Screenshot: Fellowship Of The Ring (YouTube)

When describing his writing process for the sprawling fantasy epic that became the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, author J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “I started with a map and made the story fit.” It appears Amazon is using a similar tack with their forthcoming Lord Of The Rings-based series, the plot of which still remains shrouded in mystery. As reported by Deadline, the official Twitter account for the series posted a cryptic tweet this morning that features an unlabeled map of Middle-Earth along with a line from the epigraph of the trilogy.

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This tweet was followed by an invitation for fans to explore an interactive version of the map to possibly glean some secret meaning or clue about the show’s intended direction. Unsurprisingly, this sent Tolkien fans into a tizzy. Now, as we said, this map lacks any labels or markings that could signify anything conclusive, but that still leaves plenty of room for wild speculation. One particular fan—appropriately going by the name @tolkienthot—put in some serious work this morning and offered up a lot of possibilities (in all caps, of course) for LOTR-heads to ponder.

According to the lore Tolkien laid out in the Silmarillion, Beleriand was the name of the land on the westernmost side of Middle-Earth as it existed in the First Age. But, after the War of Wrath, Beleriand was plunged into the sea, creating a new shoreline just west of the Shire. So, given the way this map looks, this new series will take place in the second or third age, which, frankly, doesn’t tell us much because, well, ages are long. But, hey, at least we’re narrowing it down a bit.

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Since the tweet specifically mentions the epigraph, that could mean we’ll get to see the elf Celebrimbor—who features prominently in the Shadows Of Mordor series—forge the first rings of power for the ancient Elven royalty, including Galadriel. But, given the comma at the end of this tweet, we’re thinking this is probably just a tease on Amazon’s part.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this map is the inclusion of a forest and mountain range to the far east of the Sea of Rhûn. This area is often left out of maps of Middle Earth and could be Amazon’s way of hinting that we’ll be visiting this uncharted land in the series. There’s some evidence in Tolkien lore that these mountains were the home of the first Dwarves and, given that the symbols on this map’s compass rose look a bit, well, Dwarvish, we could be looking at TV show based on a bunch of short, hairy dudes with axes.

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Again, this is all speculation and could just be a big misdirect for the TV show about hunky, young Aragorn, but with no premiere date for this much-hyped, ultra-expensive show, speculation is all we’ve got.

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