Example: in the Book of Lost Tales, the Valar could reproduce. In Morgoth's Ring, Tolkien denied them this biological feature. So, any timeline should *not* include Valar reproduction.
In my opinion, this is not the only way to write Timelines: it's also possible to fix a time - say, 1930 - and try to reconstruct a timeline for Middle-earth *as it was imagined by Tolkien at that time*. To do this, we must consider as "Canon" everything that he wrote *before* that time, the latter the best, and then add what he wrote *after* that time, the earliest the best.
As an example, let's imagine that we have texts A, B, C, D and E, written in 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950 and 1960. If we want to make an "early" Timeline, the order should be A, B, C, D and E. If we want to make a 1945 Timeline, the order should be C, B, A, D and E. If we want to make a "final" Timeline, the order should be E, D, C, B and A.
I think I will use an icon code , but I'm æsthetically challenged (© Ecthelion of Gondolin ), so I'd like to hear what you think about it :-)
The Tolkien Timelines can be seen here
OTOH, maybe you aren't interested at all in Timelines, but you might be interested in reading those tales in chronological order, and you think the way the tales lie in the books are a mess. There is a solution to your problem: Larry King created the Chronological Tolkien Page, with instructions about reading all M-e books (up to Unfinished Tales in chronological order!
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