Summary: The Tale of Years - the characters not mentioned
Frodo begins the passage of the Dead Marshes at dawn. Entmoot continues. Aragorn meets Gandalf the White. They set out for Edoras. Faramir leaves Minas Tirith on an errand to Ithilien.
Théoden fought hard for thought. As much as he tried, though, it slipped through his fingers. Yet there was something important he could not remember. He must, he knew, but could not recall what it was about. Éomer was not there to remind him, he knew not why. Éowyn spoke to him but he could not hear the words. He thought Gríma might know, but Gríma told him there was nothing, and to let him worry about it. Gríma was always right so Théoden tried his best to put it out of his mind, but it occupied all his thoughts.
Frodo comes to the end of the Marshes. Gandalf comes to Edoras and heals Théoden. The Rohirrim ride west against Saruman. Second Battle of Fords of Isen. Erkenbrand defeated. Entmoot ends in afternoon. The Ents on Isengard and reach it at night.
The day had been long and hard, as had all of their days since they left the rest of the Fellowship and struck out on their own. Sam wished for the others to be here, to help him watch over Frodo, and so someone could watch Gollum all the time.
In his dreams Gollum cut their throats, carried off the Ring and all was lost. When he awoke he berated himself, for there had been ample opportunity for Gollum to do that very thing. So he did not sleep because he feared what might not be there when he awoke.
Théoden retreats to Helm's Deep. Battle of the Hornburg begins. Ents complete the destruction of Isengard.
Éowyn was finding bravery was harder in the face of war. She did not fear battle, nor fighting or dying for Rohan. But she did not want any more death, not of Théoden or of Éomer, for they were all she had now Théodred was gone.
She was scared that though Théoden was healed, his counsel was no longer sage and Aragorn was right. They could not lose, not just for Rohan but for the whole of Middle-earth. She was frightened they might fail and they all might lose far more than just the lives of the ones they loved.
Théoden and Gandalf set out from Helm's Deep for Isengard. Frodo reaches the slag-mounds on the edge of the Desolation of the Morannon.
Even as he enjoyed the spoils of Isengard, Pippin still found time to worry. They no longer knew of the rest of the company, save Gandalf, and had no way of receiving news, unless anyone came to Isengard, or they could convince the Ents to take them from here. Except they had no way of knowing where anyone else was, what they were doing, or how to get to them.
He thought about saving some of the pipeweed to take home but did not know if he would ever see home again and Merry was no help on the subject.
Théoden reaches Isengard at noon. Parley with Saruman in Orthanc. Winged Nazgul passes over the camp at Dol Baran. Gandalf sets off with Peregrin for Minas Tirith. Frodo hides in sight of the Morannon, and leaves at dusk.
As they rested, Halbarad looked at the staff that was his responsibility to bear. He longed to unfurl it and fight under its banner but he would not. He knew what it represented, what it said, who it was for, but the choice to use it was not his.
He had not seen his kinsman for some time and although he thought they would have heard if Aragorn was dead, he had no way of knowing. Elladan and Elrohir cautioned optimism but someone had to consider the worst, and the burden that would be his if it came to pass.
Aragorn overtaken by the Dúnedain in the early hours. Theoden sets out from the Hornburg for Harrowdale. Aragorn sets out later.
Faramir shivered, despite the warmth of the fire and the hot meal in his stomach. Things were going badly; he could feel the evil that surrounded them, getting closer all the time.
He knew this day would come. Boromir rejoiced in it, for battle was a chance for glory; fighting evil was what he did best.
Faramir just wished it had come sooner and he was now living in a new world, for better or worse, for at least it would be over. Now they were just waiting, counting the dead, and the darkness only grew with each passing day.
Frodo taken by Faramir to Henneth Annun. Aragorn comes to Dunharrow at nightfall.
Merry missed Pippin bitterly. In all their travels they had not been parted and now he faced a second day without his cousin. He had faith that Gandalf would protect Pippin, maybe even better than he could, but Merry was not there with them and could not know Pippin was safe.
He blamed himself. Pippin had grown up much since they left the Shire, but he was still Pippin. Merry never wanted that to change but he wished he had not trusted Pippin so much and watched him more. Then maybe they would be together and Merry would feel safe.
Aragorn takes the 'Paths of the Dead' at daybreak; he reaches Erech at midnight. Frodo leaves Henneth Annun.
The company marched on cautiously and in near-silence. The place seemed more and more like a tomb; one from which there would be no escape if Elrond's words were wrong. Legolas never once questioned Aragorn's judgement in coming here, though, despite his own misgivings.
The Paths of the Dead were well-named, for it felt as if they contained no other living thing and the land might yet claim recompense for their steps here. However, Legolas knew this path to be a necessary one. Hope was fading and faith was all they had left to cling to in these dark days.
Gandalf reaches Minas Tirith. Faramir leaves Henneth Annun. Aragorn sets out from Erech and comes to Calembel. At dusk Frodo reaches the Morgul-road. Théoden comes to Dunharrow. Darkness begins to flow out of Mordor.
Bilbo knew something was wrong, how could he not? Although Rivendell seemed as timeless and unchanged as ever, the elves within it did not.
He remembered Frodo being here, being ill and being in much danger. But since coming here his memory had got much worse and much of what happened last autumn was hazy.
Still, he knew the danger was not yet past and was one that threatened them all. He knew he was safe for now, but not for how much longer that would last. However, he entirely trusted the elves he lived with to keep him safe.
The Dawnless Day. The Muster of Rohan; the Rohirrim ride from Harrowdale. Faramir rescued by Gandalf outside the gates of the City. Aragorn crosses Ringlo. An army from the Morannon takes Cair Andros and passes into Anorien. Frodo passes the Cross Roads, and sees the Morgul-host set forth.
From high ground Elrond surveyed the land and saw Rivendell looked the same as it always did. He knew it to be a trick, though; the rest of Middle-earth could not escape as Imladris uniquely had so far.
He wished he could keep all of the people safe but that job was trusted to another. He only had to protect his home. Yet his task in this was so big that sometimes he wondered if it were even possible. All he could do was try his best to carry on and trust to Hope that his best had been enough.
Gollum visits Shelob, but seeing Frodo asleep nearly repents. Denethor sends Faramir to Osgiliath. Aragorn reaches Linhir and crosses into Lebennin. Eastern Rohan is invaded from the north. First assault on Lórien.
Haldir loosed first one arrow, then another, and another, until he lost count. They had not been unprepared for this: the whole of Middle-earth fought once more and it would have been madness to assume Lórien would escape.
But it had been so long; so many years that even the Elves had trouble remembering their last battles. Their peace had only been transitory and so they had enjoyed it while it lasted.
Now it seemed nothing could protect them and the elves of Lórien would fight with the other good peoples of Middle-earth against the darkness that threatened them all.
Gollum leads Frodo into Shelob's lair. Faramir retreats to the Causeway Forts. Theoden camps under Minrimmon. Aragorn drives the enemy towards Pelargir. The Ents defeat the invaders of Rohan.
Gandalf worried for there was much to be concerned about. He knew not how Frodo and Sam fared, could only trust they would not be led astray. He could tell Denethor had already resigned himself to a loss and Faramir, though he knew it not, along with him. Pippin was doing his best to be brave but it was much to ask of a young hobbit, even though he had come so far. Aragorn had faced many similar situations and Gandalf hoped that all he had learnt was enough to carry them though and be enough to save them all.
Frodo captured by the Orcs of Cirith Ungol. The Pelennor is overrun. Faramir is wounded. Aragorn reaches Pelargir and captures the fleet. Théoden in Druadan Forest.
Treebeard was happy to return to his roots in Fangorn, knowing the Ents had done their part to save the land. He was glad the two hobbits had brought news of events outside the Forest to them, in time for them to avenge Saruman's killing of the trees. Afterwards they had gladly gone to the aid of the White Wizard to save the people of Rohan from the Orcs that surrounded them.
Treebeard knew the war was only just beginning, yet it would be over so quickly most of the Ents would probably barely notice it had happened at all.
Samwise finds Frodo in the Tower. Minas Tirith is besieged. The Rohirrim led by the Wild Men come to the Grey Wood.
Denethor despaired. All was lost, it was merely a matter of time before the others recognised it. All that was worth living for died with Boromir. Then there had been some hope they might prevail. Now all of Gondor was reduced to Minas Tirith.
There were so many orcs, trolls and others that the Men of Gondor could not hope to win; could never win. He knew it in his heart and in the stones that showed him the future they would be facing. A future so terrible he did not know how he could bear to live in it.
In the early hours the Witch-king breaks the Gates of the City. Denethor burns himself on a pyre. The horns of the Rohirrim are heard at cockcrow. Battle of the Pelennor. Theoden is slain. Merry wounds the Witch-king of Angmar, and Eowyn gives the killing blow. Aragorn raises the standard of Arwen. Frodo and Samwise escape and begin their journey north along the Morgai. Battle under the trees in Mirkwood; Thranduil repels the forces of Dol Guldur. Second assault on Lórien.
Éomer did not know how he could bear it. When Théodred talked of when he would be king, Éomer had been content to be by his side. Never did he imagine he might be king himself, and not so soon.
It was too soon. Théoden was only just returned to them and Éomer needed his wisdom yet. Governing Rohan was a hard pursuit on its own, but they were fighting a war - although the battle was over Éomer knew this was not the end of it. It was no consolation that he had run out of kin to lose.
Debate of the commanders. Frodo from the Morgai looks over the camp to Mount Doom.
Aragorn gazed at the standard he had fought under, almost unable to believe it was his standard. He ran his hand over it, feeling the rough material and the smooth threads beneath his fingers. In his mind, he pictured Arwen making it, stitching her love into it. He yearned for the day when he might see her again, but he knew there were more tests he had to pass before that day could come. He knew what he must now do, and that it might prove to be a greater trial than any of the ones he had already faced.
Battle of Dale. King Brand and King Dain Ironfoot fall. Many Dwarves and Men take refuge in Erebor and are besieged. Shagrat brings Frodo cloak, mail-shirt, and sword to Barad-dur.
Gimli looked out over the Pelennor Field, which was gradually being cleared. There was still evidence of battle, as it was taking time to clear away the bodies on both sides. The damage of the Easterlings weapons were still imprinted in the depressions in the ground.
Despite this, there was an air of jollity in the city, for many thought to be dead come morning were still alive.
The war was not yet over, though. Only once Frodo had completed his task would Middle-earth be free of the shadow. Gimli had sworn to help and he would not stop now.
The Host of the West marches from Minas Tirith. Frodo comes in sight of the Insenmouthe; he is overtaken by Orcs on the road from Durthang to Udun.
It had been three days now since Thranduil and his people had prevented the evil that grew in the forest from gaining a bigger foothold. He wished they had been able to do something about it sooner, yet they had lost too many trying and he was now in mourning for a good many more.
And yet it was still not done. They had merely repelled the forces there, not destroyed them for good. Now they had to regroup and find a way to do the deed, for the evil could not be allowed to lurk here for much longer.
The Host comes to Morgul-vale. Frodo and Samwise escape and begin their journey along the road to the Barad-dur.
Arwen felt useless. While she had been making Aragorn's standard she had at least felt like she was contributing. Now she had to wait in Rivendell, hope it made a difference and hope that she would be able to see Aragorn again.
Her choice was already made and she was looking forward to life with Aragorn in Minas Tirith, should he prevail. Should the forces of good lose then all was lost. Yet, if they won and Aragorn was killed then she really did not know what she would do or whether she would be able to live without him.
Celeborn took a turn around Lórien, as he had done every day since it was attacked. Both times the guards had held, although chatting with them now, they were quiet, tense and worried. Not to mention they were fewer than before.
Celeborn knew how they felt. But for how much longer would they be able to hold Lothlórien? Another attack they would survive, he was sure. They could not afford to take too many losses, though, for another attack after that would surely defeat them. All they could do was wait and fight and hope Sauron fell before they did.
Frodo tried his very best to think of the Shire but his memories of the good times he'd had there just slipped through his mind. He was tired, worried and he ached. With every step he took the journey grew ever harder.
He envied Sam for having the choice of doing this and for being able to sleep without the Ring in his dreams. Every night it showed him the same thing: Frodo could have all of Middle-earth if he wanted. He so badly wanted to go home and if it weren't for Sam's words he would have forgotten why.
The dreadful night. Frodo and Samwise leave the road and turn south to Mount Doom. Third assault on Lórien.
Galadriel was saddened as she heard the fight for Lórien around her. Every elf in the wood had been drafted to help in whatever way they could, for they needed all of them to survive this night. The situation grew more desperate with each passing day and each attack. Not even Nenya could help them.
That they had lasted this long was a testament to the courage of the Lórien elves and her skill with the ring. But even its power was not enough to disparage the evil that threatened them, and she feared for the safety of her home.
The Host passes out of Ithilien. Aragorn dismisses the faint-hearted. Frodo and Samwise cast away their arms and gear.
Elrohir could not help but admire Aragorn. Often, in his mind, he had seen Estel as the child he had been when Arathorn was killed. Now, though, Aragorn was assuredly king of Gondor. It only remained to him to safeguard the life of Frodo, and in doing so, the rest of Middle-earth.
As much as he had worried over Estel as he grew up, he was glad he no longer felt any need to. He had faith that Aragorn would achieve what was necessary, and the number of warriors he had brought with them to fight was proof of that.
Frodo and Samwise make their last journey to the feet of Mount Doom. The Host camps in the Desolation of the Morannon.
Elladan scoffed at those who would turn back from the path Aragorn had put them on. He was right, there was no place here for the faint-hearted. If he had been in charge he would have made sure they carried on, as the warriors they should be.
But it was not his place. Aragorn had made his decision, as was his right. The two of them often had different views and Aragorn had learnt from his mistakes in the past, so Elladan did not say anything. He knew Aragorn's plan would come right in the end, for they often did.
The Host is surrounded on the Slag-hills. Frodo and Samwise reach the Sammath Naur. Gollum seizes the Ring and falls into the Cracks of Doom. Downfall of Barad-dur and passing of Sauron.
There was a change in the air, the land and the water. The sun shone bright and colourful flowers turned to face her. The water bubbled and flowed clear, tasting sweet to those with need of it.
Even those that did not know what happened could feel the difference of a place without evil. All over people sang and laughed, even if they thought they had no reason.
Tomorrow there would be much clearing up to do - evil could not be vanquished with one stroke. But the tide was turned, the good would win and peace would reign again.