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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]