If you look closely at maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth, there are plenty of places for the imagination to wander unhindered. The story takes us more or less diagonally across the landscape which Tolkien had devised, from the Shire in the middle West down to Mordor in the South East, with one or two excursions, like Boromir's journey to Rivendell, usually recalled rather than actually shown in the tale, into the regions called Enedwaith and Minhiriath. Tolkien envisaged the Shire as being at approximately the latitude of his beloved Oxfordshire, though, as we have seen in earlier blog entries, the landscape of Yorkshire is just as fitting as the home of the halflings. Per Tolkien's vision, the White Mountains between Rohan and Gondor are more or less where the southern French Alps would be, and therefore the climate and topology of Gondor begins to look more Mediterranean. On this scale, Mordor ends up being mainly Italian and Yugoslavian, submerged partly under the Adriatic.
Yorkshire lies to the North, between the Hills of Evendim and the Ice Bay of Forochel, west of the Witch Realm of Angmar. But some pictures I took during high Summer in the hills of South Yorkshire could be interpreted as images of places further south, and so I have taken the liberty again of describing them in Middle-earth terms based purely on imaginative notions.
This picture, showing little evidence of human (or hobbit) habitation, could be somewhere in the open spaces of Western Gondor, the hills of the Pinnath Gelin, north of Anfalas.
There are signs of farming taking place here, so this might be as far east as Lebennin, in the heart of Gondor.
This seems to me to be the empty country of the southern reaches of Enedwaith, looking towards the sea.
This is perhaps the region of Eryn Vorn, near where the Baranduin (Brandywine) river meets the sea.
Here we surely return to the Shire, to its northern quarter, looking towards the Hills of Evendim and Annunimas.
While here, the suggestion is to me of the slightly more barren country of the North Downs, with little to separate them from Angmar to the north west.
These pictures are just personal fancies, of course. But for me, Middle-earth was at its most powerful not when the elements of fantasy were in play but when it most resembled a real landscape.
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