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A Part of the Shire

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"A Part of the Shire" is the title of the map that immediately follows the Prologue in The Fellowship of the Ring. Of all the maps in the published works of J.R.R. Tolkien, only Thrór's Map was made using a smaller scale, so the "Part of the Shire" map provides a wealth of geographic detail for the Shire not found anywhere else.

The "Part of the Shire" map runs 60 miles north to south and stretches 105 miles east to west. Pieces (only) of all four Farthings, all of Buckland, and a sliver of land to the east of the Shire are shown. From the narrative's "point of view" the map allows the reader to trace the start of Frodo's journey to Rivendell, covering the trip from Chapter 3, "Three is Company", through part of Chapter 6, "The Old Forest" of Book I in The Fellowship of the Ring, and serves as a reference for the locations of events from Chapter 8, "The Scouring of the Shire" of Book VI in The Return of the King.

However, this map also reveals many points of interest beyond the necessities of the plot. Twenty-one towns and villages are plotted on the map, with arrows pointing towards five Shire habitations not shown (plus an arrow that points towards Bree). The entire courses of the Stock-brook, Thistle Brook, and Shirebourn River are shown, as well as sections of The Water, the Withywindle, the Brandywine (Baranduin), and an unnamed stream from the north that flows into the Bywater Pool (which may have been the Norbourn). The whole forested area of the Woody End is on the map as well as parts of Bindbole Wood and the Old Forest.

The villages on the map are indicated by very small black squares and rectangles clustered in groups. While reminiscent of buildings they probably do not represent the actual layout of the villages. The amount of "buildings" seems to indicate the relative size of the towns and villages shown but since no population numbers were ever given for any Shire town no quantitative judgments can be formed from this map.

A Part of the Shire map by J.R.R. Tolkien