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Infographic: This Map of All "Lord of the Rings" Journeys Goes There (And Back Again)

This map shows characters' various Middle Earth trajectories during the events of Tolkien's trilogy. Now you know where they were and when.

One seemingly fair criticism of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is that after the ring is (60-year-old spoiler alert) destroyed in Mordor, the diminutive heroes fly an enormous eagle back home--leaving the audience to wonder why they didn't just take an eagle there in the first place. I'm sure there's a perfectly sound reason for why the eagle was not an option, and please let us know it in the comments below, but the simplest explanation is that these books were all about the journey. A new map is now making the exact parameters of that journey clearer than ever.

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Created by film data visualization company Flickographics, The Fellowship Route is a map of Middle Earth that shows every facet of the central LOTR characters' journey from Hobbiton to Mount Doom. The nine characters' trajectories are differentiated with different colors, and the locations are numbered to show which book they were reached during. Looking at the map, it appears the whole crew stayed together as one unit for over half the journey, only to be scattered at Rohan when some nasty stuff goes down. Although it's not as exciting as reading the books, this map might give viewers a renewed appreciation for all the strenuous hiking that miraculous eagle saved the hobbits in the end.

H/t to Visual.ly

[Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures]

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4 Comments

  • andurilsflame1892

    (Continuation) mankind to stand on its own, and so would not have allowed the eagles to solve the problem for them, especially when it was man's weakness that allowed Sauron to ensure (Isildur did not take the opportunity to destroy the Ring). They provided some guidance to men through Gandalf, who did fight against Sauron's forces, but the spirits (Valar) did not completely solve the problem for mankind

    1. Even flying part of the way would have brought attention to them if Sauron or one of his servants had seen them land.

    Sorry that this is so long, and sorry that I numbered some of the reasons incorrectly. I apologize for any typos. I did this on my phone and am horrible at typing on it.

  • andurilsflame1892

    (Continuation) Sauron's fall, and he did not have time to act or attack.

    1. The eagles may have refused knowing the danger they would face . The Hobbit book implies that they were not always friendly to other races. They may have acted like the Ents (at the beginning) and refused to get involve.
    2. The Eagles are actually very intelligent beings, as well as very powerful. It is made clear that the Ring is more dangerous to the powerful (thus why Gandalf didn't take It), so they couldn't just give it to the eagles, and if they rode the Eagles, it would have given the ring the perfect opportunity to tempt them (one does not need to see It to be tempted) to drop the fellowship and take it for themselves.
    3. Without going into too much heavy mythology behind the tale, it is doubtful that the eagles could have knowingly carried the Ring because the spirits they served would not allow such open help. By the Third Age (when the book takes place) the spirits were trying to get (cont.)
  • andurilsflame1892

    Since you asked, some of the reasons they did not take the eagles are:

    1. The fellowship's only hope was in secrecy, which would have been ruined by taking the eagles. Both Sauron and Saruman knew that the eagles had helped Gandalf in the past, so they probably would have been watching them, even if they didn't suspect that they would try to fly the Ring to Mordor. The eagles would most likely be spotted, for Saruman and Sauron both had a palantir, not to mention Sauron himself. Flying straight at the Dark Lord on giant eagles is not the best way to avoid his notice. Sauron can control the weather of Mordor, so that gives him an advantage against air assaults. He could have called down lightning on them (Saruman called down lightning in the first film). Plus there were the Nazgul and their flying "pets" to protect against air assaults. It is highly unlikely they could have flown to Mordor without attracting Sauron's attention and being attacked. They came in at the end just (cont.)