Middle-earth

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Middle-earth is the fictional setting of the majority of author J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings. These stories include The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien prepared several maps of Middle-earth and the regions of Middle-earth in which his stories took place. Some were published in his lifetime, though some of the earliest maps were not published until after his death. The main maps were those published in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and Unfinished Tales. Most of the events of the First Age took place in the subcontinent Beleriand, which was later engulfed by the ocean at the end of the First Age; the Blue Mountains at the right edge of the map of Beleriand are the same Blue Mountains that appear on the extreme left of the map of Middle-earth described in the Second and Third Ages. Tolkien's map of Middle-earth, however, shows only a small part of the world; most of the vast lands of Rhûn and Harad are not shown on the map, and there are also other continents.

Tolkien had written multiple times that Middle-earth is located on our Earth.[1] He has described it as an imaginary period in earth's past, not only in The Lord of the Rings (see Prologue[2] and Appendices[3]), but also in several correspondence letters,[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] estimating the end of the Third Age to about 6,000 years before his own time,[14] and in N.W. Europe (Hobbiton for example was set in same latitude as Oxford),[15] though at times he would also described elements of the stories as a kind of "...secondary or sub-creational reality" or "Secondary belief" in replies to letters.[16][17][18] During an interview in January 1971, he stated "No... at a different stage of imagination, yes.", when asked about taking place in a different era.[19][20] However, he did nod to the fact that the series take place on Earth, "Oh yes, they're the same word. Most people have made this mistake of thinking Middle-earth is a particular kind of earth or is another planet of the science fiction sort but it's just an old fashioned word for this world we live in, as imagined surrounded by the Ocean." However, he continued to make references to it being "...a brief episode of History" of earth as late as July and Autumn 1971.[21][22][23]

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