Anyone who knows me understands what a huge Lord of the Rings nerd I am, however, my fandom does not come without criticism. Like many who came of age in the early 2000s, I was enthralled by J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale of Frodo and Sam’s odyssey across hundreds of miles of Middle Earth to deliver the One Ring to Mordor to be destroyed. Yet one plot hole has nagged at me these many years. With the Great Eagles willing to rescue Gandalf from captivity by Saruman and to fight alongside Aragorn at the Battle of the Black Gate, why didn’t they do anything to stop 9/11?
The eagles had a moral obligation to prevent the deadliest act of terrorism in American history. Are Isengard and Barad-dûr the only two towers of consequence? It’s hard to understate just how colossal of an intelligence failure it was that allowed these attacks to transpire, and it’s not like they didn’t have any warning. The CIA wasn’t talking to the NSA, the NSA wasn’t talking to the FBI, and the FBI wasn’t talking to the eagles. We know from the 9/11 Commission Report that the eagles were surveilling several of the hijackers before they entered the United States on visas. Why didn’t they act, before nearly 3,000 Americans paid the price?
And let’s talk about the day of the attack. Cheney didn’t issue the shoot-down order until 10:20 a.m., more than an hour after American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. Some of the F-15s they scrambled even took off without ammunition. Thorondor could have had his aerie mobilized within minutes. The same eagles that took down Sauron’s fearsome Nazgûl like paper cranes surely could have intercepted a few errant 767s.
You know, the more I think about it, the more questions I have about the eagles’ whereabouts on that fateful day. Some have noted that in order for the American Airlines Flight 77 to strike the Pentagon at such a low altitude, flying nearly parallel with the ground, the pilot would have had to execute a flawless descending corkscrew maneuver over several thousand feet. The supposed pilot, Hani Hanjour, had never flown a commercial airliner before and was such a poor student in flight school that his instructors reported him to the FAA. Some have suggested that it wasn’t really a plane that struck the Pentagon. Could it have been a missile, carried in the talons of a large raptor? Unfortunately, we may never know for sure, as the only security camera footage of the impact has crucial frames missing, likely thrown into the fires of Mordor.
Perhaps something far more nefarious than negligence was afoot 20 years ago. Even the Dark Tower didn’t collapse at freefall speed, as Building 7 did, which is typical during a controlled demolition. Perhaps the truth has been staring us in the face all along. You know if you fold a $1 bill just right, it kind of looks like the eagle is crashing into the pyramid.
And atop that pyramid? Another all-seeing eye.