New Zealand is Middle Earth


Two different places, two different worlds, can actually be located in exactly one same container of space. However, two can be just a given number, one can always insert different and many meanings to the creation of one place.

The brilliant creator of Middle-earth and author of The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien, has envisioned and formed not only a new place but also whole new ways of life, races, languages, and history.  Now readers all over the globe are sharing and are a part of his captivating world. Among those readers is another genius who caught Tolkien’s vision and translated it in a way almost as accurate as in the book scenery of New Zealand. Peter Jackson exposed the beauty of the places in the book through this chosen place. The Lord of the Rings can almost be tasted by anyone who will stop by to visit here.

The story and the film attracted many to New Zealand’s soil and atmosphere. Tourism even spiked in this place. Due to popular curiosity, imagination, and connection of the fictional story to the places where it was filmed, a map was constructed portraying these. Interestingly, The Lord of the Rings film is the only movie I know that lead to the production of a map of the real site where the movie was shot; integrated with overlays of the fictional places in the book. Moreover, the aesthetics of this map is harmonious with the map of Middle-Earth which was invented by Tolkien as well. Evident to this is the unique language from the book that was written and placed as grid to the map. Other elements that are noteworthy in this map are the scroll on the upper right of the map that locates places in Middle-Earth to the corresponding places in New Zealand from the film and the list of job descriptions of the crew on the lower left part of the map located all over the country. The place names, fonts, other labels, shapes and images are all characterized with the old ways of mapping. One example of this is the cursive and tail marks in the letters.

This map has a simple goal and that is to portray, mainly to the viewers of the film, where the exhilarating sceneries have been taken. The utilized aesthetics through this map tries to satisfy and resemble the Middle-Earth map that Tolkien created to attract the readers. It is certainly eye-catching and interesting in every side where details on the making of the film are also incorporated. However, though it complements the style of the real Middle-Earth map and those of similar ancient maps, the small figures and numbers within the map are too many and make it quite redundant. Thus, an ordinary reader will eventually grow weary in reading all the details at the two legends. Typically, maps like these that tries to catch the attention of film viewers are very visual types and would appreciate if the famous fictional places in the book and film are sketched at the locations it was shot (e.g. Mordor, Rivendell, Shire, etc.), since the monotonous and identical mountains are quite uninteresting as compared with the fictional places. These are some details that can be improved in this map.


2 comments on “New Zealand is Middle Earth

  1. I am an avid fan of Lord of the Rings ever since it came out in the big screen. I took a keen interest on the way the story weave itself into becoming a magnificent and breathtaking chronicle of four friends who struggled with various adversaries to conquer fear and prove the timeless value of friendship, loyalty and courage.

    New Zealand was Peter Jackson’s portrayal of the Middle Earth although it must be pointed out that JRR Tolkien when writing the novel during his time had the layout of northwestern Europe in mind. The first paragraph of the essay would have laid out the groundwork and the context of the discussion if it started on the notion of ‘perception of place’. Perception of place is the feeling a person connects with a place they haven’t been to, based on what they’ve heard or read about the place. Thus, it refers to the view of a particular place or region based on the viewer’s own culture and experience. Peter Jackson, born in New Zealand obviously showed great devotion on Tolkien’s world as the director ventured out 150 locations of his home country in order to capture Tolkien’s remarkable world. He filmed in locations that he thought captured his perception of Tolkien’s world and for this, he did a wonderful job. Jackson stirred the curiosity of many people and New Zealand then started to offer day trips even two weeks tour of the various LOTR film locations. That being said, the discussion on the perception of place should have made the easy connection and transition of Jackson’s portrayal of the Middle Earth with that of Tolkien’s.

    The reflections on the use of legend and other signposts are valid. It was a struggle reading through the scroll. The symbols are cluttered and are not easy to read, and there are important map elements missing (scale, date, projection). But overall, the map was quite interesting, all the more making me want to visit Kiwi land hopefully in the near future.

  2. Hi mam Yany! It’s really a pleasure to learn that you found this post pretty interesting since I’m also a huge fan of the LOTR book and film and quite an enthusiast of the country New Zealand as well!

    Thank you so much for your notable insights and constructive assessments on the map and this post. Your comments showed me how this post could be more informative and more appealing at the same time to a reader. Indeed, adding the geographic concept of ‘perception of place’ at the beginning of this discussion would have been more helpful to make clearer sense of its whole context. I appreciate that you mentioned the map attributes I over looked and which can be improvised of, particularly the cluttered nature of the symbols and the absence of some essential map elements.

    That’s great mam! I hope you will also get to visit the exact places where LOTR was filmed! I heard some of the background structures (e.g. castles) and props that were seen in the movie are still there! : D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s