June 1–30HomeSeptember 18–21

July 1–30, S.R. 1418 (T.A. 3018)

The Tale of Years for July has only two entries:

4 Boromir sets out from Minas Tirith.
10 Gandalf imprisoned in Orthanc.

To those two events, we can add another: since we placed Gandalf’s arrival in Bree on the modern date June 30th, he should now start his ride south for Orthanc on July 1st. On the real Shire Calendar his ride starts on 2 Lithe, the summer-day that comes just before the first of July; since our calendar lacks that date, his journey will seem to us one day shorter than it really was.

The Shire-Reckoning · Jul 1 · 4:51 am

Leaving his letter to Frodo in the care of the Prancing Pony’s landlord, Barliman Butterbur, Gandalf rides south from Bree at dawn. Though Isengard is more than a week’s ride to the south, Gandalf hopes he can reach the wizard Saruman before the Nazgûl learn the Shire’s location.

The story that Butterbur tells Frodo when he reaches the Prancing Pony in September lets us fill in a few events between July 1st and July 4th.

The Shire-Reckoning · Jul 1 · 9:51 am

Butterbur can’t find anyone willing to travel to the Shire today to deliver Gandalf’s letter to Frodo.

The Shire-Reckoning · Jul 2 · 9:51 am

Butterbur once again can’t find anyone to travel to the Shire to deliver Gandalf’s letter. His own folk are all busy and can’t be spared.

The Shire-Reckoning · Jul 3 · 9:51 am

Having tried several times to find someone willing to carry Gandalf’s letter to the Shire, Butterbur starts to forget that he still needs to have it delivered. Frodo will not finally read the letter until he himself arrives in Bree—on September 29, with the Nazgûl on his heels.

The Shire-Reckoning · Jul 4 · 8:30 am

Just before Mordor’s assault on the last bridge in Ithilien two weeks ago, Faramir—son of the ruling Steward—dreamed that he heard a voice in the West.

‘Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells…’

The Shire-Reckoning · Jul 4 · 8:31 am

Now that Faramir’s elder brother Boromir has had the same dream, their father Denethor sends Boromir riding north to find ‘Imladris’—which, Denethor says, the lore of Gondor remembers as the Elven name of a valley ‘where Elrond and Halfelven dwelt, greatest of lore-masters.’

The events of July 10th can be recounted in detail because, even though they happen off-stage from the main narrative, Gandalf later tells the full story at the Council of Elrond.

The Shire-Reckoning · Jul 10 · 8:13 pm

After an eleven-day ride south and east across Eriador, Gandalf reaches the circle of Isengard and is admitted. The gate closes behind him as he rides to the foot of Orthanc, meets Saruman, and follows him up to the tower’s high chamber.

‘So you have come, Gandalf.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Jul 10 · 8:19 pm

Saruman turns quickly from welcoming to openly mocking the Grey Wizard—and reveals his grievance: he knows that Gandalf is hiding the Ring from him. ‘You have come, and that was all the purpose of my message. And here you will stay, Gandalf the Grey, and rest from journeys.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Jul 10 · 8:26 pm

Saruman suggests that he and Gandalf join Sauron, hoping to control him; then proposes that they themselves rule Middle-earth with the Ring; and finally demands: ‘reveal to me where the One may be found.’

Gandalf refuses.

Saruman imprisons Gandalf on the pinnacle of Orthanc.

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