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Old 07-19-2016, 04:23 PM   #1
KamexKoopa
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Do you think there should have been a contrivance to pre-empt the Eagles question?

So virtually everyone ever who has seen the films without reading the books enjoys pointing out the "plot hole" that they could have used the Eagles all along, and should have just flown to Mordor.

The movies don't include any detailed information about who or what the Eagles are, so they could almost appear to be Gandalf's pets or something. I think I read somewhere that Peej didn't bother to include an explanation as to why they didn't fly, as it was obvious. But apparently, not obvious enough!

Maybe there could have been a quick shot of one of the watcher towers shooting down anything that flies past, or perhaps an Orc shooting down a regular bird and saying to its friend "better safe than sorry!"

Once the Ring was destroyed, perhaps then the relevant tower could burst, and then we could see the Eagles swoop in?
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:59 AM   #2
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Honestly, there would be no point in explaining the Eagles, because the "Eagles could just drop the ring in Mount Doom in five minutes" idea is nothing but an attempt to trivialise and demean Tolkien's work. Likely from those small minded and profoundly ignorant people who claim they just don't "get" fantasy, or somehow expect complete realism from a story with Dragons, wraiths, barrow-wights and Bombadils.
It's not a plot hole, so I don't think they should have addressed it.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:27 AM   #3
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Pipe Celebrating FIFTEEN YEARS of "Why didn't the Eagles..?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by KamexKoopa View Post
So virtually everyone ever who has seen the films without reading the books enjoys pointing out the "plot hole" that they could have used the Eagles all along, and should have just flown to Mordor.

The movies don't include any detailed information about who or what the Eagles are, so they could almost appear to be Gandalf's pets or something. I think I read somewhere that Peej didn't bother to include an explanation as to why they didn't fly, as it was obvious. But apparently, not obvious enough!
Nothing is obvious enough for some people. Really, the fact that a movie doesn't spell out something explicitly does not automatically make it a "plot-hole". It's a "plot-hole" if it can't be explained without dazzling mental gymnastics on the part of the audience.

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Maybe there could have been a quick shot of one of the watcher towers shooting down anything that flies past, or perhaps an Orc shooting down a regular bird and saying to its friend "better safe than sorry!"

Once the Ring was destroyed, perhaps then the relevant tower could burst, and then we could see the Eagles swoop in?
Well, that would have been hilariously corny, I'll grant you that.

Maybe Boromir should have said, "One does not simply walk or fly into Mordor"?
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:55 AM   #4
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Uhm!

Did not the One Ring need to be dropped specifically into the Sammath Naur, which was INSIDE Orodruin?

Tolkien seems to have been pretty specific that it had to be the "Fires that Forged the Ruling Ring..." into which it needed to be dropped.

And not the "Fires NEXT to the Fires that Forged the Ruling Ring..."

OK... That is just the first thing wrong with the problem of the Eagles.

The Second is that Sauron could have seen them coming. and from quite a ways off.

As I have an ornithologist a few feet from me, I can ask about how fast an Eagle can fly in level flight...

Which is about 35mph for short bursts, and about 15mph for long-distance (Using the Golden Eagle as the basis, which is the largest Eagle on Earth).

And that is only when they are at a pretty decent altitude, as flying closer to the ground requires more flapping of the wings, as cross-winds, currents, and thermals are not present at lower altitudes in such a way that they do not disturb straight flight.

Even if we triple the Speed of the Great Eagles (Simply making them bigger actually makes them slower, and not faster, without also making them commensurately lighter - unless they also have some other properties that offset the purely physical), it is still going to take the Eagles about a day and a half to Fly from Rivendell to Mordor (we can make estimates based upon how long it took Gwaihir to Fly Gandalf from Orthanc to Edoras (which took roughly from the middle of the night to the sunrise-isn of the next day - basically about 6 to 8 hours).

Sauron already has Gorgoroth filled to overflowing with Orcs, Haradrim, and Easterlings when the story begins (many not chock-full like he did later in the Winter, or Early Spring, as the War wound to its height).

But if he saw some Eagles flying toward Mordor, he would probably send a Nazgûl up to check if they "felt" the One Ring (there did seem to be some sort of mechanism where they could "smell" it, as Tolkien hints, when they were near it, and especially within visual distance of it).

And the second that they got any wind that the One Ring was on an Eagle flying toward Mordor, he would have had the Sammath Naur sealed up (just for good measure), and an army of half a million Orcs, Easterlings, and Southrons waiting on the slopes of Orodruin for the Eagles to land. Not to mention having had the Nazgûl harrying them the whole way (And if the Eagles had put up a fight, that would just have been proof that what the Eagles were up to was that much more important).

And then Sauron walks up and says "Thanks for bringing me my Ring."

Gandalf and Elrond would likely have known that all they needed to do was Ask the Eagles for help, and they would have provided it (There is a quote to that effect in Gandalf's telling of the coming of the Great Eagles to the Dagorlad before the Morannon, when he asks Gwaihir for a lift to save Frodo, and Gwaihir responds with a reply that is pretty much "Sure, anytime, anyplace; just ask." - The quote earlier in book to which people often refer to say that Gwaihir has "other things to do" is probably a lexicographical error. Gwaihir says he "came to bear tidings and not burdens" means that he has other messages to deliver as well, and not just to Gandalf; Gwahir has an errand to Lórien he needs to perform as well).

But Gandalf and Elrond did not say "Hey! Let's fly to Mordor on the Eagles!" because they knew that it wasn't the brightest idea.

At the Council of Elrond, they make quite the point that the whole mission to destroy the One Ring needs to be one of "Secrecy and Stealth."

Flying on huge Eagles would be neither "Secret" nor "Stealthy."

And there was more than just Sauron to content with.

You also had Saruman, and his crebain out to spy on things, and if Saruman's crows saw Gandalf, or any Hobbits on Eagles, he would have moved heaven and earth to stop the Eagles before they even got close to Mordor (and thus allow the One Ring to go anywhere but to Saruman). And he might even have called Sauron to tell him, in last resort, knowing that Gandalf would turn back rather than confront all Nine of the Nazgûl, in the Air, and where Frodo could be plucked from the back of an Eagle by a Fell-beast.

AND YES... As Aaron has pointed out, this trivializes Tolkien's work, not least of all because of everything I have written above, but for the countless litany of other possible and/or not yet known reasons I haven't listed that would/could also explain why the idea is vacuous.

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Old 07-20-2016, 07:08 AM   #5
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Well, the way the movies work, the question really begs itself in both trilogies - perhaps the Eagles couldn't carry the landing operations all the way to their respective mountains, but they could bring them much closer to their destinations. As for "safety first", the Eagles still show up for the final battle and go near those same mountains. Why can't they do it in the first place? Stealth? Well, if that's the issue, they still could have brought their passengers to a more convenient destination. Heck, if the Eagles got involved earlier in LOTR, the whole first volume and part of the second volume would have been unnecessary. In my opinion, the movies don't explain this, and this is a fair question to ask and could be considered a plot-hole. Even in the books, there is no explicit answer.

It's a legitimate question, and not at all obvious in terms of plot explanations. You can, of course, say that the Eagles aren't really involved at all, and we should all be grateful that they condescended (literally) to help even a little bit, or that they have certain boundaries they will not cross for various reasons, etc - but none of this is actually stated in either book or movie.

I think that to find a satisfactory answer, you just have to begin with an assumption that one exists. If you start out with the intention of proving a plot hole, no speculation will satisfy you. However, if you begin by assuming there must have been some valid reason for the Eagles to do what they did - why, then you don't even need a specific explanation, other than for curiosity's sake. And book readers would know more about the nature and character of the Eagles, which do a great deal to explain their actions.

If the movies wanted to avoid this question, I think the easiest thing to do would be to drop one sentence about the Eagles not meddling in the affairs of two-legged creatures, and then another sentence to show the amazement that they made an exception.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:48 AM   #6
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Tolkien refers to the eagles as a 'machine' in his Letters.

Quote:
The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness.~Letter 210
Referring to the latin phrase "deus ex machina," a device authors/story tellers will use to help their heroes out of a sticky situation, or to solve a plot by using the supernatural. Along the lines of Aaron's post, Tolkien understood writing fantasy and the Eagles are used to their "absolute limit."

There is a powerful, up-lifting emotion in The Hobbit when Bilbo sees the Eagles "The Eagles! The Eagles! The Eagles are coming!" And this is echoed by Pippin in The Lord of the Rings.

I actually think it's not the way the Eagles are presented in the movies which leaves fans with the question "why couldn't they fly the Ring into Mordor?" It's the way the Army of the Dead is presented in the movies, as some indestructible, unstoppable wave of neon green snot. I was wondering why couldn't they just clear the path to Mordor as they did for Aragorn to Minas Tirith? They are the deus ex machina that created a plot-hole in the movies.

I don't think any explanation for the Eagles is needed in the movies, if anyone asks, I would just point them to this fan video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZrJPiq9QGM
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:55 AM   #7
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There is a powerful, up-lifting emotion in The Hobbit when Bilbo sees the Eagles "The Eagles! The Eagles! The Eagles are coming!" And this is echoed by Pippin in The Lord of the Rings.
This echoing I have always found to be one of the most inexplicably powerful moments in The Lord of the Rings: there is something I can't define about that symbol of hope appearing, and that reconnection to the beloved and comfortable narrative of The Hobbit in this point at which all hopes seem to have failed at last.

Of course, by adapting The Lord of the Rings before The Hobbit, this, like so many other things, is lost...
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