I've been digging in to the Tolkien canon (as published by JRRT and Christopher) to compare with the maps that Amazon has released in a set of marketing events for their upcoming TV show.

These are in addition to the Compass Rose problems in Map 1, which Amazon kindly fixed. 😁

Note that these "errors" are all quite minor, and I think the team at Amazon did an amazing job creating a Second Age map in particular as there is often contradictory information in all of the published materials (between books, editions, addenda and corrigenda) and there is no "correct" map to compare against, but they and we can get pretty close by close examination of the texts.

I am going to ignore (for the most part) forest placements (or lack thereof, as Tolkien often did the same) and sizing and other minor geographical differences such as small variations in coastline shapes and minor river variations. No two cartographers ever drew the same exact map...

If you see other errors in the maps, please let me know here or on social media @TolkienGuide.

Map 4

Map 4 of Middle-earth from Amazon Prime, used with permission

This map likely covers the end of the Second Age to possibly the middle of the Third Age based on landmarks shown. As there are numerous maps from this timeframe from JRRT and CJRT, there's not a lot to point at.

Barad-Dûr should be Barad-dûr (small D). Tolkien never used a capital D for the dark tower.

Map 5

Map 5 of Middle-earth from Amazon Prime, used with permission

This map likely covers the middle of the Second Age based on landmarks shown.

Ost-in-Edhil is misplaced. On this Amazon map, it is outside the region of Eregion (of which it is supposed to be the capital). Tolkien always has the Númenorean town of Tharbad near this location (where the road crosses the Gwathló and near the junction of the two rivers). Ost-in-Edhil should be much closer to Khazad-Dûm based on the level of interaction between those two cities and where Tolkien places Eregion and Hollin on his various map drafts. I am told that Ost-in-Edhil is located near where the Sirannon joins the Glanduin river, but I haven't been able to find confirmation of this in Tolkien's writings. That is definitely where Karen Wynn Fonstad places it (see below), however - the three dots in a triangle are where she marks the location of Tharbad and Ost-in-Edhil. (Anyone know the source for this exact placement?)


Ost-in-Edhil from The Atlas of Middle-earth, revised edition, by Karen Wynn Fonstad, © 1991 Houghton Mifflin

Rómenna should be on the southern shore of the bay. See Unfinished Tales p. 168 (text) and Tolkien's map tipped in between p. 168-9 (below).


Romenna from Unfinished Tales by J. R. R. Tolkien, © 1980 George Allen & Unwin

Tol Himling - In all of Tolkien's writings and maps, it is always labeled Himling (without Tol). As Tol just means "island" this probably shouldn't be considered an error, but Tolkien had every opportunity to use it and never did. On "The first map of The Lord of the Rings" (Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth item 179, p. 399 - see below) he even labels one island "Tol Fuin" and the other one "Himling".


Himling from Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth by Catherine McIlwaine, © 2018 Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Nîn-In-Eilph - Should be Nîn-in-Eilph - the "-in-" is never capitalized in any of Tolkien's works.

The river Ninglor is always called Sîr Ninglor by Tolkien in his texts (never without the "Sîr" ("River"), though occasionally on other rivers he does use both ways). This one is probably ok either way but I think the preferred is with.

Timeframe related errors

As we do not know when these maps are "made" (in-story), it is impossible to say if there are errors in time-frame (or fudging of timelines for adaptation purposes). This section will have to remain blank until we learn more from Amazon.