Friday, December 14, 2012

The Wales Theory of Middle Earth's Shape

Today the long awaited Hobbit movie is released.  While I personally fear a nine hour, three movie epic made out of a book which the dramatized, unabridged audio book is only two and a half hours long may stray too far from the source material, I am none the less in a J.R.R. Tolkien mood.  As such I began to think about geography and Middle Earth.

Middle Earth is based off Tolkien's view of a romantic, pre-industrial, pre-history Europe.  While he wrote that it was foolish to try to equate places in Middle Earth with present-day Europe, countless geographers and Tolkien fans have tried.

I, however, have been more interested in Middle Earth's shape than locations.  Looking at the map of Middle Earth I independently became a proponent of the little claimed theory that Middle Earth's geographical shape is based on Wales.  

To a certain extent even the mountains match

Flip the map over and Middle Earth looks even more like Wales.

Wales fits Tolkien's worldview and thus could have at least inspired the shape of Middle Earth.  Wales is populated by Welsh who are in fact the original Britons who were pushed out of England by the Saxons.  As such they could represent the Old Europe which migrated west after great changes at the end of an age (much like the Elves and most other magical creatures of Middle Earth).

Tolkien, a fan of language, history, and geography, clearly took ideas from everywhere for creating his Middle Earth.  However, I maintain that Wales was a major driving factor his creation of the shape of Middle Earth.


Dina said...

Wales! Well, that's a whale of a discovery!

Anonymous said...

Interesting... is Cardiff Minas Tirith or Minas Morgul?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I came across this! I had the same thought and was looking for a map overlay of the two. I'm glad Im not the only one who thought this :)

Sylvain Colon said...

It's an interesting theory, but it is false.
Because it omits Beleriand, which was half the part of Middle-Earth :
You can see that is does not look like Wales.

And the fact is that if elves came from the lake Cuiviénen in the East, they came to west because they wanted to do so, unlike britons who went to modern wales under the saxon pressure. The high elves who went west came indeed under Melkor's pressure.

Arda looked more like modern Earth, because as you can see in this map (from an original made by JRR Tolkien : Middle Earth looked more like Europe, Harad like Africa and Aman like America. It corresponds with the fact that the first era of the Legendarium, the one with the Elves and other shit, will end after the final battle between Manwë and Morgoth, and then after will start the second era, which is ours, humans, with only humans and a few elves who will tell the whole story written by Bilbo, Frodo and Sam in the Red Book, to Aelfwine, "friend of the elves" who will share the tale to other humans.