Tolkien Gateway

The Atlas of Middle-earth

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Fonstad also made a bold attempt to fill the gaps by using early conceptual work, mainly from ''[[The Book of Lost Tales Part 1|The Book of Lost Tales]]'' and the ''[[Ambarkanta]]'', combining the later known maps with the sketches used by Tolkien to provide "world maps" of [[Arda]] in its entirity and show [[Aman]], [[Beleriand]]'s position relative to [[Eriador]], and the place of [[Númenor]] in the Sea.
 
Fonstad also made a bold attempt to fill the gaps by using early conceptual work, mainly from ''[[The Book of Lost Tales Part 1|The Book of Lost Tales]]'' and the ''[[Ambarkanta]]'', combining the later known maps with the sketches used by Tolkien to provide "world maps" of [[Arda]] in its entirity and show [[Aman]], [[Beleriand]]'s position relative to [[Eriador]], and the place of [[Númenor]] in the Sea.
  
It was, however, published before the final three volumes of ''[[The History of Middle-earth]]'' were published, and thus some maps are based on [[Tolkien]]'s early works, which were revised in later writings.<!-- some examples would be useful -->
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It was, however, published before the final three volumes of ''[[The History of Middle-earth]]'' were published, and thus some maps are based on [[J.R.R. Tolkian|Tolkien]]'s early works, which were revised in later writings.<!-- some examples would be useful -->
  
 
==Errors and criticism==
 
==Errors and criticism==
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*Page 7: [[Ezellohar]] is written as "Ezollahar"
 
*Page 7: [[Ezellohar]] is written as "Ezollahar"
 
*Page 13: [[Gabilgathol]] is once written as "Gabilgathod".
 
*Page 13: [[Gabilgathol]] is once written as "Gabilgathod".
:*Belegost and Nogrod seem to have switched positions: [[Silmarillion]] mentions that Nogrod was the southern one. Also, Tolkien mentions that Galbigathol was "north of the great height of Mount Dolmed" while Fonstad has both of them south.
+
:*Belegost and Nogrod seem to have switched positions: ''[[The Silmarillion]]'' mentions that Nogrod was the southern one. Also, Tolkien mentions that Galbigathol was "north of the great height of Mount Dolmed" while Fonstad has both of them south.
 
*Page 12 and page 53: [[Dorthonion]] and [[Himring]] are located slightly above parallel J. However much later, [[Tol Fuin]] and [[Himling]] are seen much northern, above parallel I.
 
*Page 12 and page 53: [[Dorthonion]] and [[Himring]] are located slightly above parallel J. However much later, [[Tol Fuin]] and [[Himling]] are seen much northern, above parallel I.
 
*Page ??: [[Oatbarton]] is written as "Oakbottom".
 
*Page ??: [[Oatbarton]] is written as "Oakbottom".

Revision as of 18:44, 10 January 2011

The Atlas of Middle-Earth
The Atlas of Middle-earth.jpg
AuthorKaren Wynn Fonstad
PublisherHoughton Mifflin
Released1991 (revised edition)
FormatPaperback
Pages210
ISBN0618126996

The Atlas of Middle-earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad is an atlas of various lands in Arda. It includes specific maps for The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for which is intended as a reading companion.

Contents

The maps are treated as if they are of real landscapes, and are drawn according to the same rules that a real atlas is drawn: for each area the history of the land is taken into account, as well as geography on a larger scale and from there maps are drawn. Discussion includes suggestions as to the geology that could explain various formations, and points that are contradictory between multiple accounts.

City maps and floor plans for important buildings are also included; these are very often useful for making sense of the narratives, especially in The Lord of the Rings. As well, many battles such as those of Beleriand, the Last Alliance and the War of the Ring are illustrated.

The book was published in 1981, but in 1991 a revised and updated version was published, which took information from The History of Middle-earth into account.

Fonstad also made a bold attempt to fill the gaps by using early conceptual work, mainly from The Book of Lost Tales and the Ambarkanta, combining the later known maps with the sketches used by Tolkien to provide "world maps" of Arda in its entirity and show Aman, Beleriand's position relative to Eriador, and the place of Númenor in the Sea.

It was, however, published before the final three volumes of The History of Middle-earth were published, and thus some maps are based on Tolkien's early works, which were revised in later writings.

Errors and criticism

Despite being a thorough and well-respected reference book, the Atlas has been known for several mistakes.

  • Belegost and Nogrod seem to have switched positions: The Silmarillion mentions that Nogrod was the southern one. Also, Tolkien mentions that Galbigathol was "north of the great height of Mount Dolmed" while Fonstad has both of them south.

The usage of early concepts of the The Book of Lost Tales alongside the established canon, are also arguably controversial. In Aman, Fonstad identified the early name "Hanstovánen" and also she points out the dwellings of the Valar in Valinor. Same happens with Tol Eressëa whose (tentative) maps portray Tavrobel and Kortirion as well as some places in Gondolin.

In the First Age maps, the Sea of Helcar is seen to cover the area of future Mordor, Khand, and Rhûn; the Sea of Rhûn and Sea of Núrnen are shown as its remnants. In The Peoples of Middle-earth there are references to the Sea of Rhûn existing in the First Age, but no indication as to whether it should be equated with the Sea of Helcar or not.