The Lord of the Rings Calendar

The timeline for The Lord of the Rings is something we’ve been taking a closer look into the past few weeks.

It all started with Lithe 1, it’s a specific day in the Shire Calendar, however, for our calendars, Lithe 1 falls on July 1st. July, or Afterlithe, doesn’t actually start until our July 4th. All the months, according to the Shire Calendar, have 30 days, and there are holidays that have their own day, Lithe 1, Mid-years Day, Lithe 2, Yule 1, and Yule 2. Regardless, the yearly structure is the same, 365 days, but the months and days didn’t match up all the time.

When we started putting together an actual On This Day in Middle-earth calendar we didnt realize we would be facing this conundrum. Do we state events as they happen according to the Shire Calendar or as they happen for our calendar? As we’ve tossed and turned these two options in our heads we must reference The Appendices of The Lord of the Rings, from there Tolkien states the following:

“The Shire Reckoning and dates are the only ones of importance for the narrative of the War of the Ring. All the days, months, and dates are in the Red Book translated into Shire terms, or equated with them in notes. The months and days, therefore, throughout The Lord of the Rings refer to the Shire Calendar. The only points in which the differences between this and our calendar are important to the story at the crucial period, the end of 3018 and the beginning of 3019 (S.R. 1418, 1419), are these: October 1418 has only 30 days, January 1 is the second day of 1419, and February has 30 days; so that March 25, the date of the downfall of the Barad-dûr, would correspond to our March 27, if our years began at the same seasonal point. The date was, however, March 25 in both Kings’ and Stewards’ Reckoning.”

Like the text above suggests if we followed how the Shire Calendar matches with ours, the day that the Ring is destroyed would actually be March 27th for us and not March 25th. The actuality of celebrating that date on March 27th instead of March 25th is less exciting, even if it is accurate. While the rest of the world will be celebrating on March 25th we don’t want to be the one group who roles in two days later stating, actually, it was today that the Ring was destroyed. The month and day have been enshrined in Tolkien history more than the actual Shire Calendar and how that matches up to ours. So as much as it pains me personally, to disregard the actuality of Tolkien’s words, we’ll continue our On This Day in Middle-earth postings to match our calendar. Although, we’re not happy with completely disregarding how our Calendar matches up with the Shire’s so, we are working on a side by side calendar for all the purists out there.

This calendar will detail out the events of The Lord of the Rings and state how the Shire Calendar matches our own so, essentially, if you would rather live your life by the Shire Calendar we’re happily putting something together that will allow you to do that. I for one cannot wait to celebrate this coming Yule!

Let us know your thoughts on our decision. Should we cave and post the events to our calendar, or should we adopt the Shire Calendar for Of Blades and Kings? Thank you for your time and remember, renewed shall be blade that was broken.

– The Wandering One

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