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Places in Middle-earth

Hither Lands

Type: Kingdoms, Realms, Lands

Region: Other Arda

Other Names Great Lands, Outer Lands, Middle-earth

Location: In the middle of the map of Arda, consisting of the northern continent and the southern continent.

Description: "In relation to Beleriand in the North-west, and bearing in mind the whole underlying history of Eriol-AElfwine and Leithien (England), the southern part of the Hither Lands, below the Great Gulf, bears an obvious resemblance to the continent of Africa; and in a vaguer way the Inland Sea could be interpreted as the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. But I can offer nothing on this matter that would not be the purest speculation."

The Shaping of Middle-earth, HoME Vol 4, Chapter 5, The Ambarkanta, Commentary

There is support for this in the Letters of JRR Tolkien:

" 'Middle-earth', by the way, is not a mane of a never-never land without relation to the world we live in... it is... the name for the inhabited lands of Men 'between the seas'. And though I have not attempted to relate the shape of the mountains and land-masses to what geologists may say or surmise about the nearer past, imaginatively this 'history' is supposed to take place in a period of the actual Old World of this planet."

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Letter #165 to the Houghton Mifflin Co.

Christopher Tolkien mentons the evolution of names, all referring to the same area:

"In the Lost Tales the term Great Lands always means the lands between the Seas (i.e. the whole of the later Middle-earth); in S and Q Outer Lands (which in the Lost Tales meant the Western Lands) is used of Middle-earth, with later emendation to Hither Lands in Q."

The Shaping of Middle-earth, HoME Vol 4, Chapter 4, The First 'Silmarillion' Map,

"And the thrusting aside of the land caused also mountains to appear in four ranges, two in the Northland, and two in the Southland; and those in the North were the Blue Mountains in the West side, and the Red Mountains in the East side; and in the South were the Grey Mountains and the Yellow. But Melko fortified the North and built there the Northern Towers, which are also called the Iron Mountains, and they look southward. And in the middle land there were the Mountains of the Wind, for a wind blew strongly there coming from the East before the Sun; and Hildorien the land where Men first awoke lay between these mountains and the Eastern Sea. But Kuivienen where Orome found the Elves is to the North beside the waters of Helkar.(7)"

The Shaping of Middle-earth, HoME Vol 4, Chapter 5, The Ambarkanta

"With what is said here about the slowness of change ('even in the Hither Lands') before the making of the Sun and Moon cf. the conclusion of AV 2:*

Now measured time came into the world, and the growth, changing and ageing of all things was hereafter more swift, even in Valinor, but most swift in the Hither Lands upon Middle-earth, the mortal regions between the seas of East and West. "
The Lost Road and Other Writings, HoME Vol 5, Part 2, Ch 5, The Lhammas section 3 Commentary

"ยง 29. This was the doom of the Gods, when Fionwe and the sons of the Valar returned to Valmar and told of all the things that had been done. Thereafter the Hither Lands of Middle-earth should be for Mankind, the younger children of the world; but to the Elves, the Firstborn, alone should the gateways of the West stand ever open."

The Lost Road and Other Writings, HoME Vol 5, Part 2, Ch 6, Quenta Silmarillion

Note: A reproduction of Map V from The Shaping of Middle-earth is here

Contributors: Lyllyn29Dec04

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