December 14th, 2009

TOTW: Mapping Fantasy

“How can you understand what happens in the world if you don’t know where things happen?”

That’s illustrator and mapmaker Ian Schoenherr’s take on maps in fantasy novels. (At left is a detail of Schoenherr's map for THE WINGS OF MERLIN by T.A. Barron.) The late J.R.R. Tolkien is cheering from beyond the grave—his detailed maps for THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS still take the prize some 75 years later.

Poring over an LOTR map (detail after the cut), you learn that there’s such a place as Tarlang’s Neck in the land of Lamedon, which I don’t remember visiting in the book. According to Nolan Ellsworth, 14, a friend and fellow fantasist, “This map is Tolkien’s way of saying ‘I know everything about my fantasy world! Top that, C.S. Lewis!”

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