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The Atlas of Middle-Earth

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  9,691 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
Karen Wynn Fonstad's THE ATLAS OF MIDDLE-EARTH is an essential volume that will enchant all Tolkien fans. Here is the definitive guide to the geography of Middle-earth, from its founding in the Elder Days through the Third Age, including the journeys of Bilbo, Frodo, and the Fellowship of the Ring. Authentic and updated -- nearly one third of the maps are new, and the text ...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published 1991 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1981)
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The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienThe Return of the King by J.R.R. TolkienThe Two Towers by J.R.R. TolkienThe Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Middle Earth
10th out of 130 books — 68 voters
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Silmarillion by J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis CarrollGulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Geofiction: World building for the love of it
18th out of 145 books — 41 voters

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Community Reviews

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Sep 28, 2016 Manybooks rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is a fan of Middle Earth
One of my favourite reference books of all time! This expansive and informative atlas is not only wonderful in and of itself, it is an enchanting companion to and important reference source of and for J.R.R. Tolkien's substantial oeuvre. A detailed and fascinating array of both general and specific maps are presented and featured, helping readers not only visualise but also navigate the many paths taken by elves, dwarves, men, hobbits and others during the three ages of Middle Earth. And most im ...more
James M. Madsen, M.D.
I consider this book to be an indispensable companion, along with the maps and chronology at the beginning of David Day's Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia, to any reading of The Silmarillion. It's also a very enjoyable companion to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Fonstad's scholarship is meticulous, and the book, for those who are reading or have read any of these three main works, also makes a superb stand-alone read--something unusual for an encyclopedic reference. Highly, highly re ...more
Mahshad Blue
Jul 07, 2016 Mahshad Blue rated it it was amazing
خوندن سیلماریلیون و فرزندان هورین و قصه های ناتمام و به طور کلی مطالعه ی آثار تالکین بدون این اطلس، مثل تماشای فوتبال بدون تخمه است!
امکان پذیره ولی لذت بخش نیست:)
Mar 09, 2012 Phillip rated it it was amazing
It is hard to believe that I haven't written a review of this wonderful book. The "Atlas of Middle-earth" is one of those resources that help to open up Tolkien's work for the reader in a way that adds to one's understanding of the original works. It is helpful to have multiple maps with explanatory material there to help the reader to visualize the geography and routes of all of the major works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

She provides floor plans for Bag End, Butterburr's Inn, the Beorn residence and on
Ellen Trautner
Feb 26, 2016 Ellen Trautner rated it it was amazing
No surprise, but I loved this book. I love Tolkien and I love maps. It doesn't get much better than this!

The book is divided into three major sections, each covering one of his 3 major works: The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. Accompanying the maps is a summary of the texts as well. I think people who have read The Silmarillion, but maybe only once or twice, and found it hard to follow, would do well to read this atlas. The summaries are good reviews, and the maps help vis
Oct 19, 2015 HBalikov rated it it was amazing
Are you into Tolkien? Yes, are you really into Tolkien? How many times have you watched The Lord of the Rings? Not, the Peter Jackson version, but the highly controversial Ralph Bakshi version? Do you have a copy of David Day's Tolkien Bestiary? Are you competitive with Stephen Colbert's knowledge? You might be interested in Fonstad's ambitious Atlas of Middle-Earth.

She writes: "Like Bilbo, I have always loved maps (and she has a degree in cartography)...(when) I finally read The Lord of the Rin
Plant Girl
Oct 26, 2007 Plant Girl rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, own
Only for the super geeky! All the multitude of maps are helpful while following the stories (includes maps for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion) if one is so inclined to have to always know where the action is taking place. I have enjoyed it.
Jan 09, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
Being a Middle-earth nut I just had to add this to my collection. It's a must-have I think now to any Tolkien fan, owing to the beautiful collection of maps it contains. It's also pretty darn good at summarizing all the stories from The Silmarillion and the First Age. As a geologist by profession I also enjoyed the technical, although never over-technical, geographical explanations and theory. I learned some good new things about the Middle-earth world also, which I'd probably skipped over or fo ...more
Ettore Pasquini
Nov 11, 2015 Ettore Pasquini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien readers holding atmosphere in high regard
Really cool book with maps of Middle-Earth across time. It also facilitates understanding the changes that happened in the various Ages.

(view spoiler)
Jul 18, 2013 Kristen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Pretty much the ultimate reference book for the Middle Earth Mythos. This being said,actually just reading through it was much what I imagine reading through an actual atlas is like; i.e. rather dry. Had I actually owned this book and used it as actually intended, as a refence as I read through Tolkien's works, it probably would have gotten a higher rating from me, but, as I got it from the library and had a due date, I was unable to do this and still have time to finish it, so I was forced just ...more
Liam ~Let me go. D'you feel the same, my Charlemagne?~
Well, there's nothing BAD to say about this book, and the maps themselves look great, but there's something less wonderful about it then I might have hoped. Maybe it's the fact that most of the maps are either ones known already or pretty obvious ones, like, a map of Beorn's house. It marks down the individual chairs! It looks cool, but it's not terribly interesting. The best maps were those of Arda. They left David Day's illustration from A Tolkien Bestiary in the dust. But, for the most part, ...more
Aug 26, 2016 Jerome rated it really liked it
A great reference work for any Middle-Earth fan.

The only real issue with creating an atlas like this is making sense out of Tolkien’s geographical “errors,” but the author clearly explains all of these. The book is both a guide and a critique of Tolkien’s world, pointing out all of the grandeur consistency and errors in Tolkien’s work. The maps of the The Hobbit are great, and they do a fine job showing how limited and and inconsistent it is time-wise and geographically compared to The Lord of
Bert Becker
Nov 23, 2014 Bert Becker rated it really liked it
Shelves: becker-s-reviews
Fonstad, Karen Wynn. (1991). The Atlas of Middle Earth. Houghton Mifflin Company.

Citation by: Bert Becker

Type of reference: Handbook for Lord of the Rings

Call Number: Ref 550.42

Content/Scope: This handbook gives pictures and information for J.R.R Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit". It detailed drawing and pictures are fascinating and gives an accurate detail for the reader to reference to.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: The information is based on the author's ideas of what middle
Mar 04, 2008 Steven rated it really liked it
I love having this with me when I'm re-reading The Lord of the Rings . Fonstad has done incredible research into the geography of Middle Earth. Then again, I am fascinated with maps of all kinds, so I suppose I might be a little biased. (Wait. Me? Biased? And stating my overly biased opinions? Never.) Just ask Julietta.
MacNeil Fernandes
Jan 06, 2015 MacNeil Fernandes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference
A great reference while reading Tolkien's works.
Jkimballcook Cook
Jan 24, 2015 Jkimballcook Cook rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
It's not perfect, but it's probably the best attempt I've seen at trying to bring it all together. Of course, the primary appeal is the maps, but the chronology is also helpful.
Aaron White
Jan 28, 2016 Aaron White rated it it was amazing
Awesome, awesome, awesome book. If you love maps, and JRR Tolkein's world, you will find this indispensable. The maps provided in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion I never found to be sufficient. Tolkein was constantly listing places or changing names, and I, who love to follow along carefully, was not always sure what part of Middle-Earth he was talking about. This atlas seems to have everything you could ever want. All the place names, and multiple names of places are on on ...more
Jonny Parshall
Sep 04, 2016 Jonny Parshall rated it liked it
Seeing the maps firsthand and up close somewhat compromises the imaginings of Tolkien's works. It is a fun addition to my collection nonetheless.
Davide Quartucci
Un libro che qualsiasi appassionato di Tolkien dovrebbe avere.
jillian nessie
Sep 20, 2013 jillian nessie rated it really liked it
Excellent! Especially when reading The Silmarillion.
Sep 06, 2016 Richard rated it really liked it
If you never spent long childhood hours attempting to hand-copy the maps from The Lord of the Rings to a larger scale; or perhaps pored over that mysterious map of Beleriand at the end of The Silmarillion trying to work out just where all that land had gone by the time of The Hobbit, then this book is probably not for you!

If otherwise, Karen Wynn Fonstad's Atlas is a fascinating book; not just a geographical guide to Middle-earth but also a useful summary of a good deal of its history. It's an i
May 06, 2013 Lucinda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-r-r-tolkien
The indispensable, must-have companion to ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Silmarillion’.

The atlas of JRR Tolkien’s Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad clarifies the geography of his creation and highlights the adventures which took place there ~ including the first, second and third ages. From the Undying Lands of the West to the Shire and Hobbiton, this revised edition contains within hundreds of two-color maps and diagrams spanning across the vast plains of Middle-Earth. Utterly
Artnoose Noose
Mar 19, 2012 Artnoose Noose rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: die-hard Tolkein fans
It's true that unless you have read Tolkien books multiple times--- or are currently reading them--- you might not get much out of this book. But wow, is it ever thorough. I love the fact that nerds have been able to secure advanced degrees by studying the fine details of Tolkien's published works and unpublished notes.

Tolkien's notability doesn't spawn from amazing writing but rather his creation of a whole mythos, complete with languages and descriptive passages about geography. It's pretty fo
Dec 13, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Atlas of Middle Earth makes a wonderful companion to Lord of the Rings, and helps to flesh out the reader's mental image of the world Tolkien has described. It is fascinating to trace the fellowship's route through Middle Earth, which is so precisely rendered that in Fonstad's maps that she shows every night's camp site!

My only niggling complaint is that some maps can be crowded and a little difficult to decipher, but their hand drawn charm more than compensates for that shortcoming.
Nathan Dehoff
May 10, 2014 Nathan Dehoff rated it it was amazing
I've always enjoyed when books had maps in them, and while it took me a while to actually finish the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, I remember being fascinated by the detailed maps that I found there. I actually remember coming across this book at a bookstore when I was a kid, but it took me a while to get around to finally reading it. There's a lot to be said about J.R.R. Tolkien's geography, and Fonstad covers quite a bit of it here, from the development of Middle-Earth from the First throu ...more
Nonethousand Oberrhein
Sep 17, 2016 Nonethousand Oberrhein rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tolkieniana, american
Not just a Geography lesson
An important companion to the universe created by JRR Tolkien, this volume allows to analyse in a schematic yet detailed way the travels of various heroes of Middle Earth as well as the principal locations and battles described in the books. A valuable reference and a good read to be enjoyed by any Tolkien enthusiast.

The atlas uses the following books as source material:
- The Hobbit ,
- The Lord of the Rings ,
- The Silmarillion ,
- Unfinished Tales ,
and the History
Jan 26, 2014 Tayler rated it it was amazing
This is less an actual book and more an art-book. The maps are clear, with very few mistakes, as most of them are from Tolkein's own maps. The maps are printed in black and red ink and range in content from pure, unmarked maps as might be used for navigation or in an Ardan atlas to maps showing the routes of the Fellowship and, if I am remembering right, Thorin's group. The content of the maps dates from the Awakening of the Elves to the end of the Third Age.
As of yet there are no maps of Valino
Apr 06, 2015 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
We can make this review quick. Are you a Tolkien nerd? I mean, a REAL Tolkien nerd? Have you ever wondered about the relative distances of key locations in Beleriand, puzzled at what barrows are and they are the cool spots for wights to hang out in, or wanted a geographer's explanation of where they can actually grow food in Mordor? Buy this book immediately if you have not done so already.
Aug 07, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-earth
This is an excellent reference book for fans of J. R. R. Tolkien who want to delve deeper into the world he created in The Silmarillion, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. In addition to mapping out the many locations found in those tales, Karen Wynn Fonstad provides a concise history, floor plans of some locations (e.g. Bag End, Doriath), timelines, battle-plans, maps out area by race, climate, language etc, and suggested pathways taken by the Fellowship of the Ring and the Company of Thorin Oak ...more
Tessa Thomas
Mar 24, 2016 Tessa Thomas rated it really liked it
As a fantasy fanatic, I knew I had to have this book and I have to say anyone who prides themselves on being a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's work really should at least give this book a look. I was not disappointed in the slightest. Getting to look at the maps and see where the characters I grew up with had traveled seemed oddly satisfying.
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Tolkien's T.C.B.S: Maps of Middle-Earth 3 15 May 09, 2013 09:21AM  
  • A Tolkien Bestiary
  • The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-Earth, #5)
  • The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth
  • The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth
  • The Journeys of Frodo
  • The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator
  • The Road to Middle-Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created A New Mythology

Karen Wynn Fonstad, née Wynn (April 18, 1945 - March 11, 2005) was the author of several atlases of fictional worlds.

Born Karen Lea Wynn in Oklahoma City to parents James and Estis Wynn, she graduated from Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma, and then earned a B.S. degree in Physical Therapy and an M.A. in Geography, specializing in cartography, from the University of Oklahoma.

While attending t
More about Karen Wynn Fonstad...

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