Forum: Geography and Maps

Discussing: The Silmarillion and LotR geography

The Silmarillion and LotR geography

Rather short post ahead--I'm quite tired, but want to pose this question before I forget. I've been reading the Silmarillion, and as I progress, I grow more and more confused on the topic of geography... but, where are the locations mentioned in the LotR trilogy, in relation to those mentioned in the Silmarillion? Does anyone know of a quality combined map? A friend bought me a bestiary that I *think* has one, but I have my doubts about the canon accuracy of this book, and hesitate to use it as a resource to answer my question. (After all, it lists the Silvan elves of Mirkwood as the Avari, and nowhere else have I seen them categorized there. I mean, it's *possible*, but I've only ever seen them listed as Moriquendi. But I could easily be getting confused over classifications of elves, and I digress anyway). I'd love it if anyone could help. This isn't a burning plot question or anything. It's just really bothering me. ~tineryn

 

 

Re: The Silmarillion and LotR geography

Hi Tineryn! Actually, there is a relatively straightforward answer: In the Silm map of Beleriand, along the eastern edge, you can see a line of north-south mountains named the Ered Luin, aka the Ered Lindon or the Blue Mountains. Then, in LoTR, in the map of Eriador (Arnor, Bree, the Shire, etc.), you'll see the same line of mountains, only this time they are along the western part of the map, near the coast, and there is a break where the Gulf of Lhûn intrudes between the northern part of the range and the southern part. Basically, when Beleriand sank at the end of the First Age, the northwestern coastline of Middle-earth retreated eastward almost to the Ered Luin. Note also that, in the LoTR map, there is an offshore island called Himling. That island is what remains of Himring. The rest of Beleriand disappeared beneath the waves... Hope that helps! It probably took me a year before I finally figured out the relationship of the First Age landforms with the Third Age geography... - Barbara

 

 

Re: The Silmarillion and LotR geography

My advice would be to invest in "The Atlas of Middle-earth", by Karen Wynn-Fonstad. As a new paperback it is about 24 $; but you should be able to get it cheaper at amazon. Although there are a few errors in it (e.g. "Aqualonde" instead of "Alqualonde"), I think it is worth every cent. It has maps and information for every age and is definitely one of my most important LOTR resources besides the books. Yours Juno

 

 

Re: The Silmarillion and LotR geography

My advice would be to invest in "The Atlas of Middle-earth", by Karen Wynn-Fonstad. I heartily concur! It's a wonderful reference... - Barbara

 

 

Re: The Silmarillion and LotR geography

I third that! I can't tell you how many times I've sat at my computer writing battle scenes with that open on my desk as a referance. Definately helps to keep straight who is moving around where. All her stuff is great. I've got her M-e atlas, my parents have her Altas of Pern, and I keep hoping my gaming friend will one day sell me the Atlas of Faerun she did for the Forgotten Realms. I'm not holding my breath, though... She died a while ago, didn't she? Or am I thinking of someone else? Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

Re: The Silmarillion and LotR geography

The bestiary I have is called "Characters from Tolkein", formerly "A Tolkein Bestiary"; I think the author's name is David Day. It shows the locations in the Silmarillion as being north of the ones in the trilogy, with a coast jutting out farther west than the more modern part of the map. I might have just gone with this... but (I am still relatively early on in the Silm. I read it on and off, alternating with other books) , the Silmarillion mentioned Sauron making seige against Minas Tirith. Now, on the map I have, the city of Minas Tirith is almost at the other end of the continent--FAR to far away to make seige from where Sauron was stationed. I have since cleared this up via the Encyclopedia of Arda, which said that Minas Tirith in that age was a tower guarding the Pass of Sirion, not a city of Men. It might have helped if it was listed on the map, of course... but it got me thinking. EoA also has a FAQ on the coastlines and how it all fits together, and I understand it a little more... but I am still curious about the shape of the land and things relating to that. Also, the Silm map indicates that it is the 'lands to the north', and the LotR one says it is the 'lands of the west'. Does that mean that the trilogy is set southwest of where the Silm took place, or simply west?

 

 

Re: The Silmarillion and LotR geography

Also, the Silm map indicates that it is the 'lands to the north', and the LotR one says it is the 'lands of the west'. Does that mean that the trilogy is set southwest of where the Silm took place, or simply west? Both of those terms are relative to the lands - and the age - being written about. You cannot compare them to each other. The Silmarillion only deals (in Middle-earth) with the region called Beleriand. The map in the Silm includes a few areas, like Hithlum, Anfauglith, and Lothlann, which are north of Beleriand, thus the name "Map of Beleriand and the Lands to the North". Beleriand had been in the far northwest of the lands that the Lord of the Rings deals with -- but it had not existed for nearly two full ages, so was not part of the mental map of any of the people of the Third Age (except, of course, Elves like Elrond or Círdan). In the Third Age, the term Westlands was used for everything that was (very roughly) west of Rhûn (which BTW means "the East"), so it includes Rhovanion (aka Wilderland, that wide region between the Misty Mountains and the Iron Hills), Gondor in the south, and everything west of the Misty Mountains (the old Arnor, Dunland, etc.) The Westlands was not strictly a geographic term; there was also an implication that the peoples of the Westlands were not as subject to Morgoth and then Sauron as were peoples who lived further east (Easterlings (aka Wainriders or Balchoth), Haradrim, Variags of Khand, Corsairs of Umbar). So, the "Westlands" from LoTR is to the east and southeast of where Beleriand used to be. Lake Evendim, Fornost, Annúminas, any of the places along the Great East-West Road (e.g. the Shire, the Weather Hills, and Rivendell), all mentioned in LoTR, were due east from the former Beleriand, but almost every other place mentioned in LoTR is southeast. Does that help? - Barbara

 

 

Re: The Silmarillion and LotR geography

I think that helps. What I would REALLY like is if someone would come out with a nice, detailed, color coded map that combines everything. Like, if it listed all the places from the Silm and all the places from LotR. Then they could color all the places that sunk into the sea (or whatever happened to Beleriand) blue, and the things that appeared later in green, et cetera. As it were, I'm less confused now than I used to be. ~tineryn

 

 

Re: The Silmarillion and LotR geography

What I would REALLY like is if someone would come out with a nice, detailed, color coded map that combines everything. Like, if it listed all the places from the Silm and all the places from LotR. Then they could color all the places that sunk into the sea (or whatever happened to Beleriand) blue, and the things that appeared later in green, et cetera. The Atlas of Middle-earth has an overall map of the entire Middle-earth of the First Age (which includes all the familiar areas from the Third Age). The colors aren't blue and green , but it shows clearly the relationship between Beleriand and the more familiar landscape of The Lord of the Rings. And it has much, much, much more besides... regional maps and detailed maps of smaller areas (e.g.Emyn Muil), and layouts of towns and buildings (the Shire, Bree, Minas Tirith, the Hornburg), movements of people described in the Silm, Hobbit, and FoTR... there is a wealth of information. I highly recommend taking a look at the book, even if you don't purchase it -- maybe your library has it? But beware, if you love maps, once you look at it you will want to own it -- it's really that good. - Barbara

 

 

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