Lord of the Rings Timeline

Tolkien is well known as the father of modern fantasy. See his books, their adaptations, and other stories told within Middle-earth.

What’s on the Lord of the Rings Timeline?

This is the unofficial Lord of the Rings timeline for the books, films and film tie-in material, such as video games like Shadows of Mordor.

The rights to create tie-in materials like video games for Lord of the Rings used to be rather limited. The rights for the books and films were separate, so Warner Brothers could only make games based on the films and only on the films. Thankfully, the rights were consolidated and other tie-in works can be made based on the books or pieces of the books that didn’t appear in the films.

This timeline includes the books, their primary adaptations, and a number of other tie-in materials. It might not include every adaptation ever, but we’ve got the most important ones (remember this is a curated timeline).

Where to start reading Tolkien’s work?

While it comes chronologically, the Silmarillion is definitely not the best place to start. Generally, we recommend starting with The Hobbit, and then moving on from there.

The books can be somewhat large and tough to get through for some, so pace yourself. Of course, the films are a nice way to understand what happens and build up interest in reading the books.

Of course, if you just want to read Tolkien’s work in a rough chronological order, without all the other fluff, we recommend reading them in this order:

  • The Silmarillion
  • The Children of Hurin
  • Beren and Luthien
  • The Unfinished Tales
  • The Hobbit
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Two Towers
  • Return of the King

Note: For another unique look at a Lord of the Rings timeline visit the Lord of the Rings chapter by chapter reading order.

#AmazonNameMediaAuthor/DirectorSeriesDateNotes
1BuyThe SilmarillionNovelJ.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher TolkienSilmarillion1977-09-15
2BuyThe Children of HurinNovelJ.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher TolkienSilmarillion2007-04-17
3BuyBeren and LuthienNovelJ.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher TolkienSilmarillion2017-06-01
4BuyUnfinished TalesNovelJ.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher TolkienSilmarillion1980-01-01
5BuyThe HobbitNovelJ.R.R. TolkienHobbit1937-09-21
6BuyThe Hobbit (audio)Audio DramaMichael Kilgarriff, J.R.R. TolkienHobbit1968-01-01
7BuyThe Hobbit (animated)FilmArthur Rankin Jr., Jules BassHobbit1977-11-27
8BuyThe Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyFilmPeter JacksonHobbit2012-12-14
9BuyThe Hobbit: Desolation of SmaugFilmPeter JacksonHobbit2013-12-13
10BuyThe Hobbit: Battle of Five ArmiesFilmPeter JacksonHobbit2014-12-17
11BuyShadow of MordorGameMichael de PlaterShadow of Mordor2014-09-30
12BuyShadow of WarGameMichael de PlaterShadow of Mordor2017-10-10
13BuyThe Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the RingNovelJ.R.R. TolkienLOTR1954-07-29
14BuyThe Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (audio)Audio DramaJ.R.R. TolkienLOTR1981-08-30
15BuyThe Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (film)FilmPeter JacksonLOTR2001-12-19
16BuyThe Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersNovelJ.R.R. TolkienLOTR1954-11-11
17BuyThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (audio)Audio DramaJ.R.R. TolkienLOTR1981-08-30
18BuyThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (film)FilmPeter JacksonLOTR2002-12-18
19BuyThe Lord of the Rings (animated)FilmRalph BakshiLOTR1978-11-15An adaptation of the films Fellowship of the Rings, and The Two Towers
20BuyThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (game)GameHudson PiehlLOTR2002-10-21An adaptation of the films Fellowship of the Rings, and The Two Towers
21BuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the KingNovelJ.R.R. TolkienLOTR1955-10-20
22BuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (audio)Audio DramaJ.R.R. TolkienLOTR1981-08-30
23BuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (film)FilmPeter JacksonLOTR2003-12-17
24BuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (game)GameLOTR2003-11-03An adaptation of the film Return of the King
25BuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (animated)FilmArthur Rankin Jr., Jules BassLOTR1980-05-11
26BuyBattle for Middle-EarthGameWar in the North2004-12-06An adaptation of the film Return of the King
27BuyBattle for Middle-Earth IIGameWar in the North2006-02-28Covers the War in the North during the films.
28BuyWar in the NorthGameScott CrawfordWar in the North2011-11-01Also covers the War in the North during the films
29BuyAragorn's QuestGameTancred Dyke-WellsPost-LOTR2010-09-14The frame story takes place 15 years after ROTK.
Comments
  1. Justin

    For the love of god DO NOT READ THE SILMARILLION FIRST…

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