Many “Lord of the Rings” fans have wondered why Gandalf and his allies did not call on the Eagles to help them destroy the Ring. Here’s why that would have been a bad idea.
This is probably THE question that comes up most often during heated discussions between fans of The Lord of the Rings:
Why – instead of sending two inexperienced Hobbits across Middle-earth to Mordor – didn’t Gandalf simply ask his allies the Eagles to transport the One Ring to Mount Doom to destroy it (and annihilate Sauron at the same time)?
After all, the noble birds had already assisted the magician on several occasions during the saga.
- Indeed, from the first part of The Hobbit, they had intervened to save Gandalf, Bilbo and the Company of Dwarves, in a very bad position against a horde of Orcs and Wargs.
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf was held prisoner of Saruman, at the top of the tower of Orthanc, his friend Gwaihir (the king of the Eagles) had answered his call and had participated in his escape.
- Finally, during the final battle of the Return of the King, the Eagles had again arrived as reinforcements to confront the Nazgûls, before rescuing Frodo and Sam, once the Ring had been destroyed.
But then, why not have saved everyone’s time by begging these noble birds to ensure the destruction of the Ring themselves? Or, as filmmaker Peter Jackson himself asks in the audio commentary for Return of the King: “When they decreed Rivendell to destroy the Ring, why didn’t they ask Gwaihir to carry Frodo to Mount Doom?”
It is his wife, the producer and screenwriter Philippa Boyens, who then gives him the beginning of an answer: “Because of the Nazgûls, obviously”, she retorts.
According to her, if the Eagles had rushed straight to Mordor to throw the Ring into the flames of Mount Doom, they would have “cut to pieces” by specters and their winged creatures. A plausible hypothesis, indeed (especially when one observes the fierce struggle that rages between the two camps when the final battle is played), and which partly explains why Gandalf did not consider it wise to take such a risk.
But to get a full answer to this thorny question, more arguments need to be added.
As many fans of Tolkien’s work recall on forums or specialized sites, the Eagles are extremely noble and proud creatures, linked to the Valars, who intervene when they decide, and in no way on ordered. Gwaihir, who himself was once saved by Gandalf, has therefore chosen to come to his aid on several occasions, but is certainly not the “Middle-earth taxi”, to use the expression used by Philippa Boyens in the audio commentary.
As an article by Screenrant, in Tolkien’s works, the magician had indeed asked the eagle how far it could transport it. “Over many leagues”, had replied Gwaihir. “But not to the ends of the earth. I was sent to carry news, not burdens.”
That has the merit of being clear. In addition, still according to the arguments that can be found on the web, Gandalf’s plan to transport the Ring to Mordor was intended above all to be discreet, in order to escape the eye of Sauron at all costs. A frontal attack, aerial, and carried out by several immense Eagles would certainly have been spotted immediately, and easily endangered by the Nazgûls.
Finally, as it is recalled several times in the saga, entrusting the Ring to a powerful character (such as Gandalf, Galadriel or an Eagle) would have represented a real risk, given the ability of the object to corrupt its wearer. . The Hobbits, humble, simple and innocent characters, were therefore the best able to counter such power, and to carry out the mission to the end.
As Gandalf explained in the first part of the Hobbit : “Saruman thinks that only a great power can hold the evil in check, but that is not what I discovered. I believe that it is the small things, the daily actions of the ordinary people, which preserve us from the evil. Simple acts of kindness and love. “
Paradoxically, the fragile and modest attempt of Frodo and Sam, their long journey on a path strewn with pitfalls, was therefore the most effective strategy against the enemy of Middle-earth. Only a sage as shrewd as Gandalf was able to discern him.
(Re) discover our video dedicated to the magician …