On September 18, TA 3018
, Tolkien begins in earnest, the construction of an amazingly detailed timeline for his sprawling saga, The Lord of the Rings
. You see evidence of his commitment to leaving nothing to chance in this Synoptic Time Scheme written in Tolkien's own hand
. Following this intricate adherence to calendar, we are going to take you on a Middle-earth journey...just as Tolkien laid it out...covering the entire span of the events in The Lord of the Rings
, and beyond. So let's get started. There is much to cover, many unfathomable places to see and many, many new friends to make in our journeys through Middle-earth.
Bilbo has given the Ring to Frodo and left Bag End never to return. Gandalf has not returned to Hobbiton as promised and a nervous Frodo, sensing approaching danger, has decided to leave the Shire in the company of friends...but without the wizard. Little does Frodo know that Gandalf is in a desperate battle of his own, and danger is indeed galloping towards the Shire at terrifying speed.
Perhaps Gandalf is not the only one who underestimated the treachery and ultimately the power of Saruman. It also seems that Saruman, indeed, significantly undermined and disrupted the efforts of Sauron himself, in his quest to reclaim the Ring. All of this comes together with amazing clarity on September 18
if one looks close enough.
Gandalf escapes from Orthanc, but one would have to ask what he was doing there in the first place. One must remember that at the Council of Elrond, Gandalf explains the reason for still trusting Saruman even though his heart
warned him otherwise. Recall the message from Saruman who offered council and aid, delivered to Gandalf by Radagast...