Monday, February 22, 2016

A Guide to the Appendices

There is a huge wealth of information just waiting to be read in the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings.  There are six appendices labelled by letter (A, B, C, etc.).  Included in the appendices are:

  • Annals of the Kings and Rulers (Appendix A)
    • Numenorean Kings
      • Numenor
      • The Realms in Exile
        • The Northern Line (Heirs of Isildur)
        • The Southern Line (Heirs of Anarion)
      • Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur
        • The North-kingdom and the Dunedain
      • Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion
        • the Stewards
      • A Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen
    • The House of Eorl
      • The Kings of the Mark
        • First Line
        • Second Line
        • Third Line
    • Durin's Folk 
  • The Tale of Years (Appendix B)
    • Chronology of the West Lands
      • The Second Age
      • The Third Age
  • Family Trees (Appendix C)
    • Baggins of Hobbiton
    • Took of Great Smials
    • Brandybuck of Buckland
    • The Longfather-Tree of Master Samwise
  • Shire Calendar (Appendix D)
  • Writing and Spelling (Appendix E)
    • Pronunciation of Words and Names
      • Consonants
      • Vowels
      • Stress
      • Note
    • Writing
      • The Tengwar
      • The Feanorian Letters
        • Note
      • The Cirith
        • The Angerthas
  • The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age (Appendix F)
    • General*
      • Of the Elves
      • Of Men
      • Of Hobbits
      • Of Other Races
    • On Translation
*No specific heading, although since there is a part two of this category (On Translation), for purposes of organization I inserted this title to make it clear the following sub points are not at the same level as the On Translation title.

Now already you may be shying away--I understand.  J.R.R. Tolkien's style (and his son's Christopher, for that matter) is kind of unique and very very detailed with lots of headings and sub headings and all kinds of notes in between.  That's why I feel like a lot of people finish the last chapter of The Return of the King, The Grey Havens, breath a sigh of relief because it's over, and then close the book without taking a look at the appendices.  After all, you just made it through a 1,000 page plus book--you deserve a break!

But I always say that you should go back and read those appendices.  There is a wealth of knowledge in there that brings so much more depth to the stories.  And no, regardless of what people might have been telling you, it's not unimportant.  Things like the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen are incredibly interesting.  The story would be much poorer without it.

One of the best things about the appendices is that it can offer that sense of history even for those among us who have not read The Silmarillion.

Okay, enough about why the appendices are great.  You've already decided to read them and you've made it this far into my post, so I'm guessing you're willing to try.  Good for you!

Let's start with the longest (and probably most interesting) appendix, the Annals of the Kings and Rulers.  In case you don't know what annals are, they are basically records that go by year, coming from the same Latin root that gives us the word "annual".  In this section, we get the play by play records of every king of the Numenorians and where they ruled.  

With the risk of indulging myself too much, I will give a short summary of Numenor.  First off, the reason this is included in The Lord of the Rings, is because Aragorn is descended from the kings of Numenor, and as you will see throughout this history I'm about to explain, it is a huge deal for him to "return" as king.  First off, Numenor is the name of an island.  It was given to the good men after the first age who helped out in defeating the First Dark Lord.  They got this fancy island and were happy for some time.  Eventually though, Sauron corrupted them and they ended up worshiping the Dark Lord (at least, most of them.)  So their island was destroyed and only those who had not worshiped the Dark Lord were spared.  

The first section of this collection of annals deals with the kings that were on the island of Numenor before it was destroyed.  

The second section outlines the rulers once the faithful Numenorians landed on the continent of Middle-earth.  The leader of these faithful Numenorians was Elendil*.  His two sons were Isildur* and Anarion*.  Isildur ruled in the north, in a kingdom called Arnor.  Anarion ruled in the south in a kingdom called Gondor.  Thus there are two separate lines of rulership (northern and southern, Isildur and Anarion).  

The third section talks about the boundaries of the northern realm.  All you need know there is that the northern realm goes from the Misty Mountains to the Grey Havens.  

The next section (a subsection of section three) is about the disposessed rulers.  The kingdom in the north was destroyed (by the Witch King of Angmar*) and the kings and their heirs became scattered and disgraced.  They were known as the Rangers, or the Dunedain, more properly.  Aragorn* was the last of these and reclaimed the throne.  This section describes each of these rulers and the three areas they took care of.

The fourth section details what was happening meanwhile in Gondor.  Eventually the line of Anarion came to an end (technically Aragorn is descended from both Anarion and Isildur but we don't need to know about that so ignore this sentence!) and the stewards took over.

The next section (actually a subsection of section number five) takes care of what the stewards did and who they were.  The last steward was Denethor II.

Deep breath now.  The best part of the appendices is the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, the fifth section.  This is where we actually fall into a narrative with dialogue and main characters (huzzah!).  It describes how Aragorn and Arwen met and their relationship throughout the War of the Ring, and also how Aragorn and Arwen died after the end of ROTK.

Finally, chunk number two out of three for the first appendix: The House of Eorl*.  Basically this portion is just about the rulers of what would later become Rohan--how they came out of the north, allied themselves with Gondor and were given the land they call the Mark.  There are only three sections: the First Line, Second Line, and Third Line, which list the kings in order and their accomplishments.

The final part of Appendix A is Durin's Folk, information on the dwarves descended from Durin the Deathless.  There are a few family trees in here for reference as well.

Congratulations, you made it to Appendix B!  This is the chronology of the westlands, that is, what happened in the western part of Middle-earth.  This appendix is pretty basic: it goes through years of note, first the Second Age, then the Third which also splits into months.

Appendix C: Family Trees.  See the above list to see which family trees are where.

Appendix D is next.  This has information about the Shire calendar and how it works.

On a completely unrelated note, check out this bottle
of Diet Coke I got at the store!
Appendix E is the second most interesting, in my opinion.  This one discusses in great detail (it's Tolkien, of course) all about the pronunciation of names (consonants, vowels, and stress) and the writing (Feanorian letters, and the Cirith).

Finally, Appendix F, The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age, another really interesting one.  This one splits into the category of elves, men, hobbits, and other races (ents, orcs, trolls, and dwarves).  Then it splits into the translation of words in different languages and that concludes the appendix.

You made it!  Isn't all that new knowledge so fulfilling?  Don't you feel like you have a better understanding of the story?  You're practically an expert now.  I hope this helped you on your adventure through the appendices!

*There are a ton of names in this appendix and you certainly don't have to remember everyone.  I will put asterisks next to people you should probably know if you want a good handle on this story.


  1. Huzzah! XD
    I've been trying to get around to reading ALL of the appendices but haven't done it yet. I studied the Hobbit family trees tons of times for research purposes XD
    Ohmigosh! That Diet Coke bottle is SO AWESOME! I wish they made/could make more of those... :D

    1. They totally should make more of them--if only I actually knew some real life elves to share with :(
      The family trees are really interesting; it is so cool to see how thoroughly Tolkien thought through everything!

    2. True... IF they made one to share with a hobbit, you could share it with me!? Haha ;)
      Totally! He loved his creation. It kind of reminds me of how God thought through everything before it was created! :D

    3. Haha, true! They should do that for Hobbit Day in September!
      That's a good point. Professor Tolkien always said that the more thoroughly you could flesh out your creation, the closer you would be to imitating God, which is the ultimate goal.

    4. BRILLIANT! Let's get a letter going! And while we're at it, let's write to Google to translate words into elvish! XD
      That's so deep that it's amazing...

    5. Yes! Writing up a draft now... ;)

    6. *gasp* AWESOME! I just love your immediate action... XD

    7. Well, it's an important issue XD