One of the most fun things about fantasy books is the maps authors provide, creating a well drawn picture of their world. These maps helped solidify the idea that these worlds truly exist, creating a massive landscape full of interesting, varied locations that we, the readers, feel instantly drawn into. The best maps create a geographical landscape that feels full of life and transport away into another place as we read. Below are some of the best maps, in this author’s opinion, throughout fantasy literature. Here are some of my favorite maps from fantasy fiction.
Westeros by George R.R. Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, better known as Game of Thrones to wider audiences, contains one of the most detailed fictional lands in the fantasy genre: the land of Westeros. A massive continent, Westeros’s geography varies immensely, home to significant mountain ranges such as the Mountains of the Moon, the Frostfangs, and the Red Mountains of Dorne. The North is a land constantly enduring heavy snowfall, while immense woodlands dominate the warmer climates of the land, such as the Kingswood and and the Haunted Forest. Offshore islands include Bear Island, Dragonstone, and Tarth.
The map itself covers the high immense geography of Westeros exceptionally well, matching George R. R. Martin’s attention to detail. For more intimate close ups of the various different lands across this fictional world, see The Lands of Ice and Fire, which features dozens of high quality maps of the world of Martin’s imagination.
Middle-earth by J.R.R. Tolkien
Possibly the most famous fictional world in the fantasy genre and the one to which most if not all fantasy authors owe their inspiration, Middle-Earth, the setting for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as well as many other works by Tolkien, draws inspiration from Midgard of Norse mythology. Tolkien’s aim when he created maps for his stories was to created a well defined geography for his world, making it as real as possible in order to achieve realistic travel time, since his protagonists spend much of the story walking from location to location. The land of Middle-Earth contains regions such as the Shire, Gondor, Rohan, and Mordor. Middle-Earth is home to a wide variety of races that inhabit its borders, such as Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs.
Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
In contrast to the previous two lands, which draw upon historical Europe to inform geographical and culture sensibilities, Ursula K. Le Guin’s world of Earthsea takes its inspiration from Polynesia. Ursula K. Le Guin was outspoken about the notion that characters in fantasy should be white and resemble the Middle Ages, hence Earthsea itself is much more unique. The peoples inhabiting the world inform this view, with the majority of the people’s coloration having red-brown coloration. Locations across Earthsea include Havnor, the Ninety Isles, and the Dragon’s Run.
What are some of your favorite fantasy maps? Let us know and show the detailed worlds you get sucked into!
Featured Image Via A Wiki of Ice and Fire