The primary events of LOTR take place in TA 3018-3019 (2017-2018 AD). Here is a brief reading schedule:
- Spring Break 2017 – Read the Intro to Fellowship of the Ring
- Real Time read-along: Quest of the Ring
- April 2017 – Gandalf arrives in Hobbiton
- Summer – appendices/background
- September – Frodo departs Hobbiton
- October – Bree to Rivendell
- January 2018 – Rivendell to Lórien
- February/March – War of the Ring
- March – Destruction of the Ring
- May – Coronation of Aragorn
- Finish off Return of the King during Spring Quarter 2018
In Lord of the Rings, all dates are given according to the Shire Calendar, which is a 12-month calendar that the Hobbits use. In Appendix D of Return of the Kings, Tolkien describes the Shire Calendar in great detail. Most important to LOTRRA is that each month only has 30 numbered days, and there are 4 days not numbered, as well as one day which is outside of all of the months. Therefore, during certain months, the numbering of the Shire calendar is one or two days off from the Gregorian calendar. There are lots of other interesting details and I would definitely recommend at least skimming Appendix D, but for a summary of the relevant results see the excel files in the LOTR RA Google Drive.
For LOTRRA, dates will be given with the date and month of the general calendar for the Third Age with the Shire Reckoning in parentheses. For example, on April 13, 2017 the LOTTRA date will be:
April 12, 3018 (Astron 12, 1419)
Calendar files contained in the Google Drive:
“Calendar comparison” – shows (non-leap year) correspondence between the Gregorian and Shire calendar.
“The Tale of Years” – contains the info from ‘The Great Years’ in Appendix B of Return of the Kings. The first column lists the Gregorian dates, and so the dates thats we will be reading (up to May 2).