When people talk about plot holes in movies, there are a couple that instantly come to mind.
”In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones was completely unnecessary”
”Charles Foster Kane was alone when he died. Nobody heard his last words!”
And of course, there’s the one I’d like to address now.
”Why didn’t the Fellowship of the Ring just fly on eagles to Mordor?”
Shall we begin?
First of all, the Eagles in Middle Earth are not just big birds. They’re intelligent, they’re very proud, they don’t like people, and they only helped Gandalf out because they owed him a favor.
You think they can be ordered to fly into the closest thing there is to hell, carrying nine lazy assholes on their backs?
I don’t know what the eagles equivalent of “Fuck off” is, but I imagine you’d find out very quickly.
But let’s say they agree to help you. Surely this is foolproof, right? There’s no good reason why it shouldn’t work!
Well, no, there isn’t…. unless of course you count the unkillable Nazgûls, patrolling Mordor on huge, winged serpents of hate, death and teeth.
Then there’s the small issue of flying over a valley the size of latvia, with nothing in it apart from fire, ash and about twenty million orcs with enough weaponry and siege equipment to level a medium sized city.
Oh, and need I remind you that all of this is constantly surveyed by a GIANT FLAMING EYE ATOP AN ENORMOUS BLACK TOWER OF EVIL DOOM?
And your plan is to fly in, on giant birds, carrying The One Ring, hoping nobody is going to notice you?
Something tells me it’s not that simple.
Small side note: if you ever hear someone laugh at Boromir for saying ”One does not simply walk into Mordor”, since Frodo did, punch them very hard in the face. There is not one single definition of the term ”Simple” that applies to the shit they went through to get into Mordor.
Now, some of you might be a bit upset about me potentially ruining a great movie plot hole with… you know… logic…
So let me make up for it by offering you a better one.
Why the hell did they get rid of the ghost army?
See, the deal with the ghost army was that they swore an oath to Isildur to fight with him when they were needed. But when Isildur went “I’m about to fight the hordes of Mordor. I need your help“, they fucked off into the mountains, and because of that, they were cursed, forbidded to rest in peace until the oath was fulfilled.
And then, they fight ONE BATTLE and they think that’s enough to fulfill the oath?
Was the original deal just ”We fight with you in one battle, then we’re out of here”?
Because if so, that’s a pretty shit offer, if you ask me.
The deal was ”Fight with the king when he needs you”. One battle?! Fuck that! You have an army, numbering in hundreds, if not thousands of soldiers. they are ghosts. they cannot be defeated. And there’s the aforementioned valley the size of latvia filled with what’s essentially the legions of hell itself. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that constitutes as a I-need-my-unstoppable-army-of-the-dead type of situation.
If it were me, I’d tell them ”Hey, you want your freedom? Here’s the deal. Go to Mordor and KILL EVERYTHING YOU SEE. Orcs, trolls, EVERYTHING! When you’ve done that, you’ve earned your freedom.”
I’ve asked several people why this wouldn’t work, and these are some of the counter-arguments.
”What about the Nazgûls?”
Let’s do some quick math here. There are, let’s say, about 500 ghosts.
300 ghosts are dispatched to kill orcs and trolls and things like that.
That leaves 200 to fight 8 Nazgûls. That’s 25 unkillable ghosts per robed asshole. Even if they can’t kill the Nazgûls, that’s still one hell of a distraction. Those ringwraiths ain’t going nowhere anytime soon.
”Oh yeah, what about Sauron?”
I don’t know what power Sauron has, but let’s say he would be a force they’d have to contend with.
Send 250 ghosts to kill orcs and trolls, and send the other 50 to fight Sauron.
And when the 250 ghosts have killed all the orcs, join the other half and beat the snot out of Sauron and the ringwraiths.
”But what about the hobbits? They might get killed!”
Just tell the ghosts not to kill any hobbits. Simple as that.
Tell them ”You can’t be killed. you don’t have to rush. Look closely if the person you’re about to kill has greenish black skin, horrible deformities and smells like Satans unwiped ass. If they don’t, and in fact they have pink skin, brown hair and hairy feet, don’t kill them.”
I don’t care how ancient, undead or amazingly stupid you might be. If you’re smart enough to speak, you’re smart enough not to confuse an orc with a fucking hobbit!
And at this point, there’s one last argument that always comes up.
”Well, that wouldn’t make a very interesting movie…”
But taking the eagles and ending the story in 45 minutes is cinematic gold, is it?
My point isn’t that these things would improve the movie.
It’s that a plot hole is something stupid that has no good explanation, other than cinematic convenience.
Not using the eagles has a good explanation.
Getting rid of the army that cleared out the biggest city in the world in 35 seconds flat does not.