I thought it would be useful to have a single place where you see what was happening in each chapter, including events mentioned elsewhere.
|Book One||Dates Covered||Relevant Events|
|1. A Long-expected Party||3001||In 3000, Saruman is captured by Sauron while using the Palantir.
In 3002, Bilbo settles in Rivendell.
|2. The Shadow of the Past||3002 to April 12th 3018||From 3009, Gandalf and Aragorn seek Gollum. Meantime Gollum comes close to Mordor and Sauron captures him.
In 3017, Sauron allows Gollum to escape.
|3. Three Is Company||April 13th to September 24th||20th June, Sauron attacks Osgiliath.
4th July, Boromir departs to seek Elrond’s advice.
10th July, Saruman betrays and imprisons Gandalf.
18th September, Gandalf escapes.
23rd, the Black Riders enter The Shire. Frodo leaves Bag End the same day.
On the 24th, a Black Rider nearly finds him. He meets Gildor the High Elf.
|4. A Short Cut to Mushrooms||September 25th||They meet Farmer Maggot, who had earlier encountered a Black Rider|
|5. A Conspiracy Unmasked||September 25th||Merry and Pippin reveal they know about the One Ring|
|6. The Old Forest||September 26th||Fatty Bolger is left behind, pretending to be Frodo.|
|7. In the House of Tom Bombadil||September 26th to 28th||They learn that Tom is not affected by the One Ring.|
|8. Fog on the Barrow-downs||September 28th||Caught by a Barrow-Wight. Merry, Pippin and Sam get the swords they will later use.|
|9. At the Sign of The Prancing Pony||September 29th||They arrive and get a letter from Gandalf, which mentions Aragorn.|
|10. Strider||September 29th||Aragorn persuades them to trust him.|
|11. A Knife in the Dark||September 29th to October 6th||Raid on Crickhollow on the night of the 29th.
Gandalf gets there on the 30th, after the Black Riders are gone. He reaches Bree the same day, but after Aragorn and the hobbits are gone.
On 3rd October, Gandalf fights Black Riders at Weathertop.
|12. Flight to the Ford||October 7th to 20th||October 9th – Glorfindel leaves Rivendell, along with other High Elves.
On the 11th, he drives Black Riders off a bridge that Aragorn and the hobbits use on the 13th.
On the 18th, Glorfindel finds them and partly heals Frodo. On the same day, Gandalf reaches Rivendell.
On the 20th, the Black Riders nearly catch Frodo but are drowned in Elrond’s flood.
|Book Two||Dates Covered||Relevant Events|
|1. Many Meetings||October 24th||Frodo reunited with Bilbo. He also learns about Aragorn and sees Arwen.
Boromir arrives at Rivendell.
|2. The Council of Elrond||October 25th||An exchange of news, including Gandalf’s story.|
|3. The Ring Goes South||October 26th 3018 to 13th January 3019||They depart on 25th December.
Try and fail to cross the Redhorn Gate on the 11th and 12th January, and in the evening are attacked by Wargs.
|4. A Journey in the Dark||13th to 15th January||They enter Moria. Gollum begins to follow them.
On the 15th, they find the tomb of Balin. They learn that all of the dwarves have been dead since 2994.
|5. The Bridge of Khazad-dûm||15th January||Gandalf falls and Aragorn takes command.|
|6. Lothlórien||15th to 17th January||25th January- Gandalf defeats the Balrog, dies, and goes beyond space and time.|
|7. The Mirror of Galadriel||17th January to 14th February||14th February – Gandalf returns to Middle-Earth.|
|8. Farewell to Lórien||15th to 16th February||They depart on the 16th|
|9. The Great River||17th to 25th February||Some time during these days, orcs from Isengard led by Ugluk join other orcs from Moria who seek revenge for orcs slain there. And are joined by Grishnakh, a very powerful orc directly serving Mordor.
Gandalf arrives at Lorien on the 17th, but still needs healing. As at Bree, he arrives just too late to join Frodo and the others.
On the 25th, Legolas shoots at a mysterious dark cloud. We later learn it is a Winged Nazgul and that the beast was killed. None of them have yet crossed the River Anduin.
On the same day, Theodred the son of King Theoden is killed in the battle at the Fords of Isen.
|10. The Breaking of the Fellowship||26th February||Boromir tries to seize the One Ring. Frodo escapes by putting it on
Frodo on top of Amon Hen sees the wider world, but then attracts Sauron’s attention. He manages to take off the ring, helped by an unrecognised Voice – actually the returned Gandalf
Frodo decides to set off alone for Mordor, taking a boat and crossing to the east bank of the Anduin. But Sam realises this and tries to swim to the apparently empty boat. Frodo saves him from drowning and agrees he can come with him.
|Book Three||Dates Covered||Relevant Events|
|1. The Departure of Boromir||26th February||While still looking for Frodo, and overlooking Sam, the rest of the Fellowship run into Orcs.
Boromir is fatally wounded fighting a large number of Orcs. He is able first to sound his horn, which is heard by Aragorn.
The horn of Boromir is heard in Minas Tirith.
Aragorn finds the dying Boromir, who confesses to trying to seize the One Ring
With Boromir dead, Aragorn is joined by Legolas and Gimli, who had been fighting other Orcs and came to the sound of the horn.
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli find the Orcs gone, a boat missing but their goods not plundered.
Aragorn works out what happened to the four hobbits – two one way, two the other. He finds the daggers that Merry and Pippin were given in Lorien.
He also notes that the Orcs are of at least two types. That those with the S rune must serve Saruman.
Aragorn drops the idea of following Frodo, seeing it as his first duty to rescue Merry and Pippin
Boromir is put in a boat and given a river burial.
Eomer learns of the Orcs who hold Merry and Pippin. He knows nothing of hobbits, but they are crossing Rohan to get to Isengard.
Ugluk wins a confrontation with Grishnakh, killing four of the small Orcs of Moria. Grishnakh flees, but goes looking for other Orcs of Mordor.
|2. The Riders of Rohan||26th to 30th February||27th – Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli find the Orcs killed by Ugluk. They continue the pursuit, but it seems they are hindered and the Orcs aided by the magic of Saruman.
Eomer defies the King’s orders and goes after the trespassing Orcs.
28th – Aragorn finds the broach left behind by Pippin. They are reassured that at least one hobbit is still alive
30th, Eomer encounters Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli.
He tells them that his people killed all the Orcs, and saw no prisoners.
He defies the rules again by giving them two horses and letting them proceed on their own.
That evening, a mysterious old man – presumably Saruman – is seen by them and drives off their horses
Note that in the Shire Calendar, all months have 30 days.
|3. The Uruk-Hai||26th to 29th February||26th – Merry and Pippin briefly talk to each other.
Orc quarrel: Grishnakh, who has recently crossed the Great River, wants the hobbits taken east where a winged Nazgul waits. Ugluk wants to take them to Isengard.
Ugluk wins after killing four of the small Orcs of Moria. Grishnakh flees, but goes looking for other Orcs of Mordor.
Orc scouts see a single Rohirrim rider and ignore him. Ugluk realises that he may be back with more. He demands more speed, marching by night and day.
27th – Eomer decides to pursue the Orcs, denying the King’s orders. Some of his Riders shoot arrows at them.
Pippin frees his hands and attempts to escape. He is caught, but manages to leave behind a broach he was given in Lorien.
Grishnakh returns with other Orcs of Mordor, but Ugluk still commands.
28th – Eomer and his horsemen overtake and surround the Orcs just outside Fangorn Forrest.
29th – after midnight, Pippin tricks Grishnakh into thinking he has the One Ring. Grishnakh carries off him and Merry, but is killed by one of the Riders.
Pippin has his hands free. He frees his legs and then frees Merry using Grishnakh’s knife. They then get to a safe distance from the fighting.
A fresh party of Orcs led by Mauhur try to rescue Ugluk’s Orcs but fail.
All of Ugluk’s Orcs are killed. He himself dies in single combat with Eomer while attempting to escape.
|4. Treebeard||29th February to 2nd March||29th – having escaped at night, Merry and Pippin wander into Fangorn and are caught by Treebeard. He takes them to his home and gives them Ent-draughts. And hears their news, including Orcs working for Saruman.
30th – Treebeard takes the hobbits to the Ent-moot.
They testify that the Orcs who held them took orders from Saruman. The same Orcs who have been destructive in the Ent’s forest.
They are then looked after by an Ent called Quickbeam while the other Ents debate.
2nd March – the Ents decide to attack Isengard.
|5. The White Rider||1st March||Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli encounter Gandalf the White, who assured them that Merry and Pippin are safe.
They see Shadowfax, who has recovered their two horses. They ride for Edoras, where Aragorn had earlier promised to go.
Meantime Frodo and Sam are crossing the Dead Marshes, guided by Gollum.
|6. The King of the Golden Hall||2nd March||Gandalf and the others arrive at Edoras. Gandalf cures Theoden and gets Eomer released – he had been imprisoned for failing to detain Aragorn on the 30th.
Theoden sets out to fight the invaders, leaving Eowyn to take non-combatants to Edoras.
Meantime Erkenbrand has been defeated by some of Saruman’s forces. He is retreating towards Helms Deep. No news has been exchanged between him and Theoden.
Another army of Saruman – probably all Orcs – march out at night, watched by the Ents. Huorns are sent to follow those Orcs.
|7. Helm’s Deep||2nd to 4th March||2nd – Theoden and Gandalf proceed eastwards.
3rd – Ents destroy Isengard and confine Saruman to the tower of Orthanc. They also flood Isengard, producing pollution down-river on the Isen.
Gandalf notices that something is happening at Isengard. If he guesses what, he does not say.
Theoden receive news of Erkenbrand’s defeat and the enemy advance.
Gandalf advises Theoden to retreat to Helm’s Deep. He himself rides forward on Shadowfax, without specifying his intentions. We later learn that he arrived at Isengard that evening. That he asked for help against the Orcs, but learned that the Huorns were already after them.
Theoden’s forces reach Helm’s Deep but have to fall back to the caves in the face of Orcs and Dunlendings.
4th – Theoden and his surviving forces advance, expecting to die gloriously. But Erkenbrand has arrived, with Gandalf. So too have the Huorns, seen as a baffling new wood.
Saruman’s forces panic. Dunlendings surrender and get mercy. The Orcs flee into the woods, and are killed by the Huorns.
Wormtongue arrives at Isengard. Treebeard captures him and sends him to Orthanc, where he is let in.
He also tells Merry and Pippin to prepare ‘man-food for twenty-five’. He knows of the destruction of the Orcs at Helms Deep.
|8. The Road to Isengard||4th to 5th March||4th – Gandalf explains some of what he has been doing, and advises Theoden to ride for Isengard with a small force. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli come with them, as does Eomer.
They encounter three Ents, who have been managing the Huorns.
After sunset, they find that someone has buried their dead at the River Isen.
The same night, the Huorns bury all the Orcs in a huge dead mound where nothing will ever grow. And then depart for their homes.
5th – they arrive to find Isengard wrecked. At the gate, Merry and Pippin great them. Gandalf, Theoden and his men advance to meet Treebeard. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli remain with Merry and Pippin to exchange news.
|9. Flotsam and Jetsam||5th March||Gandalf, Theoden and his men advance to meet Treebeard. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli remain with Merry and Pippin to exchange news. They dine on food that Saruman kept for his human servants. They also smoke pipe-weed that came from The Shire. Aragorn finds this link alarming.|
|10. The Voice of Saruman||5th March||Aragorn, Legolas Gimli, Merry, and Pippin join the others. Gandalf, Theoden, Eomer and Gimli confront Saruman.
Gandalf offers Saruman conditional mercy. When this is refused, he uses magic to break his rod and repudiate him.
Wormtongue throws a mysterious glass ball at either Saruman or Gandalf, missing both. It causes cracks on the stone steps of Orthanc, whose magic material resisted the Ents. Pippin picks it up, but Gandalf takes it from him.
Meantime Frodo and the others reach the Black Gate (Morannon). He intends to try to slip in there. Gollum persuades him that he knows a better way far to the south.
|11. The Palantir||5th to 6th March||5th – leaving Isengard for the Ents to guard, they all set off for Edoras. They plan to go from there to a gathering at Dunharrow. Messengers have been sent for the warriors at Helm’s Deep to also go there.
6th – after midnight, Pippin yields to temptation and steals the glass ball. He is caught by Sauron, who fails to question him properly.
Gandalf identifies the Palantir. When Aragorn claims it, he freely hands it over.
Gandalf checks that Pippin has revealed no secrets, but decides to ride ahead with him to Gondor, using Shadowfax’s unearthly speed. A Nazgul flies over them during discussions, and he sets out at once.
He tells Pipping more about the Palantir.
In the second chapter of Book Six, we learn that Aragorn used the Palantir and freed it from Sauron’s control. And that some of his Dunedain joined them the same day.
WORK IN PROGRESS.
I plan to extend this for the whole book, along with chapter studies. At two chapters a month, this should happen late in 2020.
I take most of these details from Tolkien’s Appendix B. But I did check it against the excellent day-by-day details at the Tolkien Gateway. And note that dates are based on the hobbit’s Shire Calendar. This has 30 days in each month, including February.