Do you remember all the hub-bub Gandalf made about the northern front in The Lord of the Rings? It was something akin to "Many Bothans...died...to bring us this information." Subtle, but ominous. I may be crossing my trilogy streams. You knew things were going to be okay, or else Tolkein would have made the heroes of the War in the North the main characters in his magnum opus. Maybe Gandalf was more confident in the Northern Army because they didn't base their entire battle strategy on a hobbit (the most kill-able creature in Middle-Earth) performing black ops behind enemy lines.