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General Map of Middle-earth

The map of Middle-earth as appeared in the earliest editions.

General Map of Middle-earth is the original, unnamed[note 1] map of the Westlands that Christopher Tolkien made in late 1953 for the first edition of The Lord of the Rings.[1][2]

The map was drawn in haste by C. Tolkien, based on sketches of J.R.R. Tolkien. father Tolkien consulted "the Map" during writing.[3]

While authoring the Unfinished Tales C. Tolkien considered including this map, adding the new place-names mentioned in the book. Eventually he opted to redraw it, maintaining the same "style and detail".[3] The new map bears the title "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age".

[edit] Mistakes

Christopher Tolkien admitted that there were both "minor" and "major defects" and oddities, and while his father used the map as the basis of his writing, he often noted its inadequacies. In the long term, Christopher regretted that his father did not proceed to make a better map of his own.[3]

Some of the errors include:

With the opportunity of the Unfinished Tales C. Tolkien found a chance to correct the "minor defects" of the original map.[3]


  1. The name "General Map of Middle-earth" appears to be coined by Hammond and Scull.

[edit] References

  1. 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
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 187, (undated, written April 1956), p. 247
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Introduction", "The Map of Middle-earth"
Maps of Arda made by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit:  Thrór's Map · Map of Wilderland
 TLOTR:  A Part of the Shire · General Map of Middle-earth · Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor · The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age
Other:  Númenórë‎ · A Map of Middle-earth · There and Back Again · Map of Beleriand and the Lands to the North
Early maps:  The earliest map‎ · I Vene Kemen · The First 'Silmarillion' Map · Ambarkanta maps · The Second 'Silmarillion' Map · First Map of The Lord of the Rings