Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Today is day thirteen in the A to Z April Challenge. Participants in this blog hop post each day on a different letter of the alphabet (except Sundays). To visit the main web page click Here.

I chose Fantasy as my theme and today is about Middle-earth.

Middle-earth is the fictional universe setting of the majority of author J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy writings. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place entirely in Middle-earth, as does much of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. Properly, Middle-earth is the central continent of the imagined world, not a name of the entire world.
Tolkien prepared several maps of Middle-earth and of the regions of Middle-earth where his stories took place. Some were published in his lifetime, though some of the earliest maps were not published until after his death. The main maps were those published in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. Most of the events of the First Age took place in the subcontinent Beleriand, which was later engulfed by the ocean at the end of the First Age. Tolkien's map of Middle-earth, however, shows only a small part of the world, most of the lands of Rhun and Harad are not shown on the map, and there are also other continents.

Tolkien wrote many times that Middle-earth is located on our earth. He described it as an imaginary period in Earth's past, not only in The Lord of the Rings, but also several letters. He put the end of the Third Age about 6,000 years before his own time, and the environs of the Shire in what is now Northwestern Europe (Hobbiton for example was set at the same latitude as Oxford), though in replies to letters he would also describe elements of the stories as a "...secondary or sub-creational reality" or "Secondary belief". During an interview in January 1971, when asked if the stories take place in a different era, he stated, "No...at a different stage of imagination, yes." However he did nod to the stories setting on earth, speaking of Midgard and Middle-earth, he said, "Oh yes, they're the same word. Most people have made this mistake of thinking Middle-earth is a particular kind of earth or is another planet of the science fiction sort but it's just an old fashioned word for this world we live in, as imagined surrounded by the ocean."

Such an incredible imagination that Tolkien had, I am awed. In one simple word comes an entire world. Do you make maps with your worlds? I have and want to incorporate them in my stories.


  1. I've never really got into fantasy. I love to watch it but not read it - sounds bizarre right? I don't think I possess such an imagination to go down this road.

    1. The more I read, the more I get into it. Watching it is icing on the cake.

  2. I always make maps of my fantasy worlds so I can keep track of where my characters are and wish direction they're traveling.

  3. As a youngster I used to make lots of maps and loved naming the areas. However, I never did write stories about these places.

  4. Susan, Jo: I made maps for my Dragon Stone series, but couldn't get them to look authentic. Maybe next time I'll hire an artist.