According to one theory, not only is it not a plot hole but the bird plan is exactly what Gandalf is attempting. He just gets (temporarily) killed before he can do it.
In LOTR lore, the eagles live around the Misty Mountains, and the theory goes that Gandalf plans to rendezvous with them after crossing the mountain range. The problem is that the only sane way through the mountains is the Mines of Moria, where the Fellowship encounters the demon dominatrix Balrog who ends up taking out Gandalf. And since no one in the group knows about his secret plan, when they get out of the mines they all head to see Galadriel while the eagles probably kept waiting around for Gandalf and checking their watches.
Warner Bros. Pictures "We'll all go bald before this slacker shows up."
Now, here's the best part: right as Gandalf's about to be dragged into the abyss by the Balrog, he yells, "Fly, you fools!" which everyone interprets to mean "RUN!" instead of, "Literally, fly the rest of the way! It will be much easier!"
New Line Cinema "Don't do anything dumb, like trying to walk there!"
So why doesn't Gandalf try this plan again after coming back to life? Well, first, he is suffering from such a bad case of amnesia that Aragorn has to remind him of his own name. Second, no one knows where Frodo and the ring are at that point, as both are MIA since the end of the first movie.
OK, but why doesn't he tell the fellowship about his plan from the start? Because he doesn't want to risk the plan getting out and later finding a whole flying platoon of Nazgul assholes parked behind the nearest cloud the second they reach Mordor. And that precaution is justified -- the whole operation is one big information leak from the beginning. Between getting spotted by Saruman's bird spies, being stalked by Gollum, Pippin letting Sauron himself spy on him through the crystal ball, and Aragorn letting Wormtongue go report back to the bad guys, the fellowship all but takes out a full-page ad in the Middle Earth Times letting everyone know their progress.
New Line Cinema "I regret the day 'Traversing the Misty Mountains This Coming Saturday Blues' became such a worldwide hit."
Hell, that's probably why he has to keep his last words cryptic instead of screaming, "Go to where the eagles live!" If he had, the orcs nearby could have heard him, and if they hadn't, you could count on Frodo to say, "WHAT'S THAT, GANDALF? YOU WANT US TO GO TO THE EAGLES AND HAVE THEM FLY US TO MORDOR? OK!"
Follow Aatif on his new Twitter account! When Adam isn't improving movies, he writes about real-world fan theories (i.e. conspiracy theories) for his website and regularly drops truth bombs on Twitter.
For more theories that are actually kind of great, check out 5 Fan Theories That Make Classic Movies Even Better and 6 Insane (But Convincing) Fan Theories About Kids' Cartoons.
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