What if all the major fantasy worlds, from books, movies, TV, and even videogames, inhabited the same planet? How might they all fit together? Dan Meth tackled this pressing issue and created a wonderful Fantasy World Map incorporating about two dozen of the most well-known fantasy worlds together:
There’s a wide variety of different realms on this giant supercontinent and outlying islands, from Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings) to Avalon (from the King Arthur legends), from Land of the Lost (of the TV series and movie of the same name) to Lilliput (Gulliver’s Travels). I don’t even know some of these places, but most of them are from book series or TV shows. A few of these places were discussed previously in this blog: Narnia, Westeros (from Game of Thrones), Utopia, and Hyrule (from the Legend of Zelda videogames). If you compare the maps, the shapes of Narnia, Westeros, and Utopia are reproduced very accurately. Hyrule’s shape does not quite match the maps from the games, but since Hyrule changes in every game, there is no one shape for it anyway.
Placing all of these fantasy worlds in the same universe raises some interesting questions. Each world has its own rules and its own level of fantasy, after all. Westeros, despite the presence of dragons and some dark magic, is relatively close to reality. Many of its plot lines would not have been out of place in medieval Europe. Meanwhile, just across the sea are realms of high fantasy, like Narnia and Middle Earth. Narnia has talking beavers, lions, and other animals, and Middle Earth has elves, goblins, hobbits, and dwarves. Both of these worlds also feature an abundance of magic, with wizards and powerful rings and doorways to other worlds, and so on.
Once these fantasy worlds exist side by side, how do the rules apply across borders between the worlds? If Aslan, the anthropomorphic lion from Narnia, travels across the sea to Westeros, would he still be able to talk? Could one of the competing factions of Westeros go to Middle Earth and learn magic to bring back with them to take the Iron Throne? Who would win in a fight, dragons or dinosaurs?
Or do magic and fantastical elements stay in their own realm? Each of these worlds was carefully crafted to be a self-contained universe, where the powers and limitations drive the plot. Once you introduce a new element, this throws off the balance and could effectively destroy the world as it currently exists. In order words, Westeros with talking animals is no longer Westeros.
But maybe I’m being too strict. It’s possible that a world can adapt to new elements. In fact, the basic premise behind some fantasy worlds is the addition of a character from a different world, which affects both the character and the new world into which he has entered.
Just one more question, though: Where’s Hogwarts?