Recently during a conversation, a friend pointed out that in the Lord of the Rings, a better strategy for Gandalf would have been to use the Great Eagles (who had fought alongside Edain and the Elves in the First Age, so their species’ loyalties would have automatically have loaned themselves to allegiance) to take the Hobbits on an aerial mission to the top of Amon Amarth and chuck the ring in. The eagles later encounter no resistance from the Fellbeast-mounted Nazgul when they rescue Sam and Frodo (though the status of the Nazgul at that point is in some question).
Further consideration also brings up the possible use in a similar fashion of a giant Moth, such as the one used in Gandalf’s escape of the pinnacle of Orthanc: Surely a moonlight raid to ditch the ring into the fires would have been even stealthier!
Such are the thoughts that plague me at night.
There is, however, a reasoning I would like to present as an implication and it is in some ways similar to one that may be applied to the Star Wars canon. Here goes…
Gandalf sees many similarities between Frodo and Bilbo. Neither is particularly suited to the pastoral life of Bag End and, once they have seen a greater world, there is no turning back. Bilbo’s desire for one last adventure, to see the world as partially revealed to him in his journeys with Gandalf is over riding. A last hurrah by way of a journey to Grey Havens seems to be just the remedy for Bilbo, but Frodo has to see the greater world as espoused by his uncle, clearly, over the years since his return to Bag End.
Frodo has to forge his own path, to experience the fellowship, triumph and loss in his own way. This is necessary to my point and proposition:
Gandalf is, in many ways, an analogue of Merlin. Sorcerer, Kingmaker, ultimately transcendent of death and time. I also would like to postulate that Gandalf is a time sensitive, able to discern a certain amount of possible outcomes of actions both of himself and those around him. He sees his own transfiguration from the Grey to the White and can extrapolate some of the possible entanglements within the Time Space Continuum.
Remember, though, that like Merlin, Gandalf can also be taken by surprise, as when Arthur gives Leondegrance Excalibur to perform the act of knighthood, since no none-noble may lay claim to the pledge of other knights.
Without Frodo’s participation, the whole forging of the Fellowship of Nine will not happen. He is the catalyst and, by consequence, responsible for the revelation of Aragorn to Denethor, Boromir and Faramir and as such responsible for the ascention of Aragorn and the reunification of the greater Dunedain kingdom and a knock-on of that series of actions is the resurgence of the Rohirrim.
Frodo’s journey, though circuitous and arduous, touches many and forges the path of kingdoms in consequence. Mind you, if Tom Bombadil would just dain to get involved, maybe the loss of life would have been contained, but hey, he’s got a hot wife at home…
What does this have to do with Star Wars? Obi Wan Kenobi.
In the first film made, I was puzzled as to his act of immolation. Surely, he could have turned the fight through the 90 degrees to facilitate an escape the the Millennium Falcon, rather than the whole “If you strike me down…” bit?
“Hey, Luke! Your guardians are bits of charcoal and here’s another chunk of trauma… I’ll get lopped in two!” Subtle.
Here Kenobi acts as the initiating catalyst, providing Luke with the impetus to develop a level of hatred for Vader. For all Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back” is disparaging of Luke’s possible contact with the dark side of the Force, here I believe that Kenobi has outwitted even Yoda. Kenobi sees the limitations of knowing only one side of the force.
It’s a dualistic power source, that is shaped by the application as rendered through the user. Knowledge of only one side is a limitation – one that I believe Kenobi sees and he wishes to equip Luke with knowledge of both sides, to enable a greater strain of Jedi. It’s going to have to be good, given that this new Jedi order is going to be starting with somewhat limited numbers.
I believe that Kenobi is acting his Arthurian Sorcerer role as both Kingmaker and chooser of destinies from the flux of possibilities. There are two contributors of the Skywalker midi-chlorian extravaganza, plus via Leia there’s Solo DNA to start a dynastic pool.
Due to the efforts of Episodes 1-3 to make Kenobi seem rather difficult to like, I believe the great plan forms during his exile to Tatooine. Quite what causes his blind spot as to the identities of R2D2 and C3PO is a mystery. Maybe Sir Thomas Malory could have told us…