“The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and no

Here at the End of All Things

submited by
Style Pass
2022-10-02 13:00:16

“The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars […].”

I spent my adolescence around maps of places that didn’t exist. An older cousin read The Lord of the Rings over the course of a hot summer when I was nine, and I watched in fascination as he traced the Fellowship’s progress across the foldout map that came with the book in those days. This, I decided, had to be what grown-up reading looked like.

Maps were my entrée into geek life, and they remained the medium through which geekdom moved: beat-up paperbacks handed around between school friends, boxed sets at the local game store — we probably spent about as much time poring over maps as we did reading or dreaming up the stories that took place within the worlds they represented. The science fiction we read did without them, but any cover featuring a dragon, a many-turreted castle, or a woman in a leather bra suggested you’d find a map the moment you peeked inside the book.

Like so many things that once set adolescent geeks apart, reading maps for places that aren’t there has gone mainstream. Nerds and non-nerds alike relish their weekly swoop across the map of Westeros in Game of Thrones’ gorgeous title sequence. The map that opens every episode of Game of Thrones addresses the viewer as two persons at once: a resident of Westeros, and a reader of a fantasy novel. The map appears in the title sequence of the HBO hit as a hat tip to our reading experience: the map is the first thing you encounter in a Game of Thrones novel, so why not open the TV show with the same visual? It’s a little call-back to a time before fantasy maps became a common trope.

Leave a Comment