MiddleEarthBlog: Of time,age,and distances in LOTR


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Of time,age,and distances in LOTR

I thought I would tackle some aspects of "The Lord Of The Rings" that people usually do not consider.Namely the time between certain events, the ages of the characters in the story at the time of LOTR and distances traveled in the story.Fortunately Professor Tolkien left ample information in the appendices at the end of "Return Of The King" and some I have had to make educated guesses concerning them, The following information is accurate as I can make them if I am wrong or you disagree with my methods I used to make these determinations please feel free to correct me Let us begin with the ages of specific characters at the time of the events of LOTR. The events of LOTR took place in the years 3018 and 3019 of the Third Age.

Abbreviations: (LOTR)=Lord Of The Rings, (FA)=First Age, (SA)=Second Age, (TA)=Third Age, (?)=Unknown



Aragorn, born 2931TA - 87

Theoden, born 2948TA - 70

Denethor, born 2930TA - 88

Boromir,  born 2978TA -40

Faramir,   born 2983TA - 35

Eomer,     born 2991TA - 27

Eowyn,     born 2995TA - 23


Bilbo,       born 2890TA - 128

Frodo,      born 2968TA - 50

Merry,      born 2982TA - 36

Pippin,      born 2990TA - 28

Sam,         born 2980TA- 38


Elrond,  I cannot find and actual birth date for Elrond but we know he had a brother named Elros and at the end of the First age they were granted the choice of choosing to live their lives as men or elves, Elrond chose that of an elf and Elros as that of a man,but he was given a far greater life span than normal men and died in the year 442 of the second age.Elrond was therefore alive in the First age so including all the years of the Second age and the Third age he was over 6500 years old at the time of the war of the ring.

Arwen,    born 241TA - 2777

Legolas,   ?


Gimli,       born 2879TA - 139


Gandalf) There is no birth date given or in what age, we know he is an Istari(Wizard) and is of the Maiar and might have been present at the creation of all things which would make him of an unknown but extremely ancient age. We know that the Istari made there first appearances in MiddleEarth around the year 1000 of the Third age so at the time of the war of the ring he would have been present around 2018 years. but as stated earlier was infinitely older than that.

Gollum(Smeagol), I can find no birth date for him, he is first mentioned in the appendices on the date he slew Deagol and took the ring for his own , this was the year 2470TA. If he was around 30 years of age at the time that would make him around 568 at the time of the war of the ring.

Sauron,  He like Gandalf was of the Maiar and accordingly was ancient beyond reckoning .

 Now let us deal with distances,most of Frodo and Sams traveling was done on foot outside a little boat ride and this was not a pleasant walk, their journeys took them through attacks by old man Willow, the horrors of the Barrowdowns, the attempted trek across Carhadras where they nearly froze to death, then through the mines of Moria where they were attacked by Orcs and a Balrog,through steep mountain passes and Shelobs lair then across the stinking wasteland of Mordor to Mt. Doom. Let us not forget that they were Hobbits and only a little over three feet tall so that made the walk even longer and more tiresome.Using the map of Middleearth here on my Blog and using the Legend it provides.measuring out at 200 mile lengths it would appear their journey and others of the party was close to 900 miles roughly a little less than the distance from Chicago to Dallas.As you can plainly see this was a ponderously long trip and they weren't wondering along some flat pleasant path running parallel with the interstate with a Wendys and a Burger King at every exit.They were constantly challenged trying to find food and water and staying warm.So next time you read LOTR keep the distances in your minds and you will have a little more appreciation about how tiring the journey was. The walk from Cirith-Ungol to Mt.Doom was around 60 miles in itself.

And lastly let us deal with time frames, in books and Movies things to happen almost instantaneously.Professor Tolkiens appendices gives us a better understanding of the duration and length of time between events.Let us look at the forging of the rings of power again drawing form the appendices.It began in the year 1500 of the SA.The forgings weren't complete until the year 1590 of the SA, so a time frame of 90 years to craft these rings of power.Sauron forges the one ring in 1600 ten years later.Sauron started a war with the Elves to regain the rings when they found of his treachery in forging the one ring beginning in 1693SA.Now the movie would lead you to believe that there was an immediate reaction and a last alliance of Men and Elves was fought against him but this event did not occur for another 1441 years in the year 3434SA.Let us consider how long until Isildur lost the one ring in the river Anduin and Frodos quest to destroy it in the fires of MT. Doom.The ring was lost in the year 2 of the TA. and Frodo set out with the ring in the year 3018 of the TA, so, 3016 or drawing a comparison with our own history, roughly about the 1012 years before the birth of Christ till the present day.How long did Gollum(Smeagol) possess the ring before losing it to Bilbo? He acquired the ring through murder in the year 2463TA and lost it in the year 2941TA so around 478 years.Bilbo had the ring in his possession until the year 3001TA therefore 60 years.As you can see in reality there was often greater amounts of time between events that are much longer than most people think.

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