The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age
Conception and creation
The map is a re-drawing by Christopher of his own original map made in late 1953 for the first edition of The Lord of the Rings. It was redrawn in order to include new locations mentioned in the Unfinished Tales (such as "Edhellond" and "Undeeps"), but also to correct some of the minor defects of the earlier map drawn "twenty-five years ago".
The size of the new drawing was "half as large again as the old map in its published dimensions" and its smaller scope allowed for better clarity. Christopher Tolkien preserved the "style and detail" of the original not because of its accuracy, but because of its acceptable faithfulness to his father's conceptions.
The Sea is now filled with contour lines radiating from the coasts, as has been the case with the inland bodies of water.
The Icebay of Forochel is now labelled with an arrow pointing to the larger northeast part of the bay, and not the small gulf. Christopher Tolkien stated that his original map was marked incorrectly.
The areas of Gondor and Rohan are more detailed with streets and roads, as seen in the Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor: Westfold and Eastfold, separated by the Snowbourn are marked, as well as the Mering Stream. The Old South Road is renamed North-South Road and extends along the White Mountains, although part of its course was conjectured by Christopher Tolkien.
Other names not shown in the original map include:
- Greylin and Langwell
- Arthedain and Cardolan are now included, alongside Rhudaur
- Old Ford
- East Bight
- Crossings of Poros
- Edhellond (conjectural)
- Lond Daer (conjectural)
- Eryn Vorn now textured as a wooded area
- Swanfleet and Glanduin
- Drúwaith Iaur
On the original print of the Unfinished Tales carried over a mistake from the general map: the river Sirith was marked as the western tributary of Celos, whereas the reverse is true. The mistake was corrected in later (but not all) printings of the map.
- Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "The Maps of The Lord of the Rings", pp. lv-lxvii
- J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 187, (undated, written April 1956), p. 247
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Introduction", "The Map of Middle-earth"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "XV. The First Map of The Lord of the Rings", p. 322 (note 9)
- Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. lxvii