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Rings of Power - Timeline

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Skeletaure, Oct 23, 2022.

  1. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Mar 5, 2006
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    Trying to figure out how to approach this for the purposes of Tales of the Late-Comer. Warning: spoilers for the events of LotR Second Age for those of you watching the show without reading the books.

    Explicit Dates in RoP

    There are two main statements in RoP to date the events of the show:

    1. The Watch Warden in the Southlands tells Arondir they have been watching the men who followed Morgoth for 1,000 years.

    2. Galadriel states her search for Sauron continued for "centuries" (i.e. she does not say millenia).

    So on its own terms, the show appears to place itself around S.A. 1000.

    Fitting this in with Numenor

    In the books, the timeline of Numenor looks something like this:

    - S.A. 32: Founded
    - S.A. 600: Numenoreans begin sailing to Middle Earth
    - S.A. 1800: Numenoreans begin colonising Middle Earth
    - S.A. 2899: 2962 - reign of Ar-Adunakhor, the first Numenorean king to take his name exclusively in Adunaic rather than Quenya, who banned the Elves from Numenor.
    - S.A. 3255: death of Tar-Palantir, father of Miriel.

    In the show, events are set around S.A. 1000, yet:

    1. Tar-Palantir is already on the throne, 2,200 years early.

    2. Elves were banned from Numenor in the time of Miriel's "grandfather's great-grandfather" - this appears to be an accurate reference to Ar-Adunakhor in terms of the number of generations he is removed from Miriel, but he has been displaced in time substantially.

    3. Numenor has already performed some colonisation (i.e. Bronwyn refers to Pelargir as being a Numenorean colony) but has abandoned them and turned to isolationism (something which does not occur in the book timeline).

    Clearly there is a substantial compression of the Numenorean timeline. I think this means you have to reduce Numenorean life-span, because otherwise we would only be a handful of generations removed from Elros himself. You can still have Numenoreans be relatively long-lived compared to "low men" without going into lifespans of hundreds of years.

    So let's assume that Numenoreans tend to have children around age 50, remain vigorous until around age 100, and live to around 140.

    On this basis, you can work out when Ar-Adunakhor would have been around by working backwards from Miriel, 50 years per generation, and assuming Miriel is now 60 years old.

    Miriel's "grandfather's great-grandfather" is removed from her by 5 generations, meaning on this basis he would have been born around 310 years ago. This feels about right in terms of Numenor's turn away from the Elves constituting the most recent 30% of their history.

    This can of course be extended if you lean more on Numenorean life span to say they have children later in life and live longer, but would have the function of reducing the number of generations removed we are from Elros (which I feel needs to be a good number of generations to create a narrative of turning away from the Elves/Valar over time) and increasing the proportion of its history for which Numenor has been hostile to the Elves.

    So creating a RoP timeline for Numenor, I think we have something like this:

    - S.A. 32: Founded
    - S.A. 200: Numenor begins sailing to Middle-Earth
    - S.A. 300: Numenor begins colonising Middle-Earth, including at Pelargir, Umbar, and Tharbad
    - S.A. 400: from this time onwards, Numenor begins to increasingly resent the Elves.
    - S.A. 690: Ar-Adunakhor born
    - S.A. 730: Ar-Adunakhor takes the throne, implements ban on Elves and adopts Adunaic names exclusively.
    - S.A. 730 to S.A. 1000: Period of Numenor's isolationism, in which the Elves do not visit, and Numenor loses contact with its colonies in Middle-Earth (which continue without them as splinter city-states)
    - S.A. 1000: Galadriel comes to Numenor, Tar-Palantir dies

    Fitting this in with Sauron

    In the book timeline, Sauron's movements look something like this:

    - S.A. 882: Gil-galad warns Numenor that Sauron is rising in the East.
    - S.A. 1000: Sauron starts building up Numenor and Barad-dur
    - S.A. 1200: Sauron comes to the Elves in disguise
    - S.A. 1500: Sauron and the Elves of Eregion start forging the Rings of Power
    - S.A. 1590: Rings of Power complete
    - S.A. 1600: Sauron forges the One Ring
    - S.A. 1693: Sauron makes war on Middle-Earth, conquers most of it except for Khazad-Dum and Lindon, Eregion sacked, before he is driven back by a combined Elvish and Numenorean force.
    - S.A. 2251: Ringwraiths appear
    - S.A. 3262: Sauron taken captive by Numenor
    - S.A. 3320: Downfall of Numenor, founding of the Kingdoms in Exile
    - S.A. 3429: War of the Last Alliance
    - S.A. 3441: Sauron's defeat

    Now, if we are in S.A. 1,000, we are relatively clear in terms of Sauron's storyline, because most of it hasn't happened yet. The only thing you have to ditch is Sauron's earliest stirrings in the East, and Gil-galad being aware of them/warning Numenor (who by this time are isolationist).

    However, the events of the show itself re-arrange Sauron's plans substantially. He was indeed in Mordor/the Southlands, but he is forced out of those lands by Adar/a rebellion of his own orcs against him.

    Thereafter he adopts a "Rings first" strategy where he first comes to the Elves in disguise and makes the Rings (perhaps planned, perhaps genuinely coincidental as he presents to Galadriel). Only then does he go back to Mordor to reclaim it for himself (which will presumably be much of his story in Season 2 - Halbrand vs. Adar), after which he will presumably build it up and eventually use it to make war on the Elves. It is not clear how the forging of the other Rings of Power fits into this, as only the Three are made at this point in time.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2022
  2. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Mar 5, 2006
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    Steelbadger and I have been discussing methodology for how one might compress the line of Kings of Numenor into 1000 years, keeping the whole line intact by compressing lifespans by a factor of 3.

    My attempt:


    My methodology was basically:

    - Keep Elros' birth date and founding of Numenor fixed, but divide his death date by 3. This gives you the first date on which the throne passed on.

    - Divide the birth date and death date of all others by 3.

    - Calculate the original time period between passing on the throne (date succeeded) and death of a King, and divide that by 3.

    - Use that number to identify succession date by reference to the death dates.

    - Use the succession date of the previous ruler to determine the crowning date of the subsequent ruler.

    This produces dates one can use, but you still have the issue of the events of these people's lives not lining up with the broader timeline e.g. Sauron's movements. So they essentially become empty names as it is difficult to associate them with their canonical acts and endeavours, successes and failures.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2022
  3. Steelbadger

    Steelbadger Death Eater

    Nov 9, 2013
    United Kingdom
    The cynic in me says that attempting to disentangle the timeline compression from the event compression going on in the show will be... difficult in the extreme.

    Sure, we can construct a line of Kings that lasts 1000 years by compressing their lives to a more human timescale, but as the events surrounding them also do not match with the in-show history, what we're left with is of dubious usefulness.
    The show appears to be trying to conform to multiple different sets of events at once.

    First, it has kept the ~1000 years of peace at the beginning of the Second Age, and has kept Sauron's Annataring to the same amount of time post-beginning of the Age, but it also wants to move the important events of the last 2000 years to within a single (human) lifetime. At the same time, it wants to keep the line of Kings intact, which means they all need to be squished into a pretty short period of time. The end result is a bizarrely lopsided history that is hard to make work in a satisfying way.

    The other option would be to selectively remove people from the line of Kings to fit them into a 1000 year span, though that rapidly runs into issues too for the simple reason that Elros is known to exist and Ar-Adunakhor is known to be Miriel's 3x great grandfather. Elros takes us to 442, and if Ar-Adunakhor was his grandson that would put Palantir's death at ~S.A 800.

    If we wanted to do this, taking only the known Kings, and keeping enough of the others to fill out the timeframe, we'd get something like:
    Somewhat strangely, this keeps all the same historical events of Numenor's history that RoP seems to. It also means that Numenor started disliking the Elves within a couple of generations which seems harsh.

    Really, this whole exercise kinda shows up one of the things I was most disappointed about with the show; the lack of a feeling of consistent history within the world as written. They're quite welcome to compress things and move events around, but it doesn't seem to have been done with much consideration given to what that means in terms of the history of the world. They had their ideas for what they wanted the story now to be, and they wanted to be able to drop in nuggets and references to Tolkien's histories, but they didn't seem to make much effort to get those two things to fit together.

    They could have simply had 3000 years of relative peace. Sure, it's a long time, but so is 1000 years and given it's just for a few off-the-cuff statements, I don't see it really damaging things all that much. Instead, they have decided on this mix-and-match approach which is just messy.

    But this is our lot, so let's try to make it work anyway. What if we do a bit of both, and fill in the gaps:
    I've done a few things with this timeline. First, I have flattened the lifespan curve a bit by taking their canon lifespans, square-rooting them, and then multiplying by 14.85 to normalise Tar-Palantir to his canon age-at death. This is so that we're not creating problems for the future, like making Aragorn impossible in this AU. This makes Elros live to a measly 332 years. That's probably still long enough.

    I then went through and removed Kings who weren't all that important until we were down to roughly the right amount of covered time. I then went and fiddled that 14.85 scaling factor to close some of the bigger gaps in ages. Finally, I made Ar-Adunakhor the first to switch to an Adunaic regnal name (while keeping a Quenya name as secondary) as Ar-Belzagar and Ar-Abattarik aren't all that interesting on their own. I also gave Ar-Zimrathon the dubious honour of being the guy to abandon the colonies. Presumably he did this because they were too pally with the Elves who lived nearby. From this point on the colonies are largely populated by the Faithful.

    It's still far from perfect, but it gets us a ~1000 year time-span, keeps Miriel's 3x great grandad as the guy to give the middle finger to the Elves, and retains enough generational separation between Elros and now that he still feels like a proper historical figure.

    In this scenario, I'd assume that the root of the Numenorean-Elf dislike stems directly from the Numenorean effort to colonise Middle-earth. Perhaps the Elvish Kingdoms were less accommodating of them than in canon, and competition for trade and resources led to an antipathy between the two races which festered into their eventual isolation.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2022
  4. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

    Aug 21, 2006
    New Zealand