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silly questions

So here’s a list of what its author, Derek Draven, claims are “8 things that make no sense about the entire quest,” you know, the one in The Lord of the Rings. Actually, the complaints are more about the movies than the book, but I might be able to shed a little enlightenment here. Mind, this is not researched, just off the top of my head, but this list deserves no more than passing and incidental consideration.

8. Why didn’t someone take the Ring away from Isildur?
Because he was the King! One does not simply walk up to your King and take away his magic ring, especially one which he’s already declared that he “will have as weregild for my father, and my brother,” and which you’ve already urged him to destroy while he can.

7. Aragorn defeats the Nazgûl too easily.
This seems to be a complaint about the movie’s depiction of the Weathertop scene. It’s not a criticism that occurs to me from the book, and indeed the author seems to give the book a pass here.

6. Why didn’t the Elves mass up to fight Sauron like they did in the Second Age?
Again the author implies this is explained in the book, which is that most of the Elves had long since left Middle-earth; they didn’t skedaddle just when the going got tough. And those left did participate in the war: we learn in Appendix B that an army from Lórien destroyed Dol Guldur.

5. Why didn’t they just send Boromir home?
He was going home. When he left Rivendell his destination was Minas Tirith; that’s home to him. Of course in the book his obsession with the Ring is much more subtly expressed than in the movie; he seems to accept Gandalf’s and Elrond’s warnings. And he is a doughty man who will be of great assistance on the journey.

4. Why didn’t somebody do something about Théoden?
Again, it’s only in the movie that Théoden is under some sort of Sarumanic spell. In the book he’s just overly influenced by Wormtongue. But also, the author seems to think that Rohan is a democracy where “public opinion” will hold sway over the will of the King. Just … no.

3. The taking of Osgiliath is badly planned.
Again, a movie issue. The war strategy in the book is quite different.

2. How can the Witch-King trounce Gandalf?
He does? I don’t even remember this from the movie (mind, it’s been nearly two decades since I’ve seen the movie), and it has no place in the book.

And the all-time biggy,
1. Why don’t the Eagles just fly the Fellowship to Mordor?
The last time I forwarded this hoary query, Marcel Aubron-Bülles linked to this Lego animation which I think answers that question so definitively that no other comment is necessary.

About the Author: David Bratman
David Bratman is co-editor of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, and former editor of Mythprint, the bulletin of The Mythopoeic Society. He likes to write about Tolkienian biography and bibliography.