Login | Register
 
Message Board | Latest Posts | Your Recent Posts | Rules

Thread: What time is it?

Is this discussion interesting? Share it on Twitter!

Bottom of Page    Message Board > The History of > What time is it?   
ElberethGilthoniel began this thread with the following post.

Quote:
i know it's fantasy and everything, but what time is lotr supposed to be set in? i mean, they talk about the second age, but the year 3434 in in it. how can that be? and they talk about the third age but there's 30s AND 40s in it? what's the deal? im really confused!
please help!


Valedhelgwath replied

I'm not totally sure what exactly you are asking here, ElberethGilthoniel, but I will attempt some sort of explaination for you.

The world in which LotR is set has a history that Tolkien wrote, which goes right back to its very creation. In this time, many things have occurred, and the world has gone through several major changes. Similarly, time has been recorded as a series of distinct Ages, and several of these Ages actually preceeded the First Age.

Originally to light the world, two great lamps were erected by the Valar. While they stood, it was the Age of the Lamps.

After Melkor destroyed these lamps, Yavanna created two great trees in Valinor, from which light blossemed. While they lived, it was the Age of the Trees. It was during this Age that the elves first awoke, and many went to Valinor.

These two early ages were each divided into other sub-ages, but most of these I will not mention here. One, however, was the Age of the chaining of Melkor (actually there were 3 such ages) during which time the Valar kept Melkor imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos.

Not long after his release, Melkor killed the Two Trees, and so that Age came to an end too. Because everywhere then fell into darkness, it became the Long Night.

The Valar then created the Sun and the Moon, and so began the First Age. With the first rising of the sun, Men awoke, and also with the passing of the sun, years began to be recorded. The First Age lasted about 600 years, and this time was spent with Elves and Men fighting Melkor.

The First Age ended with a great battle in which the Valar, Elves and Men defeated Melkor. This battle caused much of the land to sink beneath the sea, and so began the Second Age.

During the Second Age, which lasted 3441 years, Sauron took over from Melkor as the main enemy, and between 1500-1600 the rings of power were forged. This age ended with the defeat of Sauron at the hand of the Last Alliance, when Isildur cut the ring from his finger.

So began the Third Age, which lasted 3020 years. The Hobbit is set in 2941, and the events of LotR in 3019. The Third Age ended when the Ringbearers passed over the sea to Valinor.

So began the Fourth Age, of which very little is written. One of the last recorded events is the death of Aragorn in FA 120, and the passing over the sea of Legolas and Gimli shortly after.

I hope this is of some help to you. If, however, you were asking what sort of age we are talking about in our own history, that is more difficult. I'd say probably some time during the periods of the Greek and Roman empires.

Quote:
After Melkor destroyed these lamps, Yavanna created two great trees in Valinor, from which light blossemed. While they lived, it was the Age of the Trees. It was during this Age that the elves first awoke, and many went to Valinor.


"...and thus began the Count of Time."

Quote:
"...and thus began the Count of Time."
I think time wasn't really counted until the creation of Isil the Sheen (the Moon) and Anar the Fire-Golden (the Sun). Up until then existence just was. Yes there was a before, a now, and a future, but there were no mornings, afternoons or evenings; no days to break up the unending night; and no months or seasons to count into years.

Or did the early firstborn count the hours and days by their position with respect to the zodiac, as Arda slowly revolved under the brilliant starry constellations?
No, quote for quote, It says the counting of time started when Yavana created the trees.
Okay, did the trees blosom in cycles, or did their petals fold up for time outs?

I guess I need to read that section again.
Quote:
Okay, did the trees blosom in cycles, or did their petals fold up for time outs?


They did indeed bloom in cycles...

From The Silmarillion - Of the Beginning of Days

Quote:
In seven hours the glory of each tree waxed to full and waned again to naught; and each awoke once more to life an hour before the other ceased to shine. Thus in Valinor twice every day there came a gentle hour of softer light when both trees were faint and their gold and silver beams were mingled. Telperion was the elder of the trees and came first to full stature and to bloom; and that first hour in which he shone, the white glimmer of a silver dawn, the Valar reckoned not into the tale of hours, but named it the Opening Hour, and counted from it the ages of their reign in Valinor......... .......
..... Thus began the Days of the Bliss of Valinor; and thus began also the Count of Time.


In Melkor's Ring it explains a little about the "lengths" of units of time in Valinor, which were different to those in Middle Earth. For instance...

One Valinor hour was equivalent to seven Middle Earth hours
There were 12 Hours of the Trees in each Day of the Valar, and 1000 Valar Days in each Valar Year. One Hundred such years were a Valar Age. This equates to One Valar Year being equivalent to about nine and a half Middle Earth years.

It also suggests (I'm not sure whether the passage was later ammended) that the Valar came to Arda 5000 Valian Years before the first rising of the moon, of which 3500 had passed prior to the flowering of the Trees. The same passage suggests the Elves first awoke 1050 Valian Years after the first blooming of the Trees.

Thanks Val, now if I can just remember this thread for the next time it gets asked. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Haha, it was fun reading this thread. It really was, seeing the superminds of PT, Grondy and Val, consult each other.
Woops, I forgot Vee. I hope you're not still sulking with me because I experimented on puttin gyou on ignore in the chatroom? (If you don't remember, forget it)