Every year, I reread The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater in October or November. It’s one of my favorite books and I love re-experiencing the story and characters and aesthetics during the season it’s set in. A few years ago, I wanted to read the book on the dates each chapter takes place (or as close as possible), but after searching online, I couldn’t find a concrete timeline for the book. So for the last couple of rereads, I tried to figure out a chronological timeline of the events in case someone else wanted to read the book on the days they take place in the story.
Some of the dates are a little messy because it’s not always clear when things take place. Other than the Scorpio Races taking place on November 1, there aren’t many concrete dates for the events. In addition, this timeline only really works if November 1st falls on a Saturday. But we can always just enjoy the story even if the days aren’t exact.
I created a graphic with the basic rundown of which chapters to read on which day. The book says that the horses start to emerge in Mid-October. Working backwards based on certain events that have specific time frames, I determined this timeline works for the most part if Chapter 1 starts on October 11.
Below, I’ve included a full analysis of why I think each chapter corresponds to this specific date using the book references. I tried to explain it as thoroughly as I can for those interested. For page references, I used the first hardback edition (ISBN: 9780545224901) published in 2011.
I also tried my best to refrain from mentioning any major spoilers (character deaths, the results of the race, etc.) for anybody who hasn’t read the book yet, though I assume anybody interested in this timeline would already have read the book before. That being said, I used some quotes from the book that could be spoilers for some minor events in the book. If someone is interested in reading along for the first time, I would just use the graphic and ignore the analysis/explanation below.
Prologue: November 1
Obviously, the prologue is November 1 since Sean says that in the opening line. Since this prologue takes place years before the events of the book, this is the only chapter you can’t really “read” on the day it takes place unless you’re going to skip it and read it later, which would be odd.
Chapters 1-4: Saturday, October 11
According to chapter 24, the Scorpio Festival is held a week after the horses emerge (page 141). At the end of chapter 33 (page 199), during the Scorpio Festival, Puck states that the races are two weeks away. So if we determine she means exactly two weeks and the Scorpio Races are on November 1, then the Scorpio Festival is on October 18. A week before that is October 11.
In addition, chapter 4 could be early morning on October 12. There isn’t a specific time frame the events take place, so I just lumped it in for October 11 to spread out the reading a little better. There are a lot of chapters that take place in the middle of the night, so for the most part, I kept those chapters with the previous chapter day. So if it’s the middle of the night during a chapter, like this chapter, I kept it October 11 instead of October 12, even if it’s technically past midnight. Otherwise it’s too messy to truly figure out.
Chapters 5-11: Sunday, October 12
During chapter 3, Puck says training starts “tomorrow” (page 25), and chapter 5 starts with Puck waking up the next day (page 35). On page 39, Sean mentions it’s the “first day” after the horses emerge. The events of the next chapters follow one after another.
Chapters 12-20: Monday, October 13
These chapters are clearly the following day and follow one after another.
Chapters 21-22: Tuesday, October 14
At the beginning of chapter 21, Puck narrates “based on my experience on the beach the day before” (page 122), which refers to what happened in chapters 12-20. Chapter 22 doesn’t have a ton to distinguish what day it takes place, but I assume it’s the morning after chapter 20 since Sean says his jacket “dried on my radiator overnight” so that would make it the same as chapter 21, which is on October 14 (page 125).
Chapters 23-25: Wednesday, October 15
Chapter 23 begins with Puck narrating “by lunchtime the next day” (page 132), making that October 15. In chapter 24, Doris Maud asks Puck to help set up the booth on Friday (page 142), so I imagine this also has to be Wednesday, October 15, otherwise why wouldn’t she just ask her to set it up tomorrow?
However, Puck also says she only has two more days to change her horse (page 141), which could make this day October 16 (two days before the Scorpio Festival, which is October 18 if it’s two weeks before the races) unless she means two full days before the day of the Scorpio Festival. The timeline gets a little messy here because of the wording in this chapter. But since this is just for fun, we’ll just go with chapter 24 on October 15 since that makes the most sense to me.
Also for chapter 25, I assume this also takes place on October 15 since it just says “that evening” (page 144) and last we saw Sean he was in a car headed to Hastoway with Puck and Thomas Gratton in chapter 23, which takes place on October 15. (Thus it would make sense for chapter 24 to also be the same day as chapters 23 and 25).
Chapter 26-27: Thursday, October 16
In chapter 25, Sean mentions meeting Kate/Puck “tomorrow” (page 144) to look at the capaill uisce he has for her, which is what chapter 26 covers, with chapter 27 taking place after.
Chapter 28-32: Saturday, Oct 18 (page 160)
It’s pretty clear on page 160 this is the day of the Scorpio Festival. At the end of chapter 32, Puck states that it’s two weeks before the races (page 199).
Chapter 33-38: Sunday, Oct 19
This is for sure October 19 if the Festival is exactly two weeks before the Races, and November 1 is a Saturday. Mr. Holly mentions going to church also, so this definitely takes place on a Sunday (page 200). Puck also mentions church in chapter 34 (page 208). Chapters 33-38 follow one after another on the same day.
Chapter 39-41: Monday, October 20
Chapter 39 is the exception to lumping a chapter in with the previous chapters’ day since it specifically says “early, black morning” (page 245). Plus, it helps break up the chapters a little more.
Chapter 40 says “the storm pounds Thisby for a night and a day, and by the end of the rainy day” (page 251) they go home, so I assume this is October 20. The “night” is October 19-20 and the day is all of October 20, not a full 24 hours. On the same page, Puck also mentions she doesn’t want to sleep in Beech’s bed with Gabe again, so I assume they only slept there one night. Puck also narrates that there’s a little over a week until the races (page 254).
Chapter 41 says it’s evening, after the storm (page 255) so I assume this is the same as chapter 40.
Chapter 42-43: Tuesday, October 21
Puck rode Dove back from Hastoway the evening before (page 257), which happens in chapter 40 (October 20). Chapter 43 is the same day as chapter 42 because Sean mentions the events on the beach from chapter 42 (page 279).
Chapter 44-48: Wednesday, October 22
In chapter 44, Puck says she has to return a jacket, which is what she does in chapter 45. Then chapter 45 mentions Cor killed a man yesterday morning, which happened in chapter 42 (October 21). Chapter 46-48 follow the events of chapter 45.
Chapter 49-50: Thursday, October 23
Chapter 49 doesn’t specifically say it’s the next-next day, just that it takes place “the morning of the Malvern youngstock auction” (page 309), but since there isn’t anything to indicate that it isn’t, I determined it takes place on October 23. Plus, in chapter 47, Sean mentions seeing Puck on the cliffs “tomorrow” (page 304), which happens in chapter 51.
Chapter 51: Thursday, October 23 through Wednesday, October 29
Chapter 51 is a weird chapter so it gets to stand alone. It starts off following the events of chapters 49 and 50 on October 23, but then it skips time, flowing into October 24, 25, 26, (page 327) all the way until October 29 when a they ride together for a week (page 328) and “tomorrow” is two days before the races and the last day they’re allowed on the sand (page 329). “Tomorrow” would be October 30.
You can decide which day to read this chapter on. I would either read it on the 23 or just wait until the 29. It would be odd to read a couple pages on the 23, and then a couple pages either on the 24, 25, or 26 and then the rest on the 29, but if you want to be accurate, that’s how it would work.
Chapter 52-53: Wednesday, October 29
Puck invites Sean to dinner in chapter 51 (page 330) and chapter 52 is the dinner scene. Chapter 53 is the middle of the night after the dinner party, so could be October 29 or October 30 but I’m going to stick with my rule that it’s October 29.
Chapter 54: Thursday, October 30
This chapter is the last day on the beach before the races.
Chapter 55-56: Friday, October 31
This is the last day before the races (page 351).
Chapter 57-64: Saturday, November 1—The Day of the Races!
Puck clearly states it’s “the morning of the Scorpio Races” (page 362), and then the chapters follow one after another until the end of the Races.
Chapter 65: Sunday, November 2
“The morning after the races” (page 397).
Chapter 66: Sunday, November 2 or After
There isn’t a concrete date for this, just that it’s in November. So it could be November 2 or any day after. I would just read it on November 2 to finish the book.
And there you have it! I’ve been excited to share this timeline since I jotted down notes during my reread last year, comparing it to what I came up with the previous year. I don’t know if I ever done anything this in depth with a book other than for school, but I had a lot of fun trying to figure it out with book references. Feel free to let me know your thoughts, show me a different timeline, or join me in reading along this fall!