Lord of the Rings: Complete chronological watch order explained

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Image via IMDB)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Image via IMDB)

The universe of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, brought to life on both the page and the big screen, has captivated the imagination of innumerable people worldwide with the tale of Middle-earth. The ageless tale of hobbits, wizards, elves, dwarves, and the all-pervasive power of the One Ring has had a lasting impression on both literature and film.

Those looking to immerse themselves fully in this elaborate and fantastical universe can consider watching the LOTR series in chronological viewing sequence that takes viewers on a tour across Middle-earth from its earliest times to the decisive wars.

How to watch Lord of the Rings in order?

The Silmarillion


It is crucial to start with The Silmarillion to comprehend Middle-earth's history and lore in their entirety. Although this isn't a movie or TV show, it forms the basis for Tolkien's legendarium.

The birth of Middle-earth, the rise and fall of ancient civilizations, and the origins of significant people and artifacts are all explored in The Silmarillion, a compilation of mythical tales.

While not necessary for experiencing LOTR, reading and seeing it gives more perspective and depth to the world that the narrative takes place in.

The Hobbit Trilogy (2012–2014)

Viewing The Hobbit trilogy before delving into the prominent plot is beneficial. Despite being a precursor to LOTR, it's vital to remember that this series was created after the primary trilogy. But it does introduce viewers to essential figures like Gandalf and give them some One Ring history.

The viewing order for The Hobbit trilogy is as follows:

  1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
  2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  3. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001–2003)

The Middle-earth story's central theme is best appreciated when seen in chronological order.

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

One may accompany Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, Gandalf, and the rest of the fellowship as they attempt to destroy the One Ring and foil the schemes of the dark lord Sauron by watching these films in order.

The Lord of the Rings TV Series (Season 1)

Amazon Prime's LOTR TV series with a Middle-Earth setting is the most recent adaptation of the story. It not only created massive excitement among the fans of the LOTR franchise but also introduced a new mystic epic tale to fans.

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim (Upcoming)

Concept art of the upcoming LOTR movie (Image via IGN)
Concept art of the upcoming LOTR movie (Image via IGN)

The War of the Rohirrim is a thrilling contribution to the Middle-earth movie realm. This animated movie will examine the past of Rohan, one of the essential realms in Middle-earth.

Final thoughts


In conclusion, reading LOTR chronologically enables one to fully experience Middle-earth's depth and complexity. There is a multitude of stuff to enjoy, ranging from The Silmarillion through The Hobbit trilogy, the LOTR blockbusters, and forthcoming TV series and films.

This watch order offers a thorough and immersive experience that will dazzle viewers with the timeless narrative of hobbits, wizards, and the never-ending conflict between good and evil.

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