The eagles show up to attack the Nazgûl in the final battle and looked like they were pretty effective. Had they helped during the siege they could have neutralized the Nazgûl flying in and destroying the catapults protecting Minas Tirith. Why wouldn't they participate in that battle?

  • 3
    They don't concern themselves with happenings on Middle Earth, that's why. It's a bit like, why did Tom Bombadil not help? Mar 30, 2012 at 18:51
  • The Eagles can be shot up as well as anyone else. Actually more, since they're flying about and not hiding behind walls or wearing armor. Fighting the Nazgul is a different story: they have the advantage of numbers and it's an air battle.
    – Shamshiel
    Nov 10, 2015 at 10:44

3 Answers 3


There isn't really a canon answer, so this is just conjecture: The battle for Minas Tirith was not as important as the final battle. Whether Minas Tirith fell or not was inconsequential to the Eagles since the ring was not near enough to Mount Doom to be destroyed. However when it was close enough (i.e. when the final battle was raging) they entered the battle to provide additional distraction of Sauron. They weren't as concerned about the fate of men as they were about the destruction of the ring, and helping out in the battle for Minas Tirith wouldn't help destroy the ring in their eyes.

  • Worse, helping in the siege may cause a retreat, sending the armies back into Mordor and closer to the ring.
    – Gusdor
    Jan 19, 2015 at 11:33
  • 1
    That assumes they knew anything about the ring, which I doubt.
    – DGM
    Nov 10, 2015 at 1:35

The eagles didn't help out in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields because they were not obliged to. It was their habit not to involve themselves in the dealings of Men -- they would only help them to return a favour, as seen in The Hobbit, or when they were commanded to assist by command of the Valar. A normal person could not order them around. The only beings they obeyed were the Valar. So, basically, they were just wild birds with no masters.

  • Actually, several people request favors from the Eagles, and the Eagles do as they ask. Radagast, Gandalf, and even some humans receive this treatment.
    – Wad Cheber
    May 26, 2015 at 0:35

All the lands from Gondor to Rivendell and beyond were gripped in war. It's not like Gandalf could just pick up the phone and ask them to come down. Besides, it's a meme for Tolkien to have the Eagle come at the last moment.

Not to mention, they probably would not have done well against the Nazgûl. It only appeared so because the Nazgûl were simultaneously being summoned to fly back to stop Frodo.

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