Why didn't Gandalf or Frodo Fly to Mount Doom?

Ganesh Ujwal

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Why didn't Gandalf use his eagles to fly over Mount Doom and drop the ring? I know he feared what he would do if the ring overpowered him, so why not just give Frodo an eagle? And, if there would be too much risk in flying the ring to Mordor, couldn't the eagles fly them part of the way? Why risk it with such a long walk; far less risky to fly over most of the journey.
 

Overread

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Heh neat theory there!


It's important to realise that Gandaulf is wise and smart, but he isn't universally followed by many of the older creatures and powers of Middle Earth. He can't just walk up and command elves and ents.

In addition the Eagles are not like they are in the films (I was greatly disappointed that they didn't get a talking scene in the second hobbit film). They are not simply a "summon eagles" spell. They have minds of their own - goals of their own and values of their own.

Indeed much like the ents many of these affairs are those of men not of eagles. The wilds of Middle Earth are huge so the Eagles likely suspect that dark times for man are not so much a threat to them (Ents thought this too for the most part till Sarumon started slashing through vast swathes of the forests).

The potential of the One Ring corrupting and Eagle is also a factor, also being so high up if the Ring wished falling, or causing Frodo to fall, or expanding to fall are all things it could have done. Remember the closer to its master it gets the more powerful its influence - in addition if its Master were to focus upon the Ring chances are its influence would be too great even for a Hobbit to overcome.

Eagles are fast and can go over terrain, that's really the only thing they have going for them. Speed is also not always essential - Gandalf wanted to follow the ring; to make sure it got there and on the way unite as many of Middle Earth's people as he could. Because even if Sauron fell - if he fell fast at the height of the orcs power and organisation chances are they would have still mobilized and attacked. Rohan was almost broken and Gondor only just held out to a vast siege (and only then with significant reinforcements).

One could also argue that Gandalf is opposed to speedy action. A failing of his character potentially, or a result of his longlevity and simply that he views things at a slower pace than man.
 

We Man

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Man, this bothers me too!
 

zmunkz

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Ya, or why Gandaulf couldn't just take the ring there himself (he pretty much just claims the world will end if he touches it, and we leave it at that).

Brandon Sanderson talks about this in his lectures about fantasy writing. Tolkien's use of magic is generally to create the sense of the protagonists being very small in a huge mysterious world. It was more of a setting tool than a plot tool, just to create that awe and wonder. We never really know what Gandaulf can and can't do, or what rules are in play, but in the end it doesn't matter.

This isn't an answer to why, but from a writer's perspective, it explains why the magic was never used to solve plot-related problems one way or the other.
 

Overread

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I like to think that Tolkien knew what powers Gandalf and his wizards had. At the very least I feel an author should know the limit and rules of their magic; even if its not fully revealed to the reader because it gives structure and puts limits in place.

Gandalf is certainly very powerful; but he's also got his hands tied by the agents who sent him. He is nowhere near as powerful as he otherwise would be and an important part of that is because both he and the powers that sent him are aiming for the wizards to be guides not solutions.

This is the closing of the age of Elves and the beginning of the age of Men (and hobbits) and thus I think an important element is that man(and hobbit) achieve the end result with as little outside influence as possible; especially from forces like the Wizards or Elves which are due to leave these lands at the end of these events. It's kind of like a right of passage.

Gandalf can guide and advise and even take direct action; but he's not really supposed to defeat the Dark Lord on his own. The Struggle of taking the ring to Mordor; the Struggles of Rohan and Gondor and the other nations in rising up to the darkness - its all about them showing that they can rise; can win and thus are worthy to begin their own age in Middle Earth.


Take the Ring by Eagle and Gandalf sure - but then Man has not achieved anything. The ring would also redouble its efforts to take over a creature such as Gandalf; Sauron already showed he could corrupt 1 wizard and 2 wizards are never heard from again thus there's the potential that they were killed or corrupted. So there's the very real chance that Gandalf holding the One Ring would have been corrupted and at that point all hope would have been lost.
 

Lady Galeth

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The eagles came to Gandalf's aid because they owed him a favour, it stated that in the Hobbit book. But the eagles aren't immortal and can be killed so theres likely a limit to what they would do willingly. Also Gandalf didn't 'control' animals, it was more Radagast the Brown that had friendships with birds and beasts.
 

Anakin

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It doesn't really explain their behaviour imo. Gandalf knows they could have been of great help to get rid of the ring, but they only interfere for rescue operations? Are they somewhat cowardly that they wouldn't want to help the fellowship to get rid of the ring?

Overread, you're talking how the eagles dropping the ring in Mount Doom would have ruined the plot. True, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a big plothole. One that is slightly answered in the books, though not completely imo, and not answered in the films.
 

Overread

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The films do cover the Eagles very badly - its a sore point with me rather like how they didn't do the scouring of the Shire.

For the want of a 5-10 min section the eagles could have been introduced and made into characters for the viewer; instead they chose to keep them as "summon spell - giant eagles" which really does not do them justice as characters and not just entities. Especailly when a big part of Lord of the Rings is part ecological - you have Radagast, Elves and Ents presented well - the Eagles are to me the wildlife. Rather like the Ents they regard things as humanities affairs not their own.
 

~Elladan~

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"Why didn't Gandalf use his eagles to fly over Mount Doom and drop the ring?"

--

Tolkien figured the book (& later movie) would be a little short / dull.
 

blackrock

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"Wow that was incredibly Easy.." No more like that was incredibly easy.. The talk about, it being one long book,
and then split, do you think they had more? I mean, how many, closer to Elizabeth Swann's copies of the book, were bound by hand, copied and given, before like, Disney closes channels?
J.R.R. Tolkein was a name they had to burn too?

rumours online
X. The Hobbit
XL. the Fellowship of the Ring
XLi. The Lost Eye
XLii. War’s Ring
XiV. The Return of the King
XV. The Lord of the Rings
XVL. The Sun and The Apple
XVLi. evien days tu belle
etc..?

most books are just, around, they aren't allowed on Walmart shelves till someone, claims credit for an ancient tome or something, after hacking it up, What do you think, the Lost Eye
and they were like, let's explain it to everyone, the Two Towers, and then forget what two towers was, I heard there were dragons in it, Riders of Rohan, big deal, eagles, dragons, lotsa stuff
 

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