LOTR Online: Hitting On The High Elves

No chat up line came to mind, annoyingly, and the Turbine/Codemasters staff were staring at me in an unapproving fashion. Pah!

So yesterday I popped along to have some hands-on time with the forthcoming first expansion pack for Lord of the Rings Online, The Mines of Moria, as well as chatting to Turbine producer Jeffrey Steefel. I’ll write more about it in the next few days, but using the provided teleport tags I jumped around the world and found myself near the Mirror of Galadriel with the ur-elf hottie. So clearly, I hit on her. Noldor? Well, to start with, but my hands would wander in an ungentlemanly fashion.

And then another hot bird turned up.

Hotel California was amazing.

Why, it’s Gwaihir, lord of eagles or something similar. Sexy, sexy, eagles.

I didn’t hit on him, as I was worried he’d tear me from limb to limb. Which also recalls my “What I’d do if I were Gandalf plan”, which I’ll recite now to pad out justify this post a bit.

I think we can all agree that the actual plan of the Fellowship was a bit rubbish. However, it’d be someone who didn’t understand the true nature of the ring to suggest they put it in the heart of a big army and go marching in.

But I have a better solution. I imagine this being suggested by Gandalf, after he’s got the hobbits to go off to get ready for their hike.

The first thing the hobbits would about it would being jumped by Elrond and all his mates, and each shoved into a series of sacks. They’re immediately carted off to south of Mordor by whatever means they can.

Meanwhile, they amass whatever troops they can and go straight for the black gate, hopefully distracting the vast majority of Mordor’s attention. Make lots of noise about having the ring and all that. Sauron’s not a smart one.

When the distraction is underway, the plan kicks into high gear. Four Giant eages pick up the hobbits – via a very long rope attached to their sack – and fly them straight at Mount Doom, and drop all four in.

Ideally, Mordor won’t be able to get the Nazgul off in their direction quick enough. Even if they do, their forces will be divided among the four hobbits – hell, if they could get some more hobbits swiftly, they could make it work. There’s lots of useless fuckers in the shire you could kidnap and push into a sack and use for Nazgul-distractions. And the long ropes should mean the Eagles are unaware of whether they’re actually destroying the ring or just offing a hobbit, so will sidestep the whole being tempted by the ring-thing.

No, not a perfect plan, but I suspect it’d have a better chance of actual success than the give-ring-to-most-whiny-hobbit-and-point-at-Mordor one they went for. Do the right thing, council of the ring: lob hobbits en masse into Mount Doom. You know it makes sense.

More on Lord of the Rings Online when I’ve transcribed it all.


  1. Katsumoto (jvgp100) says:

    Yes I actually have thought this before – if the Eagles found it so easy to pick them up immediately afterwards, why didn’t they just give the ring to the Eagles! Remove the hobbits from the plan altogether I say.

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    Eagles would be tempted though! Better to give them to hobbits and stuff them into sacks! And you get to kill a load of hobbits. My plan’s perfect, in all possible ways.


  3. Seniath says:

    There’s a Holy Grail-related joke here somewhere, I’m sure, I’m just not seeing it. That’ll be the lack of caffeine in my veins.

  4. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Kieron, you maybe saw this one here?

  5. Okami says:

    Kieron, do you read Dork Tower by any chance?

  6. Kieron Gillen says:

    Jochen: I hadn’t – though the blindfold is a good addition. The lack of dead hobbits is a bad one.

    Okami: No.

    Geek gags are the easiest thing in the world to come up with, I suspect.

    EDIT: I mean, by looking at the subject and thinking about what’s wrong with it, and riffing off that. As in, there’s jokes implicit in the subject.


  7. Okami says:

    Well, you should.

    I think I heard the whole “Why not use the eagles to get rid of the ring?” idea there first. It was published as part of this collection: link to warehouse23.com

    And yes, once I first read about it, the idea seemed really obvious..

  8. Jochen Scheisse says:

    If you don’t know it, you might visit here:

    link to howitshouldhaveended.com

    Definitely in the top 100 of 10 minutes I ever wasted.

  9. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I prefer Boromir’s catapult idea.

  10. Lars Westergren says:

    I vote Bob the angry flower as the ringbearer in this cunning plan.

  11. Esha says:


    Why is it that whenever I hear mention of hobbits, I can’t get the BBC radio play of The Hobbit out of my head? A radio play in which names were horribly mispronounced (Toreeeeeeen) and every bad fellow or lady and their daemonic canine sounded like a Dalek. I most distinctly remember the “Left, right *whip* right!” march of the Goblins (or whatever they were, I try to forget). Oh and Smaug was Aku “Foooooolish Samu–err, Hobbit!”.

    I think that left me traumatised for life.

    You should all listen to it. As soon as possible!

    But yes, death to Hobbits!

  12. Meat Circus says:

    Just out of interest, what new or interesting stuff does LOTRO offer?

    (I’m prepared to accept that the answer is probably ‘nothing’.)

  13. Esha says:

    @Meat Circus

    I have a lifetime subscription, but I haven’t played in a while, so you can take from that what you will.

    What I can say for it though is this: It sticks very close to the lore of the books. This gives it an … interesting feel. I don’t really know how to describe this, but it feels like a cleaner, fresher kind of fantasy than the gritty or pop-culture saturated stuff we see on the market today. It’s honest.

    It’s basically Warcraft with a new skin though, there are only two things that separate from Warcraft.

    1) There are dungeons with very active NPCs and spoken narrative. These aren’t as good as the ones that were in Dungeons & Dragons Online (loved those), but they were pretty good nonetheless. I played each one of those until I was utterly bored of them, but they were fun when they lasted.

    2) Monster-play. This was damned unique and immense fun, but it isn’t enough to justify a monthly subscription. Considering that I have a lifetime account though, I do dip in now and again for a bit of this. I cannot put in words how satisfying it is to nosh on some poncy Knight’s head as a Warg.

    Beyond that, it had some amazingly pretty areas, pretty enough to out-pretty Warcraft by miles and match up to some of Warhammer’s best. But pretty areas can’t carry a game, either. All in all though, LOTRO just felt too familiar. But it wasn’t a bad little romp nonetheless. Worth a month’s play at some point, I’d say. But not something one would stick to for any amount of time.

  14. Dan says:

    An eagle couldn’t have flown the ring into Mordor, Sauron would have seen it coming from miles away and scrambled his NazgĂșl army before they got anywhere near. [/geek]

    But I do like the idea of hobbits in sacks plummeting into volcanoes. Even if you couldn’t destroy the ring that way, you could have done it after the ring was destroyed and you had clear run from the Shire to Mount Doom.

    Looking forward to your LotRO coverage, I still love that game.

  15. Meat Circus says:


    Well, I have Warhammer now, until I get bored of it, in which case it’s back to EVE.

    It does confirm what I suspected, that LOTRO is the cloniest of WoW clones, to within an order of magnitude.

  16. Kieron Gillen says:

    Dan: That’s why there’s a distraction part to the tactic. Clearly, just flying the fuckers into Mount Doom would be suicidal. PERFECT.

    Meat: there’s actually a really neat idea in the add-on pack, which I suspect will be ripped off as much as Warhammers public quests, of legendary weapons which level with you. In other words, you get to name your sword and keep the thing rather than just swapping it constantly. But more of that in a future article, y’know?


  17. Lacobus says:

    *sighs* They couldn’t have flown in Sauron would have seen them and killed them. Either by Black Rider flyers as Dan has said or by super-burny-eye-o-fire death ray or something. They can only fly in after Sauron is destroyed. Also, who says the power of the ring wont corrupt the ‘King of the Eagles’, sounds like he’s already putting on airs to me.

  18. Anonymous says:

    One of the themes in LotR is that power can sense power, which is why Gandalf doesn’t use magic often, and why it’s a bad idea for Frodo to put the ring on. I guess the eagles count as powerful and magical, or something, and would attract Sauron’s attention.

  19. Esha says:

    @KG (because even I tire of typing full names)

    Really? That sounds a great deal like Lilarcor, in both the Baldur’s Gate and Morrowind incarnations.

    If they talk and quip relentlessly, then I’m utterly sold on the idea and I might even start playing LOTRO frequently again.

    Bah. Now I want to play Morrowind again just to have fun with the Lilarcor mod. If only Fallout 3 were moddable, we might even have a gun retrofitted with AI that continues to evolve itself and talks too much.

    But I digress.

  20. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    My brother was a +12 Hackmaster.

  21. tom says:

    link to wowinsider.com
    eggs chickens .. who knows

    and for those who havent seen it already
    link to digital-eel.com
    lotr in real MMORPG commentary

  22. Willem says:

    Didn’t those eagle things kick the arse out of the Nazgul?


    FUCKING USE IT. I’m sure they can be persuaded to stick around after Minas Tiwhatever. They’ve been stuck there for ages, they can bloody well stick around for another 30 minutes.

  23. Okami says:


    Congratulations. You just outed yourself as someone who’s ONLY SEEN THE FILM BUT DIDN’T READ THE BOOKS!!

    Because the ghost army never actually accompanied Aragorn to Minas Tirith. All they did was help him get the ships from the corsairs, so that he and his army of rangers could sail to Minas Tirith…

  24. AbyssUK says:

    Why didn’t they give it to Tom Bombadil hey the ring has no power over him… am sure they could have convinced him to help out… and I bet he knows where the Ent wives are so could have used the ents to gain access to Mordor… all gandalf had to do was ask him… but no apparently Mr Bombadil wouldn’t find it interesting to save middle earth…

    /me geeks out

  25. Flubb says:

    Tut tut, too many film watchers, not enough book readers.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Bombadil does his thing, in his place. No need to drag him into this.

  27. AbyssUK says:

    I am starting to think Bombadil was written in just so some 50-60 years later people will still be asking why…

  28. EyeMessiah says:

    Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!
    By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow,
    By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!
    Come, Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!

    Tom Bombadil:
    Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow,
    Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.
    None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master:
    His songs are the stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

    Wake now my merry lads! Wake and hear me calling!
    Warm now be heart and limb! The cold stone is fallen;
    Dark door is standing wide; dead hand is broken.
    Night under Night has flown, and the Gate is open!

    Hey! now! Come hoy now! Whither do you wander?
    Up, down, near or far, here, there or yonder?
    Sharp-ears, Wise-nose, Swish-tail and Bumpkin,
    White-socks my little lad, and old Fatty Lumpkin!

  29. ur-eka-poster says:

    @AbyssUK Yeah I think Tolkien said afterwards that he intended Bombadil to be otherworldly, so he couldn’t be involved in a mortal conflict. I mean his powers did involve singing, like the rest of the otherworldly powers.

  30. nena says:

    Wouldn’t work. Eye of Sauron = anti-air defence, he’d just have to glance at the eagles for them to freeze in terror and fall out of the sky.
    Personally I would have just tossed it in another volcano and called it a day. Maybe that wouldn’t melt it but it’d be a bitch to get it back.

  31. Bobsy says:

    @Esha: Oh, I liked the BBC’s Hobbit radio play. Torreeen sounds cooler than Forin anyway. Plus Gandalf was super-weird and interesting. And Gollum’s accent had a habit of turning Welsh.

    Anyway, much better than the incredi-bland version of LOTR they did years later.

  32. nena says:

    Or, why not come at it like an RTS player. Use a captured Saruman to open your own orc pits, train a load of anti-nazgul female archers, bribe the Southrons (let them have the Shire…) and storm the gates.

  33. Kieron Gillen says:

    Thinking about it, if you came in from the east and low, you could use Mount Doom itself to get in the way of the eye.


  34. mujadaddy says:

    I just reread LotR last week. Good stuff.

    Kieron, why didn’t you suggest that the eagles take ninja classes, a la You Only Live Twice…?

    Oh, and Orodruin is WEST of Barad Dur, duhhh.

  35. Gorgeras says:

    I don’t get it. Is Mordor the ONLY place in Middle-Earth with an active volcano? Sorry, no, really; I swear the film showed lava in Moria and it really isn’t that hot on it’s surface. If the Dwarves couldn’t build a forge hot enough to melt a ring, I don’t see how they could make ANYTHING even if it wasn’t normal easy-melt gold.

    Or is it that heat isn’t the issue; it’s that the ring 0wns anything that tries to destroy it like it nearly did Gimli?

    Do they have a postal service in Middle-Earth? They must have. They should have bloody mailed it to Gondor and then gone there by horse(apparently months of travel becomes about three days when you have a horse in Middle-Earth) and just got drunk while waiting for a parcel. Cuts a lot of the faffing about out.

    I just had a new idea for a Postman Pat book.

  36. DeliriumWartner says:

    Ok, the long ropes I can’t kinda understand, but how the hell would an eagle wear the ring?

  37. Arathain says:

    Nonono, the Frodo still has the ring. He’s in one of the sacks.

    If an Eagle got it’s talons on it it would conveniently resize itself, which we know it can do.

  38. Tuor says:

    Fascinating, really. This topic has only been discussed ad nausseum a bajillion times since even before the days of alt.fan.tolkien and rec.arts.books.tolkien.

    Next someone is going to bring up the “Do Balrogs have wings?” topic, and RPS will implode. You’ve been warned!

  39. Frans Coehoorn says:

    Do they have wings, actually?

  40. Esha says:

    I don’t believe they do. As far as I recall, a Balrog was described the Silly-Ma-Rilly-On and I don’t seem to remember a mention being made of wings. I just think the idea of wings was lifted from the later D&D version of the winged, horned daemonic entity of the pit.

    I could not resist, sorry!


    In fact, I actually have a better one. The “Balrogs versus Dragons” topic, I saw a topic go on about that for some 400-odd pages once, somewhere. The end result was that if a Dragon could beat a Balrog, it would only be via Dragonspell.

    Perhaps that discussion should be reborn here!

    I’m such a nerdy rabble-rauser.

  41. AnonymousToo says:

    The Eagles would be tempted… to EAT THE HOBBITS. I’m sure they could smell them through the sacks. Then, when indigestion hit over Mt. Doom… well, problem solved, world saved.

  42. Cheesehawk says:

    The eagles were servants of Manwe, and would then be under the no direct help ban as all the Valar/Ainur were (exceptions being the wizards sent to guide the races in helping themselves). Balrogs did not have wings, but the darkness emanating from the one in Moria spread “like wings” when the balrog manifested his power. Whether or not a dragon could kill a balrog, no idea, Gothmog was chief of Morgoth’s liutenants therefore probably the 2nd most powerful being, but dragons are then said to be the most powerful of the evils later…

  43. Cheesehawk says:

    Oh yea, and the idea of giving the ring to Bombadil was mentioned in the Council of Elrond, but dismissed as Bombadil had no interest in the affairs of middle-earth and would probably just throw it away or forget about it, thereby keeping Sauron alive and power intact.