I’m going to be honest. As I sit down to type up this week’s chapter post, I don’t have the first clue how to begin. Back when we were going through the Appendices for The Lord of the Rings, there were some that simply couldn’t be discussed in this format without simply copying what Tolkien himself had already written. This chapter is pretty similar, but there are a few points that can be highlighted here.
Essentially this chapter is, just as the title suggests, a description of the map of Beleriand. I have a couple of resources in my personal library that may be of interest to those reading along. The first is The Atlas of Middle-Earth, Revised Edition by Karen Wynn Fonstad. The second is The Maps of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth by Brian Sibley and John Howe. There are also resources online that I’m sure would serve, such as this one. Of if you’d like to get interactive, I recommend the one at lotrproject.com. In the upper right hand corner is the link for the map of Beleriand. In any case, the best way to get the most out of this chapter is to have a map handy. If you have the standard maps available from The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, you will quickly find that they will not serve much beyond the scope of those books for same reasons a Latin map of the Roman Empire will not help much to navigate the modern world.
While everything in this chapter is noteworthy, there are some key points to highlight. Essentially the chapter’s purpose is to cover the geography of Beleriand and to describe how the Eldar divided it into separate realms. It also covers how they held the Siege of Angband, and who ventured into which territory.
The River Sirion more or less divides Beleriand in half. To the west is Nargothrond, and to the east is the wild lands including Nan Dungortheb, Doriath, Ossiriand, and Dorthonion. At Sirion is where Finrod built his great watchtower of Minas Tirith, which he left to his brother Orodreth so as to continue west. It is important not to confuse this with the great city in Gondor we know so well. That Minas Tirith was built in 3320 of the Second Age, originally known as Minas Anor. This one is a far earlier construction, serving a different purpose.
There is very little I can add without simply rewriting what the professor has already given us. My advice is simply to break out the map and follow along. Some of the names given will become important in later chapters.