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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 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.

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.
The Lord of the Rings Timeline 2.0

1SilmarillionBuyThe Silmarillion, 1977-09-15novelchristopher-tolkien j-r-r-tolkien
2SilmarillionBuyThe Children of Hurin, 2007-04-17novelchristopher-tolkien j-r-r-tolkien
3SilmarillionBuyBeren and Luthien, 2017-06-01novelchristopher-tolkien j-r-r-tolkien
4SilmarillionBuyUnfinished Tales, 1980-01-01novelchristopher-tolkien j-r-r-tolkien
5HobbitBuyThe Hobbit1937-09-21novelj-r-r-tolkien
6HobbitBuyThe Hobbit (audio), 1968-01-01audio-dramaj-r-r-tolkien michael-kilgarriff
7HobbitBuyThe Hobbit (animated)1977-11-27filmromeo-muller
8HobbitBuyThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, , , 2012-12-14filmfran-walsh guillermo-del-toro peter-jackson philippa-boyens
9HobbitBuyThe Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, , , 2013-12-13filmfran-walsh guillermo-del-toro peter-jackson philippa-boyens
10HobbitBuyThe Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies, , , 2014-12-17filmfran-walsh guillermo-del-toro peter-jackson philippa-boyens
11Shadow of MordorBuyShadow of Mordor2014-09-30gamechristian-cantamessa
12Shadow of MordorBuyShadow of War2017-10-10gametony-elias
13LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring1954-07-29novelj-r-r-tolkien
14LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (audio)1981-08-30audio-dramaj-r-r-tolkien
15LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (film), , 2001-12-19filmfran-walsh peter-jackson philippa-boyens
16LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers1954-11-11novelj-r-r-tolkien
17LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (audio)1981-08-30audio-dramaj-r-r-tolkien
18LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (film), , , 2002-12-18filmfran-walsh peter-jackson philippa-boyens stephen-sinclair
19LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings (animated), 1978-11-15filmchris-conkling peter-s-beagle
20LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (game)2002-10-21game
21LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King1955-10-20novelj-r-r-tolkien
22LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (audio)1981-08-30audio-dramaj-r-r-tolkien
23LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (film), , 2003-12-17filmfran-walsh peter-jackson philippa-boyens
24LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (game)2003-11-03game
25LOTRBuyThe Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (animated)1980-05-11filmromeo-muller
26War in the NorthBuyBattle for Middle-Earth2004-12-06game
27War in the NorthBuyBattle for Middle-Earth II2006-02-28game
28War in the NorthBuyWar in the North2011-11-01gamescott-crawford
29Post-LOTRBuyAragorn’s Quest2010-09-14gamejustin-cheadle
The Lord of the Rings Timeline 2.0

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