The Witch-king of Angmar as envisioned by Frank Frazetta, Brothers Hildebrandt, Ralph Bakshi, and Peter Jackson.

The first time I read Lord of the Rings I was a child. It was the 1970’s and I had never seen an illustration of the book, so the picture of the world I built in my mind was truly my own.

Later I saw some paintings by the Brothers Hildebrandt (who also famously made the original Star Wars and Barbarella posters), and their vision began to merge with my own. This was followed by the Bakshi and Peter Jackson films. Today these artist’s interpretations of the world have become so mixed in my head that I can’t remember what my original childhood picture looked like. 

The Battles for the Fords of Isen, hand-written and illuminated by my father, Steve Herold, as a Christmas present, 1981 

The original story was written by J. R. R. Tolkien as a supplement to Book III of Lord of the Rings, and appears in Unfinished Tales, edited by his son Christopher Tolkien.

You can see the full set on my Flickr page.

I saw this seventeenth century map of Bergen by the Dutch cartographer Jan Janssonius and thought it looked an awful lot like Tolkien’s map of Beleriand. Of course I have it all backward, because Tolkien copied Jansson’s style, but I read Lord Of The Rings when I was a kid, so that is how the association works in my mind. To this day when I think about maps, I think about sugarloaf mountains and little trees.