While not answering the question of “Why not just take the eagles into Mordor?”*, the internet has solved one particular query about the journey that Frodo and Sam undertake in The Lord Of The Rings. The trek, mostly taken on foot with only a few moments of boating, is the literal hero’s journey that the two hobbits must undertake through the trilogy of books (and films) in order to deliver the One Ring into Mount Doom to ensure Sauron’s defeat. But one enterprising soul, imgur user mattsawizard, was able to chart out the distances between each point in the quest and tallied them up to find out exactly how far the little ones had to travel from Hobbiton to Mount Doom.
The answer is pretty dang far. As in, “the expanse of Europe” far or “from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas” far. Those interested can see below each leg of the trip and how it’s added to the entire distance. Because mattsawizard is most likely British, he also puts everything into context of traveling within the United Kingdom. While grounding Tolkien’s epic in the real world may seem to miss the point, it actually underscores just how arduous a task Sam and Frodo underwent in order to go from their comfy lives in their hometown all the way to the perilous terrain of Mount Doom.
*Because the eagles are sentient creatures and cannot be forced to do anything they don’t want to do. Still, it seems like they could have been sweet-talked into the mission since the fate of the world, including birdworld, was at stake.