An interesting observation about The Great Eagles (as they are called in The Hobbit) is this: They are always there, hovering above in the distance; yet their presence is only felt at the last-minute, swooping down to aid the dwarves in their greatest time of need.
I immediately made a connection to the United States with the Eagles from the moment they entered the picture. Yes, the US happens to be my birth land, and yes, the eagle happens to be the national bird, but neither of those reasons compelled me to make the connection.
As I was watching the movie, a friend said something to me about the eagles that kinda stuck. He said, “Why don’t the eagles just pick them up at the beginning of the journey and drop them off at the end? Instead, they only help them for a short while, but drop them off in the middle of danger again.”
To which I said, “Yes, but it wouldn’t be much of a story now would it?”
And here’s where the connection was built.
The US has always been an ally of Israel. Hopefully they always will. But an interesting ally at that. Like our Great Eagles, The US seems to be found monitoring the situation from “above” and swooping down to help in the last possible minute.
Like the Eagle, the US is a powerful country, some would say the most powerful, but some would also say that power is coming to an end… nearly extinct. The US is strong and also Majestic. When it comes to sending out Aid for worldwide tragedies, the US is the leader in the world.
Yet, many people question their power and their motives. Many people ask the same question my friend did of the eagles: “Where was the US to help during the entire situation?” (aka World War II) Why didn’t they help from the beginning?
Is it that The Eagles were waiting for the exact moment to swoop down and help, coming out the hero’s? Or maybe they had Eagle problems of their own back on their mountaintop? Maybe they were out looking for food for their babies, or fighting off predators of their own?
All we know is that when Gandolf called for them they came.
And they left.
All motives, excuses, politics aside… they did their momentarily-purposed job.
Which is what reminds me of the US.
Because our story is really about the Dwarves, I’m not diving in to discuss in length the life of The Great Eagles, nor will I go into detail issues concerning the US (my goodness we could be here forever). I’m only making the comparison between the two (a comparison that if you remember is my own, and I don’t expect everyone to like it or agree with it).
I’ll end this post with the exact wording Tolkien gives about The Great Eagles in The Hobbit:
Eagles are not kindly birds. Some are cowardly and cruel. But the ancient race of northern mountains were the greatest of all birds; they were proud and strong and nobel-hearted.