Eagles - Tolkien Gateway
The Great Eagles were beings of Arda said to have been "devised" by Manwë Súlimo, While they lived there, Thorondor helped Fingon rescue Maedhros. Gwaihir, with others of his people, rescued Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee . Oct 30, What is the connection between our plans and our actions at such a time? And so Gandalf and the Eagles fly to the rescue of Frodo and Sam. Dec 1, An eagle carries Frodo to Mount Doom in a single flight, possibly . against the same problems as those discussed above in connection with the Nazgûl. . Gandalf asks the eagles to fly to Mt. Doom to rescue Frodo and Sam.
Contrary to what some fans seem to think, they were a beautiful and magnificent race of beings, not the pets of Gandalf. So, on to the reasons: Gwaihir, and the other eagles, have their own stuff to do. Arrows Hurt, Okay— As creations of Manwe, they are certainly gifted with longer life and greater resilience, but they are not impervious to harm.
They are also flipping huge. They have a bit of a nasty history with the orcs, who destroyed some of their Eyries, and in turn, the eagles messed some of their stuff up, too. There is no love lost between the races, and flying over orc territory is, in general, not a good idea. Doom to erupt at a moment's notice, without first building up pressure, etc. Even if Sauron can cause Mt. Doom to erupt immediately, we know from the actual story that the eagles are capable of navigating into Mordor and locating and rescuing Frodo and Sam, despite the major eruption which was taking place.
Even if Sauron did manage to catch the eagles in the eruption, however, could this melt the Ring? If Sauron does manage to figure out that the eagles are carrying the Ringbearer, he might opt not to cause Mt.
Doom to erupt, just for this very reason. Doom to intercept the Ringbearer. Doom in time to stop the Ringbearer? If Sauron were on foot or even on horse, he would have no chance of overtaking the eagles.
At least one writer on r. Whether Sauron could still change into other forms at the end of the Third Age is a subtle question. We know that his powers are greatly reduced over what they previously were, and we also know that he has lost at least some of his shape-shifting ability; i. My view would be that there is nothing to support the suggestion that Sauron is able to change into a flying form in the late Third Age.
If he could, we would expect him to have done so when Frodo put on the Ring in Sammath-Naur. The eagles quite frequently involve themselves in the fight against Sauron or against evil in general: They participate in the Battle of Five Armies. They rescue Gandalf from Orthanc. They rescue Gandalf again from Zirak-Zigil. They fly into Mordor to rescue Frodo and Sam.
Given all this heavy involvement, it would be extremely surprising if the Valar specifically prohibited the eagles from flying the Ringbearer into Mordor. Tolkien nowhere mentions such a prohibition. The only support I can see for this argument is very indirect: But the eagles do often intervene in the struggles of Middle-Earth, and there's no indication that they were under some restriction in this case.
If the eagles were prohibited from being involved directly in the struggle against Sauron, we might expect that they would have withdrawn to Valinor long ago rather than remain in Middle-Earth. Eagles are said to be sturdy creatures. On other web pages, two separate people responded to this point. One person pointed out that being "sturdy" and "bold" does not necessarily make you particularly resistant to the Ring. After all, Boromir was certainly sturdy and bold, but he eventually yielded to his desire to take the Ring after travelling with Frodo.
I have to agree with this point. Perhaps "strength of character" would be a better choice of words. Tolkien sets up a clear contrast between the moral character of Boromir and of Faramir Boromir, according to Faramir, had been impatient that his father is steward not king; Boromir clearly desires the Ring upon first seeing it; and in the end Boromir fails to resist the temptation of the Ring. Faramir, by contrast, rejects the Ring even when there is nothing to stop him from taking it.
We don't see any instance in LotR where an eagle is faced with this kind of moral crisis, so we can't make any firm conclusions one way or the other about strength of character among eagles. But this absence of information again makes my point: Tolkien did not include any specific information in the text to rule out the "eagles" plan. Tolkien does not tell us that the eagles have a weaker strength of character more like that of Boromir, and not a stronger one like that of Aragorn, Gandalf, Faramir, or Galadriel.
Somebody else wrote the following: Not mentioned is my favorite objection, which is that Gwaihir, the Lord of the Eagles, is The corrupting strength of the Ring is clearly stronger as one approaches Mordor--Sam and Frodo both understand that wearing the Ring within Mordor would be catastrophic. In Tolkien's universe, power calls to power, and there is every reason to believe that the Lord of the Eagles would fall completely under the spell of the Ring as he approached Mt.
As I mention elsewhere on this page, Tolkien doesn't tell us exactly how long it takes for Gwaihir and the other eagles to fly from the Black Gate to Mt. Doom to rescue Frodo and Sam, but I would guess that it could not be more than an hour or so.
The Ring becomes stronger as it nears Mt. Doom, but could even this strengthened Ring wholly take over the will of an eagle in as little as an hour?
Tolkien doesn't give us the information to answer this question one way or the other thus, cannot say that he has ruled out the "eagles" plan on these grounds. However, I would be very surprised if this were so. There is no instance in the text where the Ring takes control of anyone's will this quickly even taking into consideration that the Ring was not as strong earlier in the story.
Powerful individuals such as Gandalf and Aragorn travel with the Ringbearer over a period of months without being corrupted by it.
A further point is this. When Sam carries Frodo on his back, he is surprised that Frodo is unexpectedly light: But it was not so.
At least with regard to weight, the Ring affects the Ringbearer much more than the one carrying the Ringbearer. It is not unreasonable to speculate that this is true not only of mere weight, but also of the degree to which the Ring affects the will. In any case, I think it is far from obvious that the Ring would be able to entirely take over the will of the eagle carrying Frodo in as little as an hour or so. Radagast asks the eagles for help, leading inadvertently to the rescue of Gandalf from Orthanc.
Gandalf asks the eagles to fly to Mt. Its aim is primarily profit. Therefore, such friendship lasts only while the other person provides one with what is needed.
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Aristotle says that this type of friendship is most typical for young children or old weak people, who cannot care for themselves on their own and need others to help them.
However, it is not restricted only to these ages. It can, of course, occur in other periods of human life, too. Frodo needs or merely accepts his services, even though some of them he would be able to do on his own. Sam is a useful helper. The philosopher exemplifies this kind of friendship by the relationship of host and guest NE, book VIII, chapter 3which is like a short-term equivalent of the master-servant relationship.
For even if people who pursue friendship because of utility called the object of their need a friend, it would not be meant sincerely. But by this I do not want to say that Frodo was selfish, only that is was not necessary for him to call Sam his friend when his relationship to him was not so deep yet. But in spite of his somewhat cooler attitude, sometimes Frodo already showed some deeper concern about Sam, as he did for his friends, which would not be expected from a master towards his servant were their relationship only formal.
For instance, after their first meeting with Elves in the Shire, he doubted whether it was good idea to take him along when he knew his journey led only through peril. Well, after all those years spent with him around and knowing what a big affection Sam had for him, it was natural that his relationship to him grew into something more than only a utility friendship.
Could the eagles have flown Frodo into Mordor?
Development of Their Relationship during the War of the Ring As the story proceeded, we see that their relationship slowly changed. Since they were bound to spend whole days together and rely on each other in pursuit of their quest, such change is natural and only to be expected. Their intimacy increased and their mutual affection was strengthened by all the struggles they went through. Yet the change is not the same on both sides. The journey provided an opportunity for him to show his care for his master in a new way, unlimited by the peaceful environment of their home and everyday duties.
As has been explained, his relationship to Frodo was a friendship of pleasure, for he took pleasure in helping Frodo, being around him and serving him. Sometimes it may even seem that although younger in age, Sam cared about him like a parent cares for a child. From the very beginning he watched anxiously over his security and wellbeing. The purpose of everything he did was to help Frodo as much as he could, and this carried on throughout the story.
As he said, he would never mean any harm to Frodo. So even if he did something that he first perceived as contradictory to his love, like when he joined the conspiracy with Pippin and Merry to spy on Frodo, or when he was eavesdropping on his talk with Gandalf, it was only with the best intentions.
This happened in the beginning because he was a simple, inexperienced person; until this time he had never traveled farther than twenty miles away from his home.
But later, as he became more aware of life behind the borders of his little country, he realized that a merciful lie or concealment of the truth was harmless and even necessary if he did not want to trouble his master. So he often used it as they neared Mordor; for instance, when he did not speak the truth about their dwindling food or that he saved his share for Frodo.
After this he somehow felt responsible for Frodo. And partially from this promise, in combination with his devotion to his master, there results a determination to follow Frodo no matter what, and his already mentioned willingness to give his life for him, although yet he had no clear idea what peril may await them.
Nonetheless, he made a pact with himself to never leave his master, motivated by some unidentifiable inner feeling that he has to do something before the end. He confessed it when Frodo, after considering that he should not lead his friend into unknown danger but rather go on his own because the Ring is his alone, indirectly offered him a chance to rethink his decision and stay in the Shire. I never mean to. Sam even implemented this literally when he actually accompanied Frodo everywhere he went.
This statement was the first open demonstration of his conviction, and though it is evidently a motivation of all his doings, it manifested itself in two more situations that were crucial for the subsequent development of the plot.
In the former case, he could have stayed in Rivendell with Elves, since until now meeting them has been his greatest dream and also the original though only assumed reason of his coming with Frodo, or rest there for some time and then return to Hobbiton. But although he had already gained some notion of how dangerous this journey will be, he preferred to go on. Similarly, in the second case he had a chance for a better destiny than to plod through dying land, starving, straight into the hands of enemy.
By now he was well aware of all the peril. He could have chosen an easier way and gone to Minas Tirith with Boromir and Aragorn At this point of time Sam did not know what happened to the rest of the Fellowship until he was reunited with them after the completion of the quest, and believed that the remaining seven would go to Gondor, since at least the men intended so from the beginning.
Nevertheless, he insisted on following his master, and when Frodo seemed to ignore him, he did not hesitate to jump into water to stop him, even though he could not swim. But while in general his determination proved to be a lucky decision, in one instance it almost meant a definite end to the quest and an absolute disaster for the whole Middle-earth.
It was in the passage of Cirith Ungol at the border of Mordor, when he thought his master dead after he had been poisoned by Shelob the giant spider. He knew that he had to resume the quest. But even more hazardous was his resolution to go to the orc tower full of enemies and save his master when he found out he was only paralyzed. Had he left Frodo to his own fortune and centered only on the task, the quest might have been completed earlier and maybe more easily.
But his love for Frodo was bigger than his moral obligation to the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. Another quality that the journey revealed in Sam, which is closely related to his overall conviction, is vigilance.LOTR The Return of the King - The Crack of Doom
He became watchful and suspicious of every stranger from the very beginning, and its level remained constant throughout the entire story. While the other two younger hobbits developed their sense of wariness only slowly, with Sam it seems to come up as soon as they left Bag End. But he actually proved right with Gollum. It began with the stubborn resolution that if anyone meant any harm to Frodo, he should first fight with him. But since it had not yet come to a direct confrontation with enemies, and there is no any evidence of them fighting with the Black Riders at Weathertop, it is not certain whether he would really be able to strike or give way to fear.
But later, when Frodo was in immediate danger, he forgot his own fears or limitations, like in the scene at the Gate of Moria when Sam remained the only one with clear senses, not paralyzed by fear, and slashed the tentacle that grasped Frodo and tried to pull him underwater. It has been already noted that at the beginning he thought him to be the best and cleverest person in the world.
However, by the time they reached Mordor, he admitted that Frodo was not always perfect and he not only found some of his decisions wrong, but no longer hesitated to show his disagreement openly. Certainly, their opinions differed the most regarding whether or not to keep Gollum as their guide. But in spite of this change, they have become closer and more intimate than they were before the journey.
Sam was still aware of the social difference between him and Frodo and recognized himself as inferior, yet even in this can be spotted a slight difference.
Until their stay in Rivendell, he used it more frequently than after the forming of the Fellowship of the Ring. So it is clear that his relationship to Frodo has developed from mere friendship of pleasure into a deeper friendship. Frodo, preoccupied by his burden of the Ring, did not much openly manifest what Sam meant to him, so it appears as if his attitude has not developed.
However, the contrary is true. He knew that he might die in the attempt to accomplish the quest and he did not want this for his friends, including Sam.
He did not want them to suffer because of him and his unfortunate heirloom. Therefore he tried to dissuade them from the journey twice before his departure from the Shire.
- Frodo and Sam’s Relationship in the Light of Aristotle’s Philia
- Did Gandalf Plan to Rescue Frodo and Sam From Mount Doom?
- Dispelling the Myth: Why The Eagles Of Middle-earth Are Not Gandalf’s Personal Taxi Service
First, it was during the earlier mentioned situation when he discussed it only with Sam, and then in the house in Crickhollow when the conspiracy was unmasked. Yet, he did not make much effort to deter them from coming with him.
The reason for this is probably that he was afraid to go on his own. He was actually happy that he did not have to face the peril alone. This shows that the level of concern for his friends was rather low. Had he wholly apprehended how dangerous he and the Ring was for them, he would not trouble himself with explaining it and would rather steal out secretly in the night, probably even leaving Sam behind. But he did not. However, a test of his affection for his friends came soon after, which he nearly failed.
Initially it occurred to him that he could escape with the help of the Ring and leave the other three there. But then his love for his friends won and he did not abandon them.
The first thing he asked, after he realized where he was, was: This may seem an insignificant exclamation, but following a month of journeying together, it reveals much about the development of his relationship to Sam and how important he has become to Frodo.
The fact that the first thing he thought about was what happened to his friend, implies that he has started to worry about him. Later, as his awareness of the danger he represents for the fellowship increased, he was becoming still more convinced that he must accomplish the task on his own. He was determined to leave instantly, without confronting any member of the fellowship. Therefore, invisible with the Ring on, he even pretended not to take any notice of Sam whom he must doubtlessly have seen running towards him to stop him.
Again he tried to persuade him not to follow. This was actually the first time Frodo spoke about his feelings to Sam. Based on this, it is obvious that he no longer treated him as a mere servant, but that Sam has become very dear to him, so dear that he would feel guilty if he died because of him.
It is interesting that Frodo did not talk about his feelings and emotions much. This may be a result of being an orphan lacking the love and interest of his relatives who raised him in his childhood 2. Probably it was never easy for him to speak about his feelings, because the people he lived with did not understand him.
And it remained a problem for him even later when he moved to the Bag End and was surrounded by such loving people like Sam. That is why he so seldom acknowledged how much Sam meant to him in comparison with this gardener who, being the simpler one, often told him how much he liked him.
Instead, to show Sam how much he appreciated his services, Frodo preferred subtle but meaningful gestures. But what is more, Frodo was aware that Sam knew him so well that he could usually guess his thoughts and understand him even without words, so he did not need to affirm his love orally. He did so only in two instances. One is the moment described above, and the other time it is after the Ring has been destroyed.
Standing at the hillside of Mount Doom he said: In the past Frodo used to be very secretive, not only about the Ring, just like Gandalf had warned him, but he also used to keep all his personal affairs to himself.
Just to mention one, he often used to wander the country without anyone knowing the reasons for it, which worried his friends. He only became a little more open about his plans and intentions with Sam, after he discovered that his servant knew about the Ring as much as himself, yet never spoke a word of it. When he realized that he could rely on him and sees his determination and love, he kept no secrets from him any longer.
Anyway, it would be pointless since Sam knew him so well. So it is that Sam became the only confidante with whom he could discuss his worries and ideas. For instance, Sam was the only one to whom Frodo presented his very first piece of poetry inspired by his sorrow for the loss of Gandalf.
However, in one matter regarding his secretiveness he always remained the same—that although the Ring started to gain ever greater power over him, he never complained, never spoke about what troubled him and how much he suffered. The nearer they got to Mordor and Mount Doom, the more Frodo was preoccupied with his burden and his diminishing hope of ever completing his quest.
Were it not for Sam, Frodo would never have accomplished it, since he gave up hope completely soon after his rescue from the orc tower. It has been pointed out that before the journey he never called him his friend. He did not consider him to be one, certainly not a close one, for his friendship with Sam was based on utility. There were other people whom he recognized as his best friends.
But after what they have gone through and when Sam remained his only companion after the breaking of the Fellowship, their relationship changed. Although to Faramir he presented Sam as his servant and gardener, in private he once named Sam: So, finally he confirmed him to be his friend, moreover, the best of all his friends. It is because the friendship of utility, which Frodo had for Sam, is less similar to true friendship than the friendship of pleasure, which Sam had for Frodo; therefore it had to undergo a greater transformation to turn into a more valuable type.