How would Gandalf have gotten the Ring into Mordor?

There’s a scene in The Two Towers where Sam and Frodo are in the Emyn Muil (sp – the Hills) and Sam says something like, “I don’t think Gandalf meant for us to come this way.”

Which makes me wonder… how did Gandalf plan on getting into Mordor at all? That is, assuming he didn’t “die” in Moria, and also assuming that the Fellowship was not sundered at Rauros.

I think we pretty much have to assume that the Mountains (both Ash and Shadow) are nigh impassible, unless there’s a pass (how’s that for a tautology?) So it seems to me that either:

(a) They would have had to have gone east of the Ash Mountains and come into Mordor via Southern Rhun

or (b) They would have tried a gate/pass.

(a) seems unlikely, as that’s a lot of plains to go across (i.e., not much room to hide). Also, I’ve always thought of Rhun as Solidly Sauron, so The Fellowship probably would have been caught. Plus, it would have taken a long time! Still, I bet Sauron wasn’t watching his eastern side TOO much…

(b) Well, okay, there’s Morannon (and then Isenmouthe, after crossing Udun), and then there’s Minas Morgul/Cirith Ungol. The Morannon seemed pretty damned impossible to get in. I guess that leaves Cirith Ungol.

So my thought is that Cirith Ungol seems “easiest,” Shelob notwithstanding. (Although I can’t imagine Gandalf would have been able to take her out without alerting the Nazgul. Still, Aragorn, Boromir, Gimli, Legolas, Anduril and Glamdring would have been mean to Shelob, methinks.) I rank the “end around” as a slight possibility as well.

Your thoughts?

Surely they could have found a pass east of Ithilien somewhere. We know the Fellowship can climb mountains; they would have made it through Caradhras if not for the snow, and there was no snow on Mordor’s mountains.

It wouldn’t have been easy, of course, but Sauron wouldn’t have been expecting it, either.

Gandalf may have also intended to come in Udun, in northern Mordor. It may have been less guarded since there were no armies ready to attack it.

How about the Giant bird he already used once. Just fly in and drop it into the fire licky split before they even know what you have done. Of course that would have shortened the movie by quite a bit. . . .


Less guarded? It was guarded by the Black Gate!! Udun was where all the forges and armories were. The fortress of Durthang was there, and it was a central mustering point for Sauron’s northern army during the assault on Minas Tirith.

Still, Gandalf seemed very upset (in the book) when he heard about the Cirith Ungol decision. I wonder how exactly he intended to accomplish the quest.

That would have been direct intervention by a higher order of being to deal with the ring, something strictly verboten at the time. As JRRT himself once said (I’m paraphrasing): “They weren’t a freaking taxi service, for God’s sake!”

In or around Udun, not through the Black Gate right down the through the rosy path to Mt Doom.

Would he have even been able to give it up at all? He could feel its power and didn’t want to touch it.

I think the OP meant, “How would Gandalf have gotten Frodo into Modor?”

Well, Sauron would have expected Gandalf to hide or disguise the ring using magic, so Gandalf would have outsmarted him by hiding the ring in a more mundane way.

Just take a balloon…

No, Sauron would have expected Gandalf to use the Ring.

The Bird wasn’t a higher order of being was it? Neither was Frodo. Even Gandolf (at the beginning) was a man. A powerful wizard- but no God. Gandolf tells the bird to fly Frodo there- and maybe he cheats a bit and make them all stealthly too. They fly in, drop the ring, fly out. End of story and no rule broken.

Also Sauron was definitely a higher order of being and he seemed to be quite invovled. . .

Still, the solution is too easy. So let’s say that the Nazgul dragon riders were protecting Mordor from air based assaults after what happened with Gandolf escaping the first time. Isn’t true, but it helps avoid the too easy solution.

elf6c, there’s been about 3 threads on the subject of “why didn’t the eagles fly Frodo to Mt. Doom?”. Sauron would have picked them off immediately.

Also, Gandalf is of the same “species” as Sauron.

Look, they were planning on building a big wooden badger…

It’s a bit off topic, but I can’t resist:

I don’t think that’s a tautology, because it’s a contradiction of itself. My understanding of a tautology is something that agrees with itself; i.e., “it is what it is because it is what it is.” See also: every third line of philosobabble in The Matrix.

Not that I don’t dig philosobabble…

I’m not really sure how to categorize the original statement; I just don’t think it’s a tautology.

But, hey, good times!

A reference to the end of the last book:

Ah, but the giant eagle does fly in at the end and gets Frodo and Sam away from the exploding Mt. Doom. The Nazgul were preoccupied at the time to intercept, which could have been a way to get the eagles in to begin with – misdirection.


Fly Deus ex Machina Eagle Airlines today!

“To begin with”. Well, to begin with, we’re dealing with a vastly different situation. Rewind to the Council of Elrond, when that decision would have taken place. Sauron and Saruman are keeping an extremely close eye on the skies - to the point where the Fellowship travels only by night due to the flocks of birds keeping an eye out. A bunch of giant eagles would have sent up the largest signal flare in Middle Earth, and the fell beasts would have immediately been dispatched to capture/destroy them.

Secondly, the eagles were able to rescue Frodo and Sam because Sauron was convinced that Aragorn had the Ring. He had confronted Sauron in the palantir and raised an army to challenge Sauron’s forces at the Black Gate - a move bold enough only for someone with will-dominating capabilities (at least in Sauron’s mind). The Nazgul had either been defeated at Pelennor or were at the Black Gates at this point. None of these situations could have been recreated at the time of the Council of Elrond (the palantir was being possessed at the time by Saruman, and no one actually knew that, to boot).

In fact, the eagles arrived only to join in the battle in the first place - and only when the Ring was destroyed, as Gandalf could immediately tell, did he whistle up Gwaihir, Landroval and Meneldor and rush to Mount Doom in the hopes that there would be someone there to rescue.

and… By then the Nazgul had been destroyed by the backlash from the Ring’s destruction.

…not just the nazgul, anything that had been magically created by Sauron stopped working (eg the Olog-hai stopped fighting and just stood there)