Tolkien 's Cartography : An Exploration Of Landscape

975 WordsAug 15, 20154 Pages
Tolkien’s cartography: an exploration of landscape in The Lord of the Rings. ‘I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit ... The other way about lands one in confusions and impossibilities.’1 The landscape of Middle-earth is integral to the structure of The Lord of the Rings, having both an active and passive impact on the narrative. These two binaries are not in opposition to each other, rather they work harmoniously to aid in steering the plot and drawing out allegorical meaning. For the purpose of this essay, my definitions of active and passive are thus: active implying geographical features with sentience or anthropomorphism that have a direct cause and effect influence on the plot; passive being the unconscious influence of the landscape and its metaphorical significance. This dichotomy can further be divided into four sub-categories. 1. “Political.” This connotes the active intervention of a sentient or anthropomorphised geographical feature, or one controlled by an external source, whose actions are motivated by moral or political ends regarding the quest of the Fellowship and the war against Sauron and Saruman. 2. “Neutral,” or ‘wrathful.’2 This refers to the active intervention of a sentient of anthropomorphised feature of the landscape that is not politically motivated, but rather is acting out of self-defence or a generally choleric nature. Within the passive impact of the landscape the sub-categories are less distinct, overlapping depending upon

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