Content: For today I have some interesting maps by the one and only Karen Wynn Fonstad. I talked about her in a previous update; she wrote the legendary Atlas of Middle Earth and is a top notch illustrator. Hidden in there are some really unique maps, such as these: – Bio Map – shows the major plant type in each area – Climate Map – includes local climate type as well as ocean and wind currents – Geo Map – notes major geologic features across Middle Earth
Notes: If you’ve been following along events on the map of Middle Earth (as you should be!) these can be fun to check out details of each area. The great thing about Fonstad maps is that she was super careful to only include details that were super canon so there’s no confusion with non-canon material. (Lots of fan-made maps include original additions or stuff from Lord of the Rings Online, a video game, to flesh it out). ~Tom
Links to Other Content:
– CivEx focus: Witch-King of Angmar. Great summary video of the history of the Witch-King. Note: MAJOR spoilers after 3:15, so just be careful to stop when you get to Frodo if you haven't read LOTR yet.
– Realms in Exile map, by (Tyler? not exactly sure how I found this.) Cute little maps showing the evolution of the realms of exiled Númenóreans. One of the few maps I've seen which show Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur.
– Sauron, by NeilMcClements. Somewhat terrifying depiction of Sauron – just to remind us of what Frodo is up against.
– There’s an entry in the Tale of Years for around this time:
'All trace of Gollum is lost. It is thought that at about this time, being hunted both by the Elves and Sauron's servants, he took refuge in Moria; but when he had at last discovered the way to the West-gate he could not get out.'
Notes: There'll be some more content about the Third Age next week, then some more appendix content. About a month left until Frodo (finally) leaves the Shire. ~Tom
Content: – Númenor, by Sapiento. Gorgeous illustrated map that incorporates most of the known details about the island of Númenor. – Númenórë Map, by amegusa. Another wonderful map, with more pictoral representations of many features.
Notes: Hope you enjoy these maps! Geographic details of the island aren’t as important for LOTR as the general story of the Fall of Númenor, but they’re still cool to look at ~Tom
Today’s featured piece is Pauline Bayne’s colored/illustrated full Middle Earth map! Pauline Baynes was a classic illustrator of Tolkien’s works, probably the one who he favored most during his life. She never did a full illustrated edition of LOTR, but she illustrated many of Tolkien’s shorter works such as Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wootton Major, and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. She is also known for doing the classic cover art for The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis). The map is beautiful, so definitely check it out!!
[Dates will be given here: Kings Reckoning (Shire Reckoning)]
Get excited everyone!! Our true adventure begins tomorrow with Gandalf’s arrival in Hobbiton!
Now those of you who are already experienced with LOTR lore may be wondering, doesn’t Gandalf arrive on April 12? The answer is yes, but that is according to the Shire Reckoning which, as I discussed yesterday, is a day or two offset throughout the year. In order to keep the timescales as clear as possible I will preserve the offsets, but clearly state at the beginning of each post the date in the various calendars. Hopefully that will keep it clear!
Update on the state of things: We are about to enter the Shire in the year 3018 of the Third Age of Middle Earth. However, for the Hobbits it is year 1418 – meaning the Shire was founded 1418 years ago. Frodo Baggins has been living alone for 17 years now, ever since old Bilbo, his uncle, disappeared. Despite the bachelor being viewed as eccentric, he has made many friends, including Merry and Pippin, and his garden is tended by Samwise Gamgee (son of the Gaffer, Bilbo’s gardener). For the past few years Frodo has become restless, and dreams of mountains and adventures unwittingly enter his sleep. I like to imagine he sits for long hours in his study, examining Bilbo’s maps and wondering what lies beyond the edges of the page. (Here is a map Bilbo might have made of the lands around the Shire, by amegusa). In other news, rumours have been spreading about many evil things, most especially the dark tower in Mordor. Only a whisper of this reaches the Shire, through Dwarves that come and go from Bag End and Elves that travel through the woods at night on their way to the sea.
Notes: Hope you all are ready! Tomorrow is just a short section, but Friday will be a whole chapter of reading, so plan ahead for that. ~Tom, coordinator
Just wanted to take a bit of time to introduce the late Karen Wynn Fonstad of “Atlas Of Middle Earth” fame. Ms. Fonstad was an amazing cartographer and writer who created the Atlas Of Middle Earth in 1981: a comprehensive collection of floor plans, journey logs, city layouts, and maps of every shape, kind, and size. I have taken lots of screenshots that I will link to when appropriate because I think everyone deserves to be able to follow along with a map, but I highly recommend buying the book if you get the chance. She has good descriptions throughout and it is chock full of details, and almost everything is literally directly based on details that Tolkien wrote.
Anyway… for today’s art we have Fonstad’s Bag End and Hobbiton. Enjoy! ~Tom
Notes: Just take a bit to visualize the Shire geography with the excellent original map. I don’t know about you all, but I absolutely love when books give you maps to follow along with the journey, and ‘A Part Of The Shire’ is one of the classics. You can find just about everything we’ve already read about, including Tuckborough, the Brandywine, Buckland, the Farthings, the bridge, etc, and many things that will be important in the story to come, such as Bucklebury Ferry, Woody End, Frogmorton, etc. Tomorrow starts Chapter 1, which takes place of course in Hobbiton, near The Hill – make sure you find it on the map!
Other: – Nelly Mccausland reminded me of this really cool item: a fan-made replica of the Red Book of Westmarch! Super detailed, definitely check it out, as it relates back to the information from the prologue about the Red Book. I suppose you could consider this one of the copies that Master Samwise’s descendents produced in the Shire! (Note: could be some spoilers if you look closely.)
Final Note: I want the project to be friendly to first-time readers, so generally I will try to avoid sending out anything with spoilers and structuring the readings to avoid any. However it is hard completely avoid them, so I will mark anything that could give away plot elements prematurely. ~Tom
Pages To Read: FR.Pro Section: “Of the Ordering of the Shire” (~p.9-10)
Events: – Summary of the geographical distribution of the Shire into four farthings. – Summary of offices of power in the Shire, including the Thain, Sheriffs, Messengers, and Mayor (of Michel Delving) – Update on the status of the Shire at the beginning of the story – reports of “strange persons and creatures prowling about the borders, or over them.”
Details: – I promise the information about the Sheriffs will be important, but it will take almost until the end of the book so don’t get too excited… – We finally get a firm date for the beginning of this tale: 60 years after Bilbo’s adventure with the Dwarves.