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What Is Outside Of Middle-Earth?

While Eä is the universe and Arda (specifically Arda Marred) includes the larger world J.R.R. Tolkien fans know and love, there are many uniquely identified land masses and bodies of water outside of Middle-earth, encircling the continent where Tolkien’s primary narrative action takes place. The most well-known of these is called Aman. Fans are more likely to recognize the continent by its more popular monikers of the Blessed Realm, the “Undying Lands,” or Valinor — a name that has even made its way to Mars. Technically speaking, Valinor refers to an area of the western continent inhabited by Ainur and Elves. The Blessed Realm and Undying Lands are names for the continent as a whole, which is located directly to the west of Middle-earth across a massive sea.

Aman and Middle-earth are the two continents that figure most prominently in Tolkien’s writings, but they aren’t the only land masses in Arda. Some of his more backed-out maps, especially earlier ones, also include a continent to the east. In the book “The Shaping of Middle-earth,” Tolkien describes this land mass, saying, “And beyond the Eastern Sea lies the Eastern Land, of which we know little, and call it the Land of the Sun.” The author added that it has massive mountains called the Walls of the Sun, but apart from its alpine features, there is little to tell about the area. There is also an even less well-known continent to the southeast of Middle-earth called the Dark Land.

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