This Interactive Map of Middle-earth Helps Bridge the Gap Between ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Rings of Power’
Viewers of Amazon Prime’s new Lord of the Rings series The Rings of Power have no doubt noticed the show’s clever way of transitioning between certain disparate storylines: with a map of Middle-earth, sweeping from wherever you just were to wherever you’re about to go. Book fans will recognize the map as a faithful take on the now famous one inserted in the original trilogy. J.R.R. Tolkien’s son, Christopher Tolkien, drew it based on his father’s sketches.
But if the map shots in the show are too myopic or fleeting to keep you oriented within a vast and strange world, fret not. As CNET reports, Amazon Prime has also published the full version online for you to inspect at your leisure. You can even download it—no Prime account necessary.
It’s pretty scant on detail, which is useful in helping those unfamiliar with the history of Middle-earth avoid anything that might be a future spoiler. For the insatiably curious, however, there’s a much more comprehensive option produced by the Lord of the Rings Project, a.k.a. LotrProject.
Sweden-based Tolkien fan Emil Johansson first created the site—unaffiliated with the Tolkien estate—back in 2012 as a genealogical guide to the author’s countless characters. He eventually added a map, which you can filter by character, type of place, and more. You can, for example, view Frodo and Sam’s path from the Shire to Mordor, and see where various other members of the Fellowship peeled off.
But perhaps the most illuminating feature that LotrProject has to offer is the timeline, which is basically an interactive reference text connecting the universe’s history to its geography. On one side is the written timeline, starting with the Elves’ origin story during the Years of the Trees and progressing through the Fourth Age (after the events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which both occur in the Third Age). On the other side is an interactive map with pins showing where everything took place.
If your main priority is to steer clear of spoilers for The Rings of Power, it’s probably best to just stay away from the timeline—or at least bypass the portion that covers the Second Age, during which the series is set. Otherwise, light up a pipe of Old Toby and explore with abandon.