Even though the Lord of the Rings trilogy can be tedious and long, it is well worth the effort. You will miss so much of the story if you skip the movies. There are side stories, fascinating tidbits, and a lot more to it than you can see in the movies. How Many Lord Of The Rings Books Are There? Penn Book has the best information on this fantasy series.
About The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, an epic fantasy novel of high fantasy. Tolkien’s story was later made into a trilogy. The story started as a sequel to Tolkien’s earlier fantasy book The Hobbit and quickly grew into a larger story.
It was written in stages from 1937 to 1949. Much of it was written during World War II. It has been reprinted many times and translated into at most 38 languages since then, making it one of the most beloved works in 20th century literature.
The Lord of the Rings takes place in the fictional past of Numenor, the author’s conception of the real Earth. Humans inhabit it, but the action takes place in the present. Tolkien gave the setting a modern English name, Middle-earth. This is a rendering from the Old English Middangeard.
How Many Lord Of The Rings Books Are There?
The Lord of the Rings is not a three-part narrative, as stated in Tolkien’s private writings that were made available to the public in the 1980s. Instead, Tolkien wrote the full tale—from Bag End to Mordor and back—in one enormous book, which he anticipated would be followed by The Silmarillion.
Tolkien affirmed in his letters that he envisioned of this new Middle-earth adventure as six independent volumes, while wanting The Lord of the Rings to be published as one big success. After it was finished, the author divided it into six parts.
Unfortunately, neither count was accepted by the publishing house. When several potential publishers rejected Tolkien’s initial demand that The Lord of the Rings be published in its entirety, the author was obliged to back down out of fear that The Lord of the Rings might never be published at all.
Even though Tolkien had previously mentally split his story into six parts, his publisher wasn’t a fan. In an effort to reduce printing costs in case The Lord of the Rings wasn’t a commercial success, the business looked to the paper industry, which was still recovering from World War II. As a result, it was decided to publish 3 volumes, each with two novels.
How to Read The Lord of the Rings In Order
Let’s get started with the book summaries for this series now that you are aware of the two approaches you may take to both The Lord of the Rings books and films. But if you’re reading the novels for the first time, be aware that the summaries can reveal plot details from earlier volumes.
The novels are listed here in the sequence that they were published, with The Hobbit appearing before The Fellowship of the Ring. Reading the novels in the published sequence will enable you to experience Middle-earth as Tolkien intended. Still, many contemporary fans start with The Lord of the Rings trilogy and then go back to read The Hobbit.
1. The Hobbit
Like other hobbits, Bilbo Baggins enjoys nothing more than a peaceful evening in his cozy underground den, indulging in a delicious meal before a fire. However, Bilbo grows restless when a traveling wizard enchants him with stories of the unknown.
He quickly joins the wizard’s dwarven crew as they seek dangerous creatures like enormous spiders and ferocious wolves. However, Bilbo quickly becomes weary of his search for adventure and yearns for the comfort of his own home. Unfortunately, he must defeat the most significant peril of all a treasure-hunting dragon named Smaug before he can return to his comfortable existence.
J.R.R. Tolkien, a superb storyteller, crafts a fascinating world in this fantasy classic full of intriguing creatures and exciting perils.
2. The Fellowship of the Ring
One Ring to gather them all together and bond them in the darkness. One Ring to control them all.
The One Ring was fashioned by Sauron, The Dark Lord, and imbued with his power so that he may reign over all others. The Rings of Power were initially created by the Elven-smiths of old.
However, the One Ring was snatched from him, and despite his best efforts to find it across Middle-earth, he could not do so. According to The Hobbit, it ended up in Bilbo Baggins’ hands after many ages.
Young Frodo Baggins is given a monumental duty in a peaceful Shire town when his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts him with looking after the Ring. To reach the Cracks of Doom, Frodo must leave his home and go on a dangerous adventure across Middle-earth. He must destroy the Ring to stop the Dark Lord’s nefarious scheme.
3. The Two Towers
Throughout their journey to destroy the Ruling Ring in the Cracks of Doom and prevent it from slipping into the hands of the Dark Lord, Frodo and his Companions of the Ring have encountered peril. In a fight in the Mines of Moria, they lost the wizard Gandalf. Boromir attempted to take the Ring by force after becoming enamored with its allure.
Sam and Frodo could flee, but the rest of the group was ambushed by orcs. Except for the enigmatic crawling figure that follows them everywhere, they are now traveling alone along the mighty River Anduin.
4. The Return of the King
The majestic conclusion to J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy, which relates the story of the Middle-earth hobbits and the epic War of the Rings, is The Return of the King. As the journey progresses, the Companions of the Ring have been entangled in many individual adventures.
Aragorn, who was later identified as the long-hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, fought with the Riders of Rohan against the troops of Isengard and contributed to the Hornburg’s improbable success.
While Merry and Pippin, kidnapped by orcs, made their way into Fangorn Forest and met the Ents there. Then Gandalf mysteriously appeared again and vanquished Saruman, the evil wizard.
Meanwhile, Sméagol-Gollum, still fixated on his “treasure,” followed Sam and Frodo as they made their way towards Mordor to destroy the Ring. Sam left his master for dead after a fight with the enormous spider Shelob, but Frodo is still alive—in the care of the orcs.
The Dark Lord’s soldiers are assembling everywhere.
5. The Silmarillion
The Silmarillion is intended to delve further into the tales and stories of Middle-earth for readers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It tells the story of the Elder Days, or the First Age, in Tolkien’s fictional universe.
The characters of The Lord of the Rings reflect on this historical drama, and some of them, like Elrond and Galadriel, participated in its occurrences. The Silmarillion’s stories are set when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, was in Middle-Earth. The High Elves waged war against him to reclaim the Silmarils. These gems held the sober light of Valinor.
6. Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth
The storylines from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion are continued in this exciting sequel. The Children of Hurin’s alternate version is also included.
The stories in Unfinished Tales span from the Elder Days of Middle-earth to the conclusion of the War of the Ring.
The book focuses on the world of Middle-earth. It includes details about the sea god Ulmo appearing before Tuor’s eyes on the coast of Beleriand and an accurate description of the military structure of the Riders of Rohan, as well as Gandalf’s lively account of how he came to send the Dwarves to the celebrated party at Bag-End.
The sole account of the many years of Nmenor before its destruction may be found in Unfinished Tales, along with everything that is known about the Five Wizards, the Palantiri, and the tale of Amroth.
Christopher Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien’s son and literary successor, compiled and edited the stories. He also offers a brief commentary on each one to assist readers in filling in the blanks and placing each tale in the context of his father’s other works.
7. The Children of Húrin
The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, released after the author’s death, included fragments of this story from the Middle-First earth’s Age. Christopher Tolkien, Tolkien’s son, also edits it.
The sad tale of Trin and Ninor, the sons of Hrin, the ruler of Dor-lómin, who rose to fame for having fought Morgoth, the man in charge of Sauron, the embodiment of evil in the Lord of the Rings, was previously only hinted at in terms of its depth and strength.
The shadow of the Dark Lord Morgoth falls over Middle-earth six thousand years before the One Ring is destroyed. All is in darkness and misery since the finest fighters among elves and mortals have died.
However, Trin, son of Hrin, emerges as a dangerous new leader. Along with his gloomy band of outlaws, he starts to shift the tide in the struggle for Middle-earth. Trin is waiting for the day when he must face his fate and the fatal curse.
8. Beren and Lúthien
The story of Beren and Lthien had a crucial role in the development of The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien’s collection of myths and stories about the First Age of the World. The story was written the following year when he returned from France and the Battle of the Somme.
The destiny that overshadowed Beren and Lthien’s love is crucial to the narrative and has never been altered. Although Lthien was an immortal elf, Beren was a mortal man. In stark juxtaposition to Beren, the mighty elvish Lord, who was Lthien’s father, set an impossible duty on him before he could marry Lthien.
This is the narrative’s core, leading to Beren and Lthien’s magnificently heroic endeavor to deprive Melkor, also known as Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.
In this book, Christopher Tolkien tries to separate the tale of Beren and Lthien from the broader work in which it was initially included. However, the tale itself is constantly evolving due to new linkages it makes with earlier historical events.
He has narrated the tale in his father’s own words by first providing the story in its original form, followed by excerpts in prose and poetry from subsequent works that depict the narrative as it developed.
This is done to demonstrate how this Middle-earth mythology grew through time. They expose elements of the tale that were later forgotten, both in terms of incident and narrative immediacy, when they are presented together for the first time.
9. The Fall of Gondolin
Gondolin, a beautiful but undiscovered place, lies at the heart of the rivalry between two of the most significant forces in history.
The gods in Valinor reject Ulmo Lord of Waters’ plans to defend it, while Morgoth of the highest evil searches in vain for the marvelously concealed city of his Elven adversaries.
Tuor, Trin’s cousin, enters this realm and, with the help of Ulmo, travels fearfully to Gondolin to warn the inhabitants of their impending catastrophe. Then, by an act of utter betrayal, Morgoth discovers all he needs to launch a catastrophic assault on the city using Balrogs, dragons, and an infinite number of Orcs.
The epic tale of The Fall of Gondolin, which is being published for the first time as a standalone work, reunites readers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Balrogs, Dragons, and Orcs as well as the rich environment and distinctive creatures found only in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
Two Ways to Read the Lord of the Rings Books in Order
There are two suggested reading orders for the series to fully understand this fantastical universe.
1. The Lord of the Rings Books in Publishing Order
The Lord of the Rings volumes should be read in the following sequence, starting with the date of publication:
- The Hobbit (1937)
- The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)
- The Two Towers (1954)
- The Return of the King (1955)
- The Silmarillion (1977)
- Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth (1980)
- The Children of Hurin (2007)
- Beren and Luthien (2017)
- The Fall of Gondolin (2018)
2. The Order of the Lord of the Rings Books
You may prefer a different experience if you’re rereading the series. I advise reading The Lord of the Rings volumes sequentially for that purpose. However, this approach is NOT advised for novice readers or those unfamiliar with Middle-earth literature.
- The Silmarillion
- Beren and Luthin
- Children of Hurin
- The Fall of Gondolin
- Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth
- The Hobbit
- The Fellowship of the Ring
- The Two Towers
- The Return of the King
More of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Books
J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien have published additional volumes about the legends and concepts of Middle-earth. These volumes don’t belong at any particular point in the series. However, they are still excellent reading for anybody who wants to learn as much as they can about Middle-earth. Here are the books in the suggested reading sequence.
- The Book of Lost Tales, Part |
- The Book of Lost Tales, Part II
- The Lays of Beleriand
- The Shaping of Middle-earth
- The Lost Road and Other Writings
- The Return of the Shadow
- The Treason of Isengard
- The War of the Ring
- Sauron Defeated
- Morgoth’s Ring
- The War of the Jewels
- The Peoples of Middle-earth
- The History of Middle-earth Index
The Lord of the Rings Movies in Order
There are two methods to see The Lord of the Rings movies in sequence and the novels. You will undoubtedly fall in love with these films, whether seeing them for the first time or the hundredth time.
1. The Lord of the Rings Film Series in Date Order
This is the most apparent method to watch movies, and it’s still fun. The motion pictures in their sequence of discharge are:
- The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- The Two Towers (2003)
- The Return of the King (2005)
- An Unexpected Journey (2012)
- The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
- The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
2. A chronological list of The Lord of the Rings films
In addition to viewing The Lord of the Rings films in chronological sequence, you may also watch them in order of release date. You will have a lot more understanding of Middle-mythology, which will help you remember when Frodo’s trip begins.
Here is the chronological sequence in which you should watch The Lord of the Rings films.
- An Unexpected Journey
- The Desolation of Smaug
- The Battle of the Five Armies
- The Fellowship of the Ring
- The Two Towers
- The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings TV Show
A future TV program based on Tolkien’s universe will be produced in addition to the movies and novels. While the Amazon Prime adaption has been in the works for a while, the premiere is finally approaching with a scheduled September 2, 2023 debut.
Thousands of years before The Hobbit, there is a book called The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. According to the program’s creators, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, the miniseries will cover all the significant events of Middle-Second earth’s Age and the creation of the Rings. The emergence of the Dark Lord Sauron, the story of Nmenor, and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men will all be covered in this.
Throughout this time, the program will follow 22 people, including some well-known figures like Galadriel, Elrond, and Isildur. However, the program will also appear in numerous lesser-known characters from Tolkien’s novels, particularly The Silmarillion. Also, Amazon has indicated that the program would develop fresh characters.
According to Payne, Tolkien’s mythology will be modified so they can present a cohesive plot rather than a Middle-earth documentary. Notably, a Harfoot will be included in the TV program. Even though hobbits are not prominently featured in Tolkien’s literature until the Third Age, this is the case.
The Tolkien estate and Amazon Prime have agreed to a five-season arrangement, even though the first season hasn’t yet premiered. The second season’s filming should start in the middle of 2023. In keeping with the previous movies, the show is also being shot in New Zealand.
Is Lord of the Rings the best book ever?
Susan Jeffreys, a reporter for the (London Sunday Times), informed a colleague in January 1997 that J.R.R. In a poll of readers conducted by Channel 4 in Britain and Waterstone’s bookstore chain, The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s epic fantasy was voted the best book of the 20th Century.
How old is Gandalf?
Gandalf lived in Middle earth for 219 years. He was un-aged and appeared as a grey bearded, approximately 60-year-old human. As a Maia, however, he lived at most 9000 years before Middle Earth existed. His real age is, therefore, close to 11,000 years.
Do I need to read the Hobbit before LOTR?
Yes, it would help if you read The Hobbit first. It was the first to be released and introduced Gandalf, Bilbo, and it is an easy way to learn about Tolkien’s writing style and other details. While reading The Hobbit, while it is not essential to understanding The Lord of the Rings, would help you understand Middle Earth.
Is LOTR worth reading?
Even though the Lord of the Rings trilogy can be tedious and long, it is well worth the effort. You will miss so much if you skip the movies and side stories.
The Lord of the Rings is a classic story that has been enjoyed by readers for many years. The books are well-written and provide an exciting adventure that is perfect for fans of fantasy. If you have never read the books, I highly recommend them. Thank you for reading!