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Minas Tirith Forums » The Hobbit » How did Bolg's army get past the eagles and woodmen and bears, oh my?
Author Topic: How did Bolg's army get past the eagles and woodmen and bears, oh my?
The White Hand
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The Hobbit said that the Lord of the Eagles could see a rabbit running at night in the forest, so it's hard to understand how the entire flock of eagles didn't see an entire army passing right under their beaks; not to mention Beorn's Yogi bear-buddies were all hibernating or something?

[ 12-03-2010, 04:29 AM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

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Hamfast Gamgee
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The Eagles for example did spot the Goblin mustering in the Mountains despite the efforts of the Goblins to hide this. This was why they came to the Lonely Mountain in the first place. It just took the Eagles a while to travel there. Gandalf obviously had some ideas that the Goblins were gathering, though the thrushes around Thorin obviously didn't. Perhaps their efforts were taking up in the diplomacy between the Dwarves, Men and Elves?
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The White Hand
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The Eagles couldn't have taken more than a day to get to Lonely Mountain, and they obviously didn't have problems approaching armies if they were willing to fly into battle.
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The White Hand
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That's hard to understand, since Thorin had sworn eternal friendship to the eagles, and even made gold collars for them afterward.
Also it couldn't take more than a day for the Eagles to reach Lonely Mountain; likewise they had little problem with flying around armies, as proven when they joined the battle.

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Roll of Honor The Mighty Müsnud
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Tolkien always had difficulty justifying the existence of those flying deus ex machinas.
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Madomir
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quote:
Tolkien always had difficulty justifying the existence of those flying deus ex machinas
And with good reason, it's kinda ironic that the existance of an ever present easy way out could actually significantly complicate things. The eagles are prob'ly my least favorite race of beings in Middle Earth because of it. When reading either The Hobbit or LotR I simply pretend they don't exist unless they're specifically mentioned, otherwise there's that nagging voice in the back of my head saying "the eagles could've have done this soooo much easier" []
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Hamfast Gamgee
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The Eagles were a little like Tom Bombadil. A deceptively easy way out, but they don't work on every occasion. Supposing they turned up a day later to the Lonely mountain they would have been too late. Are we going to have the 'Why not use the Eagles to sent the Ring to Mount Doom,' debate again? []
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Artaresto
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They worked well in the Silmarillion.
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Hamfast Gamgee
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To a degree. But they couldn't stop things like the defeat of the unnumbeard tears, the battle of sudden flame, Turins life been a bit of a mess or even the destruction of Gondolin. Yes, they had a role in saving some of the civilians lives but they couldn't stop the basic defeat.
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Roland
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Did the goblin army have to march through the forest to get there? If so, it's not an ideal battle ground for the eagles to attack with all the trees...
And I don't think there were enough of Beorn's folk to do anything by themselves against such a large army.

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Well, a large army might have past through the edges of Mirkwood. I don't suppose that any Goblin would have wanted to have become food for spiders. But I would have thought that they would have travelled to the Lonely Mountain via the Grey mountains. Bilbo and the Dwarves couldn't have gone that way naturally, but for Goblins this would have been fine! Nice to see an oldbie here!
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The White Hand
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The text said that the Lord of the Eagles could see a rabbit running through the woods at night, and that he had been watching the gathering of orcs and wargs for some time before Gandalf and the party escaped from Goblin-town; so it's a strange question why he wouldn't know about a march of an entire march of Bolg's army.
Gandalf told Bilbo that there were a lot of orcs north of Mirkwood, so perhaps they made their way around the Northern border.

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Hamfast Gamgee
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But remember that the Goblins would have been travelling mostly by night and underground. The lord of the Eagles, good as he was, probably didn't have infa-red eyesight. Also, all of the Misty and the Grey mountains is a pretty big place. The Eagles would have had difficulty in covering all of it with their sight. Goblins not been a too unusual occurance ther after all.
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The White Hand
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quote:
But remember that the Goblins would have been travelling mostly by night
So the Eagles can see a rabbit running in the woods at night, but not an army of Wargs and Goblins? Doesn't make sense.


quote:
and underground.
They did NOT have a tunnel running from Goblin-town to Erebor!
Their tunnels were strictly in the Misty Mountains.

quote:
Also, all of the Misty and the Grey mountains is a pretty big place. The Eagles would have had difficulty in covering all of it with their sight. Goblins not been a too unusual occurance ther after all.

Yes, but an army of them travelling riding on Wargs for hundreds of miles wouldn't be too difficult to spot.

I'd be willing to say, rather, that the eagles were busy helping Gandalf drive out the Necromancer?

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Madomir
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quote:
They did NOT have a tunnel running from Goblin-town to Erebor!
Their tunnels were strictly in the Misty Mountains.


No, certainly not to the Lonely Mountain, but I do seem to recall a mention of the tunnel network extending to the Grey Mtns.

quote:
I'd be willing to say, rather, that the eagles were busy helping Gandalf drive out the Necromancer?
A strong possibility that.

E: moved comment to different thread

[ 03-03-2011, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: Madomir ]

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Hamfast Gamgee
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All right, so there weren't Goblin tunnels all the way to Erebor, but I see no reason to suggest that the Goblins didn't have a network of tunnels all over the Misty mountains and the Grey mountains and connected to their capitol at Mount Gundabad. Goblin movements anyway were not particularly unusual at this time and it might have taken the Eagles a while to twig that something odd was happening. I'm not sure you appreciate how big the misty mountains and the Grey mountains together are, thousands of square miles a few eagles can't be everywhere.
As to your question, Madomir, while I do like to think sometimes that Tolkien did write everything improvising and just put things in their place with brainwaves, I don't really think the evidence is that he did it that way. I think he did have to go back and change what he wrote many times with Lotr and the same with the Hobbit to fit it in with his other legends.
Edit: In fact, if you don't mind WH I might turn your point upside down and say that it was quite lucky that the Eagles did spot the Goblin mustering in time and come to the Lonely Mountain when they did in the nick. If they had turned up, say, a day later, they would have been too late! Which gets me thinking of a little fanfic idea.

[ 03-06-2011, 08:05 AM: Message edited by: Hamfast Gamgee ]

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Michael Martinez
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And I join another thread many months after it has lapsed. Shame on me!

Here is a citation from the book:

quote:
So began a battle that none had expected; and it was called the Battle of Five Armies, and it was very terrible. Upon one side were the Goblins and the wild Wolves, and upon the other were Elves and Men and Dwarves. This is how it fell out. Ever since the fall of the Great Goblin of the Misty Mountains the hatred of their race for the dwarves had been rekindled to fury. Messengers had passed to and fro between all their cities, colonies and strongholds; for they resolved now to win the dominion of the North. Tidings they had gathered in secret ways; and in all the mountains there was a forging and an arming. Then they marched and gathered by hill and valley, going ever by tunnel or under dark, until around and beneath the great mountain Gundabad of the North, where was their capital, a vast host was assembled ready to sweep down in time of storm unawares upon the South. Then they learned of the death of Smaug, and joy was in their hearts: and they hastened night after night through the mountains, and came thus at last on a sudden from the North hard on the heels of Dain. Not even the ravens knew of their coming until they came out in the broken lands which divided the Lonely Mountain from the hills behind. How much Gandalf knew cannot be said, but it is plain that he had not expected this sudden assault.
It sounds to me like they traveled through the Grey Mountains in the north, from west to east (starting out at Gundabad), and thus were far from where the Eagles kept watch over the Misty Mountains.

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Where there Eagles in the Grey mountains?
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The Flammifer
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Never really thought about it Hamfast.

But why not? []

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