons finest Bitter rather tham my memory of things, sorry.
;~)

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BalrogsGuardTheSilmarils
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Sorry Vartallion, I posted this before I had read your reply..........
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Young Master Merry
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**Digging deep into the past to return to MT and unearth an ancient topic.**

How 'bout this: if the Eagles are Maiar, maybe Sauron has set up some kind of sorcery that will prevent them from entering Mordor. So an Eagle trying to cross the border will run into an invisible wall or go up in flames or drop dead, or something like that. After all, if they're that powerful Sauron wouldn't leave his realm unguarded against them-- and this would also explain why they were able to enter Mordor after Sauron fell.

Thoughts?

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LyraLuthien Tinuviel
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Where does the idea that the Eagles were Maiar come from? Is it that they are the servants of Manwë?
Only if they are Maiar, they are probably less powerful Maiar than Sauron, and the Dark Lord (being paranoid and expecting that the Eagles might become a threat) would have placed defences against them ASAP.

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The Lurker
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quote:
Where does the idea that the Eagles were Maiar come from?
There are a few places where this notion could arise from.
The Maiar are described as 'spirits',

quote:
With the Valar came other spirits whose being also began before the World, of the same order as the Valar but of less degree. These are the Maiar, the people of the Valar, and their servants and helpers.
Compare this with how we are introduced to the hawks and eagles of Manwë,

quote:
. Spirits in the shape of hawks and eagles flew ever to and from his halls; and their eyes could see to the depths of the seas, and pierce the hidden caverns beneath the world.
And Manwë tells Yavanna,

quote:
When the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summon spirits from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and the olvar, and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence, and their just anger shall be feared.

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Joe Stupid KingofBelfalas
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quote:
and the Dark Lord (being paranoid and expecting that the Eagles might become a threat) would have placed defences against them ASAP.
What kind of defenses could you put up against eagles other than sorcery or magic
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LyraLuthien Tinuviel
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Surface-to-air missiles. []
By which I mean archers and spear-hurling trolls and suchlike.
Plus, why do you exclude sorcery and magic? I certainly get the impression that Sauron had some of that at his disposal.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Don't say we have come now to the end; White shores are calling.
You and I will meet again.
Across the sea a pale moon rising; the ships have come to carry you home.
And all will turn to silver glass; A light on the water
Grey Ships pass into the West.

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Roll of Honor Lord Mithrandir
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Flying Nazgul.
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The Lurker
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quote:
Flying Nazgul.
They weren't very effective against the eagles at the battle of the Morannon were they?

quote:
There came Gwaihir the Windlord, and Landroval his brother, greatest of all the Eagles of the North, mightiest of the descendants of old Thorondor, who built his eyries in the inaccessible peaks of the Encircling Mountains when Middle-earth was young. Behind them in long swift lines came all their vassals from the northern mountains, speeding on a gathering wind. Straight down upon the Nazgûl they bore, stooping suddenly out of the high airs, and the rush of their wide wings as they passed over was like a gale.


[ 10-05-2005, 01:41 AM: Message edited by: The Lurker ]

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Viscount Værtalion
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that would be because...
quote:
Behind them in long swift lines came all their vassals

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Young Master Merry
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Well, Sauron is a Maia. What kind of defenses are Maiar capable of setting up? I think the Girdle of Melian is a good example-- it kept out who Melian wanted to keep out. Could Sauron, being an exceptionally powerful Maia and not having Melian's scruples, have set up some sorcery that would prevent the eagles from entering Mordor, or even harm them if they tried?
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LyraLuthien Tinuviel
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I find Young Master Merry to be a very insightful and articulate hobbit.
Yes, I do think it would have been natural for Sauron to have a sorcerous boundary around Mordor, like Melian's Girdle around Doriath.
Given the height and the impassible nature of the Mountains of Shadow and the Ash Mountains, such a barrier would probably have been easier to create and maintain than a border around a more easily penetrated forest. I have read (though not necessarily in JRRT's works) of magical boundaries with physical components at their peripheries, which were expanded and brought up to close in the sky above, forming an impenetrable dome. The realm of Sauron was clearly not impenetrable, but it was, shall we say, forbidding.

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Young Master Merry
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Thank you for the compliment! Although, as we all know, being even half a Brandybuck is a compliment in itself... ; )

The one difficulty with this theory, is if Sauron could keep people he didn't like out of Mordor, then how did Sam and Frodo get in? I mean, sure you could just set up a barrier in the air, but clearly such a barrier knows how to tell the difference between a friend and a foe because it lets the Nazgul in and out! So why not do something similar on the ground?

The only reason I can think of is that maybe the amount of power required to maintain such a barrier is related to the number of people who (try to) pass through it. Obviously the borders of Mordor were getting passed a lot, so perhaps Sauron just didn't have the energy to maintain a Girdle around it. This wouldn't be such a problem for Melian because (1) armies weren't marching into Doriath all the time and (2) she wasn't trying to do a bunch of other stuff simultaneously with maintaining her girdle.

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Incanus
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It is said, either in the Hobbit or in the Fellowship, I can't at the moment recall, that the Eagles would not carry or fly into or near the lands of Sauron, for they did not have reason to go so near so large an evil.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
I aistan ilfirinion

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Roll of Honor Lassë
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Sorry to keep on beating a dead horse.

I think most people tend to forget that the only way (form the perspective of the council) to destroy the ring is if you can get it all the way into Mt Doom without Sauron noticing it. The Eagles could undoubtedly get into Mordor by stealth, but getting all the way to Mt Doom and also landing there would be impossible to do unnoticed.

If Sauron suspected that someone was trying to sneak the Ring to Mt Doom he would have instantly set up a guard and/or put a locked door in the entrance to the cave.

Sauron's weakness is that he can't imagine anyone ever chosing to destroy the ring instead of using it. Eagles suddently flying over Mordor would remove this weakness. And then it wouldn't matter if Nazgul are stronger than Eagles or how far an orc arrow can be shot. All Sauron would have to do was put a Nazgul in front of the door to the cracks-of-doom cave.

Aside from that, I agree that the Eagles were too associated with the Valar to interfere that much (=do half the job). If the Valar really wanted to interfere they could've just sent Tulkas and the Vanyar again. Sauron also knew that.

ED:
Incanus,
quote:
It is said, either in the Hobbit or in the Fellowship, I can't at the moment recall, that the Eagles would not carry or fly into or near the lands of Sauron, for they did not have reason to go so near so large an evil.
Mordor/Sauron wasn't mentioned in The Hobbit, AFAIR. So it must be in FotR. Maybe you can provide a quote?

EDED:
Not the quote I looked for, but I found this interesting one in FotR:
quote:
"How far can you bear me? " I [=Gandalf] said to Gwaihir.
"Many leagues," said he, "but not to the ends of the earth. I was sent to bear tidings not burdens."

I canot find a quote about eagles avoiding Mordor because of its evil though.

[ 12-04-2005, 06:20 AM: Message edited by: Lassë ]

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Young Master Merry
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quote:
If Sauron suspected that someone was trying to sneak the Ring to Mt Doom he would have instantly set up a guard and/or put a locked door in the entrance to the cave.
And you think he would have time to do this after realizing that an Eagle was headed, not just into Mordor, but to Orodruin itself-- and that the Eagle wasn't just insane or blind or something but actually meant to do some damage? It seems to me that even if Sauron knew an Eagle was flying to Orodruin, it probably wouldn't have dawned on him what the Eagle meant to do. It's not like a lone Eagle could do much there.

quote:
I think most people tend to forget that the only way (form the perspective of the council) to destroy the ring is if you can get it all the way into Mt Doom without Sauron noticing it. The Eagles could undoubtedly get into Mordor by stealth, but getting all the way to Mt Doom and also landing there would be impossible to do unnoticed.
Well why not have Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, Glorfindel, Círdan and Frodo ride on the Eagles' backs as far as they could secretly go, and then make a mad dash to Mt. Doom? That party would be able to defend the Ring from anybody Sauron threw at them-- probably even Sauron himself. Alternatively, have the Eagles fly the Company part-way-- this would have saved a lot of time and walking and maybe Gandalf's life.

No, we have to have a two-part explanation here: (1) Some physical, magical or moral barrier prevented the Eagles from getting close enough to Mt. Doom to be able to deliver the Ring there faster than Sauron could take measures to stop its destruction. (2) If a group of Eagles had stopped short of Mt. Doom, Sauron would spot them and immediately send a large task force to figure what they were doing and destroy any passengers or cargo.

AND/OR the Eagles are Maiar whose mission in the world just didn't concern the Ring and who had no authority or ability to deal with it.

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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Although he was commenting on the 1957 proposed film adaptation (the notorious "Z" script), Tolkien's comment about his Eagles is rather illuminating:
quote:
The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness.
Maybe he thought about this possible plot device, realized it would open up a greater hole than the story could withstand, and just left it alone.

But the discussion raises in my mind another question -- is it desirable to enlist the Eagles in the mission to Mount Doom? We don't know how they would behave in the presence of the Ring. Maybe the Council, not knowing either, decided it was best not to involve them.

Still, I prefer Tolkien's (sort of) explanation...

[ 12-05-2005, 02:02 PM: Message edited by: Silmahtar ]

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Thingol of Doriath
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Young Master Merry-

quote:
AND/OR the Eagles are Maiar whose mission in the world just didn't concern the Ring and who had no authority or ability to deal with it.
I believe that this is the case. Not that they were Maiar, but that the Eagles were creatures of Manwë... and the Valar weren't taking an active role in the fight with Sauron(besides sending the Istari to inspire). For the same reason that the Council couldn't send the Ring to the Valar, they couldn't send the Eagles with the Ring to Mt Doom.

Fingy explains it quite well here.

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Young Master Merry
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From Fingolfin's excellent post:

quote:
Manwe however sent Maia spirits in Eagle form to dwell near Thangorodrim and keep watch on all that Melkor did and assist the Noldor in extreme cases. -pg 138 Morgoth's Ring 'Annals of Aman'
So you're saying that the latter-day Eagles were scaled down versions of those from the First Age?
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