The Best Settings of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

There are many factors that contribute to the lasting power of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. One of the chief reasons that The Lord of the Rings is such a success is the rich landscapes and cultures that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote and that Peter Jackson and his crew translated so perfectly to film.

Many of the places that the Fellowship travels are filled with peril and sorrow. For every frightening place, however, the story offers places filled with goodness and wonder. Here are our top five most relaxing places in Middle-earth — plus a bonus section from The Rings of Power to start us off!

Bonus: Lindon

Set during the Second Age, The Rings of Power offers fans of Middle-earth a glimpse of the Elves and their lands during an age of peace and prosperity. Chief among these lands is the kingdom of Lindon, ruled over by the High King Gil-galad.

Guided by the wisdom of the Elves after Sauron’s presumed defeat, their culture thrives. It is during this time that some of the greatest Elves to ever live walk Middle-earth. From Galadriel to Celeborn to Elrond, major players in the course of Middle-earth’s history find themselves in Lindon from time to time.

With tall golden trees, flowing streams, and Elvish architecture, Lindon is in many ways the best of both Lothlórien and Rivendell. Even during times of open war, Elvish lands provide those that travel there with safe harbor and healing. During a time of presumed peace such as that in Lindon in the Second Age, one could safely assume that they would find the relaxation they seek in the Elvish kingdom.

5. Minas Tirith

Viewers first get a limited glimpse of Minas Tirith when Gandalf travels to the White City to research the history of the One Ring in The Fellowship of the Ring. The seven-tiered city is revealed in all its splendor in The Return of the King. At the time, Minas Tirith was under the failing stewardship of Denethor and was on the brink of open war. Despite its precarious position and dismal leadership, Minas Tirith was still a sight to behold.

When the Ring is destroyed and Sauron is defeated, Aragorn takes up his rightful place as the King of Gondor. His coronation takes place on the topmost tier. The White Tree begins to bloom as petals rain down on all those in attendance. Once the rightful leader ushers in a time of peace, Minas Tirith is all the more beautiful and tranquil.

With its breathtaking views of the Pelennor Fields, stone levels and buildings hewn from white stone, and vast library, Minas Tirith could provide all the rejuvenation any Middle-earth inhabitant could hope to find.

4. Edoras

Perched atop a hill surrounded by the rolling plains of Rohan, the city of Edoras is a stunning sight. Edoras is introduced in The Two Towers during one of Rohan’s darkest hours. King Théoden is under Saruman’s spell, and the whole country suffers as a result. With Gandalf’s help and a resounding victory at Helm’s Deep, Edoras and the Kingdom of Rohan are returned to their former glory.

Despite the ongoing war, the audience gets a glimpse of what Edoras is like in its golden days. The survivors of Helm’s Deep gather in Meduseld, the Golden Hall, to celebrate their victory and honor their dead. There is music, food, and drink as the people of Rohan come together in joy.

Following the heroic death of Théoden, Éomer is crowned King of Rohan. In a time of peace with both Saruman and Sauron’s influence an unpleasant memory, Edoras would be a pleasant place to visit. With unparalleled views of the plains of Rohan, a fascinating culture, and likely limitless horseback riding, Edoras would have much to offer.

3. Lothlórien

The Fellowship comes to Lothlórien in desperation after Gandalf falls to the Balrog. They are at first greeted by armed Elves who blindfold them and guide them into the heart of the Golden Wood. The grieving Fellowship finds peace — and that time seems to pass differently there.

The power of Galadriel serves as both a protective and mysterious force that is somehow both disconcerting and reassuring at the same time. As the Ringbearer of Nenya, she wields immense power over her lands, giving it an otherworldly feeling. Lothlórien is also where Aragorn and Arwen fell in love, proving it to be a romantic spot as well.

With beautifully constructed homes in the towering mallorn trees, Elvish song, and beautiful scenery, Lothlórien would provide rest and restoration to any weary traveler. It is a respite from the toils and pain of the rest of Middle-earth, allowing its visitors to heal and prepare for wherever their paths may lead them next.

2. Rivendell

Rivendell is first introduced as a gravely wounded Frodo is borne there by Arwen and her horse, Asfaloth. He spends four days unconscious, during which time Elrond heals him. When Frodo comes to, he finds himself in a plush bed in a room overlooking a valley lit up in autumn hues.

It is no wonder that Bilbo decided to stop here as his years caught up with him. The soft, neutral tones of the buildings of Rivendell become a part of the valley it is built in. The statues, archways, and gazebos contribute to the peaceful atmosphere just as much as the trees and cascading waterfalls.

With Elvish song, countless books of lore to read in Elrond’s library, and almost constant views of nature wherever you find yourself in the Last Homely House East of the Sea, Rivendell promises both relaxation and reinvigoration for all who spend time there.

1. The Shire

Of all the places in Middle-earth, none promise more peace and an ability to be truly present than the Shire. The land the Hobbits call home is the first place that viewers spend an extended period of time when the trilogy begins. With rolling green hills, farmland and gardens, and homes built into the earth itself, the Hobbits’ lives are splendid in their simplicity.

This is not to say that the Hobbits’ lives are without excitement. They enjoy celebrating birthdays by giving gifts to others and are known to enjoy fireworks when a certain Grey Wizard comes by for a visit. They have many delicious meals a day, a thriving inn where the Hobbits congregate, and find true joy and meaning in the things outsiders might find dull or quaint. It’s for this reason that Hobbits truly know peace. As a dying Thorin noted to Bilbo, “If more of us valued food, and cheer, and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

The world of Middle-earth is filled with danger and sorrow during much of The Lord of the Rings. Despite this, beautiful places still exist and go onto thrive after the war is won. Whether it’s in the regal lands of Men, the magical realms of the Elves, or the peaceful havens the Hobbits call home, there are many places that travelers – and readers and viewers – can visit in Middle-earth to find peace and comfort.

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