The Rings of Power was a major success, and fans of the Lord of the Rings absolutely loved the series. However, the Middle-earth map was quite different than the geographical landscape in the LOTR movies and books.
J.R.R Tolkien didn’t just love maps, he based the entire story on them. In 1945, he wrote a letter to his fellow author Naomi Mitchison he wrote, “I wisely started [The Lord of the Rings] with a map, and made the story fit.”
Tolkien’s Map of the Middle-earth Explained
Taken from Tolkien’s sketches, Lord of the Rings maps form a major comparison between Middle-earth’s past and the distant past.
Middle-earth map in the series is quite different from the one shown in The Lord of the Rings. The Rings of Power is set more than 3000 years earlier and has a Second-Age geography.
To help viewers get a proper orientation, Amazon has released a map of the Second Age Middle-earth as shown in The Rings of Power.
Here are some of the key differences that we saw in the maps from Lord of the Rings, and The Rings of Power.
Valinor lies to the west in The Rings of Power series and it can be found by simply sailing to the west. In Lord of the Rings, it is the realm where elves are migrating, and Frodo’s story ultimately ends.
Numenor lies between Valinor and Middle-earth. It is a star-shaped island in the ocean. The Númenoreans can sail toward Middle-earth but are banned from making their way toward Valinor.
To the west of Middle-earth, there are two great provinces, Lindon and Eriador. Lindon is an Elven state and home to High King Gil-Galad. This is where people depart when going to Valinor. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo also sailed from here towards Valinor. Even though Lindon does exist in the LOTR era, it is not emphasized on the map.
Over the Blue Mountains, we have the lush plains and rolling hills of Eriador. The area is not as significant in The Rings of Power, as in Lord of the Rings. Eriador is host to Rivendell and Arnor. This is also the place where the hobbits established the Shrine, and is a primary setting for The Fellowship of the Ring.
Mordor is Sauron’s stronghold in Lord of the Rings. It’s a barren land with foul things. In The Rings of Power, it is situated in the Southlands. As the show is set right around the same time Sauron made Mordor his stronghold, fans saw what the region looked like before the ruin.