REAL LotR Maps?

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Thaliondae Suchi-ru 30/Oct/2006 at 11:16 AM
Archer of Mordor Points: 3278 Posts: 4716 Joined: 07/May/2006
Over my short period here i have been shown a rather large amount of Maps done by Tolkein fans and critics of some regions of middle-earth and such, one which took my eye immediately was the One of Near/Far-Harad, Umbar, and the such But it looked real but i was told it was nothing but a readers impression of what they tyhought it looked like. Now i was wandering were there any really resourceful maps which were actually made by tolkein or at least something close to what Tolkein wanted for? If so can someone supply me with one? Doesn’t matter which but one of the Southern regions would be best
Phil_d_one 31/Oct/2006 at 10:53 AM
Shipwright of Umbar Points: 13181 Posts: 12667 Joined: 14/Jan/2004

The only maps that can be considered canonical are those found in The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and The Lord of the Rings. There are also some Tolkien maps in HoME I (a very early map of Aman), and HoME V (maps of Arda, again relating to early drafts, not the final ones). Come April, we can add the maps(s) in The Children of Hurin to that list.

Beyond that, any maps you see are fan-made, with varying levels of accuracy -- from the reasonable to the ridiculous, and then some 

geordie 31/Oct/2006 at 02:59 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Quite right, and I would add to that list the map in Unfinished Tales - which is the 1954 M-e map, with additions given by JRRT, and drawn [as the original 1954 maps were] by Christopher.
Lady Aikári 07/Nov/2006 at 05:01 AM
Gwaihir Points: 22495 Posts: 17910 Joined: 24/Jun/2004

I know only about the maps in the main books. And for I know they can be considered as real. Outside that the maps drawn, how much they look like the original ones in the books, are drawn by others. Some are very good and some lesser, but they don’t go with the stories Tolkien had written.

Mithrandír 07/Nov/2006 at 08:43 AM
Linguist of Lothlorien Points: 3280 Posts: 3291 Joined: 13/Mar/2006
the only things that i whould find worth while looking at whould be the maps in the back of the Lord Of The Rings, and the Similirion, Hobbit and unfinished Tales. most of the other ones that were made by other people are not really worth looking at, as they might contain some errors of some kind.
geordie 07/Nov/2006 at 09:58 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Not all the maps drawn by others are of no value. Pauline Baynes drew some lovely versions; with Tolkien’s approval. John Howe’s illustrations adorn the official map books; Karen Wyn Fonstad produced The Atlas of Middle-earth [which I think is very good; I recommend it] and Barbara Strachey published The Journeys of Frodo. They’re all very good!
Hithleen Eltoran 13/Nov/2006 at 09:51 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2203 Posts: 1628 Joined: 28/Oct/2006
I found the Atlas of Middle-Earth very helpful.  I often consulted the maps in LOTR, the Sil, The Hobbit and Unfinished Tales but  found that The Atlas of ME really "tied" things together for me sometimes.
Skauril 21/Nov/2006 at 05:10 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 467 Posts: 163 Joined: 13/Dec/2004

The maps in the Atlas of Middle Earth that depict ME as a whole (rather than the cramped northwestern corner that is shown in most maps you’ll come across.. those maps depress me ) are actually based on early sketches done by Tolkien himself, and when I say based on them, I mean the geography is pretty much copied directly from them, at least as far as the shape of the landmasses are concerned. Tolkien drew the map(s), but he left the east and the south blank for the most part, not counting certain mountain ranges and other important details. The world of Middle-earth looks remarkably similar to our own (since the two are in fact one and the same), with a decidedly Africa-shaped continent in the south, comprising the many lands of Harad, and a very Eurasian-esque major continent stretching from west (the areas where all the events of the books take place) to the far east, across the plains and steppes of Rhun to the Orocarni mountains. There’s even a boomerang shaped continent seperated from the main landmass by the southern sea. I think it was called the Dark Land (it had some other name, too), and it’s probably either the equivalent of Australia or the Antarctic in Middle-earth. I think Tolkien said a few brief words on it, something along the lines of "next to nothing is known of that strange land, but it was explored by the Numenorean seafarers during the second age, when they sailed around the world".

About the maps in The Atlas: sure, Karen Wynn Fonstad obviously had to make some guesstimates (such as drawing various woodlands on the map in the south and east, and the Orocarni & other mountain ranges that lie beyond the northwest, the exact location of which can only be guessed), but regardless of that, it’s still the closest we can get to Tolkien’s vision of Middle-earth as a whole. I think it’s pointless to bicker on about small details and dismiss the maps based on them. There are some maps out there that do deserve to be treated with extreme suspicion, such as the ones that were linked to in some thread here; maps that are based on the ideas of  The Iron Crown Enterprises, or I.C.E for short. They elaborated on the unknown parts of Middle-earth to create more locations for their MERP (Middle-Earth Role Playing) system. You can find extensive info on the locations, peoples and environments they thought up in this link:

I think the whole enterprise was run down by the Tolkien cartel not too long ago.  Apparently they didn’t like the fact that I.C.E was making up stuff about their Middle-earth and presenting it as canon.

Anyway, I’d say that The Atlas is a pretty good guide if one wishes to see what the rest of Middle-earth looks like without the uncertainty of not knowing if he’s being misled by somebody’s completely subjective views.