The Chronology of The Lord of the Rings

From Tolkien Gateway
Page 10 of the Chronology

The Chronology of The Lord of the Rings is a 130-page scholarly article published in Tolkien Studies 19 Supplement on 31 July 2022, edited and commentated by William Cloud Hicklin.

The article presents J.R.R. Tolkien's full set of manuscripts of the time-scheme, or "Chronology", that underlies the planning of The Lord of the Rings. There are multiple versions of the time-schemes, the final version contains 14 pages. It is this version that is fully transcribed, and provided with extensive notes in the article. Hicklin also provided an introduction and an in-depth commentary that traces the evolution of the Chronology.

Some excerpts from the Chronology have been quoted in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion (2005). Photocopies of the Chronology's final-version manuscripts were afterwards published in The Art of the Manuscript (2022). But many of the draft-version manuscripts are presented exclusively in this work.

Manuscript pages[edit | edit source]

In the final-version Chronology, 9 out of 14 pages are in grids, 5 are linear.
The time period covered in each page is as follows:

New information[edit | edit source]

Page 13 of the Chronology

The Chronology provides new insights that do not appear in the published books. For example, concerning the fate of Shagrat, Orc Captain of the Tower of Cirith Ungol, it is stated that on Saturday March 17th,

"Shagrat brings the mithril coat and other spoils to Barad-dȗr; but is slain by Sauron".

Another hidden fact shows that, while the Fellowship is resting in Lothlórien on Tuesday, January 24th, Gollum lurks on the borders of that country; and there he is captured by Uglúk and the Isengarders. The Chronology entry reads under the heading Gollum:

"Gollum captured by Uglúk, but escapes after revealing that Hobbits of Shire were with Gandalf, and enough is said to make Uglúk certain that Ring was with the Company".

While under the heading of Enemies it reads:

"Isengarders capture Gollum, and torment him for news. Uglúk sends news to Isengard of Hobbits; but not of the Ring".[1]

Editors' introduction[edit | edit source]

This special issue, published between our regular annual volumes, is entirely devoted to a single scholarly work: William Cloud Hicklin’s textual edition and commentary of “The Chronology of The Lord of the Rings.” The sheer size, as well as the importance, of this work suggested this special treatment of it. Our grateful thanks go to Mr. Hicklin for giving us the opportunity to add to the mosaic of Middle-earth this essential and heretofore missing piece. It is a look behind the scenes at the painstaking planning that went into one of the most salient features of Tolkien’s great work: that back-and-forth switching among interconnecting narratives which Richard C. West called its “interlace” structure. The word describes a medieval narrative device meant to mirror “the flux of events . . . where everything is happening at once” (West 79). Such attention to detail gives reality to a world, especially a fantastical sub-created one that has to command belief instead of relying on it.

External links[edit | edit source]


A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
On Arda Authored by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil · The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand · iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow · vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth ·
The Fall of Númenor · The Maps of Middle-earth
Not on Arda Short stories
and poems
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · Letters from Father Christmas ·
Mr. Bliss · Roverandom · Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictional works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Collected letters and poems The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien · The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien
Edited old texts A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse · The Old English Exodus
Books by other authors
Biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Reference works The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Scholarly studies The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer ·
Tolkien's Library · Tolkien on Chaucer, 1913-1959
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list is only a selection of works, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline and an index.