Tuesday, January 29, 2013


While I did not find a gif'd map which shows how Arda was reshaped and came to be the Middle-earth we know from LOTR (I am still looking, though!), I did find quite a few links to quite a few maps, if anyone's interested in that sort of thing.

A really good book to look at/think about getting is Karen Wynn Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle-earth, from which a few of these maps are taken.

  • http://membres.multimania.fr/rickano/htm/me-map.html
  • http://7a6972656f5f74637568.killerhor.net/indexclient.php?noparent=1&category=120&age=3&page=1
  • http://www.nazgul.de/Karte/Mittelerde/Karten/Silmarillion/1stage/thumbs/imagepages/circles%20of%20the%20world.html
  • http://www.nazgul.de/Karte/Mittelerde/Karten/Silmarillion/2ndage/thumbs/imagepages/advent%20of%20the%20dark%20years.html

I guess I could ask a question here to generate discussion (aside from the obvious: if you find more Middle-earth maps, will you post them here?): how cool is it that Tolkien's world has generated as many maps (probably) as if it was a real place? I for one know way more about Middle-earth geography than I do about real-world geography. I mean, that's huge! In The Hobbit, a map is a central plot device in the actual narrative. And I am willing to bet Tolkien started the trend of including maps to fictional places in his books. Who else did that (I mean before; it's almost standard in fantasy now)?


drldonovan said...

Hobbit Society owns Fonstad's map book and it is truly lovely. It is in the Hobbit Society library in my office, if anyone wants to browse or borrow it.

Ashley Cauley said...

I love the maps too! And I'm pretty sure that Tolkien was the first to include maps with his works. That's an amazing legacy right there. I don't even buy fantasy books that don't have them. I also think it's just another aspect of Tolkien that most "ordinary" people don't know (he was an artist, mapmaker, philologist, poet, etc). Maps just add another dimension to his work that makes you say wow!

Troy Wells said...

I agree that it is impressive that so much work has been done to amplify and understand the Middle-Earth Universe (not sure if there is a more "correct" term for it). Something I find more impressive is all the debate and passion that people put into trying to understand his works. I believe that his genius lies in the fact that he managed to give us so much detail (to include maps, languages, multiple names), yet so many people are still arguing today about what it all means.

sworland said...

Tolkien is a genius. I love that he made maps to go along with his world because it makes everything more realistic. I find when I'm looking at the map, I legitimately think about the adventures had in ME as real happenings: "Oh wow, Mordor really is a long way from the Shire...poor Frodo and Sam" or "Jeez, the Helcaraxe is so far North. Fingolfin and his people would have been so cold!" Stuff like that.

And I love what you said, Troy. That Tolkien managed to give us so much detail, but there is still so much debate regarding specific aspects of his work. That's the magic of it all: Tolkien gave us the foundation, but he excludes enough to force our imaginations to construct the rest of Middle Earth. For example, I was complaining about not knowing the exact placement of Valinor. But I think that's Tolkien's plan - no one really knew in Middle Earth either. It was simply "elsewhere" - mystical even to the inhabitants of ME.

Anna Adams said...

I agree that it's great how Tolkien gave us the foundation of Middle-earth and left the rest for us to fill in. What he does include makes his world so huge and detailed that I can imagine it existing, so filling in my own details comes pretty naturally. Not to start a whole other topic, but this is probably why there is so much fanfiction of Tolkien's work. He has left his readers so much material to work with and so many unknowns it's almost as if he wanted people to write fanfiction.

I do bet that Tolkien started the trend of putting maps in books. Tolkien was such a learned man to know not only so many languages, but also geography. I must admit my own knowledge of geography is pretty pathetic and I probably could not draw a decent map, so I find that skill especially impressive.