Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Atlas of Middle-Earth

I recently checked out The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad from the library. Yes, I know it was first published in 1981. Yes, I do believe that there have been at least two editions since then. I hope that doesn't mean my geek status will be revoked for reading it just now! For those of you who are not Tolkien fans or geeks, The Atlas of Middle-Earth is a collection of maps and a discussion of the geography of the world featured in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Anyhow, The Atlas of Middle-Earth is a marvelous book in my opinion. It features maps of Arda in the First, Second, and Third Ages. What is more is that it has maps of places featured in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. There are maps of the Shire, Hobbiton, Minas Tirith, Mount Doom, and many other places of interest. There are even blueprints of many of the buildings that play a major role in the books, from Bilbo's hobbit hole to the Prancing Pony to the home of Elrond. There are also maps of every major battle, as well as the paths the various adventurers took in their journeys. If The Atlas of Middle-Earth had stopped there, it would still be a remarkable book, yet it also features thematic maps showing the landforms, climates, vegetation, population distribution, and the distribution of languages in Middle-Earth.

The Atlas of Middle-Earth is a great resource for any fan of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. In a small space Karen Wynn Fonstad provides a great deal of information and a meticulous attention to detail. If you have never read it and you are a fan of Tolkien, I recommend that you by all means do so.

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