What is the timeline for The Lord of the Rings trilogy?

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy obviously covers a lot of time. How many months/years pass from the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring until the end of The Return of the King? A timeline of events would be exceptionally helpful.

    doesn't answer the question, but a related info-graphic: http://xkcd.com/657/large/

    *Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westerlands)* covers from Second Age, through the Third Age (in greater detail for *The Great Years*), and into The Fourth Age. This reflects the books of course and not the changes in the films.

    @Richard Yes, the right answer is "read the appendices".

    Call it my crusade but technically it's not a trilogy; the fact it was put into three parts has to do with the actual length as well as lack of resources post war. He notes the problems with calling it a trilogy, doesn't consider it one himself (as such) and the 50th anniversary is actually one volume. Also each volume of the three are two different 'books'. Either way it's a single story. The Tolkien Estate notes this somewhere although I'm not certain off hand. Yes, yes, it's an old question but still. And yes this means OED is incorrect.

  • The best timeline I have seen which includes dates and times for the Fellowship of the Ring can be found at The Lord of the Rings Fanatics network. There are four parts to their timeline and each lists the paths of the major participants in the fellowship and events related to the characters. The fine graphic created at xkcd, is more of a story-path tracker than an actual timeline.

    LotR Timeline, Part 1 LotR Timeline, Part 2 LotR Timeline, Part 3 LotR Timeline, Part 4

    The LotR Timeline was designed by: Philip Kooijman © 2001.

    You may as well add the remaining parts.

    This is a great timeline, but it leaves out the vast majority of the time that elapses in the _Lord of the Rings_ (at least in the books). Seventeen years pass between the day Bilbo leaves Hobbiton and the day Frodo does the same. The movies aren't quite so clear about how much time has gone by there.

    I'm not sure if one of my edits missed approval, but I could swear I had all four timeline images copied here. EDIT: Oh, it seems everything prior to 3018 *is* missing.

    @Plutor The movies must have erased my memory, I had forgotten that a lot of time passed between Bilbo's departure and Frodo's. Other than research by Gandalf and Gollum being found by Aragorn and then captured by Mordor what happens in that 17 year span?

    @ahsteele The movies altered those events so there wasn't a span of time. Bilbo decides to leave, he leaves, and then Gandalf sets Frodo on the quest all over the course of like 2 days.

    @ahsteele Those are the main events. Also, Aragorn hands Gollum to the elves in Mirkwood and then Mordor attacks and releases him. Here's the full list of everything the Encyclopedia of Arda has from 3001 TA to 3018 TA: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/chronicle.html?startyear=3001&;startage=3&endyear=3018&endage=3

    Do we know what calendar this timeline uses? I know the Shire calendar had 30 days in each month, but I don't know anything about the other calendars. None of these dates are higher than the 30th, and there is a February 29th in there, so either that was a leap year or the calendar used is different from ours.

    @WadCheber Shire calendar, with the month names translated as the Gregorian months that they most nearly overlap, as was generally done in LotR (which means that "September 22" is actually Halimath 22, which corresponds about to September 13th). Determined by the fact that it identifies Bilbo and Frodo's birthday as September 22, but other points of alignment should be possible.

    This of course only covers the directly narrated events (and, as remarked, does not start with the preparations for Bilbo’s birthday party); the indirectly narrated events cover a far greater period, and for those as well one should check out the appendices.

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