While thinking about "holes" in the wonderful, epic The Lord of the Rings story, I had a thought:

Why did they go through all this trouble of very slowly sneaking around with a whole fellowship, when they could have simply had Gandalf call for his Eagle friends and have them transport Frodo, carrying the ring in a sealed bag, all the way from Baggend to Minas Tirith (in order to not go straight to Mordor), then wait a little while and then do the same thing from Minas Tirith straight to Mount Doom? And there, the Eagle would drop off Frodo, have him throw the ring still in the bag into the fiery lava without even seeing it (as to not tempt him), and then simply bring him back immediately?

For the trip from Baggend to Minas Tirith, they could have lots of protection eagles flying around or nearby, without raising any suspicion from Mordor, since they are not heading there. For the last part, which is a relatively short flight (Minas Tirith => Mount Doom), they probably will only want to use one (the fastest) Eagle, as to minimize the risk that Sauron sees this as an attack, or even notices it at all.

It seems to me as if they could have saved a ton of problems by doing it this way instead of all the slow, dangerous sneaking. It's not like they didn't bring attention to themselves on the way anyway, and by foot (mostly), on the ground, it took them over a year instead of hours.

The ring could have been destroyed in hours from Gandalf arriving to Frodo after realizing what the ring was, assuming that Gandalf could easily call for the Eagles.

There's probably something I'm forgetting to take into consideration here, but the Eagles almost seem like a "deus ex machina", in both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. They basically come to save the day when everything is hopeless, but why do they always wait until the very last minute? Even if the Eagles don't care about anyone other than themselves (which doesn't seem to be the case at all), it should definitely be in their interest to not have Darkness take over Middle-earth completely.

Feel free to poke holes in my "clever" solution. I'm sure there's some fundamental issue with it, as Tolkien seemed to have thought of everything.

  • 3
    You have no idea how many times this question has been asked (by Tolkien fans in general, not just on Stack), and to put it simply you won't get a truly definitive answer. Nov 2, 2020 at 3:18
  • A more interesting question might be, "Did Tolkien ever explain why Gandalf didn't simply have the eagles help Frodo?" People can argue all they want about the matter, but unless Tolkien had a reason for this, there will never be an answer that ends the discussion.
    – llywrch
    Nov 2, 2020 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


This is essentially the same question as this very popular one on our sister site Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange: Why didn't Gandalf or Frodo Fly to Mount Doom? Several in-universe and out-of-universe explanations are given:

  • nobody can willingly destroy the Ring, the story needed the 'accident' of Gollum falling off the cliff with the Ring
  • in particular the Eagles would keep the Ring themselves instead of destroying it
  • stealth was needed to get safely into Mordor as long as Sauron was still in power
  • the story would be too short and not interesting
  • it would be contrary to the main theme of the story

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