How they could have destroyed the Ring

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Nazri 22/Dec/2006 at 04:37 AM
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Why didn’t they just fly Frodo to the fires of mount doom on an Eagle? In my opinion it would have been faster and alot more easier than what Frodo and the fellowship had to go through in order to destroy it. did tolkien forget about the eagles when he wrote the chapter council of elrond? can anyone of you help me on this topic?

Eldarión 22/Dec/2006 at 04:43 AM
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This debate is most interesting when limited to "story internal" arguments (i.e. "Otherwise it would be a dull book" is a cop-out). One possibility is that there were no Eagles available when they were needed. Another common argument is that Mordor was well defended, while the Eagles were wary even of shepherds with bows. It may have been an issue of secrecy: a group of Eagles far from the Misty Mountains flying toward Mordor might well have drawn Sauron’s attention, and might have even hinted at the plan to destroy the Ring. Some suggest that like the Istari, the Eagles were forbidden by the Valar to help so directly. Another suggestion is that Frodo may have needed the long journey to (hopefully) develop enough strength of will to cast the Ring into the Fire. Many other explanations are seen repeatedly as well. In the end, most participants tend to agree that an Eagle taking the Ring to Mount Doom would not have worked.

But that is not the end of the discussion. Even if those objections are valid, many believe that this topic should have come up at the Council of Elrond (after all, the book shows discussions of other flawed options there, like sending the Ring to Bombadil or throwing it into the Sea). And some people still think that making use of the Eagles would have been effective (even if only for part of the journey, rather than flying all the way to Mordor). These aspects of the question remain unresolved.

Phil_d_one 22/Dec/2006 at 05:41 AM
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Eldarion provides a good few of the reasons against the suggestion that an Eagle could have flown the Ring to Mount Doom, I will provide a few more, as well as addressing a few of the counter-arguments that inevitably arise.

The Eagles wouldn’t do it. They were a proud race, and wouldn’t consent to be undertake so dangerous, and be used in this manner, for a war that they weren’t directly involved in anyway.

And if they did consent,
The Ring needed to be destroyed in the Sammath Naur, so an Eagle couldn’t drop the Ring into Mount Doom while flying overhead. Hence it would need a rider.
Bearing a rider it would need to travel lower and slower, making it vulnerable to attack from below. Even if it succeeded in flying out of bow-range, it would be intercepted by any number of the flying beasts we know Sauron to have had. Hence the Eagle would need an escort.
A company of Eagles flying with a Hobbit on their back towards Mount Doom would have been seen by Sauron. He knew the Ring to be with a Hobbit, and he’d quickly put two and two together, as he did when Frodo claimed the Ring in the actual story. So when the Eagles reached Mount Doom, they’d find the door to the Sammath Naur well guarded, if not sealed up. The single rider would not be capable of fighting his way in.

And even if he did (which, as shown above, he could not), he wouldn’t be able to destroy the Ring. Frodo doesn’t succeed in doing so, and Tolkien tells us that nobody else at the time could even have got as far as Frodo. The Ring was destroyed as a result of divine intervention because of Frodo’s earlier mercy to Gollum. These circumstances could not be replicated using Eagles.

As for Eldarion’s other questions, the answer is made clear by the very terminology used: ’make use of the Eagles’. The Eagles were a race unto themselves, and all those present at the Council of Elrond would have been well aware of this. They would have known that the Eagles would not consent to fly anyone to Mount Doom, and so there was no need to bring it up. And as for why they weren’t used part of the way, even ignoring the reason above (which applies here too, of coruse), a related question is why they walked rather than rode. Secrecy and subtlety a huge part of both answers -- the less conspicuous they were, the better, and giant birds are not secrete or subtle.

Oh, and welcome to the Plaza, both of you

Narmaethor 22/Dec/2006 at 11:23 AM
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Well in the sil the eagles are able to fly far above the clouds  and it is not even possible for them to be seen by the sharpest of eyes. I believe the eagles could have been as secret and subtle as they liked and once again the eagles could have only flown them part way. besides did Mithrandir not have some sort of friendship with Gwaihir, i mean certainly they could have worked something out. besides hobbits do not weigh very much at all.Also elves with the whole walking on snow thing are pretty light themselves methinks.
Boromir88 22/Dec/2006 at 12:34 PM
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Besides the logical answers already provided, there is a clear perspective that Tolkien gives as far as the use of the Eagles are concerned: 

The Eagles are a dangerous ’machine’. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness.~Letter 210

His referral to eagles as ’dangerous machines’ is from the latin phrase Deus ex Machina.  It is a plot device authors use to get their heroes out of a tough situation or to solve a problem.  Typically they deal with beings/creatures on a supernatural level that come in unexpectedly to solve a problem.  Tolkien does use Deus ex Machina at times, but in no ways are they dangerous to the story. 

However, if he used the eagles in the way Nazri describes it indeed would be dangerous to the story!  Hence why Tolkien uses the Eagles in only a few situations.  If he had used them more, and to the extent of carrying/destroying the ring, the story would not be credible (as Tolkien says) and it would be a rather cheap and down right awful story.

Arvellas 22/Dec/2006 at 01:09 PM
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The Eagles are not a bussing service.  They are a separate race with their own ideals and priorities, and they are not there for other people’s convenience.  They only help when they see fit, and that is in very special circumstances.  Large flying creatures would also be seen, because no matter how high they flew, they would have to come down at times so that they and the Ring Bearer could eat, etc.  If, to make it less conspicuous, you were to eliminate the Ring Bearer from the plan, it still would not work, because A) how would expect Frodo to give up the Ring to anyone and B) how would the Eagle escape corruption?  Any way you look at it, the feasability analysis reveals gaping holes.

Nazri, Eldarion, and Narmaethor-Welcome to the Plaza and to the Lore Fora!

Beregond Abell 23/Dec/2006 at 08:10 AM
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even if the eagles would have taken them, how would they have gotten ahold of a eagle to fly them. They didnt have cell phones, and be like, yo eagle whats up man? hey  need you to take me to mordor so i can drop the ring in. tho that would have been funny. but they needed a long journy so that it was a good story. Couldnt dragons melt the ring? or a dworven or elvish forge, heat it up enought that they would break it?
NineFingered 23/Dec/2006 at 10:55 AM
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of course the story would hve been so short if the eagles were the main transport of the fellowship, but the Ring wouldn’t necessarily have to be thrown in by the Sammauth Naur... it sounds silly, but why not just throw the Ring in from the crater of the volcano?  
elvenpath 23/Dec/2006 at 11:09 AM
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If you think better, the Ring was quite rational, so why not convince the Ring it’s not nice to be evil, that Sauron is not a good example and it should repent and become a good Ring?

Vugar 23/Dec/2006 at 11:44 AM
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Beregond, No dragon was capable of harming the One Ring, "nor was there ever any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron himself." (The Shadow of the Past, FotR)  Gandalf also mentions that force would be useless in breaking the Ring.  The only forge capable of unmaking the Ring would be Sauron’s own - the Sammath Naur.

NineFingered, The intent throughout the story seems to be that the Ring must be cast into Orodruin via the Sammath Naur or Cracks of Doom.

Tin the wizard 23/Dec/2006 at 12:50 PM
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I dont think that they destroyed the ring,because il Fotr Gandalf said that they must trow away the Ring in Mt.Doom out of Sauron hands,its my theory you comment it if you want
Vugar 23/Dec/2006 at 03:28 PM
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Tin the wizard, The implication is rather clear that the One Ring was destroyed in the Sammath Naur, even if it was not Frodo himself who cast it into the fires.  Otherwise it would be hard to explain why Sauron’s realm suddenly delved into chaos and he himself was reduced to nothing more than a wandering spirit.
Morgil 23/Dec/2006 at 10:53 PM
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After guarding Middle-earth for uncounted years, serving as a messenger service for Manwe, attacking the dragons in the Great Battle, taxiing Hurin and Huor, Fingolfin’s body, Thorin and Company, and Gandalf (multiple times!), and saving the day at the Battle of Five Armies, the Eagles had had enough. Gandalf (who was too cheap to ever spring for cab fair if he could catch a free ride) wanted to use the Eagles, but they told him to forget it and went on strike. Only some frantic negotiations between Elrond and the Eagles local union steward got the noble birds to save the good guys at the Morannon. The western powers had to spring for 6 new holidays and substantially increased 401K contributions. 
Arvellas 28/Dec/2006 at 09:20 PM
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It is made pretty clear in the books that there is only one way to destroy the One Ring, and that is by throwing it into the Sammath Naur, so there’s no arguing for alternate ways to destroy it.  You can’t get rid of it any other way, because as long as thr Ring is still in existance, Sauron is still a threat.  All of that was made clear in "The Council of Elrond."  I do not believe that there was any way to achieve the destruction of the Ring and of Sauron other than the way used in the books, because every time you look at other strategies, you quickly realize they just won’t cut it.  I’ll never forget the time someone suggested Gandalf building a missile to carry the Ring.  The possibilities of that working are slim, if indeed Gandalf could build a missile.
*Vampire_666* 28/Dec/2006 at 11:50 PM
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I think they should stop talking before getting ready to destroy it and just do it...? makes since to me
Walhavar 29/Dec/2006 at 03:23 AM
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I thought of this matter and found myself asking the question, why didn´t they send the ring away to the Immortal lands? For me it seems to be a reasonable solution and less dangerous as well. (i didn´t find this being discussed earlier)
Morgil 29/Dec/2006 at 04:25 AM
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Walhavar...Greetings! And welcome to the Plaza. The answer to your question lies in FotR, ch. The Council of Elrond:

"’But Gandalf has revealed to us that we cannot destroy it by any craft that we here possess,’ said Elrond. And they who dwell beyond the Sea would not receive it: for good or ill it belongs to Middle-earth; it is for us who still dwell here to deal with it.’"

Walhavar 29/Dec/2006 at 04:37 AM
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ah yes, missed that part.
thank you.
Narmaethor 29/Dec/2006 at 02:17 PM
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If i’m not mistaken the ring also could have been destroyed by fire from a dragons belly. but their were none left capable of producing said fire. at least I think so a friend of mine metioned that to me just the other day and I do remember reading something similar to that. 

Boromir88 29/Dec/2006 at 02:25 PM
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Narmaethor, Achaius answers that question in his first post on December 23rd, you should check it out
Aslar Haechil 29/Dec/2006 at 05:56 PM
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Maybe the free peoples of Middle Earth could have convinced the dwarves to burrow a nice long tunnel from the outskirts of Mordor to the heart of Mount doom instead! Although I don’t think they would like that idea any better than an eagle would enjoy being turned into a giant pincussion and roasted like a thanksgiving turkey.

Endril 30/Dec/2006 at 12:48 PM
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And while the dwarves would have dig to Mordor Sauron would have time to conquer the world, establish a kingdom, enslave all people and destroy Arda and drink a coffee too. Whatever nore digging or sending an eagle would have been a good choice. Sauron would have risked all the nazguls to kill the eagle and that would have finally happen.
Vugar 30/Dec/2006 at 01:16 PM
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Perhaps, but if the Nazgűl were to be sent after their winged quarry, their mounts would first have to be removed from wherever they were held and properly readied for their riders. It would make sense that the winged mounts of the Nazgűl would be located at Barad-dűr or somewhere close by, but that is no given guarantee. But suffice to say, the Nazgűl would lose time due to the preparation of their mounts and any distance that lay between them and the winged quarry
Alcarináro 30/Dec/2006 at 01:22 PM
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You only have to prepare mounts for the nine that the Nine are riding, Achaius. There are more, as evidenced by there still being enough for the Nine to ride after Legolas kills one while the Fellowship is boating down the Anduin. How many others? I’d figure enough to waylay and hinder any incoming eagles until the Nine had mounted.
Vugar 30/Dec/2006 at 01:30 PM
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Yes, I recall that point being brought forth before. It would then all depend on the winged mounts’ ability to be directed to a specific purpose without their Ringwraith riders. I suppose that would delve too much into speculation given that we have no example of a winged mount lacking a rider. Although, the most obvious conclusion would be Sauron’s will.
Wilibald Bumble 01/Jan/2007 at 04:02 PM
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Ok, it does seem a logical choice but you do have to stare out of the amazement of Tolkien’s world and come back to the basics. Lord of the Rings is a book and like every book it needs a climax, build up, etc etc. Lord of the Rings is one of Tolkien’s main works and it needed to have lots of adventure and action. It was a epic, remember.

Now, if you look straight into Tolkien’s world like it really happened and don’t stare out think of it as this: The Eagles were a proud race and being the sentinels of Manwe they were not like all of the Valar involved directly in Middle Earth. They did intervene a few times in the Hobbit and LOTR but that was just because Gandalf was friends with them. Other assumptions can be made as they braved to go into Mordor to rescue Frodo and Sam. Maybe they were sent there by Manwe who sat on the highest mountain ever gazing towards Middle Earth.