A lot of people who read the Lord of the Rings for the first time not only get confused by the large amount of names and places but also of the many storylines and switches that occur during the book. In general the first book: The Fellowship of the Ring starts pretty much chronilogical and follows the actions of Frodo and the other Hobbits. A mayor turning point is the Council of Elrond where the Fellowship of the Ring is formed and the company sets out on its quest. The End of the First Book and the beginning of the Second Book concern the Breaking of the Fellowship and from that point the story gets more complicated as there are three major groups to follow. During the Second book and the Third book the story switches from group to group while often going back in time.We have created four Timelines that give a chronological summary of the major events that concern the main characters. Each character has his own coloured line that can be followed as the characters gather and disperse. The First Timeline follows the actions of some of the members of the Fellowship of the Ring from the moment that Gandalf visits Frodo in Hobbiton until the Council of Elrond.
Go to source: Lord of the Rings Time Line