When I was 12 or 13, my sister bought me a book for my birthday. It was a tattered ex-library copy with some funny, detailed, cartoonish drawings on the front, drawings of an old fashioned treasure chest with lots of tiny little feet coming out the bottom, and troll-like figures standing in a doorway. I thought she’d cheaped out on my birthday present, that’d she’d just thought “Ally likes books, I’ll see what I can find at the library booksale for 20p”. But she talked with such animated enthusiasm about it that I decided to ignore the state of it and give it a go.
One thing fantasy excels at is presenting incredible new worlds to the reader. The imagination of fantasy authors knows no bounds when worldbuilding is involved. So below I have picked out some of my favourite fantasy locations to celebrate and illustrate the variety and brilliance on offer.
The Mines of Moria
Tolkien’s Middle Earth contained such incredible places, from Hobbiton to the Lonely Mountain, the splendour of Gondor to the windswept plains of Rohan, or the dark cave of Shelob to the great troll-operated gates of Mordor, that picking just one location is a difficult task. Tolkien put so much into developing his world and its varied peoples that I could create a whole article series on memorable places in Middle Earth. I have picked Moria because of its size, its atmosphere and because of the contrast between Gimli’s expectations and the dark, frightening truth the Fellowship finds within. Continue reading Five great locations in fantasy