Tolkien's Incredible Map of Middle-Earth | Great Maps Explained (2023)


The second instalment in the Great Maps Explained series, this time exploring JRR and Christopher Tolkien's general map of Middle Earth, published in the 1954 edition of Fellowship of the Ring. This map has been incredibly influential and is part of what defines the genre of modern day fantasy.

My goal with this series is to explore the amazing maps that humanity has created over the span of human history, and to use these as ways to connect with our ancestors. I hope you enjoy going on this journey with me, and please let me know if you like this format and if you want to see more videos.

A huge thanks to everyone that helped to contribute to this video and whose works are featured here, including:

Images and Art
Ralph Damiani (
Rodrigo Garbini (
Jonathan Guzi (
JP Coovert (
British Military Maps (
And of course the Tolkiens and others.

- Adventure by Alexander Nakarada (
- Magic Tavern by Alexander Nakarada (
- Bonfire by Alexander Nakarada (
- Village Ambiance by Alexander Nakarada (
- Tavern Loop One by Alexander Nakarada (
- Beyond the Horizon by Alexander Nakarada (
- Wonderland by Alexander Nakarada (
- Neverland by Alexander Nakarada (,
Alexander Nakarada works licensed under Creative Commons by Attribution 4.0 License (

Tor (,,
Mordor Pound:
Atlas of Middle Earth (
Wikipedia (,
And many more.

A nod to Great Art Explained ( for helping me come up with the idea for this series.

And of course, thanks to all the many hands along the course of history that created and shared such works, so we can all learn more from the past.



All the videos, songs, images, and graphics used in the video belong to their respective owners and I or this channel does not claim any right over them. Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.


Bilbo had loved maps.

In his hall.

There had hung a large one of the Country Road, with all his favorite walks marked on it in red ink.

Bilbo had gone to see the great mountains, to hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, to explore the caves, to wear a sword.

Instead of a walking-stick.


Now Frodo began to feel restless.

He took to wandering further afield and more often by himself, … He looked at maps, and wondered what lay beyond their edges… Middle-Earth.

It is a place that many of us have come to know and love.

The stories of Bilbo, Frodo, elves and dwarves, the epic struggle between men and the forces of darkness...

These all take place in a world that is like, but not quite like.

Our own.

This is a world with such richness of detail, such clarity of place and time, geology and ecology, that ever since its entrance into our culture.

It has somehow never stopped growing.

The map of Middle.

Earth is a portal into this world.

Here is Mirkwood, the greatest forest of Middle Earth, home of the Woodland Realm.


We know, “of Old was the Witch-Realm of Angmar”, where the Witch King ruled., And here, the Brandywine river, so famous in the Shire (and, not so trusted by most hobbits)., And, here, the unknown Wilderland….

And here, the dark Realm of Sauron… JRR Tolkien was a linguist first.

Not a cartographer.

He was incredibly humble about his ability to make maps.

And for the maps for the Hobbit, he told his publishers that he had small skill and experience in preparing such things., His maps tended more towards art.

But Tolkien knew that a legible, understandable map was crucial for readers to follow the tale of the Ring.

It was even necessary for him to just do his own writing.

He said, years later that he “started with a map, and made the story fit”;.

And he said that it would have been impossibly confusing to try to figure out all the journeys, first.

Over, his years of writing.

His own reference maps constantly shifted.

He used a hand-drawn map on squared paper for many years, writing over it again and again, yellowing and tearing it as the story grew.

These, original, sketchy.

Worn-Out maps were the source material for what had to become publishable later.

But as with all such epic undertakings.

The way forward was never entirely clear.


General map of Middle-Earth is one of the first things that we see.

However, we go into this world:.

It is often placed before the text, and appears in the first minutes of Peter Jackson’s films., The map leads us into a strange, new land, and asks us to explore, and to wonder:, where is Middle Earth? And.

What is it? Tolkien wrote that, when it came to Middle, Earth, “musicians want tunes, and musical notation;, archaeologists want ceramics and metallurgy.

Botanists want a more accurate description of plants; historians want more details about society and politics...” The map is part of this:.

We want more.

We have a strange feeling that this world really exists somewhere.

And it’s not just made-up.

In fact.

When looking at the maps, I think it’s more proper to think of Tolkien as the first and most voracious explorer of Middle-Earth…, not its creator.

Tolkien was a professor who found Bilbo’s book, the Red Book of Westmarch, and served as its translator.

And our interpreter.

His struggles with his yellowed map were his struggles to understand a world.

He was also peering into: to flesh out the story and make the first-hand accounts make sense.

He was dealing with myths and legends of Middle-Earth.


When we look at the map, we need to ask as many questions about Middle Earth itself as we do about Tolkien., This, Middle- Earth, that we see on the map, is a snapshot of just one point in the Third Age of Arda (Arda being the name of the world, the Earth, of which Middle Earth is one part).

Just like a snapshot of our world at a point in time, the continents, mountains, rivers, country, borders.

They didn’t always look like they do in this map.


Maybe Arda is our world, in some time long ago, or in an alternate converging past.

Tolkien sometimes suggested as much, although the question has never been completely resolved., We do know that Arda is a world where peoples perceived supernatural forces constantly in play: from the creation of Arda by the great deity, Illuvatar, to its shaping by the Ainur, to the long struggles between Melkor and the other Ainur, which caused great shifts in the shape of the world.


There are some sketchy maps of Arda in the previous two Ages, and many details have been worked out by other explorers who came after Tolkien., We know that in the previous two Ages of Arda, islands, like Numenor, came and went; continents.

Moved around; the sea, claimed land.

Most dramatically, near the end of the Second Age, Illuvatar is said to have changed the world from a flat disc to a round sphere as part of a number of cataclysmic changes, in response to treacherous behaviour by some men.

This world seems to have divine forces at play in great abundance.

And these forces shape geography as much as they shape history., So Tolkien.

Our first explorer, using what he could scrape together from his sources on Middle-Earth, didn't, find it easy to reconcile and explain all the myths and changes.

He didn't have tectonic theory to rely on, it being not completely developed in his time; and his main sources, Bilbo and Frodo, weren't, geographers, either., At, most.

He worked from sketchy and incomplete knowledge.


When we take a glimpse at the map of Middle-Earth from the 1954 edition of Fellowship of the Ring, we should know what we are looking at:, a partial map of a larger world, put together from myths and legends, from sources, both primary and vague, by non-experts.

Few would have ever travelled Middle-Earth enough to know all the places shown on the map.

But many of these places were very important to the people of Middle-Earth.


Main goal was to make an aid for the reader to be able to follow the story of the Ring without becoming completely lost.

But also to invite the reader into this world, and to join him, there.

Yet making the maps was not an easy, task.

Indeed, Tolkien at times despaired of it., In 1953, a year before the publication of Fellowship, Tolkien wrote to his publisher, saying: “The, Maps., I.

Am stumped.

Indeed in a panic.

They are essential; and urgent;.

But I just cannot get them.

Done.” He wrote often that the maps worried him… and in 1955, in preparing more maps for Return of the King.

He wrote “The map is hell! I have not been as careful as I should in keeping track of distances.

I think a large-scale map simply reveals all the chinks in the armour…” Tolkien needed.


He was not a cartographer, and yet.

He found a wonderful and willing partner in his son, Christopher Tolkien, whom he called an “accredited student of hobbit-lore” and his “chief critic and collaborator”.

For years, indeed for decades, the two of them worked together both before.

And after publication of Lord of the Rings, sending letters and ideas back and forth.

When Christopher was away for years in South Africa training with the Royal Air Force in the mid 1940s, Tolkien often lamented that his son was not nearby.

He wanted to be gardening.

While Christopher was “doing something useful and pleasant, completing the maps and typing”.

It took a lot work to keep the story together and to keep the distances and chronologies in logical step with the maps.

But bit by bit, the two inched along., And finally.

It came down to the wire: to publication.

JRR seems to have done much of the grunt work in scaling and putting down the rough first drafts of the maps, with Christopher engaged in reworking them into clean.

Beautiful works fit for publication.


Two were a team, but an overworked team, exhausted at the end.

As, JRR described, creating one of the maps: “I had to devote many days, the last three virtually without food or bed, to drawing, rescaling, and adjusting a large map… at which [Christopher] then worked for 24 hours, (6 AM to 6, AM without bed) in re-drawing, just in time”.

A, truly heroic, effort.

In hindsight.

We can call Christopher the chief cartographer of Middle-Earth.


His father made the drafts and the sketches, Christopher made the final publishable maps:.

And they are indeed “picturesque maps, providing more than a mere index” to the text.

His initials lie in the corner of the maps, neat and precise.

Christopher finalized, three maps:, the general map included in the Fellowship, a contour-line map of Gondor in Return of the King, and a small-scale Shire map., The, general map.

The main focus of this video, is extraordinary today, in our world of Photoshop, for its hand-drawn attention to detail: each mountain, each stream, is individually drawn, and many have specific identifying characteristics.

There's smoke above Mt, Doom …, there's, little tufts of grass in the marshes …, the peak of Erebor.

The Lonely Mountain, is particular … and the Old South Road slowly, deteriorates.

There are so many of these details.

Little, arrows, splendidly, drawn, point to some features, like Isenmouthe or Mount.


Christopher uses offset lines on the shores, a really nice effect to illustrate the water.

Even, the parts that are kind of messy or imperfect, like the label for Mirkwood cutting through the forest, doesn't seem like it's, wrong.

The map is somehow… cozy - it’s busy and complex, in places hard to read.

But it’s also inviting.


Not so professional as to be cold.

This is something that could have been made by hobbits, busily snacking in a warm hobbit-hole while adding details and telling stories.

And that's, such a beautiful part of this, because the maps aren’t something outside the universe of Middle- Earth:.

They belong inside it.

There are many places on the map that are rarely directly named.

And that play virtually no role in Frodo’s story.

There is the Ice Bay of Forochel;, the Hills of Evendim;, the River Lefnui.

And places.

We do know are alluded to with tantalizing subtext:, Erebor, The, Lonely, Mountain; Here was of old the Witch-realm of Angmar; Barad-Dur.

The Dark Tower.

This feels like a map of a real world, but a real world with a story to tell.

The maps also admit that they don’t have total knowledge of the world.

– the edges.

Don’t meet like with a world.


This is a land with fog on the edges, a place with unknowns, still to be explored.

There are even a few minor errors that Christopher later, acknowledged: such as Harondor and South Gondor, which are basically a translation, or Forodwaith appearing distinct from the Northern Waste, when they are basically the same thing.

JRR himself mentioned that the Shire map slightly misplaced, Buckleberry, Ferry and Brandy Hall.

But, who can fault these small errors?, In terms of design and feel.

We don’t know the Tolkiens’ inspirations or influences for sure.

But we should bear in mind that both Christopher and JRR, being members of the British military during their lives, were well versed with military maps.

We can even see echoes of this in JRR’s use of a gridded map while writing.

But, the two clearly chose not to create the general map with that kind of military precision and style.


What kinds of maps inspired them? Novels that came before, such as William Morris’s, 1897 book, The Sundering, Flood, probably played some role.

Recognized as one of the first modern fantasy, writers, Morris’s map has similar themes, like showing mountains and forests by drawings, not just by shaded areas or names., E.R., Edison’s, Zimiamvian Trilogy, published in the 1930s and 1940s, has maps that don’t seem so far off, either., Even maps in Gulliver’s Travels from 1726 have some similar elements.

Yet other fantasy, maps, like the map of Land of Oz from 1908, seem quite different.

JRR, definitely followed along with a picturesque and artistic style, while Christopher cranked up the detail and cleanliness.

Just looking at this map, after seeing some of the others I just showed, makes it even more astonishing.


So engaging, crisp and artful;, you just want to dig into it.

The more illustrative elements of the map certainly point to an air of revival of medieval cartographic traditions throughout these early fantasy works in general.

All of these authors were probably influenced by the history of western maps.

More broadly, particularly medieval maps like Mappamundi.


The Mappamundi are diverse and very different in general from the Middle Earth maps.

They do also use iconography and drawings of individual features.

They sometimes have very strange geography, and they're full of descriptive texts.

The, Tolkiens’ maps don’t go so far as to place animals on the map, or full stories, or extremely detailed pictures.

But we can still see echoes of older maps in their work.

Their maps were clear and illustrative with a strong dash of modern conventions.


One of the sharpest deviations from medieval maps.

And towards that modern convention is their attention to scale; that is, more important.

Things are not drawn larger, which is reasonably common in the Mappamundi, which are more conceptual than physical.

Minas, Tirith, Minas, Morgul, Osgiliath, and so on, which play enormous roles in the story, are all squished together in physical space, and places that we basically never hear about are given large portions of the map.

This is certainly a modern convention and lends to the sense.

We have that the map should, overall, make geographic sense, which is something we don’t really ask of the Mappamundi.

We’ll return to this idea of geographic accuracy.


The, general map is large: large enough to afford a depth of exploration beyond the borders of the story.


It was originally included as a large-fold out, which must have been breathtaking to early readers., Christopher redrew, the map for Unfinished Tales in 1980, and made a few reasonable design changes that had probably been bothering him for years.

The, little “messiness” with the Mirkwood label is gone;.

There are more offset lines stretching out into the ocean;.

The small errors around Forodwaith and South Gondor are fixed;.

The lettering is a little more neat and standardized;.

Some labels are moved around;.

And the compass rose has changed.

This is the base for the version generally included in editions today.

But, in today’s editions.

You’ll almost never see this whole map:.

It’s just too big.


The map is broken up into sections and printed on separate pages, without color.

These were a further redesign by Stephen Raw, and are used across paperback and smaller hardcovers.

The maps are still recognizable, but something has definitely been lost in the translation:.

The labels often bleed together.

The clarity of the drawing is reduced.

And the artistry is a bit lost.


Still, the magic of the place comes through.

The map always makes us think of the bigger world.

The intricacy of this mysterious Middle, Earth., It’s, rare, then, that we don’t end up demanding more from this map than it provides, and asking questions that it can’t answer.

Some have actually called these maps “bad, fantasy maps” because they seem to disregard geological rules.

Geographers have bemoaned the curiously right-angled mountains of Mordor, or the strange way that the Anduin river flows directly through a marshy low-lying area.

And then through another mountain range to the ocean, .

The angles at which these mountain ridges, meet are also impossible, and ridiculous.

They say.


If we consider not only the divine history of Arda, but also regard the Tolkiens as explorers with sketchy hobbit sources.

These maps might be given much more latitude for interpretation.

Maybe, the mountains of Mordor aren’t.

So strongly angled as they look, but seemed that way to the hobbits who described them, who hadn't surveyed them accurately, and who saw them under some pretty pressing circumstances.


Maybe divine forces are at play.

And they were raised like that by the dark Ainu Melkor.

Blank spaces on the map, like between the Anduin and the Sea of Rhun, which seem to imply that there are no elevations, which would cause the Anduin to stay on its course, might be blank only because the authors didn’t know what was there –.

It might not be telling us that it’s actually a big empty, plain.


The Anduin’s strong course, through the marsh might just be purely illustrative, for the artistic merit of the map.

I think that most lamentations about these errors are rather unimaginative, and don’t really take into account the remarkable diversity of what we see even on our complicated.


There are parallels that, while not perfect copies of Tolkien’s geologies, do make us realize that things aren’t.

So simple as "mountain ranges, never meet at angles".

In Australia.

There are a series of cliffs and mountains called Mordor Pound, which remarkably resemble Mordor.


Geologists who mapped Mordor Pound were almost disturbed by its eerie nature and resemblance to the “land where the shadows lie”.

Aside from Morder Pound.

There are the Carpathian mountains, (one possible source for Tolkien's idea of Mordor), the Himalayas, the Ozarks, or even Central Mexico., The Colorado river cuts through a mountain range after its beginning, because of … well, geological reasons.

You can check the description for some links.

If you want.

Anyway, all of these curiosities exist, here, on our real Earth.


This isn't to say that all of these criticisms are totally crazy, or that.

These maps must be perfectly accurate or reasonable:.

They don’t have to be, because they aren’t meant for geologists or geographers.

They're just meant to bring us in.

And in the end, people who point out errors and people who try to reconcile the errors are all engaged in a love of Middle-Earth.

A great example of this love of Middle-Earth’s geography comes via Karen Fonstad, a geographer who published the "Atlas of Middle-Earth" in 1981 after years of continual work delving into the mysteries of Middle-Earth.

Fonstad’s work is incredibly detailed:.

She goes into the possible geological origins of different mountains and hills;.

She lays out battle scenes and troop movements;.

She creates detailed maps of the paths of Frodo and Sam going into Mordor.


Her work is virtually acknowledged as canon, and serves as the definitive source when it comes to working out the details of Tolkien’s geology and cartography.

Fonstad, like many of us, was clearly in love with this place, and took joy in exploring its strangeness.

Above all.

The maps of Middle-Earth are legendary maps, not only because they meet their purpose – to guide us through Middle-Earth –.

But because they crack open a glimpse into this deep and complex world.

Even, the fact that we ask such complicated questions of this map shows that its purpose has been more than achieved.

The maps have been enormously influential.


We look at other very famous works, such as Robert Jordan’s "Wheel of Time" or George, RR Martin’s, "Game of Thrones", there's, no small resemblance to the Lord of the Rings map, style.

Whether, that's individually drawn mountains, or an epic scale with many names, or the sense that the world goes on beyond what we can see… Just.

The fact that almost every fantasy work must include a map is probably an homage to Lord of the Rings.

Admittedly, maps do seem to have gotten more standardized today, and don’t always get that warm attention to detail like Christopher put into his maps.


When we look at the Tolkiens’ maps, Middle-Earth is not a place quite like our Earth: it's, a place where divine beings and powerful magics have shaped the continents, raised mountains, diverted rivers, and opened seas.

It's difficult to know which rules from our world apply, and which are broken, in Middle-Earth.

It’s also difficult, because we don’t know how accurate these maps really are –.

But that just makes us want to go further in, and explore this world.


The map is one of the very first things you see when you first open Lord of the Rings, or see the films, it spawned., You realize, by looking at it, that you’re stepping into a new place, a place, you’ve never been before, with edges and corners that are unknown and perhaps magical, with mysteries under every mountain.

And behind every name.


These maps seem logical or not are questions for those who have already fallen in love with Middle-Earth.

And together we can all, at least, appreciate the beauty of these maps, and be thankful for the deep impact that they've made on our lives.

And our imaginations.


What does Thorin's map say? ›

Strange script: Moon letters are Anglo-Saxon runes

Using the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet, one can clear decipher the message on Thror's map as “Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon the keyhole”.

What is the Middle-earth map based on? ›

The map was made in haste based on sketches of J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien consulted this map during his writing. In versions after 1970 some printings of the map by Allen & Unwin included river-names that were firstly introduced in Pauline Baynes's A Map of Middle-earth, namely Adorn and Glanduin/Swanfleet.

How does Tolkien describe Middle-earth? ›

Tolkien considered middangeard to be "the abiding place of men", the physical world in which Man lives out his life and destiny, as opposed to the unseen worlds above and below it, namely Heaven and Hell. He states that it is "my own mother-earth for place", but in an imaginary past time, not some other planet.

How did Tolkien create Middle-earth map? ›

Tolkien worked for many years on the book, using a hand-drawn map of the whole of the north-west of Middle-earth on squared (not graph) paper, each 2cm square representing 100 miles. The map had many annotations in pencil and a range of different inks added over the years, the older ones faded until almost illegible.

What does Thorin yell in Dwarvish? ›

When meeting with Thranduil, Thorin says, “Imrid amrâd ursul” – “Die a fiery death.” When Thorin then recounts the meeting to Balin from his prison cell, he states that he told Thranduil “to 'Ishkh khakfe andu null'” – “pour my excrement on his head.” Another dwarvish insult came from Gimli in The Fellowship of the ...

What are Thorin's dying words to Bilbo? ›

Thorin Oakenshield : [to Bilbo] Farewell, Master Burglar. Go back to your books... and your armchair... plant your trees, watch them grow.

Is Mordor supposed to be Germany? ›

Mordor is approximately where Germany is in modern times. Gondor, the land of the white city and kings, located west of Mordor, is France. Shire, which is far from the conflict is in the northwest, symbolizes England.

What is the most detailed map in the world? ›

"The AuthaGraph World Map Projection" is a map created by Hajime Narukawa and as the architect said, it is the most accurate map of the world in 2D. First he divided the world into 96 sections, then each of them printed on inflatable tetrahedron. Each was opened and tetrahedra transferred onto a flat map.

What country is Mordor based on? ›

Commentators have noted that Mordor was influenced by Tolkien's own experiences in the industrial Black Country of the English Midlands, and by his time fighting in the trenches of the Western Front in the First World War.

What race is Gollum? ›

Did Tolkien write anything outside of Middle-earth? ›

Although Tolkien is largely known for his works on Middle-Earth, he also wrote a number of other poems and stories, some of which laid the foundation for his Middle-Earth writings.

Is The Silmarillion about Middle-earth? ›

The Silmarillion is essentially Tolkien's legendarium for the world of Arda (the world of which Middle-earth is a part). It draws from various sources of inspiration including Greek mythology, the Finnish epic the Kalevala, the Bible, and aspects of Celtic mythology.

What countries are Middle-earth based on? ›

So where is Middle-earth in real life? The fictional places in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were brought to life by Peter Jackson in his glorious adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's famous stories in New Zealand, making the country the official home of Middle-earth.

Who drew the original Middle-earth map? ›

Christopher Tolkien

What Middle-earth languages did Tolkien create? ›

Around a dozen languages are mentioned in the Lord of the Rings but Tolkien only properly developed two of them - Qenya and Sindarin, the languages used by the elves.

What did Legolas say in Dwarvish? ›

Whats Legolas says is "Naw aran nîn, mal û-gân innas nîn." The word "innas" is translated as "heart" in the movie's sub. But innas means "will" not heart. So Legolas in fact says "Yes, he is my king but he does not command my will ."

What is hello in dwarvish? ›

This gives "huglgla" as hello.

What is Moria in dwarvish? ›

Moria meant "black chasm"' in Sindarin. Khazad-dûm meant "Delving of the Dwarves" in Dwarvish.

What was Thorins sickness? ›

And in the end, everything that Thorin and his companions fear comes true. Thorin does indeed fall to dragon-sickness, and loses all reason and shred of compassion in the process. But even for Thorin's bloodline, who clearly have an Achilles heel when it comes to dragon-sickness, Thorin falls remarkably fast.

What does Thorin call Smaug? ›

A group of thirteen dwarves mounted a quest to take the kingdom back, aided by the wizard Gandalf and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. In The Hobbit, Thorin describes Smaug as "a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm".

Did the line of Durin end when Thorin died? ›

While he did eventually die, the traditions of the Dwarves held that it was not the end for Durin. According to their lore, Durin would return to rule again, and not just once, but seven times over.

Why can't they fly to Mordor? ›

The Fellowship can't ride eagles to Mordor because of the giant, flying snake-dragon monsters ridden by One-Ring-sensing warrior kings and their half-mile-wide aura of fear.

What happened to Mordor after Sauron was defeated? ›

After the ultimate defeat of Sauron, Mordor became mostly empty again as the Orcs inside it fled or were killed.

What was Sauron doing during the Second Age? ›

The Second Age saw the rise of Sauron after the defeat of his master, Morgoth. During this period, Sauron built his armies, established himself as the Dark Lord, and built a fortress in Mordor called Barad-dur, also referred to as the Dark Tower.

Is there a 100% accurate map? ›

The short answer: absolutely not. Thanks to the varying distances between latitude lines away from the equator, the map pretty severely distorts surrounding landmasses. For example, tiny Greenland? Yeah, it's suddenly significantly bigger than places like African and South America.

What is the oldest accurate world map? ›

More commonly known as the Babylonian Map of the World, the Imago Mundi is considered the oldest surviving world map. It is currently on display at the British Museum in London. It dates back to between 700 and 500 BC and was found in a town called Sippar in Iraq.

What is the most accurate old world map? ›

Al-Idrisi's Tabula Rogeriana (1154)

It remained the most accurate world map for the next three centuries. The Tabula Rogeriana was drawn by Al-Idrisi in 1154 for the Norman King Roger II of Sicily, after a stay of eighteen years at his court, where he worked on the commentaries and illustrations of the map.

Was Lord of the Rings banned in Russia? ›

against an industrialized Eastern nation presided over by an omniscient ruler. Consequently, The Lord of the Rings was barred from publication in the Soviet Union, with any extant English copies of the trilogy consigned to secret KGB holding archives called spetskhrany.

What happened to Orcs after Sauron died? ›

After Sauron's defeat, Aragorn and his army killed the remaining Orcs in Mordor. It can be assumed that any Orcs in the Lonely Mountain would have also escaped once they got to know about their master's downfall.

Why is Mordor so dark? ›

The more sparse areas are probably due to a mixture of deforestation and over-mining for resources as well as the long history of battles fought there. Another possibility is that much of Mordor is in a Rain Shadow caused by the surrounding mountain ranges.

What race of elf is Galadriel? ›

What race is Frodo? ›

Frodo Baggins, fictional character, a hobbit (one of a race of mythical beings who are characterized as small in stature, good-natured, and inordinately fond of creature comforts) and the hero of the three-part novel The Lord of the Rings (1954–55) by J.R.R. Tolkien.

How old is Legolas? ›

Legolas was portrayed by Orlando Bloom. In the "official movie guide" for The Lord of the Rings, a birthdate for Legolas is set to 87 of the Third Age. This would make him 2931 years old at the time of the War of the Ring. This date for Legolas' birth was made up by the movie writers.

Is Gandalf based on Odin? ›

The figure of Gandalf is based on the Norse deity Odin in his incarnation as "The Wanderer", an old man with one eye, a long white beard, a wide brimmed hat, and a staff. Tolkien wrote in a 1946 letter that he thought of Gandalf as an "Odinic wanderer".

Did JK Rowling read Tolkien? ›

Rowling maintains that she had not read The Hobbit until after she completed the first Harry Potter novel (though she had read The Lord of the Rings as a teenager) and that any similarities between her books and Tolkien's are "Fairly superficial.

Did Tolkien invent fantasy? ›

But the overwhelming influence of J.R.R. Tolkien on the genre remains a fundamental certainty. The British author didn't invent fantasy, but he defined it in the minds of millions with his seminal works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Does The Silmarillion talk about Sauron? ›

The Silmarillion describes him as the chief lieutenant of the first Dark Lord, Morgoth. Tolkien noted that the Ainur, the "angelic" powers of his constructed myth, "were capable of many degrees of error and failing", but by far the worst was "the absolute Satanic rebellion and evil of Morgoth and his satellite Sauron".

Is The Silmarillion about Galadriel? ›

Fictional biography. Stories of Galadriel's life prior to the War of the Ring appear in both The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. She was the only daughter and youngest child of Finarfin, prince of the Noldor, and of Eärwen, daughter of Olwë and cousin to Lúthien.

Does The Silmarillion talk about Gandalf? ›

Gandalf also appears in the published version of The Silmarillion in a markedly different aspect: that of a semi-divine Maia hidden within the guise of an old man, whom we met in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Tolkien introduces him in The Silmarillion as the Maia Olórin.

Does Rivendell exist in real life? ›

Wellington's Kaitoke Regional Park became Rivendell, where Frodo recovered from the knife attack. The exact location - a grassy area surrounded by native forest - is signposted from the carpark.

Where in the US is most like the Shire? ›

Missoula, MT, is the Shire and Hobbiton

The Hobbit residents spend time outdoors enjoying their unspoiled natural surroundings. Its real-world counterpart is definitely Missoula. Surrounded by rolling green hills with a mountainous backdrop, Missoula bears a striking resemblance to the Shire.

Where is Mordor in modern day? ›

Mordor is situated in Transylvania, with Mount Doom in Romania (probably), Minas Morgul in Hungary (approximately) and Minas Tirith in Austria (sort of). Rohan is in southern Germany, with Edoras at the foot of the Bavarian Alps. Also in Germany, but to the north, near present-day Hamburg, is Isengard.

Who drew the oldest map of America? ›

Waldseemüller's map supported Vespucci's revolutionary concept by portraying the New World as a separate continent, which until then was unknown to the Europeans. It was the first map, printed or manuscript, to depict clearly a separate Western Hemisphere, with the Pacific as a separate ocean.

Why is it called Middle-earth? ›

The ancient peoples called the world "middle-earth", since it was imagined to be above the realm of the Giants and below the realm of the gods.

What was Middle-earth inspired by? ›

For instance, Tolkien admitted in his published letters that the setting of Middle-earth is in fact based on our Earth's geography, with locations in his world mirroring countries in our own. Additionally, the books were very much influenced by Tolkien's own experiences in World War I.

Did Tolkien invent Elvish? ›

Elvish languages are constructed languages used by Elves in a fantasy setting. The philologist and fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien created the first of these languages, including Quenya and Sindarin.

What languages did Tolkien speak fluently? ›

Throughout his life, Tolkien was able to speak a large number of languages, including: English, Latin, French, German, Finnish, Old and Middle English, Gothic, Italian, Old Norse, Spanish, and Welsh.

How many real languages did Tolkien speak? ›

Tolkien created his first constructed language when he was just a teenager. He was a master of actual languages as well. He knew 35 different tongues, both ancient and modern — everything from Old Norse to Lithuanian. He taught himself Finnish for fun.

What is Thorin's famous quote? ›

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

What is the significance of Thorin's key and his map? ›

What is the significance of Thorin's key and his map? It shows a small, secret entrance into the Mountain. Briefly identify Smaug. The dragon that keeps the dwarves from their kingdom.

What does the map suggest about Thorin given that he owns the map for years and never notices what Elrond notices right away? ›

The important discovery Elrond makes regarding Thorin's map is that it has moon runes on it. The fact that Thorin never notices what Elrond notices right away suggests that he shouldn't be so proud and accept help on this adventure.

What information do the elves give Thorin by reading the moon letters on his map? ›

On Thorin's map, Elrond is able to read moon-letters—writing visible only in the light of the moon in the proper phase—that describe how to find the secret entrance on the Lonely Mountain. Though they are puzzled by the message, the group is in high spirits when they depart from Rivendell.

What does Thorin say before he dies? ›

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” Thorin speaks these words in Chapter 18 , just before he dies, asking Bilbo's forgiveness for his harsh words to him before the Battle of the Five Armies.

What are Thorin's last words Why are they important? ›

What are Thorin's last words? Why are they important? In his dying moments, he apologizes to Bilbo for his words at the Front Gate. He admits that the world would be better if more people valued food, cheer and song instead of material wealth.

What was Thorin's sickness? ›

And in the end, everything that Thorin and his companions fear comes true. Thorin does indeed fall to dragon-sickness, and loses all reason and shred of compassion in the process. But even for Thorin's bloodline, who clearly have an Achilles heel when it comes to dragon-sickness, Thorin falls remarkably fast.

What is Thorin's symbol? ›

For Thorin, the Arkenstone is a symbol of his family, and of his family's lost kingdom and greatness.

What objects do they bury with Thorin under the mountain? ›

Thorin is buried with the Arkenstone and Orcrist; Kili and Fili, who also died in battle, are buried, too.

Why was the Arkenstone buried with Thorin? ›

Therefore, it is not only a respectful choice to bury the Arkenstone with Thorin and his family in recognition of all that they gave to save the dwarves' homes. Doing so also serves as a way to keep it out of the hands of those who may be corrupted by it.

What happened to the Lonely Mountain after Thorin died? ›

After Thorin's death, his cousin Dáin II Ironfoot of the Iron Hills became king of Durin's folk; and when news reached Durin's folk in the Ered Luin that Erebor was retaken, it is believed that most of them moved to the Lonely Mountain. Therefore, Thorin's hall became a sub-realm of Durin's folk.

Why is the map important in The Hobbit? ›

The presence of a map provides a familiar control and power over the alien landscape for the reader. It is no coincidence that Tolkien's own imagination was powerfully visual and cartographic.

How does Gandalf's map help Thorin? ›

Gandalf takes out a map made by Thror, Thorin's grandfather, that shows where the treasure is hidden. He points to a secret entrance marked on the map and gives Thorin the key to it.

Why can Elrond see the moon letters? ›

Elrond discovers that Thorin's map has a secret messege written in moon letters, letters that only can be seen with a moon of the same shape and season as the day when they were written, luckily enough it was the same shape and season that night allowing the secret message to be read.

Why is Thorin never mentioned in Lord of the Rings? ›

Thorin II Oakenshield was largely unmentioned within the main text of The Lord of the Rings because he was a failed destiny focus.

What does Bilbo remember from the moon letters on the map that allows them to enter the passage? ›

Fortunately, Bilbo is able to keep a little more optimistic than the dwarves. He repeatedly studies Thorin's map, remembering the message Elrond the elf had read in the moon-letters.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rubie Ullrich

Last Updated: 21/12/2023

Views: 5249

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rubie Ullrich

Birthday: 1998-02-02

Address: 743 Stoltenberg Center, Genovevaville, NJ 59925-3119

Phone: +2202978377583

Job: Administration Engineer

Hobby: Surfing, Sailing, Listening to music, Web surfing, Kitesurfing, Geocaching, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Rubie Ullrich, I am a enthusiastic, perfect, tender, vivacious, talented, famous, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.