Since this Appendix mostly hold a timeline and some facts, I’ll just summarize those that are interesting to The Hobbit’s timeline – things that may appear in the movie. It’s kind of dense, just as a warning.
The third age begins with Sauron’s fall. The Eldar (elves) only live in the past and do nothing new, wielding the Three Rings. The Dwarves hide and guard treasures, but evil began to stir and brought dragons, scattering the dwarves. Moria remained secure until its people merely dwindled. When around a thousand years had passed, and the first shadows came, the Istari or Wizards appeared. They came from the Far West as messengers sent to contest Sauron’s power, and to unite those who would resist him. They were forbidden to match power with power or to dominate men and elves. They came as men, but they were never young and aged slowly. They were gifted with powers of mind and hand. The Wizards also only revealed their true names on rare occasions, instead letting themselves be called by the people (Gandalf for instance was Mithrandir, the Grey Pilgrim, to the elves and Gandalf to the men. Saruman and Gandalf were the two highest of their order. Gandalf was the closest with the elves, and kept himself mostly in the west, never settling as Saruman did in Isengard. Gandalf is given his ring of power, Narya the Ring of Fire, by Cirdan, a leader of elves who was the only one to know of the wizards’ true purpose and origin. He gives Gandalf Narya so that it “may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill”.
Isildur dies in year 2, losing the ring in the Disaster of the Gladden Fields. In 1100, the Chief Eldar and the Wizards notice a dark power makes a stronghold at Dol Guldur; they believe it is one of the Nazgul. In 2060 Dol Guldur’s power grows, and the Wise now fear it is Sauron taking shape. Three years later, Gandalf goes to Dol Guldur and Sauron retreats, hiding in the east. In 2460, Sauron returns to Dol Guldur with more strength. Again, three years later The White Council is formed. Deagol finds the One Ring and is murdered by Gollum. Seven years later, 2470, he goes to hide in the Misty Mountains. In 2590, Thror (Thorin’s grandfather) returns to the Mountain and stays until 2770 when Smaug attacks. When Thror is killed by an orc twenty years later, the battles between Dwarves and Orcs begin, lasting for ten years. Thrain and Thorin go west after the loss of Moria, beyond the Shire. Thrain tries to go out to visit the Mountain in 2841, but is pursued by Sauron’s servants and eventually imprisoned in Dol Guldur. Sauron takes the last of the Seven Rings from him. Five years after Thrain’s capture, Gandalf infiltrates Dol Guldur, discovers that it is indeed Sauron who is gathering all of the rings of power and looking for the One, along with Isildur’s heir. Thrain gives Gandalf the map and key of the mountain and dies.
Shortly after discovering Sauron’s plans, the White Council meets. While Gandalf wants to attack, Saruman overrules him, instead going to search near where the Ring was lost. (A note in the appendix states that it became clear later that Saruman wanted to possess the One Ring himself, and hoped that it would reveal itself, seeking its master, if Sauron were let be.) Bilbo is born in 2890, and it is 2941 when the events of The Hobbit take place. During this time, Saruman agrees to finally attack Dol Guldur, fearing Sauron might find the Ring first. Sauron abandons Dol Guldur, his plans already in motion. When Bilbo returns to the Shire, Sauron has also returned to Mordor. It is in 2949 when Balin and Gandalf visit Bilbo.
- I really need to read all of these. There’s a ton of information here, and a lot of it is really interesting. For instance, Aragorn didn’t know his own lineage until he was twenty, Elrond having concealed it from everyone his entire life. It’s in that same year he’s given the shards of Narsil and he meets Arwen, who’s like 2700 years older than him. What a year for a kid. Someone please write Aragorn’s story. Make it a movie Peter Jackson! Plus, the kid is 10 when The Hobbit is happening, so why can’t we see him running around Rivendell in the last movie???
- Why did no one guess Saruman’s treachery earlier?
- I really wish there was more about the ousting of Sauron from Mirkwood, but I suppose Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, and Peter Jackson will fill in the gaps.