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We’ve seen some beautiful creations when it comes to mapping recently, from stunning public transport maps, to lovingly crafted hand-drawn maps from yesteryear, but they all have one thing in common; they’re there to help you get around. There is another type of map though, and it’s one we’ll be seeing more of with the launch of Season Four of Game of Thrones: the map of imaginary places. So here are some of our favourite maps of places that don’t actually exist!
Before we share our top maps of places that don’t exist, it’s worth thinking about why artists, designers or even map-makers have put these fantastic creations together. After all, you can’t visit these places, you don’t need HERE-style turn-by-turn navigation, so what’s the point?
Mainly, it’s to help you get a grasp of what’s actually going on – whether that’s in a TV show, or a game, or a book. A good map can help your imagination no end, helping you to visualise where characters are going, or why they’re fighting over particular bits of land. We’d best start with the Game of Thrones and the magical Westeros, then, just in time for Season Four!
Game of Thrones is one of this century’s smash hit TV shows, with seven families battling for control of the mythical Westeros. The action takes place over a vast world, including frozen lands to the north, huge oceans and towns and cities that people are willing to die for. Thankfully, there are also maps for Game of Thrones, helping you to figure out exactly who’s fighting who, and where the battles are taking place.
Image credit: A Wiki of Ice and Fire
If you’ve ever played any of the Grand Theft Auto games, one of the staggering things is the sheer size of the worlds on offer. The distances you can travel and routes you can explore seem almost limitless at times. That’s why a good map is necessary, and we love this colourful offering on the Windows Phone 8 version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Millions of us grew up reading C.S. Lewis’ the Chronicles of Narnia, and few books do more to catch the imagination of children. Some of us are still obsessed 30 years later! Narnia may exist within a wardrobe, but don’t forget that it is actually an entire world as well. Therefore, you’ll be needing a map if you’re going figure out where the children and Azlan are wandering, and more importantly how they’re going to make their way back home before teatime. This is just one of loads of loving images created to highlight the magical world.
Image credit: Wikipedia
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series sees a planet, shaped like a disc, traveling through space on the back of four elephants, standing in turn on a giant turtle. Sounds easy to visualise, but that’s before you get into more detail. With different towns, cities, wasteland, oceans and everything else we’ve come to expect from a mystical world, there’s a lot to get your head around, and that’s why loads of maps appear for Discworld cities like Ankh-Morpork. Some are even so good that they’ve appeared under non-fiction sections in bookshops! Granted, the locations are imaginary, but the maps are very, very real. There’s even an app for it!
Image credit: Terry Pratchett: The Ankh-Morpork Map App Trailer
Harry Potter may not have an entire planet to wander round, but the likes of Hogwarts can still be pretty daunting to young minds, and there’s a lot of action taking place. Head over to the official Harry Potter website and you’ll find loads of great maps, videos and images that help to turn fiction into reality, and showing the difference a good map can actually make.
Image credit: Harry Potter
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. takes place near the town of Pripyat, in the shadow of Chernobyl. The actual town may exist then, but the map is of somewhere vastly different from reality, with mutants and creatures capable of scaring the living daylights out of you roaming the lands, and throwing up such an enthusiastic resistance that you’ll end up battling for your life. Knowing where you’re going is a huge part of the game, and there’s a lot of land to get to grips with.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R isn’t the only game to recreate the devastation at Pripyat though, and a virtual map of the town also makes an appearance in one fan’s amazing Minecraft rendition.
Image credit: Minecraft
Lord of the Rings is another huge series that taxes the imagination, and there’s enough to think about without wondering where Gandalf and J.R.R. Tolkien’s other characters are going when traveling around Middle Earth. LOTR Project offers up this particularly useful interactive map, letting you track the routes of characters, follow timelines and make searches for specific events. It’s a must-see for Lord of The Rings fans.
Image credit: LOTR Project