I've checked this question out, and Keen offers a great explanation for the seeming plot hole, but my question is a little different.

After reading this reddit post, I'm really curious whether evidence/hints of this secret plan appear in either the books of the films.

The Secret Plan

I've summarised the theory below, see the link above for the unabridged version

Gandalf secretly planned on taking the fellowship to where the eagles live and having the eagles fly them to Mordor. The eagles lived on the other side of the Misty Mountains but all the routes for crossing them were too dangerous and difficult, and Gandalf (along with his secret plan) ends up falling down a chasm in a battle with the Balrog. Just before falling with the Balrog he tries to surreptitiously tell them the secret plan but was too subtle and they didn't understand. When he came back as Gandalf the White he had forgotten many things, including the plan to meet the eagles.

The most alluring evidence is Gandalf the Grey's last words:

Fly you fools!

which could possible be interpreted as a hint to the Fellowship (necessary because Sauron has ears everywhere and preserving the element of surprise is vital)

So, any idea if there's more supporting evidence/hints to support this theory?

  • 4
    I reckon he could have just said Ride the giant eagles to Mordor really fast, if that's actually what he was trying to say..
    – Daft
    Apr 22, 2015 at 13:05
  • 2
    I like this guess at a "secret plan". I think Draft may be right though, instead of "fly you fools" he could have said "Fly on the eagles you fools." if that's what he wanted to say.
    – Clyde
    Apr 22, 2015 at 13:13
  • 1
    I agree with Draft too. Plus @MattGutting is spot on, Tolkien would have found a better way for Gandalf to say it, if that's what he meant.
    – Daft
    Apr 22, 2015 at 13:15
  • 2
    -1 from me. This sounds like someone's really flimsy attempt to justify a fan theory.
    – Omegacron
    Apr 22, 2015 at 13:45
  • 5
    It's actually very clear what Tolkien means by "Fly, you fools!" Earlier on, just as the Balrog is arriving, Gandalf tells the rest of the Fellowship "Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!" That is "Get going; flee from this powerful enemy and let me combat it!" not "Ride on a winged animal!" Apr 22, 2015 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


Isn't it the

To flee, to escape (from).

meaning he is using? Like in "Fly, my lord! The enemy are upon us!"

Second meaning of the second etymology on wiktionary.

  • 2
    Also the "Fools" part. Standing their ground to help Gandalf and fight the balrog made them fools. Proceeding to Gondor on foot as per the plan made in Rivendell wouldn't warrant a "You Fools" Apr 22, 2015 at 13:39
  • 1
    In the OP theory, I suppose Gandalf was saying "Stop fighting and wasting time, you fools, just go out and fly with giant eagles". But it can't be understood with the "Fly, you fools!" sentence. Especially with the knowledge of the fellowship of the Gandalf friends.
    – Yohann V.
    Apr 22, 2015 at 13:49
  • 1
    See my comment on the question. Before his fight with the Balrog Gandalf says, "Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!" Here he's definitely not saying anything about transportation via winged animals. Given this statement, I think it's unreasonable to believe that he is talking about air transportation in his "Fly, you fools!" statement. Apr 22, 2015 at 17:32
  • 1
    @MattGutting we are all convinced about that since start about it. ^^
    – Yohann V.
    Apr 22, 2015 at 17:37

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