Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Lord Of The Rings: How Long Did It Take For Frodo To Destroy The One Ring?

"The Lord of the Rings" is an epic tale and one that can feel really long. It doesn't matter if you're sitting down to watch a dozen hours of Peter Jackson's iconic trilogy or prepping to commit a much longer run to reading J.R.R. Tolkien's books. Either way, it's a long story to take in. But how long does it take, you know, in the story? How long is Frodo on his perilous quest that stretches hundreds of miles across various Middle-earth perils? The quick answer? Less than a year. Closer to half a year, in fact.

That's right. Frodo gets the One Ring from one corner of Middle-earth to the other — and mostly on foot — in just six months and two days. While the timeline is a bit warped in Peter Jackson's adaptation, Tolkien makes most of the important dates very clear as he goes along. He even lists out most of these moments in a timeline in the appendices of "The Return of the King."

According to those records, Frodo starts on his journey on September 23 in the 3018th year of the Third Age. He reaches the Cracks of Doom and (indirectly) destroys the One Ring on March 25 of the following year — a date that subsequently becomes New Year's Day in Gondor. The total number of days traveled? 185, which translates to six months and two days.

Frodo doesn't even travel the whole time

Considering the number of events that happen along the way, half a year seems like lightning speed for Frodo to complete his quest. Fan site LOTR Project also estimates that Frodo travels around 1,800 miles to complete his journey, which is a seriously long stretch, averaging nearly 10 miles per day.

The even crazier thing is that the ring-bearer isn't on the move that entire time. After the first part of his journey, he reaches Rivendell, where he spends a long time recuperating. Frodo escapes from the Black Riders on the doorstep of the Last Homely House on October 20, less than a month after leaving home. After that, Frodo doesn't resume the journey until he sets out with the Fellowship of the Ring on December 25. That means he spends over two months resting. He also spends roughly a month in Lothlórien.

However, these delays are offset by a couple of speedier travel options that help Frodo along the way. The first is that when they leave the Shire, Frodo and his Halfling companions initially ride on ponies, which helps to speed things up for a bit. The second speedy travel element takes place when they leave Lothlórien and sail down the Great River Anduin for several days by boat.

It technically takes Frodo much longer than six months

If the question is phrased, "How long did it take Frodo to complete his journey from the Shire to Mount Doom," the correct answer is six months and two days. However, technically speaking, it takes Frodo nearly two decades to complete the quest if you consider the entire time that he has the One Ring in his possession.

Once again, this isn't made clear in Jackson's films. However, in the source material, when Frodo first receives the Ring, it's on his 33rd birthday. It isn't until his 50th birthday, 17 years later, that he sets out on his quest. (Yes, J.R.R. Tolkien loved working birthdays into his Hobbit storylines.) This means it takes him 17 years, six months, and two days to destroy the Ring.

But wait, you say, he doesn't know he had to destroy the Ring for a lot of that time. It isn't until Gandalf shows up again and tells him what it is that he realizes he needs to destroy it. Okay, then. "The Return of the King" appendices say Gandalf arrives at Bag End on April 12, 3018. The following morning, he tells Frodo what he has, and the two decide Frodo will, at the least, take it to Rivendell. He doesn't leave right away, though, sitting tight until his birthday in September before he finally gets a move on.

From the day he finds out about the Ring until the day it is destroyed, 347 days elapse, or 11 months, one week, and six days. Whether he accomplishes his quest in half a year, most of a year, or 17 and a half years, though, it doesn't change the fact that Frodo remains one of the greatest heroes ever penned.