As fans of J.R.R. Tolkien already have an understanding of what happened before the Lord of the Rings, thanks to the prequel show Rings of Power, and The Hobbit there is now a raised interest in whatever happens right after the famous trilogy ends.

Tolkien’s groundbreaking movie trilogy ended after the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron, who couldn’t survive without Ring’s power was defeated. Mordor has fallen and the war was finally over. Aragorn became the King of Gondor and married Arwen, Galadriel’s granddaughter. At the end of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King it was shown that Frodo, alongside his uncle Bilbo traveled to Undying Lands.

The films ended right at the beginning of The Fourth Age but that doesn’t mean Tolkien left his readers wandering in the dark. He left us a handful of essays, letters, appendices, and unpublished manuscripts which were later edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and published in Peoples of Middle-earth.

Let’s find out what happens after the Lord of the Rings.

Side by side photo of Aragorn from Lord of the Rings Return of the King and Sauron from The Two Towers
Images screenshot from official Warner Bros. Entertainment YouTube channel

What happened to the main characters after Lord of the Rings?

As mentioned before, Aragorn became the King of Gondor and married an elf Arwen, who eventually gave up her immortality to spend her life with a beloved husband. She gave birth to their son Eldarion. Aragorn rebuilt Arnor and created a Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor. He immediately gained popularity and success, his time on the throne made him a symbol of stability within the whole Kingdom. He died at age 210 and was buried beside Merry and Pippin, who died 58 years earlier than him.

Frodo and Bilbo Baggins sailed to Valinor, also known as Undying Lands, after making a significant contribution to the history of Shire and rebuilding it after the horrible war. Sam, Frodo’s gardener, and friend who was by his side throughout the whole trilogy, returned to the Shire, became the mayor, married, and had thirteen children. Merry and Pippin also returned to the Shire and roused the hobbits against Saruman’s forces during the Scouring of the Shire. They both married and had children, dying peacefully in Gondor.

After the war has ended, Gandalf crowned Aragorn and accompanied hobbits to the Shire. After two years he left Middle-earth and sailed to Valinor alongside Bilbo, Frodo, Elrond, and Galadriel.

Legolas and Gimli stayed in Minas Tirith for Aragorn’s coronation and then traveled together around the world. After 120 years, when the majority of The Fellowship of the Ring has passed away, Legolas decided that his time on Middle-earth has also come to an end. Even though dwarves were never allowed to travel to Undying Lands, Legolas still asked his best friend Gimli to accompany him to Valinor. Both built a small boat and sailed to the West.

New Line Cinema's "Lord Of The Rings" Gets 13 Oscar Nominations
Photo by New Line/WireImage

The future of the fictional races of Lord of the Rings

At the end of Return of the King, Gandalf made a prediction of what may happen later. He famously stated: “For the time comes of the Dominion of Men, and the Elder Kindred should fade or depart”. For better or for worse, this prediction was proven correct very soon after his own departure.

After Sauron was defeated and the One Ring destroyed, elves lost much of their special abilities and eventually, most of them decided to leave Middle-Earth and sail to Valinor.

In the Fourth Age, dwarves were sadly dying out, as Dwarven females, who made up a third of their population, decided not to marry.

Just like dwarves, hobbits have also reached extinction, primarily due to men, who threatened their survival as a race and forced them into hiding. Eventually, hobbits lost their culture and slowly faded from Middle-earth.

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