Film Theory: Why You SHOULDN’T FLY to Mordor! (The Lord of the Rings)

Film Theory: Why You SHOULDN’T FLY to Mordor! (The Lord of the Rings)

I consider it my personal quest to not only empower you with the knowledge you’re gonna need to have a fulfilling life, but also a fulfilling… Love life! With that in mind, welcome to the first ever installment of MatPat’s guide to finding the One – Lord of the Ring Edition Hey girl, was your face forged by Sauron because you’re precioussssss What, don’t respect Oscar-winning CGI technology, that’s fine, fine, whatever. You must be Frodo Baggins because I’m the one and you’ve got me wrapped around your finger Even more accurate because you just disappeared Whoa-oh Hey there, you shall not pass – without giving me those digits, I mean. And she jumped off the bridge. Maybe… maybe I should just stick to theories [Film Theory Intro] Hello Internet! Welcome to Film Theory! Where today we’re donning our mining hats and delving too greedily and too deep into the theory mines. In order to unearth the answer to the biggest question of the Lord of the Rings – no, not why the Hobbit movies were so bad, not even I have the answers to everything. No, today I am delivering the definitive answer to the Internet’s favorite Lord of the Rings theory – “Why didn’t Frodo not just ride the Eagles to Mount Doom and drop the Ring in?” We all know they exist, we know they can pretty much go anywhere, we know they’re friendly to the ringbearer’s side, so why the heck did team Ring just ride up to Mordor? Elrond: “Morrrdorrr” *Elrond saying Mordor like a boss* Sorry, Morrrrdorrrrrr – in the first place. Honestly, it’s like the movie is begging us to ask this question. 85 minutes and 48 seconds into the very first movie – if you’re watching the extended edition – Which, is there any other way to watch these movies? We see Gandalf GTF out of Isengard on the back of a giant Eagle after sending them off to go get it for him. Like some sort of high fantasy Uber. Why else introduce the perfect solution to every problem so early? Just hit up your Moth app call an Eagle and we got this whole trilogy wrapped up in a cool 45 Well, according to one of the most famous and most popular fan theories of all time This wasn’t a plot hole at all. The plan was to use the Eagles to fly to Mordor all along. It’s a great theory, really, and if Film Theory existed back in 2001, I’d be all over this one like a horde of orcs on… this other ork that they just decided to randomly cannibalize. Coined the “fly you fools” theory was made popular by an infographic from the website tickld, which miraculously isn’t a porn site, go figure The image spread quickly and the full theory was proposed by reddit user VulcanDeathGrip which, you know, clap and a half right out of the gate for the amazing user name. To sum it up, here’s the theory. Our hero wizard Gandalf is imprisoned by the evil wizard Saruman for failing to join his evil master plan. Gandalf orders up a giant Eagle lift on his smart moth and boom, giant Eagle arrives and zooms Gandalf away But instead of heading straight to Rivendell to meet Frodo and the rest of the Fellowship, the theory says that Gandalf instead flies to the Eagles Eyrie, which is a real canonical thing established in Middle-earth to talk with the king of the Eagles. The Eyrie is actually pretty close to Rivendell, but it’s on the eastern side of the Misty Mountains. A detail that’s important because when Gandalf is escaping on the Eagle, we actually see him veer east over the mountains So, the directions with this theory actually match up. Once there, Gandalf, according to the theory, hatches a plan to use the Eagles to fly the Ring to Mordor, something we never see or hear any word of in the books or movies. Gandalf and the Eagles decide to keep this plan a secret because they need to retain the element of surprise, even retaining that surprise from all the readers and viewers apparently… So now the question becomes where to meet up with the Eagles for maximum secrecy. Gandalf decides they should meet up in the South because canonically, all the other areas are overrun with either orcs or agents of Sauron. And they have to meet on this side of the Misty Mountains because again, according to the theory, the weather in the mountains is too dangerous for the Eagles to fly over. That might seem like a bit of a stretch, but the story does happen in winter and the mountains in the Lord of the Rings were modeled after the European Alps, where it’s literally like minus 46 degrees in winter, so it’s plausible to say the least. The only other option for the trip would have been to avoid the Misty Mountains entirely and go all the way south to the gap of Rohan. But, as literally everyone tells Boromir every time he brings it up, this is right next to Isengard aka Saruman’s base of operations, meaning all the Eagles would get spotted immediately and the plan is busted. So, left with no other options, they decide to got to travel on foot to the other side of the mountains, meet the Eagles and then finally fly to Mordor in the south Unfortunately, the group can’t make it over the mountains due to, you know, that aforementioned nasty weather, and the Fellowship decides to go for Boromir: “Make for the Gap of Rohan” No, shut up, Boromir, stop suggesting it! They go through “the mines of Moria” Where Pippin literally gets Gandalf killed because he is the worst, but right before Gandalf falls he utters these three fateful words Gandalf: “Fly, you fools” According to the theory, this was Gandalf telling the Fellowship what they were supposed to do – fly using the Eagles But, go figure, team Ring is too thick to get it. Honestly though, who can blame them? Instead of using two of his last three remaining words to insult his team Gandalf could have made things a bit more explicit Like, instead of “fly, you fools” he could have said “fly to Mordor”, “fly using Eagles”, even something as simple as “fly like an ea…” I’m sure everyone could have figured out the rest. *SPOILER: Fly Like an Eagle by Steve Miller* So anyway, that’s the theory and honestly I think it’s a really cool theory. The problem is: it’s just wrong. You take it from me, I know a thing or two about wrong theories. That’s right, for once in my life I’m giving myself an early Christmas present and I get to poke holes into someone else’s theory! Wow, how cathartic to turn the tables for a change! Today I’m gonna shoot down the Eagle Theory, pun definitely intended, because it is literally the worst strategy for the Fellowship ever! I mean honestly, it’s almost worse than just straight-up giving the Ring to Sauron. In doing this theory, I didn’t just rely on old reddit posts from 2012, oh no. I went digging. I busted out the Lord of the Rings books, I got the Silmarillion, I pored over the letters Tolkien wrote to pretty much everybody. I picked up the Unfinished Tales, the collection of books that are compiled by Christopher Tolkien, J.R.R.’s editor, map creator and publisher. Books filled with partial stories and scraps of lore. I spent days poring over tens of thousands of pages and not e-book pages mind you, literal physical actual paper pages because Christopher Tolkien is some sort of technophobe that won’t allow the more obscure nerdy titles to be published in an electronic format. So out the window with my CTRL+F function and in the window with my analog CTRL+F function which is just an index and let me just say it those things sucked One more disclaimer here, because I know that some people don’t consider the Unfinished Tales and letters to be canon, because it’s that kind of fanbase, so I only went with those sources insofar as they didn’t contradict anything in the actual books. If there was ever a disagreement, I always defaulted to the information that was actually published. And what did I learn from doing all that? Well… That the lore of Middle-earth is really long and sometimes really dry And kinda glosses over some big things. Like the destruction of an entire continent that gets explained away in a whopping one paragraph So, the first thing to know is that in Tolkien’s lore most of the stuff in Middle-earth was created by three gods Monwë, Yavanna, and Aulë. Yes, Middle-earth has gods, gods that, let’s be honest, were probably a bit pissed that in three Hobbit movies scraping the absolute bottom of the barrel for any content to fill their excessive runtimes, they still didn’t make the cut. Anyway, *Dramatic deep intro voice* In the beginning Yavanna created all the plants, trees, forests and animals. Aulë comes in and makes the Dwarves. Yavana, worried that the Dwarves would literally just mow down the forests to make stuff, creates the ents to protect the trees. Monwë, feeling a bit left out, sees the stuff the other two are creating and goes: MatPat as Monwë: “Ah sweet, would you help me make some Eagles? Like, big ones! Big Eagles!” And boom! Yavanna and Monwë made the Eagles and thus the Eagles came into existence *More serene intro voice* The end Now, why would you care about any of this stuff? Well, it shows us that the Eagles go super far back in the history of this world And, in general, the older stuff is in Middle-earth, the more powerful it is. Except for the Dwarves. Sorry, Gimli. But that means, in the hierarchy of Middle-earth, Eagles rank way up there. The gods, or Valar as they’re called, are at the top. Directly below them are the demigods, or Maiar. This tier has some familiar faces Sauron, Saruman, and Gandalf. And the Eagles are just slightly below them. In fact, Tolkien himself was a bit wishy-washy on this point, saying that, hey the Eagles are pretty much unofficially Maiar, but anyway, suffice it to say they rank above all the other races So, why does any of this matter? Well canonically, and this is a point that the movies don’t really do a good job of explaining, the Ring of Power works proportionally to the power of the holder. You ever wonder why a hobbit was really the safest choice to be ring bearer? Or why this all-powerful ring that everyone is so scared of only manages to turn people invisible? It’s because Hobbits are a really low power race in this world and because of that the Ring of Power is the least dangerous in their hands. The One Ring can only really use what’s the in the wearer. Which isn’t that much when it’s being carried by a Hobbit. Now, contrast that to the giant Eagles who are practically demigods and who, according to Tolkien himself, have a wingspan of 30 fathoms. *wow!* Putting them at half the size of a football field *wow, again* And they’re not just big. During the War of Wrath, which was a huge war before the Lord of the Rings series happened, they were able to kill the dragon that was so enormous that when he crash-landed he collapsed three giant active volcanoes. These Eagles are massive, powerful, and they’re immortals who are more powerful than all the other races on Middle-earth Oh, yeah, and they can also canonically see through walls. The Eagles are more than just mere birds. They are no joke and they definitely don’t need their power amped up by the One Ring. If you give the Eagles an opportunity to carry the One Ring you’re looking at potentially the most powerful Dark Lords in the entire series. If they can manage to fit the ring on their talons that is. If you think about it, this is the same reason why the Ring has to stay out of everyone else’s hands. This is why Gandalf never directly touches the Ring and tries to keep it out of his sight as much as possible. Even telling Frodo that through him it would Gandalf: “wield a power too Great and terrible to imagine” Because Gandalf is a Mayar demigod. The classic Galadriel freakout scene is her basically predicting her own power amped up on the Ring, which is again why so many people are required to protect the darn thing. MatPat: “Hey, hey, Boromir, my eyes are up here. Hey!” Also notice when the Eagles do come into play: to rescue Sam and Frodo from Mount Doom as it collapses When the Ring of Power is no longer around. As soon as it’s destroyed and out of the running, then it’s safe to bring the Eagles in, because they’re no longer gonna be tempted No one’s at risk and that’s exactly when Gandalf calls for their help again But there’s more to this plan being stupid than just raw power Sauron literally doesn’t comprehend the possibility that anyone with the Ring would want to destroy it. And he doesn’t discover this plan until mere moments before the Ring is tossed into the heat of Mount Doom. He can’t defend himself if he doesn’t know what he’s defending against. That’s why it’s imperative that the Fellowship remain a secret from everyone. And the Eagles? Remember, they’re the size of Boeing 747s up there Trying to conduct a stealth mission with a giant Eagle to drop the ring into the pits of Mount Doom would be like trying to sneak into a Jamba Juice with a fighter jet. Or, you know what, maybe we should just believe Tolkien himself. In a letter from June 1958 where he criticizes an unofficial Lord of the Rings film treatmen sent to him going so far as to say it’s murdered his story. Yeah, that’s harsh feedback. Tolkien directly comments on the script’s overuse of the Eagles. Quote: “The Eagles are a dangerous ‘machine’. I’ve used them sparingly and that is the absolute limit of their credibility” End quote. Using the Eagles to solve all your problems just doesn’t make for a good story And that’s ultimately what we as an audience are here for. And Tolkien, being the incredible writer that he is, knew just that. But hey! That’s just a theory! A Film Theory! Aaaaaaaand cut! Man, finding loopholes in theories is fun and cathartic. Maybe I should just chang this channel to be The Theory Buster

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  1. Why did that intro joke bring this flirt to my mind; "Did you fall out of the vending machine? 'Cause you're snack." It's not even Lotr related!

  2. Here is some more interesting information. I know this is an old video, but IDC

  3. Should I watch the movies? I want to but some people told me it was not worth spending all that time to watch them… Please tell me your oppinions

  4. erm fly to mordor, YEA LETS HOP ONTO A JET AND FLY OVER AN AREA WITH STRONG POSSIBLE CONFIRMS OF SAM SITES, plus the eagles are apparently well known by multiple race except for hte hobbits, however the hobits themselves are unknown to other race or atleast overlooked

  5. It certainly requires talent to make a 12:07 video from the simple fact that it would not be a good story.

    Also… is it book theory or film theory? Weren't the eagles carrying Bilbo with the Ring without any problem in the first Hobbit film????

    Jesus fuck, this was just bullshit.

  6. Pretty sure that Gandalf could have cloaked one of the eagles with some sort of invisibility spell. Then he and Bobo teabaggins could have flown there without and problems.

  7. Didn't uncle grandpapaa (lmao) have the ring on him when he flew with the eagles in the hobbit, so it doesn't make sense when u said about frodo and the eagles plus the ring holds the bearer not the ppl or creature around him, ppl got figity around the ring when it was shown not when it was hidden so the eagles wouldn't have been affected by the ring, shit couldnt they fly above the clouds and dive bomb down to the volcano and have frodo drop it in from the top, the film would have only been an hour pmsl🤣🤣🤣

  8. So Canadian that when someone asked me a question in text…and I had to check my schedule on my phone to make sure of a date I said sorry for interrupting

  9. One hole in that theory… although the relevance of the Eagles being more powerful is still there, Sauron is looking to the ground for the ring the Eagles could just simply rise above.

  10. Start at the video Matt said the hobbit movies suck well I live in NZ where the hobbit movies were made! Thank you for making fun of NZ

  11. Man I swear you gotta be the voice to the game "you dont know jack" the voice is spot on and your style is literally the same as the game i swear lol

  12. so if a human wears the ring it will turn them invisible like the hobbit right!? What if that person was "evil" in nature will it have the same effect!?!?

  13. Heres another one if Bruce Lee wore the ring tho he's peak human will the ring amply his physical strength to superhuman or just turn him invisible like the hobbit!?

  14. In the late 70s, my friends and I got to discussing how the major characters in The Hobbit would measure up in AD&D terms. By the end of the book, Bilbo would have gained enough XP to become a 2nd level Thief, while Gandalf was a 4th level Wizard at best.

    In any event, Sauron's ring was just a McGuffin, the trilogy was really about Aragorn coming out of his self exile and assuming the responsibilities of kingship.

  15. I think I found a plot hole in this. He says they can’t risk the Eagles picking up Frodo because of the One Ring and how it may corrupt them. But in The Hobbit, Bilbo was in possession of the ring when the Eagles carried them out of the forest. So if they didn’t get corrupted then, why would you not trust them now. They could have flown Frodo a very far distance and then let him walk significantly shorter. Just an idea, I’m probably wrong😅

  16. So this just popped up in my feed and nobody seems to understand what Gandalf is actually saying. Multiple times in the book, Gandalf tells the fellowship to "fly" as in "move quickly" because they are in danger.

    The scene where the balrog whips Gandalf is the "death" of the balrog and Gandalf knows this, he also knows that without the balrog, the orcs have nothing to fear and may go after the fellowship right away. Gandalf is telling the group to make haste and exit the mines of Moria before they get captured by the orcs, since they're all just standing there watching him fight the thing.

    It's very simple, and easy to understand in context and I don't think many people realize this

  17. The eagles could fly over to mount doom if they could fly blind with armor but sadly the reason they didn't use this is because melkors magic protect all mordors creatures/ saurons things from the sight of any of eru illuvatar valars creations aka the eagles and gandolph that's why when frodo passed the mountain gandalph lost sight of them

  18. I actually researched this too not long ago and I dug up that the reason why is because the eagles didn't want to join this entire war. they save Gandalf because they owe him a life debt (couldn't find why). the eagles are actually neutral creatures, they don't fight for any side just for themselves which is why they join the fight at the end of the third movie, the nazgul were turning around and heading to mt doom where they would've stopped frodo so the eagles stopped them which would bring peace in the world and the eagles could finally rest.
    that's just what I read, not saying it's true but I like it and if it's close to being true, cool

  19. MatPat, you missed the mark on this one! The Eagles' size, ability to fly, sheer power, etc., are easy enough to explain, but you are forgetting one very IMPORTANT detail…Mt. Doom is an active VOLCANO! Getting anywhere close to the enormous ash cloud would be a death sentence as volcanic ash, sulfur, sulfuric acid, super heated particulates, and (of course) extreme heat would kill any lower being the moment they took a breath! Volcanic ash clouds have been known to shoot up thousands of feet into the air, and we can see from the movies that Mordor is almost completely covered in this volcanic ash cloud 24/7. The highest we've seen the Eagles fly in the movies is only about 1-2K feet in the air (note how they barely make it over the mountains in the Hobbit movies). Even at the end of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, when Gandalf and the Eagles rescue Frodo and Sam, we see an enormous hole in the volcanic ash cloud through which Gandalf and the Eagles fly in. If that hole wasn't there, they probably wouldn't have been able to save Frodo and Sam without exposing them to the deadly volcanic ash cloud!

  20. Even though the Eagles couldn't wear the ring, it would certainly corrupt them and cause them to turn on the Fellowship. Yeah, you're totally right.

  21. What about the theory loved by Legolas fangirls where he just shoots the ring of power into Mt. Doom with his archer skills?

  22. Also the skies above mordor were completely under saurons control with spells and 24/7 fell beast patrols. Even if they somehow managed to evade the fell beasts, cloak themselves from his spells and evade his watchful eye, at least one of the many thousands of orcs and eastern men stationed in mordor will see and alert sauron of their presence. The only thing that could do all of that is the exact thing they decided to put the mission on… a hobbit.

  23. Always thought flying into Mordor with the eagles was a bit of a stupid idea. Everyone suddenly forgot the huuuge hordes of orcs and others loyal to Sauron all with their machines and stuff settled there, if not the 9 apparitions flying some winged lizards and a flipping flaming eye of f*** your face on a tower right next to mount doom. Also the temptation of the ring on the eagles comes across as a good point. All in all, yeah, not the best idea there.

  24. The eagles cant be corrupted, their feä (own will) is really weak and theyre mostly controled by Manwe, who cant comprehend evil.

  25. When watching Gandalf dying the first time I always just took the phrase “fly you fools” to mean run really fast?? I never got the reference to the eagles

  26. In his personal notes it was stated that Gandalf wanted them to fly to the edge of Mordor but not directly into it.

  27. fly: meaning run, escape as in "fight or fly". instead of trying to understand the lore of the middle earth, you should have perhaps try to understand simple English. but then again, you are an American, so you are excused. but even the lore you got all wrong, so no excuse.

  28. Why are we discussing about logic from a fantasy story??

    There is no logic whatsoever. That’s why it doesn’t make sense. The writer can do whatever they want to make the story more interesting.

  29. Well I know the reason they couldn’t fly all the way erebor in There and Back Again is because the men would shoot the eagles in protection of their sheep.

  30. And the dwarves are the most powerful race, one on one, the only thing that can take an angry, armored dwarf is a skin changer. They are the smartest and strongest. But they don’t want power, they want riches. This is until they get a disease known only to dwarves, dragon sickness. They also have powerful magic, but most never use it. And those who do use it to contain Balrog’s and make toys.

  31. "the weather in the mountains is too dangerous for the eagles to fly over"
    Literally showed a scene of the eagles flying over the mountains not minutes before
    So… Fuck this stupid theory right away

  32. The question isn’t why they didn’t fly to Mordor, that makes sense. But what doesn’t make sense is why Gandalf said “fly you fools”

  33. Its good except for the rather big fact that Bilbo had the ring at the end of the first hobbit movie and then they used the eagles to flee the burning trees so the eagles could have easily grabbed the ring then

  34. The intro is such cancer that I've decided to leave this comment saying the intro is cancer, and block your channel.

  35. You should also note that Tolkien wrote the character of Gwaihir to be one who was more concerned about the safety of his own kind than anything else. The only time he intervenes is when people he trusts (like Gandalf) need his help, but where the risk to his people is minimal. Given their size, it would be impossible for an eagle not to be noticed flying into Mordor, and you would just have flock of fell beasts wicked on the poor creature. It would be a suicide mission, and Gwaihir would never agree to send an eagle to carry the ring to Mt. Doom.

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