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March 3, S.R. 1419 (T.A. 3019)

The Tale of Years identifies both of the main story threads of this date:

  1. Théoden retreats to Helm’s Deep. Battle of the Horn-burg begins. Ents complete the destruction of Isengard.

Gandalf is the one character who will move between threads, starting the day in the company of Théoden and ending it having already visited the ruins of Isengard and spoken to Treebeard.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 3 · 12:20 am

Treebeard has moved slowly to within view of Isengard’s gates—still carrying Merry and Pippin—when suddenly horns blare and the gates open. Companies of Orcs and wolves and men begin marching south to join the assault on Rohan. It will be a hour before Isengard is finally empty.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 3 · 1:45 am

Now, in the small hours after midnight, Isengard lies quiet and empty. While some of the wild Huorn follow the army south, the rest of the Ents and Huorn move forward and attack. Treebeard sets Merry and Pippin down, and soon is breaking the ring of Isengard to rubble.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 3 · 3:10 am

The Second Battle of the Fords of Isen ends: Grimbold and his men are forced to abandon the Fords, leaving Rohan open to invasion. He himself is surrounded—but forms a shield-wall, breaks out thanks to a few of his men on horseback, and starts retreating southward in the dark.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 3 · 7:30 am

At dawn, Théoden and the riders in camp with him rise, quickly pack, and begin a second day of riding at speed toward the Fords of Isen. They hope to reach the Fords by late this evening.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 3 · 5:40 pm

The riders from Edoras meet a fugitive. ‘Where is Éomer? Tell him there is no hope ahead.’

Théoden answers. ‘I am here. The last host of the Eorlingas has ridden forth. It will not return without battle.’

Gandalf changes plans. He sends them to Helm’s Deep while he rides north.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 3 · 8:25 pm

Gandalf arrives at Isengard. He sees Merry and Pippin by the ruined gates. ‘Get up, you tom-fool of a Took! Where, in the name of wonder, in all this ruin is Treebeard?’

After a quick talk with Treebeard—‘I have about ten thousand Orcs to manage’—he rides away south again.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 3 · 9:30 pm

Théoden reaches Helm’s Deep with Éomer and his éored, adding to the thousand men of the Westfold already preparing to defend the fortress. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli get ready to fight alongside them.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 3 · 11:40 pm

The Ents open dams that they’ve spent the day building across the Isen and start to flood Isengard and its fires and pits. The waters nearly trap Merry and Pippin in a guardroom by the gate. The hobbits escape up a stair and watch the flooding from atop the wall.

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