Is there anything more satisfying than a fictional literary map? Sometimes these maps are designed by the illustrators. Other maps are done by unsung heroes called book designers, whose names are left off the front cover and publicity material. Making a map of a fantastic world is also a favourite thing to do in fan fic, and some fan fiction maps are truly amazing. Some maps are even done by the authors, even if the authors aren’t otherwise illustrators. Sometimes the sketch of an author’s map goes public after a book takes off, as in the case of J.K. Rowling’s map of Hogwarts.
Some of them are from an oblique bird’s eye angle, others are decorated emulations of ye olde worlde maps. Some seem to be to scale while others are designed to give readers the general idea. Since a lot of these maps appear in novels for which there is no budget for coloured illustration, black and white maps need to look great.
For much more on this topic see The Art of Illustrated Maps by John Roman.
THE COMPLETE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA BY C.S. LEWIS
Map by Pauline Baynes, 1972. Pauline Baynes was born in 1922 and died in 2008. She was a British child who grew up in India. Read more about the life of this illustrator here.
The official Harry Potter arena map was done by illustrator Tomislav Tomić, though superfans of Harry Potter do point out some problems with it in terms of scale. Tomić is Croatian.
For any problems it may or may not have, here’s J.K. Rowling’s rough sketch which she must have used to orientate herself while writing.
Another illustrator represented by the same agency is Johnny Duddle, whose illustrated the maps for Terry Pratchett. Here is the map from Nation:
WOLVES OF THE BEYOND BY KATHRYN LASKY (2010)
This map and also the book design were done by Lillie Howard. Book designers don’t always have an Internet presence and Howard seems to be a case in point, though I can see she has also designed other books by Kathryn Lasky, for example Hannah and other books for Scholastic, Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic by Suzanne Weyn.
MILLY MOLLY MANDY BY JOYCE LANCASTER BRINKLEY
Some maps just cry out to be coloured in, don’t they? If you google this one you’ll see numerous examples of Milly Molly Mandy maps which have been coloured in by the books’ loving owners — some expertly, some scribbled all over — the work of a much younger fan.
I’m not sure who scribbled in my mother’s original edition. It could have been me for all I know…
UNDER THE MOUNTAIN BY MAURICE GEE (1979)
The problem with some of my paperback maps is that no one at the publishing company considered the gutter. We therefore have some of the map sinking into the binding, where it will never be read… This is very sad.
LILY QUENCH AND THE DRAGON OF ASHBY BY NATALIE JANE PRIOR (1999)
The illustrations are done by Janine Dawson. Here we have not only a geographical map but a family tree, illustrated in original fashion with a dragon sleeping curled around a big tree.
THE SNOW PONY BY ALISON LESTER (2001)
I think from the colophon this map was designed by Ruth Gruener.
This is an Australian book, but despite being young countries, Australian and New Zealand books (usually fantasies) often make use of this olde worlde style of map, reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings. This one has no white space, suggesting a busy landscape. The font seems to be genuinely hand-drawn, which makes it feel a little more modern.
TANGLEWOOD BY MARGARET WILD AND VIVIENNE GOODMAN
In this picturebook we have a sort of map.
THE SNOW DRAGON BY VIVIAN FRENCH AND CHRIS FISHER
Here’s another picturebook map, this time in full colour. The story is a modern story but written as if an ancient myth.
WICKED BY GREGORY MAGUIRE
See also: The Symbolism Of Cardinal Direction
USEFUL MAPS AND USELESS MAPS
One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of these fantasy and science fiction books tend to feature maps that are… well, utterly pointless. Take Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind for example. Crack it open and you find a detailed outline of “The Four Corners of Civilization” on the very first pages. But as I read the book, I found I very rarely had to consult the map to better understand what was happening in the book.
The map itself isn’t necessarily bad, but it doesn’t serve any kind of purpose. Contrast that with the map of Middle-earth in The Fellowship of the Ring, which is incredibly helpful in clarifying not only locations but character motivations. When Frodo and the Fellowship decide it’s too dangerous to cross the Misty Mountains, they opt for the even more treacherous mines of Moria, which you can see on the map is their only option since the aforementioned mountains stretch all the way across the main continent.