Lord of the Rings LEGO Fan Video Shows Why "Eagles Can't Solve Everything"

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Lord of the Rings LEGO Fan Video Shows Why "Eagles Can't Solve Everything"


The Lord of Rings most infamous plot hole has received a spirited stop motion defense with a LEGO-tastic twist.

As beloved as The Lords of the Rings is, there's no shortage of fan and nitpickers alike who will happily point out that the story includes a fairly massive plot hole, otherwise known as the eagles. For the forgetful and uninitiated, it's established fairly early on that Gandalf is in pretty good with a race of a giant eagles who are generally happy to swoop in and save the day whenever the story needs a dose of deus ex machina. The biggest exception, of course, is the quest to destroy the One Ring which the allied races of Middle-Earth inexplicably decide resolve by marching into Mordor when they presumably could have just flown across the border.

This plot point has been the butt of more than <a href=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yqVD0swvWU>a few jokes over the years. That said, it recently received a rare defense in the form of a video from the folks at Brotherhood Workshop using stop motion <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/130486-The-Lord-of-the-Rings-Rivendell-Recreated-With-200-000-LEGO-Bricks>LEGO bricks to illustrate one of the probable outcomes of the "use the eagles" strategy. Put shortly, everybody dies. The eagles fly the Fellowship over the Black Gate and are promptly assaulted by the Sauron's armies who shoot them down with arrows, magic and trolls launched via catapult.

Now, to be fair, this video is obviously played for laughs. Setting aside the fact that it features the painful deaths of the entire principal cast of the books and films, it's much more amusing than it is grim. Even so, you could argue that it still does a good job of making its point that "eagles can't solve everything." Just personally, I can't understand why so many people would think that any ways. Even if the eagles are powerful, it's not like Sauron didn't have forces to counter them (cough Nazgul cough). Any who, whatever your take on the subject, you should still give this video a watch just on the merits of seeing Legolas and Gimli pulverized by an airborne cave troll.

Source: <a href=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZrJPiq9QGM>BrotherhoodWorkshop


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Scarim Coral

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Watched it yesterday and it did give me a good laugh (I just loved their works for making the orc cute like) and yeah I do agreed that the eagles are not an ideal solution when you think about it more.

Even if they did fly at a higher altitude to avoid the arrows range, dropping the ring into Mount Doom would of been far too risky of being a success. It would be an medevial equivalent of an air bomber hitting its target but without the proper equipement for an accurate hit.
 

Zhukov

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Fly over the mountains you numbskulls, not over the heavily guarded front gate.

Once across, fly low and fast. By the time anyone sees you and readies a bow or catapult you'll already be out of range.

In case of Nazguls, you've got plenty more eagles to screen for you. Not to mention whatever Gandalf brings to the table.
 

TwistedEllipses

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Someone else finally gets why the eagle argument is about as valid as saying "why didn't the allies just fly to Berlin and shoot Hitler in the face?"
 

Bloodstain

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Actually, this here is a pretty good explanation as to why they couldn't use the eagles.
 

RJ 17

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Zhukov said:
Fly over the mountains you numbskulls, not over the front gate.

Once across, fly low and fast. By the time anyone sees you and readies a bow or catapult you'll already be out of range.

In case of Nazguls, you've got plenty more eagles to screen for you. Not to mention whatever Gandalf brings to the table.
Glad to see I wasn't the only one to see the immediate flaw in this counter-argument. Pretty much exactly what I was going to say: come in high over the mountains rather than low over the gates. And with regard to this....

Scarim Coral said:
Even if they did fly at a higher altitude to avoid the arrows range, dropping the ring into Mount Doom would of been far too risky of being a success. It would be an medevial equivalent of an air bomber hitting its target but without the proper equipement for an accurate hit.
Just stay high until you're approaching the target then have the eagle swoop down in a sharp dive - as birds of prey are prone to do - and drop the ring in the top of the volcano. Seems pretty easy if you ask me. Hell, considering that in the movie we see an eagle pretty much land on a rock in the middle of a lava-river to rescue Sam and Frodo, you could easily assume the eagle could fly INTO the volcano and perch on that little ledge overlooking the magma lake. :p

It was a funny little video, but sadly it didn't defeat the argument of "eagles fix everything". They're deus ex machina for a reason. :p
 

RJ 17

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Bloodstain said:
Actually, this here is a pretty good explanation as to why they couldn't use the eagles.
Not bad, but there's 2 major problems with it.

1: It's all based upon an assumption - that Gandalf came up with this plan - which is given no evidence in the books or movies.
2: Everything that Zhukov and myself mentioned in the previous posts.

As I said: the eagles are a nice big piece of deus ex machina for a reason. :p

The Eagles aren't used to solve all the problems for the same reason that Goku is conveniently out of commission in one way or another every time a new villain shows up...but guess who always ends up saving the day in the end?
 

Sniper Team 4

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Bloodstain said:
Actually, this here is a pretty good explanation as to why they couldn't use the eagles.
That...is freaking awesome.

I like this little movie. I've always been driven nuts by people complaining about the Eagles, especially in The Hobbit when the Eagles explain exactly why they don't fly the dwarves all the way to the mountain. As for Lord of the Rings, I'm still on the side of the fence that the Eagles would have been noticed. Birds aren't super-jets. They can't fly at crazy-high altitudes. A good laugh and raises some very good points.
 

michael87cn

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Can't use something to do a task its not willing to do. Eagles weren't willing to fly to Mordor with hobbits on their backs, and that is reason enough. Though, there are more reasons, that is sufficient because you can't force them to do it. Even if you did, the Winged Nazgul would have torn them apart, the one Eye would have paralyzed them mid-flight, and the armies of mordor would have torn them to pieces.

Stealth was the only option.
 

Bloodstain

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RJ 17 said:
Bloodstain said:
Actually, this here is a pretty good explanation as to why they couldn't use the eagles.
Not bad, but there's 2 major problems with it.

1: It's all based upon an assumption - that Gandalf came up with this plan - which is given no evidence in the books or movies.
2: Everything that Zhukov and myself mentioned in the previous posts.

As I said: the eagles are a nice big piece of deus ex machina for a reason. :p

The Eagles aren't used to solve all the problems for the same reason that Goku is conveniently out of commission in one way or another every time a new villain shows up...but guess who always ends up saving the day in the end?
I agree that it's just assumption. I reckon the image's purpose is to show that the lack of the eagle solution need not necessarily be nonsensical.

However, I think the canon explanation would simply be that using the eagles would have been just another easy way out when, actually, the whole endeavour against Sauron was meant as some sort of challenge to unite the peoples of Middle Earth. After all, if they simply needed an easy solution to kill Sauron, the Istari (and especially the Valar) could have easily smashed Sauron's face in if they had been allowed to use their true power.
 

Azahul

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Zhukov said:
Fly over the mountains you numbskulls, not over the front gate.

Once across, fly low and fast. By the time anyone sees you and readies a bow or catapult you'll already be out of range.

In case of Nazguls, you've got plenty more eagles to screen for you. Not to mention whatever Gandalf brings to the table.
RJ 17 said:
Not bad, but there's 2 major problems with it.

1: It's all based upon an assumption - that Gandalf came up with this plan - which is given no evidence in the books or movies.
2: Everything that Zhukov and myself mentioned in the previous posts.

As I said: the eagles are a nice big piece of deus ex machina for a reason. :p

The Eagles aren't used to solve all the problems for the same reason that Goku is conveniently out of commission in one way or another every time a new villain shows up...but guess who always ends up saving the day in the end?
Frankly, I never found the eagle solution to be remotely plausible. Sauron is the Dark Lord. He's a powerful sorcerer, an all-seeing eye, has legions of monsters at his command including a variety of flying spawn from the Nazgul's mounts to hordes of crows. When his armies move on Gondor he has enough control over the skies in a total other kingdom to drown out the sun and plunge the land into darkness. His gaze can strike such dread into the heart of a mortal being that they are overcome and collapse. The eagles never enter Mordor's airspace until Sauron is dead for a very good reason.

If the Ring were carried on eagle-back to Mordor, they would be spotted in an instant. "Flying low and fast", as Zhukov suggests, is a tactic used to avoid detection by modern radar. I doubt it would work against a magical being whose principle power is that of observation, with a Palantír at his disposal and a realm swarming with mortal spies.

The whole point of the Fellowship was that a small group could slip past Sauron's gaze undetected, during a time when he would be more interested in the movements of armies. The eagles, though, are enormous, powerful creatures and I can conceive of no scenario in which a sorcerer with a multitude of scrying abilities would not detect their approach when they enter his territory. Remember, Sam and Frodo, two Hobbits travelling across rough terrain wearing armour that renders them identical to the swarms of thousands of Orcs that populate the territory, are still on the verge of detection when they are spared solely by the movements of a giant army attempting to attack Mordor itself. Two tiny beings in a giant territory need a damned army to distract the Eye in order to reach Mt Doom. What hope does even one Eagle have, let alone a flock large enough to hold off the Nazgul and all the other flying servants of Sauron?

And once spotted, all Sauron needs to do is look at the one carrying the Ring to paralyse it. Cue the Eagle crashing into the ground at high speed, no doubt killing itself, all passengers, and leaving the Ring in an area swarming with Orcs. See what happens to Frodo in Return of the King when Sauron glances at him. Imagine if you were mid-flight when that happened. That's just Sauron looking at you, before he sends up every flying creature he has to fight.

There are a myriad good reasons to walk instead of fly, to emphasise stealth over speed.
 

RJ 17

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Bloodstain said:
The problem arises from the fact that Gandalf can call upon them in the first place. He gets them to rescue him from Isengard. He sends one to pluck Frodo and Sam from the river of lava. Why can't he call in a handful of them to help destroy the source of all evil? Look at how the war ends up: the races don't all unite against Sauron, it pretty much just establishes The Age of Men with a strong king in Aragorn. The elves abandon the place, the dwarves just keep doing what they always do: mine. There's no great epic battle where elves, humans, and dwarves stand side-by-side to fight the onslaught of evil. Everything that's being done is just buying time, just surviving, with the only hope being that Frodo can accomplish his mission.

With that in mind, it's really hard to argue a defense of why Gandalf doesn't just call in the air support. Just a handful of eagles to fly over the mountains and surprise-"attack" Mordor. Thinking the mountains form a natural barrier, the vast majority of Sauron's forces are stationed at the Gates. Attack from the rear and they likely wouldn't be detected until it was too late to stop them.

As I said: they're devices of deus ex machina for a reason...all the excuses to leave them out of the picture are just that: excuses. "Uhhhhh, well......Goku has...ummm...a heart virus! That's why he's not there to absolutely destroy the androids when they arrive!" Sure, any excuse is valid for not using deus ex machina characters, they all just come across as total BS. :p
 

RJ 17

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Azahul said:
Not a bad try, but there's still a couple flaws to deal with.

Firstly being Sauron's Sight. Indeed, the Eye is a terrible and powerful thing, but it still has to deal with line of sight so long as Frodo is not wearing the ring. If the ring isn't being worn, not even the Nazgul have a clue as to where it is, see the close call when the hobbits are first leaving the Shire. For that matter, when Sauron casts his gaze upon Frodo and Sam making their way up the volcano, he STILL has no clue that his ring is right there, around that hobbit's little neck. So yeah, why worry about two wandering "orcs" when there's a little army at his gates?

This means that he is still very susceptible to the element of surprise, and with the gift of flight you can strike from any direction. So swing around and come in the back way rather than coming from the Black Gates. Swoop in low so that Mt. Doom blocks off Sauron's vision and he wouldn't be able to stop you until it's too late. He feel's safe in Mordor since the Black Gates are presumably the only entrance with absolutely impassable mountains completely surrounding all other avenues. This means that most, if not all, of his forces are stationed near the Gates. A sneak attack would work perfectly.
 

Azahul

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RJ 17 said:
Azahul said:
Not a bad try, but there's still a couple flaws to deal with.

Firstly being Sauron's Sight. Indeed, the Eye is a terrible and powerful thing, but it still has to deal with line of sight so long as Frodo is not wearing the ring. If the ring isn't being worn, not even the Nazgul have a clue as to where it is, see the close call when the hobbits are first leaving the Shire. For that matter, when Sauron casts his gaze upon Frodo and Sam making their way up the volcano, he STILL has no clue that his ring is right there, around that hobbit's little neck. So yeah, why worry about two wandering "orcs" when there's a little army at his gates?

This means that he is still very susceptible to the element of surprise, and with the gift of flight you can strike from any direction. So swing around and come in the back way rather than coming from the Black Gates. Swoop in low so that Mt. Doom blocks off Sauron's vision and he wouldn't be able to stop you until it's too late. He feel's safe in Mordor since the Black Gates are presumably the only entrance with absolutely impassable mountains completely surrounding all other avenues. This means that most, if not all, of his forces are stationed near the Gates. A sneak attack would work perfectly.
Sauron's vision is more than just what he can physically see. He's a wizard. His "sight" reaches far beyond his own borders, and Mordor is ringed with mountains. Relying on Mount Doom to "block" his sight in any way is ludicrous, you're assuming a being made from magic uses the usual laws of physics for observation, when he has repeatedly and consistently observed territories far beyond any possible line of sight of his. Meanwhile, attacking from any direction barring the north-west massively increases the amount of territory you have to cover. And remember, Eagles aren't permanent air dwellers. They have to land and rest. There has to be a finite amount of territory they can cover before they're forced to the ground and have to spend a night sleeping in a land swarming with Orcs.

Yeah, Sauron doesn't realise his ring is on Frodo. Of course he doesn't bother to worry about two little Orcs. That's precisely why that was the attempt the Fellowship went with, and precisely why it worked. You really think he'd have the same attitude to an attack force of Eagles? That is a serious threat. The Eagles were a danger and a challenge to his master in the First Age. He would bring the full force of his will to bear on such an attack.

His forces aren't stationed near the Black Gates, by the way. This is explicit in both book and film. The army of Mordor is spread out across the entirety of Sauron's territory. Remember those scenes of fires burning across the landscape as far as the eye could see? One of the reasons for the attack on the Black Gate was to force the Orcs to the Black Gate and leave the territory open for the Hobbits to cover without as much risk.
 

RJ 17

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Azahul said:
Yeah, Sauron doesn't realise his ring is on Frodo.
That's still the major flaw here, my friend. It proves just how blind Sauron truly is. He can see other realms through magical orbs, he can see the Ring Bearer any time he puts on the ring, but in terms of what's right in front of his face: he's blind as a bat. As such, if he doesn't see the eagles coming - having gotten a good night's rest just on the other side of the mountains in Sauron's blind-spot - they could very easily slip past his "radar". You're assuming that he's all powerful and all seeing when he can't even recognize the very source of his own power when he's staring at it? In his own land? A (relatively speaking) short distance away from his tower? Sorry, but I just find it hard to believe he's omniscient if that's the case. We're talking about a ring that WANTS to be found by it's master. It magically calls out to its rightful owner, and yet he has absolutely no frickin' clue where it is even when he's looking right at it.

All the evidence points to the fact that Sauron's vision is actually quite limited. Oh yes, he has his spies and his orbs and a vast network of intelligence, but considering the evidence I just can't believe that Sauron is as all-seeing as you seem to assume that he is.

Edit: Regarding the stationing of his troops, yeah, it's as far as the eye can see.........which is still in a relatively close distance to the Black Gates. Sauron is preparing for open-war. He's about ready to unleash his hordes. Strategically this would mean that the bulk of his forces would be close to the Black Gates. Yes, it's a MASSIVE army, but that just shows how big his army truly is. Once they all bunch up into marching formations - as they do once Aragorn and company arrive at the Gates - the army would compact, naturally. But to assume that the entire countryside of Mordor is completely jam-packed with orcs? Frodo and Sam would quite literally never had made it to the mountain. His forces are all camped "near" the gates for quick mobilization, which is exactly why once they DO mobilize, there's a wide open abandoned expanse of terrain for Frodo and Sam to cross. It would take DAYS to bring all of Sauron's forces to the Gate if he had them spread throughout the the land. Sure, there's likely to be pockets of them here and there, but could they get a message to their lord about seeing eagles flying straight towards Mount Doom before the Eagles got there? Even with signal-fires, the Eagles would already be near their target before any kind of defense could be mustered. Once again, the flaw lies specifically in just how blind Sauron truly is.
 

The Great JT

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Ha, that was good.

Although, I feel the more likely result would have been that Sauron just tells Saruman, "hey, they're on eagles, create a storm and send 'em this way, I'll have the Nazgul waiting for 'em on the Fellbeasts."
 

Zhukov

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michael87cn said:
Can't use something to do a task its not willing to do. Eagles weren't willing to fly to Mordor with hobbits on their backs, and that is reason enough. Though, there are more reasons, that is sufficient because you can't force them to do it. Even if you did, the Winged Nazgul would have torn them apart, the one Eye would have paralyzed them mid-flight, and the armies of mordor would have torn them to pieces.

Stealth was the only option.
They're demonstrably willing to taxi Gandalf and his friends around from time to time and to fight Nazgul. They are seen doing those things.

Yet they're unwilling to save the world by taxiing Gandalf and his friends around and possibly fighting some Nazgul?

Azahul said:
If the Ring were carried on eagle-back to Mordor, they would be spotted in an instant. "Flying low and fast", as Zhukov suggests, is a tactic used to avoid detection by modern radar. I doubt it would work against a magical being whose principle power is that of observation, with a Palantír at his disposal and a realm swarming with mortal spies.
Sauron's eye is either:
a) Some sort of magical, mystical, all-seeing affair.
OR
b) A big glowing eyeball restricted to line of sight and other such mortal annoyances.

If the former, how the hell did he not detect his uber-important ring being carried around under his nose?

If the latter, why would conventional methods of avoiding detection not work?

Hell, if they wanted to get really fancy they could get half the eagles to flap about in front of the gate while another group circles right around and flies in from the opposite direction, low and fast etc, keeping the volcano between them and Mister Blinky. Drop Frodo & Co off at the Mt Doom scenic overlook, ditch the jewellery and Bob's your uncle.
 

Azahul

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RJ 17 said:
That's still the major flaw here, my friend. It proves just how blind Sauron truly is. He can see other realms through magical orbs, he can see the Ring Bearer any time he puts on the ring, but in terms of what's right in front of his face: he's blind as a bat.
Not quite. He spots Frodo and Sam, remember. If there weren't a distraction caused by an army at that moment, he almost certainly would have realised something was up. That entire scene is played as urgent, desperate, on the very precipice of discovery. And that was just a glance at a small detail in a corner of his territory. So he didn't detect the Ring after a couple of seconds of observation? Well, they weren't exactly holding it up for him to see. Whether he can sense the Ring by other methods or not is irrelevant, because for the purposes of this discussion he can definitely see something the size of the Eagles.

RJ 17 said:
As such, if he doesn't see the eagles coming - having gotten a good night's rest just on the other side of the mountains in Sauron's blind-spot - they could very easily slip past his "radar".
What blind-spot? What "radar"? These Eagles are huge, magical beings. Sauron can see places that, by rights, should be blocked from view by freaking mountains. He has enough in the way of powers of observation to spot two Orcs that seem out of place among hordes in the tens of thousands, and you really think he wouldn't notice Eagles? It's even established that he has control over the skies of Mordor (as in the clouds and weather). This is his domain. If he can spot those two Orcs, he can definitely spot the Eagles. And while an army might cause him to dismiss a pair of out of place Orcs, I cant think of anything that would distract him from Eagles making straight for the heart of his territory.

And he doesn't just control Mordor, by the way. The Dead Marches, all the land around Mordor reaching as far as the Eastern side of Osgiliath, all fall under his domain. That's a lot of land where it isn't safe to stop for the night.

RJ 17 said:
You're assuming that he's all powerful and all seeing when he can't even recognize the very source of his own power when he's staring at it? In his own land? A (relatively speaking) short distance away from his tower? Sorry, but I just find it hard to believe he's omniscient if that's the case. We're talking about a ring that WANTS to be found by it's master. It magically calls out to its rightful owner, and yet he has absolutely no frickin' clue where it is even when he's looking right at it.
Not all powerful. He is, however, a being primarily about observation. The ability to detect the Ring is something else. He might not have noticed the Ring, but he can still see things. And like I've said, if he can spot two Orcs out of place, how could he fail to spot Eagles?

RJ 17 said:
All the evidence points to the fact that Sauron's vision is actually quite limited. Oh yes, he has his spies and his orbs and a vast network of intelligence, but considering the evidence I just can't believe that Sauron is as all-seeing as you seem to assume that he is.
No. His vision is excellent. It's other senses that are quite limited. That's the whole point of the Fellowship approach. They were playing a con game. Whatever form the Fellowship took when it travelled to Mordor, the point was that it had to be beneath Sauron's notice. Eagles are not that, never that. These things attacked Morgoth in the First Age, and scarred him. Sauron is damned well going to be paying attention when the Eagles go on the move.
 

Azahul

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Zhukov said:
Sauron's eye is either:
a) Some sort of magical, mystical, all-seeing affair.
OR
b) A big glowing eyeball restricted to line of sight and other such mortal annoyances.

If the former, how the hell did he not detect his uber-important ring being carried around under his nose?

If the latter, why would conventional methods of avoiding detection not work?

Hell, if they wanted to get really fancy they could get half the eagles to flap about in front of the gate while another group circles right around and flies in from the opposite direction, low and fast etc, keeping the volcano between them and Mister Blinky. Drop Frodo & Co off at the Mt Doom scenic overlook, ditch the jewellery and Bob's your uncle.
It's pretty clearly Option A. Mordor is surrounded on all sides by mountains, yet Sauron sees past them. Heck, he is frequently said to be watching areas that are far, far beyond what any eye could see, even at that elevation. It's a magical manifestation of his malice, not a literal eyeball. Sauron himself is disembodied, but his gaze is far reaching.

As to why he couldn't detect the Ring... what does detecting the Ring have to do with his ability to observe the world? At the time, he thought it was being carried by Aragorn, he wasn't searching his own territory for it. And neither he nor the Nazgul displayed any supernatural sense for the Ring except when it is being used. That's an entirely separate matter, nothing to do with his powers of observation. I'm not sure why you and RJ17 both seem to think that Ring-sense comes part and parcel with Magical Observation Powers.