I fell into fantasy novels in my teens. Besides good stories, I was attracted to the elaborate maps found on the inside covers. They detailed the terrain, the cities, and they also showed the big picture. I loved to flip back to the maps as I progressed through the chapters and trace the characters’ paths. If I have a giant library one day, I’ll cover one of the walls with my favorite maps from fantasy novels—and I know just which ones I include.
The above image is the map of the land in Wheel of Time. It was never named so back in the days when I was a serious fan on forums, it was usually referred to as Randland. I have a special attachment to this series because it was the first fantasy series I read.
See four more wonderful maps after the break.
I’m hard pressed to think of a fantasy setting more classic and well known than Middle Earth. The lands of the Lord of the Rings trilogy are rich with stories, tales, creatures, and heroes. If I’m going to escape to any of these lands, I’m going to find my own Shadowfax and explore Middle Earth from Minas Tirith to the Shire.
Westeros cannot be overlooked when you consider cartography of fictional worlds. An insane number of detailed maps exist for George R. R. Martin’s world (the setting of A Song of Ice and Fire), and they invite you to wander around and stay for a while. There are so many maps that an entire book of them was released last fall.
Though I can’t say Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series is one of my most favorites, I did enjoy the early years. This map of the New World appeals to me because it’s simple and straightforward. I know there are dangers, but I think even I could navigate across these lands without getting lost.
The Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter may cover just Hogwarts and the surrounding grounds, but its details are gorgeous. It’s magical, it has a cool name, and it’s important to the plot. Photo from Through the Looking Glass.