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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » Why didn't Eagles just fly the Ring to Mt. Doom? (Page 6)
Author Topic: Why didn't Eagles just fly the Ring to Mt. Doom?
The Witch-King of Angmar
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quote:
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?

They were MEANT to get in. Gollum tried to trick them into becoming spider-food, and snuck them into Cirith Ungol during the "great signal" of the march from Minas Morgul. This allowed Frodo to get captured, while Sam managed to fight off Shelob, and used the Ring to hide from the orcs; then the orcs fought over his mithril-shirt and killed each other except for Shagrat and Snaga. Then Sam was able to rescue Frodo.
Unlikely as this chain of events was, there's no other way they could have made it; since even if they both had gotten past Shelob, they'd never have gotten past the tower of Cirith Ungol unseen by the orcs.
As Gandalf said to Bilbo: "you don't really believe, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit?"
Remember, Frodo was earlier going to walk right up to the Morannon gate, trusting to fate in order to get him through; and it did, since Gollum stopped him and guided him to Cirith Ungol instead-- thus getting both Frodo and Sam into Mordor!
Eru works in mysterious ways.....

[ 12-06-2005, 09:48 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Young Master Merry
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I was referring to magically keeping people out, a la the Girdle of Melian.

That said, the Silmaril got Beren into Doriath, so perhaps the Ring (or maybe even the Phial of Galadriel?) could get Frodo and Sam into Mordor. The difference is that Melian knew when her girdle was broken, or at least that it was going to be. Why shouldn't Sauron know also?

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Wetwang
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quote:
(or maybe even the Phial of Galadriel?) could get Frodo and Sam into Mordor.
In a way it did []
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Young Master Merry
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Well, practically speaking, yes. But technically they were already "in Mordor" when the Phial broke the will of the Watchers, if that's what you mean.

[ 12-14-2005, 09:31 AM: Message edited by: Young Master Merry ]

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Wetwang
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No, I was refering to their accounter with Shelob []
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Young Master Merry
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Oh yes; I see. Good point.
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The Witch-King of Angmar
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quote:
The difference is that Melian knew when her girdle was broken,
Was she THAT fat? []

However, there's no indication that Sauron had the same type of power; rather, he preferred to vest his power in outsiders such as the orcs, the Nazgûl, Shelob, the Ring etc, which was the moral of how this cost him his power; this was why his armies went crazy when the Ring was destroyed, since his power over them was broken.
Meanwhile, Melian kept her power, and thus was able to create such a barrier.

[ 12-15-2005, 12:18 AM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Young Master Merry
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From a discarded version of Farmer Beren of Ham:
quote:
There was no getting around Queen Melian; at least, it was a long walk.
[]

But seriously-- my hypothesis is that the reason the Eagles couldn't fly the Ring in is that Sauron did have a "girdle" around Mordor that kept them out.

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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A girdle of guards perhaps, comprised of men, orcs, trolls, Nazgûl, and a giant spider-thing; otherwise, Gollum got in with no problem, and so did Frodo and Sam with no other resistance.
As stated, Sauron vested his power in control over others-- and besides he was a smith not a dress-maker, and so he wasn't much good at weaving girdles.

quote:
From a discarded version of Farmer Beren of Ham:
Wouldn't that be Farmer Thingol of Ham?

[ 12-17-2005, 04:49 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Elora Starsong
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I think it's important to consider the author's overall aims. Tolkien wanted to create a mythology specific to Britian and Western Europe. He was creating a classical opus of battles between good and evil, both between peoples and nations, and within individual characters.

He needed a hero, actually he needed several heroes, for everyday people to respond to. Hence we have lofty ones, Elves and lords of Men, we have wierdling ones such as Ents (I mean, a walking, talking tree is a little wierd), we have wizards and and dwarves... and then we have hobbits - humble, not great warriors or scholars, everyday people.

It is the everyday heroes that stand out in this work - Frodo and, in my opinion, moreso there is Sam - the ultimate everyday man become hero.

Having a giant eagle, no matter how noble and fantastic and powerful, just wing the Ring to Mordor and drop it in Mt Doom (with the precision of a laser guided projectile) defeats this important aim. There is no every day hero in that tale of any real prominance. The tale would be remoter, less "real" and immediate, and less engaging for readers (aside from those who like to appropriate the Eagles as symbols of national pride).

In every grand opus, there is a hero - one that people respond to... they admire them, disagree with them at times, lament for them, cheer and barrack for them. Would that happen if the hero was a magical Maiar Eagle?

I think not... But my perspective is one of an author, as well as a reader... so maybe I'm lost in the technicalities of creating such a masterpiece such as the good Prof. did.

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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It's a reverse deus ex machina, to suggest that they couldn't do it "because it defeated the story's purpose;" there has to be a real reason.

Also as I've stated elsewhere, Treebeard was NOT a "walking, talking tree"! He was a "man-like, almost troll-like figure".

The problem with most perceptions, is that they're colored by alternative media which DO present such bizarre renditions-- rather than the evidence of their own eyes in reading plain English.

[ 12-20-2005, 10:51 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Young Master Merry
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Yes, Thingol is better. I was just going for a quick laugh and for some reason Beren came to mind.

What would the good people of the Little Kingdom have done if Elu Thingol suddenly showed up in their midst? I don't think a blunderbuss would have stopped him!

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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Not with that lame king's pseudo-knights anyway.
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Elora Starsong
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WitchKing, I demur, for deus ex machina is not a totalitarian law that rules every aspect of a tale woven. Tolkien crafted the tale to meet with the internal consistency requirements of his tale (most tales have a certain linearity to them in the West, hence a certain internal consistency and logic to them), but also he crafted the tale to suit his authorly intentions.
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The Witch-King of Angmar
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Yes, but a deus ex machina is when an author breaches internal plot-consistency in order to ACHIEVE his ends; for those who don't know, the term came from Greek theater, in which a happy ending was needed, but plausibility didn't allow for it; and so an actor playing a Greek god (deus), would be elevated over the stage via machine (ex machina) to create a happy ending by miracle. (Thus the term "god of the machine).

This notion of eagles NOT simply being able to fly to Mt. Doom, would be a deus ex machina in reverse, i.e. a god creating an unexplained miracle to STOP the eagles. Tolkien clearly didn't go in for such cheap inventions, which essentially break trust with the reader; it's the only sane line that Cathy Bates said in "Misery."

While I do take issue with the manner in which Sauron supposedly got his Ring back from the downfall of Numenor, that was simple backplot and so can be somewhat forgiven.
But a gaping hole like this? Never; it's an insult to even suggest it-- to both Tolkien and his more intelligent readers. Eagles are pretty big, and easy to spot; one the alert was sounded, Sauron would, as Sam said, "spot him mighty quick." Their hope was in secrecy-- folly was their cloak, not their motis operandi!

Likewise, the story was supposed to relate to real-world events; this would be like saying "why not just send in a plane to shoot Hitler?" I'm sure the Luftwaffe might have something to say about that.
Seriously, what's more likely: that Tolkien was stupid or shameless-- or there was a REAL reason for it?
Seriously, let's analyze the facts:

Sauron is destroyed, and Gandalf immediately hops an eagle to Mt. Doom.

Is Gandalf 1) saying "D'OH!" and calling himself "nowt but a ninnyhammer," like Sam did when he suddenly remembered he had a rope, after days of being stuck in the Emyn Muil without a way to climb down?

Is he 2) saying "well the Ring's destroyed, and so now I don't have to worry about taking the easy way out and losing my bonus-pay on this all-expenses paid mission? I guess I might as well use up my frequent-flyer miles now"?

Or was 3)there a real REASON why he couldn't do it in the first place?

Seriously-- which is more likely of a writer of Tolkien's caliber?
I think the answer is obvious; authors who withhold information or ignore obvious plot-holes to set up for a big finish, are typical of cheap fiction.

[ 12-22-2005, 06:19 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Elora Starsong
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In a tale as vast and complex as LotR's and given that Prof. Tolkien is indeed human, it stands to reason as far as I can see that there are gaps or holes. I might add that nothing in real life is totally explicable... so why should it be in Tolkien's world, which he wished to make as real as he could? I don't know that he wished it to reflect events in the world at the time, and I accept his plea that allegory not be imposed on his work.
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The Witch-King of Angmar
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quote:
In a tale as vast and complex as LotR's and given that Prof. Tolkien is indeed human, it stands to reason as far as I can see that there are gaps or holes. I might add that nothing in real life is totally explicable... so why should it be in Tolkien's world, which he wished to make as real as he could?
Because this is a plot-hole so big, that you could fly an eagle right through it and even radar wouldn't pick it up. Ok, once again:
Gandalf DOES fly an eagle to Mt. Doom-- AFTER Sauron is defeated.

This would be like if Frodo just activated a magic portal that goes from Mt. Doom to Bag End, and walks through it; why wouldn't he just use it in the first place?

This is so obvious that it's redundant.
Even in The Hobbit, the eagles refused to take Gandalf and the Fourteen to Mirkwood, since the men would shoot them; if they're afraid of a few farmers defending their sheep, then all the armies of Mordor would be quite a deterrent.

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Elora Starsong
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Witch-King, we seem to be arguing along paralell lines....

I'm not commenting on whether it is a deliberate device by the Prof, or a large hole in the internal consistency of his tale. So I'm not going to comment on whether your suggested solution to what you seem to perceive as a gap in the plot is sound or otherwise.

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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Well either there was an implied reason, or there wasn't-- in which case it was just a plain oversight.

For example, somehow Sauron's spirit was able to carry his Ring away from the downfall of Numenor-- but not from Barad-dûr in the Siege of Last Alliance, instead forcing him to come out and fight single-handed-- to his certain death? Definitely an oversight, explained by the fact that "Sauron needed his Ring in order to maintain his power--" i.e. it was necessary to the plot, and so how he got it back is unimportant.

As for the eagles, however, this is quite a different issue, since it's so obvious-- and in fact is used as a plot-device in order to rescue Sam and Frodo. Here then, it's definitely implied that they couldn't have used the eagles sooner.
Therefore the question results-- why couldn't they? The answer must be something within Sauron's power, as well as his policy; his power was devoted solely and entirely to control over his vast forces-- as well as a never-ending lookout for the Ring-- and so this must be the answer why an Eagle couldn't just fly there.
The answer can't be that the Ring would burden it, since even Sam wasn't burdened by the Ring while carrying Frodo.

I don't, however, think that Sauron could have used any type of magical force to stop an eagle, since he had no such power over Frodo or Gollum at Mount Doom, once he saw them. He would probably have known that it carried the Ring, however--both directly and via the palantír.

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Éowyn
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I think, the ring would have had too much power on the eagles if they touch him, and so of course, it does not want to be destroyed. So it would have led the Eagles to Sauron and Sauron would have got the ring and so the rule over Middle-Earth.

[ 12-26-2005, 04:31 PM: Message edited by: Èowyn ]

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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Where in Middle-earth do you get THIS idea? The eagles carried Bilbo while he was carrying the Ring, and it had NO influence over them.
Also, the Ring is never referenced as "he--" simply "it."

[ 12-26-2005, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Éowyn
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But as they carried Bilbo, Bilbo had the ring in his pocket! Now, if the eagles would carry the ring, they would have to touch it!

[ 12-26-2005, 04:11 PM: Message edited by: Èowyn ]

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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I would assume that they'd be carrying Frodo or someone.
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Éowyn
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Well, Then you're right, Witch King. The Eagles could have flown Frodo or anyone to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring.
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Angathas
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If the Eagles had tried to fly the Ring to Mordor, either Sauron would've noticed right off, or an alert would've been sounded, and then the Eagles would have to get through nine fell beasts acting as security.

Once the Ring was destroyed, it was easier to enter Mordor and save Frodo and Sam from the lava flows. This was daring and dangerous for the Eagles. This was possible only when the security was breached. So I can't say the Eagles were as much of a deus ex machina as previously thought.

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