Tolkien Gateway

The Atlas of Middle-earth

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Revision as of 20:41, 4 September 2006

The cover of The Atlas of Middle-earth.

The Atlas of Middle-earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad is an atlas of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. ISBN 0-395-53516-6

It is a reference book for Tolkien's writings such as The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, and includes many detailed maps of the lands described in those books.

The maps are treated as if they are of real landscapes, and are drawn according to the same rules that a real atlas is drawn: for each area the history of the land is taken into account, as well as geography on a larger scale and from there maps are drawn. Discussion includes suggestions as to the geology that could explain various formations, and points that are contradictory between multiple accounts.

City maps and floor plans for important buildings are also included; these are very often useful for making sense of narrative, especially in The Lord of the Rings. As well, many battles such as those of Beleriand and those in the War of the Ring are illustrated.

The book was published in 1981, but in 1991 a revised and updated version was published, which took information from The History of Middle-earth series into account. It was, however, published before the final three volumes of The History of Middle-earth were published, and thus some maps are based on Tolkien's early works, which were revised in later writings.