Could the Eagles fly the Ring-bearer to Mount Doom? YES, but they’d have to be very sneaky…
The biggest plot hole in The Lord of the Rings is arguably “why not use the Eagles to get to Mordor?”
But imagine an alternate universe where Tolkien wrote LotR, with the same internal consistency, except the Fellowship of the Ring ride the Eagles to Mount Doom…
Could they get there? You bet! But it’s not as simple as it sounds. How do the Fellowship get in touch with the Eagles? Which way would they go? Who would go? How long would it take? What precautions would they take? How would they get over the mountains and past the winged Nazgûl?
All these questions and more are answered at Flying the Eagles to Mordor – A ‘How-To’ Guide.
Seriously, “Fly You Fools!!”
Tolkien’s contour map reveals some clues.
One does not simply walk into Mordor – One looks at a map first!
What-the-Uruk was Gandalf planning on doing if he survived Moria and guided the Fellowship beyond Lorien? Specifically, how was he going to get into Mordor?!!
Tolkien may not have written Mithrandir’s plan down, but he seems to have left some subtle cartographic clues. Check out the analysis ( Gandalf’s Plan to Enter Mordor ) of the contour map of Gondor & Mordor in the front of The Return of the King.
Optimising the Fellowship of the Ring: the Nine Walkers – a strategic revision.
The Fellowship of the Ring is the world’s most renowned, literary adventuring party. This is the archetype which lurks in the collective unconscious of all gaming groups, from paper and pencil D&D, to byte and bitmap WoW.
An Istarii Wizard and a Dunedain Ranger lead a Dwarf Warrior, a Sindar Archer, a Gondorian Fighter and four Halfling burglars on an epic wilderness adventure and the mother of all dungeon crawls.
But anyone with an ounce of cunning and a desire to maximise the chances of success has probably asked themselves…
“Why take four hobbits?”
“What about bringing some more ranged weapons and healing potions?”
“Elves are awesome. Why only bring one?”
These questions and more have bugged me for years. Why abandon Frodo and Sam to chase after Merry and Pippin? What was Gandalf actually planning on doing to get into Mordor?! Most importantly, if I was Elrond, who would I include in the Fellowship?
The strategy behind the Fellowship and some alternative possibilities are examined in the article “Min/maxing the Fellowship of the Ring”