TTT: Middle-earth Cities I Want to Visit

You know those memes that are like if you could visit any fantasy world, and everyone always says none of them?? It’s crazy to me every time because I would literally pay more money than I will ever make in an entire lifetime to go to Middle-earth. And I get the reasoning behind most of them, that people don’t think they’d survive in certain fantasy worlds, but y’all. I don’t even care if I have to fight in the war, I’m going to Middle-earth. This is kind of in order of favorites, but also kind of not because I couldn’t reasonably decide why one came before another (except for the first two).

Art by Alan Lee

Edoras would 100% be my first visit, duh. I’ve waxed poetic so many times about why I love Rohan, but I think the thing that says it all is that my first LOTR tattoo was the map of Rohan. It was also one of my first tattoos ever, and I plan on adding to it someday to include the flag & the phrase forth éorlingas. Edoras is not the place I would want to end up living (that’s below), but it would definitely be my first destination after I’d settled in Middle-earth so I could both a) swear my fealty to King Éomer and b) weep over the Rohirrim.

There’s no chance that I wouldn’t end up living in the Shire, and specifically as close to Bag End as I could get. Over the last several weeks, while I’ve been rereading both TT & ROTK, it’s occurred to me that, though I thought I was a hobbit, I am, without a doubt, a dwarf. And so, I definitely should want to live in one of their grand kingdoms, but living inside a mountain is just not appealing to me, so I’ll settle for under a hill where I can still get tons of natural light. There’s so much to love about the Shire, but the peace and green and quiet is what I love the most, and it’d be the perfect place to settle for the rest of my life.

Minas Tirith is, despite what I’ve already said in this post, my favorite place on Middle-earth. It’s the place I most want to see from a distance, and, honestly, probably just camp out several leagues away for a while so I can bask in its architectural glory before I finally descend into the city proper. It’s just stunning, and I’d definitely take my sweet time slowly walking through all seven levels before I came to the great walkway jutting out from the middle, and then you’d have to use some serious persuasive tactics to convince me to do anything but spend my entire day looking out upon the land. Also, it’d be nice to throw up a quick wave of hello to my dude, Sauron.

I’m cackling, it’s so appropriate that Angband comes right on the heels of me calling Sauron my dude. Look, I have an unhealthy love for both Sauron & Morgoth, but Mordor is just such doom and gloom all the time, and more than half of it is a wasteland, so if I was going to choose between the two, it would definitely be Angband. However, that means I’m traveling back in time to the First Age, which means I might be actually going to war, but we’ll just ignore that for now and instead imagine how freaking badass Angband was. Don’t even try to @ me, you know I’m right. Mordor is cool, sure, but Angband was ruled by someone named the Black Foe of the World, I MEAN?! It’s got to be Goth as hell and just terrifying looking, and I want to see it, especially Thangorodrim.

Of course, if we’re traveling back in time, we’ve got to visit Gondolin, but I would definitely do it post-Angband trip so that Morgoth & Sauron wouldn’t be able to wrangle the information of its location out of me. (lol @ Sauron, totally going to taunt him with that forever) Not only would visiting the actual city of Gondolin be amazing, but getting to go through all the gates leading up to it? And somehow being trusted by Turgon enough to let me see the city? UGH YES! This would probably have to be my last stop on the First Age trip because Turgon is famous for not letting people out once they know the location, but maybe they could just blindfold me and only let me see the gates so I could sing lays about their beauty? I’m sure they would appreciate that.

Art by Peng Zhou

Jumping back to the Third Age, but not quite War of the Ring era, I’d like to see Moria in its prime, when it was full of dwarves, when the halls were cast in brilliant golden light, when mithril lit up the caverns with its starlike glow. Gosh, can you even imagine? Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the movies is watching Gandalf let me risk a little more light to showcase just how truly beautiful the halls of Moria were. The music in that scene is goosebump worthy, and I’d give anything to be able to walk those incredible halls–without the fear of goblins, of course.

yidanyuan:
“The great hall of Menegroth.
”
Art by yidanyuan

Two for one here because there is absolutely no art of Arnor that I can find! I love the race of men, and of all the wondrous things of Middle-earth, it should be silly for me to love the humans the most, but alas, it is what it is, and I’m really not surprised, given my undying loyalty to Aragorn-like characters. After Rohan and Gondor, I’d need to make a different kind of journey back in time, though, to one that we know only a little about, and visit Annúminas, the capital of Arnor. To witness the Númenórean city in all its former glory, when the men of Westernesse still ruled the realms of Middle-earth, damn.

And one more First Age city that should have been included above was Menegroth, the capital of Doriath. Though I’d likely get booted out for saying rude things to Thingol (he’d deserve all of them), it would be a pitstop on the way from Angband to Gondolin because it’s basically in the middle of them, and because what I wouldn’t give to be able to swear my loyalty to Lúthien and not Thingol, just to watch him sputter in disbelief. But also, though I love Lórien, there’s something about the grandeur of of Menegroth that seems unmatched by any other woodland realm, and I would love to see what places like Lórien were like in the days of old.

Speaking of woodland realms, I would also love to visit Rivendell, but before the fellowship ever came to its glorious halls. I’d want to see Rivendell in its prime, as well, to hear the music of the elves flittering through unseen corners, to pay homage to the blade that was broken, to sit under the stars and watch the waterfalls glimmer by the light of the moon. I know that I’d end up spending days on end in library, taking tea at all hours, and just feeling exactly as Bilbo does when he comes back and never wants to leave. Though, of course, I would, because the Shire is always going to call to my heart.

Art by Denny Ibnu

Finding art of the dwarven city of Erebor rather than the Lonely Mountain was a task in and of itself, but then it occurred to me that I’d just love to see the mountain from afar, as well as visit the city, so this’ll do! Erebor, much like Moria, I’d want to visit before war and Smaug came to its halls, to see the ingenuity of the dwarves as they mined the deep caverns of the mountain, to walk those long bridges toward the King Under the Mountain’s throne. Also, like, would totally visit while Smaug was there so I could see a dragon up close and personal.

OH MY GOSH, it’s just occurred to me that I’d get to see Ancalagon if I went to Angband??? I’m so hyped.

What would be your first city to visit in Middle-earth?

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she/her | yoga teacher | Tibetan Buddhism | part-time witch | full-time author | astronaut in a previous life

3 thoughts on “TTT: Middle-earth Cities I Want to Visit

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