Amazon Teases Lord of the Rings Series with Interactive Middle-Earth Map

The newly created official Twitter account for Amazon Prime's Lord of the Rings series, which is currently in development, begins with a quote from author J.R.R. Tolkien describing his process of creating the world of Middle-Earth: "I wisely started with a map." Wisely, the account then provides a map.

Drawn in the familiar style of Tolkien, whose books often included maps that guided readers through his imagination, Amazon's Middle-Earth map can be explored by clicking and dragging or zooming in and out.

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Amazon has released two versions of the map so far, one with place names labeled in the familiar lettering type familiar to any Middle-Earth fan, and one with no text at all. In addition to Twitter, Amazon also released a version of the map that can be zoomed in on.

Each was introduced with a line from the poem summarizing the history of the rings of power in The Lord of the Rings, so it's likely that a few more teases will follow to complete the quote.

Fans of Tolkien's extensive world-building were quick to hone in on the maps and analyze them for information that they might reveal about the coming series.

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Several commenters noted the use of the name "Calenardhon" and what it might say about the time period used as the show's setting: "It's not even Rohan yet. Rohan was known as Calenardhon before Eorl the Young (the founder of Rohan) helped Gondor defeat the Easterlings in the area. It belonged to Gondor. This was like what, Third Age 2510?"

For those not as well-versed in the lore, one commenter then points out, "Aragorn [a main character in The Lord of the Rings] was born Third Age 2931."

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Aside from its focus on Middle-Earth's eventful prehistory, few details are currently known about the show, but the $250 million deal with the Tolkien Estate for the rights to the franchise shows that this is the most ambitious project to come from Amazon Studios so far.

Given the scope and influence of Tolkien's writing and the success of Peter Jackson's movie series previously based on it, it's clear that great effort will need to be taken to produce a faithful rendition of Middle-Earth and appease its highly devoted fans.

Amazon has committed to five seasons of the series, with J.D Payne and Patrick McKay attached as showrunners. Production is expected to begin in or near to 2020, with the show premiering in 2021.

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