Hey /lit/, I don't know if this has been covered a million times here or not but why don't the eagles just airdrop the ring into Mount Doom from the very beginning? Thousands of innocents saved, endless hardship on the part of the Fellowship and others avoided.
Instead they pop in when Gandalf needs to get bailed out, then again when Frodo's finally killed the ring and HE needs to get bailed out.
If I recall the eagles weren't that invested in the war and only liked Gandalf enough to help him out a bit but not to fly into a volcano guarded by the most powerful being in the universe carrying the most powerful object in the universe. makes sense to me.
You make a reasonable case, but I think it would have been more expeditious to have an eagle give Gandolf and Frodo a lift to the entrance to Mt. Doom, then have Frodo toss the ring into the fire from whence it came.
The eagles would have waited outside, as Frodo would only needed 30-45 seconds to get 'er done.
Sauron would not have been able to do diddley about it, because it would have happened too fast for him to react. He would have been like, "What the hell is that?! Wut the fu- AAAAAAAAAAAHH !!!!!!!!!
However, if this had been the case, it would never have been the epic tale that it is. The take-away for me here is, some times one must walk to Mordor, taking the worst possible routes.
Historically speaking, eagles have always widely maintained a neutral position in the politics of Middle Earth. With that said, Gandolf enjoys the same privilege that all those with status, knowledge and power enjoy.
The eagles help him because they see him as a kindred spirit with an elevated status.
An eagle, however, would never do this for the plebian masses of Middle Earth, as they would consider this beneath them- figuratively, and literally.
Remember this the next time you see one flying over head. Just be glad you're not a fish.