In the end of The Return of the King:

Time went on, and 1421 came in. Frodo was ill again in March, but with a great effort he concealed it, for Sam had other things to think about. The first of Sam and Rosie’s children was born on the twenty-fifth of March, a date that Sam noted.

Sam... noted this date?! Isn't that an absolute given? Who has such a major life event without even "noting" it?

Does "noted" refer to something else, like many words have an original/archaic meaning in this book?

  • 8
    That is standing in contrast to the previous sentence "Frodo was ill" which wasn't a thing that Sam noted the date of.
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 22:47
  • 2
    @DavidW - likely because Frodo concealed it, per the quote - had Frodo not concealed his illness, Sam would undoubtedly fussed over Frodo about it. Frodo knew that Sam had other things to worry about - like the birth of his first child - and didn't want his own issues distracting Sam from his wife's [and daughter's] needs. Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 13:22
  • 6
    (As a note, not all religions/cultures celebrate birthdays so it's not necessarily a given that one notes their child's birth date.)
    – BruceWayne
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 15:48
  • 12
    @BruceWayne but given that LOTRs opens with a huge birthday party for Bilbo, it's unlikely that the hobbits are one of those cultures.
    – eques
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 20:18

1 Answer 1


Sam would particularly note (notice) the date of the 25th of March in his calendar because two years earlier he and Frodo had destroyed the One Ring and saved the world on that same day.

'Noon?' said Sam, trying to calculate. 'Noon of what day?' 'The fourteenth of the New Year,' said Gandalf; 'or if you like, the eighth day of April in the Shire reckoning. But in Gondor the New Year will always now begin upon the twenty-fifth of March when Sauron fell, and when you were brought out of the fire to the King.

The Return of the King - The Field of Cormallen

  • 30
    Yes. In this case "noted" implies "took special note of". This kind of usage in still seen in sentences like "note the dress code for tomorrow's ceremony"
    – Andrew
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 23:36
  • 1
    And although the Hobbits do not use it, that date is the first day of year 1 according to the Fourth Age calendar used in Gondor.
    – Buzz
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 0:40
  • 27
    The 25th March (Lady Day - see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Day) was the first day of the year in England from 1155 to 1752 (when England switched to the Gregorian calendar). So it was Tolkien's little in-joke to make Gondor pick it as the first day of their year.
    – user23087
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 2:28
  • 13
    Yes, it is likely that although he would regard his daughter's birth on any date to be momentous, this date he would also regard as auspicious. So he would note the date.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 2:48
  • 3
    @Valorum: allusions are not the same thing as allegories.
    – Martha
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 23:32

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