Did Tolkien Really Tell LotR Fan to 'Shut Up' When Asked About Eagles Plot Hole?

Did Tolkien Really Tell LotR Fan to 'Shut Up' When Asked About Eagles Plot Hole?
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Although LotR has remained popular since its original release, it has always drawn criticism over one potential plot hole in particular.

Why did the eagles not fly the fellowship straight to Mordor? This question has been discussed often, even by Tolkien himself before he died. In one viral video depicting an early recorded interview, Tolkien hilariously reveals his response whenever fans ask him this question. However, what is the truth behind this story? Was Tolkien really so blunt with his fans?

The Tolkien interview in question

The viral video displays a slightly distorted recording, in which Tolkien appears to be telling a story about a letter he previously received from a LotR fan asking about the eagles. While explaining the letter's question, Tolkien admits to receiving the same question often from other fans in person. He responded to the letter and all that asked him about the eagle theory with the same reply, "shut up."

With that humorous and sudden retort, the video ends suddenly at just under 50 seconds long. Released in April 2021, the video has now amassed over 2.8 million views on YouTube. However, all is not as it seems.

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Is the interview and Tolkien's response real?

As comical as it would have been to learn this was Tolkien's attitude towards doubters of his novels, it seems that the legitimacy of this recorded interview is in fact fake. The channel it appears on, @asherpuls7462, is owned by writer and voice actor Asher Puls. Although the video description mentions no information on the authenticity of the interview, it is actually an impression of the famous novelist by Puls himself.

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After some scepticism and questions from the video's viewers, Puls later created another video the following year. He explained it was not a real interview or recording of Tolkien, but himself doing an imitation. In this follow-up, he even demonstrates his impression live to clear up the confusion that may have been generated from the original upload.

Even after Puls has admitted to the truth behind the imitated interview, it seems some viewers still believe it to be a real recording of Tolkien. However, if you compare the imitated video with actual recordings of Tolkien before his death, you would hear that the footage actually sounds very different.

Tolkien's real response concerning the eagles

Tolkien may have not recorded this interview for real, but he did refer to the theory several times before. Discussing it in a previous letter, he specifically explained the eagles are "not taxis." And reminded those who that asked, the whole reason for the fellowship was to destroy the ring in secret. Using the eagles would have instead been an obvious and dangerous plan.

He also felt that their overuse was unsuitable for the story. Admitting even he used the eagles sparingly, so they didn't disrupt the eucatastrophe of the story. A response that sounds much more like the real Tolkien than a simple "shut up."