The Tolkien Road

A podcast about Middle-earth and all things Tolkien.

0203 – LOTR – History of the Third Age – Part 1: Three Millennia

From the first defeat of Sauron at the end of the Second Age to the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings over 3000 years of history elapse, a period which comprises the rise and fall of great kingdoms and great heroes. Yet for most lovers of Middle-earth lore, these years are shrouded in mist and confusion. What was the kingdom of Arnor? Why did it fall? What more can we know of the history of Gondor? On this episode, we begin an extended deep dive into the history of Third Age in order to explore these topics and much, much more.

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EPISODE OUTLINE

  • WHY THE THIRD AGE?
    • We just spent some time going through the Second Age, after spending a lot of time with The Hobbit & LOTR.
    • The Hobbit doesn’t occur until 2941, LOTR until 3018
    • So what happens in the 2941 years before that?
    • There is a huge swath of history that informs Hobbit / LOTR but that we generally don’t pay much attention to.
    • For perspective, 3000 years ago for us would have been around 1000BC. This was 500 years before Socrates, and around the time that David was probably king of Israel. 
  • THEMES
    • Eldar: “The fading years of the Eldar”: living in memory of the past
      • 3 Primary Realms: Lindon, Lothlorien, and Imladris
    • Dwarves: hiding, guarding their hoards
    • Numenoreans: dwindling, though much of the timeline is focused on them
    • Istari: appears 1000 years in, main ones are Curunir & Mithrandir
      • forbidden to match Sauron’s power with power, or to seek to dominate Elves and Men
    • Hobbits: appear 1000 years in too – interesting that the Hobbits and the Istari appear about the same time
      • Is this intentional? Maybe not – maybe Tolkien was trying to say something about the providential role both groups were to play. Their origin is mysterious. One group is small but extremely powerful, the other group is populous but relatively weak compared to the other great peoples.
    • The Three Rings
      • Gil-Galad » Elrond
      • Galadriel
      • Cirdan » Mithrandir
      • Was Saruman jealous of Gandalf since Gandalf received Cirdan’s Ring?
      • Did Cirdan’s Ring protect Gandalf? Helped him to rekindle hearts…
  • OVERALL OUTLINE
    • SA3320 – TA861: The Rise of Arnor & Gondor
    • TA861-TA1976: The Rebirth of the Shadow
    • TA1976-TA3018: The Rise of the Shadow & the Decline of Gondor
  • So many topics to deep dive into:
    • Arnor
    • Gondor
    • Lindon
    • Imladris
    • Hobbits
    • Minas Anor / Minas Tirith
    • Minas Ithil / Minas Morgul
    • Osgiliath
    • The White Trees
    • Harad
    • The Easterlings
    • The Wainriders
    • The Nazgûl
    • much more…

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Don’t forget to check out our series on the Second Age!

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2 Replies to “0203 – LOTR – History of the Third Age – Part 1: Three Millennia”

  1. The Secret Fire is a reference to the Flame Imperishable, which is the Breath of Life but is also very much like the Holy Spirit. Yes, it is possible that Saruman might have known that Gandalf was given Narya; he was secretly envious of Gandalf because Galadriel wanted Gandalf to be the leader of the White Counsel, and for other reasons. Here is a bit of news that you might not have heard. Sir Ian Holm died in June. He was 88 years old, I think he died from Parkinson’s disease or an illness related to that. I still think his portrayal of Frodo was the best. My mother has the DVD of Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth in which Ian Holm played one of the scribes in the Temple.

  2. I enjoyed your time reference that David became King of Israel about 3,000 ago, equivalent to the beginning of the Third Age viewed from The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

    Here’s another interesting time reference: Cleopatra VII Philopator (69 BC to 10 or 12 August 30 BC) was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt before Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire. She was closer in time to us in AD 2020 than to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was built c. 2580–2560 BC, during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.

    Another cool time reference: the Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest building in the world from 2560 BC to AD 1311, when it was surpassed by the Lincoln Cathedral in England. That’s 3,871 years!

    Source: Wikipedia

    Have a great day, and keep up the good work!

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