March 27–28HomeMay 1–30

April 1–30, S.R. 1419 (T.A. 3019)

The Tale of Years mentions only two dates in April:

April 6. Meeting of Celeborn and Thranduil.   8  The Ring-bearers are honoured on the Field of Cormallen.

But, as we will see, we can also supply events for the last few days of April as they lead up to Aragorn’s coronation on the first of May.

Of the two events dated explicitly by the Tale of Years, we know little about Celeborn and Thranduil’s meeting on the 6th beyond its date and location.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 6 · 12:03 pm

It’s the Elven New Year. The Lord Celeborn and King Thranduil, having marched from opposite corners of the forest, meet near the centre of Mirkwood.

Instead of returning Mirkwood to its ancient name, Greenwood the Great, they name it afresh ‘Eryn Lasgalen’—Wood of Greenleaves.

By contrast, we have a wealth of details about the event that the Tale of Years lists on the 8th, since it’s recounted at length in the main narrative—and, indeed, includes one of the most memorable scenes in The Lord of the Rings, where Frodo and Sam are honored on the field of Cormallen.

It’s also a landmark moment for the story’s chronology, because the reader learns not just one but two new dates from Gandalf as Frodo and Sam wake:

‘Noon?’ said Sam, trying to calculate. ‘Noon of what day?’

‘The fourteenth of the New Year,’ said Gandalf; ‘or if you like, the eighth day of April in the Shire reckoning. But in Gondor the New Year will always now begin upon the twenty-fifth of March when Sauron fell, and when you were brought out of the fire to the King.

If the reader, like Frodo and Sam, has lost count of the days and nights spent walking toward the Mountain, they are now retroactively oriented.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 8 · 7:30 am

Frodo wakes early and finds himself lying on a soft bed in Ithilien, where a month and a day ago he ate stewed rabbits with herbs. The beech trees arching overhead are green with young leaves. Sam, beside him, is still asleep.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 8 · 11:40 am

Sam wakes too. He sees that one of Frodo’s fingers is missing. ‘Where are we?’

‘In the land of Ithilien and in the keeping of the King; and he awaits you.’

‘Gandalf! I thought you were dead!’ Sam last saw the Grey Wizard 83 days ago, facing the Balrog. Now Gandalf wears white.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 8 · 2:01 pm

Gandalf dresses Frodo and Sam in their ragged travelling gear and leads them to the field of Cormallen. Thousands of knights and warriors stand cheering. ‘Long live the Halflings! Praise them with great praise!’

Aragorn bows before the hobbits, then sets them on a high throne.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 8 · 2:09 pm

Silence falls over the host as a minstrel of Gondor steps forward. ‘I will sing to you of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom.’ Sam laughs, then weeps: ‘O great glory and splendour! And all my wishes have come true!’ The minstrel sings. And their joy was like swords.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 8 · 5:30 pm

Frodo and Sam dress in clean linen, their elven-cloaks, and bright mail. Gandalf insists that Frodo wear Sting and his mithril-coat. At the feast they meet the friends they left 43 days ago: Legolas, Gimli, Merry (now a knight of Rohan), and Pippin (in the armour of the Citadel).

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 8 · 8:48 pm

With the feast over, the Sun having set, and the Moon having risen, Frodo and Sam talk late into the night with their friends—listening to the adventures and journeys of the rest of the Company. Sam is amazed by Merry and Pippin: ‘You’re three inches taller than you ought to be.’

We can include a few more dates in April beyond the two that are mentioned in the Tale of Years, by counting backwards from the crowning of King Elessar on the first of May. Thanks to details given in the main narrative, we know that the army reaches the walls of the city on the day before the crowning—that is, on April 30th—and reaches Osgiliath two days before that.

Happily, both the modern calendar and the Shire Calendar give April 30 days, so none of these end-of-month dates need adjustment as they do at the end of February and June.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 28 · 10:30 am

The armies that fought on after the downfall of Sauron are defeated, and over the past four weeks the fortresses of northern Mordor have all been levelled. The armies of the West, now ready to return home, take ship at Cair Andros and are carried south by the Anduin’s current.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 28 · 5:30 pm

The Captains of the West reach Osgiliath with their armies and disembark from the ships. They plan to remain in Osgiliath all day tomorrow, preparing for their return across the Pelennor to Minas Tirith.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 30 · 8:30 am

The last day of April has arrived. The Lord Aragorn and the other Captains lead the army of the West from Osgiliath into the green fields of the Pelennor and toward Minas Tirith.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 30 · 4:05 pm

The army of the West approaches Minas Tirith. They halt before its walls and raise their pavilions one last time, to spend a final night outside the city before the Lord Aragorn enters tomorrow for the first time as its king.

The Shire-Reckoning · Apr 30 · 9:30 pm

As evening fades to night on this Eve of May, Minas Tirith is bright with lights. Thousands of people have arrived from across Gondor and are waiting together for the dawn.

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