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.

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This website is made possible by reader support on Patreon.

If you like All Timelines’s reading orders/timelines and want exclusive reader rewards, your support on Patreon would be tremendously appreciated, and will help keep the site alive!

How to Use This Timeline

How to Use This Timeline

This timeline includes the following:

  1. Sorting by Title, Release Date, etc.
  2. Filtering by Media Type.

Also feel free to click on individual items to see more information!

entries

ChronologicalSeriesBuyTitleTypeAuthorReleased

3.001

Silmarillion

Novel

Christopher Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien

2018-08-30

12

Shadow of Mordor

Game

Tony Elias

2017-10-10

Although I don’t normally include this many adaptations of original books on my timelines, I make an exception on the Lord of the Rings timeline because there are a lot of adaptations, and it can be really interesting as a study of the original books to see how others have interpreted Tolkien’s work over time.

8

Hobbit

Film

Fran Walsh
Guillermo del Toro
Peter Jackson
Philippa Boyens

2012-12-14

9

Hobbit

Film

Fran Walsh
Guillermo del Toro
Peter Jackson
Philippa Boyens

2013-12-13

10

Hobbit

Film

Fran Walsh
Guillermo del Toro
Peter Jackson
Philippa Boyens

2014-12-17

Though there are many video games, some of them very old, we prioritize content that is either a) considered to be among the best, or b) contributes original story. The Shadow of Mordor games are a bit of both. They definitely have a lot more story content than most other games. But clearly they’re non canonical with the books or even the movies (though it’s fine if that’s your head canon). That being said, they don’t interfere too much with other stories.

11

Shadow of Mordor

Game

Christian Cantamessa

2014-09-30

25

LOTR

Film

Romeo Muller

1980-05-11

7

Hobbit

Film

Romeo Muller

1977-11-27

15

LOTR

Film

Fran Walsh
Peter Jackson
Philippa Boyens

2001-12-19

18

LOTR

Film

Fran Walsh
Peter Jackson
Philippa Boyens
Stephen Sinclair

2002-12-18

23

LOTR

Film

Fran Walsh
Peter Jackson
Philippa Boyens

2003-12-17

28

War in the North

Game

Scott Crawford

2011-11-01

29

Post-LOTR

Game

Justin Cheadle

2010-09-14

Aragorn’s Quest is placed last because the frame story is about Sam telling his kids about the events of the Lord of the Rings, and therefore that particular bit of content takes place after the Lord of the Rings.

19

LOTR

Film

Chris Conkling
Peter S. Beagle

1978-11-15

6

Hobbit

Audio Drama

J.R.R. Tolkien
Michael Kilgarriff

1968-01-01

22

LOTR

Audio Drama

J.R.R. Tolkien

1981-08-30

17

LOTR

Audio Drama

J.R.R. Tolkien

1981-08-30

14

LOTR

Audio Drama

J.R.R. Tolkien

1981-08-30

27

War in the North

Game

2006-02-28

26

War in the North

Game

2004-12-06

24

LOTR

Game

2003-11-03

20

LOTR

Game

2002-10-21

2

Silmarillion

Novel

Christopher Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien

2017-06-01

3

Silmarillion

Novel

Christopher Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien

2007-04-17

5

Hobbit

Novel

J.R.R. Tolkien

1937-09-21

13

LOTR

Novel

J.R.R. Tolkien

1954-07-29

16

LOTR

Novel

J.R.R. Tolkien

1954-11-11

21

LOTR

Novel

J.R.R. Tolkien

1955-10-20

4

Silmarillion

Novel

Christopher Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien

1980-01-01

1

Silmarillion

Novel

Christopher Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien

1977-09-15

Note that the next three books (Beren and Luthien, The Children of Hurin, and the Fall of Gondolin) tell stories that take place within the Silmarillion, though they have expanded content, and sometimes have multiple versions of the same story, written at different parts of Tolkien’s life.

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