The Lord of the Rings has captured the imaginations of millions for decades now and influenced well, the entire fantasy genre to be honest. The world was brought to life beautifully in the Peter Jackson film adaptations, and it's no surprise why with so much of it being drawn from the real world.
Tolkien drew a lot of real world inspiration from the areas he spent time in as well. Let's look at some examples.
The Tower Of Isengard
The large tower and its surrounding circular stronghold holds heavy similarities to a place Tolkien was very familiar with, The University of Birmingham.
Not to mention that part of Burmingham called Edgbaston where Tolkien lived for a time is noted for having two distinct towers.
And the second tower.
Isengard isn't the only place with a real world counterpart, There is a real life Mordor too. Northwest of Birmingham was an area the locals called the Black Country, mainly for the simple fact it had been devastated with pollution from coal mines, iron foundries and steel mills that sprang up in the area during the industrial revolution The air was apparently so dense with smog, dust and ore that visibility was so low low an almost night like feel always hung over the area.
You can also visit Tongariro National Park in New Zealand to see the filming site used to bring Mordor to life.
Now we come to one of the most famous places in Tolkien lore. At a point in his childhood, Tolkien lived in a place called Sarehole, a hamlet right outside of Birmingham. It was inspiration for what was to become the iconic Shire. Said to have large tunnels running beneath it. This could easily been the idea behind Bilbo's home Bag End, also the name of Tolkien's aunt's farm he lived on here. Sarehole really looks like something from another world.
Taking a trip to Matamata, New Zealand will even allow you to visit the actual shire, or at least where it was filmed.
Let us know in the comments below what place from middle earth you would most like to visit.
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