The only path to victory in the Middle Earth election is to appeal to the moderate orc voter

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/13/shire-elites.html

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Guys I think this author might be trolling.

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If the Ring has to be dropped into Mount Doom, why can’t we have our own, native-born Great Eagles do the job?

It’s a fair question.

[door bursts open, sixteen nerds rush in competing with each other to be the first one to try and explain why it isn’t actually a plot hole]

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I’m goblin this idea right up! Zug zug!
Don’t be dragon the crazybus into Trumptown.
What the elf?
I’m sure eagle-eyed readers will fly in to set me straight.

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the sound you hear is me rushing in.

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make america hate again

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Reminds me of the Orc chapters from The Last Ringbearer! (Which, incidentally, is a good read for anyone who thought the political economy of Middle Earth could have done with a little more unpacking.)

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Its not just not a plot hole. Its a rabbit hole of minutia, personal letters, contradictory half finished material.

But what it boils down to is Eagles are kind of dicks. And they’re not even from Middle Earth. No wonder the Orcs are so into them.

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Seems too clever for a MAGAist.

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I’m a single-issue voter.

I don’t care about The Ring.

I don’t care about Ent conservation and reforestation.

I don’t care about orcish terrorism.

Only one thing matters:

Mordorcare for ALL!

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I’ve always thought that it would have been so much better if JRR could have just admitted “yeah, I see what you’re saying, they probably should have at least asked the eagles to take them over the mountains” instead of trying to pretend that everything was logically consistent. Hell, the Bible isn’t logically consistent, and that thing was written by god!

I’d say the same thing applies to the Elves, mostly, but then we’d have all the nerds in a huff.

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Tolkien never pretended anything was logically consistent. He tried to make it consistent and died before he finished.

There are personal letters where he laments introducing the eagles at all, and acknowledges having to rethink them and limit their use cause they were an easy “wizards did it” grade solution to any and all problems.

Depends on which grade of nerd. The Silmarilion is basically Elves are Dicks: The Musical.

I’m all about that shit.

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Yeah, even if there was a logic there that was apparent to the characters it certainly wasn’t communicated to the readers.

For example, when someone at the Council of Elrond made the reasonable suggestion to hurl the One Ring to the depths of the ocean, Gandalf actually explained why that seemingly obvious solution wouldn’t work (Sauron would just send a Kraken to get it or some shit). It would have taken all of two sentences to add another explanation for why Eagle transport to Mordor was a no-go.

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I think that was nicely conveyed by all the talk of secrecy. Giant fucking eagle attack ain’t exactly subtle.

And there’s certainly reference in both LOTR and The Hobbit to the Eagle’s general disinterest in doing squat till they make their final appearances.

Much of the “but the eagles” chatter resulted from the films where they do pretty much show up whenever its most convenient (as Tolkien feared).

But functionally the reason the Eagles don’t air drop the ring into Sauron’s firey bunghole with it being just as easy a solution as everyone smugly claims?

Cause there wouldn’t be a plot. There wouldn’t be a book. Why didn’t Vader just blow up Leia’s ship instead of trying to board it? Why didn’t Skynet send the Terminator back in time to kill John’s great-grandfather while he was on the toilet, or John send Kyle back to kill the inventor of the microchip? Why didn’t Walt just suck it up and call his former partner for a job with some decent insurance instead of cooking meth?

Cause the most expedient story isn’t in any way the best story, and character is more important than plot.

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Nobody is saying Lord of the Rings would be a better story if the eagles just flew Frodo to Mordor. We’ve been saying it would have made for better storytelling if one of the characters briefly explained why that seemingly obvious solution wasn’t an option.

I mean, the eagles don’t care enough about Middle Earth to make one air delivery in order to save it yet they care about shit like dwarves stranded in trees and who gets to keep the dragon gold? C’mon.

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Like I said. To my memory its established that the eagles aren’t a possibility for various reasons, just more subtly than having Gimli shout “Of course we can’t use the Eagles! They’re all drunks and we can’t trust them to fly a straight line”. Explicitly explaining plot points is not good writing, and neither is attempting to explicate why each and every possibility wasn’t followed up on.

Besides to that point in the book it’s not as if there is much to indicate the Eagles are much of a thing to begin with. Many other characters float in do some crazy and don’t drive the fellowship directly to Mordor. Why doesn’t Tom Bombadil, who is immune to the ring, carry it to Mordor?

In the deep cuts the Eagles are basically the Watcher from Marvel Comics, they’re supposed to keep an eye on things and report back and not interfere. But like the Watcher sometimes they break the rules in small but critical ways.

And again: Aerial assault by Eagles is not exactly subtle. You might remember that Sauron has undead soldiers who sometimes ride giant flying monsters. Something that’s well accounted for in all the talk of hiding the ring from Sauron along the way, without info dumping about what the eagles are and how Sauron has flying zombie generals.

Why didn’t they go around by boat?

They could have dropped in much closer to Mordor and an unexpected direction. Saving a lot of time, trouble and suffering. The elves are even famous mariners with very impressive ships.

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The “why not throw it into the ocean?” part was explicitly, if briefly, explained.

The “why not let the eagles fly Frodo to Mordor, or in the very least help the Fellowship shave a few hundred miles off their perilous journey?” was never brought up at all. That’s why we nerds still argue about it to this day.

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Adventurers always asking “where are the orcs,” when really they should be asking “how are the orcs.”

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