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Old 02-24-2019, 10:05 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
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Pipe The First Lord of the Rings Map - new discoveries in the East

In HoME 7, The Treason of Isengard, Christopher Tolkien redraws his father's original working map of The Lord of the Rings. He goes over the different parts of it in great detail, excluding only the empty stretches east of Mordor and the Sea of Rhun.

The recent book Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth features an actual scan of the First Map (item 179), and those eastern regions? They're not so empty after all.

Full-size version
Closeup of 'B' (taken from the inside front cover)

There are a range of notes written in the empty reaches of Rhun, along with some faint (at least in this version of the image) drawings. I've highlighted what I can make out.

(To be clear: this is a completely different map to the annotated Pauline Baynes map, despite the similar style of notes.)

Of immediate note is C, which is quite clearly an eastern mountain range with a region of higher peaks at the southern end. If you've been following the discussion of the Amazon TV series, you'll know that mountains in that location are quite controversial - well, apparently they're a Tolkien original! They come with what may be a label (D), but it's utterly illegible to me.

Speaking of labels... B is pretty clearly a name for the forest on the north-east corner of the Sea of Rhun, and unlike the rest of these, there's a closeup available (they used the map from the Shire to the Sea of Rhun as the inside cover for the book). It... kind of looks like it says 'Neldoreth'? That would fit with Tolkien's habit of pilfering names from the Silm, but I'm not over-confident in my reading. (Paired with Dorwinion, though, it says interesting things about the region.)

E marks a line that starts north of the mountains C, curves west towards Mordor, then swings back to hit the outer ring around G. Is it a crossing-out? A river, drawn very faintly? A dividing line? I don't know.

G is fascinating, because it looks for all the world like a tiny circular map. Those wiggles say 'coastline' to me, but it's definitely not Middle-earth or Beleriand. Any thoughts?

All the other items are notes of varying legibility, some of them crossed out. They may not even relate to the eastern regions - but even if not, they're Tolkien's own notes, and weren't covered in HoME. I can't read them - can anyone here?

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