These chronologies are taken from pp. 140-142 of HoME vol. VIII, The War of the Ring. Time schemes C and D date from the summer of 1944 during the writing of Book IV. Chronology S, from the fall of 1944, reflects Tolkien's decision to add a middle day to Frodo's journey through Ithilien. In the published chronology, Tolkien has moved the entire sequence from February to March.

Notice how Tolkien does not consistently account for all his characters in each various scheme's days -- and how very sparse the Tale of Years version is.

Days are counted from Frodo and Sam's descent from the Emyn Muil and the Taming of Smeagol.

Scheme 'C'

Scheme 'D'

Chronology 'S'

Published text

    Day 4) Feb. 4.      March 5.
       Théoden reaches Isengard at noon. Parley with Saruman in Orthanc. Winged Nazgûl passes over the camp at Dol Baran.
    Gandalf and Pippin ride east. Sight Edoras at dawn. Nazgul passes over Edoras about 8 a,m. Gandalf sets out with Peregrin for Minas Tirith.
    Frodo etc. reach dell in sight of Morannon at daybreak, and lie hid there all day. See the Harad-men march in. At dusk they start southward journey. Frodo hides in sight of the Morannon, and leaves at dusk.
Day 4)   Feb. 5. Day 4)   Feb. 5. Day 5) Feb. 5 March 6.

Théoden leaves Helm's Deep on return journey.



Théoden with Eomer and many men goes by mountain-roads through south skirts of mountains to Dunharrow, riding slowly.


Théoden sets out from the Hornburg for Harrowdale. 


Aragorn rides ahead with Gimli and Legolas. Aragorn (with Legolas and Gimli) rides fast by night (4-5) to Dunharrow via Edoras, reaches Edoras at morning and passes up Harrowdale.   Aragorn overtaken by the Dúnedain in the early hours. Aragorn sets out [from the Hornburg] later.
Gandalf abandons secrecy and after short rest rides all day to Minas Tirith. He and Pippin reach Minas Tirith at Sunset.

Gandalf rides all night of 4-5 and passes into Anorien. Pippin sees the beacons blaze up on the mountains. They see messengers riding West.

Gandalf passes into Anorien.  

Frodo, Sam and Gollum arrive before the Morannon at dawn, remain hidden  all day. Pass southward to Ithilien at dusk.

Frodo at dawn comes before the Morannon. At nightfall Frodo with Sam and Gollum turn south to Ithilien. Frodo etc. reach borderlands and lie in heather sleeping all day. At night go on into Ithilien.  
Day 5)   Feb. 6.  Full Moon. Day 5)   Feb. 6. Full Moon (rises about 9.20 p.m. and sets about 6.30 a.m. on Feb. 7). Day 6)  Feb. 6. March 7.




Théoden comes out of west into Harrowdale some miles above Dunharrow, and comes to Dunharrow before nightfall. Finds the muster already beginning.

  Aragorn comes to Dunharrow at nightfall.


Gandalf rides all night of 5-6 and sights Minas Tirith at dawn on 6th.

[Gandalf and Pippin reach Minas Tirith.]


Stewed rabbit. Frodo and Sam taken by Faramir. Battle with the Southrons. Spend night at Henneth Annun. Frodo and Sam in Ithilien; taken by Faramir; battle with the Southrons; night at Henneth Annun. Frodo etc. camp in Ithilien. Episode of Stewed Rabbit. Frodo captured by Faramir and taken to Henneth Annun. Frodo taken by Faramir to Henneth Annûn.